Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Proof for those of you who think I make up these crazy stories
I hope my kids put me up in a really chic nursing home one day after what I have gone through to carve them Jack-o-lanterns.

First of all there are no pumpkin patches to load up the family and visit to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Matter of fact, I think the pumpkins are imported from the Lilliputians! Im sorry to say, but the pumpkins in this country are the size of a pumpkin seed in SC. I know Europeans make fun of America because everything is big, but when it comes to pumpkins, Bigger is better! And I should know, especially after trying to carve out 4 pygmy pumpkins for my kids.

I looked everywhere for a pumpkin that was bigger than an over grown apple. No luck and besides being so small ten of them fit into a mopping bucket, and half of them were rotting. In hindsight, should have gotten the rotten ones!

So I got home and invited 2 other kids over for the carving session. The kids had a blast drawing all kinds of things on their pumpkins, like dinosaur mouths and spooky eyes.

They were so excited and started arguing who was gonna have their pumpkin carved first...so I got out the carving tools (aka steak knife and spoon) and told the kids to stand back, Mama was ready to create masterpieces!

I tried to cut the first top. The knife wouldn't even pierce the skin. I tried again and again and I tried stabbing all over the pumpkins frantically. These pumpkins were like plastic fruit. I wasn't getting in!

The kids began to panic and my son asked me if he was gonna have his dino-lantern and of course then the tears poured. His little heart was breaking.

That was it! I was gonna carve these pumpkins even if I had to bust out the chain saw. Which I didn't, but I did try the hand saw. Nope, not even a shred of pumpkin came off. I even turned those little piece of poop pumpkins on their side and saw them in half. Then at least I could get in maybe carve at least some teeth and glue it back together. And my kids would think its normal to carve pumpkins with a saw.

No matter how hard I tried, the saw didn't work either. By this point, my son was sobbing and the other kids lost interest and walked away, thank goodness.

I was now on a mission: I was gonna carve these pumpkins even if it took me all night. And that's when my genius mommy friend came up with a brillant idea: boil the pumpkins to make them soft!

So I boiled up some water and threw in the pumpkins. I had never cooked a live pumpkin, I had always gotten mine from a can, so I had no clue how long to leave them in...obviously, because after my house began to smell like pumpkin soup, I pulled them out. Well let's just say they were no longer medium rare.

I somehow got them to the carving table and held my breath and stuck in the knife. Like Butter! A little too much like butter because with every slice the pumpkin began to implode. My hands were blistering as the steam was still rolling off the pumpkins. Of course I could have waited but 1) I was on a mission and 2) I was too scared if they cooled they would harden again. So I kept carving, 2nd degree burns and all.

I could only carve 3 out of the 4 or I would have been emergency room bound! By this point, the kids had forgotten that initially they had drawn faces on them and were amazed at what I had created. Yes, I won! All the stabbing, sawing, boiling and charred hands was worth it! My kids were learning the great American tradition Halloween and mommy carved them their first pumpkins that look like they are jacked up on drugs, Crack-o-lanterns!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poop Plague

The two suspects watching the horses in our 'hood
I must have done some really naughty things during my childhood or the Big Guy upstairs has really got it in for me because I am getting the worst payback ever...the Tannerstein house is infested with a plague of S#IT!

It's the only explanation that I can think of because I was simply vacuuming the house when my son starts yelling that there was a piece of poop on the floor. I immediately turned off the vacuum and followed him to the crime scene.

I didn't have my glasses on for a close inspection but I thought to myself "there is no way someone has pooped in the middle of my floor!" I had just vacuumed that area 10 minutes earlier.

So what did I do? I turned on the vacuum and sucked up the brown odd-shaped object. Problem solved, it was probably a rotted wet leaf someone dragged in from outside. And that’s when I saw it...the tell-tell smudge that I had dragged with the vacuum across the room. I flipped the vacuum nozzle up and sure enough, the entire brush and inside tunnel was covered in what looked like melted chocolate and I almost vomited from the smell.

It was poop! But where did it come from? My daughter was away with her father so I grabbed my son by his britches and peeked down his pants...Nope, not even the usual skid mark. Where did this mystery poop come from? I began to search the house...there were no other pieces or piles to be found anywhere. I looked up at the celling, nope it was stark white, didn''t come from there. So where in the H-E-Double Hockey sticks did this piece of crap come from?

I interrogated my son and of course he said his sister did it before she left. Impossible she is still in diapers. I started to get paranoid, I had just gone to the bathroom before vacuuming (ok I’m sleep deprived anything can happen). I re-traced my trip to the toilet...nope not me either. Whose poop was this and most importantly why was it in the middle of my floor?

