Sunday, November 30, 2008

Naptime Turkeys

My children have been known to get creative when it is supposed to be nap time. Today they showed a holiday themed degree of skill when it comes to being a bit naughty. So that the images make perfect sense, let me show you what they made at Temple Beth Chanel last week: These are adorable laminated place mats featuring cut out hand print turkeys decorated with feathers. The concept of making hand print turkeys was also illustrated and burned on their impressionable brains when I had them make these Happy Thanksgiving cards too: Today when I went into get them up from naps Eli and CJ told me they made some more turkeys for me. CJ said Happy Thanksgiving Mommie we love to make turkeys wiff our hands. I beamed with pride and joy until I saw just exactly what they were talking about. These are homemade, spontaneous turkey hands on the wall of their room.
Thanks to a compact of bronzer that Amanda left in the adjoining bathroom this weekend, Eli and CJ had the most sunny shade of brown to make their turkeys look realistic. Turkeys in Sun kissed Bronze #3 and hand prints make for a nice turkey mural don't you think? Happy Thanksgiving everyone- I am off to see my friend Sherwin Williams now to find an appropriate color to cover up sun kissed bronze #3, or maybe I will wait until after they make driedels with blue eye shadow?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slutsky Cousins

It was SUPER SATURDAY SLUTSKY cousin day in Mason, Ohio today. All the cousins invaded Rick and Lisa's house for a Chili lunch and the annual football game. The group hovered in the kitchen noshing for hours which meant that the food was spectacular.

How can you leave the countertop island when it is stacked with dips and chips, veggies and spicy snackage? Who walks away from a buffet table of desserts? Just pull up a chair and enjoy! Cousin Linda and her "man friend" Peter were all cuddly cozy and adorable, they were the only single people there (without kids) so obviously they look rested and refreshed- grrrr!
I even snapped a photo of the elusive Max with his sisters and grandmother, Loris.

Uncle Marc paid Natalie $1 so she would go around the house telling everyone that Uncle Marc is her favorite uncle. Nice huh? Oh yeah, and since my kids are little sponges,
Maddie taught them to reply to the following- Question: "who is da bomb?"- Answer: Cousin Maddie of course! Part of the guests stayed inside and played wii, Shot a few games of pool on Uncle Rick's new table,



watched some tv in high def and worked on sticker crafts or played with matchbox cars. The bigger kids and Uncles rushed the street for yardage and first downs in the street football game.


Clearly athleticism runs in the family...NOT! Spectators and participants had a blast- you will notice the very blue skies whioh in itself is rare on an Ohio winter day.

These are the days I want the kids to remember- pure FUN! This is why I took so many photos of the sweet faces in action.




These are real kids having a really good time doing nothing but hanging out with their cousins. Slutsky Cousin Fest 2008- A total winner of a day!

CJ is ready for the Swiss Alps, and So am I

Today I found CJ in the playroom singing and saying "Yo who who" over and over. At first I tried to make out the words and I could not understand him at all. "Yo who who Yo who who." Finally, I asked him,

Me: "CJ, What are you Saying?"
CJ: "Nuffing"
Me: "CJ, I can hear you saying words but I don't understand them"
CJ: "Mommie, I not saying nuffing, I am Yo-derring!"

I about died. I was laughing so friggin hard- my son was YODELING! Now, I got it, and in his sweet defense, he was trying to yodel. In hindsight it did sound like garbled Yodeling.

You might ask where in G-d's name did a 3 year old learn to yodel? I was mildly curious myself seeing as how our Latin Aupair can't yodel, and no one in our home would dream of belting out a Yo-del lay hee who. CJ's adores the new animated show is called Toot and Puddle and it is about two traveling pigs. Yesterday Toot and Puddle were in Switzerland and YES- they discussed Yodeling. This sweet show is on NOGGIN and I have a hunch CJ will be replacing Diego with Toot & PUddle on his list of faborites.

So now we can add yet another talent into the mix. Perhaps CJ will be my excuse to jet off to Gstaad this season....after all, it about learning and adventure right? Clearly their young minds need enrichment and I do love an Alpine Chalet this time of year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tick Tock Target....your time is almost up!

