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~ 03/30/23

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  1. It is actually fairly easy to get children to do things, IF you go about it the right way. If Julia doesn’t clear her plate from the table, the plate stays there and she uses the same plate the next day. If she doesn’t pick up her jacket, it stays where it was dropped, wrinkles and all, until she needs it. If she doesn’t put her dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, the clothes stay where they are and don’t get cleaned. If she doesn’t put her toys away, then you simply push them under the couch or throw them in the garage. Doing this may sound harsh, but this is an important lesson on responsibility and consequences that will not harm a child. However, you must be consistent! Giving in and doing tasks for a child teaches them not only to be lazy, but to not think about consequences. It also teaches them to be prima donnas, because they will expect others to do things for them.

    Comment by bruce — March 24, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  2. Thanks tonyt. And if I never said it, sorry about the shoes.

    Comment by toni — March 25, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  3. As matter of fact, we were there not long ago. Here is a list of things the Mommymarchbanks family DID NOT expect from our trip to the happiest place on earth…
    1. Utilization of 2 entire canisters of antibacterial wet wipes
    2. A 45 minute wait at Indiana Jones…AT MIDNIGHT
    3. An empty Rivers of America (where the Riverboat, Canoes, and Sailing ship sail)…Closed(empty)for refurbishment
    4. A mobile app for the phone that lets you know how long the wait times are for rides, lets you make dinner reservations and scout characters…yeah, we discovered this after we got home.
    5. An empty restaurant at dinner time…Storytellers Cafe in the Grand Californian…food was good, decibel level was low.
    6. People devouring those greasy turkey legs while touching things like HANDRAILS at the Winnie the Pooh ride….gross!
    7. Being evacuated from our hotel with a fire alarm.
    8. My in-laws
    9. More families in matching t-shirts than I’ve ever seen in one place
    10. My 3 year old skipping EVERYWHERE because she couldn’t contain her excitement and enthusiasm.

    Comment by mommymarchbanks — April 9, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  4. Hey! You had the same Disneyland experience as us! So you think the slime at Winnie the Pooh was the greasy turkey legs? That’s a lot more pleasant than what I was imagining. And we heard about the mobile app AFTER the fact. Julia mentioned it right before she threw up behind the carousel at California Adventure. That pretty much put an end to our adventure AND to the rest of spring break.

    Comment by toni — April 11, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  5. ok – you are a hysterical mom. hysterical funny not hysterical crazy. i can’t wait until Julia finds out about this and starts reading it.

    Comment by tonyt — April 16, 2010 @ 7:06 am

  6. What do you mean, “unbelievably neat” kid’s room? Julia’s room is just as neat as the Bayer bedroom, if not neater! As for Motrin or Advil, they contain acetominophen, which damages kidneys, especially in children. Better to get tested for aspirin sensitivity or phenylketonuria to see if aspirin should be avoided. Acetominophen damage is cumulative, and takes a while to heal.

    Comment by bruce — April 16, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  7. Julia’s room is generally neat, true. Nut NOT when she is sick. There are blankets piled high. Plastic grocery bags doubling as barf bags. Thermometers and all manner of medications. And then the cleenex discarded here and there. As for the acetominophen. That is why mommies know to alternate Tylenol and motrin, so as not to OD our kids on the meds. And we only do this when there’s a high fever.

    Comment by toni — April 16, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

  8. You notice that there are only girls in the audience? Not only is Grayson gifted, but he’s a hit with the ladies. His mama is probably planning a very early retirement! Lucky, lucky lady…

    Comment by multitaskular — May 13, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

  9. Oh yeah. This kid has it all. Unfortunately, soon those girls won’t have a chance with him unless they become Victoria’s Secret models or land a Disney show. Let’s just hope his parents aren’t of the Michael and Dina Lohan ilk and can keep him grounded in what is surely about to be a stellar career. Too much too soon has too often destroyed so many kids. It’s scary.

