Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Keep Calm and All That...

Each morning I tell myself that this day will e different. I will be calm. I will be a good parent and I will not let the stresses of getting ready in the morning and sending everyone of to respective schools turn me into a screeching banchee.

And then, as if to spite me, we have the following exchange.

Me: Guys, I just gave the cat his shot and he is soaking wet! Does anyone know...

Andy: Oh, yeah! I accidentally peed on him.

Banchee enter stage right.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It all comes back to this

Andy has developed a love of photography.

We know this. Over Thanksgiving he took pictures with my camera for over two hours. This prompted my parents to give him a camera for christmas - a V-tech deal that takes actual digital photos and takes video. Did you ever think you'd live to see the day? Well, he doesn't really end up taking too many pictures with it because it also plays games.

Recently he has been focused on taking pictures with my computer. The Photo Booth application will take shots of whoever is sitting in front of the screen. Andrew asks to sit infront of the computer whenever he can, and will manipulate the style and background to see what he can create.

Which is why I found the following saved on my desktop:

Of course, when I see Andy taking all of these pictures, I immediately have my own version of the "Maybe One Day He'll Be President" daydream. Only instead of becoming a politician,  I imagine Andy doing something like this.

But boys will be boys, I guess. I can have whatever dreams I want, but when it comes down it it, he's going to do what he's going to do.

Still, I have to admit I was shocked and surprised when he ran into the bathroom, where I was cleaning the bathtub. His eyes were shining and bright. "Mom!" he said. "You have to come and see! I pulled down my pants and took pictures of my bum!"

Oh, the craziness.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Proof I'm Crazy

Remember Ice-Cream for Breakfast Day?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Boy In A Tree

I don't know if I should let Nate Climb trees. If I do I feel I'm letting him be reckless and endangering his welfare. If I don't I feel I'm being an overprotective ninny of a parent.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gumball Machine

This is the story of a Gumball machine.

For christmas one year, Jamie got a gumball machine. I think Winston gave it to him, but I could be wrong. I remember being a little impressed with the gumball machine. It looked cool. But I didn't really think about it that much.

I must have been in the 10th grade the year of the Gumball Machine Fiasco. This fiasco involves other people, and I apologize to them because this is their story, too. Please think of me more as a historian, making a notation of facts for future generations.

Anyway, our school used to give students a couple of days before exams to study. And the year I was in the 10th grade, both my brother and sister were also home "studying" with  me.

Of course, we didn't just study. We spent a fair amount of time goofing off.

I forget what exactly happened. I think Winston and Anne-E were fooling around in her room. She was on the floor and Winston was bouncing something on the ground which hit her in the face. Nothing serious, but she was hurt and angry. Being the busybody older sibling that I was, I had to get in there and start telling people off.  I might have been the one to yell at Winston, or it might have been Anne-E. Whichever one, Winston was upset, and he dashed off into the bathroom that connected Anne-E's room to Jamie's. 

Anne-E was just telling me what happened when we heard a crash. My sister and I locked eyes shook our heads. "NOW what did you do?" we called out.  There was no answer, so we peeked our heads in.

The bathroom was covered in blood. The mirror was not broken. Winston had dashed across into Jamie's room, and in his frustration had punched the gumball machine.

Now, I don't know what guys punch things. Personally, I get frustrated and then scream and yell and screech until I cry, and then I eat a lot of chocolate. It works for me. But some guys just need to punch innocent objects, and this time it was the gumball machine, which had fought back.

The story goes on. We were alone in the house, and didn't know how to deal with a serious cut. In a panic, I called my best friend Larissa, and asked to speak with her mother, who came to our rescue and whisked Winston away to the hospital where they refused to give him stitches anyway because he needed a parent to consent.

Flash Forward.

For christmas this year, the boys got a gumball machine. I think Jamie gave it to them, but I could be wrong. So far, the boys have done nothing violent to the machine. They pour quarters into it and get sticky gumballs in return. But I can't help but remember when Jamie was the one with the coins and the gum. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forgetful or insane

My forgetfulness is starting to concern me.

I keep forgetting my parents phone number.

Now, I know people program numbers into cell phones and so never get to know the info. But I am not one of those people. I mean, yes I have a cell phone, and numbers are in there, but I usually use my land line. I actually dial that number once or twice a week for most of the months of the year. In fact, I dialed that number in the morning with no issues, but that afternoon I was convinced it was something else. I checked the emergency phone list I keep by the phone for the pet-care folks. But the number I had there was the number I had been dialing. Meaning the wrong one.

