Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolved: Not much, really...

Well, today is the last day of 2010.

Time flies, really. I can't believe I've been writing this blog for as long as I have, for one thing. Or that my children have grown so much - browse back to one of my earlier posts (not the first few, I didn't have pictures.)

I still remember New Year's 1999, Y2K, and feeling that the future was Here! And now I'm realizing that I know adults born after I graduated High School.

As an adult I started making New Year's Resolutions. Not a huge list I had no hope of living up to, but five small, easy-to-reach goals that would get me closer to becoming the person I want to be. Over the years I have included things like "Work out more often," "Get the kids to play outside more," and "Eat Less Meat." I haven't accomplished everything on my list, but I make an honest effort.

I don't think New Year's should be the only time to make resolutions. But it is a pretty good marker. You can't forget this time of year, and you can look back and see how far you have come, if at all.

It's also a time to look forward. A time to be optimistic. And resolutions really can say a lot about who we are. What do YOU want? What do you want to DO this year? Who do you want to become? Will you spend less money? Make more money? Eat less food? Swim more laps? Wear better clothes? Eat out more? Feed the hungry?

This year I will make more playdates for my kids.

This year I will become more flexible, both physically and mentally.

This year I will smile more and yell less.

This year I will take care of many of the things that need doing around the house. Like fixing holes in the walls and removing peeling wallpaper. And I will do it as ecologically minded as my budget allows.

Happy New Year, Everyone! May it bring great things to us all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Sticky Truth

This post contains some delicate information not everyone may be comfortable with. Specifically, I'm talking about my leg hair.

I have issues with my leg hair. I simply don't know what to do with it. When I shave it off I can still see the dark roots under my skin, and I get stubble within a day. Seriously, I have five o'clock shadow on my legs. So I usually prefer waxing. The trouble with waxing is that you have to wait for the hairs to be long enough. In the summer, this is inconvenient. In the winter, I just let it go until the hairs actually become TOO long and waxing would be too painful so I go back to shaving.

But yesterday I seized a few moments and sat down with my wax strips. I managed to wax one leg with no problems. And then I placed the first wax strip on my other leg... and the wax didn't come up.

See, to wax, you peel away two strips with wax sandwiched int he middle, place one on your leg, and yank it away, and the hairs are supposed to get caught in the wax and get yanked out. But in this case, the wax decided it liked my leg and separated from the strip, leaving me with a hair leg covered in wax.

I tried to lift it off with another strip, like getting gum off of something with more gum, but I just ended up with another layer of wax. And then another. And then, in some fit of denial, I tried waxing the spot next to my new wax clump, and ended up with a second waxy area on my leg.

So now I stopped. I had a leg covered in wax which would not come off.

I walked down the hall to the bathtub, and tried rinsing it off under warm water, but it didn't seem to work. I thought rubbing it might coax it off, but I just ended up with wax all over my fingers.

This is when I decided I needed to take a shower. But I still had on my sweater, and I didn't want to get wax all over it. I had wax on my fingers, remember? I also didn't want to touch my hair. The hair on my head. Because I like hair there. So getting undressed was a funny dance of shrugging, hopping, and flapping.

I ended up in the shower, scrubbing the wax off with generous applications of shampoo. It hurt. A lot. And then I sacrificed a razor blade to the waxy remnants of leg hair I had left.

So my real question is: why do women shave their legs? Who thought this up? My life would be so much simpler if I could just let them go.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going The Distance

Steve and I are in the process of planning a few trips this year. These trips involve getting on a plane and flying hundreds, maybe thousands of miles. When I think of travel, this is usually what I think of - planes, the TSA, and all the stupid "security" measures, not to mention the ways the airlines have started charging for checked bags, all while complaining loudly about carry-ons, and how that will effect me and my three children.

But that is only one kind of travel. A few times a year we also make trips in our car. We drive to NY, or Tennessee.

We had a snowstorm. We haven't gotten as much snow as New York, but our travel is still affected. Not just long range travel, such as hopping on a plane, but getting in a car. It is so slippery, we can't even drive to the store, or to the movies.

Just walking up the driveway to the mailbox is an adventure.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Recovery

After Christmas, there is a certain amount of time to be dedicated to recovery.

From what, you ask?

Well, first and foremost, for me, was lack of sleep. I've been stressed enough over the past week about gifts, but also about cleaning my house for Steve's family Christmas Eve. Every year they gather here and bring food and we do a gift swap. Why I stress about my home is beyond me - it's hardly ever THAT bad, and these people are family. But I do. I wash windows and mop the floors and wonder where the strange smell in the bathroom is coming from, and then it turns out I've done it too early and have to do it all over again the morning of...

Anyway, I hadn't been sleeping well, and the Nick woke everyone up at 4am Christmas morning. So I needed to catch up on some Zzzz's.

This morning I worked out. See, last week, with so many holiday concerts (see Andy's photo above) and gift swaps and extra little things to do, I just stopped. And I'd also been eating so, so much more than usual. Pumpkin bread and cookies and cupcakes and cheese, and other kinds of cheese, and then some nuts, and then more cheese, and then just one more cupcake before bed. And maybe another nibble of this pumpkin bread. Well, now there's just a little bit left, it would be silly to just leave that on the plate. Here, let me wash it down with this pitcher of cream.

Soooo.... yeah..... This morning I hopped back on the treadmill, and also the bathroom scale (ugh!) and we'll be getting back to what I call "regulated eating," or what normal people call "not eating cookies for breakfast."

Then there's the house.. Decorations are still up, but I have put away a lot of gifts already, including clothing. Today we found homes for new toys. Wrapping paper and boxes have been put to new use, recycled, or stored in my "box closet," which is where I put things like wrapping paper, empty picture frames, and Steve's dress shirts.

Slowly, we are getting back to normal. This snowstorm will not help, I'm sure. But still... we're getting there.

Friday, December 24, 2010


It's the day before Christmas!
The big day draws near!
We have run out of time!
It's already here!

I've been baking and cleaning
And shopping and wrapping
And singing and hanging
And watching and clapping.

With so many items on
My to-do list-it,
I'm count myself lucky
That I haven't missed it.

By all of the must-dos
I've been so distracted
And frantic, not happy
Is how I have acted.

It's easy to forget
That there is a reason
To all of the crazy things
We do this season.

It isn't to party
Or hang the most lights
Or give the most gifts
Or avoid the most fights.

This time of year
Is for Peace, Hope, and Joy,
For Goodwill to all,
Not the best, biggest toy.

To spend time with family
And our friends who are closest
Will make the best memories,
And this matters the mostest.

We all do out best to help
Those who have not,
We write out our check,
Drop our coins on the pot

And maybe we donate
A favorite old sweater
Or a toy, or canned food,
Or else answer a letter

To old Santa Clause
Who could use a hand
With his to-do list.
I'm sure you understand.

But all of this rushing
And running and driving
Can come to an end,
'Cause the day is arriving!

I wish you all Peace
And Love and Goodwill!
May your turkey be warm,
Your champagne have a chill.

