Sunday, May 31, 2009

7 Year Itch

A little over a month ago, I got a really bad case of poison ivy. I still have scars from the blisters and patches of dry skin. Maybe they'll never completely fade.

The seven-year-itch can refer to scabies or eczema. But it also commonly refers to the seventh year of a marriage, when couples used to re-evaluate their relationship, and either cheat or split up. According to one Wiki-Answer, this occurs much earlier than 7 years these days. Apparently people either rush into marriage or don't value it as they used to. (Interesting, considering how hard some people are trying to keep others from doing it at all.)

June 1st marks a full 7 years of marriage for me and Steve. Not only did we make it through the new and improved 2-year itch point, but here we are at the full 7 years. We're still building a life together, we have a home, and three wonderful boys. We are still keeping the promise that we made to each other. I think that's something to celebrate. We are worth celebrating.

I love you, Steve! Happy Anniversary!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Five Already

When I was eight, and my sister Anne-E was five, I sang her a song about the things I did when I was five. (At eight I still didn't understand that musicals were not real, and that an orchestra wouldn't swell up and carry us away with music and magically rhymed lyrics. This discovery would be made later, and brought with it much heartbreak.) In my improvised musical monologue I mentioned reading, camping in the backyard, playing on the swings, and probably a number of other things I have forgotten with the passage of time. But at eight I remembered them, and missed them enough to feel rather nostalgic about them.

If only the eight-year-old me had had any idea how heartbreaking and nostalgic it is watching your own child turn five.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas. May your year be magical.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We have a biting situation. I'm not saying who, but I'll just say that someone, a small someone, has been biting. We don't see it in action. We simply hear screams and crying and general fighting, and then later on two of the three boys will have oddly identical bite marks on their backs.

Tonight at bath I noticed bite marks and started doing my thing, chewing out the culprit and lecturing and beating my head against the tub wondering if my kids were EVER going to make it to adulthood... when Nicholas interrupted.

"Hey, Mom! Remember when Muno hit Plex in the head with a snowball?"

And I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I will Forget

Some things I know I'm going to forget to buy at the store tomorrow: pepper trash bags pull-ups bath soap for the boys bread pasta light bulbs cat litter juice boxes hard candy playing cards oxi-clean ant traps wasp spray granola bars...

I have to go make a better list now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Afterward

I was going to blog a post with the title: How To Sneak A 33-year-old Man Into Disneyworld. But I forgot to download the video Meg shot before she left. I'll have to work that one out later.

Winston and Meg came up for the weekend. It's always fun when they come up. Well, for me and the kids. I imagine that, for them, it's a bit boring. But they always get to play outside, and Winston hit a baseball around in our backyard, and it reminded me of when he was nine and did that kind of thing all the time. And then they cooked us dinner on the grill - chicken AND steak, AND guacamole AND margaritas AND awsome salads and green beans... and then we played some board games, which they purchased, and they were really fun - Apples to Apples is my new favorite game. And I still suck at Taboo, even though it's fun playing.

And then they left, later than they wanted to, I'm sure. And then I looked at my planner and saw how much was going on in the next couple of weeks - birthdays and class graduations and doctor's appointments... and now here I am, Memorial Day, sitting peacefully and awaiting the craziness to come.

By the way, everyone should come visit all the time, because we love it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lawn Care

Proof that we sometimes learn by watching.

Although Steve usually keeps his shirt ON.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Outside Time

Today is the first day we dragged out the kiddie pool and the sprinkler. Because I cut back all those prickly bushes, the blossoms on the trees are really overwhelming. A good breeze kept us cool and dried my laundry. Steve is cooking chicken on the grill. It was a marvelous day.

Yes, that's a hat on Nick's head.

Also, if you haven't checked out Larissa's blog in a while, please do. She has some really amazing and outstanding photographs of her trip to Africa that should not be missed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reading Basics

The kindergarten entry process has made me think a lot about Nicholas and reading.

I remember learning to read. We rented an RV and drove to Canada for our summer vacation, and I spent most of the trip on the floor of the moving vehicle with McGuffey's Reader. Not because anyone was making me, but because I wanted to. I asked my parents for the sounds, but otherwise I taught myself to read. I don't remember struggling at all. I was four.

I really, really, really wish something like this would happen to Nick. Instead, I have been weeding out the super simple books, the ones with just a few words repeated over and over again, and trying to get him to read them to me, to sound out the words. The problem is, Nathan usually jumps in with the answer before I can coax Nick into saying... anything.

