Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well Crack My Barrel!

Tonight I took the boys to the Cracker Barrel for supper. Say what you will about the place, they have the best French Toast, and I was in the mood for French Toast. For supper. So there.

We were there for about five mnutes when this manager type guy walked up and said "How areyou folks tonight?" in a Southern accent. (Is having a southern accent a prerequisite for working there? Even in New England?) I was kind of afraid he was going to say something along the lines of "Your kids are too loud, and you must leave at once." But instead he told us a man who had seen us come in wanted to buy us dinner, because he thought we were a cute family, and he then placed a $20 bill on the table.

I have to tell you, in my whole life I have never had anyone I did not know buy me a meal before. I have had exactly two men I didn't know buy me drinks at a bars, but not before introdicing themselves, and I have to tell you I ended up marrying one of them.

I glanced back to try to get a look at the man, but the manager said he had left. I said "Thank you!" and then spent the whole night staring at the money. I didn't know what to do. I mean, it's spooky. Some stranger was paying for my meal and WHY? What did he WANT? What did he EXPECT? Should I just leave the bill on the table and ignore it? Should I use it as a generous tip?

And how sad is it that maybe, just maybe, someone in this world did a truly generous thing and offered to pay for dinner for a woman and her three small children, and that gesture is questioned by the recipient and all who hear the tale? Why can't a good deed simply be a good deed these days without people thinking it implies something sinister? What kind of a world is this really?

I watched my car to make sure no one was hanging around it. I came home and locked the doors. But I decided to take it as a gesture of goodwill. I took the money (our dinner was slightly more than that) and I left a good tip. I paid for our meal and I promised myself I would pay it forward. I would use the money to pay for someone else's meal one day, or pay for someone's toll at a tollbooth, or use it for the church collection this Sunday. Hey, maybe I'll do all three. Why not?

I mean... what do you think?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Multiple Thoughts


Andrew is fifteen months old. This is the longest I have gone without being pregnant since... well, since I first became pregnant over five years ago. And I am pretty much getting used to the idea that this is it - there will be no baby girl, no pink snugglies, not even a new blue snuggly in our home. We have three wonderful boys, they keep us busy and happy, and that is enough.

Maybe this decision of ours colors how I view the recent obsession with families with large numbers of children. In particular, I seem to be unable to go a day without hearing an update on the Octomom and the shenanigans surrounding her supersized family. You know the story - a single mother of six decides to undergo fertility treatments and ends up carrying and bearing octuplets. She now has no income and is a single mother of fourteen. Octomom has complained that people are hovering, waiting for her to make a mistake. And I have to admit that she's probably right. And I feel for her because no mother is perfect, every parent will make a mistake. If people are looking that hard, they will see her make a few. But mostly I wish the press would just drop it. Because the woman is obviously insane.

Because who the hell has fourteen children? I mean, she has six to begin with, who the hell wants seven? Getting pregnant with your seventh child is one thing, but she had to go to great lengths to make this happen. As someone with three small children, I can say that yes, there are days I want three more. But not at the same time. And more often than not I'm thinking the ones I have will drive me crazy. Or have already. And this woman has fourteen. Eight of them newborns.

These days large families seem to be the rage. There is the famous Duggar Family, who have 18 Kids and Counting. There is Jon and Kate Plus 8, where a set of twins is followed by sextuplets. And most recently, Table for 12, with two sets of twins and sextuplets. I have to admit, I haven't watched these shows. Not at length. I thought the Duggars were an oddity way back when they only had 14 kids, but now it's almost as though they keep going just so that they can have "the most." And their kids all have "J" names, so we know they're kinda nuts already. Jon and Kate lost me at the second episode I saw, when Kate was complaining that she didn't trust anyone else to clean her house because she was a neat freak. Because I wanted her to get over it. Forget it, I thought. Leave the counter - it will be there later. Your kids will be teenagers tomorrow. Besides, I have only two kids, and my couter has crumbs on it ALL THE TIME. Maybe if you didn't have TV cameras in your house, you'd be a little more laid back about it.