    Comment by toni — May 13, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

  10. Okay, this has opened a whole super-sized can of worms for me. Surely a kid has the right to BARE arms, not BEAR arms? Am I wrong?

    Comment by multitaskular — May 23, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  11. Well, Multitaskular. That depends on if the arms are all they’re baring. In my neck of the woods, they won’t let the elementary school girls wear spaghetti straps not even in the heat of summer -which here is in the spring(and these little ones have NOTHING to show) but the high school girls who DO have something to show can and do bare just about everything – arms, shoulders, necks, cleavage, bellies, upper thighs and feet, even in winter. So I guess the bottom line is, while I’m no prude, I feel pretty strongly against both the baring AND bearing of arms in certain circumstances. Also I’m against oil spills. While I’m pontificating and all.

    Comment by toni — May 24, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  12. The last few weeks of school are always like this. I call these days, “Shot-out-of-a-cannon Days” when you feel like as soon as the alarm goes off, your hurtling through chaos of a tighltly scheduled calendar.

    My older daughter demonstrated her firm grasp of MY reality today when she commented on how busy her day had been, and how she wished she could just relax at home during the day like I do. I could hear crickets in the background as I managed to get my blood pressure under control and respond. Because you know what I did today? Went to three different plumbing stores, two lighting stores (we are remodeling), Target, Safeway and finally the post office…and that was just while my youngest was in preschool for 2 hours. Oh, and that was all before I planned and shopped for her Brownie meeting this afternoon.

    So, I’m telling myself that in order for her to think I lounge around with umbrella drinks all day, I must make this mom thing look pretty easy. And in the end, I took it as a compliment and told her that being a mother was something to aspire to, and that some day I hoped she’d be as lucky.

    Comment by mommymarchbanks — May 25, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  13. Ah, mommymarchbanks…I am taking a few moments between 2 talent show performances (4 hours) and a 2 hour dress rehearsal for a dance competition to respond to your always enjoyable comments. First of all, yes, you DO make the whole mom thing look easy and quite fabulous. Second, you MUST accumulate evidence so that one day she sees the truth about what it was to be your daughter’s mother. My proof will be my website, which my daughter isn’t allowed to read until she’s 18 or I am too tired to argue, whichever comes first. Not that you want to make them feel guilty, but they should at least appreciate the extent of our sacrifices and the depth of our love. Also, it’ll prepare them for the reality of when they become mommies. Either that, or it will make them run screaming to the birth control aisle of the Walgreens.

    Comment by toni — May 26, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  14. BRAVO!!!!! Great job, Julia! and Aly too!
    Loved the choreography too.

    Comment by Rossfilms — June 8, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  15. Ideal candidate for the Darwin Awards. Any family this stupid should not reproduce. Too bad the girl survived. Now we’ll have even MORE stupid humans.

    Comment by bruce — June 11, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  16. Sorry, couldn’t watch even one minute. Not funny, just sad. Rap is NOT music, no matter what anyone claims. That means you can like it all you want, but just as vandalism is not art, rap is not music. Music entails melody, rhythm, and harmony; two out of three does not cut it. As an advertisement, this makes that car even LESS desirable.

    Comment by bruce — June 27, 2010 @ 12:57 am

  17. More proof the END is near. Let’s obsess about really inconsequential hack literature. Reading the 1000s and 1000s of GOOD books? Trying to protect the environment, volunteering, etc.,etc.? No, “Twilight” is SO much better spent time. The dumbing down of America is proceeding, full speed ahead! That’s all, folks!

    Comment by bruce — July 6, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  18. I can understand the review of “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (Jon Turteltaub, magic, Disney, etc., etc.), but writing about some TLC show based on really terrible, vicariously living parents who are traumatizing their children? Why are you not writing about female circumcision, child marriages, or child slavery, REAL problems. The only reason this TLC show is broadcast is because somewhere in the world some idiots will watch this crap. I, for one, not only will not watch this dreck, but will casticate any fool who DOES watch this worthless *#?!.

