Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Milk Milk Milk

Every week at the grocery store I buy 3 gallons of whole milk for the boys. Every other week I buy a half gallon of skim milk for me. (For coffee, cereal, etc. I prefer 1%, but this is my concession to my diet.)

This past week, because of Imbolc and the dairy the food requires, I also purchased a gallon of 1%. Although I used a lot of it, there was a significant amount left over.

Nevertheless, here we are, Wednesday, grocery day, and we have not a drop of milk left in the house but some skim that smells funny and tastes funnier.

When I was a kid we had to have milk at dinner. At least one glass of skim. These boys get milk all the time. At breakfast, snack, lunch, and at dinner (as long as I can find their sip cups.) They drink it constantly. I can't keep up with them. Obviously. So this morning they got toaster french toast sticks and I ended up putting heavy cream in my coffee, negating the weeks and weeks I have been watering my coffee down with skim. Because we are also out of half and half, which I don't even use - it's for Steve.

So today's Grocery list includes MILK - 3 gallons of whole, 1 half gallon skim, 2 quarts of half and half.

Also, I'm getting three loaves of break, because we're out of that, too. This morning I put a hamburger bun in Nick's school lunch. It was that or a hot dog bun.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Am So Important

I am a very important person.

In fact, I am so important to the happiness of my children, that they cannot, cannot, be happy without me. Apparently. At least this is what I concluded at 5:00am, when I refused to let Nicholas creep into our bed (again) and made him go back to his own room. He screamed and cried. At 5:30, Nate woke up. He finally screamed enough so that I let him out of his crib. "I'll let you out. Now you guys play quietly and I'm going back to bed until 6." As I left the room I heard the wailing and the screaming begin. Oh, the pain. Oh, the horror. Oh, what an evil parent am I. How horrid of me, to try to sleep until 6am when only just down the hall are two little boys who NEED ME. For something.

I'm not sure what they need me for. Up until now I have let Nick crawl into bed with us, but he doesn't sleep. He sqiggles and wiggles and pats my face and pokes his fingers in my closed eyes. When both boys are awake I try to sleep on Nick's bed while they play, but they climb all over me and bash me over the head with books and then ignore me while they play a game called "How many things can I throw onto the floor of my room before Mom stops trying to sleep and puts a stop to it."

The truth is, I'm no good until 6am. I'm no good for a nursing infant (except as food source), and I'm REALLY no good for a walking, talking child who can play by himself for at least a short while. So while I am flattered that my boys cry out for me, and want to spend time with me, I humbly request that this time be spent between the hours of 6am and 9pm. That is all I ask.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pink Milk

There is a series of books by children's author Laren Childe featuring Charlie and Lola. I love these books because they are funny and have titles like "I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, " or "Snow Is My Favorite And My Best," or "I Am Not Tired And I Will Not Go To Bed." The books always start out the same way. "I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny."

I have no idea why Nicholas likes these books. They are really too old for him. But since I think they arr charming, I get them, and he asks me to read them to him, so I do.

Lola likes pink milk. In several of the stories, she either asks for, or is given pink milk. And since Nicholas is Nicholas, he started asking me for pink milk.

A couple of weeks ago I broke down and actually got him some Strawberry Syrup at the grocery store. It's so gross. But I mixed it up for him, and he couldn't have been happier.

But he didn't like it. He wouldn't finish it. But he wouldn't admit that he didn't like it. He keeps asking for it, and he never drinks it. I can't figure out if he doesn't KNOW he doesn't like it, or if he just likes to bug me for it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine in the Melting Pot of Posts

This is what happens when you eat too much food cooked in a microwave.

Just kidding.

Many years ago, when I was living with my friends in Cambridge, Mass., There was this uge gigantic snowstorm. The school I worked at closed, and the T stopped running so my roomates couldn't get to work. Being the young, adventurous, and slightly insane girls that we were, we took the opportunity to leaf through a book Julie had about... well, here's the thing. I'm not sure what the book was about - Paganism in general, or Wicca, or witchcraft, or what... but there were "spells" than involved, I think, incense and stones of different colors, but most importantlym there were RECEPIES! And we decided to cook the food for the one that was... well, that would have taken place around that time. It was Imbolc. And the food was very, very good.

After that, we gathered together every year and cooked that food. People we speak to about it always picture horrifying scenes of us running around naked and sacrificing goats while waving lit torches and raving to some deity or another, but honestly, THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN. We gather together and worship the god of dairy products. Meaning, we eat. A lot of dairy.

Yeserday I had my friends over for this yearly feast. I had a lot of fun. I had an excuse to see my friends. I had an excuse to use things like my punch bowl and my soup tureen. And I got to make wonderful things like a salmon tart, and "Wise and Creamy Salmon Soup," and "Magical Cream puffs," and "Faery Wine." And they are SOOOO GOOOOOD! Plus, I got to have one of those meals with with friends where I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants - TWICE - and we talked about everything under the sun, caught up on what people are doing (Q: Pregnant? Moving in with significant other? Moving to Texas? Going to Nursing School? A: YES)

And now, tonight, are the Academy Awards. We also used to get together every year and watch the Academy Awards, placing bets on who would win as though it were a sporting event. Until, of course, we realized we all had to work the next day, and then none of us had seen any of the movies anyway.... and then last year CRASH won best picture and that made me realize how awful an Academy is, that they would pick that awful film as best film of anything other than Worst Dialogue...