Despite the craziness depicted on these shows, the overall message seems to be that raising large numbers of children is possible. It's hard, but hey! So are getting your taxes done! These guys did it, and look at happy they all are! They have time to be worried about their kitchen counters! Look how happy the kids are! They did it, so can you! Which I think is almost irresponsible of them. Fertility treatments are sometimes a last resort for many couples trying to have children, so I don't really want to say anything negative about them. But it's very important that we don't start to romanticize sextuplets. Most of the time pregnancies like that are horribly complicated and they can have unhappy outcomes. Not to mention the fact that six infants crying WILL push you over the edge. I don't care how patient you are. And the Duggars may have their children one (or two) at a time, but there is simply no way a child in a family of 18 children can get the attention and care needed from the parents. Something will be lost. At that point it's closer to living in a child care facility.

But some people - people like, say, the Octomom, might then think that taking care of a large number of children will be cute, busy but profitable, and altogether doable. Is it? Possibly. Is it in any way recommended? Well...

Anyone who works in childcare knows that there is a legal adult: child ratio for any given age group based on the attention each child needs at each age. For infants, it was one adult for every three infants. Which means to take care of the octuplets, legally, three adults would be needed. For a daycare. And one would hope that at home a child would get more attention than at a daycare.

So... yeah. I think what I'm really doing is defending my decision to have only three children. I think what I'm saying is: I can have kid after kid, but this right now may be as much as I am able to handle - for now. And I think that's OK, even if I'm a little sad about my pink snugglies. And I also think the press may be beating up on the Octomom, and they should leave her alone. But that doesn't mean she's not insane, and in way over her empty head. And I think the multiple child TV shows may be a fad, but I hope they fade away soon because as delightful as these shows may be, and even though they might be effective birth control for some, I think they may give other people, the crazy or not as smart ones, the wrong idea.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

MIA for the moment

Meaning... I can't seem to find myself?

Please pardon my appearance, I'm just not myself lately. Headaches, pricker bushes, more headaches... I feel as though I'm recovering from something. Probably Winter. I'll be back posting soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raindrops are falling...

I applied to renew my passport, and it came back in the mail telling me my old passport had been canceled and that I had to apply using form DS-82 (or something) and so I filled out THAT form, and while gathering all the necessary documents to take in with the application I found my current passport, the one I got a couple of years ago, that I somehow blocked out of my mind altogether because I have no memory of getting it or using it or seeing it. Steve says that I'm probably now on some sort of special secret government list.

Yesterday we went shoe shopping, and the boys got summer shoes, and now they insist on wearing sandals ALL THE TIME, even with pyjamas.

I went out to work on the pricker bushes - that's right, it's that time of year, and this time I know what I'm doing - I have the gear, I have the tools, and I know the methods that work best. And we now have days that are warmer that 45 degrees. The kids are even great out there, even though they tend to get a little wet and muddy... I was making a good start, pulling out all those whippy prickly things, tugging them out of the TREES... and then it started raining. Just enough to make me think that the boys shouldn't be outside. I can see the spot I'm working on from the kitchen table... grrrr, pricker bushes!

And now, Nathan is rolling around on the floor singing "I love to Spell! s - p - e - i - llllllllllll!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not A Great Day

I didn't have such a great day. Nathan threw the biggest tantrum I have ever seen him have right after breakfast, and it lasted about two hours, right up until gymnastics class. I think the only reason he calmed down was because I told him he'd have to sit it out if he didn't.

Then I drove the kids to the mall to buy shoes. Only I flaked and drove to the wrong mall - the one without the shoe store in it. And by then Andy was sleeping, and we were getting closer to lunch, so I decided we'd go after nap. Nicholas was vocal about his unhappiness at that.

But before nap I remembered that Andy had a doctor's appointment. So I had to do that instead. Which is too bad because Nick's shoes have holes in them and the soles are coming off.

But once I decided I was having a bad day I gave myself a little break. I played Candy Land with the boys. I took a shower while I pretended they weren't jumping on my bed. I made an easy pasta supper. And things were pretty good.

Monday, March 23, 2009

GOOD NEWS!


My father was given the very generous gift of two tickets to WICKED. My mother's accident and the resulting broken and dislocated arm made it too difficult and painful for her to go. Guess who went instead? ME!!!!

I have been wanting to see WICKED forever. I actually went out and purchased the soundtrack, something I never do anymore. I read the book, which wasn't helpful, as even comparing it to the soundtrack made it obvious that the two were only loosely related. (Not knocking the book. I love the book, too. All three of them.)

It was wonderful! I loved it so much! It is smart and funny and beautiful and well done. I seriously had the time of my life. We had great seats, the sets were fantastic, the lighting, the effects... FLYING MONKEYS! I mean, how could a show not be great when it had flying monkeys?