    Comment by bruce — July 15, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  19. Because if there’s one thing we moms are mortified by and yet is a hot topic of conversation, it is horrific parenting by other parents. Certainly eyebrow waxing is not in the same league as female circumcision, but much closer to our own reality. And certainly something that goes on in our very own community (we’re Hollywood adjacent after all). It’s relevant to those of us who have given birth, believe it or not. Doesn’t mean we watch this show or support it.

    Comment by toni — July 15, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  20. I saw that episode! I actually watch that regularly. (Castigate away Bruce!) Not 100% of my life is going to be dedicated to the world’s injustices, but just the pure entertainment of the (trainwreckery based) entertainment in that show. Lighten up, all us fools can’t be perfect like you believe you are. *eyerolling*

    Anyhow, I am always amazed with what most of those moms do to prep those kids, and talk about the money they spend for those titles which aren’t even titles. “We spent 1000 dollars prepping and whoo-eee we won a $50 Savings Bond!” Wow, way to blow through the college fund!

    It makes me feel better about my own parenting choices to watch that show. Guilty pleasure I suppose, but I agree with you. What a disgraceful show of parenting. I can’t believe they can even watch themselves on TV and not be totally embarrassed. If you let them set the bar then the rest of us are doing really great!

    Comment by Lab Mom — July 16, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  21. I suggest you continue to take images with your digital camera, but refrain from using the viewfinder. Point and shoot, but point the lens without looking through the viewfinder. You can probably reel off 10-20 shots in a minute or so; 95% of the shots will be worthless, but with a 2 or 4 GB SD card, you can store 2,000-8,000 shots depending on how many megapixels your camera has. Delete the bad shots, and you will have both kinds of memories. I estimate that my digital camera use is 1-4 minutes (not all at once) MAXIMUM per hour of whatever activity might be photogenic. Most shots aren’t worth keeping, and I delete them LATER. Most professional photographers (and cinematographers, too) want to shoot, shoot, shoot. I have heard and read more than once that 1 usable shot in 20, 50, or even 100 is a normal ratio. Of course, there are always exceptions like Ansel Adams and Annie Leibowitz. Chaplin sometimes did 100 takes in his silents. You did not mention video. I feel that families who excessively video record their child(ren) often shortchange and detrimentally alter the resilient, desirable, time-proven family dynamic. How do you think naiive impressionable, but talentless, clueless 12-16 year old wannabes decide that their long term career goal is “to be famous?”

    Comment by Bruce — July 27, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  22. Its a lose/lose situation. If you stop taking photos, you’ll forget everything. And if you keep taking photos you won’t experience anything. Totally sucky. Do what I do… make it your husband’s problem!

    Comment by Claire Gustchow — August 5, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  23. Parents and their children who can be killed for sending their girls to a school are the ones with worries. Parents whose girls burned to death because the Morality Police would not unlock the school doors have worries. Parents who have no place to send their children, because their school was destroyed, have worries. YOU DO NOT.

    Comment by Bruce — August 27, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  24. This same thing happens to boys and their dads, in almost the same time frame. Are you becoming your mom? There are exceptions, however. Where do you think Mel Gibson thinks his father (holocaust denyer, rabid Roman Catholic Pedophile believer, anti-Semite) stands on this chart?

    Comment by Bruce — September 3, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  25. OH MY GOD! I have MEGA snako-phobia and this incident is my worst nightmare come to life! I am so glad that your husband is okay and gladder still that you acted quickly and efficiently. Long live Discovery Channel! And well done Julia!