ANYWAY, I am still excited about the awards tonight. I have forgotten who has been nominated and I haven't seen any of the movies, except Little Miss Sunshine, which I loved, it made me laugh and cry, and that little girl was so wonderful I hope she wins. That would make up for Crash. For me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Scraping By

Yesterday it got very warm - a balmy 40 degrees, actually. I took the boys outside to play in the snow.

Nick has been talking about snowmen for some time now, and I thought we might be able to build one, but we had no luck. The snow has never been right for packing. The surface was all ice, and the snow wouldn't even make a snowball, let alone a snowman.

Instead, we walked around, and then I got out the sled. You remember the sled? The too-small sled? Well, I pulled Nick on it, and it was fun! Then Nate started waving his arms, so I just did what I did the time before - placed Nate on Nick's lap. Then I pulled them over to that little hill... and let me tell you, it was a mistake. The sled didn't sink into the snow, it just skidded on the ice. FAST. And I was running alongside it, just in case, and of course the sled hit me in the leg, and over I went.

And over the sled went.

And over Nick and Nate went.

Especially Nate.

Nick was laughing, but when I picked Nathan up I could see little specks on blood all over his face. That's right, his face. See, Nick and I have the ability to put out our hands and stop our fall. Nathan hasn't exactly mastered this one yet. So he hit the ice face first.

This morning he has scraped on his nose, his forhead, and his cheek.

He's such a brute.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Your Backyard Friends

Yesterday, for the first time, Nathan sang something other than Bob The Builder.

You remember how Bob The Builder goes, right?
DAH da da Da!

over and over and over again.

But yesterday I went to him after hisnap, and looked at me and, in the same tuneless voice, went: Daaa, da da daa, dada DAAA dadaaaa!

Obviously, this is the theme song to The Backyardigans. If you don't know about the Backyardigans, you should. It's a bit old for my kids, but I like it because each episode is like a very short musical. And the little computer animated animal children? They dance. Oh yeah. When they sing, they dance. For no reason. Just like a musical. And I find it so, so, so funny and endearing. Plus the stories are just funny. Like the one about the Samurai Baker, who has to bake the Great Pie.

Anyway, this is one of the shows I let Nick watch, when we aren't watching The Wiggles or Bob The Buider. And now I know it's rubbed of on Someone!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No School Today (Or Monday)

Last week we had a snowstorm, and schools were closed.

Nicholas was confused about the school closings. He just didn't get it. And for the next few mornings he kept asking me if he would be going to school. "I go school today?" And of course, the answer was always NO.

Monday morning, the answer was finally YES. I packed his lunch, and we looked for snowpants, a hat, matching mittens, discussed what he should wear on his feet (boots or shoes) packed extra clothes, extra pull-ups... and then I finally packed him in the car - along with Nathan, who was just as bundled up. It was nine degrees outside, and windy.

We pulled into the parking lot, and I was just unbucklling Nick when he pointed. "Look! There's Miss Alysa!" And there was Nick's teacher rushing to our car and waving her arms. She told us there was no school. At first I thought I had misread the calendar. It was Presidents' Day, but I thought school was open anyway. It turned out it WAS supposed to be open. But there was a problem. The whole area was without water. Nick's teacher said they were trying to call all the parents, but there were so many and they hadn't had much notice. The water situation wouldn't be fixed until 5pm, so school was cancelled for the day.

I don't blame them. Could you imagine even one classroom of small children with no toilets and no water to wash up? Could you imagine even one child?

It was freezing, and Alysa quickly waved and said "We'll see you Wednesday!" and then turned to Nick... and that's when I saw his little face.

Nick's mouth was turned down so far in the corners it was comical. His eyes were open so, so wide, full of tears but he just didn't want to cry. He was shaking with the effort to control himself. He was so, so dissapointed.

It's funny, because it made me laugh, but at the same time I ached for him. I really wanted to make it better,but there was absolutely nothing I could do. He wanted school, and he wanted his friends and his teachers, and I couldn't give them to him.

I tried my best to explain the water situation. I took him to Wal-Mart with me and Nate, and I gave him quarters to put in the Ernie and Bert Fire Truck. I bought myself a coffee and let the boys share a chocolate donut.

But today is a school day. And Nick is walking on air, so excited to be going back.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Because I don't have enough creatures to Care For

This December Steve's Secret Santa at work gave him a Migo, which is a type of virtual pet.

In case you don't know what this is, picture a small, handheld device. It has a picture on it. The picture is of a dog. You get to feed the dog, give it water, let it out to go pee, take it to the vet, play with it, and take it for a walk.

I've always thought these were the dumbest things humans have come up with.

Steve played with his dog, which he named "Dude," for a few hours, and then it ended up stuck in a drawer. Nick, however, loved it. "Look at the puppy! He's sleeping in a basket! He's like a baby! He's so cute!"

And then, I found it.

I felt bad bcause the virtual pet had been neglected. He was nervous. He was thirsty. And he really had to pee.

So I figured out how to take care of those simple needs.