The thing is, I don't think I ever would have seen it on my own. Why not? Well... I know many of you would scoff at this, but... WICKED came to Boston a couple of years ago. I looked into getting tickets, but they were so expensive! Seriously, over a hundred dollars to see a play - not great seats, either. I just couldn't justify the expense. I know that some people have the ability to see Broadway shows multiple times. And maybe my unwillingness to pay my way to see one even once speaks to my dedication to the arts, or lack thereof. Maybe if I cared about theatre more, or appreciated it more, I wouldn't give the cost a second thought. We could eat theatre, and live in the warmth it brings us.

After all, most of the shows that I hear about on Broadway are not original. I know, I'm far away and I'd be the first to admit I don't even try to keep up, but this is what I hear about. I loved West Side Story. I have no doubt the new production is marvelous. But I've seen it. The same goes for Guys and Dolls. I guess people would rather pay lots of money to see something they are more likely to like. So shows that are new and "untested" don't get as big an audience. So they don't do as well. So they are then less likely to get put on by the men with the money. Which means when I know there's a new show I haven't seen out there, and I have a good chance of loving it, I should just SEE IT. If I could only afford to.

I hate to sound as though I'm complaining. But I guess I am. Not about WICKED. I am so greatful for the chance to see it, and could not have enjoyed it more. I just wish I could see marvelous things more often, without feeling that I'm gambling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Give Me A Moment...

I know, I know, I was going to do a post about WICKED.

But last night, even though I was really really looking forward to a good night's sleep, I ended up in the Emergency Room. Nate hit his head, which only happens about 50 times a day, and this particular collision happened with the leg of our bear footstool, the physics of which completely escape me. But this whack left him with a nasty lump on his forehead, and when he started waking up and whimpering and crying at 10pm, he told me it was his head hurting him. Immediately images of Natasha Richardson flew through my head, as well as moments from my own head injury from long ago (stop laughing!). I waited it out for as long as I could, then I took him to the Hospital, images of CAT scans going through my head. Each time Nate coughed I expected him to start vomiting. But as we were pulling into the Emergency Room Parking he told me his ear hurt.

His EAR HURT?

HAD he told me this before we left I would have poured some Children's Motrin into the boy and tried to tough it out until Monday, when the appointment would have been a few moments and the co-pay only $20. But as it was almost midnight, and we were already AT the Emergency Room... well... I figured I'd rather look stupid and have a child that was healthy, right?

And the bump on his head was nothing. And his ear infection was rather bad, according to the doctor who looked in it for three tenths of a second before promising Nate a popsicle and rushing off, leaving me to then navigate the medications and paperwork and a nice cold popsicle at 2am in March. (Nathan expressed joy that it was red, Nick's favorite color, then told me he would leave it on his nightstand, so they could share it in the morning.)

My POINT is, I am TIRED and I can't remember what I was going to say about WICKED at the moment. I might tomorrow, because I know I really liked it, and I had SOMETHING TO SAY about shows and my passion for them and quality availability affordability enjoyability so... you know. I might actually feel up to the rant tomorrow.

Untl now I'm taking a nap and Andy is doing the heavy cleaning.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lists of NY Things


We were in New York for a couple of days. As you know, I am a compulsive list maker, so to summarize my trip, I have made a few handy dandy lists.

Things We/I Did In New York:
- finished 5 bottles of white wine between 4 people and regretted it
- went to the Disney Store AND FAO with the boys BY MYSELF, not to buy anything, just to see
- purchased $20 of Ugly Doll stuff and $20 of candy at FAO, including a giant Gummy Bear which made me think of that scene in Willy Wonka, so I didn't need much prompting by the short people
- saw WICKED, which I have been wanting to see FOREVER, and which was SO FANTASTIGORACAL I was carried away, this might need it's own post...
- saw Wall-E three (more) times
- saw Larry, who actually lives up here closer to us, but who happened to be down there
- saw my mother, who is going to have surgery to remove bone fragments and fix up her arm and elbow, which she damaged falling down the stairs.

Things We/I Didn't Get To Do:
- see Linda
- go to the zoo or the Statue of Liberty
- visit Anne-E and Jamie's place
- go to Zabar's
- see any of those other people I keep telling myself I'm going to get in touch with.... sigh, oh well.