If I could capture this feeling,
Place it under your tree
It's what I would give you,
Your present from me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teacher Gifts

Every year after Thanksgiving, it hits me: I need teacher gifts.

Teacher gifts are really tricky. I want to give them something that is nice, that tells the teacher they are appreciated, but that isn't ugly or tacky enough to be pitched into the trash right away. And also, I need 15 of them, so they need to be inexpensive and mass produced.

A couple of years ago I went with chocolate, but it was expensive, and not everyone wants or needs chocolate. Last year we made salt dough ornaments, which were easier to make and fun to decorate. They weren't perfection or anything, but they kids made them.

This year, I opted for food. I decided to make pumpkin bread and give that out. Lillian makes it every year, and it is a huge huge hit, especially in this house, where mysteriously Steve and the boys never seem to get enough. I can't think of who else might be gobbling it up. Maybe Frank? Anyway, I asked Lillian if she might share her pumpkin bread secret, and she obliged. She even let me print it out and attach it to the finished gift, to add a little something. "Here is some pumpkin bread and also the recipe."

On top of that, Lillian came by one day with little ceramic bread tins... you know, pans, the thing you bake the bread it. They were so cute, decorated with nutcrackers and snowmen and such. Christmassy like. She also brought by cute bags to put the finished product in, but I never was able to fit the finished loaf in a bag, so I went out and got transparent holiday wrap.

It was much more of a pain than I expected. Making one batch at a time, which is how much my oven will bake, it takes over an hour to bake. And almost 2 hours for the bigger loaves. Taking the loaves out for cooling, washing the bakeware, and then reassembling the loaves, including cutting the paper with the recipe out with fancy scissors and pasting it on colored construction paper to make it look nicer.... the curling ribbon.... it just took time. And I wouldn't let the kids help, because they would eat the bread.

Also, the finished product is heavier than I expected, and I am afraid the child presenting the gift will accidentally drop it and it will smash.

But it looks great. I mean, if you were a teacher, wouldn't this beat a mug?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Green: A Holiday Color

Here's a gift you can give me.

I read an article recently that stated this fact: the amount of trash produced by people increases by 25% over the holiday season.

I would believe it. I might even go so far as to say it doubles. Think of all of the gifts - the packaging, and the items they replace. Each new cell phone means an old one gets tossed. The same for cameras and computers. This doesn't count the actual wrapping paper, paper made for a one time use, to be torn and then stuffed into trash bags that weight less than one of my boots.

This isn't even getting into the food we prepare and throw away. The parties where we use paper plates, foil baking tins we can toss, and paper table cloths, all because we want to save ourselves the trouble of the clean up.

As you might know, I get a little crazy when it comes to our Earth. I worry about my impact on this planet, and genuinely do not understand people who casually use plastic water bottles or shrug off the amount of waste they make. I had a second blog about it, but I somehow started running out of things to say. That doesn't mean I have stopped trying to make progress, it just means I'm busy doing things other than write about it. I realize that sometimes the problem is so big, and it's easier to either choose to believe a solution will be found without your individual input, or that it somehow doesn't matter. And to you, it may not. You may be dead. But your grandchildren may suffer for it.

I have made it a practice not to purchase wrapping paper. (Santa is allowed one roll.) I use odd things, like leftover butcher paper, coloring book pages the kids have used, all taped together. Sometimes Santa assembles toys and leaves them under the tree with a ribbon! This is one of the ways I (and Santa) try to reduce waste. I re-use ribbons from everything. (I can remember Mom and Linda collecting ribbon off the floor after Christmas when I was a kid and rolling my eyes. How things have changed!)

Anyway, if you want to give me a gift this Holiday Season, please keep an eye on the things you are throwing away. Can it be reused? Recycled? Did you need it in the first place? Please make an effort to take a few extra steps to reduce. If you can't do it because it's the right thing to do, do it because you love me!

Merry Christmas, Planet Earth! This post was my gift to you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Too Smart For My Own Good

A few weeks ago, I ordered someone a Christmas Present.

I was kind of proud about this one. Not only was it one of the first gifts that I purchased, but it was for one of those people I never know what to get, usually one of the last people left on my list, someone totally impossible to shop for. I'm not mentioning any names.

I received delivery of the gift. I remember getting it. I remember opening it at my kitchen counter. And I remember thinking to my self that I should put it away, that I couldn't keep it in the kitchen until Christmas, because Christmas was still weeks away.

And two weeks ago I realized I hadn't wrapped the gift yet. And also that I had no idea where I put it.

I have looked in the three major places I usually stash gifts, searching each box, each bag, every pocket and every stack of papers. But I can't find it.

So I went back online, figuring I would purchase another one, only to find they were sold out. "Sold Out! More After Christmas!"

I'm really frustrated and angry, not to mention in a bit of a panic. I know it will turn up eventually, unless I threw it out somehow. But remember my engagement ring? I think it was missing for almost three months before I found it again. I need this much, much sooner than that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not Scary At All

Anyone else think Elf Yourself is getting old?



Well... Maybe.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Week Away

We only have another week.

One more week in which I anxiously await the delivery of gifts I have ordered. One week to bake pumpkin bread, wrap it up, and deliver it to dozens of teachers and mentors. One week left to wrap wrap wrap.

I really do love this season. Even though it makes me crazy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three Years Ago...

Happy Birthday To You!




Happy Birthday To You!





Happy Birthday, Dear Andrew....



Happy Birthday To You!


I know, I know. I can't believe it either.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Overload


Does this happen every year? No, not Christmas. I'm almost positive Christmas is an annual event.

I'm speaking about the insanity surrounding Christmas. I know I get wound up and start worrying about the gifts I'm giving people. I stress and fret because I want each gift to be the perfect one, and I fall short so, so often. It's funny, really, because I want each gift to be a symbol of how close we are, but not knowing what to get probably signifies that we simply aren't close at all. But in that case I want the gift to symbolize my intent to bridge the gap.

Anyway, on top of the gift search for my family, I do Holiday Cards. I know they are falling out of favor. I've read articles about how social networking sites have made them obsolete. Thanks to Facebook I not only can look at my haven't-seen-you-since-high-school's family vacation photos, I can hear about what my cousin is having for lunch. In this context, a Holiday Card with a posed photograph seems expensive and almost wasteful. But I like getting them, and so I send them, as a gesture to people I don't see very often that we have been thinking of them.

We put up decorations in the house. Modest ones, really. Just electric candles in the windows. A tree. And inexplicably a light up Winnie-The-Pooh on a sled the kids really love. As soon as the decorations go up, the kids start to crack. It's too much - the shopping, the boxes arriving in the mail that I refuse to open in front of them, the music everywhere...

And the schools are no help. They drill the holidays into the kids even worse than I do. There are parties and Holiday Concerts, all on different days from each other and different for each child. There are gift swaps, each requiring specific items at different times for different age ranges - Andy needs a wrapped book by Monday and Nate needs a wrapped puzzle by Friday, Nick needs a small gift on Friday, Nate's concert Friday, Andy's Party Monday, Nate's Party Wednesday, Nick needs a bigger gift Thursday, and his party is on that day...

