Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sleeping In

Daddy sleeps in:  morning progresses as usual.  After a long while, somebody might ask "where's Dad?"

Mommy sleeps in: lots of games involving thundering feet, screaming and whooping.  Lots of Daddy voice saying loudly "stop that!"  Followed by loud tv and many trips upstairs to "just make sure that Mommy is ok" with a few bed-jumping detours.

Even with all that I still feel much better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Last week I visited M.'s classroom to share a holiday tradition.  His teacher encouraged him to do all the talking.  Last night, while we were getting ready for bed he told he that he was quite nervous standing up there in front of his classmates and talking.  I told him that pretty much everyone is afraid of public speaking.

Me: "They've even done surveys about it.  It's the #1 thing most people fear."
M:   "Really?  It's not my #1 fear.  It's about 4th on my list."
Me: "What's your #1 then?"
M:   "Being in a plane crash over the ocean."
Me: "Well, it's been about 3 years since you were anywhere near the ocean in a plane and we were pretty safe.  Believe me, if there was any serious risk Mommy wouldn't have put you on the plane!  What's #2?"
M:    "Having my leg chewed off by a lion."
Me: "Not too many lions around here.  And they're not real fond of how we taste.  You know how I tell you not to eat dirt or boogers or other yucky stuff?  Lion moms tell their kids not to eat humans.  If you were a wildebeest or a zebra though, you'd have to worry.  What's #3?"
M:  "Going into outer space without an oxygen helmet."
Me: "That would be a problem.  Are you planning on going into outer space anytime soon?"
M:   "Mom! I'm a kid!"
Me:  "Are you planning to go without the help of NASA?"
M:   "They've got all the ships right now."
Me:  "That takes care of that fear, then.  Which leaves..."
M:   "Talking in front of a group."
Me:  "See?  I told you it was #1!" 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apparently I'm not the Garage Goddess I thought I was

because the keypad outside doesn't work.  I changed the battery.  Nope.  I got up on the ladder again and reprogrammed it.  Now it works!  But the remotes in the car don't work now.  So up on the ladder I go and reprogram the remotes.  They work!  But now the keypad doesn't.  After trying a few other things, D. and I have agreed to just have seasonal openers.  Winter will be for remotes since we keep the cars in the garage then and summer will be the keypad since the cars live in the driveway.  Works for us!

Words that Strike Fear in a Mom's Heart

  • I think I have to throw up
  • My shoes feel too tight
  • I forgot I need 36 cupcakes for school tomorrow (said at bedtime)
  • I didn't mean to break it (before you know what "it" is)
  • He (pointing at brother) did it!
  • Are bones supposed to poke out of your skin like this? (this hasn't actually happened but it's only a matter of time...)
and at this time of year:
  • Santa, what I want most of all is (insert item you never heard about before and will have a hard time finding)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

There's just something about...

the combined smell of vomit and rug cleaner...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You

Honoring veterans, both past & present, as well as those who continue to serve.  Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Vote!

No matter which candidate you are supporting, please exercise your right to vote today! 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat Bag Analysis

Our juice boxes were a big hit as always.  I love to see happy Trick or Treaters!  The cutest costume of the evening was the tiny pirate in the most adorable coat with gold braid (his dad said it came from Old Navy).

Between an event at the local college last weekend, parties at school, actual trick or treating last night and a party this afternoon, the costume count for my 2 kids stands at 8.  They have been a vampire, a king, a Clone Trooper, Woody from Toy Story (making three appearances), a goblin and a lizard.  Why stick to only one persona when you can change them every day? More evidence that dressup bins are the most played with things at our house.

Big thanks to the neighbor who sets up an elaborate timed-to-music tableau on his lawn every Halloween & Christmas with moving figures.  The whole neighborhood looks forward to it every year and we appreciate all the work and love that goes into it.

And now for the Trick or Treat Bag Analysis: 
  • Mini Hershey bars were clearly the giveaway of choice, followed closely by Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and mini M&Ms.
  • Malted milk balls were making their first appearance in a reasonably good showing.
  • Several items had address label stickers from a local church.  Trying to boost membership or just recycling?
  • Lots of pretzels!
  • Which joker gave out candy canes?  And more importantly, are they a year old?
  • And only ONE box of milk duds. :-(

Friday, October 31, 2008

Evil Plot or True Confession?

Ok, so I just went to throw out the packaging from my brand-new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser mophead.  On the side it shows you when to replace it, showing a really hideously grody mophead that has been used "many many times."  Um... mine looks just like that.  Not the old one I just replaced.  The new one I just used.  One time.  

This could mean one of two things.  I am a really crap housekeeper (sorry Mom!) who cares nothing for the health and wellbeing of my family and would rather be blogging or scrapping or reading or whatever else seems remotely interesting to do while the kids are at school.  OR.  It is an evil plot on the part of Mr. Clean to convince us to continually buy more mopheads, sponges and other kinds of toxic cleaning products that make our houses look shiny and clean but also pollute the earth and our lungs while simultaneously putting more of our hard-earned (but now less interest earning) cash into their pockets.  Hmmm.  

I'm going with the Evil Plot Theory, people.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I am a Garage Goddess

I went to Sears and navigated through the tool aisles.  I bought the correct items.  I got up on the ladder without it collapsing under me.  I didn't bump my head, electrocute myself or start a fire.

And if all that were not enough, folks, I (yes, me!) reprogrammed not one! but two! garage door opener remotes correctly.  In under 30 minutes.

