Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Story of Snow

It snowed yesterday.

Nicholas has been waiting impatiently for snow ever since he got new Thomas the Tank Engine Snow Boots. So when he woke up from his nap to find a couple of inches of white nestled in the grass, it wasn't surprising that he asked to go out.

First I ran upstairs and grabbed Nate's snowsuit, Nate's boots, Nick's boots, my boots, and a fleece top for me. I then changed Nick's diaper, which meant sitting on the potty, so I slipped on my fleece and my hat while I waited for him. When he was doneI gave him a clean pull-up and put on his pants, telling myself I'd get Nate bundled up first. Nate was missing a sock. I ran upstairs to get his missing sock. I came back and started changing Nate's diaper, only to find that the other sock had dissapeared. At this point Nick came back into the bathroom and announced that he was pooping, so I dropped everything and sat him back down on the potty, a few seconds too late. I was happy, however, that I had both boys in their matching blue sweatpants, which were easy to put on and take off.

While Nick was on the potty I ran upstairs to get Nathan new socks. When I came back down Nathan was running around the kitchen sans socks and sans diaper. I grabbed him, put on a diaper, which required a knee on his chest he wriggles so much and I am not kidding, put on his socks, his pants, and his snowsuit.

I then turned to Nick, helped him clean up, put him in a fresh diaper, and then realized that I was holding sweatpants sized 12 months, meaning that Nick's 3T sweatpants were on Nathan, and under his snowsuit. I peeled off Nate's snowsuit, pulled off the 3T sweatpants, which were easy to put on and take off, put on the 12 months sweatpants, put the snowsuit back on, and zipped it up, one knee on one wriggling chest.

Nick was crying at this point with frustration because he coudn't put his pants on himself. I guess they are only easy for ME to put on and take off. I helped him put them on. I helped him into his snowpants, figured out how to adjust the straps so they fit, helped him put on his coat, and helped him put on his Thomas the Tank Engine Boots. I then tracked Nathan down in the Living Room, and put his boots on his feet, which is hard because he doesn't understand the concept behind shoes, and refuses to help me out. When I push, he just bends his knee and move his leg, so the foot never quite gets all the way in the boot. At this point, I was sweating profusely in my fleece.

I put Nick's mittens on his hands and his hat on his head. I turned to Nathan and put on his hat. I put on his mittens and noticed that he had removed his boots. I put on his boots. He pulled off his hat. I put the hat in my pocket, pulled on my coat and gloves, and we were off.

All this for ten minutes in the snow. By then Nathan had snow down his boots and was encrusted in a layer of ice an inch thick. My jeans were soaking wet. Nicholas cried because we were going in. Apparently his snowpants work.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Too Much Information About Puck

Yesterday I got off track from my to do list. I blamed it on the fact that I had learned that my Aunt Frances had taken a fall earlier in the week and was in the hospital with a broken rib. She'll be fine, but still, it's not good news.

It was afternoon, and despite the fact that the boys woke up from naps early, I was behind. I put the laundry through the dryer for the second time. I made marshmallow brownies with the boys, and then I realized I should start the pot-roast for dinner. And then I realized that it didn't matter that I had moved it from the freezer to the fridge 48 hours previously, it was still a block of solid ice. But I put it in a pot, anyway. I was cooking away, juggling the boys, the clock ticking and ticking the afternoon away...

One of the items on my to do list was to brush the pets, so I started in on Puck, who is the easiest because he usually just stays there giving you mean looks but not moving... and then I lifted his tail and saw A Massive Tangle Of Bloody Fur. Puck was just sitting there, not meowing or acting like he was in pain, but then I remembered how it took him three tries to get on the counter to his food that morning, and I had chalked it up to his getting fatter - he IS over 17 pounds. But then again... I couldn't tell where the blood was coming from. So I called the vet...

The vet was this great lady who took a look at the mess and said she couldn't tell anything, either. So they had to shave poor Puck's bum to expose these really gross wounds... and for a while we still didn't know what we were looking at, so the vet had to poke around in there and the poor cat was not having a good time... it turned out Puck had an Infected Anal Sac, and I hadn't noticed. And it ruptured. Through his skin. In several places. Leaving gaping bloody wounds. Lovely, huh? AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU'RE READING THIS?

Anyway, the kind vet cleaned it all out and said Puck was behaving like a champ and gave us antibiotics to be administered twice a day, and instructions to bath the area with a warm washcloth twice a day, then we paid our $100 and went home, where Steve had taken over the kids and the roast and m mysterious goopy marshmallow brownies.

My Aunt Frances should be fine, by the way. She might even get to come home today. For those of you that know her and love her and might want to give her a call. And For those of you that know and love Puck, he's fine, too. He's not running around - I put his food on the floor for a while. If the infection isn't cleanred up in a week he'll have to have surgery. But I'm thinking he'll be fine.

Friday, December 29, 2006

No Grinch This Year

I tried to be very reasonable in the number of gifts I got the boys this year. I spoke to Santa about it personally, reminding him that we'd been tripping over toys as it was, and that no matter how many toys they had, they still preferred playing with the salad spinner and the cans from the recycle bin.
But, as you can see from this picture, Santa didn't listen.
He just went a little overboard.
And so did Grammy.
And so did Gramma and Grampa.
Seriously, when we were kids, we each got every other person a gift. With five kids and two parents, that's at least 49 gifts. And if you start thinking about the friends of the family and the gifts from Santa... well, what you get is chaos.
I miss that chaos.
But there was chaos here, too. If for no other reason that Nick and Nate are the only grandchildren, and the only nephews. They get spoiled. It can't be helped.
But I want to thank every one for the wonderful gifts for the boys (and me and Steve) because they really ARE wonderful. I get excited mysefl about new things we can do with new toys.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here's What Happened

Blogger has been bugging me to "upgrade" my blog for some time now. I have been rsisting because I wasn't sure what the upgrade meant, and there is a part of me that resists change at all costs. even if it's supposed to make things easier and better, because there is always a short time span before you learn the new ropes, when the old familiar ways seems much more logical, and I simply didn't have time to learn new things or wade around looking for the new way to publish a photos, a post, or whatever.

And then yesterday I just did it. I went ahead and now I officially have upgraded my blogs. And guess what? I have absolutely no idea how or why this is different and better, other than the fact that my blog shut down "for a few moments " which turned out to be almost 24 hours.

Anyway, tomorrow I will download new photos and talk about what to do when a cold lingers for more than a couple of months, without drinking anything that tastes like dirt or grass juice, thanks, Winston.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chapter 27, Where Life Catches Up

No real post today. I have a hacking cough. I had to get Nick off to school, and for the first ime he resisted going. (he was fine once he got there.) My house is cluttered with large toys, like tents and tunnels and ride-around-toys. It is also cluttered with smaller toys, like blocks and hand held games that occasionally beep for no reason and teeny tiny people. Every available surface is cluttered with chocolate or knick knacks or gift cards or holiday cards. We have no food and we have no clean clothes. If only we could eat dirty laundry, we could live for weeks.
Despite all this, I have just gotten off the treadmill. Which is sheer stupidity, as my chest is now positively tingly, and now I have to add "Take A Shower" to my to do list. Not that I wouldn't have, eventually. I shower almost every day. Really.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

There's Got to Be a Morning After....

All good things come to an end... at least a sort of an end. We survivied yesterday, Nathan's first Christmas, and the first one where Nicholas had any sort of idea what was going on. If I felt up to it, I would post some of the pictures I took yesterday, but I am too lazy at the moment to download the 900 picutres I have on my camera, so you get this close up of Nick, and a list of some of these new items that made it into our home.

PLEASE NOTE - this is not a list of ALL the items we have received. Just a few of my favorites.

- a football (am AMERICAN football, one of those oblong, pointy ended things, for those of you who might be thinking of what we would call a soccer ball)
- two new computer games
- another version of CLUE
- another Thomas toy
- a ride-around car that the boys started fighting over TWO SECONDS after discovering it.
- a ride around tiger airplane with sounds and lights that the boys began fighting over TWO SECONDS after openeing it, leaving the poor car in the dust.
- some tiny Bob-the-builder trucks (With Magnetic Rubble!)
- The Wheel of Responsibility! (Have Fun! Stay Un-Divorced!)
- A book called "Daddy Needs A Drink!"
- A book called "Two if by Sea" by Anne-E Wood! HOW COOL IS THAT?
- a bag full of plastic food, half of which Nathan has already destroyed by chewing through it, despite the fact that IT IS PLASTIC!
- Some really neat, heavy boxed carved out of something like stone or something heavy, made in Thailand, or Laos.
- A bottle of whiskey with snakes in it.
- Candy Land, which I right away decided was a bad idea because if Nick can't deal with Nathan sitting in the toy car while Nick opens Candy Land, he probably won't like it when I accidentally pull the card that brings me within one turn o winning while he pulls the card that brings him back to the start. Plus, he might try to eat the cards.

All in all, we had a really wonderful Holiday. I missed my family, but the time we had hear was enough to let me know I made the right choice in staying here and having a family Christmas for my kids. And maybe tomorrow I will have a few pictures for you all!