And this is not the first time that it has happened. If I have to ask Jamie what our parent's phone number is one more time, He might have me committed. Or I might die of embarrassment.

Does everyone have these concerns about themselves? Does everyone start to wonder, at some point, if being forgetful or absurdly absent minded is normal, or the signs of some more serious brain disorder?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Running Again

I am running again.

I feel great.

I'm not talking about my ankle, which feels fine. Sometimes I think it might be hurting me, but I have determined I'm ghosting it. I'm thinking about it and making it up. Because during the day it doesn't hurt, and there has been no swelling at all.

I'm taking it easy. Very easy, when I think about what I used to do. Just 20 minutes, hardly any incline, and not too fast. I plan on increasing it very, very slowly. I plan on not wearing shoes at all in my own house, and being very careful about when I choose to wear anything with heels at all.  I make it a  point to stretch before I run. I promise to try and do yoga at least once a week, so I havent given it up completely!

What feels great is me. I am happier and more energetic when I run. I am more confident. I sleep better.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Volume and Passive Agressiveness

One of the things that drives me crazy about this technology age we're living in is the volume.

Yes, people talking on the phone is annoying. When I'm sitting in this quiet coffee shop and suddenly the guy at the next table starts having a conversation into his headset, speaking as though he were addressing someone sitting across a board room table (not quietly) I find it horribly rude. It's disruptive. Even if someone were sitting at his table, latte in hand, they would be using regular, non shouting voices.

But that's not the worst of it.

Because even though the world is full of cell-phone loud-mouth yappers, I live in a world populated mostly by children. Mostly by boys. And boys play video games.

Video games, in case you didn't know, make noise. They make noise when they shoot, or walk or bump into walls. There is sound effects, background theme music, and general beeping.  And no one likes to listen to this stuff unless they are the ones playing.

We always make our kids turn the volume off. Not DOWN, mind you, but OFF. All the way. In the car, in the coffee shop, and even at home. They are welcome to go elsewhere if they wish, like to a bedroom or a playroom. For Christmas, Santa left each of them a pair of children's headphones, the "old fashioned" kind that sit outside the ear instead of in it. They can use those.

Our kids, however, are not the problem.

Right now I am sitting in the coffee shop. I am on the computer. Another parent is at another table at a computer. And someone I think is a grandfather is at another table with his nook. He has two children with him playing a game on an iPad. With the volume all the way up. It is so irritating.

Every once and awhile, after a particularly loud "Bling" the other computer parent will look up and look at the kids before turning back to his work. I have looked up at them several times. The grandfather hasn't moved his eyes from his electronic page. I wonder if he's deaf?

I have found myself here with Andy, and made a point of saying, rather loudly "Andy, make sure the volume is off, no one wants to hear your game." Either they didn't pick up on my rather obvious hint, or they think a little computer game noise blends well in the coffee shop atmosphere.

I just don't want to actually SAY anything. That might, you know, be uncomfortable.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The 4 tenets of leading a productive life

I don’t like to get religious here. This is not a religious blog. Not only do I not intend to challenge anyone’s faith, but I do not wish to defend my own. Not here. 

But when my minister gave this particular sermon in our church a few weeks ago, I just knew I had to share it.  I found this talk to be meaningful, and it has absolutely nothing at all to do with God or even religion, unless you consider daily practice or life philosophy to be religious, as some of us do.

It was about the 4 tenets of leading a productive life.  

A tenet is, according to Merriam-Webster: A principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy. 

Our minister did not come up with these four tenets. In fact, over 20 years ago he was in Boston for a Red Sox game, and decided he was there he thought he would “visit two sacred spots in one trip” so to speak (haha, Yankees fans!)  and stopped by one of the churches in his faith as well. He forgot the name of the minister who spoke. He even forgot the score of the ball game. But he remembered those four tenets.

They made an impression on me, too. So I thought I'd share. You can apply them (or not) however you'd like. 

1 – Show Up.

2 – Tell The Truth.

3 - Do What You Do With Intensity.

4 - Don't Worry Too Much About The Outcome.

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Bite

Two of my kids are nail biters.

That would be Nick and Andy. They both bite their nails down to the quick, and then they nibble on their cuticles. The skin around their nail beds becomes red and inflamed. Sometimes they bleed. It drives me crazy.

It mostly drives me crazy because I can't even put cream on their fingers. It stings and hurts them. But they still manage to bite their nails.