If you knew me at all, you would know what a seriously amazing accomplishment this is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tooth Fairy Mystery

M. lost his tooth at school.  We forgot to put it under his pillow so we did it the next night.  I remember thinking "oh I am too tired.  I better tell D. to do the tooth fairy duties before he comes to bed."  And that was the last I thought or did anything about it until the next morning.  M. was already  awake but hadn't looked under his pillow yet.  I couldn't think of a way to get in there and make the exchange without him seeing me.  He knocked on the bathroom door to tell me the Tooth Fairy left him a gold coin, but that the tooth was still there.  I explained that TF must have been in a hurry since he'd said 4 kids in his class lost their teeth over 2 days.  She'd just come back for it later (but he wouldn't get any more $).  Later I thanked D. for remembering. He said he didn't do it.  I told him to stop kidding.  He was insistent that he did not put the coin under the pillow.  I know I didn't.  So who did?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Local Woman Injured in Avalanche

Rescue workers were dispatched this morning in aid of a woman buried in piles of wrinkled clothing. "I've never seen anything like it." a shaken rescue worker told the News. It took workers several minutes to locate the woman, who was treated at the scene with chocolate and caffeine. She is expected to make a full recovery. Her naked family was extremely relieved, as well as a little cold and embarrassed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

As Much As I Hate To Admit It, Leonard Cohen, You Are the Man

My husband is a serious Leonard Cohen fan. He was always trying to get me to listen to some song or other. And I would run screaming from the room. Literally. While I can read his poetry or the song lyrics and agree that this is seriously good stuff, when he sings I find his voice is really irritating. Ok. It made me want to stick my head in the oven. It even became a joke over the years. "I'd rather listen to a Leonard Cohen song, than do X." "If you don't behave I'll make you listen to a Leonard Cohen song." Still when this movie came to our local theatre I was willing to book a babysitter and go. Sometimes getting out is more important than the what or where, you know? But the critics panned it and D. decided he didn't want to spend the $ to see it on the big screen. So I put it on my Netflix 'save' list for when the DVD came out and promptly forgot all about it. A year and some later, it makes its way up my queue and appears in the mailbox. So being a good wife, I get the kids to bed and go downstairs gritting my teeth in the name of marital harmony.

D. loved it (no surprise). I loved it (surprise of epic proportions). We watched it all the way through and then rewatched our favorite parts. Over the next few days we slipped it in around Monsters Inc and Bear in the Big Blue House and enjoyed a song or two. I ordered the soundtrack CD and that's been playing away upstairs in the office. We found some new artists we liked enough to buy a few more CDs (U2 and the man were the only folks in the movie we'd ever heard before). And when Leonard himself sings now, I (gulp) like it. I'm a Leonard Cohen fan. There, I said it.

Is this one of those "the longer the couple is together, the more alike they get" things? Because if I suddenly tell you that I'm going to ride 100 miles on a bike, you have to agree to slap me repeatedly until I come to my senses. Ok?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 3 Looking Better

We got up, ate an on-the-go breakfast and made it to the free movie at the local theatre by 10 am. We saw "Everyone's Hero" which was very cute and had a nice message. P. was very excited, knew why we were there and watched the whole thing with hardly a snort in earshot. Very big developmental milestone there! (I was half expecting to have to leave early.) I was also reminded that a medium size drink at the movies is an XL super jumbo size everywhere else. We'll be drinking Hi-C forever. Both boys have read or done some other educational activity for at least 45 minutes. Half of dinner is in the crockpot (taco salad) and morning glory muffins have been baked and no one chopped off their fingers. We'll head to the pool in about 45 minutes... House still looks like crap, but hey, there's always tomorrow. Or September.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer Schedule

Last week I had a mini panic about the fact that summer vacation was practically upon us. I didn't want the boys to be parked in front of the tv or the computer for 2 months (though to be honest, for about 2 minutes I thought it sounded good and waaaay easy) so I came up with this little schedule for the days when P. is not in summer school and M. does not have any scheduled activity:

8:00ish: get up, have breakfast, get dressed -- no tv just like on school days (as opposed to Saturdays when I let them eat in front of it
9:00ish: go to the BAC with Mom & play while she works out
10:00ish: go on errands or fun place with Mom, maybe stop for a treat. If no errands then do art activity or baking or play outside.
11:30ish: lunch
12:00-3:00ish to keep out of the dangerous sun hours, alternate between computer time & tv time while Mom does housework, then do reading or other educational activity with Mom
3:00ish play outside or art or baking
4:00-5:00ish get ready for the pool and swim
6:00-7:00ish come home for dinner
8:00ish a bit more tv, computer, reading or trip with Dad for a treat if we didn't have one already
9:00ish bath & bed

Sounds pretty reasonable right?

Today is Day 2 of Summer Vacation and here's the schedule the boys came up with:

ReallyEarlyish: get up before the grownups and turn on tv or use the computer until grownups realize where you are and stumble downstairs in a panic. Cheerfully say you've eaten breakfast already and point to crumpled chip bags and pile of popsicle sticks.
11:00ish avoid getting dressed
12:00ish go in backyard wearing underwear minus sunscreen 1:00ish make messes with toys but don't actually play
1:30ish get in the car already so Mom stops yelling
3:00ish return from errands and eat crap in front of tv until
4:00ish go to the pool
6:oo-7:00ish avoid eating dinner. Beg for more tv & computer
9:00ish avoid going to bed. Say you're hungry.
10:00ish fight with each other and whine
11:00ish finally pass out

No exercise for Mom, no books have been read, and the house is filthy. I'm taking consolation in the fact that it is still only Day 2...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random Entries from my "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life"

Have you read this book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal? It's fun, a fast read and makes you want to do one too! Which is exactly what a bunch of scrappers have done. Mine is still in the construction stages, but here are some random entries:

There’s a scene in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” where Jamie Lee Curtis’ character is having a romantic encounter with Kevin Kline’s character. KK’s character has a heavy Italian accent and she keeps encouraging him to talk. He doesn’t know what to say. “Say anything at all” she pleads. “Chicken parmigiana! Rigatoni! Veal Scallopini!” he croons. She swoons. That’s pretty much how I feel about men with accents. They can be ugly as sin, but if they wear a paper bag over their heads and just keep on talking, I’ll keep swooning.