Nick knows his letters. He can even tell me the sounds each letter makes. But by the time we get through three different sounds he forgets what the first sound was, and even when he says all three sounds together (Duh, Ahh, Guh) he has a hard time making them into a word (DOG).

Yesterday night Nicholas cried as I tried to get him to read "What Does George Like." He sobbed. "But I can't read and I don't want to! You read it to me!" And I felt my whole soul deflate. A hard time reading means a hard time at school, and I'm failing, I'm failing at the first academic thing I ever have to introduce him to, something important, something he needs, and something that brings me great joy each day of my life. How could this be?

So I made a deal with him. "I'll read it first, and then you can read it to me right after, OK?" The book is only six pages long. Each page has four words. And he did fine. He wasn't reading the words, saying "likes to ride a bike" instead of "likes riding a bike" and things like that. But the point is, HE DID IT.

And more importantly, at lunch he announced that HE would be reading "What Does George Like?" before nap. And he did. And he did it again tonight at bedtime. And each time he's getting more and more confident, and happier with the idea of picking up a book.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Subject

Today at dinner, Nicholas told us his favorite part of school was playing outside. He also liked doing puzzles. His least favorite subject was circle time. It's hard to sit and listen and not talk, guess. I know he has a hard time paying attention. All I could think of, though, was that this does not bode well for kindergarten.

Nathan then pitched in and told us that his favorite part of school was snack time. Especially when the have "ice crispies and bananas."

Why am I not surprised?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

I'm taking new pictures of the boys. I just need to take more and then get them off my camera. Until then, more Florida photos.

In the meantime I'll just say that Nicholas has had his kindergarten "screening." They meet with each child to ensure than the classrooms are balanced. But since I wasn't in the room I have no idea how he actually DID. And he is being a bit less than forthcoming.

And so begins two decades of parental badgering.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Different World

OK, actually, it's the same world... but... do I really need to explain?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I just got back from the Kindergarten Orientation.

I know, I know, school doesn't start until September. But trust me, all the orientations and meetings and testing is being done NOW.

It was scary. And very informative and enlightening and in many ways reassuring. I am now much more confident that there will actually BE a classroom for my child. I know he will have teachers, and I've met them, although I won't know which one until later this summer. I learned what they will be looking for in his screening test on Saturday, and how important (or not) it will be in the long run.

But he's going to be overwhelmed and shell shocked.

Up until now, all of the academics have been secondary to his emotional and social development. But in September he will have to get on a bus BY HIMSELF or else I will drive him to school and he will get out of the car BY HIMSELF, with me still IN THE CAR, and I am supposed to just DRIVE AWAY... And he will spend 2 hours and thirty minutes shaping letters out of sticks and clay, learning how to write each letter "the right way" which means every line has to be written in the right direction, reading books and discussing vocabulary and actually READING different words on his own, not to mention doing graphs and charts and collecting data and learning to count by fives or by twos... every second filled with something, every moment focused, and then he'll be bringing work HOME. HOMEWORK! IN KINDERGARTEN!

Which is actually cool, because it would be nice to see what's going on at school so we can help him out. And it's good to know that this school actually HAS a program, a curriculum, and isn't just making it up.

But it's also scary. Because there's a lot of information he's going to have to learn. There's a lot of paying attention. There's... so much.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green Foot... AGAIN

This year I gave myself the lofty goal of planting a vegetable garden. Not a huge vegetable garden, mind you. I'm not much of a gardener, so I only planted a couple of things. A few flowers (I know they aren't vegetables, but they're pretty), some tomatoes, and some beans. I pictured myself picking beans and tomatoes from neat rows of plants and setting them on the table for my family. Somehow this pleased me. It just seemed RIGHT.

Well, I planted the seeds. A couple of weeks ago. As directed on the packages. And so far... nothing. Well, the tomatoes have sprouted... something. I planted them indoors, as directed. It looks like three of the twenty four plants took. Which doesn't mean they'll live.

I ran out to check on the beans when I got back from Florida, expecting little green sprouts in the rows I planted them in. Instead the ground was bare. Only a few blades of grass and a leafy weed I know is not a bean (or a flower, for that matter) peeped through the rocky soil... until I saw a couple of beans sitting there, just on top of the dirt, little sprouts peeping out.

Now, I planted these things at least two inches down. I think what happened was that it rained, and the dirt washed away, and a lot of the beans washed away. I looked at the rock border, and it's almost buried in dirt. When I weeded, I took away the structure holding the dirt in place.