Things I/We Forgot In NY:
- the bag with the juice and the 5 sip cups
- my keychain - lucky for me it had no keys on it, only 4 keychains, including a mini ugly doll.
- the book "The Elves And The Shoemaker."
- I'm sure there are other things, I just haven't noticed them yet

Things We/I Took Home That We Didn't Leave With:
- the book "White Lies"
- a pair of black boots identical to the brown ones I took from my mother's closet the last time
- a small Snoopy doll wearing a mask
- the Ugly Doll stuff we got at FAO


I' m always interested in feedback, so if you notice anything missing from any of these lists, please let me know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Crayons

To be fair, these crayons were passed out by a classmate, and they have Disney Princesses on them.

The other thing that's really cool about this video is Nate's attempt at making conversation.

video

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the leper-con

When I was a kid, St. Patrick's Day meant that there would be a lot of traffic, because of the parade, and that we'd probably be late for school. If we had it at all. That was about it. AS I got older it became a day to drink beer, or cider, but again, nothing huge.

Nicholas has taken to whimpering and crying on days that he has school, sometimes starting his protests the night before. He doesn't like school, doesn't want to go, wants to stay with me, etc.

Monday I went to pick him up and the first thing he asked was "am I coming to school tomorrow?" And I said no, because he doesn't come Tuesdays. And, much to my surprise, his face crumpled as though he were going to cry. "But it's St. Patrick's Day!" he said. "And I have to be here for the party and the Lepercon!"

I shrugged and said we'd celebrate at home.

In the car, Nicholas put on his brave face. "You know what?" he said. "The Lepercon will probably come to our house." Nick went on to explain that the Leprechaun stole into houses and made little messes, tipped over trash bins, left sparkly footprints and chocolate coins everywhere, and also left "sparkles in the toilet." I had a vague memory of his Nursery class celebrating this last year, but then I decided we had to get to the supermarket so that I could pick up more medicine for Andy, who's had a fever.

So, needless to say, the Leprechaun visited our home this year for the first time EVER, leaving chocolate coins in odd places, like the boys coat pockets, and in their toothpaste drawer. These chocolate coins should not at all be confused with ones sold for passover, even though many of them are Israeli coins. He might have also been making little messes, but in this house, how could one tell?

It was a hit with Nick, though, who is convinced a silly little elf has been leaving treats for him around the house.

And now, a video of the boys playing with crayons:

video

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Big Picture

I know I haven't been good at posting pictures lately. The truth is, I don't often take them, and then I let them sit on my camera for weeks. So I've handed over this responsibility to someone who seems a lot more comfortable with a camera than I do.


Sure, we haven't seen much of his work as of yet, but he's been wearing that thing around his neck for days at a stretch. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he's snapping shots left and right.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

retribution

Last night I went to dinner in Brookline for a friend's birthday. It was a good time, especially since I don't get out much without the boys. Thanks, Steve!

The place we went was wonderful! There was a sushi bar with sushi boats actually floating by. We got to take our shoes off and sit on the floor... fun! And yummy. Only when I got there I was the first one there. I then stood in the lobby and tried to remove my coat, only I was wearing my raincoat with the winter liner. Instead of coming right off, the liner turned insdies out, and then my cardigan came off. My hands were trapped inside the sleeves, and I was standing there with my raincoat on the floor, flapping my arms, in nothing but a tank top. It was a bit awkward. So when I went to the rest room later and stumbled in putting on my shoes, even though I had nothing stronger than ginger ale... well, my dreams of being a graceful adult quickly fled.

But I had a good time. ANd a good thing, too, because Andy has a fever and is a very unhappy baby today. Argh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not a Real Post

I didn't get around to getting the photos and videos off my camera and onto my computer. So instead I'll just leave you with a funny thing that happened today, and no, it wasn't my brother calling me up to tell me my mother had broken her arm and dislocated her shoulder (Go Mom!)

I know we all have moments of forgetfulness, of absent mindedness, of beach-brain-ness... but this time it wasn't me. No, tonight Steve was giving the boys a bath, and I went in at the very very end, just in time to see a very happy Andy, smile from ear to ear, get pulled out of the tub... his socks still on. That's right, Steve forgot to remove the baby's SOCKS! HA!