Next thing is New Years... and then... Nate's First Birthday. This year went by in a blur.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas (eve), when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings weren't hung yet because of the dread
Nate would yank the heavy anchors onto his head.

The boys were all nestled all snug in their beds
with pillows and blankets piled over their heads.

The lights were all off, no computer did beep
At 4am we were having a long winter's sleep.

When down from the kitchen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

I flipped over the blankets and downstairs in a flash
to find out what it was that made such a crash!

Groped for the light switch just so I could see
'cause in the dark objects were hidden to me

When what to my sleep blurry eyes did appear
But my cat, and the trash he knocked over - Oh, dear!

I scooped up what I could and straightened the can.
Back to bed and to sleep right away, was the plan!

But a tiny cry started, so lively and quick!
And I knew in a moment that it wasn't Nick.

"Oh, Nathan!" I cried "please go back to sleep!"
But by then his crying was more than I peep.

I hurried and rocked him back into a slumber,
wondering how long we'd go through this number.

And that's when I heard it, yes, I heard THE NOISE
That yodeling, yodeling, yodeling noise.

The one the cat makes just before he throws up.
As soon as I heard it I wrinkled my nose up.

"This can NOT be happening!" I said to myself.
As I put baby in crib and the bottle on shelf.

I crept back in bed, determined to ignore it
But then what did I hear - Uh, I abhore it!

A little voice cried "Mommy, Mommy, Oh, Mama!
Please come and help me - I need new Pyjama!"

True to his word, Nick's diaper had leaked
And I knew I was having a not-good sleep week.

I whisked him away and his diaper did change
I didn't ask but I'm sure that he thought it strange

It was 5am and there was still no light
but I knew there would be no more sleep tonight

Nick and I played quietly in the guest bed
balancing pillows on top of our head.

We talked about Christmas until Nate did wake
The I fed the boys breakfast and started to bake.

Because Santa is coming - don't you guys see?
And I hope you are all as excited as me!

When things get nuts, smile! They will turn out all night.
Merry Christmas to All! And Good Night! And Sleep Tight!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I'm Gettin Nuttin for Christmas!

I know most people will not be able to read this, due to non-computer nearness of the holidays. But I intento post every single day... except maybe Christmas.

If you've read this previous post, then you know about the song in the title. But it looks like this year Steve and I are really getting "nuttin!"

That's a blatant untruth. Actually, there are so many wrapped gifts stashed around the house, from me, from Santa, from my parents, Linda, Jamie, many different folks. We're all definitely getting Something!

But last night UPS called and told us they would not be delivering anything else until at least Tuesday because OF OUR DOG! The Guy said he's been by twine, and our dog was out, barking in a menacing way BOTH TIMWS, so now we have to wait. We're grounded.

And I have to laugh. For many reasons.

1 - That very afternoon, Fed-Ex, who is famous for dropping packages off AT THE FOOT OF OUR DRIVEWAY, actually left something at our door for a change.

2 - Gunther was inside ALL DAY yesterday, except maybe for a window of 10 minutes to pee, because he has once again developed a fear of the outdoors, and after his required 30 seconds he simply stands on the porch and barks annoyingly until we let him in so he can squeeze under our bed.

3 - Even at his best, Gunther is a FRAIDY DOG! He barks, barks barks and as soon as you get out of your car, he hides. Unless he knows you, in which case he leaps all over you and tries to nibble your fingers.

For the record, the Fed-Ex package was a gift basket from my brother Winston, a SALMON gift basket. With Salmon in every way shape and form. The brand of Salmon? "SEABEAR" Yes, Seabear. The thing they talked about on SpongeBob Square Pants that Nick has been afraid of and having nightmares about.

But if you sent us something else via UPS and we haven't gotten it yet, we won't get it until the 26th. At least.

It's almost as though the random events of our lifves are meeting together and knotting themseves in a gigantic Christmas bow.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Finish Line

We're getting closer to the finish line, folks! I know things get busier and busier as the 25th approaches, and many people that view this blog regularly don't bother to check it over the weekend. (They are at home and away from their desks, etc.)

So for all of you that won't be checking in for awhile - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So Much To Do, So Little Time

Actually, I think I've just about finished my STUFF. I need to make a pie - my crimson pie, and this time I will put it in the oven, not on the floor. There's one remaining gift I need to slap a ribbon on. And other than helping Santa put the gifts under the tree Christmas eve, and attending the family function that night, we're done.

That means gifts purchased, wrapped, sent. Nick's teachers, the mail guy, the trash guys, all taken car of. Cards written and in the mail. Decorations up (and down and up and down and up.) I am now at the point where I can finally ENJOY the season. I am reading holiday books to the boys, telling them about Santa and, yes, even Baby Jesus being born in a manger, pointing the the toy barn as I did, explaining that there were animals there, and Nate was pressing the buttons, making the horse neighing sound over and over, and Nicholas was looking at me with his perfected deadpan expression, even when I started to sing "Away In A Manger" to drive the story home. Then he started talking about building a tent.

Anyway, my POINT is, I'm feeling good. I'm in a good place. And I'm sharing all the food and TV shows and movies and music and ribbons and bright colored lights with my boys. And there is just so MUCH of it.

So today's Christmas Song is The First Time The Christmas Story Was Told. Because it's true. Like the Grinch pointed out, it comes without packages, paper or strings. It comes withouth... I don't know what he said, really, but Christmas comes without it. The first Christmas didn't have any of that.

And now, from the pagen side of my heart, Happy Solstice, everyone! From now on, the world will be a brighter place... at least until June.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Things Every Day

Mister Clean Magic Eraser even removes black Sharpie marker from computer keyboards.

It doesn't matter how you try to balance out your Christmas Tree if your almost-one-year-old insists on removing everysingle one of them and tasting them.

If you decide to put the little wooden snowmen your mother-in-law gave you "because they won't break easily" on the bottom of the tree to be safe for your kids, the ornaments will turn out to simply be inexpensive, not unbreakable. In fact, they will turn out to be VERY breakable indeed, and little snowman arms and legs will seem to leap into your children's mouths.

No matter how you try to limit the number of gifts for the kids, they will end up with more than you wanted.

If you tell Nicholas what you got someone for Christmas, he will tell that person what they are getting for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Grown Up Christmas List

I've become a lot more focused on gift giving lately rather than gift receiving. When someone asks me what I would like for Christmas I usually freeze and stammer with a bunch of "um um I dunno's" And not only is that not helpful, but it's not TRUE! There is a TON of stuff I would like. The catch is, very few things can be picked up at your local mall. To give you some idea, here's a short sample list.

1 - I would like to be able to sneeze and / or laugh real hard without peeing in my pants. I have had a lingering cold for the past few weeks. Every time I sneeze I remember than I birthed two children. Bladder control - appreciate it.

2 - I would like to get nine straight hours of sleep. I did have that one night off for Steve's Holiday Party. I still didn't get 8 hours because of the fact that we had to stay up late shmoozing.

3 - I would like Nick to be potty trained. Already.

4 - I would like the boys to leave the books on the bookshelves. And while I'm at it, I would like them to become less facinated with pulling my bookmark out from between the pages and then presenting it to me with a look that says "Hey, Mom! You left this strip of paper between the pages of your book! But I got it for you! Be proud of me!"

5 - World Peace

The truth is, I am lucky enough to have just about everything I need and even want. I wish the same were true of everyone else.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Silent Night, Holy Moly!

I've thought about posting about this topic before, but I can't remember actually doing it. So please forgive if this is a repeat. And if you have any information or comments, please let me know. ADVICE NEEDED.

Nathan usually wakes up a few times during the night and cries. His cry is a kind of half-hearted "heh-heh-heh-heh" kind of thing, and these days he's been throwing in a lot of "D's" as in "duh-duh-da-da-da-da-Duh-heh-heh." There are pauses as he listens to se if I'm coming, and usually when he sees me he starts jumping up and down.

But every few weeks he does something else. I hear him crying, but instead of the babbling, sleepy cry, it's a full out wail. It sounds like he is in pain, or really scared. He only pauses to take another deep breath and scream again. When I go in, he doesn't stand up or hold out his arms, because he's actually STILL ASLEEP. He doesn't react to my picking him up at all. He keeps crying. His body is limp. He doesn't even hold his head up so it lolls around as though he were a newborn. All this while he keeps screaming. I can rock him, hold him, kiss him, he still just screams. Tears roll down his face, but he just screams. Usually at this point I need to take him to a different room because I don't want Nick to wake up.

The thing is, Nathan is still asleep. He's screaming in his sleep. And it's really hard to wake him up. I shake him - NOT A LOT! Just a little "hey! Wake Up!" and nothing. I shine lights in his face. I call his name. I usually get Steve to help me because, first off, it's really kind of scary, and besides that, he has a louder voice and the kids usually wake RIGHT up when they hear his voice. But last night even Steve resorted to poking him and scratching the soles of Nate's feet.

Once Nate finally wakes up, after what seems like hours but is probably only five to ten minutes, he looks around, slightly confused. It's really obvious that he has just woken up and has no idea why he's in the basement, or out of bed, or why we're both looking at him that way. He falls right back asleep.