I am terrified of bats. It all started in 1993? when one got into Mom’s house. ... That night just as I was falling into sleep, it started swooping around my room. I turned on the light and it hung on my curtains making the same squeaky noise that movie bats do. Mom finally chased it out of the house with a broom and I spent the rest of the August night completely covered up by a heavy quilt, sweating to death and wide awake. Then in 1998, when D. and I lived in Spencerport, one came sailing up from the basement. ... It took a week to get rid of it. A week I spent holed up in the bedroom with rolled up towels under all the doors so it couldn’t crawl under. Now just hearing the word “bat” gives me nightmares. D. looked it up once in the animal imagery book and apparently bats are a symbol of change. “You’re afraid of change!” he exclaimed. Well, duh.

College, Clown
I’ve always had a secret desire to go to clown college.

Eating, Strange Habits of
I cannot “mix” my food. I have to eat in sections: all the vegetable, all the potato, the meat always last. I absolutely cannot take a bite of this and then a bite of that. It makes me queasy watching others do it. And those people who mix everything up into one big glop on their plate? We’re no longer dinner companions. If it’s soup or salad or something that’s meant to be mixed up, that’s ok, I can eat it like that.

I have to cut up all my food first before eating it. I cannot cut a bite of meat off the larger piece, eat that, and then cut another piece. Nope, it’s all gotta be in little pieces first.

I eat apples all the way around the middle, then one end all the way around, then the other end, until the skin is gone. Then I go back and do it again until I reach the core. I cannot share an apple with D. who just bites it any old place. Corn on the cob must be started at the left and eaten in a circle around the cob. Move to the right one mouth width, eat in a circle around the cob and continue until you reach the right end.

Hot sauce is the only condiment I like, though I will tolerate ketchup on a hamburger. Mustard is entirely too disgusting, as is mayonnaise.

We keep the garbage can under the kitchen sink. When the boys were small we had those childproof locks on everything. It was a pain to undo the lock every time we wanted to throw something out but obviously I didn’t want the garbage can out in plain view either. So we started putting the garbage into an empty bread bag or other container in one side of the double sink. When it got full, we’d undo the lock and throw it all in the garbage can. The boys are bigger and we don’t need childproof locks anymore but try as I might, we can’t change this rather disgusting habit.

Laundry, Time Needed To Do a Load of
It takes at least 31 days to complete a load of laundry. Really. First there are the two days I try to ignore the overflowing hamper or the jammed laundry chute. Then there is one day for washing, including leaving the clothes in the washer overnight. Then the four days for drying -- two hours to actually dry the clothes and 3.8 days to leave them wrinkling in the dryer. The laundry basket remains in the basement for three days. Then I move the laundry basket to the living room for two days. Finally I fold the clothes, which takes one day. Then the clothes reside, nicely folded, in their laundry basket bed in the living room for seven days. I have actually taught my children how to lift the stacks neatly to extricate that coveted Spiderman shirt without disturbing the rest of the basket. The sight of my husband wandering around naked looking for underwear should shame me into bringing the laundry upstairs but I actually enjoy the show. At the same time, part of my brain is anxiously wondering if the neighbors are enjoying it as well. Then it's time to bring the basket upstairs where it sits until every laundry basket, Rubbermaid bin and cardboard box is similarly filled with a combination of neatly folded and wrinkly unfolded laundry. Then I put it all away in the now completely empty drawers and start over.

Rhino Head
Also known as “RH” - the result of waking up with your hair sticking out in “horns” all over your head. Which can be especially bad if you have no time for a shower & shampoo. As in “how bad is my RH this morning, do I need a hat?”

I cannot think of a damn thing to put under X.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

14 is My New Favorite Number

Last week I was shopping in Kohl's and on impulse tried on two pairs of pants, one a size 14 and one a size L. They both fit! I don't know why, since scale keeps flashing the same big number, but I'll take a gift like that when I can get it. I even went back to the racks to see what other colors they came in, but they were all ugly.

Today I found a credit from BonTon in my wallet from who knows when. I found 3 pairs of pants AND the acid test, a bathing suit! all in size 14. So I guess that number wasn't a fluke or a misprint. And if you have read somewhere that the world's clothing manufacturers are putting smaller size tags on the big clothes (they did that once didn't they?) please don't tell me. Since my store credit ended up to be a whopping $1.95 I only got one pair of pants and the bathing suit. I was so happy I celebrated with a banana split blizzard at DQ. Ok, so maybe that wasn't the best idea...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Record of a Different Sort

Time spent in Target: 4 minutes
Money spent: $6.59

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Today I heard the water running for a long time. I asked M. what he was doing. "Just washing my hands" he replied. Ok, finish up then, stop dilly-dallying. Then I heard the water going on and off. M.! What are you doing? "I told you, I'm washing my hands" Knock it off already. What's going on with your hands? "I'm just washing the blood off." BLOOD!? I shot into the bathroom faster than Carl Lewis or whoever the fastest man in the world is these days. Turns out it was only loose tooth #4 and so little blood it didn't even qualify as a drop. Thank goodness!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Typical Monday

Here is May's 12 of 12 layout:

The journaling reads:
Just the usual weekday around here…
1. making P.’s vitamin mix
2. packing lunches
3. reading for half an hour over my own breakfast once the boys have gone to school
4. lots of errands: visit to the JCC to see if we
want to join, the library, grocery shopping
5. gotta have my Tim Horton’s tea. $1.65 may
seem a lot for some hot water and a tea bag,
but it is soooo good and since I’ve cut back
to one cup a day, I feel justified!
6. went to the BAC for the first time in 2 weeks and managed to stay on the Stairmaster for 15 minutes!
7. waiting for the school buses
8. P.’s school had a flower sale for Mother’s Day. We sent in the money and he brought home the red one on Friday. This morning the bus driver said they had one leftover and did I order 2? I said no, I didn’t think so. Well, apparently I did, so the yellow one came home today. Poor Teri, she babysat this flower the whole weekend and all of Monday, keeping it alive. I tried to give it to her but she wouldn’t take it.
9. Signed up for Stacy’s “Have More Fun” class at BPS starting in July. I can’t wait!
10. Made a quick playground visit after dinner. We’re finding the boys sleep better if we do this and now that it is light out longer, they want some outside activity.
11. laundry, it never ends
12. stayed up too late watching a movie (Unconditional Love with Kathy Bates) sometimes Netflix is a bad thing

I'm not totally happy with how it came out, I had some cropping and sizing issues and I think that big green space at the top is distracting... Maybe I'll slap a big 'ol flower there or something. Or maybe not.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Doesn't Smell New, But Looks Pretty Good

Today I decided to clean out the car. Here's what I found:

  • 1.5 plastic easter eggs (1 purple, 1/2 green)
  • a metal monkey bookmark
  • a broken pirate eyepatch
  • 1 red wool headband
  • a baggie of crushed Lucky Charms cereal (no marshmallows)
  • 1 plastic thingamajig
  • 4 rocks
  • 10 books (2 Halloween theme)
  • 4 coloring books (2 Christmas theme)
  • 31 crayons (26 whole, 5 broken)
  • 1 colored pencil (yellow)
  • 1 cardboard tag that says "Rush" (what or to where I have no idea)
  • 6 bank envelopes (empty)
  • 4 raisin boxes (also empty)
  • at least half a box of petrified raisins scattered all over
  • 3 torn paper chef's hats from Ted's Hot Dogs
  • 3 donut bags (empty; 2 Tim Hortons, 1 Dunkin Donuts)
  • many many sprinkles from said donuts
  • 2 ATM receipts
  • 3 errand lists
  • 2 shopping lists
  • lots of used tissues
  • a bottle of eyeglass cleaner
  • 3 petrified french fries (we haven't eaten these in the car in I don't remember when. Other than the dust they looked a lot like they do when you buy them. That right there is probably reason enough to stop eating them)
  • 2 blankets
  • a box of emergency stuff (jumper cables, flares, etc.)
  • a box containing wipes, the harnesses & cup holders from the booster seats, portable potty liners, and a first aid kit)
  • the diaper bag (doesn't get daily use anymore but still good to have in case of emergencies)
  • 2 kid winter gloves (not matching)
  • 1 pair kid mittens (matching)
  • 3 baseball hats (1 adult, 2 child - too small now)
  • 1 winter coat (adult)
  • 1 windbreaker (adult)
  • 1 tobaggan
  • 1 tote bag of swim gear
  • a bag of gummy worms (empty)
  • 4 toy cars
  • 2 kaleidoscopes
  • 1 bendy plastic cat
  • 1 plastic princess ring (pink)
  • 2 plastic knights and thier matching horses
  • 1 transformer
  • 2 toy phones
  • 2 toy alphabet games
  • 2 drawing boards
  • 1 tic-tac-toe game
  • 1 broken happy meal toy
  • 1 winter scarf (child)
  • 1/2 box of tissues (clean)
  • my sunglasses
  • my wireless headset
  • 3 pens (2 blue, 1 red)
  • the snowbrush
  • 1 flashlight (still in package)
  • $2 in change ($1.45 that I spent later, .30 that I sucked up in the vacuum and .25 that I can see but can't get out)

What's in your car?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lighten Up, People!

The boys and I went to a ceramics make & take Friday night with their cousins. Lots of fun and the woman who owns the business seems very nice. But I don't think she understands kids very well, even though she works with them a lot. She took one look at P. and announced that he could paint the cat because it was all one color and didn't have small details since he would not be able to handle them. I told her nicely that he was capable of picking the piece he wanted to paint and I was cool with imperfection. He picked a lizard. She insisted on giving him the green paint because lizards are green. He didn't want green, he asked for orange and red. I got him orange and red and she seemed surprised. M. also picked the same lizard but he wanted his to be red, black and yellow stripes with a turquoise underside. "No, " she said again, "lizards are green." I said he can do it however he likes, it's his lizard. After a few more similar exchanges, she gave up on us and started insisting that cousin's reindeer must be brown all over. Now really, what kid is going to want to paint with only brown?

Today we took the boys to a free movie at the big theatre/playhouse downtown. It was Wizard of Oz so I knew P. would sit still for it, that's his favorite movie. Come to think of it, it's one of my favorite movies. As we waited for the show to start, the man in front of us was annoyed because M. kept kicking his chair. M. insisted he wasn't, he was just swinging his legs. No matter, I said, sit cross-legged and try really hard not to swing. Throughout the movie the man kept turning around to check that M.'s feet were not near his seat. They weren't, because by this time he'd made me paranoid about it. But really. It's a free movie for kids. There are, like, 10,000 kids here. The man had 2 kids of his own, who were no doubt kicking the seats of the people in front of them. It's a free movie for kids. It's not a $200 ticket to the opera. There are kids involved. You gotta expect a little excitement, noise and dancing & singing. And yes, maybe even some leg swinging.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You Just Can't See This Stuff Coming

Last night after the boys got out of the bath I went to get their pajamas. When I got back, there they were: stark naked, movin' and groovin' to the music from their Tooth Tunes toothbrushes (the themes from Transformers & Star Wars). D. and I were practically in tears we were laughing so hard.