And then I found out that you could play games where you thre a frisbee... you could get points to buy things with if you put it on "walk" mode. And now I have developed a little crush on the guy. When Nick asks for the "puppy" I don't want to hand it over. "I just fed him and walked him and took him to the vet!" I think. "Who knows what state he'll be in after Nick presses all those buttons at random!"

In fact, I've spent so much time with this thing that I had to change the batteries.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Nick Story

The other day I was helping Nick on / off the potty, and he gave me an appraising look. "Mommy has hair on her nose?" he asked.
My sister Emily used to make comment like that all the time, especially when I was a teenager, informing me, in a loud voice that carried miles, that my eyebrows touched in the middle, or that my ears needed cleaning. So I'm used to innocent questions that actually have sting.
"Yes," I said. "Mommy does have hair in her nose."
Nick looked at me with an expression that told me he had a great idea. "Use Daddy's Nose Razor!"
I'm pretty sure he was referring to the electric shaver I gave Steve for Christmas six years ago, which had a nose hair trimmer attachment. Apparently I am not the only parent with hair on her nose.
I concentrated on not laughing, and Nick's expression got very thoughtful. He then, very slowly, put the tip of his finger up one nostril.
"I no have hair on my nose," he said, shaking his head. "Just boogers."

Why? Why do these things make me laugh?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Diego Underpants

On Friday I took Nick to Target and let him select many many pairs of big boy underpants. He got Thomas underpants, Diego underpants, Bob the Builder underpants, and Cars underpants. I was very pleased with the selection at Target, which was much better than what they had at Wal-Mart. There I found Superman underpants and Scooby Doo underpants, which might be great if Nick had any idea who they were. I also found underpants with tiny skulls on them, but since Nick is not a biker but is actually, only two-and-a-half, I said no.

Now that Nick has more underwear than I do, the next step is getting him to wear it. It isn't actually all that difficult. He LOVES his underwear. This doesn't mean everything is ready, because he's still only pooped on the potty once. But it does make things a bit easier.

Friday afternoon Nicholas started coughing, his nose started running, and at about 4pm he started complaining of an earache. Saturday morning I called the doctor and made an appointment, and Steve decided he'd bring him in, after a short detour to a computer store...

About an hour after they left I carried Nate into the kitchen, chirping and singing and in a good mood, and then I saw a pull-up on the kitchen counter...

...and that's when I remembered that Nick wasn't wearing a diaper.

Now, it's one thing to go out into the world with Nick and no diaper. But even when I do it I have an extra pair of pants and an emergency pull-up with me.

Steve had nothing. No change of clothes, no extra underwear, no pull-up or diaper. He didn't even know Nick was... well... "unprotected."

I tried calling Steve's cell-phone, but after a few frustrating moments of playing with redial and the call-waiting beep I realized he had forwarded that number to the house for work. I kept calling myself and hanging up on myself to answer myself.

And then...

Then there was nothing to do but wait.

I imagined Nick peeing in the store. I imagined him peeing at the doctor's office and Steve not having any equipment to deal with it. I wondered if the doctor would still let Steve take Nick home without pants. I felt so bad for Steve, because he would be surprised and then left helpless, and I felt bad for Nick, who was just getting the hang of things, and I set him up for failure and how long would this set him back?

And then they came home.

And Nick was dry.

He hadn't peed. He's asked to use the potty and Steve had discovered the underwear and no pull-up and they had both coped with it and lived and were both dry.

I can't tell you how relieved I was. So, so, so glad. The Diego Underpants stayed dry,

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cracking Me Up

I love this picture of Puck. It has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post.

Nicholas has be stifling laughter through most of the day. Being two, I kind of share his bi-polar-ness and go from that to a screaming banchee (Get Off The Wall! Put Down The Knife! We Do Not Drink Drain Cleaner! Why Did You Stick My Wax Strips On The Dog!?!). But Nicholas is learning quite a few things. He is learning about the world, and he is also learning the art of conversation. And he has no idea what is an appropriate thing to say.

As a result, he often claps for me when I pee in the potty and tells me I did a good job and he'll get me a marshmallow.

One day he helped me save Nate from a particularly dangerous climb up a chair. "Nate Crack his head open!" Nick said. "Yes," I agreed. "Nate would crack his head open. He could hurt himself very badly. That's why we don't stand on chairs. So we don't have to go to the hospital."
There was a pause, and then Nick looked up at me with very serious eyes.
"And we have to get a new brother."

Friday, February 16, 2007


A couple of years ago Lillian gave Nicholas a sled.

It wasn't a great sled, just one of those plastic thingies that goes up high so he wouldn't fall over. Even when he was really small, the sled wouldn't really slide unless it was being pulled, and even then it had to be at a certain angle.

When it was snowing on Tuesday, we pulled out the sled. I had some idea I would put both boys in it and pull them around. But when Nick climbed into it, he had to fold himself in thirds to do it. His feet would either dangle uncomfortably over the edge, or his knees were squashing him in the chest. There was no room for Nate at all.

I did manage to perch Nate on Nick's feet and instrusted Nick to hold on to Nate's snowsuit, but both boys looked at me as though I were mad. "What is she, crazy? And now we're MOVING? DOWNHILL? She's trying to kill us."

Ok, so we need a bigger sled.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And another thing breaks

I was going to post another super-sweet and hardly standable story about one more cute thing one of my kids did in the past couple of weeks. But by the time I got here this morning, I couldn't remember any.