And then I need teacher gifts, which I'll post about later, but involves baking. And the items can go stale, so I can't just make all fifteen of them at once... fifteen because each child has two teachers, but then I added up all piano teachers, gymnastics, karate, etc.

I'm nervous because I'm afraid I'm going to forget someone or not do something and then someone will feel bad. Someone will think I won't love them. Or don't care about something. And I do. I really do. Even though a more logical part of me, a part trying to make itself heard, keeps shouting that my in-laws will have a good time Christmas Eve even if I don't wash the kitchen floor.

The boys must be picking up on my stress. And added to the excitement of Christmas, the music, the decorations, the practicing Good King Wenceslas every single night... is it any wonder that Nathan can't look me in the eye because he can't keep still? And that I have to tell the boys six times to pick out pyjamas only to have Nick try and put Nate in a Time Out for touching his toys?

I wish I could turn Christmas off for a day. I wish there were a way to not do or see or expose my children to it, just for one day...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

La la la

It's Christmas Season and I'm busy. Too busy to think of anything to say. What am I doing, you ask?

Well.... surfing, of course.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Tree Festival

We've been going to this Christmas tree festival for the past few years. More and more of these are popping up. Try as I might, I can never quite explain it to people.

Lucky for me, Lillian took some pictures this year. Here are some of the best shots:


First of all, there are just so many trees.
There is a raffle for each tree, and everything that is on or under it. These trees range from the conservative,
to the absurd.

They do not need to be real trees.
And a few can be really fantastic.
The Wicked Tree

The Bonsai Tree:


Here's a tree grilling:


This guy is stealing a tree:


And look at this! What could land this little guy in the deertention center?


Oh, I see. Poor Gramma!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Here On The Farm

Never gets old... not really...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I like to post about things my friends and family do. If I have a friend with a blog, I'll post about it, and add a link. So if anyone I know is in a show, puts out an album, writes a book... well, I usually post about it. As long as I know about it, and the friend or family member responsible has not asked me not to.

My brother has a podcast.

Why haven't I mentioned this before, you ask? Especially when I was Soooooo excited when my cousin's singing went online, and when other people do shows, sing songs, read.... you know. Well... I'll tell you. Just give me a moment...

See... until a few days ago, I hadn't listened to it.

I was nervous. Talk radio makes me nervous. I either find it so boring I fall into a coma as I'm driving the car, or I find it so offensive my head explodes. See, I am a liberal. At least I consider myself a liberal. And many talk radio programs are not liberal. They are decidedly the opposite. And these programs, the ones find the most offensive and irritating and life threatening, these are the programs my brother listens to. And agrees with. Against what I find is common sense and in many cases common decency. Although I do admit, everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, no matter how incorrect or self-serving, which explains most people who live in The Middle, I guess.

Anyway... I hate politics. Which is why I have avoided my own brother's program. Until recently, because, after all, he is My Brother! And even if I don't agree with everything he says, I am so proud of everything he does. So... I listened. Because I love him.

What I'm trying to say is this: you should give this podcast a listen, if you haven't already. Listen to The Specialists - available on iTunes. It's entertaining! I am a convert. Not politically, no... but to this program. These guys are funny and entertaining and this wasn't at all the kind of show I thought I was trying to avoid. I feel almost ridiculous for having put it off. Give it a try, I tell you. What have you got to loose? Go, people, Go!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just Tired

I can't seem to stay asleep. I'm tired. I kind of lost my voice over Thanksgiving, and it hasn't ever really come back. I thought it was the dry heat, but the humidifier isn't helping. Also, I can fall asleep just fine, but near dawn I wake up in the pitch black, worried and stressed about Holiday things.

It isn't fair, really. I'm spending a lot of time and energy thinking about pumpkin bread instead of enjoying the season. Why can't I relax?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Crazy Bus


This is just an example of how juggling multiple projects from multiple people can make you crazy. Read all the way through, please.

Nick's school lunch program has an online system. This easily happens when schools turn to third party catering companies, those that specialize in schools and nursing homes, for their food needs. We get a printed calendar with the months food choices, so we can decide if we are buying or bringing lunch. And Nick can purchase a milk each day, which he does, for 40 cents.

I can easily go online and put money into an account instead of sending cash with Nick. This is good because neither Nick nor his teacher need be bothered with dealing with the money. But it does have a drawback. First of all, I get charged 30 cents for every ten dollars we put into the account, and then get charged interest by the credit card company because I need to use a credit card.

But there are more drawbacks. This morning I got around to looking through the papers Nick brought home from school yesterday and found a letter saying he owed 50 cents for his school lunches, and then adding a paragraph stating that there is an online system this year, oh negligent parent, and you can actually go online and keep an eye on what he's eating and how much is still in the account!

Only I can't. Because to actually get THIS privilege I would need to pay $10 a year, and I refuse, especially when I'm paying processing fees. I would leave an angry comment about this somewhere, but I can't, because there is no one to leave this to. The website is feedback free.

Anyway, today is waffle day, and Nick was looking forward to it, so I rushed to my laptop to quickly put some money into the account so he could eat lunch. My laptop was charging on the floor in my bedroom, not an ideal location, but I need my humidifier when the heat is on, so the usual outlet is taken.

So while I'm on the floor, trying to type in my credit card number, Nate and Andy come running in, half dressed, to bother me about toys for show and tell (Nate's letter of the week is K, why can't he bring his Krocodile Kite?). Also, Andy's eyes are red for no good reason, and he does not want to go to school. But they see a big cardboard box which used to hold something from Santa, but the contents of which has already been assembled and hidden away. It's empty but for a small load of styrofoam peanuts, which I was saving so that Nick could build the snowman he has to make for homework, but is late turning in to school.

The boys see this box of white stuff, and immediately start shaking it. I am not looking at them, I'm looking at my laptop and my credit card, crouched on the floor. And suddenly the cardboard box with the styrofoam peanuts knocks into my huge oversized coffee mug and coffee flies onto the rug, my running shoes, and my laptop.

I start screaming, thinking about how my laptop is ruined (it's fine), how I need to clean up the spill, how I need to start all over entering the information for Nick's school lunch, and how we should already be putting coats on because Nick is going to miss the bus.

The boys are terrified. Nate still needs a show and tell item that begins with K and is not a kite. Andy still has no shoes on, and steam is coming out of my ears. My morning coffee is seeping into my rug.

That's how MY day is going. Yours?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

More R & R

OK, so you know the last post I blogged? Or Blog post I posted? Or.... I dunno, I've been doing this for years, but I still don't know the right terminology... Anyway.... MY LAST POST...

I posted Rachel and The Reindeerz singing Child of Winter. For those of you who didn't recognize her or have never met her, Rachel is my cousin, Rachel. And she obviously rocks.