Before you have kids you picture all the big stuff, like learning to walk, birthday parties and going off to college. You could never imagine the little everyday moments like these, which makes them even more precious. Right now I can't think of any greater blessing than being a parent.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is What Saturdays Look Like Here

I just joined a scrap challenge entitled "Twelve of Twelve" started by Susan. I found out about it from reading Cathy's blog. The premise is simple. On the 12th of each month, take 12 pictures of your everyday life and scrap them. Sounds fun, yes?

This is the first one I've done and I'll admit I didn't remember to take any photos until around 1:00. We're pretty laid back here on Saturdays and I've been wanting to do a layout about that for awhile, so it all worked out. Here's the layout:

And the explanation: Saturdays are all about relaxing in our house. The boys are worn out from school and I'm just plain worn out. So we spend the day (from left top to right bottom) making art, playing on the computer, going to playgrounds, having ice cream treats at our favorite local place, dog piling with Dad, reading (Quilter's Homecoming by J. Chiaverini), watching tv (Finding Nemo), logging into SparkPeople (yikes, I've used more than half my daily calories before lunch!), getting dressed at 2:21 (usually when D. gets home from work and says "you're STILL in your pajamas?!") going to dinner for spaghetti at another favorite local place, drinking a lot of tea, and reading Simple Scrapbooks before bed.

Sounds like a pretty good Saturday to me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stop Global Warming

This past weekend we participated in Earth Hour and turned off our lights from 8 to 9 pm. When I told the kids about it M. was all for it. "We have to stop Global Warming, Mom! Where is he? Why don't they just put him in jail?" It's funny how kids interpret things sometimes, isn't it? But now I can't get these two guys out of my head. Picturing them helps me turn off the lights and keep recycling!
(If you want to create your own superhero, go here)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mystery Baby

We just got the most adorable birth announcement in the mail. The problem is we have nooooo idea who the baby is. The announcement just lists her name and stats, no parents or siblings. We have some friends with that last name, but they're in their 50's and haven't adopted, so it's not them. The postmark is from Virginia. We have 2 sets of friends who live thereabouts, but it's not either of them. We run through the list of people we know who are expecting. Nope, nope, and nope. We scan the Christmas card address list. No bells ringing there. We scrutinize the handwriting. No clues there either. So proud parents, while you may know us well enough to send us notice of this happy occasion, we have no clue who you are. I'm sure when we find out, it'll be one of those "Duh!" moments. In the meantime, we'll just say that the baby is adorable and we're so happy for all of you! Edit: We found out today (4/2) who the baby is: D's cousin's granddaughter, so I guess that makes her a third cousin? And it seems a lot of the family was asking "whose baby is this?" too. Made us feel better.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter how is your wife Mister Easter Bunny how are you doing do you have any children

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's Your House Rating?

We had a family dinner last weekend. The kids were all playing so nicely. And so quietly. Yeah, you're right, that should have been my first clue.

They had asked if they could do art projects in the family room, which was fine with me so long as it didn't involve paint or playdoh and they cleaned up the mess afterward. They asked if they could make a "cave" which was also fine. I assumed they were doing something with the couch cushions since those items almost never actually reside on the couch. It turns out that they were taping the art work to the walls to make the room look creepy and cave-like. Also ok as I have been known to tape artwork to the walls myself, particularly in the kitchen to hide all the holes and the stripes of potential paint colors.

But I have to draw the line on using a glue stick to put stuff on the wall. How the heck am I going to get that and its bonded orange construction paper off my pale blue wall? Honestly, if they had done it in the kitchen or the playroom (aka what most people use as a living/dining room) or the hallway I would have laughed and moved on. But they picked the family room. The room that we redid last year after removing the ugly 1960's paneling. The room that looks better than the whole rest of the house put together. The room that looks like grownups live here.

That last statement kept repeating in my head all night long. What does it mean to have a house that looks like kids live there? What does it mean to have a house that looks like grownups live there? Can the two exist in the same house at the same time or will that bend the space-time continuum?

I thought of all the houses I've been in lately. There are the houses where you know the instant you get inside, maybe even before, that kids live there. There are pictures on the refrigerator, little shoes littering the hallway, legos strewn around. There are the houses that look a bit neater but kid-evidence is still around in the form of bigger shoes, game systems and the like. There are the houses where you can guess that teens live because there are still bigger shoes, electronic devices, a chest freezer in an obvious place and lots of cars in the driveway.

Then there are the houses that have me totally stumped. I know kids live there because I've met them, spoken to them, maybe even followed them inside. But there is absolutely no evidence of them anywhere. It's like entering an alternate house universe. A house black hole. And the whole time I'm there I'm discreetly searching for the evidence. I'm looking for a fingerprint on the light switch. A cheerio under the couch cushion. A stray sock peeking out from somewhere. Something! Anything! I become this guy. ---> We've got ice creams and lollipops and candies, allllll free today! Where do they keep the kids and all their associated flotsam in these houses? I imagine a set of graduated nesting boxes marked "baby" "toddler" "little boy/girl" "bigger boy/girl" and "teenager". Are the kids just more well behaved and trained in these houses? Are they all neat freaks with touches of OCD? Maybe they have a full-time nanny and a separate wing for her and everyone under 18. And a housekeeper. What? Where? How?

And then I started thinking what if there were a house rating system? How would kids rate houses?