See, it snowed. And when it snows, that means that Steve plows our driveway. And this morning Steve also had to go to work. Which means that he had to wake up earlier and plow before he left.

But our plow is kind of broken. It doesn't angle right. So when he was done, what was left was a three foot high bank of snow right in front of the garage doors. And the snow in front of the doors themselves were not plowed. There was a good two feet of unplowed snow in front of the doors.

Somehow, through sheer will and a really great car, Steve managed to get over that snow and up the driveway. He stuck his head in long enough to let me know that the garage door wouldn't close because of the snow, and could I fix that while I was shoveling? I thought - no big deal.

See, I had actually been planning to go shopping today. I had two different places I wanted to go, making this trip a BIG TRIP. I had gift certificates and lists of things I need. Or ok, maybe just want...

So when Nate was sleeping, I quickly stuffed Nick into his snow gear and went out to shovel. I worked up a sweatinside my parka, and did a pretty good job, if I might say so myself. And it was great because Nick loves the snow. He said so repeatedly while I was shoveling. He slid down the snow banks and tried to build a snowman (but the snow wasn't right.) He helped me shovel with his tiny little sand shovel. Nathan does not love snow, probably because it's cold and he is usually falling down face first into it - hey, those boots are hard to walk in.

But when the shoveling was done, and I tried the garage doors... well, Steve's side worked. Meaning it closed. My side... well, at first it wouldn't open. Remember, these are fancy shmancy electronic automatic garage doors. So I went to help it, lifting on the handle. And it opened most of the way. But then it wouldn't close. In fact, instead of closing, it made a really loud WRONG sound. Like the mechanism was going to explode. I checked the wheels to make sure chunks of ice weren't blocking anything. Then I pushed the button and pulled it closed. And then it stopped. And when I pushed the button to open it again, the WRONG sond happened again. but this time I couldn't open it. The door is stuck. I can pull as hard as I want, it isn't budging.

So now, even though I shoveled and have a place to go, and the kids are both awake, and I promised Nick he could pick out his own underwear, and the car is running, and the driveway is clear... we're stuck.

Because of the stupid stupid stupid garage door that JUST WON'T OPEN! I wish the machine part of it weren't on the ceiling so that I could kick it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

Our Valentine's Day snowstorm has closed the schools, much to NIcholas's dismay. He was a bit upset when we told him he wouldn't be going to school today. "The School is Closed!" I said. "Well, Open It!" He replied.

In my overly scheduled life, Wednesday is the day I go grocery shopping, and very few things ever lead me to change this. We have spent entire Tuesdays with no food or milk, and I simply shake my head and order out because it is not Wednesday, and I have no time for shopping today.

But yesterday I felt that, since today was Valentine's Day, not having certain items, such as food, would be remiss. So I actually altered my schedule, showing my great ability to be flexible, and went shopping a day early, with both boys in tow. Usually my shopping trips are carried out with the predictability and timing of a ballet... perhaps a ballet danced by a hippo, but a ballet nonetheless... but this day...

As it so happened, NIcholas had asked to wear Big Boy Underpants that day. He sometimes does this, and in my excitement to have him potty trained I encourage it, remembering stories like the girl Larissa knows who was trained in one day. ONE DAY! There are books written about this. It actually has happened! Perhaps this is the day for Nick! Usually he wears the underpants for a few hours and either has an accident or simply asks to be put back in pull-ups or diapers and cried and screams if you don't listen.

Since we were going out, I asked Nick if he wanted pull-ups. He said no. I said we're going out, and it might be hard... he said no. I said fine, but we're going to visit the potty at the grocery store. He said fine, no pull-ups, underwear.

Needless to say, I was aprehensive, but still excited. He WANTED the underwear. Besides, he has actually gone entire mornings with no accidents, and some of these included morning trips to the library. MAYBE THIS WAS IT!!!!!

The first thing we did at the grocery store was to visit the rest room. I sat Nick on the potty, which he did not end up using, while Nathan played peek-a-boo with the woman in the next stall, reluctant participant that she was. We then headed off with my list of groceries. It seemed like forever, but it actually took less than an hour. Every so often I would lean over and ask him if he wanted to use the potty, but her said no. My shopping finished, I asked him if he wanted to visit the potty before or after we paid. He said after. Since the bathrooms were actually on the way out, I said fine. So we paid, and then I pushed the cart around.

The cart we were using was one of the carts with the cars in the front. Both Nick and Nate sit in the car and pretend to drive and hit and bite each other and throw their sip cups out the windows while I do the shopping. As soon as Nick got out of the car I realized he had peed. His pants were soaked. Lucky for me, I had thought to bring an extra pair of pants for him. I mean, he is still learning, so I knew this might happen... But then, when Nathan got out of the car, I realized HE WAS SOAKING, TOO! Nick had peed on the seat, and it had spread over to where his brother was sitting, wetting HIS pants.

I had no change of clothes for Nathan. Well, I did, but they were in the car. My car. The real car.

When we parked the car, the real car, the temperature outside was 9. That's NINE degrees. Nine. You can't take a baby outside in wet pants at nine degrees!