Last week I bitched and moaned about the Target disaster. So far, 33 individual comments have been left in that post so I know I am not alone in wondering what in the hell Target will do to make ammends. I have not had the luxury of time to really open a can of whoop ass, and quite frankly, I am have not been damaged by their actions- I am just disappointed and irked. This explains why after I blogged and wrote to the CEO of Target I let it go. For now. Here is an update on what has happened since I first wrote about the fiasco- I wrote a letter to the Gregg Steinhafel the CEO with Carbon Copy (cc.) to: Janet Shalk, EVP Target Tech Services, and to the Better Business Bureau, Britax, and https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

Here is the letter I sent (cut and pasted)-

Attention Gregg Steinhafel:

I am writing with regard to the recent pricing error on Britax Marathon car seats on www.Target.com. Along with a large portion of the online parenting community, I was thrilled to see that your store was offering an incredible deal on a top quality child safety seat. Parents want to provide the best, safest, most comfortable seat for their child, but at almost $300 these car seats are unattainable for a good number of families, families of multiples, and expecting families whose gift registry is a source of revenue for Target. Finding that discount was like winning lottery ticket for many of your loyal customers, and they were, like me, dismayed and disgusted to find out that Target will not be honoring the listed price. A price that was listed on two different varieties of car seats, on Target.com and Amazon.com for more than 3 days before it was supposedly discovered to be an error.

I find it hard to believe that this problem was truly a listing error. Perhaps if the price was supposed to be $242.99 and the first 2 was omitted, that would be understandable, but to go from $279.99 to $42.99 hardly seems like a plausible mistake. It seemed to truly be a clearance of what appeared to be seats based on the fabric colors. Additionally, if this was not an attempt at bait and switch, or increase website traffic from your valued guests, how is it explained that there were two different seats at two different clearance prices? One mis-priced seat is an error, two separate mis-priced items is suspicious.

I understand that your company would be taking a financial hit by doing the right thing from a customer service standpoint with honoring the sales. However, I don't think you've taken into account the sales that you will lose from those very same customers who were so thrilled with your company just 24 hours ago. Prior to your cancellation e-mails, you were getting some of the best free advertising imaginable- the internet is a big place, and the online parenting community possesses an enormous portion of it. Parents across the country and the world were involved (thanks to the World Wide Web) and were absolutely gushing over the wonderful bargain they found on your site. There were probably additional items found in your web-store during their visit. What a relief to be able to provide their children with a level of safety and comfort that their finances would not otherwise allow. Those same parents are now discussing boycotts of your website and your stores- not a good thing just over a month from Christmas in an already lagging market for retailers! You may have saved Target a few thousand dollars by canceling those orders, but your actions will have far-reaching results that may ultimately cost you hundreds of thousands more when people choose to purchase their big ticket items, toys and holiday clothing elsewhere.

I've worked in retail sales and marketing for over 15 years, and I've seen time and again that if you take care of your customers, they will take care of you. Likewise, if you don't take care of your customers, the negative word of mouth advertising and loss of tangible business dollars can multiply exponentially. With all of the community involvement and responsibility that Target claims to support, I expected your company to take the customer service high road in this scenario. We are your customers, members of the communities that you allegedly support and that keep your business afloat, and you've pulled the rug out from under us! I understand that someone goofed when they input the price and that they created a problem for your company, but in my honest opinion the person who made the call to cancel those orders created a bigger one.

Target has lost my business for the remainder of the holiday season and beyond, because I will not support a company that can't respond ethically and responsibly when things don't go their way. Based on the negative word of mouth advertising I've already seen plastered on my own personal blog and other web-sites I will not be the only one.

Please contact me with your reply; I would welcome any comments you may have about this situation.

Thank You,

Helene Slutsky


So there you have it. Tick Tock, the time is ticking away Target- please decide how you are going to make it right, or make it feel better for those of us who really wanted to buy those seats on clearance. I have heard grumblings that some of the customers received a coupon code for a future on line purchase, so, nu? C'mon, we are waiting. Some of us just want to be recognized as your valued guests and won't let you just cancel and delete this problem.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, and I am taking a moment to list all the reasons I have to be thankful. First there is this silly, amazing and loving family of 9 people in our home. Everyone has their own issues yet we still manage to have side splitting laughter, and make our own wacky fun. There are constant challenges with logistics but overall, I would have never in gazillion years imagined that we would be here- in this zone of peaceful suburban bliss. Oh sure, if you read this blog regularly you already know that we have toddlers shitting on the hard wood floors, a chipmunk living in our garage, Latin divas dancing in our living room and lots of sleepless nights but in general- overall-- GOOD GOOD GOOD times. And to think that less than 7 years ago I was single and in Kansas City and Jeff was a single dad with two kids in Columbus- WOW! Thanks J-Date!