***** totally kid friendly. No holds barred, messes allowed, junk food all the time.

**** kid friendly. Some rules, some messes allowed, good snacks

*** kid acquainted. More rules, few messes allowed, ok snacks

** kids might have lived here once a long time ago. Lots of rules, very few messes allowed, snacks are of the disgustingly healthy variety

* Danger! Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

I think our house would rate 4 stars. Possibly 5 stars on some occasions. For the most part I don't mind being the kid friendly house in the family and possibly the neighborhood later on. You've got to be a grownup for an awfully long time so why not let the kids enjoy being kids for as long as possible? This is not to say that I'm going to abandon attempts to make my boys eat veggies, make sure they say please and thank you (even to the brother who's sitting on their head), tidy up and all that other good stuff. But I'm not going to let a spill or some paper scraps on the floor ruin our day. I'll figure out a way to get glue stick off the grownup wall. Because when all is said and done, I'd rather have a 4 star house than a 1 star house.

I'll just have to wait to have totally grownup house until the boys leave home. I'll be around 65 by then. I can live with that. I can enjoy it until whenever grandkids hopefully arrive and then I'm sure we'll be back to paper scraps and spills.

But I'm definitely going to hide all the glue sticks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The UPS Man Thinks I'm Psychic

A few months ago I pre-ordered this book, mostly so I wouldn't have to try and remember it later when it was actually ready to ship. Today I realized that it should be arriving soon. While I was standing in the driveway waiting for P.'s bus to arrive, the UPS truck came rumbling down the street. "Oh" I thought "here comes the UPS man now to bring me my new book." And wouldn't you know it, that is exactly what he was doing! He was a little freaked out that I was standing in the driveway though.

So if anybody would like me to predict their future, the sex of their unborn baby or what stock is going to hit it big next -- you know where to find me :-D

Monday, March 10, 2008

Birthday Party Realities II

  1. If you are going to plan a birthday party, if at all possible try to stay away from the one weekend of the winter when a major storm hits. Using the excuse of it being March does not cut it here in WNY.
  2. If that's not possible, just reschedule and move on.

  3. At least the extra time gives you more time to clean the house.
  4. Which can be a bad thing. All children at the party fall on your kitchen floor about 10 times. This has nothing to do with the fact that they are playing chase, because they do that every day. It is because the floor is way too clean -- there is no dirt to keep them stuck down.

  5. So in the interest of safety, you have to invoke rule #1 from here and spill heavy whipping cream all over said floor. Naturally, in full view of all the guests. Try to swear quietly.
  6. Thank goodness you have another pint hidden in the back of the fridge because the birthday boy likes to put the heavy cream in his cereal and to hell with being lactose intolerant! but send said birthday boy to the store for 2 cans of "fake" whipped cream just in case. Now you have 2 full cans of fake whipped cream just hanging around because there is no more dessert to eat them with.

  7. And speaking of dessert, if one cake is good, then 2 are better. And a pie, and banana bread, and what the heck, put some cookies out too. And some berries for the cheesecake. And the whipped cream. Worry that you are an overachiever or channeling your mother who had to feed 12 people 3x a day. But notice that there were very few leftovers so either you are a perfect party planner or your guests are all just sugar addicts and will be buzzing around at 3 a.m. cursing you. At least the coffee was decaf.
  8. If you are going to put 51 candles (because you need 1 extra for good luck) on a small cake, you had better be sure the birthday boy is in the room and the guests are ready to sing right then. The flames from 51 candles get pretty high! The children will be highly entertained by this and want to know if the smoke alarm will go off and if it does will everyone have to go outside and stand in the snow? The heat from all those flames will also make the wax candles melt extremely fast. The cute cake will not be so cute anymore after you pick all the wax from its icing, but it will still taste good.
  9. If you think chocolate is a good gift for the birthday boy, everyone else will too. Fortunately, in this case he does not mind duplicates at all.
  10. If you make a cute "50 Things We Love About You" book for the birthday boy, realize that all the party guests will read it before he gets a chance to. Which ended up being ok too.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

50 Years Ago Today

They couldn't have known it then, but 50 years ago today, these two wonderful people gave me the very best gift ever.

Happy Birthday Honey! I love you!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Squirrel Energy

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we don't live in rural Alaska any longer. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that there are 3 grocery stores and a warehouse club within 5 miles of our house -- no planes, ferries or excessive shipping costs involved. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that this is the end of February and stocking up for winter is almost at an end. Sometimes we remind ourselves of all these things and fail miserably. Which is why D. came home from BJ's with 32 bottles of juice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Six Things

Six Things About You @ Age 6

Your current favorite food is meatballs, with or without sauce

You come into the bedroom every morning to snuggle and you get mad if I'm already up

You like to call us continuously "Mom! Daddy!" for no real reason, just to make sure we're still there

Sometimes you just start singing out of happiness

Lately you have been shouting "NO!" really loud in your sleep. Or laughing.

You love swimming! You just went to no bubbles at swimming lessons.

You are very sensitive

You love to create art

Your current favorites are Ben10 and Thunderbirds

You love Tim Horton's donuts, especially vanilla dip

You take dinosaur chicken nuggets to school for lunch every day

You like to wear all the same color: red shirt, red pants, red socks

Birthday Party Realities

We had the boys' birthday party this past weekend. Their first "kid" party. When your son looks up at you and says "can we have our friends instead of your friends at our party this year?" you realize that yes, you have to do the kid party.

Most of their friends and cousins have done things at various bounce house places, a farm, a gymnastics place -- in other words, somewhere other than their house where everything is provided, you don't have to clean up and it costs lots of money. So naturally, D. and I decided we should have the party at home. A good old-fashioned home party like the kind we remember having as kids.