I'm making fun. I am. But really I'm just glad that this time it wasn't me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday the 12th - again

Today was just horrible. I threw fits. The kids threw fits. Tomorrow is bound to be better. Maybe I'll post something real.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Got My Vote!

Our town has March elections, mostly to vote on articles concerning re-zoning lots, so you'll get to vote on "Lot 100987 rezoning from Rural District to Neighborhood Business District" which is great, if you have any idea where the lot was, or what the difference in districts were, or what, exactly, is behind the change.

I always go to vote because I feel strongly that I need to get my voice out there, even if it's saying NO to spending an extra 600K to build a third lighted football stadium for the high school while my five-year-old will start kindergarten in a trailer classroom.

Still, voting is a pain. It's mind numbing, and time consuming, and there are times I wonder if it's worth it.

But I go, and will keep on showing up at these elections, because the Girl Scouts sell cookies there. I always try to bring cash so that I can meet the whopping $3.50 that each box costs these days. But I never have enough for two boxes. Today the boys insisted on "The Green Box" so we ended up with thin mints despite my talking up the Samoas.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Time In A Bottle

I know I have previously posted about Daylight Savings Time, the time change, how I don't understand it, and how I feel it is actually a device meant to torture those of us with small children. To a small child, an hour is a LONG time to wait for snack, nap, bed, or to wake up.

But this time around I noticed a few other things.

For one thing, we have too many clocks. While resetting them I realized that three of them are within four feet of each other. And I HAVE to set them ALL. Nothing is more irritating than a bunch of clocks all telling different times. And the one on the coffee maker HAS to be right.

But upstairs we have almost no clocks at all. There are two. Steve's alarm clock is by our bed, and he sets it ten minutes fast for reasons I cannot comprehend. So each time I glance at it I need to subtract ten minutes to find "real time." There is also a battery powered alarm clock in Andy's room which I placed there when I was breastfeeding. The batteries are going by now, so the clock is running slow. At this point it runs about a half hour behind, so I need to add thirty minutes to find "real time."

With the time change I was adding an hour. So I had to glance at Steve's clock and add an hour, then subtract ten minutes. Or in Andy's room add an hour and then another half hour. And last night I wasn't sure if Steve had reset his clock, so when Andy woke me up the five or six times, I didn't know if I was adding an hour and subtracting ten minutes or if I was just subtracting thirty minutes, and by the time I got to Andy's room I couldn't remember what the first clock said anyway.

All I know is that I was very glad I had set the clock on the coffee machine. The one with the timer. So that coffee is ready by the time I drag my body down the stairs, exhausted from doing math problems all night long.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Meow


Puck likes to hang out on the stairs. I'm finally getting around to painting this hallway, patching up the holes the previous tenants left in the wall. My hope is that I'll actually then be motivated enough to hang our own family photographs up when I'm through.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Artists


Last Monday we had a Snow Day. Instead of despairing, I let the kids stay in their PJ's all day, and dragged out the painting gear. It was Andrew's first time painting. He did all right, all things considered. This photograph was taken just about three seconds before he turned and painted my cookbooks blue. When he was done I kept finding blue paint on the counters, and I realized he had reached underneath his smock and smeared a thick layer of blue on his white PJ's, and he was calmly finger-painting the kitchen.

Painting falls into the same category as sledding: lots of prep time, 5 minutes of activity, lots of clean up.

Friday, March 06, 2009

How We Bowl

We've taken the boys bowling a couple of times. It's not the lighthearted outing one might suppose because 1 - it's not real bowling, it's done with teeny tiny balls and funny shaped pins, and 2 - It takes about 45 minutes for a ball Nate bowls to reach the pins, and at times, when the lanes are uneven, the balls gives up and starts making it's way back, as though it forgot what it was supposed to do.

For Christmas, someone gave Andy a bowling set, with six milk container pins and a "cow ball" which plays music and moos when you bowl it. Here Nate and Andy share their bowling secrets in individual videos.

Nathan:

video

Andrew:

video

Very effective!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hawk from a Handsaw

Andy knows I'm trying to get him to point out something. If he could only figure out what it was I was talking about...

video

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Happy Smile?

Or is he like a shark, grinning before he bites you?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Super Heroes


Someone gave us some Spiderman PJ's for Andy. Including little slippers. Someone was very excited about it - hint: it wasn't Andy.

So this picture shows Nick wearing PJ's two sizes too small. I didn't get any pictures of Nathan trying to shove his feet into the slippers.