But I did. Because, when it came right down to it, we needed to leave the store. I changed Nate in a warmed up car before we went home. I feel that I deserve a medal for the way the emergency was delt with. But as far as I know, no such medal exists.

I could go one and tell you about how, when we did get home, I dropped the eggs on the garage floor, and Nathan ran away with the ackage of mushrooms, trying desperately to rip open the package before I caught him. And how he found the bread and SQUEEZED it, and all this while Nick was pleading, very loudly, for Strawberry Milk. But I'll stop here and let you all enjoy your Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

For Life

Whenever I purchase an item, secifically an item of furniture, I can never imagine just having it for a certain length of time. To me, when I buy something that big, it's forever. That couch? The dining room table? The kitchen table? That sideboard with the hutch I posted the pictures of the other day? (The bottom part is the sideboard and the hutch is the part that sits on top.) All of this furniture I imagine owning for the rest of my life, never to part with.

Only it doesn't quite work that way, does it? I've already thrown away that big round papasan chair from Pier1 that I just HAD to have, and spent a whole hundred dollars on, throwing myself into a tizzy at the prospect of spending so much money. Once the dog started sleeping on it no one would sit there anymore, and it took up SO much room.

I also remember buying a long winter coat that cost just enough to make me feel ill for 24 hours after I got it - oh, the guilt I felt at my own indulgence! I still have that coat. But whenever I wear it I get strange looks. Probably because I look like a homeless person. Probably because the coats the homeless people are wearing are actually newer and in better shape than that coat. But I can't get rid of it because I still remember how I felt when I was buying it. I'm supposed to have that coat until I die!

I guess what I can't get over is how quickly things need replacing. How quickly our new couch got a split seam and sinks on one side. How fast the cats managed to scratch their initials into our bedroom furniture and the bottoms out of our box springs. How is it that I still think of clothing I got for my bachelorette party and the makeup I got for my baby shower as "new?" Why can't I just buy curtains or a table or a sofa and have that be the one I have? At least for fiteen to twenty years. That's all I ask.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Nick is officially a "Terrible Two." The slightest thing sends him over the edge. If the car pulls into the driveway before he's ready to be home, he cries. If I tell him today is not the day we get to see Grammy, he cries. If I tell him he can't have another slice of cheese, he cries. If I choose a book he doesn't want to hear, he cries. And these are big cries. not little whimpering ones. Last night his food was too hot and the screaming... oh, the screaming.
But I keeping telling myself it doesn't last forever and trying to get him to use his expansive vocabulary to tell me what the trouble is.
Despite the crazy things he gets upset over, he's really a lot of fun. He's become obsessed with knowing who things belong to. So we'll have conversations where his side goes something like this: Look at this book. It's a nice book. Is it Mommy's book? Is it Mommy and Daddy's book? Is it Mommy and Daddy and Mine book? Did you get it at the store? Was I at the store, too? Was Daddy at the store? Was Nathan at the store? " I've had this very same conversation with him about every item in our house. Every chair, toy, book, bowl, sweater, and shoe.

PS - Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The River Charles

Yesterday we dropped the kids off at Lillians and checked into the Sheraton in Boston so that we could have a nice dinner with friends.

We went to Grill 23, which was good, despite a very grumpy waitress, who apparently didn't think half the table needed wine, and thought the other half could do without coffee. I had the meatloaf and the blue cheese mashed potatoes. Yum.

I had a great time. We really don't go out much, and it was so nice to eat food I hadn't cooked - good food! Not to mention sleep knowing I wouldn't have to wake up until I felt like it. (Actually, I only managed to sleep until 7:30. Still, this is 90 minutes more than I ever get at home.)

The hotel room had a great view of the Charles. Actually, it looked over the section of the Charles I used to run every single day when I worked in Cambridge, that bit between the Longfellow bridge and the Mass Ave bridge. You know? You don't? Well, it's really pretty. Before the river were the three or four story buildings that make Boston so Boston, all tightly packed together, and after the Charles you can see MIT. A few boats are docked on the water for the winter... If you look down the river you can see the Museum of Science... It was all nostalgic and still and very beautiful to look down on from the 25th floor.

I wish I had taken my camera.

And I wish I can tell you how tired I am right now. Having fun is hard work!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yesterday's Post

So... the whole point to yesterday's point got lost as I wrote it. There was actually a point to it BESIDES the fact that I'm struggling to potty train Nick.

The Ironic thing is that Nathan has developed some sort of liking for these two potty training books. I don't know what it is, Perhaps it's because they are thin and easy for him to pick up. Or because of the pictures on the covers - one has a young child actually sitting on the potty, and the other has Brazelton (All Hail Brazelton!) on the cover holding a small child.

For those of you unfamiliar with Brazelton, he's a leading pediatrician who revolutionalized potty training, among other things. He's the one that thought it should wait until the child was ready. I had to watch several videos about him and his child rearing technniques during my childhood education days. I actually like him a lot. If you want to know what he's like, think Mr. Rogers... only more mild.

Anyway, Nate loves these books, especially the Brazelton one, and he runs to the bookshelf where I keep them every moment he can just to grab one and wave it around in my face. "Here Mom! Try these! What you're doing with him obviously isn't working!"

I think he's probably trying to tell me something.