I don't really know what this is. I hesitate to name it. I don't know if it's just one of those things, or if it's indicative of something else (Is he stressed? Will he sleepwalk? Do this until he's 80?). Nicholas never did anything even remotely like this. I was planning on talking to Nate's doctor about it next visit, mid January. Has anyone heard of anything like this? Maybe it's normal and I'm just doing one of my overeacting acts? Or do you think it's something we should see the doctor for RIGHT AWAY?

On the bright side, other than Nate's 9:30 pm cry-fest, both boys slept right through the night... until 5:30, but whatever. I didn't get up to feed or rock Nate ONCE! SO today's Christmas Song is Silent NIght. How appropriate. Not to mention beautiful, classic, and "The Best Christmas Song Ever" according to... well, me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pleeeeeze, Santa?

Yesterday we got a tree.

When I was a kid, our Christmas decorations were always really nice. We had the tree, some garland on the bannister and the fireplace, a wreath on the door, and then later a tree on the balcony. Our neighbors actually asked us to stop putting the tree on our balcony at one point, as they were Jewish. I don't really remember, but I don't think my parents complied with this request, telling the complaintants that they could put something on their own lawn if they wished.

I have to laugh about that now, because people in New England really do the holidays UP! Across the street from us is a house with an inflatable snowman 8 feet tall, an inflatable snowglobe with snowmen inside it, and at least two light-up reindeer. Every house has lights on the trees outside, or candles in the window, some have wreaths on every window (that's around 12 wreaths!) and more than a few have inflatable figures. One house not too far from us has more than a hundred light-up figures on the lawn, including three nativity scenes, and there is a sign telling people they can wander around and look at their own risk. The taste in decorations range from classic to cute to outrageously gaudy. But the point is, it's festive, and it's fun. If I can get around to taking a picture, I will post it for all to see.

I have done a lot of decorating over the past 2 days, and our house is now ready for the season. I even took out the snowman that sings and dances to the "Peppermint Twist" which is enough to drive me nuts, but Nate really seems to like it.

I am almost ready. Almost. Almost. Almost.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Christmas Book

I took the boys to the Bookstore. Jamie came with me, so I had someone to watch then play with the toy train they keep while I shopped for what I was shopping for. That just happened to include a couple of small Holiday Books for the boys to have right away. One of them was Merry Christmas Maisy!, which is a lift-the-flap book featuring Maisy. (I looked it up after the Thomas the TANK Engine faux-pas yesterday. Sheesh! What a mistake!)

Anyway, I did give Jamie a turn to browse as I attempted to fuel some appreciation for books and the wonders they hold. I did that by pointing out books I thought Nicholas might find interesting. THIS is where alarm bells should be sounding. It's one thing to point oout all the wonderful books at a Library where you can then take them home, and quite another in a Book Store where each book is fabulously overpriced. Especially when the pointee is 2 years old, and already overstimulated.

What happened was, I pointed out a Wiggles Book. "Oh, Look! A Wiggles book!" and NIck reached out and touched the Wiggles book. The he looked next to it and found a Sesame Street Book. And he picked it up. And then Jamie came back and I said "Time to go. Put the book back and let's check out." And then tiny explosions took place inside Nick's skull, cdausing him to scream as though his brain were going to shoot out his eye sockets. His face turned bright red and he started screaming.

"Nick!" I said. "Look, we don't need that book. I have this Maisy book for you!" And Nick loooked at the Maisy book and shouted "PUT IT BACK!!!!!!" And I stood there like the dumb adult I am and said "Don't you WANT the Maisy Book?" and Nick yelled "PUT IT BACK!" ANd I realize that at this point I should have just put all his books back and walked out of the store, but I was afraid he was going to throw up, which he's been doing more and more during fits lately, and the bookstore is not a good place for that, so I was only thinking about getting him to stop crying to avoid puke situation A. "OK!" I said. "We can take the Sesame Street book, but we'll take the Maisy Book, too!" "NOOOOOOOOO!" he screamed! He just didn't want that Maisy book anywhere NEAR us.

I managed to calm him down, and he sat in the stroller as we checked out. Jamie did most of it. And we got into the car... and I'll just have you know that We've read that Maisy book at least twice a day ever since. I have trouble getting through it because Nick loves it so much, and on page 2 she goes to the store and her tiny wallet is a tiny flap, and you open it and there are tiny coins, and much of the time, once we get to that page, Nick insists on holding the book and openeing and closing the wallet and won't let me turn the page...

So there you go.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let it snow!

It's really hard to take a portrait picture of an active child. Here are some failed attempts of Nathan's Holiday Photograph. As soon as I press the button Nate moves, turns, or crumples his face up.

I feel a bit like a Scrooge when I complain about snow, especially so early into the winter, when there is no snow on the ground. When I was a kid I loved snow. I loved to play in it, to walk in it... I just loved it. Snow was so great. And many people think so. Many, many Holiday Carols, many that I've mentioned, mention snow. White Christmas. Winter Wonderland. Let it SNOW! Even Marshmallow World, which is just wrong. (Mashed potat0 world, Jamie?)
Anyway, somehow, growing up, snow has turned filthy. Maybe I've been living with it too long. I've had to drive in it too much. I've had it block me in my driveway too much, felt it sneak into my shoes, I don't know. Whatever it is, my honeymoon with snow is over.

Earlier this week I had to buy Nicholas new boots. I agonized over which boots to buy him before settling on T homas the Train Engine boots, even though they were a bit more expensive. And he loves them. In fact, he has already worn them a fair bit, especially considering that fact that it hasn't snowed and they haven't left the house. He wears them to breakfast, or to play in.

A couple of days ago he was wearing than as I was getting dressed. I turned around and saw him sitting on my nightstand, boots dangling. "Mommy?" he asked. "Is it snowing yet?"

And just for a moment%2

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Me I want a Hula Hoop

Nathan is still sick. Last night I was awake at 11pm, midnight, 1 am, 2 am, 3 am, 4 am... you get the picture. I didn't get a full hour's sleep. Kind of like having a newborn. Only Nathan was easier than this as a newborn. Slightly. I think.

When both boys woke up at 5:45 I gave up and let them both out of bed. I then crawled into Nick's bed. The thing is, though, that as soon asi the boys saw me in the bed, they both wanted back in. No to sleep, apparently, but to crawl all over me and poke me in the eyes. Honestly, as I ws lying there, eyes closed, desperately trying to grab a couple of seconds of unconciousness before being forced to make breakfast, I had the distinct impression that I didn't just have two children, but seven, and that all seven were stepping on me.

I made coffee, but forgot to put the actual coffee in, so instead I just made hot coffe flavored water. I went to feed the cats to find that they had knocked over the bin of cat food during the night. Instead of feeding them I just walked away. Steve had to run to work but was late because he had to wait for ice on his windshield to melt. Then he had to come back to get his computer. We're all just bumbling and bumping about.

So today's Holiday Song is whatever that Christmas SOng is by the CHipmunks. The one where they get Dave big, big box so he can fill it up with toys and presents for THEM! The one with "Me, I want a Hula Hoop!" I like that song. I know some people find it irritating, and it drives them crazy. But I like it. Maybe it's because I already AM crazy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2 boys not sleeping

Last night Nathan had a fever of 102.5 and was so congested that he would wake up every time he remotely approached a horizontal position. Despite the medicine I gave both boys, they both woke several times. Nicholas, however, was never really feverish and just has a cold, so I sent him on to school. Nathan is pretending to be fine, but I know he's not because his nose is pretending to be a faucet and he will not nap. This makes our day really confusing because I don't know if I should wait for him to nap, or go ahead and get groceries NOW.

On top of that I need to wrap gifts before my brother Jamie leaves - that means today. This sounds like it will take only a few moments, but if you've ever approached a huge gift wrapping project you know it can take HOURS, especially if you have been stashing gifts in strange places and need to locate them first.

The floor is ALMOST done, but not quite. I still have to write Christmas Cards. I would like to take a nap. I would like to write some stuff, print some stuff, and yes, even buy some stuff online. I have no time to be writing ANYTHING on this blog.

And you probably have no time to be reading whatever I'm writing, because it IS the Holiday Season, after all, and we must all run around like headless chickens and pretend that everything is SO GREAT AND WONDERFUL! MERRY MERRY! When really we're just driving ourselves crazy.

Today's Song Of The Day is: The Twelve Days Of Chrsitmas. I have no idea what the twelve days ARE, actually. But I like the idea. I also like the song because it's crazy with all the geese and dancers and milk maids and stuff. Plus, the FIVE GOLD RINGS part is heartfelt. But I don't generally like spoofs of it. There;s the Twelve Pains OF Chrsitmas, the Twelve Gifts of Christmas, the Drunk LAdy singing it, all sorts of stuff. And as funny as these things are, the song is long. And repeats a lot. In short (too late) fun to sing, but not fun to hear.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow

When I lived with Betsy way, way, way back when, we rented the bottom apartment in a two family house. The landlords lived upstairs, a married couple with a baby. They also had two cats. The cats lived in the basement. They had been banished, living in the dark with no company, after one of them peed in the baby's crib.