    Comment by Lavanya — September 6, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  26. This is NOTHING! How about the deceased’s daughter wearing a tube top with frayed hot pants and Manolo Blahnik stiletos to her own father’s funeral? If you think this is inappropriate, check out “” to see the decline of American Civilization. No wonder 20% believe Obama is a Muslim. No wonder there is no outcry when John Boehner says, “We need to return to the policies of the Bush Administration.” No wonder a photogenic airhead (a self-righteous, born-again, prima-donna, abstence proclaiming, hypocritical, contradicting, mother supporting a teenage single mom/daughter, attention seeking, money driven, sold out, Constitution oblivious, ignorant-beyond-belief, main-stream-media-addicted whore, QUITTER), such as Sarah Palin, could even be MENTIONED as a possible Presidential Candidate in 2012. Wanna bet that the parents of this toddler you saw at Disneyland love Palin and think Glenn Beck tells the truth? WAKE UP! We are analogous to the people watching the Roman Empire decline. One crucial difference and one similarity: 1) electricity and computers should shorten the time for the Roman collapse, from 50-400 years, to a more contemporary multitasked Internet speed of 5-20 years; 2) there is NOTHING we can do to change the inexorable flow of energy. Entropy IS downhill flow.

    Oh, yeah, don’t forget to burn a Koran on Saturday! And count on Social Security ending, too. Don’t think so? Carly F. and Meg W., the two MOST DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN THE USA, after Dick Cheney, actually have California voters supporting them!

    Comment by Bruce — September 8, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  27. With pundits and viewers aged under 30 they apparently have no memory of the early Muppet Show, with guests like Alice Cooper singing “Welcome to My Nightmare” in full ghoul regalia; Raquel Welch who wore a demure suit that couldn’t hide her ample cleavage as she sang “I Am Woman” or Debbie Harry who sang “Call Me”, the theme song from American Gigolo. The right wingnuts want the government out of social support systems like Social Security and Medicare but in up to their eyeballs regarding their standards of modesty and our personal behavior. She looked cute.
    Besides, Elmo was naked.

    Comment by Babette — September 26, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

  28. Who is Katie Perrie? Matthew Perry’s sister, wife? Sesame Seed Street is a TV show? Isn’t Miss Piggy dead or in prison for cross species miscegnation? Nursing babies know who Kathy Perry is? What kind of life is inside a ping pong ball? These questions are all equally valid compared to “Who cares about idiot prudes in this country?” A better question: “Has Meg Whitman given as much to charity as she has spent on her campaign ($120 million so far)?”

    Comment by Bruce — September 26, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  29. Oh my goodness! Yes, I am now worried that my 4 year old is going to prance around showing her TaTa’s!

    A little too much skin? Possibly.
    Something to get worked up over? NOPE.

    Good Grief.

    Comment by Tiffany — October 5, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  30. I don’t know if it’s some deadly combination of selenium and molybdenum in the water, or something not yet identified, but every one living in Texas or anyone who has lived in Texas for a period of time exhibits some type of mental disorder. Just look at the wackos there now! 28% of Texans believe Obama is Kenyan. Bush 41 and 43. I could go on and on. Add that to a massive inferiority complex masquerading as a superiority complex, and you have Texas. Have always been happy and relieved every time I left that backward less-intelligent ignorant state.

    Comment by Bruce — October 20, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  31. FWIW – We’re doing a somewhat over-the-top Harry Potter party this year for my 9 year old son. And it is *definitely* intended to be amusing for the adults too, in fact, we’re getting a couple 23 year old (ish) college student friends of big half sister to help out a bit because the party sounded so fun! Bonus! But I think that’s ok. Mind you – we don’t do this every year and it’s not like we’re really going crazy just being a bit more “thematic” than I might otherwise manage.

    I think it is ok to go a bit crazy for your kids as long as it isn’t a regular or expected thing. 😀

    Comment by Mary Ellen — October 21, 2010 @ 5:03 am

  32. Some info about HFCS (corn sugar). Humans produce sucrase, the enzyme that splits sucrose (a double sugar) into fructose and glucose (both simple sugars), which then enter the blood. Glucose, a 6 sided sugar, is the basis of metabolism, but fructose, a 5 sided sugar, cannot be metabolized; the liver must convert it. Too much sucrose seems to overtax the production of insulin; too much fructose seems to just burn out the production of insulin. Voilà! Diabetes! Cut out corn sweetener completely and cut down sucrose as much as possible.