AND, you can now actually PURCHASE Rachel and The Reindeerz on iTunes! How exciting is that? For me, I mean. And obviously also for Rachel, too.

My point is, everyone should go download this right now. It's less than a dollar, and the song is really good. It's a pop Christmas song, nostalgic and happy and you haven't heard it a billion times yet. But you can, if you buy it RIGHT NOW! So what are you waiting for?

Also, I should probably drink less coffee.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Reindeerz

If you are a member of my family and have not yet watched this video, then do it. The beautiful young lady singing should be very familiar to you.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Coming Clean

I know, I haven't been posting anything "real" or worth a darn over the last few days. I'm sorry. See, the truth is, I'm running around all hectic.

First of all, I'm trying to finish my holiday shopping. And it's difficult. Some people I have covered, but others, you are just difficult people. And you'll know who you are. The same people every year get the same old silly socks and t-shirts and mugs with kitties on them.

I picked up mittens off the giving tree at the library, thinking I could buy a few things for people who needed them. I mean, these are everyday items. Like "Socks" or "Pants" and I feel a little awful because these are items that I might put off buying, but not because I can't afford them. So I figure I'll get them for people who need them, right? Only no, not really, because every single mitten seems to have contradictory information. Like it's for a 7-year old girl who wears a size 14 pant. Maybe she'll grow into them? Or a 13 year old girl who would like a size 9 pant. As though this exists, because I only ever find even sizes, so what do I do then?

And on top of all that, my home is sprinkled with toys. The boys pull everything out, put nothing back, and then act surprised and cry and scream when I insist on them cleaning things up. "Time to clean up!" I say. "Not Fair!" "It was ANDY!" "CLEAN UP, NATHAN!" "WHAAAAAAAA!" I have good reason to just throw it all away and start from scratch. My throat hurts from screaming back.

Anyway, here's another link for Hanukkah. It made me laugh. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Noel

Today we are visiting some pre-decorated Christmas trees.

Then I shall take Nathan to a birthday party.

Then we will begin decorating our little gingerbread houses.

My goal is to keep the humor and the wonder in the month of December. Without eating too many cookies.

Friday, December 03, 2010

8 crazy Nights

Last year I made a big deal of Christmas on this blog. At least I think I did. I remember posting links to songs, books, all sorts of things.

But this year I'm behind on everything. My shopping isn't even half done. I haven't started my holiday cards. And beyond the annual letter to Santa and the holiday-ish background, this blog has been Holiday free.

Did you know Adam Sandler grew up in a city not too far from where I live? Happy Hanukka!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Panic

Yesterday was the first Library Story Hour of this session. When signing up, I changed our time from Thursday mornings to Wednesday afternoons because I wanted a free morning and over-scheduled Wednesday afternoons. So I was not as familiar with the group of mothers clustered around the children's room tables.

The conversation hovered around holiday shopping. a couple of the women spoke about what they did on Black Friday. They talked about being there in the middle of the night, standing in long lines to get ipods, shopping, finding better prices elsewhere, and returning items to save a few bucks. During the conversation, one woman was doing internet research and finding flyers they could price check and price match with.

I felt like an anthropologist observing a foreign culture. It's not that I am not for saving a few dollars. In fact, Steve thinks I'm downright cheap because I refuse to buy things that I don't think are absolutely necessary. Like new pants. But I don't think twice about spending on organic foods or trips to Disney World, so I know he's wrong. I'll meet you in Orlando. I'll be the one in the burlap sack.

Seriously, though, the conversation made me uncomfortable. I like to think it's because I think Christmas is about more than just things, and that I have risen to a higher state of spritual holiday-ness, but I may be giving myself too much credit. More likely it's because I don't buy the things that these ladies are buying. Our boys are lucky enough to have a lot of relatives and usually get more gifts than is healthy anyway, so the pressure is off. One toy per boy is good. And we are also lucky enough to be able to afford these things without much stress.

But also, I would gladly pay and extra five bucks for an item if it means I will not have to stand in a long line or stay up late for it. Or squeeze in past or with fellow holiday shoppers who are grabby and as stressed as I am.

And then I had last night's dream.

I was driving to the store, and it was early, just when the store opened. It wasn't too crowded, but the shelves were almost empty. There was nothing left! I was too late. And on top of it all, the one thing I was going to get Andy turned out to be the size of our kitchen. It was huge.

So instead of running, I'm going shopping this morning. Running to the store. To buy stuff.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Holiday Words

Nick brought home a class assignment this afternoon that had me rolling on the floor. The title was "Top Ten Holiday Words" and there were lines underneath to write the words on.

Now, quickly, without reading ahead, what are your top ten holiday words?

I'll bet you had something like "lights" or "gifts" or "tree" or "music." Maybe something along those lines? Because, you know, it's the holidays, and these things are floating all around to the point that we need to wave them away to see our own faces.

Well, here's what Nick wrote, along with some sort of translation. Try and picture it with each line of text reaching the edge of the page and the letters trailing downwards and running into each other.

CANDL (Candle - I'm good with this.)
MARE KOREMIS (Merry Christmas)
HAPPE VAENTNSDAY (Happy Valentine's Day)
HAPPE HOUWEN (Happy Halloween)
HAPPE KLUMBES DAY (Happy Columbus Day)
HAPPE LEPRCONS DAY (Happy Leprechaun's Day - The New St. Patrick's Day)
HAPPE THAGKGIVIG

I hope you understand why I think this is funny. It's not the spelling. It's the actual words he chose. In combination with the spelling. Also, Klumbes day beat out Thagkgivig

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Parade

So we went to New York for Thanksgiving.

One of the many perks is that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade now goes right by the apartment. So we got to watch it from indoors.

This is what you would see if you walked into the room:



And this is what they are looking at:



But there are a few thing you don't even have to look down for:



Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Feed Me

Puck is always ready for supper.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nap

I have officially stopped trying to get Nick to nap, ever. Unless he is ill or woke up at 4am.

Because Nick refuses to sleep, and he manages to keep his brothers awake, so if I do, on occasion, get the idea to try and get him to rest, no one will sleep at all.

Nathan is also growing out of his nap. More often than not I will send him to play, sometimes making him wait until Andy has fallen asleep, and sometimes not even waiting for that.

Andy will sleep. But he is very aware that he doesn't HAVE to. He wants to be up playing, like his brothers. He wants to be outdoors before it gets too dark. So he fights it.

He does not get out of the bed. No. Instead he wriggles and waves his arms and talks and turns around.

Sometimes, in an effort to model behavior and lead by example, I will put down my book, close my eyes, and stay very still. But the problem is I will fall asleep. I can hear the boys whispering and talking to themselves, but I am falling asleep.

Now, I do not want to be asleep. The days of midnight feedings are long gone. I get enough sleep at night. I have things I need to do during the day, important things such as folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher or taking those presents I purchased for Christmas out of the car while the kids are not looking. I can't fritter my time away relaxing and waiting for small boys to sleep, let alone dream the day away myself. But I am the one falling asleep, and the boys are the ones in perpetual motion to avoid unconsciousness.