At the time Betsy and I were both horrified! How could they do that to their cute little kitties?

Now, of course, Betsy and I are both mothers, and a cat that pees outside the litter box for any reason would consider it lucky to have a warm dark basement to curl up in.

Not to mention that, for the past few days, I have banished my own cats to our basement. Not because they are naughty or peeing in inappropriate places. No. Because we are having the floors done, and they refuse to see the baby gates as any sort of barrier. They would walk on the new tiles before the tiles were set, messing up the grouting. That, and they are both rather large, heavy cats. More often than not, when leaping over a gate, Puck will bring the gate down with him. The last thing I need are objects falling on the not-yet-set tiles, or other items being knocked over.

So my cats are banished. I have joined the ranks of the previously scorned.

Today's Holiday Song is the one that goes "SIMply HAving a WONDerful Christmas time!" because it has the part where all the kids go "Ding Dong Ding Dong Ding Dong!" And also because Jamie told me he didn't like it. A lot. I have no strong feelings about this one either way, myself.

Monday, December 11, 2006

So many posts, too little time

What to post about today? So many choices! I could do a kitchen floor update, or talk about Christmas Unpreparedness. I could post about the desperation my shopping has reached. Or I could do a Nick post, a kid-puke post, a TV post. There are so many things to post about. The trouble is, whatever I don't post about today may be obsolete by tomorrow, and then I will have NOTHING! Most of my topics are non-events, anyway. And I'm running out of time. So this is the post you're going to get. A non-post post.

Also, today's Holiday Song is Let It Snow! Obviously whoever wrote this song was living in California, much like the WHite Christmas guy. Because if you live in New England, or I imagine many other places in the US, snow is pretty for about 10 minutes. Then you get claustrophobic and cold, and you need to dig your car out, and the air pollutants tinge the snow gray and brown, and it's gross and you wish it would be April already spo you could get on to the muddy season. Let it Snow? NO!!! Stop the snow! Let's all move to LA. Emily - roll out the sleeping bag, I'm coming over.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Good Night's Sleep and ITunes Lets Me Down

I was looking forward to Steve's Office Holiday Party. Actually, I wasn't very excited about the party itself. I had never met any of his co-workers, and Office Parties mean a lot of conversation will be about work. As Steve works with computers and I know next to nothing about computers, this means a lot of the conversations go over my head.

But I was looking forward to spending time away from home. Last night, after the party, Steve and I stayed at a Hotel near his office. Lillian stayed with the kids. It was my first night off EVER, unless you count the time I was in labor at the hospital, and I have to be honest with you, I don't count that. It was the first night in years that I wasn't going to have to listen for midnight cries. No middle of the night feedings, nightmares, nothing would wake me up but me. And then I could sleep in.

Needless to say, I woke up a few times and looked at the clock, and then woke up for good at 6:30, rested and happy that I could actually lounge in bed. It was amazing.

And now, returning to the Christmas Song Review... There's this song called "somebody Snitched" although I think a lot of people call it "I'm gettin Nuttin for Christmas." I love this song. In case you haven't heard it, it's sung by a naughty little boy, and it goes like this:

I'm gettin Nuttin for Christmas!
Mommy and Daddy are Maaaad.
I'm gettin nuttin for Christmas,
'Cause I ain't been Nuttin, but Baaaad!

I hit my brother on the head,
Somebody snitched on me!
I put some frongs in Sister's bed,
Somebody snitched on me!


I can't find this song anywhere. If you go to ITunes you will find 117 different versions of Winter Wonderland, but not one version of this classic. Stupid ITunes.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Just My Size

Every few months I go through the chest of drawers I keep the boys' clothing in and weed out outfits that no longer fit. I'm always caught by surprise because, when you think about it, babies go out of one size and into others so quickly. Baby clothes are sized in Months. Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. The 18 months, and 24 months, which is also 2T. Or maybe it's T2. Whatever. And I don't know what other people's kids are like, but mine always seem to be ahead. They are too long for onsie PJ's to fit unless it's the step ahead - so at 3 months they are comfortable in 6 months, etc.
And then baby clothes get strange. Think of a 6 month baby, and then picture a year old baby. Different, right? Yet I have a bunch of cothing sized "6 to 12 months."

Babies grow a lot at first, and then they usually even out. Nicholas was able to wear some clothing this fall that he wore last winter. It was 18 months, but he could kind of fit into it, and pants-wise he was tripping over the 24 months stuff. (They must make baby clothes like women clothes - for long legged, thin babies with small waists.)

A few days ago I changed out Nathan's clothing, packing away everything that said "9 months" and bringing out the size 18 month shirts and PJ's, since the 12 month PJs were getting tight. I got a little nostalgic, as I always do, thinking about when Nick used to wear all of that stuff... and then I paused.

Wait, I thought. These dinosaur pyjamas - aren't then still IN Nick's drawer? And this shirt? And what about this fleece?

Then I realized that the reason I thought it was all still in NIck's drawer is because I JUST PUT THEM AWAY. One month I'm storing things Nick has grown out of, the next I'm dragging it back out for Nathan.

And I'm encouraged, because eventually perhaps they can share a wardrobe and I won't have to do this clothing swap thing anymore.

This is a picture of our new front hall. What do you think?

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Year of Meaningless Babble Come and Gone

I wasn't going to post this morning, since yesterday's post went up so late. But then I realized that today is My Blog's First Year Anniversary. A whole year of pictures of my kids, stories of my kids, Travel nightmares with my kids, Cooking mishaps with my kids, My kids' doctor's visits, playdates, baths, haircuts, first steps, first words, and the occasional rant from me about TV, Movies, Music, and anything else that happens to float to the top of my mind so that I can skim it off for you. I am amazed that I've kept at it so far, to tell you the truth, but happy that there are folks out there that check in.

Secretly, this isn't my first blog attempt. I tried one once before, posting whatever I felt like, but I stopped. This blog was much more succesful, mostly due to the fact that people were awaiting the birth of my second child, and also because I am bad at sharing pictures and this Blog makes it easy for my family to find out what we all look like. Also, I have become comfortable neglecting my children as they play with knives and plastic bags so that I can take the time I need to craft my words to Y'all.

Secretly, I also have another blog on blogger, where I sometimes post fiction. The link is on this site. I hesitate to mention it because I'm posting an average of once every three months. I'm also not very good, but since I can't seem to stop writing fiction, even when I try, I figured I may as well put it out there. Everyone else is. So it's there in case anyone is interested. But I won't blame you if you're not. Besides, my sister is the writer of the family. In MY generation, anyway.

And that's it for today, kids! I guess I'll see you all tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Let it Begin With Me

I'm late posting today. Sorry. But the only access to this room is through the kitchen, and although I can easily step sideways from the hall into the living room, and skip the wet tile in the kitchen, I can't do it with the boys in my arms. So I can only use the computer after they are asleep.

My house is a mess. With the kitchen empty and the resto of the downstairs crowded with the junk we own, I am now unable to keep anything else organized. The boys' room is impossibly littered with toys. Even our bedroom is cluttered with laundry and toys and objects I never usually leave behind. I know we still have a week before this is scheduled to be done, and we still don't know if THAT will happen. But I'm already ready for this to be over. I'm tired to cooking things in the toaster oven and trying to find veggies the boys can eat without cooking - or heating. But the floor looks great so far, so I'm just going to look forward to THE END.

Today's song is "Let There Be Peace On Earth (and let it begin with me.) I forgot about this song. It's really cheesy and sappy and all that. And I love it. I love it with the same guilty pleasure I get from reading my Vampire Romance novels and from Watching ER. I can't explain WHY, I just DO. So you'll have to trust me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

High Five!

Do you remember this one? You say "Gimme Five!" and the other person slaps your hand. Then you say "Up High!" and hold your hand up higher and the other person slaps your hand. Then you say "Down Low!" and hold your hand down by your waits and the other person goes to slap it and you PULL IT AWAY AT THE LAST SECOND and say "Too Slow!"

Steve has been doing that to Nicholas for over a year. And every single time Nicholas dissolves in a fit of giggles, as though it is the height of humor.

Yesterday, Nicholas came over to me. "Gimme FIve, Mama!" he said, holding out his hand. " I slapped his open palm. The he held his hand a good inch lower. "Down here, Mama!" I no sooner twitched my hand that he stepped away from me, throwing both arms into the air "Da daaaaa!" he shouted, laughing his head off.

It kind of reminded me of the time we played "Make Me Laugh" at home, and Winston got us all to laugh a bit by doing a George Jefferson bit and jumping on the bed, and then Jamie, who has been the last to laugh because he was only 2 and had never SEEN the Jeffersons, got to go, and he just started jumping on the bed and it was the FUNNIEST THING WE'D EVER SEEN. So we all laughed and lost, and Jamie won, but mostly because he was so cute.