    Comment by Bruce — October 22, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  33. I love it! Wow you’re an expert. I grew up in South Africa, and we didn’t celebrate Halloween. So now that I live in the US, I live vicariously through my son. Which is fine now because he’s still a baby. But methinks he’s not going to let me dress him up like a cute, squishy giraffe next year!

    Comment by Claire Gustchow — November 18, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  34. Yep. I had one year when I had complete control over Julia’s costume. She was ten months and I dressed her as a moouse and I wore a wedge of cheese on my head. Needless to say, she is less than thrilled when she sees those pictures. From then on out, she has had a definite say. She went through the princess phase for about 3 years and costumes were easy. Now they’ve gone from sweet to dark. I’m convinced it’s a developmental phase. Natures way of prpping us mommies for the Tattoo years.

    Comment by toni — November 18, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  35. I laughed until tears rolled down my face 🙂

    Comment by Cathy — November 21, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  36. Thank you, John!
    I miss singing with you.
    I’d love to collaborate with you on other re-writes someday.

    Comment by Babette — November 21, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  37. Hi, I found this post on your blog when searching for a Bertie Botts label to print for my own cheap-ish version of them – since they no longer seem to be available over here in the UK anyway. I am a teacher, running a themed Harry Potter day for my class of 30 9-year-olds this Friday. Would it be possible for you to email me a copy of the label you created for your Bertie Botts beans? I would be very grateful. Thanks!

    Comment by Helen Horsley — January 3, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  38. I went for a mammogram today 1st Feb 2011, i am 63 years old and have been having them since i turned 50. My first experience of a mammogram was some years ago when i was sent to hospital suffering from a breast lump which gladly turned out to be a cyst. I had to have it removed in the end as it kept getting bigger and filled up with brown liquid although i had a needle quite a few times to express the fluid. The first experience regarding the mammogram was rather painful most likely because of the lump in my left breast. I have had about 6 mammograms now most times they do hurt somewhat i can’t see how it can’t really putting your breast into plate like object and then the machine pressing them down. One little tip i find if you take a couple of pain killers before hand it does help to ease the discomfort. But mammograms are worth having i think regular checks are good, i will carry on having them even after i reach 70 years old hopefully. They are free so why not have them and don’t listen to the doom and gloom merchants about this and that, us women have worse pain than mamograms. I suffer migraine sometimes i would rather have a mammogram than have one of those. I think the article is quite funny you can always see the funny side of most things in life.

    Comment by Carole Heath — February 1, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  39. Here’s what I do. I go out for the morning when my cleaning lady is here. It helps LOADS when I don’t have to look her in the eye. Same goes for my bank manager – email contact only. If you don’t see the judgement, you can delude yourself that it’s not there!

    Comment by Claire Gustchow — February 2, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  40. Holy crap! That’s amazing! Are you the best mom ever or what?

    Comment by Haris Orkin — February 18, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  41. Aww the fond memories of a Toniextravaganza party. Julia is so lucky to have a mom,(and dad), like you two. Thank you for sharing your photos. And I see you’re still using the old burnt edged paper technique. Smart lady. Stick with the classics. 😀

    Comment by Karen — February 18, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  42. Did u know that more children are bit every year by the family golden retriever then by a pit bull? We own one and am thinking of getting a second. I have two kids under the age of 16 and they always have friends over who she loves. Yes she will bark if someone pulls in my driveway but so will any other dog. Pit bulls are very sweet and loving dogs who because of some stupid people who train them to be mean make them have a bad rep. when I was growing up I had a great daine who was stupid mean. And No we didnt train him to be that way. My pit is the absolute best dog in the world.

    Comment by Ann — April 2, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

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