If I give up and leave the bed, Andy does not sleep. If he does not sleep, Andy is fine until about 4pm, when he begins to cry. The littlest thing sets him off - the wrong cup at dinner, his brother playing with a toy that Andy wants to play with, someone else choosing the TV show to watch.... it doesn't matter. Andy can tantrum with the best of them, and there is no talking him out of it. He can't be reasoned with and refuses comfort. Because he is so tired. So, so very tired.

Putting him to bed seems the only alternative, but it's usually a good 2 hours before his bedtime. And I do not enjoy 4am.

I'm going on this way so you will understand: I am now scheduling a nap for myself each day. No. I fall asleep by accident while trying to avoid chaos.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let Us Give Thanks

It is Thanksgiving.

This is the day I thank the universe for all that I have. I am grateful for my family, for my boys and for my husband. I am thankful for our home and the warmth it gives. I am thankful for our furnace.
I am thankful for the food we eat. I am thankful for farmers, especially those who promote natural and organic farming, and those who do not use antibiotics in their feed.
I am thankful for my church and the people in it, for our library and the librarians who are so good to my boys, and to the schools my children go to. I am thankful that the boys love going to all three of these places.
I am thankful that my boys are being given the opportunity to learn. I am thankful for the internet. I am thankful for Glee. I am thankful for good books and inexpensive red wine and music that takes me by surprise.
I am thankful for our car, that we can afford to buy gas, and that we have places to go if a huge storm hits.
I am thankful we have not had a huge storm, an earthquake, a zombie infestation, or been hit my a meteor.
I am thankful for so many things I do not have time to list them all. Be thankful for little boy naps - that's the only reason this post exists in the first place.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Almost Ready

Whenever we are leaving for a long weekend, things follow a familiar pattern.

At first I am confident that all will go smoothly. I mean, I plan my chores and activities down to the last detail, so it shouldn't be too hard. I just need to find time to pack our bags before we leave.

A couple of days before we are scheduled to leave, I realize that hampers are full, drawers are empty, and that each person will need five clean changes of clothing unless we plan on doing laundry. Not including items to be worn during the days we are still at home. I begin doing twice as much laundry and start setting aside clothes I think we should bring.

I realize that there are a few things I should take care of before we leave, such as taking out the trash, the compost, and probably clearing out the hallway stacked with empty suitcases, summer beach towels I haven't stored yet, and brown boxes from UPS that Santa sent early.

I then realize there are a few jobs I do on days we will be gone that should be done before we leave, such as paying the bills, so we don't get late fees, and so the lady who takes care of our pets won't be tempted to sift through our credit card bills. And changing the cat box, because I am not cruel.

At this point, one of the boys will start throwing up or get a fever higher than 101, adding the worry that we might have to cancel.

And suddenly we have 24 hours before we leave, and I am frantic, trying to pack and wax my legs at the same time, throwing things into our bag as I mop the coffee stains off the kitchen floor (so the dog lady won't think we are as sloppy as we really are) and wash another load of vomity sheets, insisting that it's all just a fluke and he'll be better in a couple of hours.

When we leave I realize that I am already low on sleep, that I forgot to pack underwear for two of the boys, that I left a load of wet wash in the washer, and that the kids somehow managed to smuggle an entire bag of legos into the car. Also, the sick child is now well, but the other two will get ill just as we arrive, or during the last stretch of traffic.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

House Keeping Rule #35

All items shall be inside out when removed from the hamper, and mysteriously inside out again when removed from the drier.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Click it

Halfway to church when a voice from the backseat pipes up, "So, I guess nobody's going to buckle my seatbelt?"

Ugh.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's Always Something

So we got Nathan a new coat. And I was silly enough to think that was it, we were all set for winter, because I was sure Nate could still squeeze into the red snowpants, just for one more season.

I was also sure the boots we had were still good.

But for some reason, Nick insists the size 12 boots are too tight, and Nate insists the size 11 boots are too tight.

Nate can wear the size 12 boots.

I guess we need to get Nick some boots.

Before I do I guess I should get Andy to try on the size 9 Thomas boots we've had since Nick was 18 months old. Just to make sure.

And while we're at it, it would probably be wise to have Nate try on those size 4 snowpants. Just to make sure. And Andy should try on the size 3. And Nick can and will fit into the size 6/7 snowpants which were so so so big on him last year I had to roll up the cuffs to his knees.

Someone needs to invent clothing that grows with the child. Durable clothing that grows with the child. And that is not so ugly I want to scream. Something cute. With, like, rocket ships or snowflakes on it or something, in a color a normal human being would wear.

I'm going to drink more coffee now, and then keep throwing away random objects I find on the floor.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Weekend Is Here

There is so much to do over the weekend, so many possibly events, that I have become paralyzed. Instead, we will end up sitting at home, doing nothing.

But I think that could be OK. Next weekend is going to be crazy busy, so we might as well save up some excitement.

Right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Santa

Santa, this is the first year I felt pressured to send you a letter before Thanksgiving. It seems the season begins earlier each year, but here we are, the songs on the radio, the merchandise on the shelves, and more catalogs arriving daily. If left up to me, I would leave it until Saturday after Thanksgiving. Apparently this year you would like to get a head start. I understand. Gift giving can be a challenge. And so, our yearly letter to you, letting you know just what we all need.

First The Boys:
(If you will let me know what you are giving the boys, I will try and update this list, crossing out or noting when a specific item is purchased by any one of Santa's Elves.)

The boys have enough toys. They really do not need anything else, nor do we have room for anything else in the house. The best gift you can give them is truly the gift of your time. Take them somewhere - the zoo, the movies, to a special museum, and let them know it is your gift to them. Spending time with you, um, Santa, is what is most important and will create special memories that will last forever. (Bonus - this can double as a gift to Me and Steve if you give us enough time to plan a special outing of our own!)

The boys do need clothing, specifically pants, and their sizes are listed below. There is a trickle-down theory in effect here: Nick and Nate need clothes more than Andy, who has lots of hand-me-downs, but the pants wear out very quickly because of the knee-hole phenomenon. They love PJ's but don't need them (Andy has so many he'll never wear them all).

If you would like to contribute to their bank accounts, I can arrange it, and it will be much appreciated later on.

Finally, if you are stuck with the idea that you absolutely MUST get the boys something, I suggest that you consider a book, as they all love books. Art supplies are good, but please no crayons or finger paints - regular paints would be great as we have just run out. I would ask that you avoid stuffed animals and anything with many small parts or pieces, or anything so large we need to put on an extra room in the house. Also, you may come over to help the boys pick up the toys any time you would like.

The suggestions below are merely suggestions, not requirements. In other words, Mom - I mean Santa - Don't go out and buy everything on the list. If they get nothing on it, they will survive and be well. I have put things on it they ave asked for. That is all.