Anyway, in terms of the potty training, here's what I've tried: waiting for Nick to be excited about it, Sitting on the potty and reading fun books / singing fun songs!, Putting him in underwear to see how great it is, buying him fun pulls up to use, giving him marshmallows or m&ms each time he pees in the potty, telling him if he goes a few hours / all morning / whatever with no accidents that we'll do something special, backing off and letting him wear diapers and not saying anything for as long as I can stand it before starting the whole thing all over again.

By the way, one of the BIG things I'm doing in Potty Training is trying to encourage Nick. I try not to make too big a deal when there are accidents. I praise him (but not too much!) when he actually makes it. He's just not interested, so I have to schedule trips to the bathroom into our day and make it as fun as I can. (Look! DisneyLand! In our BATHROOM!) And as much as I complain about it, we're getting there. It's just taking a long time, and I didn't anticipate taking so many steps backwards so many times.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Books - sometimes helpful, sometimes not

When Nicholas was eight months old I dragged my sleepy self to the bookstore and purchased two books on How to Get Your Infant To Sleep.

When I was pregnant, a few mothers had recommended a couple of books, and I had silently scoffed. "Sleep is NATURAL," I thought. I mean, seriously, how hard could it be. Even my mother assured me that when a baby needs to sleep, they sleep. But after months of twenty minute naps and getting up more than 6 times a night, I was desperate. "When does he nap?" people would ask, and I would just cry. NEVER! NEVER! He NEVER NAPS! He just SHUTS HIS EYES UNTIL I WALK AWAY!

Anyway, I purchased two books with entirely opposing philosophies, started a Sleep Journal, Actually established goals, and in a few months he was only waking up once or twice a night. Which was a big fat improvement. When Nate came along I felt much more confident, and even though he still gets up at night sometimes, it's not a problem. Last night, no one wole up at all!

So when it was time to start thinking about Potty Training, I went and purchased two books. "These books will hold the answer!" I thought. "They will tell me what to do!" You know what the books taught me? NOTHING! Two books, full of absolutely everything I already knew. You know what? They aren't helpful at all.

Because when it comes right down to it, teaching a kid to use the toilet is completely out of my control. It has to be HIS decision. HE HAS TO DO IT! And I get the role of standing by, making sure the opportunity is there, all the time, cleaning up the mess, and not being upset by it. Basically, what both books said was this: SUCK IT UP! He'll go when he's ready.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hot Donald

I am ToDo list happy. It's the way that I am, and I have become comfortable with it. A thousand years ago, at my job, my office-mate would constantly play this trick on me where she would add things to my to do list when I wasn't looking. I would run out to the printer, come right back, and below my last item would be one in her handwriting. Usually "Buy Melinda a Present."

Even these days I schedule everything. Before I go grocery shopping I not only make a list of what to get, but I make a list of the dinners we'll have every day that week. So I'll know what to put on my list. But secretly it's also good to not have to think about what I'm going to make all day.

Occasionally I'll appoint a day as an order-in day, and then we can either go out (Ha ha ha! right) or order in pizza or chinese. If, on one of these days, it turns out I have to cook for whatever reason, then you better give me my space because I will NOT be in a good mood.

Tuesday was one of these days. And Steve was going to bring the food home, because he was coming home from work that way, etc. He said he was thinking of picking up from the 99. I had to go to the computer to look up their menu and make my selection. Nicholas, of course, was looking over my shoulder. "Mama? Whacha doin?" I said "We have to choose what you'll have for dinner. Your daddy is going to have a hamburger."

"WOOOWW!" he exclaimed, with far too much enthusiasm. "We goin to Hot Donalds?"

Yeah. Hot Donald's. We're going there.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Million Little Pieces

The boys woke up at 5am this morning.
For an hour I curled up in Nick's bed, my head under the covers, as the boys alternately fought and poked me in the eye. Occasionally I would shout out something about leaving me alone, and they would laugh.
I forgot to set the coffee maker last night, and didn't have time to do it thi morning, so Steve didn't get coffee, and then I thought it would be silly to make a pot just for me.
I had the 300th argument with Nicholas this WEEK about sitting on the potty. He refuses. When he does, he hardly ever goes. Yesterday I threw a fit because of a particularly poopy diaper change which involved getting poop up my arm to my elbow, and I'm afraid I said a few things the Mommy Police would arrest me for. In particular, "THIS is why you need to use the potty! This is VERY NOT FUN FOR MOMMY!"
So this morning, after fighting with Nick about pull ups and scurrying to get Nathan a sip cup of milk - skim, because we are out of whole, and my goodness get it to him QUICK so he'll STOP MAKING THAT NOISE... I finally headed off to the garage to take out the trash...
... and see the truck DRIVING AWAY FROM MY HOUSE. I had missed it by about three seconds.
Which was unfair, because of all the days I put the trash out early, at 7am, or even the night before, and evenb though they ask for the trash to be out by 7am they leave it there until 3pm so that the wind blows our empty soda cans all over the street. And today they get there at 7:30am, leaving their cheerful little neon green tag on my mailbox "So Sorry We Missed You!"

I hate them.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Boy O Boy

I am the only female in my house. Not only do Steve and I have two boys, but all of our pets are male as well. This may not mean a lot to you, but it does to me. There are some episodes of Home Improvement that I watch in absolute horror.