We set the guest list: 3 school friends each, 2 cousins, 2 mutual friends. With the birthday boys that made 12 kids. We set the theme: super heroes! and asked all the guests to think about their super hero name and power. We got the craft/favor: decorate-your-own canvas capes from Oriental Trading and masks from Party City. We set the menu: hot dogs, pizza, various chips and juice boxes. We ordered the cake: yellow with raspberry filling, with red, white & blue icing with yellow stars, very superheroish. We got ice cream skippy cups for the birthday boy who doesn't like cake. We organized the activities: decorating said capes, training exercises (an obstacle course in the basement play area), a graduation ceremony where they get their capes and mask, a scavenger hunt for glow stick necklaces (power magnifiers), and a rescue from a burning building (a decorated wardrobe box). Everyone rsvps yes and we're good to go.

Here is my planned "schedule" for the party:
3:00 guests arrive, have their identity "scanned" and decorate
their capes
3:30 everyone goes downstairs for the obstacle course while I heat-set the designs they've drawn on their capes
3:50 Everyone comes up to eat pizza & hot dogs
4:15 We have our little graduation ceremony and everyone puts on their superhero garb and I get lots of photos
4:20 We do the scavenger hunt for glow stick necklaces
4:30 We do the burning building rescue of stuffed animals
4:45 We have cake and ice cream
5:15ish Everyone departs

Here's reality:

3:00 Guests arrive and some have their identities scanned (most did not get this at all). They begin to decorate their capes. Some do not want to decorate their capes but want to play with our many toys. Husband and I express surprise at how many parents elect to drop off and leave. (We have had this conversation before at bounce house places, etc. and have come to the conclusion that we are just hyper-hawk paranoid parents.)
3:20 A pack of cape and mask wearing superheroes commence running all over the entire house, including the upstairs which is off limits.
3:30 Said pack goes downstairs and begins training on their own. Husband realizes this and goes down to supervise.
3:40 Half the pack comes upstairs and starts doing puzzles, art, taking out trains, etc.
3:50 Everyone comes to table for pizza & hot dogs. Listen to many voices saying they don't like pizza or hot dog or this kind of juice box, etc. etc. Most eat or drink something with only a few dissenters wandering around.
4:00 Pack runs around for 10 minutes while food is cleared.
4:10 Scavenger hunt for glow sticks begins. Some do not get the concept of "find only one" while others do not want to find any at all. Some wear them, some do not.
4:15 Commence burning building rescue with stuffed animals. Have conversation about how it doesn't matter that animals can't talk or call for help and why they are in the burning building in the first place. Everyone does at least one "rescue," some grudgingly. Several do 5 or 6 rescues. Everyone has an opinion on which stuffed animal they want to rescue. At this point the box begins to break because you have cut too big a door into it along with a window on the opposing side and 12 crashing 6 year-olds take a toll. The ones who do not want to rescue more than once resume their previous activities: running in pack, art, puzzles, toys, jumping around downstairs. Simultaneously supervise potty trips & coax wanderers from upstairs.
4:40 Cake and ice cream. Singing of the happy birthday song many times as well as blowing out the relighting candles. Have to microwave skippy cups for 5 seconds each as they are frozen solid and plastic spoons are breaking.
5:00 More playing and merriment.
6:00 Last guest departs.
6:05 You and husband exchange a look and simultaneously say "Next year, bounce house."
7:00 Eat rest of pizza and hot dogs with in-laws while cleaning up.
7:30 Convince birthday boys to open gifts. Thankful for gift receipts, separate gifts into 2 piles, keep and exchange.
8:45 Two happy birthday boys express delight at party and fall asleep content.

Did our moms just make it look easy?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Grocery Shopping & Gender Differences

I forgot it was Super Bowl Sunday and went to the grocery store this afternoon. Not that I had any choice, all the cupboards were bare. And since there were many more men than usual in the grocery store, something I have noticed in the past became even more apparent. Maybe you've noticed it too? It seems that men and women grocery shop in very different ways. And I'm not talking about what's in the cart, I'm talking about the process. For instance:

Women wheel the cart around the aisles or carry the basket with them. Men leave the cart or the basket at the end of the aisle and carry armloads back and forth. (which can lead to an argument if you are shopping with your spouse and your purse or your child is in the cart)

Women wait in one place at the deli counter, trusting that the nice deli slicer person will remember our faces or our coat color and be able to find us again. Men follow the nice deli slicer person from slicer to slicer, up and down the counter. Women ask for "half a pound of Battistoni hard salami, sliced thin." Men point and ask for "half a pound of that."

Women use coupons. Men don't.

Women may or not follow a shopping list. Men, if they have been sent by their spouse, always have a list. And will still have to call home 3 times to ask for help finding the things on the list.

To be fair, you can substitute "Home Depot" for grocery store and reverse everything in favor of the men. Not that I intend to be stereotypical in any way, shape or form, you understand.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I didn't see my shadow today...

because it's snowing. I've always wondered what all the fuss is about the Groundhog predicting an early spring or more winter. It's February 2, people! In six weeks it will be the middle of March and the first day of spring is March 21. So the way I calculate it, whether Phil sees his (her?) shadow or not, it's still gonna be winter for six more weeks. Right?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lots of Random

This will be a whole lot of unrelated random stuff ...

I never got around to sending Christmas cards since I didn't have a recent picture of all of us and whenever anyone was around to take one, someone was missing. So they have turned into New Year's cards. But I still need someone to take the photo. Anyone want to come over and hold the camera? It still counts as Happy New Year if I get them out before Valentine's Day right? Edited 1/26/08: The cards are out! I mailed the last batch today. So look in your mailboxes loved ones!