Nicholas - Age 6
Pants - 5 going on 6, or 6 slim.
Shirt - 6 or small boys regular
shoes - size 11 1/2 or 12
Asking for : Games for his DS (specifically a Mario one), A Zhu Zhu Pet (Regular or Kung Zhu), and Pokemon cards.
Likes: Bakugan, zoobles, zhu zhu pets, video games

Nathan - Age 5 ( on Jan. 16)
Pants - 4 going on 5
Shirt - 5 or small boys regular
shoes - 11
Asking for: Trio blocks (we have some, he wants more), This Human Body,
Likes: Dragons, Human Anatomy, Books, anything anyone else is into.

Andrew - Age 3 ( on Dec. 17)
Pants - 3
Shirt - 3
Shoes - 9
Asking for: Thomas Take Along Sets (not the roundhouse, or knapford station),
Likes: Trains, Toy Story

Would Do For All Three (meaning they have all asked for it, but no family should have more than one / expensive) :
Stinky The Trash Truck
Bigfoot
Criss Cross Crash


Steve:
Steve is always tough to shop for. I struggle with it myself. But he is very important to me, so here are a few clues / ideas. He has a boat, which he likes, so a gift certificate to West Marine might be useful. He might also like a gift certificate to New Egg. If you want his sizes, I'll find out for you, but I just don't really know. Maybe itunes or barnes and noble gift cards? He has an ipad and likes to read books on it. I'll add more things when / if they come to mind.


And Finally, Moi:
Shirt - small / medium depending on the cut.
pants - size 6 for short people (is this petite? I'm not sure.)
shoes - 8

I would like... oh, anything really. I'll give you some ideas, but I'm telling you, if I get nothing but socks and a chocolate Santa, I'll be happy. But there better be a chocolate Santa.

I really enjoyed the soaps and shampoos I got last year, especially the natural / organic ones. I need a strap or clip for my iPod nano, so I don't have to hold it when I run. I would use a gift certificate to iTunes, but don't tell Steve. I could really use some picture frames, especially for larger sized photographs, and they don't have to be expensive. I like all kinds of chocolate, but mostly milk chocolate. I love Diet Dr. Pepper and never buy it. I could always use new clothing (ooo, a sweater!) , and appreciate everyone else's taste in style (because I have never really had any), but specifically these pants, or this shirt, or this shirt, or these tights. I like Athleta (I know!) and Acacia. I could use some workout stuff, like a a big ball, or some yoga DVDs. I also really like things people make or draw or bake, so cookies, drawings, bath salts, bookmarks, go for it!

That is all for now, Santa. I know, it's a lot to take in. You can just ignore this letter if it makes things easier, because there are no mistakes here. Thank you for your time and your patience. And Merry Merry Christmas.

Very, very early.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teacher Teacher

I had Nick's Parent / Teacher meeting the other day.

I was nervous, because of all the stressing out I've done about Nick and school. But I told the teacher, and thought I would announce to the world at large, that I was and am so, so glad that Nick is in this class this year. Taking an extra year before first grade is the best thing for him, and he is thriving in the classroom.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Angry Birds

I have choir rehearsal before services on Sunday mornings, and the kids hang out with a number of other church kids during this time. One of them is a teenager who happens to live up the street from us, named Courtney.

Courtney has a cell phone that plays games. And in an effort to please my children and perhaps even get them to leave her alone for a moment, she lets them play some of the games.

One day, after church, Nicholas said "Mom, you HAVE to get Angry Birds! It's the best game!" And I seriously had no idea what he was talking about. But not too long afterwards I was browing the apps for my iPad and I found the free version of the game. So I got it - I mean, it's free, what's the harm? Right?

I could not stop playing this game. I didn't want to fold laundry or watch my kids do gymnastics, I wanted to play this game instead.

See, it's about these pigs that steal the eggs that belong to these birds. So the birds then get angry. And attack the pigs by hurling themselves at them with a giant slingshot. Only the pigs are smart and able to build fortresses out of wood and ice and stone. And they hide in the fortresses, and you have to aim the birds just right so as to break through in just the right way.

Yes, I know, it's like it was created by a bunch of people doing madlibs. But still, it's a very addicting and absorbing game. For me. Steve never liked it.

So when I finished all the free levels, I spent the five dollars to buy the full version.

I've gotten over the initial draw. I play the game for a few minutes when Steve picks the TV program and I don't need or want to give it my full attention. But Nick still has not gotten over this game. In fact, even when he isn't begging me for the iPad, he and his brothers play Angry Birds, the live version, which involves a lot of running around and flinging of small objects. Sometimes, when they get tired of that, they play Angry Pigs, which I think must be the second part, when the pigs rise in force and re-attack.

Anyway, the music is really irritating.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Finished My Homework!

All Thanksgiving school projects have now been completed and turned in.

And that is something I am thankful for.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Warm Days

The mornings are still chilly, but the days have been warming up. I practically push the kids out the door to play, just so they can be out of the house as much as they can while they still won't freeze.

Nathan's winter coat broke. It was just the zipper, but as I have never put in a zipper and it takes me three months to get to any sewing project, I decided we would buy him a new one. It was Nate's first new jacket, all other having been passed down from Nick. But as Nick's jacket is still a size too big for HIM, this time Nate would get his own.

He and Steve worked together and picked out a nice puffy black and green one. Nate was very satisfied.

He was so satisfied, in fact, that he wore the coat are refused to take it off. He was playing his computer games in it at 5pm, even though it was 65 degrees in the house and he must have been broiling.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nobody Panic

Last night we finally were able to go out for my birthday dinner.

See, we were originally going to go out Monday, my actual birthday, but then Nick came home with a headache and we decided it wasn't worth torturing him or ourselves by expecting good behavior.

I've been wanting to go to this place for some time. It's a Japanese Hibachi place, but has wonderful sushi and lunch options, kid sized hibachi options, and also has killer Mai Tais. Ask me how I know.

Anyway, the kid were excited. I knew this because once we sat down Nate explained to Andy about fifty times that they were going to cook the food ON THE TABLE! RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!

This distracted Andy from the fact that there were other people sitting with us, a family of three. When they first sat down, Andrew leaned toward them and shouted "Hey! We're sitting here!"

The first thing that the cook did was to squirt oil all over the hot stove and then ignite it, causing the flames to roar and everyone to gasp.

Except Andrew, who covered his face and started whimpering, "Mom? Mom? Mom?" As in "Fix it! Aren't you going to DO anything? Save me!"

I leaned over and rubbed his back. "It's OK," I said. "It's going away, see?"

At which point Andy looked up, saw the flames gone, and announced very loudly, for anyone else in the establishment that might still be worried, "It's OK, Everyone! It's just fire!"

Yes, yes. Nobody panic. It's only fire. Have a Mai Tai.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting Caught Up

So... I have started letting things slide.

It started last Monday, which is my usual day to clean the house. Only I didn't get the chance to really clean the house because I went running in the morning before volunteering at the Library, so I just did a quick job in the afternoon.