So I went to CVS in search of a magic potion. Something to keep little fingers out of mouths. I was actually looking for something called No Bite, but apparently they don't sell that in stores, only online.  So I settled for something called Bite It (with a red line through it) instead.

I painted Nick's nails with it. I painted Andy's nails with it, and he whimpered a little because it stung his sore fingers. But I reasoned that it might be worth it if I could get him to stop biting his nails.

And, almost as an afterthought, I painted my own nails. I no longer bite my nails off completely, but I nibble. I'm a nibbler.

Let me tell you, that stuff is horrible. It tastes so bad I can't stand it. There is no mindless nibbling any more.

I am also surprised at how often I eat or taste things with my fingers. I can no longer lick my fingers. I won't taste pancake batter, I'll taste the nail stuff. It's terrible. On the bright side, my fingernails haven't been this long in years.

Nick's fingernails have also gotten long enough for me to actually cut.

But Andy seems to be immune. I paint his little nails and he bites them anyway.  What does one do?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Behind The Scenes

I didn't change the template to this blog.

What this means is, when you look at this blog, when you bring it up on your screen, it looks the same as before. I mean, I changed it after New Year's, but since then it's been the same.

I think.

See, one morning I logged into Blogger and saw this little tab that said something like "Get our new interface!"

The way these things work is that, at first, they give you a choice. "They" are the people behind the scenes, the people in charge of Blogger, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, whatever. "They" are the ones that make the changes. After a few weeks, when enough people have made the change of their own free will, "They" go ahead and make the change mandatory. Like it or not, all users will be switched over to the new Facebook. Or Blogger. Or whatever.

So this time I just went ahead and upgraded on my own. That way I could pretend to be the one in control.

The trouble is, now when I compose a post, everything looks different. The font is different. The photos go up differently. I have to snoop around to find what it is I'm looking for, and I have no idea what the final post will look like.

So if things have been looking a little odd lately, please just stick with me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fashion Statement

I let my kids dress themselves. Sometimes I put my foot down and make them change. I have standards. I don't let them wear pants with holes in the knees to school or to church. No sweatpants to church, either. When we travel I pack their clothes. And sometimes when we go someplace with many kids, like a zoo or an amusement park, I insist on coordinating outfits to make them easier to spot in a crowd. (all three wear bright red T-shirts, etc.) 

My mother purchased these pants for Christmas. A family friend calls the "Jackass Pants." If you ask me, if anyone calls pants "jackass pants" then you might want to avoid wearing them. 

Now, I'm not the kind of person that thinks pants make someone a jackass. I respect different tastes. But these pants... they are tough to find something to wear with them.  And Nick has no sense of... matching.  He's kind of like me that way.  Note the hat and the boots.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day means Projects. School projects. It means digging up shoe boxes and the red and white paints. It means searching for the right heart stickers and the right design for the cards you give your school friends. It means writing your name twenty times. It means searching the stores for heart shaped boxes of chocolate they put out the day after Christmas, but that seems to all but have disappeared five days before the actual holiday in favor of chocolate eggs. It means buying all the white and red icing for the sugar cookies you have to bring to the Kindergarten party, and going to three different supermarkets to find the right brand of strawberry ice cream requested for the allergy-prone first grade class.

But mostly it's just telling people you love them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Easy Baker

Pretzle Sticks!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gramma

She shares a Birthday with Abe Lincoln.  The same Month and Day.  Not the same year.

We love her very much. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feeling Sick

I've been feeling sick. I have a cold.

Part of me is just gritting my teeth and wishing as hard as I can that I kick this before I go on vacation, because nothing is worse than going on a plane with an earache.

Another part of me is fast asleep. I have been so absent minded. I missed the school bus the other day. We weren't rushing, I just looked up at the clock and realized it was five minutes too late. I forget to pack things, like school snacks. And I am prone to suddenly crying for no reason.

Also, I can't breathe at night. When this happens I start using nose spray, which is so bad for you. But it works for me.

It also knocks me out and gives me funky dreams. And makes it impossible to get up in the morning to work out.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Books to the ceiling

We had to memorize poems when we were kids. 

Nick didn't have to memorize this, but he did anyway.

And I'm posting it for Gramma.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Blues Names

A couple of days ago, a certain someone, who shall be referred to as Pretty Bones Alison, forwarded me a little "Find Your Blues Name" Document. And to humor her, I did it. Not only for me, but for  the family. 

We are the Jones family.
I am Curly Sugar Jones
Married to Blind Killer Jones
Our three boys are Peg Leg Harp Jones,
Peg Leg Back Jones,
and Fat Back Jones.