The other day Nick woke up from him nap early, and I took him into my bed, thinking he might settle down again, but if he didn't at least Nate would still get more rest. Nick and I cuddled with our heads on the pillows, doing the nuzzly, huggy things that mothers and their toddlers do. And then he burped. Not your little burp, but a big, boy belch. The kind that, in seventh grade, would have half the class in giggles and the girls srunching up their faces in horror. The only difference was, my son isn't in seventh grade, he's two and a half, and oh did I forget to mention the fact that my face was about two and a half inches from his?

I knew he was a boy. I knew it. But in that moment I suddenly saw hampers full of sweaty, grass stained boy clothes, crumpled towels on the floor, sinks full of dishes crusted with cheese, empty potato chip wrappers in the cushions... basically what Steve's house looked like before I moved in with him. Only worse because there will be THREE OF THEM! (counting Steve.)

I know being a boy does not mean being a slob. I know men who are very tidy. I have a cousin who mops the floor not every day, but after EVERY MEAL. And I know that being female does not mean you are neat. Remember I have sisters. (WHO I LOVE VERY MUCH, NEAT OR MESSY!) I will keep trying to raise tidy boys with good manners who use forks and do not burp at the table. But it doesn't stop the dreams. Oh no, the nightmares will keep coming.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fun and Games

I recently got "tagged" (thanks, Debs!) to do this ABC thing on my blog. As most of my readers already know most of these things about me, I thought I would also take this opportunity to introduce a new blog - SheSpendsSheSaves. Money questions? Issues? SheSpends has them too. Share the pain. Also, my brother Jamie is back in Thailand, and his blog, though outdated with the 2006, is back up and running.

I was going to add links to the pages, plus a link to a fun thingy from Linda, but Safari won't let me post links, and my old browser won't show me where to log in ever since I've gotten an upgrade. So instead I'll just add a bit about watching PBS tonight, if you can, because there's a really neat thing on about Bio Warfare, and my cousin Chris wrote the music, so there.

ABC's (Debs - I copied these from Blest because she seemed to fill in a few blanks)

A- Available or married? - Married

B- Best Friend? - My Bathtub

C- Cake or Pie? - This is an unfair choice. I would say pie, but only fruit pies, like peach or berry. If you offer my pumpkin pie, I'll choose the cake.

D- Drink of Choice? - Diet Dr. Pepper

E- Essential Item? - My Planner. Or at least a notebook with a writing implement.

F- Favorite Colour? - Blue

G- Gummi Bears or Worms? - bears. Anything gummi is great, actually.

H- Hometown? - Define Hometown. Englewood, NJ? It;s where I grew up.

I- Indulgence? - Chocolate. Chip cookies.

J-January or February? - January. February is always the longest month.

K- Kids & names? - Nicholas and Nathan

L- Life is incomplete without? - Books

M-Marriage Date? - June 1, 2002

N- Number of Siblings? - Four.

O- Oranges or apples? - oh.. neither. But both are better than bananas, which are just awful

P- Phobias/Fears? - Anything happening to my kids, being late, that thing under the bed that might reach out and grab my ankles if I don't hop into bed fast enough...

Q-Favorite Quote? - That James Thurber one. "I may be drunk, but you, madam, are ungly, and tomorrow I will be sober."

R- Reason to Smile? - There is no reason, but I do it anyway. It' more fun.

S- Season? - It's called New England. But I prefer the season "Bahamas."

T- Tag three people! - This is hard because I don't know too many people with blogs. I'll tag Jamie, SheSpends, and Linda. HA!

U- Unknown fact about me: I'm frazzled either way.

V-Vigorously Verbose. - This was Blest's contribution. SHE may be Vigorously Verbose, but... well, yes, I'll talk anyone's head off. In person, via email, or even on my blog. I'm a rambler.

W- Worst habit? - PACK RAT.

X- X-treme Wishes: I would take a cruise, or visit a spa for a whole week... but my biggest, most extreme wish is that my brothers and sisters and I form a rock band and become really sucessful. Plus, I learn how to play a guitar and we're also all teenagers again. Or at least in our twenties.

Y- Your favorite food? - Chocolate Chip Cookies. Or Cake. Or Pie.

Z- Zodiac? - Scorpio.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Seeking Your Opinion

When Nicholas was 4 months old we took him furniture shopping so that we could get some chairs. It was that trip, the one where I was carrying him around in a front facing baby carrier, that I fell in love with this kitchen hutch. Since then, we found many reasons to return to this particular furniture store. A kitchen table, bedroom furniture for Nick, boredom... and each time I went to check out this hutch.

A couple of weekends ago, before we all got sick, I headed off and bought the darn thing. I figured if a person can keep a kitchen hutch on her mind for over two years, she deserves to have it. Plus, we had that blank wall in our kitchen where nothing WAS.

Here's a picture of the Hutch - as you can see, Puck gave me his approval right away.

Here's a picture of the hutch three days later - see how quickly the thing filled up?