The kids are all happy, healthy and thriving- which a few years ago I was worried about- but now I can move that entire scenario (start to finish) into the thankful column. If we go all the way back to the beginning- we start with Anthony Thomas, the urologist who reversed Jeff's vasectomy and made starting a family an option. Then, we add, Ohio Reproductive Medicine and the docs that helped us get pregnant. Our J-date success story would not be as awesome without the addiitons to our family. A special thanks to the brilliant Dr. Mark Landon at OSU who oversaw my triplet pregnancy and made the diference between being a statistic and being a mom. I thank him for monitoring my high risk pregnancy to the point of viability outside the womb. Add to the list, the NICU team who took care of three fragile, and helpless baby birds and gave them the time and special necessary treatment to grow as if they had been born full term. Just when we thought we had thanked every medical hand, we were side-swiped by CJ's onset of failure to thrive with neurological damage. Thankfully we sought the genius minds of Dr. Sumit Parikh and Dr. Radikkal Krishnahan who believed he was worth saving and pushed for a diagnosis when it would have been easier to label him and move on. They pushed on and on until it was clear that they had solved the problem and thankfully his problem was correctly determined to be Celiac Disease, which is treatable, managable and under control. This chapter is over and I am thankful for all the medical teams who opened and closed it so successfully. I think we can be done with thanking doctors or a while, okay?

Today as the meal is being lovingly prepared I want to thank all my friends and blog readers for giving me the juicy stories and original material to make my days worth writing about- seriously....who else has this much fun every day? Thanks guys- you are the best! Happy Thanksgiving everybody- I hope your day is a silly as mine.

Love,
The Queen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Latin Grammys Remix- Slutsky Style

All of the kids have been watching the Latin Grammy award show for over a week now. Argenida recorded it on the Tivo and my kids can't seem to get enough. They like to put on their own rendition, or "show", and will prance and dance to the Latin Grammys about 120 times a day. The Latin Grammys is the new Dora. This is their cardio. Eli has started using a blanket as his costume and he twirls and uses it like a bullfighter. Play this video by clicking the arrow- this will give you the full show,
CJ and Charlotte clap and jump and shake it like polaroid picture. Natalie likes to sit and watch the girls in their big fluffy dresses and she imitates them by rolling her skirt or dress round and round. Ahhh, having a Latin Aupair has really made an impact. Keep in mind that many Panamanian and Latin Aupairs hang out our house, so it is not just Argenida, but also Argenida and Lany her adorable pal that Jeff and I adore. And to think that two years ago my kids were speaking bit and pieces of Zulu thanks to Yolanda. Now, I have 4 little gringos that have created a remix version of the Latin Grammys. Aye Papi- Oy vey! Cha Cha Cha!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, We are Jewish

With all the talk of Christmas with lights, trees, santas we have been educating our Jewish kids about what the seasonal stuff is and what it means.


The displays are everywhere we go and they are genuinely curious. Likewise we have been doing the same thing with Menorahs and all the other Hanukkah stuff. We have been coaching them that some people celebrate Hanukkah and some people celebrate Christmas. After every bit of new information they would say, "WHY????"

We even said that it is okay to wish someone a Merry Christmas if that is what they celebrate- it is polite to say it because they are not Jewish and that is "their" holiday. Fair enough, right?

So finally after a few rounds of the Christmas talk and all the blasted "why" we felt like they kind of got it all. WHEW, so many issues and questions to answer ...TIMES THREE!

Then the real test comes when :
A lady at the grocery store says to all of them, "Have a Merry Christmas!" My three, three year olds take turns talking with her- I am fearing the worst!

Eli says, "You can have a merry Christmas, be we can't"

Natalie says, "We celebrate Hanukkah and it is for 8 days with candles that you don't blow out or make a wish like on your birthday"

CJ- "Yeah, your right Natalie Good Job!"

Eli- "We are Jewish not Christmas"

The older woman was just smiling and giggling, she thought it was so adorable, and then she said, " I can't wait to tell all the ladies at church about the Jewish triplets!"

So....before we even get to Thanksgiving this week, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone!
Love,
The Queen

Friday, November 21, 2008

Divas, Drinks and Diamonds

Well, now that I have your undivided attention, let me tell you about what happens when one diva mommie invites her friends over for drinks and diamonds. Okay, so it is really Silpada jewelry and it is sterling silver baubles, but still....so fun!