Today's "ICKY CAROL OF THE DAY" is a song that, I think, is called the Christmas Shoes. It's kind of new, relatively. I think. The story is about this boy, who wants to buy shoes for his mother because she is dying, and it's Christmas Eve, and the family has no money, and it's really sad and you remember all the important things in life. Which is great. I HATE THIS SONG! I mean, it starts out all sappy, with the guy singing in that whispery white-noise kind of way, and it has the chorus of children singing, all pure and sugary and the REAL reason I hate this song is because, even though I know it's a sappy song, and I know what's coming, and I hate it, by the fourth measure I am always SOBBING MY EYES OUT. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard the song all the way through to the end, because I end up changing the station or turning the radio off. I can't bake cookies while I'm sobbing my eyes out. I have no time for crazy emotion. I shall sob over something real, like how I have nothing to wear to Steve's Christmas party, and how I am too disorganized to put up Christmas decorations like the other people on my street.
Besides, if you want the real story, just read The Little Match Girl. Just thinking of that story brings tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Like a Light Bulb!

This April, Nicholas will be doing our taxes. Here he is getting ready.

Yesterday it did not snow for real. The drifty flake thing stopped after ten minutes and the sky became a clear blue. The floor guys put these big hard sheets of something down over half the area, prepping for the actual tile. Just to give people who haven't see my kitchen an idea of what they're doing... our kitchen is 700 sqare feet. That's bigger than a lot of apartments, and nearly as big as some houses. So it's actually a lot of space, not just "a kitchen." Which is why it's going to take so much time.

Today's Sng Of The Day (Isn't this exciting for you all? Don't you all just thrill with anticipation, wondering which song I'm going to choose next? Yeah - sorry about this, but I felt I had to do it.) Today's song is RUDOLPH, The Red Nosed Reindeer. I like Rudolph, as a little deer with light bulb nose. The song itself... well, it's cute. It's great for kids. It teaches a lesson, and it's happy and jolly, and it has those wonderful parts you can yell stuff int (like Monopoly!) But I am allergic to this song.

You know what it is? It was that year we all had to sing it, and we were recording it, and we'd get it perfectly, because how can you mess up Rudolph, until the very end. Some people would sing HIIIIS -TOOOO -RYYYYYYYY, and some people would sing HIS TO RYYYYYYYY, and some people just HISTORY! And we would talk and bicker about how it should end, HIS (two three four) TO (wo three four) RYYY (two three four) or maybe just HIS (two) TO (four) RY ( two three four) , and then sing the whole thing over, and someone would mess it up and do something else, and we'd have to sing it AGAIN, and after you sing any song over fifteen times in a row you start not to like it anymore.

After this I can honestly say that I feel for Greg Page, the Yellow Wiggle, who is retiring with health issues. Because even though he has probably made a mint and is very sucessful, beyond what anyone with an early childhood education degree would rightfully dream of, he HAS had to sing each of those songs about a gazillion times. And yes, he did write them, but still, if they get on parents' nerves after being played 5 times, singing them a gazillion times must really have taken a toll on his mental health. Even though what I read said it was his heart keeping him from dancing and such. Whatever. I'm glad Nick is two and has no idea, because the love he feels for the Wiggles reminds me of the crazy screaming girls who would cry watching the Beatles (Here's something interesting - there was a FIFTH WIGGLE! Just like the fifth Beatle. Go figure. I think it was the Green Wiggle.) My POINT is, I just don't want Nick to feel the pain of his first band break-up so soon. Especially when we're having him do our taxes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Holly and The Ivy

I am already tired of living live in my dining room. So are the kids. So is the dog, and so are the cats. This morning Steve said the baby gates made him feel as though he were living in East Germany. The kicker is, the floor guys haven't even gotten here yet.

Today I just want to say that I can never hear the Holly and the Ivy enough. They never play that song. But I think it is sweet. My vote is for them to play it more.

And one final thing - it's snowing. Not heavily, but the small flake, drifting in the wind kind of snow. However, the sky is a solid while mass of cloud, and I think it might keep coming. The Irony? We've lost our access to the garage with the kitchen floor thing, so now we must park outside. THE SNOW COULDN'T WAIT FOR TWO MORE WEEKS! COME ON!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Feed the World

OK... so our house is upside down. Everything is shoved into our dining room. Our fridge, our trash compactor, our washer and dryer... I drew the line at the toilet. I had Steve put that in the front hall, next to the stairs, as I simply can't stand the thought of having a toilet in the same place we're storing our food.

The maze of baby gates is impossible to navigate. I just tripped over one of them with Nate in my arms. It seems you just can't turn around without bumping into one of the darn things. The only people that don't seem to have too much of a problem and Nick and Nate, who manage to scale them, move them, or knock them over without too much difficulty. I have thought of taking them down, but we somehow need to cut off access to the kitchen, not just to the kids, but to Gunther The Dog Then I need to cut off access to the stairs, for Nate the Mountain Climber. And then the living room cannot be accessed except by kitchen, but refuse to give up 1 - the TV I know how to use and 2 - this computer I am using not to mention 3 - the piano and half the kids toys. So we will go over when the floor guys are looking the other way, and I will keep them in with babygate #3.

As of now, we have no way to cook food. Not even a microwave. Just a toaster oven. We have no way to wash clothing, except by hand. To wash dishes (sip cups, bottles, etc.) I need to bring them to the upstairs bathroom, where I have stashed the ktichen sponges and dishwashing liquid. I shall be purchasing paper plates. Lots and lots of paper plates.

I have no idea what I am going to feed my family for the next 2 weeks. Take out. Pizza. Sandwiches. Which brings me to the Holiday Song of the Day... FEED THE WORLD. Or Let Them KNow It's Christmastime.

Do you know this song? You do if you went to my high school, because it was the "cool" carol we sang each year. Originally it was recorded by a bunch of famous people whose names I can't think of to help raise money for poor people starving in Africa. And the lyrics talk about... well... poor people starving in Africa. And how there's no snow there. Not only is there no snow, but no rain, or rivers, or apparenlty water of any kind. Please don't get me wrong, I have a lot of sympathy for starving people in third world countries with no means of helping themselves, watching their children waste away. I really, really do. But it doesn't make for a good song. Not really. It's a reminder, but not very jolly.

Besides the fact that, in a deja vu moment after my daeck-the-halls post of yesterday, we sang it every year in chorus. And one year we had this chorus conductor who brought us in A WHOLE MEASURE EARLY. Of course we all knew the song, so we just looked at her until it was time to sing. Except this guy named Sam, who came in when she told us to. So he belted out "FEED THE WORLD!" all by himself, and we all glanced at him and immedialte sang "FEED THE WORLD!" when we were supposed to, in some parody echo, which was actually really funny, unless you were Sam. The chorus conductor was really apologetic, but she was a super flake and not very good, and ended up leaving at the end of the year.

The picture was Christmas last year. I have 3 pictures from Christmas last year, owing to the fact that I was very fat and slow, and not really in the mood to capture any of it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Deck the Halls...

In High School chorus one year we sang a "Holiday Medly" accompanied by the orchestra. One of the songs in the medly was "Deck The Halls." And for some reason, we could never come in right. In retrospect, I completely blame the conductor, who should have come up with some secret signal to help us out. It wasn't just one or two people, it was a hard entrance, the orchestra fumbled the intro, and we were, after all, just high school students.

Needless to say, the day of the Winter Concert, we all stood there in front of everyone, the orchestra played the shaky intro, and then... Silence. For what seemed an eternity, until I realized we were messing up. So I started doing what I knew how to do, which was sing. We had already missed the "Deck" part of the song, so I just started singing "THe Halls With Boughs of Holly." The irony of being the only one doing what I was supposed to do is that I looked like the only one making a mistake. Nevertheless, I kept singing, and I even had a few people singing with me by the time we reached "Fa la la la LA, la LA la LAAAAAA."

I'm sure we could have covered it up, that if the conductor / orchestra director had just kept going we would have found our footing. But unfortunately he stopped, turned to the audience, explained that we sometimes didn't get all the kinks ironed out of our performance in time, and to just let us try it again.

Which was great, except it made me look even stupider. And that's all I can think of when I hear this song, except during the "don we now our gay apparel" I picture a bunch of men cross dressing to look like Barbara and Bette.

Anyway, while our neightbors are Decking their own halls, putting up decorations and lights and blow up lawn decorations and illuminating reindeer, I am busy tearing our house apart, taking everything out of my kitchen and putting things where they won't get broken, or dusty, or in the way, puching our dining room table against the wall, wondering if the washer and dryer will fit in the front hall, and if we could keep a trash bin outside without the dog getting into it... The Floor People come Monday.

This photo, by the way, was taken 2 years ago - it's NIck. I took about 178 photos of Nick in that santa outfit, trying to get one where he was smiling and looking at the camera. All it took was Steve walking in the room (just after photo #177) to get Nick to give us the smile we ended up using. This is NOT THAT picture. This is one of the rejects.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nap of Doom

In most jobs, you have some idea of how you're doing. If you are a teacher, are your students passing their tests? Or are they throwing spitballs at you and smoking in the back row? If you're a waiter, are you getting tips? Or do you always spill the soup of the day into your patrons' laps?