I had to put the investigation on hold; my house began to smell like a toilet. First thing was first, I had to clean out the feces filled vacuum. One packet of wipes later and the nozzle was back to normal, and only a lingering trace could be smelled when I stuck my nose up the tube. I turned on the vacuum and sucked up a few wipes hoping they would "wipe"on their way up. Not sure if they "wiped" but they definitely took the smell away. Good enough for me!

But later that evening another piece appeared. This time my son had stepped in it somewhere in the living room. He came running to Baby Daddy and I with the piece in his hand and his foot covered. As I dug out the poop from his toenails, we re-opened the investigation. Still no leads and now both Baby Daddy and I were puzzled from the poop mystery.

And just when I thought the poop plague had ended, the next morning I found a random piece in the bathroom, lying just in the crack of the door. Like the others, it was an odd shaped piece with a fresh texture. Ok, this was getting out of hand. My kids denied it profusely and I began to really think I was cursed.

Since the infestation, I am on constant poop patrol, monitoring every nook and cranny of my house. I know I’m slowly losing it but this is too much. The mystery remains unsolved, but there hasn't been any unexplained poop sightings in two days now. Maybe the Big Guy or Poo Gods have taken mercy on me. Who knows, but I do know that now I will never complain again about poopy pants, diapers or skid marks. At least they are contained! And I know the source!

Hopefully, the Poop Plague is over but the mystery remains unsolved and with the only witness being an unreliable pooper himself, I guess I will never know...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mama Wins!

My babies exploring a rabbit hole in Buurser
Ok, well I didn't win Expatica's "i am not a tourist" blog competition this past weekend, but I did win something even better: a moment in my life I will never forget, 2 minutes of my babies watching their Mama and being proud!

As one of the three finalists in the competition I had to stand on stage and read one of my posts in hopes to get the most cheers to win the competition. I was a nervous wreck before getting up on stage, but not because I was scared to stand up there, but because I was scared about reading the particular post that I had chosen. I selected the one about my breast getting stuck in the Mamography machine in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I also chose this post because it was a post that really represents what my blog is all about: not only being a Mama but also being a woman. So, I had to be brave and talk about my "girls" in front of a room of strangers and I wasn't sure how it would go over...

So I am up on stage, shaking...my voice quivering as I am reading. I could feel the pressure of the audience's glare. The first time I looked up from reading, I saw the face of an old man sitting on the back row. His jaw was hanging and I could only imagine what he was thinking. I felt like melting off the stage. Maybe I had chosen the wrong post. Maybe I should have chosen one a bit less personal, but then again my entire blog is personal.

I somehow switched on auto-pilot and continued reading the post. I then looked down at my babies sitting just on the front row. They were sitting there so still, so quiet, and for once they were listening to their Mama!

I first caught the eye of my daughter, she was mesmerized, staring up at me like she does when she is watching Dora. Today, I was her Dora! I began to get a little excited and I could feel my self-confidence start to bubble inside and I continued reading. But this time, with no shaking and no insecurity.

Then I paused again and looked down at my son. And that was when I almost lost it! He was looking at me with his sweetest eyes. He was so in love with me. He was so proud of me. I was the center of his world (and I'm not 6 and blonde). I could almost feel how proud he was to call me his Mama...My kids were proud of me and most importantly, my kids were watching me follow my dreams.

Suddenly, I realized what this moment meant for me in my life. I took a deep breath and tried to take it all in, the smells, the sound, the people and the faces of my two little ones and the love that I felt! For me, it didn't matter who won the competition. In my heart, I had already won. I was showing my kids it was OK to be who you are and not to care about what other people think. I had chosen the right post after all and I would never doubt myself ever again. I was taking my kids on my journey, chasing my dreams and hoping that one day they would remember my example and follow theirs. What more could a mother want for her children?

By the end of the reading, my heart was bursting and I was high on the sweet smell of my children's love. I immediately walked off the stage and into the arms of my babies. They clung to me like never before and I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment...

I was in another world until my son grabbed my face and said "Mommy, I love you" and kissed me on my cheek. My daughter then pushed him out of the way and jumped on my lap, "Mommy, I pooped."  Ahh, I wasn't her Dora after all, she was just making poopies!

Nevertheless, I will take what I can get these days...even if it is poop in one hand and pride in the other (literally)!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Support Mama!

I just want to say thanks to everyone who voted for my blog in Expatica´s ``i am not a tourist`` blog competition. I still can´t believe that I am one of the 3 finalist along with Taal Tale and MissNeriss who will read out a blog post for cheers during the expat fair this Sunday, 7 October 11:30 am at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam!

So please, if you have time come by and shout really loud for me when I read my favorite blog post so I don´t pee in my pants from embarrassment!!! And not to mention enjoy the fair!!

Get your free tickets here http://www.expatica.com/iamnotatourist/getticket.php