My busty, blonde, total babe of a friend, Lisa hosted the evening in her clean home. I find it hard to believe that people actually live in her house, but whatever! Can you believe that between the two of us we have given birth to 8 kids? It is TRUE! That is insane! I am the Jewish Martha Stewart and she is the blonde Italian version of Martha, Ciao bella, I will now call her Mama Mia Martha Stewart. Her triplets are G-G-B and sooo delicious- just like all the incredible appetizers that Mama Mia Martha Stewart made after getting her hair done. Fabulous eh? I am totally going against the notion of finding friends that look way OLDER than me. Dammit, now I am hanging it out with someone who while technically IS older, but looks younger. I made a promise to myself to start hanging out with some old hags but I can't seem to find any I like.

While sipping sexy cocktails all the diva mommies shopped for new gems and silver accessories and
gabbed about the fast approaching holidays, the Black Friday sales and guess what? Several of us were bitching about how Target goofed when they canceled orders for the Britax Marathons Carseats earlier this week. Here are the most frequent guests of their store and instead of singing Target's praises over artichoke filled pockets and cheese & onion tartlets, these ladies were comparing stories of anger and frustration. Not good Target, I repeat, NOT GOOD! This has moved from just idle internet chit chat and is now face to face conversation.

When Lisa was busy taking hot trays out of her oven I snuck her kids downstairs and snapped some pics of them. I told them to be really quiet so we could surprise their mom with the results. They could not stop smiling because the thought of pulling one over on mommie was too much for them to pass up. The triplets were so proud of the Thanksgiving Turkey hats featuring their handpints- I just had to have them model them for the blog. Note to self: Next year steal this idea for Thanksgiving!

Since technically I am still in NON-Spending mode, I decided to curb my urge to buy every cool thing on the kitchen table. Instead, I agreed to host a party like this to earn my own jewels without opening my checkbook, So when you get your engraved invite to come over for drinks and diamonds, make sure you look WAY WAY older than me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hester Prynne and Mitchell Slutsky



Last week Mitchell informed me that he might be getting his "letter" at the end of the season football banquet. I immediately thought of Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne's book. Mitchell getting the "letter a" seemed sort of funny to me. I have that warped sense of humor I suppose. Both characters, Mitchell and Hester have officially earned or been given the LETTER "A" to wear. Sadly, Hester Prynne's version from the classic book, The Scarlet Letter has negative meaning and Mitchell Slutsky's Letter "A" has nothing but glory. You see at Columbus Academy a varsity letterman gets to wear an "A". Mitchell was awarded his first Varsity Letter for Football. He is now considered a varsity letterman. As a sophmore this means he can get a ballin varsity letter jacket to let all the babes know he is playa. In addition to his mad skills on the football field, now he will have a leather jacket to help him get women. As if he needs the help? This is the same kid that took two smart, witty, and beautiful blonde dates
to the Columbus Academy homecoming dance last month. Hester's letter stood for adultry, and at the rate this dude is going, this letter may have a double meaning. While Hester had nothing to be proud of, Mitchell has everything to be proud of- this is one amazing kid- Pride wearing his letter "A" has never been more of a winner. Congratulations Mitchell!

Target Makes Mistakes, Mis-Treats Customers and Infuritates Many Who Ordered Britax Marathon Carseats



OH the DRAMA. As if I did not have enough drama in my own personal life, I am now fighting an uphill battle with Target. I am one to get fired up when I am wronged, and this time I am beyong fuming mad. Like many Target shoppers this week, I ordered the Britax Marathon Carseat in the sale color, Granite Grey. Target.com often marks down merchandise and offers free shipping so I was totally on board with the offer to get a great product at a sale price. Assuming they were clearancing this color or were overstocked with inventory on it, I took advantage of the clearance price of $42.99 with free shipping. There was another style being clearanced- called COWMOOFLAGE, which is this black and white bold cow print, but it was marked $59.99 and I did not justify the extra bucks for the so called premium fabric. I knew this Granite seat was a bargain so in addition to ordering one for Charlotte, I also ordered two more for Jeff's cousin Heather who delivered twin girls on October 13th. This would be the ultimate baby gift considering these carseats work from Birth to 4 years and are hightly rated and usually priced at $279.99 a pop. Yippee, I was so excited. Giving generous gifts and saving money on items we NEED & MUST HAVE is a total high. This a photo of the order I placed, I have edited my billing and shipping info to protect any shred of privacy I may still have-(as if!) Please double click the image to see all the fine print about my purchase. This is my confirmation of the transaction- crystal clear, right? Written confirmation of the done deal!