By the way, I think these sound much more like Pirate names. And Fat Back Jones agrees.

Monday, February 06, 2012


I have a new rule for lunchtime. 

I tell the kids what we are having for lunch. I might say "We are having left over spaghetti"or "I am making Mac & Cheese." 

The boys can then let me know if they choose something else. "I hate Mac & Cheese!" Nate might say. This is OK. As a parent, I value my children't right to have preferences. 

But I hate making eleven lunches and refuse to to it.

This means Nate can then either not eat, which means he will be hungry and ask for snack before 1pm, or he can make his own sandwiches. 

All three boys have been learning to make their own sandwiches. 

It isn't as easy as you'd think. It turns out, none of the kids could figure out where I kept the cheese, and I spent a good three minutes teaching Nate how to open the Jar of strawberry jam. "Turn the lid. On the jar. Hold the jar in one hand and the lid in the... now turn the.... just... like.... ugh!"

Sunday, February 05, 2012


 I wasn't going to post this morning, but sometimes things happen that make certain posts better for certain days. Even if I don't like football. 

When I was a kid, I don't think we ever integrated sports into school. I mean, we might have PLAYED all kinds of different sports, which is great and in my opinion, the best way to integrate sports into a curriculum. But we never mentioned sporting events, except for perhaps the Olympics, because they only took place once every 4 years. (This was before the Olympic people changed it to once ever two years, confusing everything and making it less special.)

But we live in New England. We take our sports very seriously. Even when all the teams were chronic losers who never won, people were devoted to their teams to the point of obsession. And the winning hasn't let that change.

Which is why I can't let Andy wear that Yankee's sweatshirt out of the house EVER, because he might get beat up. Sorry, Mom, he's real cute in it, and he'll wear it when we're in New York. Or France.

But the point of this post is that even the schools are into sports. Friday was "Team Day" and everyone, kids, teachers, volunteering parents, were wearing their Patriots gear. Rub on tattoos adorned little kindergarten faces. Oversized jerseys tripped them up. Both Nick and Nate brought home football word searches, drawings, and craft projects.

Good Luck, Giants. We've got Game.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Ice Cream for Breakfast

It's Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.

I didn't make it up. A really nice fellow at church let me know last week. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. It's right here, see?

As far as I'm concerned, this is totally worth spreading around and turning into a huge national event. Go for it, people! Put a scoop on your waffles! Put a dollop of vanilla in your coffee! Do it and feel good about it, because when else can you have ice-cream for breakfast? TODAY IS THE DAY!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Picture Problem

I see a pattern here.

One week I find myself with no photographs.
The next week I make a point of pulling out the camera and taking lots of pictures of my kids while they do their usual things, like eating, or dressing up, or pulling each other's hair out.
The week after than I relax, enjoy what I've posted, and once again findmyself with no photos for the blog.

Guess which week this is?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Groundhog Day My Way

Let's face it, people. Spring does not begin in February. We're almost guaranteed at least six more weeks of winter.

But on the other hand - only six more weeks till Spring!

The things is, seasons aren't always what you expect. Ask a child to draw Winter and you'll get snow and snowmen. So far, this winter hasn't been snowy at all. Most of the snow we got came before Halloween. Ask a child to draw Spring and you'll get green grass and butterflies. But Spring up here is usually... well, it can be snowy. If it isn't snowy it's muddy. It's rainy. It's definitely still cold. Last year the boys played T-ball in winter coats.

Instead of Groundhog Day, I like to celebrate Imbolc. I'm not actually a pagan, and I only know what I remember from my days of celebrating this meal with my friends. Like other holidays, it centered around the food - creamy soup and sauces, egg tarts and eggy, creamy desserts. It's about fertility and rebirth.

Unlike Christmas, which comes way to early in Winter, and Easter, which is way too late to help, (especially when it's rainy and cold and you think you should be outside hunting eggs in the yard) Imbolc comes at a time when spirits are low and the dreariness of winter has really set in. It's going to be OK, it says. This will not last forever. Soon there will be green. Soon we can start over, or start something completely new.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


We got rid of cable last week.

This is something we'd been talking about for some time. We get Netflix streaming. We have the internet. We have access to HULU. We were mid-test run to see if we could survive without cable.

And then our cable bill came with a notice that our bill was going up $17. We'd be paying $120 a month for the honor or getting TLC and Nick Jr. We didn't even get HBO.

Goodbye, Comcast. We don't miss you.