So now what's going to happen is that I'll get a nice, thick patch of beans mixed with flowers RIGHT at the FOOT of the back porch stairs, and the vegetable patch will be bare.

Why can't I just live on flat earth?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back, and Better than ever!

I'm back!

I had a wonderful time in Daytona Beach. There was sun, there was surf, there was steak... what more could a girl possibly ask for? I should probably mention the fact that I neglected to sleep in at all. I just got too excited about walking on the beach and seeing everybody.

But I was glad to get home. I missed my boys, all of them.

And guess what else is back?

The whole time I was in Daytona my legs were itching me, and I assumed that I had bug bites. Funny - that's what thought the FIRST time I got poison ivy. Not that I spent any time around the plants. I figure that I must have stepped in it that day I was out there in my flip flops - all seven minutes of it. And I wore my flip flops to Orlando. On the plane. I have a nice run of the rash riiiight where I scratch my calf with the toe of my shoe. Jamie was right! I shouldn't have scratched.

But this time it's not as bad. For one thing, I'm not worried about looking decent for a wedding. That time has past. Also, it's a lot less painful (so far) and not oozing at all (yet).

Please don't stop reading just because I'm gross.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day

One of the cool things about blogger is that it allows you to pre-post blog posts. I am writing this on Thursday, but plan for it to be published the night before Mother's Day. Because on Mother's Day, I will be in FLORIDA.


The only time I've ever left my kids was to go to the hospital to have another kid. Unless you count the time I went to Tennessee to see my Aunt Frances in the hospital, but I don't because that was not what you'd call a vacation. So you see, I feel a little odd.

It's not that I'm not looking forward to my time off. Because I am. And it's not that I don't think they'll be fine. Because they will. (At least I'm pretty sure they will.) I guess I'm just really aware of how much they are going to miss me. There will be tears. I'm sure.

But mostly I know that I will miss them ten times more.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tractor Ride

We have a large lawn, which we mow with a rider mower. When Steve mows, he gives the boys tractor rides on the mower (not while the mower is on.) The boys love the mower, and are more than a little excited by the John Deer logo.

You never know how a kid will react to actually riding on a tractor. Nick gets nervous, but he loves it. Nathan, our louder and more daring child, acts excited, but gets too nervous to ever actually get on. He shakes and then changes his mind. I expected Andy to start to cry once we got near the thing. After all, it is pretty loud. But Andy let me pass him over to his dad with no problem. In fact, the first thing he did was reach for the steering wheel. During the whole ride around the house he kept trying to drive, something neither of the other boys have ever done.

Go figure.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kindergarten Cop

Yesterday Evening there was a Welcome Party for next fall's kindergarten class. It was special, because this is the Very First kindergarten class the school has Ever had. Every child was invited, along with parents, to come and listen to a band play some songs and to be introduced to the teachers, and manybe meet some classmates.

It was a great idea. The only issue was... well, the huge gym full of four and five-year-olds. The band started playing, and right away kids started "dancing." In all of it's many forms. A few families in the front paid attention to the band, which was actually a great group of three white haired gentlemen in tie-dyed T's. But most of the other parents were chatting about kids, about the school, etc. Nick and a few boys from his class at school were running back and forth doing some version of tag/dance/karate. This took up the entire length of the gym. Meanwhile, a group of ten or twelve girls wearing pretty dresses were all holding hands and slowly walking around the perimiter of the gigantic room.

I looked around and started getting nervous. There were so many kids. The teachers all seemed realy nice. I just... I worry about Nick fitting in socially. His kindergarted won't have a recess time, so he won't get play time with other kids. Meanwhile, there are so many. He left his school frends and just started running around the room again and again. When the band stopped he stood there across the crowded room looking lost and confused until he saw me waving.

I thought about how nervous he must be, going to a new school, having to make new friends, being resposible for learning things... If I am nervous for him, I thought, he must be terrified of all the unknowns out there.

As we were walking back to the car he held my hand. "Did you have fun?" I asked. He nodded. But he was being very quiet. Then, finally, he said "Mom, can I ask a question?"

"Of course!" I almost shouted. "You can ask me anything!" I was sure he would start opening up and I was all ready to reassure him about school. I looked at him, all geared up. Would he ask about friends? Teachers? Circle time? Reading? What would it be?

"Mom, when we get our next car, can it be a Subaru?"