Being a parent is tricky. I honestly have no idea how good of a job I'm doing. And I don't know if there's any way to find out. Is it day to day life that matters? Am I a success as long as there are no battles and everything is kept quiet? Even if it means that I'm constantly feeding my boys M&Ms? Or is it the end product? I mean, I don't need for them to become superstars, don't really WANT either of them to become president, but how do I know that something I said at breakfast won't plant the seed for one of them to become a serial killer, or the next Ron Jeremy? Exactly. I HAVE NO IDEA! And I won't, because something, like killing someone, could happen when they are 40 years old, and they could still blame me, the mother, and I'll only know then, THEN, that I was an awful mother and completely messed up. But the truth is.... You Don't Know. I mean, even if you grow up in the same HOUSE... my mother had five kids. I turned out pretty normal, sure, but that doesn't mean it was a given. I mean, look at my brother JAMIE for crying out loud, is he a slacker, or what? (I'm kidding, because if you know Jamie, you know he's running for "saint of 2006")

Yesterday I found myself on the phone to my brother (Jamie, the slacker-saint) crying at what an awful failure of a parent I am. Seriously, I won't go into too much detail but try picturing a scene from a disaster film, may, say, Day After Tomorrow, when the big wave is coming, and the people are all screaming and scrambling and crying... or the Posiedon Adventure (the original, people, not the stupid remake), when the boat turns UPSDIE DOWN, and things are flying everywhere, and people are screaming and crying and yelling.... OK, you should get the picture. There was a lot of screaming and crying and yelling and object flying around, but also maniacal laughter and demon voices.

This was nap time. It took me TWO AND A HALF HOURS to get the boys down for nap. I, of course, was already having a "Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day" and this made it worse... And I just want to say THANK YOU JAMIE for letting me cry into the phone. Last night I got sleep, even though it meant turning off the TV JUST AS ER WAS STARTING and this morning I feel good, even though Nick threw up again at the breakfast table.

CHISTMAS SONG RANT OF THE DAY: WINTER WONDERLAND. This is a stupid song. OK, maybe not stupid. Maybe it was actually a nice song, at one point. Before every single artist in the world decided to record it because IT ISN'T A CHRISTMAS SONG! It's a WINTER song. It's a SNOW song. So it has become embraced because you don't have to be Christian, you just have to love snow. Guess what - I don't love snow. It's a really IRRITATING song that gets played between every single commercial break. And I hate it. I hate the stupid snowman part.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I am having one of those days. You know the kind. It's the kind where I woke up at 4am because Nathan was having tummy trouble, but really it's because I chose to stay up and watch Medium which means I didn't get to sleep until past 11. Then as soon as I got Nick dressed he threw up all over everything, including the bath mat, and Nate was crying because he was still uncomfortable, and clung to my legs so hard he pulled my pants all the way down while I was still standing there in shock from the throwing up, and wonderng if I should get more coffee.

Ok, so maybe you don't know the kind of day this is. If not consider yourself lucky.

What I would LIKE to talk about today, is music.

A good two weeks before Thanksgiving the oldies radio station I regularly listen to went over to Christmas music. Not the occasional Christmas song. I'm talking about 24/7, 100%, official Holiday Radio Station, nothing but Christmas music. I happen to LIKE Christmas music, but I prefer it sprinkled in among other things, not hailing down on me non stop for two months. Regardless, I feel I have already spent a good deal of time listening to Holiday Music, and other things that pass for Holiday Music. And I have a lot to say about a few musical selections. So from time to time I am going to put a little "music commentary" at the bottom of my daily post, focusing on one particular Christmas song, or maybe just the lyrics. Or maybe the performer. I might love it. I might hate it. But agree or disagree, I invite you all to comment and let me know. Perhaps we can share the world.

Bah Humbug, and I hope you all are having better days than me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Grocery Shopping Made Complicated

I have a couple of issues to address about my grocery store.

As far as Stores go, it's a good one. It's big. It has big aisles. It has a bakery and a deli and a fish market and a butcher shop all right there. And a pharmacy. I know just where everything is, so I can rush up and down each aisle throwing items into my cart like a contestant on some game show. Since Nick has started school, I usually go on one of those days when it will be just me and Nathan, and I don't have to worry about shouts for Cheese samples when we hit the deli counter, or screaming when we pass by the Teddy Grahams, or any of that stuff...

Issue #1 - They have instituted a new "star system." This system is supposed to help consumers, such as myself, select healthier items. Foods with less sugar, less fat, less salt, etc. have more stars. Candy bars have no stars. Neither do oreos. My problem with the star system began when I hit the cereal aisle. Now, I consider myself a mostly healthy person. I KNOW we eat a lot of take-out and pizza when my family comes to vist, but honestly, I usually cook a healthy meal with at least one green vegetable every night. I try to feed my kids fruit and crackers instead of candy and junk. I have avoided cocoa puffs and corn pops and this year I didn't even buy Count Chocula or Boo Berry cereals. I try not to buy cookies or potato chips. I try. I REALLY REALLY TRY!

But once I hit the cereal aisle I realised that I am a FOOLISH, FOOLISH WOMAN! Golden Grahams are not in the least good for you, but I had some idea that they were at least better for you than Cocoa puffs. Why? Because my mother let us eat Golden Grahams when we were kids, and not Cocoa Puffs. NOT ACCORDING TO THE STAR SYSTEM! They both have ZERO STARS! No cereal has three stars, except shredded wheat. Blech. But Frosted mini wheats has two stars, same as cheerios. Then the canned fruit... the only canned fruit that has any stars at all is pineapple. Apparently the fruit cups I have been feeding my children may as well have been... well... chocolate chips. Both have no stars.

I haven't changed my buying habits all that much based on the star system. It's made be buy more pineapple, but over all, I know we're not doing too badly. The flaws can't ALL be in my thinking. I DO think the start system could use some fine tuning.

Issue #2 - The carts at the grocery store... They used to have regular carts, and then facy carts with little ride-in cars for kids to sit in, attached to the front of the cart. It makes the cart impossible to steer, but at least the kids have fun. but now... NOW... we went in and, right next to the super fancy car carts they had... TV CARTS! The baskets are smaller. There is no way to put a little Nate in the front, he has to ride in the car space with Nick. But then, for only a dollar, THEY CAN WATCH THE WIGGLES WHILE I SHOP! Or Bob the Builder. Or Barney, but I swear that I'll never let them ride in the Barney cart.

I hate that they have these carts. They are stupid and not needed. But as soon as Nick saw the cart he started jumping up and down and giving me this look.... and I said no, because we were shopping for Thanksgiving, and where the heck would we put the Turkey? On Nate's lap? "Next time, ok?" And this kid... this two year old kid who cannot remember to use the potty, who cannot remember not to push his brother, who cannot remember how to say "Juice" and "please" in the same breath, a week later, on our way to the grocery store, Nick said "We get the WIGGLES CAR!!!!!!!!"

So I paid a dollar for the Wiggles car.

I felt awful. The store was also full of little 4 and 5 year olds who watched us wistfully as I slowly pushed past them. The mothers were shooting me hate rays with their eyes. "How could you?" they seemed to say. "We parents must stand together against TV carts in supermarkets! Now my kid thinks I'm holding out on her!" And I agreed with them. It was only a dollar, but a dollar each time can add up. Besides, do they really need more TV? No. They do not. The grocery store is one of those places where it's absolutely FINE for kids to zone out, or help select items from the shelf, or whatever. But they don't need TV.

I will say this, though... they were SO GOOD. Even Nate was excited to see the wiggles in the cart. I haven't had such a peaceful time shopping in.... I can't even say when.

But we'll only get it on special occasions.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sleep Does Amazing Things

This Friday Nathan is due for his second flu shot of the season. Babies get flu shots in 2 doses, I guess, because they are so small.

The ironic thing is, both Nick and Nate have been coughing ever since they got their LAST flu shots, sometime in mid-October. I mean it - they have not stopped coughing, their noses have not stopped running, and they have not slept through the night.

Of course, the past couple of nights have been GREAT! Sure, Nick wakes up every night screaming because of this nightmare he gets about a Sea-Bear, which he saw on an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants (you can blame Steve for that). But Nate has only been waking up a couple of times a night, usually just after I have fallen asleep, and about 45 minutes before the "official" wake-up time. Last night Nate woke up only once, at about 5am, and went right back to sleep.

This morning I heard the boys playing and went in to find them both playing in the crib. "Look, Mammoy!" said Nick. "My diaper fell off!" I resisted the urge to tell Nick that diapers don't just fall off, especially when you are wearing onesie footie pyjamas that zip from foot to neck. Obviously he unzipped them himself and took his diaper OFF. I'm just happy he didn't try to zip anything back UP, because watching him try I realized he would have gotten something caught in the zipper, and THAT would not have been happy.

Anyway, I'm feeling much more rested these days.

Monday, November 27, 2006

BOB the builder!

Nicholas loves the Theme song to Bob the Builder. It goes like this:

BAAAHB the builder!
(shouting) can we fix it!
BAAAHB the builder!
(shouting) Yes we can!

And that's about it. There's more, but not when Nick sings it. Over and over and over again.