Then Steve cleaned out the boat, bringing home a number of sheets and blankets which he claimed were fine, but smelled like boat to me. And to me, just so you know, the boat smells like a combination of antifreeze and the head, and it is not a pleasant scent. So I had a couple of extra loads of wash, which I kind of let sit there.

And then the next Monday was my birthday. And besides being very busy again, it was my birthday, and I just was not motivated to to a lot of scrubbing or folding or putting away.

So today is Thursday. I'm behind on my blog posts (I usually have a couple written ahead of time.) The house is messy and cluttered. I really need to wash the kitchen floor. The Halloween things are still out. I have laundry laundry laundry and pet hair pet hair pet hair everywhere. But the worst of it is the clutter. Sheets of paper, school projects, little toys, pencils, a cheez-it box, yarn, crayons... little things sitting there, every single tiny item belonging somewhere else. I have to push things aside to put down my laptop or make a sandwich.

The things is, I have no idea when I will have the time or the will to push through and make this place livable again. It has to be before Christmas, though. People may be coming over. They will expect me to move the laundry baskets from the dining room chairs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leftover Candy


We still have lots and lots of candy leftover.

So here's a candid of Nate on Halloween. Lighting by Nick.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Early Thanks

I thought I was done with homework.

I mean, I was prepared, and still am prepared, to do my part in researching DNA and reacquainting myself with algebraic equations once my children are grown, I am thankful already for the blessed internet. And I consider myself not too shabby when it comes to reading flashcards and bringing in the right show-and-tell item that begins with the correct letter-of-the-week. But homework in preschool should be simple.

I have three Thanksgiving homework assignments. All three are, individually, fairly simple and heartfelt. But collectively, they are torture.

Once homework assignment consists in writing a "Thankful Book" about the things we are thankful for. We are, as a family, to come up with three things to be thankful for, write a sentence about each one, and illustrate. The second assignment consists of making a Thanksgiving collage, one that might include photos of our family, or of any happy family, or of pilgrims or turkeys or cornucopias. We are to glue these photos to a sheet of brown construction paper so that they can laminate them and make them into place mats, which will be used on the day of the thanksgiving feast (which we will not be there for.) The final assignment consists of finding photographs or images of a favorite food, a favorite toy a favorite pet or animal, and a place we are thankful for.

I thought I had it under control. I put all the assignments in one place, and this afternoon I sat the boys down and announced we were going to have a special homework time.

And then I realized I needed some thanksgiving pictures. And food pictures. And a few of pilgrims. Where the heck do I go to get pilgrim pictures? I started flipping through the magazines we had sitting around, but unless I could convince the preschool teachers that our family valued and were extremely thankful for running pants, plastic Santa ornaments, and raw steak, we were out of luck.

So... class dismissed.

I am banking on two things. 1 - that we will be getting more mail in the next few days with photos of thanksgiving items on them. 2 - well.... ok, really I just have the first thing. But at least it's something.

The point is, I feel as though I have a lot of homework. Not hard homework, but busy homework.

The one bright side is, we did have a short conversation about things that we were thankful for. After being thankful for each other, individually and in detail, and then our extended family and our pets, and then for our house and our schools and our church, we talked about "if someone needs help then you help them" and how "things that make us laugh are really funny."

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pink Bellbottoms


My college singing group did a couple of numbers from Hair. And a bunch of us drove to a thrift shop and purchased, specifically for one of these numbers, items that would look more 70's than 90's. I myself got these pink bellbottoms.

I wore them twice. Both times for the musical numbers.

I decided to wear them this year for Halloween. I was very pleased that I fit into them. But I noticed that they weren't nearly as bell bottomy as I remembered them being. In fact, they were a lot like my normal jeans, except they aren't so big that they are falling down at my hips. In fact, Steve said I could wear them on any normal day, but I still feel a little odd and not brave enough to do that.

But it's my birthday, so I'm posting this photo and asking the internet for it's opinions. What do you think?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cavity Update

I went to the dentist to have my cleaning and my two cavities filled.

First off, I hate the dentist. I hate the scraping that goes on inside my mouth. I am always sure that the hygienist is actually scraping off large portions of my teeth. When the dentist comes in and tells me I have a receding gum line, I want to tell him it's the hygienist's fault: she scraped it all off a few moments before he walked through the door.

But today it was mostly painless. Again, there were a few changes. Remember how, halfway through the cleaning, someone handed you a dixie cup of water or listerine so you could rinse and spit? Well, there are are no little sinks or toilet bowls in this office. The water is sprayed into your mouth for you, and then suctioned out for you, even during the filling process. It's probably because they don't have to clean the sinks this way, but I like to think it's to spare me the bother of doing anything myself.

And my cavities were taken care of. I was nervous - I have only had this done once before, remember, and it was a very tiny one. It turns out that one of the ones I had this time was also very small, and the one shot of novocaine took care of both. I felt nothing, and the scariest part was when I opened my eyes and saw little flecks of wet and tooth enamel shooting out of my mouth like carbonation from a soda. And the most painful part was the stupid game show they had on the TV. In the cavity filling room. I didn't watch, but I could hear it over the buzzing.

So... this was nothing. I still consider myself lucky, and I am, I know. I've had good luck with my set of teeth, and I hope it stays that way. Because I don't want to do this again.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hai!


Nick got his purple/white belt in karate the other day. He was so excited, he danced up to the front of the dojo. I'm very proud of him.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunted Happenings

Happy Halloween to all of you!

The past few days have been a frenzy of decorating, carving, costuming, and consuming sugary treats. The culmination is, of course, trick-or-treating tonight.

Here are some pictures for those who can't wait:

Our front hall decked with lights and bats I made for a party in the year 2000:Andy and Nathan's Pumpkins:

Nick's pumpkin, the first he ever carved (with those little saw thingies, not a big scary knife):

My annual jack 'o lantern of horrifying somethingness (I went sideways this year! Go me!):

Dan the Bakugan Brawer, Woody the cowboy, and a random scary and loud ghost:


I wish you all much chocolate and candy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Car Clutter

I keep an ongoing list of "odd jobs" that I get to do in order. These are things that need doing, but are not urgent, such as cleaning out the hall closet or organizing the junk drawer. The list keeps me from feeling overwhelmed at the number of things I need to do - I have permission to forget about a task once it's on my list. It also keeps me from putting jobs off for too long, since I have to do it before I can move on to other jobs.

If it weren't on my list, I might have put off cleaning out my car for a few more weeks. But once I did, I loved it. I underestimate the time I spend in my car, and having a clean space can make all the difference in terms of smiling and relaxing. Once clean, I promised myself I would do better. From now on, I thought, I will keep my car this clean All The Time!

The thing is, I am not the only one in my car. There are little boys in the back who bring things into the car, leave them in the car, and eat things in the car. And as my brother Winston once said, as I handed him some crackers to feed to a toddler in the back seat, "Should I give them to Nick, or just crumble them right onto the floor?"