Imagine my disappointment when two days later Target randomly cancelled the order. Apparently they made a pricing mistake. I saved all the e-mails about this fiasco and I will continue to hound the powers at be for some real justice. This is the email explanation that I received:

Greetings from Target.com.


Due to an unexpected error, the following item(s) you have ordered
were incorrectly priced at the time of your order.
Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat - Granite
We're sorry, but we are unable to offer this item for the incorrect
price. The correct price is $279.99. We have canceled your order for
this item. If you would like to order this item at the correct price,
please visit Target.com to check for availability.

Despite our best efforts, a small number of items on our site are
occasionally mis-priced. We do, however, verify prices as part of our
shipping procedures. If we discover that an item's correct price is
higher than our stated price, we will either contact you for
instructions before shipping or cancel your order and notify you of
the cancellation. This pricing policy is posted in the Help section
on Target.com.

Again, we're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused
you. Thank you for being our valued guest.

Sincerely,

Guest Service Department
Target.com
http://www.target.com


I called and filed a formal complaint with the Target Guest Relations Department, and I asked for a quote for the "story" I am writing. WHOA....All of a sudden I was no longer just an irritated customer, I was potentially going to write about this- ahhh, I was transferred to a senior specialist who then transferred me to media relations, where my call was placed on hold then disconnected. I pressed on for this and two for that before I was told that Guest Relations does not have the authority to transfer calls to the media department. The experience was going from bad to worse. I just wanted a formal statement from Target about how this happened, how it was handled- or not handled correctly, how they will make it right with their customers, and how this situation can be turned into a positive. I am still waiting for the answers from them, and after thinking it through they need to do damage control NOW to avoid the shopping Target boycott by angry patrons.

This kind of customer service for VALUED GUESTS is flat out unacceptable, especially in such a fragile retail environment. Can you believe that just weeks before the biggest retail shopping season, in a recession, Target wants to piss off the very individuals that buy gifts and toys? C'mon, what is wrong with them?

While this pricing mistake is bound to happen ocassionally I find this particular situation hard to believe since the item was listed at $42.99 for 3 days before the error was supposedly "discovered." So, how did this customer service issue get resolved? Quite simply it DID NOT GET RESOLVED AT ALL. Instead of offering a good will coupon for a future car seat purchase, or a discount on the Britax Marathons, or even a small gift card to use on an instore purchase, Target is just pretending the transaction did not happen at all. No accountability, No sense of a Make Good or genuine concern that they disappointed their loyal shoppers. From a business standpoint Target has a lot to learn!

I have decided to post all the details about the issue and let the readers decide. I documented the entire Target experience and I know this is a public relations nightmare for them, but in all fairness, when you shit on your customers what do you expect? I am now outing myself as a DE-VALUED TARGET GUEST, or DE-VALUED FORMER TARGET GUEST!

If you ordered one of these amazing and bogus deals from Target please leave a comment here and voice your disgust. I know that my measily little blog is more of a personal vent but I plan to seek some kind of tangible apology for my readers and myself. Target has messed with the wrong Valued Guest!

Real Reptiles Rock!

The Reptile Man visited the triplets' classroom last week. My fearless boys could not wait to participate and volunteer to help with the, as CJ says, "libe" animals. At three years old they LOVE anything to do with science and nature. Real creatures top the charts. Touching and playing with LIBE animals is beyond fantastic. CJ had a total shining moment holding the green tree frog-

he was beaming with pride and excitement. Eli did his duty holding the Snake which was so heavy it required more than just my boys.

Can you tell how much they are digging it at Temple Beth Chanel? How can a former homeschooling toddler mama compete? There is no way. When you see these joyful faces embracing new things, things that this bloggin mama can only write about, you realize you made the right decision to suck it up and send them to preschool. Do you think I would have invited snakes,

turtles and frogs into our living room? UGH that would be, NO! As it is I am trying to find a way to uninvite Speedy Gonzales the pesky little chipmunk that keeps invading our garage. That damn rodent is not a cute reptile, but more about him in a future post. Reptiles Rock even when you add a dose of religion and routine. Thank you Temple Beth Chanel, you and the Reptiles Rock our world.

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