The funny thing is, on the way back from the Festival of Trees the other day, Nate was in his carseat singing:

DAAA, da DA da!
DAAA, da DA da!

I swear he was singing Bob the Builder. I told Steve, and we spent a few moments just listening to the kid DA da DA da and them we started giggling. Because HE WAS SINGING IT!

While I'm on the subject, just let me say that Bob the BUilder does nothing for me, and his Theme song makes me angry because I've heard it too much. I've started turning on the Holiday music just so I can stop the boys from singing it.

It is, however, a HUGE step up from the WONDER PETS Theme song, which is a TV show about a Hamster, a duck, and a turtle who live in a classroom but when the class leaves they build a flying boat out of a frisbee and save baby animals all over the world. but almost always to the same music and with the same words. Ask Jamie to sing it for you. He knows. He's seen it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let the Festivities Begin

Yesterday we went to the Festival Of Trees. Each year businesses, groups, and people donate decorated Christmas trees. Once inside the Festival area, you can purchase raffle tickets - they just give you a sheet of them. You can then drop individual tickets into little buckets in front of your favorite trees and try to take them home.

The trees really are unusual and fun. This year there was a tree donated by a hardware store decorated in duct tape and hung with ornaments of small WD40 cans and paint prushes. There was a Doctor Suess tree with a red and white striped hat on top, with bright neon fluffs and large colorful books nestled in the branches. One tree was decorated in brightly painted light bulbs, one in ladies' handbags, one in gift certificates. A few had trains making their way up to the top instead of garland, and one had bright yellow toy trucks as ornaments. One had sheet music and tickets to a holiday concert!

We let Nick have the raffle tickets, and he was VERY happy randlomly finding buckets to stick them into. He kept running back to us saying "more? More tickets?" Of course he had no idea WHY he was putting the tickets into the buckets...

Santa was there, too. We figured we'd pop over and see how he was doing. I led Nick over, who obediently walked over, gave a wave and said "Hi Santa!" Sant reached over to lift him onto his lap... and then Nick started screaming. So no Santa photos THIS year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Gigantic Snowball Picking Up Speed As It Races Towards Me - That's Christmas.

Thanksgiving is over. I expected this to being some measure of relaxation and relief, at least for a day or two before the Christmas Stress - I mean Spirit - gently grips my brain in it's talons.

Instead, I am just nervous. We are getting our kitchen floor redone, you see. It kind of had to happen, since the existing floor is peeling up at the edges and actually trips people at times. St eve and I picked out a tile, and some guys who know what they are doing are coming by in December to install it. They told us it should take about a week and a half.

That's a week and a half with no kitchen. No downstairs bathroom. No stove or oven. No washer or drier. We need to unhook the toilet and sink and move them out. We need to unhook the washer and the drier and find a place for them. We need to wheel the fridge into the dining room. We need to get the rest of the furniture out of there, too. For two weeks we'll have to eat and cook in the dining room. We'll have no ability to do laundry. Our lives will be squashes and confused and probably loud and noisy.

Not to mention the fact that I, Ghost of Christmas Organized, have not done even half of my holiday shopping, which just makes me want to cry.

now I'm over-reacting. I know I will survive this floor thing. But still... I'm sure there will be moments when I consider sending out the workmen and just living with a gigantic unfinished floor, just so that I can get my downstairs back.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Menu of the Ages

Yesterday was the very first Thanksgiving I have ever EVER spent without my family. So it was kind of bittersweet. I was afraid I would be all emotional and as the day approached I found myself gearing up, determined that Lillian, my poor mother in law, was attempting to sabotage my meal and rob my dishes of their spices and flavor. Especially when she called and we decided she would bring the mashed potatoes.

Needless to say, I was wrong. She did bring the mashed potates, and squash, and cooked carrots. But it was very helpful and non sabotage-like. And as much as I missed my family, I was far too busy to get emotional.

But I had the chance to make Everything Else.

Here's what I made - and those of you (Mom, Linda) who are horrified by anyone using prepackaged lemon juice or pre-ground pepper just because it's easier. horrified because it won't taste as good, horrified by shortcuts, just skip down to the photos, OK?

TURKEY - the turkey was done two hours earlier than we thought it would be. It was 21 pounds and done in 4 hours. Probably because we had planned on having it done early just in case. If we had planned on having it done just moments before sitting down, it would have been 3 hours late.

STUFFING - My mother always makes her dressing from scratch, choping celery and stuffing the turkey. I left the Turkey unstuffed and used three boxes of Stove Top. IT WAS GREAT!

TURNIPS - I LIKE the turnips!

GREEN BEANS - I make these with balsamic and I can make them in my sleep.

CRANBERRY SAUCE - Again, mom makes this from scratch. I used canned ocean spray.

APPLE PIE - need I say more?

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE - First cheesecake I ever made. It turned out OK, but I've decided I don't like pumpkin.

SPICY CHOCOLATE COOKIES - I use cayenne pepper

CRIMSON PIE - This is my favorite pie ever. I made the crust from scratch, boiled the berries, cooled them, filled the pie crust, and made it look really pretty... here's a picture:

Yeah. I was pretty upset. But I guess we can wait until Christmas dinner for the crimson pie. I got good feedback from the one 'person' who tasted it.

And now.... on to the next thing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Still haven't found what I'm looking for

First of all, as usual, my photo has nothing to do with my post. This is simply a picture of Nathan, who has teeth and loves pasta. I do realize that I take an awful lot of pictures of my kids eating. But this is because, at the table, they are in one place longer than 5 seconds. I can't tell you how many shots I take of walls or empty chairsmiply because they've run off before the picture took. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

In other news, yesterday I went to Wal-Mart and tried to find a gravy boat. You know, one of those things, with a handle, that you pour gravy from. I figured since we're having Thankgiving here with Steve's family, I should have the proper serving... things.

Well, I might as well have been looking for the Holy Grail. No gravy boats at THIS Wal-Mart. Mind you, we're talking about a store that sells EVRYTHING from shampoo to milk to yarn to car batteries. I found forks and spoons and plates and bowls. I found tupperware and platters. I found cupcake servers - CUPCAKE SERVERS. I found fondue sets and omlette irons and waffle makers and anything a person could think up under the sun.

Oh, except for gravy boats.

And I feel really dumb for not having purchased one before, at a slightly more focused store. I have seenthem, but I didn't like them. They all looked clunky, and I was looking for something more delicate. A graceful gravy boat. Not a chunky gravy boat.

And now look at me. No gravy boat at all. Gravy boatless. Sans gravy serving ware.

And no time to rush to the mall, either.

I wonder if they'll have plastic ones at the supermarket.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Wrinkle In Time

I don't believe in ironing. I just don't. As far as I'm concerned, if an extra fluff in the dryer can't fix it, it's unfixable, and must be worn wrinkled. Anything that regularly requires an iron gets sent to the cleaners.

I do own an iron. Besides the fact that I need it for quilting, I did used to have a job where I needed to look clean and presentable each day, and on occasion I would iron my clothes as I put them on in the morning. For a while I actually had one IN MY OFFICE so that I could iron things after I worked out. I ironed every single DAY! So I do know how to do it. But now that I no longer have to look presentable and stay clean an average of ten minutes after getting dressed, I no longer see the point. I avoid it at all costs. Besides, I hate doing it.

I blame my mother. Ha! No, but really, my mother is an ironing addict. When I was a kid, everything had to be ironed. Jeans were ironed. T-shirts were ironed. Bedsheets - I mean, come on, no one sees the bedsheets, and they're just going to be slept in, but my mother insisted that they be ironed. Recently I told her that she even ironed boxer shorts. "Of course!" she exclaimed. "Otherwise they would be wrinkled!" The fact that Boxer shorts are actually underwear was lost on her, apparently. My point is, things that had no business being ironed were ironed. You don't iron clothes you're going to work out in. Or jeans. Or underwear. You just don't. Or rather, I just don't.

Anyway, I took out my iron yesterday for the first time in almost a year to iron a table cloth and some cloth napkins, getting ready for Thanksgiving. I know they'll be a bit wrinkled again by Thursday, but I don't care. Hey, at least I'm USING a tablecloth! That, in and of itself, is a huge deal. And as far as ironing goes, tablecloths and napkins are easy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Short Sunday Post

There is an art to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One must not use too much jelly. Why, you ask? See for yourself.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Riddle Me This

This morning I woke up feeling cold-ish. So after Nathan's morning nap I packed the kids up in the car and stopped by the drug store to pick up some cold medicine - the kind that will actually make me cough. While we were there I picked up a children's version of the same medicine for Nick.
We then went to Dunkin Donuts where we went in and I got two bags of ground coffee and a chocolate donut. Nick then asked if we could sit at one of the tables to eat the donut. We did.
We then drove to the post office where I dropped our Netflix movie in the mailbox, and then we drove to the gas station to fill up the car before heading home.

Once home Nick asked if he could ride his bike. Nate didn't have shoes though, so I said we had to go in, do diapers, put on Nate's shoes, and then go back out. Once inside, however, I couldn't locate Nate's shoes. I went to all the usual places. The downstairs bathroom, the boys' bathroom, the boys' room... nothing. No luck. I then went downstairs and put away the coffee. I then realized the only item on the counter in front of me was the children's version of the cough medicine.