And speaking of Valentine's, we got all the Christmas decorations put away and while I was at it I took the opportunity to put the boys' special ornaments into their own boxes with labels saying when they received them and from who. They got a lot of ornaments before they were even born! Then I figured I may as well reorganize all the other holiday decorations. The basement was full of things I hadn't put away from autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving and Easter was mingled in with St. Patrick's -- in short, the kind of task I love. The kind that is relatively unnecessary in the large scheme of things and therefore must take precedence over everything else. So now every event has its own little home. And I see that for an irish girl I am pathetically deficient on St. Patrick's Day decorations, but if I even think about acquiring any more Easter stuff you should cut off my marshmallow peep supply. I put up the Valentine decorations yesterday (you know M. was happy!) and even found some nifty blinking heart lights to put in the front windows. They look really neat at night.

We still haven't figured out what to do for M&P's birthday which is fast approaching. They have been to a few birthday parties for classmates at bounce houses and those kinds of places and I know they really want to have a "friend" party rather than the big family party we usually do (which considering it's mostly our friends that come I can totally understand). Most of the places I've checked into are reasonable in price if you break it all out but still more expensive than I was expecting. Or they have a big minimum to meet, like 15 or 20 kids. We could easily meet that if we invited everyone in both classes but do I really want to be in close proximity to 30 six-year-olds on a sugar or adrenaline high? We could do something at home with fewer kids. Or take a few kids to an activity like bowling. They seem to be happy with either option so long as there is cake, ice cream and friends. What to do, what to do?

Still working on getting the blasted wallpaper off in the hallway. Scraping it with a razor blade is the only thing that is getting it off so it's slow going. Now I wonder if we should keep going or just put up 1/4" wallboard over the whole thing or wainscoting or something. And if I even mention putting wallpaper up in the next 50 years, you have permission to make me eat paste.

Have you heard about one little word? This is something that Ali Edwards started a few years ago on her blog and it has caught on with a lot of people. I was intrigued by it and thought about what my word for the year should be. Possible candidates were joy, love, share, create & simplify but I think my word is going to be BEGIN. Kind of a strange word to focus on for the year I know, but my reasoning is that a lot of what I want to accomplish doesn't get done because of my tendency towards procrastination. When I finally get started (wallpaper notwithstanding) I find the task I've been putting off takes a very short time and I'm left wondering what took me so long? So this year I am going to remind myself to just BEGIN. Even if something takes a long time to complete, it'll never get done unless I start. So whether it's laundry, losing 30 pounds or organizing the closets, this is the year that I am going to take a deep breath and just get started. Wish me luck!

There is also something called the 365 photo challenge, which is basically taking one photo a day for an entire year. I'm intrigued by this too, but not going to do it this year. Maybe I'll try and commit to doing a whole month first...

I've been participating in the Layout a Day (LOAD) Challenge over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. Due to a bout of stomach flu and other stuff I haven't been posting or even doing a layout a day, but when I get going I scrap 8 or 9 at once so I'm still caught up. There are more than 2000 scrappers participating and 14,000 (yes you read that right!) layouts posted to the gallery. As a relatively new scrapper, I haven't done this many layouts ever, never mind all in one month. And I'm trying very hard to use the supplies I have already acquired and not buy anything new except adhesive. So far so good since I got a new goodie fix due to a Christmas gift from my niece. Thanks H! I'm having lots of fun with this and getting a lot of ideas and inspiration as well, so thanks to Lain for doing this for all of us! If I figure out how to post a separate photo album on here, I'll put up some photos. Edited: There is now a Flickr badge to the left! And here is a link to the photo album there if you want a closer look.

My new-to-me tv find is Heroes. Love it! I could have done without the graphic violence in the first few episodes though. I love how with each episode there are twists & turns -- "he's a bad guy, no wait, is he a good guy, no, maybe he is a bad guy, just what is going on here?!" What super power would you like to have? I think I'd like to multiply myself to get more done and still be able to sleep 12 hours a night :-D

Speaking of sleeping, did you ever have one of those nights where you keep having bizarro dreams and end up awake imagining all kinds of scenarios that will never ever happen but that you now feel prepared to handle? It's not just me, right?

Swimming lessons started up again last week. P. is in his element, so excited when he realized where we were going. They are "lobsters" this go round which means that they are in the pool on their own with the instructors and Mom & Dad do not have to get in the pool. (Yay!) And they both did a very good job listening to the instructors so that was a big sigh of relief for us. We were running late (as usual) and halfway across the parking lot I realized that P. was missing a shoe. Ok, that's not uncommon, he takes his shoes off all the time. At least he kept the sock on. We go back to the car and I can't find the shoe. Thankfully there is no snow and it's relatively warm, and hey, we've already been across the parking lot once, so we just go in without it. Once D. arrives and they have started their lesson, I go back out to do a more thorough search. I find several empty Tim Horton bags, lots of broken crayons, a full juice box, some knights that have been missing from the castle playset and lots of dried up raisins. No shoe. Now I am panicking a bit. They are brand new and cost $55! Where is that shoe? Would Stride Right possibly let me buy a left shoe for half price? He couldn't have thrown it out the window because now that he's figured out what that button is for I have the parental window lock on. I search the cargo area of the car and find several dirty socks, some empty plastic bags, lots of emergency gear, and the container of dish detergent I forgot to bring in from the last trip to BJs. Now I am questioning my own sanity and powers of memory, did I even put the 2nd shoe on him? D. thinks I am a nut and volunteers to go look for the shoe since he often finds the thing I swear is lost forever. But he doesn't find it either. All the way home I am going a bit loopy thinking about the shoe. M. suggests I pray to "that saint guy." What the heck, we all say the poem and ask St. Tony to have a look-see around and get back to us. When we get home, there is the shoe, tangled up in the hallway rug. It must have come off as I herded everyone towards the garage. Where was it that I go to apply for the "most observant mother" award?