Yeah... so maybe I AM more worried than he is.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fashion Sense

I should have known better than to think a child of mine would have any instinct at all for fashion. I am very picky about what I will wear, choosing mostly solid or muted colors to avoid clashing, and avoiding anything too trendy. I usually love what people give me, but I don't like buying anything that might look foolish or be too risky, or that I might inadvertently pair with something inappropriate. This means I tend not to replace my favorites too much. I will wear the same four t-shirts and same three pairs of pants until they wear out, and then it will take me months to find a suitable replacement.

I have a closet full of clothes, I just can't seem to ever wear them.

My boys have definitely ideas about what they would like to wear. PJ's with boots. Shorts with sweaters. I tend to let them wear whatever they want, thinking that I really don't know much more about fashion than they do. And it makes getting dressed a lot easier, most of the time. Now that I have switched to summer clothes in the drawers, they insist on wearing shorts and flip flops even when it's barely fifty degrees out. And when it's eighty, I have to convince them that they do not need to wear the heavy winter coats I have yet to wash and put away.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Today was overcast, but mild enough to go out without a sweatshirt. I took the boys to school. I did the laundry and dried it outdoors. I did everything I set out to do. My poison ivy has stopped itching and is getting better. I spent time outdoors with the boys - time actually with them, not working in the yard while they played. The dandelions are taking over, and some of them have poofed, and Nick and Nate blew the white puffs into the breeze while Andy scrunched his lips and shoved the flower in my direction.

It was so wonderful.

So many things are happening soon. On Friday I leave for my cousin's wedding. My sister Emily is graduating from LAW school. And there's Nick's birthday, and parent-teacher conferences... but before that, there is tomorrow. And tomorrow, Linda is having surgery. It's really all I can think about right now. Linda means a lot to me. Her voice is one of the voices I hear guiding me, giving me advice and telling me what I should do when I have trouble figuring it out on my own. I wish her the best, and a speedy recovery.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Flea Market

Yesterday Steve and Lillian took the boys to a flea market. I am, for the most part, a supporter of flea markets and yard sales and second-hand stores. After all, it's the most basic form of recycling, right? Reuse items that can be reused instead of throwing them away. The only problem is, I spend most of my time trying to find ways to wade through the junk we already have. The last time we went to this particular flea market, Steve purchased a stuffed monkey in a space suit that shook and said a few phrases which were funny the first time I heard them.

The boys came back with armloads of 'new' toys. A stuffed Elmo (we only had three), a toy phone (we only had 36), a toy I know we already had two of because they came in a Burger King Kid's Meal, and a loud beeping talking robot. Steve was excited about the robot, which he acquired for only a dollar. The robot says "I am VoiceBot, your robot warrior. What is your command?" And ths boys shout a command, such as "Shoot Missles" or "Transform!" and the robot says "Please repeat command." And the boys shout "Transform!" and the robot says "Please repaet command." And this can go back and forth a few hundred times before the robot FREAKS OUT and beeps and blinks and honks and needs to be turned off so it will shut up. Sometimes the robot will actually move forward a few inches, and Nate can turn it into something that I think is supposed to be a vehicle. The boys LOVE the robot. "Isn't it great?" they kept asking me.

I guess I didn't act thrilled enough, because Nicholas finally came up to me and said "Mom, it's not just a transformer, it's a Robot Lawyer!"

Warrior, Lawyer.... I'm thinking a robot Lawyer might not be such a bad deal.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

I haven't been as faithful about posting as I have been in the past. Those of you that have ever given blogging a try know how hard it can be to come up with words for a post every day, or even every other day. And some days I just don't know what to say without complaining or repeating myself or sounding trite.

The truth is, a lot has been going on. Just not with me. With my faithful readers. My friends and my family. And their stories are not mine to talk about, even though I may think about them constantly.

So I write about what's going on. I have poison ivy. It sucks. It's gross. Next week I'm going to Florida for a wedding and I can't go dress shopping because my arm is leaking goo, and I don't have anything that doesn't make me look like a burn victim. And it's a little bit of a problem, because I don't think I can carry off full length gloves. But at the end of the day, I HAVE A RASH! Compared to what most of my readers are going through, it's as normal and everyday as not liking peas or stubbing my toe, and I wouldn't post about THOSE. I mean, I don't have cancer. I'm not about to have an operation. I haven't broken any bones. I have not had to be rushed to the hospital, nor have I had to care for anyone who has been. I am still living with my husband. I have not gotten pregnant. I haven't gotten married. I'm not about to graduate from law school. I am not even going on an African Safari, thank you very much. So what, exactly, do I have to say?

Well, I think what I want to say is that I am grateful for the things that I have, and that I think of everyone often. And I hope that everyone knows it.