I knew I had the grown-up kind in the bag when we left the store. I knew we'd paid for it. I looked in the car. I looked under the seat. Nothing. I checked my pockets. Nothing. I went into the Living Room and found Nate's sneakers. Great. But no medicine. I went back into every place I had looked for Nate's sneakers. But I simply couldn't find the medicine. I checked the trash, thinking I might have thrown it away. I checked the basket of diapers, thinking I might have just tossed it in. Still nothing. I knew it existed... or had I dreamed it all up? Had I mailed it along with the Netflix movie? Had I somehow left it at the gas station? At this point I was crying because the cough medicine was the whole reason I had left the house. Nick was off the wall throwing toys into the air. Nate still had his jacket on because I had thought we would be going back outside.

Finally I found the medicine. It was in my bedroom, which I don't even remember going into. But apparently I must have, because there it was on my nightstand, in it's original packaging, just waiting to be took. Needless to say we did not go outside. We stayed in, had lunch, and then I sat with the boys for an hour and fifteen minutes before they fell asleep for nap. Then I got a good 10 minutes before the dog started barking.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Sweetest Thing

Yesterday something was wrong with the server and absolutely NO internet was available, which is why I didn't post. But I would have posted something like this:

A lot of people ask how close in age Nicholas and Nathan are. I know they are close. A lot of people roll their eyes or express admiration or ask me how long I plan to wait before #3. (GO AWAY, #3 ASKING PEOPLE!) The way some people look at me, I know they think I am crazy for attempting this, and I immediately want to tell them about the crazy people in Arkansas who have 17 children and home school their kids and teach them violin themselves via suzuki method. BESIDES, I happen to know a whole lot of people with children even CLOSER IN AGE.

I know Nick and Nate are close, and there are challenges. I run around like crazy. I have to cut up food into two different sizes. Nothing that is age appropriate for one kid is age appropriate for the other. But there are upsides. For one thing, Nick is acting out and getting a bit jealous these days. But it's OK, because Nate isn't so tiny and is no longer attached to me via suction. Also, in a pinch they can wear the same size diapers. Hey! Lucky for me!

But the best thing about having kids this close in age is that they play with each other. Sure, they fight over toys and Nate gets in Nick's way and Nick has a tendancy to hit Nate over the head with whatever he happens to be holding... but sometimes... The past couple of mornings I can hear them laughing and playing together in their room as I wake up. Nick climbs into the crib with Nate and brings in a couple of toys. They jump up and down on the matress. Nathan laughs at his brother's funny antics. Nick tells Nate what he can and can't play with. "No, Nate! That milk is Yucky! Take this one!"

So there. I think that's worth the trouble.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Whole New World

Ever since Nathan has started taking wobbling steps and then crashing to the floor, he has become a different baby. He doesn't cry as much, he doesn't cling as much, he doesn't seem to cause as much pain... he still cries and clings and scratches and bites, but somehow he has become more endearing. My theory is that he was frustrated, and now that he sees that he has the ability to walk like Nick.... well, with practice...

OK, I don't know what it is. But I'm happy with it. The only thing that breaks my heart a ittle is that, when Nate does take a few steps and come crashing down, and Steve and I clap and say "hooray for Nate!" and Nate smiles and buries his head, Nicholas usually tugs at one of us and says "Nick can walk, too! Nick can walk, too!"

I've been compensating by making a big deal about Nick zipping and unzipping zippers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Point of no return

Lillian took a family photo last year as we decorated the Christmas tree. The picture is typical. Impish looking Nick, a disheveled Steve, and a very pregnant me. Somehow Frank also made it into the picture, perched on the arm of the chair we all shared, and closer to the camera than the rest of us so he looks five times his actual size, as though we've adopted some wild breed of mountain cat.

Nicholas likes to pick up this pictures and point out everyone in it. "Look, Mommy! It's me! It's You! It's Daddy! It's Frank!" Recently he's also started asking "Where's Nate?" as though he's genuinely confused at how we forgot to include his brother. I pointed out my huge belly and said "Remember when Nathan was in my belly? Before he was born he was in my belly." Nick gave me the same look he gives me when I tell him we're having brussel sprouts for dinner. You know, the look that says "you're so silly!"

Yesterday we were in the living room, and Nate was being his usual self, tagging along after Nicholas, trying to play with / drool over everything Nich was playing with at that moment. I was trying to read a book. Finally Nicholas dragged me out of my fictional world, tugging on my pant leg. "Mommy!" he was saying. "Mommy, put Nathan in your Belly!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Live and Learn

Last Christmas I gave Nicholas a wooden alphabet puzzle. It's fairly straightforward, brightly colored, and even though I knew it was a bit old ofr him I had some misguided idea that somehow this toy would be EDUCATIONAL. Somehow, if he had this toy, he would learn faster than if he did not have it.

This afternoon, as I was picking up the brightly colored letters for the seventh time in three days and trying to fit them into place before Nathan saw me and started pulling them out again, I realized how stupidly naive I had been. I mean, let's face it. I can't get him to learn his alphabet before he's ready. I mean, at this point I can't even get him to pick up the puzzle peices for me. Sure, he can fill in the blanks if I sing the alphabet, but it's hard to know what he's saying, exactly, due to the fact that S and X sound kind of alike, and it's sometimes hard to distinguish D from B or P from T. Yesterday I was trying to get him to tell me what the letters were. To make it easy for him, I was going IN ORDER. This is the letter...? "S!" No, actually, this is A. What's this? "S!" no, this is B. So we have A, B... what's this? "FOUR!" OK, see, yeah, no, not quite gettin it.

I know I shouldn't panic. I mean, he's only two. Well, two and a half. He says please and thank you a lot. He's learning every day. And eventually he'll learn the alphabet. I mean, I sing it to him eleven times A DAY! Sooner or later it's got to soak in. But I'm starting to see that I might actually become the kind of pressuring parent never wanted to be, trying to get him to learn things before he's ready. The helplessness that comes of knowing you can't actually MAKE a kid learn something is terrifying. And frustrating, when you think of it as potty training. I guess this is where I get creative and start HELPING the learning process along, since I can't actually go there for him.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Santa's Obsessive Compulsive Little Helper

I like to do my Christmas shopping early, as in before December. I have spent a few years roaming the crowded malls or paying high shipping costs for items that still may not come in time... and I hate it. I hate the stress. So for the past couple of years I have attempted to get shopping done as early as I can. Not that this helps - there's always someone I'm scrambling around at the last minute for.

Yesterday we went shopping, and I found something that Santa might want to give to Nick. It was a Backyeardigans'd toy CD player with it's own CD's. Now, he loves, CDs and CD players. Last year my mother bought him a WInnie-the-Pooh version of this very same toy. He loved it. He loved it so much hat he cried each time he played with it. Apparently he wanted to play the music AND hold the CD's in his hand at the same time. Plus, getting the CD's in the player so that music would play was very precise, and he refused help. Each time anyone touched the toy to help him he would scream.... And I went and got him another.

The thing is, Nick was with me. I thought I had been sneaky, hiding it behind a couple of books and a table, but when we got home HE ASKED FOR IT RIGHT AWAY!

AND I LIED! I said we didn't have it. I said we left it at the store.

And Nick cried so hard. While he was crying I was thinking that he wasn't crying simply becasue I said he couldn't have a toy, that he couldn't play with it or we weren't going to buy it... he was crying because he knew we had something, and I WAS TELLING HIM A LIE! I was saying something he knew to be untrue. And I thought of all the ways that could mess up a little guy.

THEN I thought of how Sant was going to bring him the present, and if Santa gave it to him, but he knew I got it, he might never beleive in Santa Clause. I mean, the kid remembers the plastic coin his Grammy took out of her bag that one time months ago. He's going to remember this game he threw a tantrum over and KNOW.

But whatever. I told him we didn't have it, and I'm sticking to the story. I'm glad I did all my other kid-shopping when her was at school. Nate isn't talking.

And for the record, I haven't gotten any gifts for adults yet. Just my kids. And I'm done with that. Because they have enough.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Debunking the Myth

Chatterbox that I am, there are actually times when I do NOT have anything to say.

Here is a picture of a boat.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Birthday Gift

For my 25th birthday my friends and I all went out for a dinner in the North End - Italian, for those of you not familiar with Boston. We drank wine out of a jug on the table, then went walking around Columbus park, singing. No, singing. We were intoxicated with wine and youth, and we laughed when people started at us. We would never become old.

Yesterday I got a sewing machine for my birthday - the most awsome sewing machine in the world. I'm sorry, sewing COMPUTER. It calls itself a computer. And I guess it is, because it has fonts. FONTS! But my POINT is, I never in a billion years thought I would become the type of person who would be excited to get a sewing machine for her birthday. The highlight of my day was figuring out how to use the stitch regulator and the knee thingy for the presser foot. And I also learned what a feed dog was.

Yeah... that girl singing on her 25th in Boston? I don't know where she is. Probably burried under the mounds of fabric in my sewing room.