I started Wednesday morning with a clean car, but that day the boys had school, we had library story hour, and Nick had his piano lesson. By the time we got home that afternoon I had to make several trips to bring in the backpacks, art projects, the container of leftover food from lunch, the juice boxes from snack, a bag of library books, the trick-or-treat bags Nate made at story-hour, the halloween costume Nate brought with him to Story-hour, Nick's piano music, Nick's jacket, and the toys the kids took with them to Nick's Piano lesson, and the bag that I keep my wallet and keys in.

No wonder the car gets so cluttered.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


When Andy's not looking, Nate wears the Woody hat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cavities

I went to the dentist last week.

It was all messed up. First off, I had to take Nick with me, because he had a fever higher than 100 less than 24 hours earlier.

And then there was the fact that it was a new dentist. You may recall me posting about my old dentist. It was this guy with a beard and a pony tail who lived in the middle of nowhere, worked out of a home office, and had no receptionist or hygienist, just him. And he was great, my appointments always began on time, lasted twenty minutes, and had no copay. But his equipment was old, he sent the bill to the insurance company 6 months late, and he didn't call to remind me about my next appointment. Before I knew it, it had been a year and I hadn't seen him, so I figured I'd try the place I take the kids.

It took forever, and it wasn't even a cleaning, just x-rays. Which were the really cool new ones that just show right up of the computer... My last dentist didn't even have a computer to record appointments, he used a big calendar and a pencil. But it turns out I have two cavities. My whole life I've only ever had one. So I guess I'm due. But still... yuck.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fashion Sense

Here is a great action shot of Nathan on a day he dressed himself. This is why he is never allowed to dress himself. Yes, those are PJ bottoms. And I don't know if he's wearing socks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New England

Living in New England, the sticky buggy summers and the cold, freezing dreary winters, is worth it for the fall.Fall here lasts about a week. It starts with a blush of color in the leaves, and suddenly the color just pops out. It lasts until the first heavy wind or rain, and then we have dead leaves clogging or gutters and cluttering our lawns and naked trees letting us see right into our neighbors' yard.

But the leaves... in some places, the sun shines right through them, and the air itself turns. Driving home, I caught Andrew chanting softly, "yellow yellow yellow yellow orange orange yellow..."

I only have pictures of our backyard, though.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here's The Deal

We are sick. Again.

It started Monday, when the school nurse called and reported that Nick had a headache and a fever. This happened to be a week Steve was away on business All Week.

Poor Nick had a headache, fever, body aches, and a sore throat. I took him to the doctor Tuesday, and again Friday. He seems better today, meaning he has no fever, but his throat is still sore. You can hear it when he talks. He pronounces things differently. His speech is muffled.

It's amazing how one sick kid can throw off a schedule. We couldn't do anything. Andy and Nate couldn't do anything because I couldn't bring Nick and there was no one I could leave him with. The TV went on and the kids watched it and that's about all that happened All Week.

I was looking forward to next week. Steve is back, and Nick may be better for school on Monday. But now Andy and Nate are both sick. They both have headaches and fevers and are tired and cold. Based on how long it took Nick to recover, chances are good that we'll all end up at home Monday. Which is too bad, because it's my volunteer-at-school day.

Also, if I don't get some serious running in soon, I'm going to turn into a giant muffin.

And I refuse to get sick myself. Not gonna happen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hours In The Day

On one hand, I have a list of things I need to do more of. Play with my children. Put laundry away right away. Not let clutter build up on the kitchen counter. Put away summer clothes.

On the other hand, I go from day to day with hardly five minutes to myself. I consider it a break if I get to use the bathroom uninterrupted. So when, exactly, am I supposed to fit these things in?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Heat Is On

Yes it is.

In our house, at least. It's been cold, and mornings have been unbearable. So I broke down and turned everything up to sixty.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Groceries - An Update

So I went back to The Cheap Grocery Store.

It's not really that bad, once you get over the bananas in the plastic bags. It has a modest selection of organic produce, most of which I ignored because I'm still trying to get my bearings. I managed to find a number of products I missed the last time, such as my tikka simmer sauce and 7th generation laundry detergent. And other products that I couldn't find in the right packaging, such as the kitty litter I like in the big cardboard boxes instead of the bags or the plastic jugs, I found alternative brands of. And other items, like the greenworks stuff I like to get to clean my floors, I realized I hadn't been finding at my Old Store anyway.

People were friendly and helpful. The deli folks, though not half as comforting as the lady I know at my old store, was three times quicker. This times I bought more of the things I usually do, so the cost was higher, but it was still much less expensive than it would have been.

I still get bothered, though, by the way they have the store laid out. There are frozen foods next to the produce, where they stock frozen pizzas and vegetables and waffles. But all other breakfast items are, inexplicably, clear at the other end of the store with the chicken nuggets and frozen lasagnas. I don't understand why they bothered to split these things up, or why they grouped them together like they did. Shouldn't all breakfast items be together? And the french fries, I think, should be closer to the chicken nuggets.

Steve pointed out that I've been shopping at the same store for six years. So yes, I am used to things being a certain way. I don't want to miss out on something because I'm set in my ways.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Make Up!

I am putting on Andy's shoes, a process that involves running him down and then distracting him long enough to get him to sit on my knee or stand while I wrestle his foot into his shoes. This brings our faces pretty close together, and I am never surprised when he reaches out and grabs my face to contort my features into funnier versions.

But today Andy looks at me and asks "Mom, what's on your face?"

And my heart sinks. "It's make up," I reply.

"Oh."

Oh.

Yes, I have started wearing make-up.

I have never been a make-up person. AS a teenager, I was always VERY aware of make-up on my face, so I never wore it. And I never really needed to. In my twenties, make-up was restricted to fancy events, and even then it was usually just a little eye-liner and lip stick. I guess I felt that one day I would begin making my face up every day, but that day seemed far, far off in the future.

The other day I caught sight of myself in the mirror in the middle of the day, and I was very surprised at what I saw. This reflection, it wasn't mine. The hair was wild and frizzy (ok, that could be me) but the eyes were just so tired and poofy. No, not me. That person was old. That person needed to do something with herself because she was falling apart.

And it really made me sad. Because I'm really careful about washing my face and moisturizing, and that was supposed to keep my skin looking youthful forever. So I tried applying make-up, but I ran into another problem: I don't know how. Oh, sure I have a technique, but it's the one I learned when I was thirteen and my friend Larissa sat me down with an article I think she got in Cosmo and we practiced applying. I've been doing it the same way ever since. And quite honestly, it doesn't do much to hide old poofy wrinkled and emerging laugh lines.

I acknowledge that I am at a point where I need to decide if I'm going to be a make-up person or not. I need to figure out if I'm going to do my face each day, or be the woman who doesn't. When I'm feeling down and think I need a little pick-me-up, I've been doing my best. But usually, the choice is made for me. Like when I step out of the shower after my run, glance at the clock, and realize I was supposed to pick up Andrew five minutes ago, so I pull clothing over my still wet body, pull back my soaking hair with a hair band, and grab my keys on the way out.

That's how my kids are used to seeing me. Which is why Andy gets so confused when I look half-way decent.