The thing is, I'm not crazy - nor have I ever really been, about that China thing on top, where you're supposed to display your china. I much prefer keeping my china in a dust-proof container so that I don't have to wash it before I use it. Also, doesn't it look funny? Steve doesn't like it, either. I knew this was an issue I'd have to deal with, but I thought I could store other things there... so, what I'd like to know is, what do YOU think? CHINA:

Or a mix-it-up of glass chargers, platters, and serving plates that will fit:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

500 Slices of Raisin Toast

A couple of lifetimes ago, when my friends and I were running this six person theatre group in the woods on Maine (note - if one ever decides to be crazy enough to run a six person theatre group, the woods of Maine is not the best location unless one enjoys performing for squirrels and mosquitos), and living in a cabin with no heat or electricity and with running water hooked up from an outdoor hose...

Anyway, one of the cabins at this place was used for storing junk - not the cabin we were sleeping in, but another cabin, which was also used for storing junk. And someone had spray painted something like "David McNeil sat here and ate 500 slices of raisin toast." And for some reason that was one of the funniest phrases in the world, along with "hand painted dogs."

I have recerntly started eating raisin toast every day, and every day I love it more. I wish I could sit and eat 500 slices of it without stopping.

This morning is Saturday, and I slept in, and then Steve and the boys brought me breakfast in bed. For no reason. They came in and brought my raisin toast to me, in my bed, with coffee, so that I could enjoy it without leaving my warm covers. It was the most unexpected and completely wonderful thing! What a way to begin my day!

Friday, February 02, 2007


The last dentist I had was in Boston. I would take the T from work to Kenmore Square, where I would walk past huge bookstores and crowds of people and students, past numerous sushi spots that looks a bit too grubby, and finally make it to this office building where I had to take an elevator up five flights. Upon entering the office I would sign in with the receptionist, and sit to wait. After a while the hygenist would come around and get me. She would spend the next half an hour poking at my gums, telling me I needed to floss more, scraping my teeth with sharp intruments, and finally plug a new product - usually a tooth pick, a special toothbrush, or some sort of special floss. She would then SCHEDULE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT, with her as my personal hygenist, from a computer located right there in the exam room. When the dentis came in, he would take HIS turn poking at my gums and teeth - usually with less care than Ms. Hygenist, then he would tell me I would need gumgrafts and that my molars would fall out if I didn't learn how to floss. And I would be sent home chastised, but with a new toothbrush and sometimes a new packet of floss.

A few years ago my health plan changed, and I had to find a new dentist. I decided to forget about getting a dentist in Mass. because I wasn't going to live there forever. So I picked one out of the insurance book - the one who lived closest to me.

Driving to my dentist's office is like driving straight out of civilization. He's about 10 miles down a smallish highway, then you take a right at some point, and then go down this other long road... and there is his office. It's a big red house with a big red barn. There are wheels on his house. There is a basketball hoop in the driveway. There is a small sign that says "DENTIST" hanging from a tree. When you get to his door you see that there is a sign posting his hours. He's closed three days a week, but open Saturdays. Another sign says "Ring and Enter."

Inside is a throwback to 1970. Except for the magazines. But the furniture is grren. Shag rug. Dark wood walls. Yellow and blue country quilt hanging on the wall. There is a reception desk. No one is at it. There is no receptionist. There is also no hygenist. There is only this doctor, who is smiling and wearing slacks and a button down shirt, but the beard and the pony tail make me feel he might be growing pot in his basement. Which is fine by me, as long as he isn't smoking it before poking at my teeth with the pointy things.

I was actually really nervous the first time I went there. It was just us. He could have been a madmad. Then he found my FIRST EVER CAVITY and told me he could fix it on the spot... and I had all these visions of his hacking up my body with the 1975 drill that hung on the tool... holder... thingy. But he actually was really good about (almost) painlessly filling my tooth, and it was very, very quick.

My dentist never yells at me. He tells me not to brush too hard in one spot, but has never threatened me with extra costly and painful procedures - although I have by now seen other patients in his office, and I know he does procedures other than clean teeth. The whole appointment takes 20 minutes, from the time I walk into his office to the time I walk out, and that includes scheduling for next time.

The thing about my dentist is... he has no computer system. AT least not a good one. If I don't remember my appointment and I call up, he has to look through a book to find my name. And every single time I go he sends my insurance information to a huge list of wrong insurance companies - all who used to cover me, but no longer do. I know it's hard to keep track, but it gets really silly.

I need to pick a dentist for Nick soon. I'm looking for someone close by, and I know I'll be thrown once again into the land of receptionists and hygenists, which is fine for Nick. But I kind of like my dentist and the relaxed atmosphere. Until I have major tooth problems, and then I'll want the sterile guy with the newest equipment.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just Ice

One of the horriffic effects of the stomach bug we had last week was a very strong thirst. I couldn't stop myself from gulping at ginger ale even though I knew it would make me sick. But I was SO THIRSTY I just couldn't help it. When Steve was sick I carried cups of ide to the bedroom, but for some reason I couldn't get the icemaker to stop spitting ice out, and one or two cubes always ended up on the floor.

It was one of these that Nathan carried over to me. The look on his face was surprise. He handed it to me, so that I, too, could experience this coldness. "It's ice," I said. "You can eat it." And I tried to put a small sliver in his mouth. Nate would grin at me, because obviously putting that thing in his mouth was just SO FUNNY. Then he would lean forward and touch it with his toungue... and then pull back really fast! Ha! Best you tought I was going to do it that time, huh?

Incidentally, I have since discovered that he does the same thing with popsicles. But if Nick has one, you better have one out for Nate, too.