Thursday, August 28

The New Kid

A new kid came over to my house yesterday after school. He got off the bus, threw me his backpack and jumped on his bike. After pulling on his helmet he took off pedaling down the street, up the street, circling me as I walked toward home carrying the backback filled with the usual back to school paperwork to be filled out. Once at the house he grabbed himself a glass, opened the fridge and poured himself some juice. I asked him how his friend A was that we hadn't seen all summer. "Good" he replied, "why do you ask?" He sauntered around, helped Abbey with a drawing, seeming all that much older than the last time I had seen him. When he opened the cupboard and got himself some crackers I just had to remark. "Wow, you sure are doing a lot for yourself today, I like it!"

"Well, I'm in first grade now mom, what do you think?"

Oh Jack, it seems like just yesterday you were still a little boy, my little boy, asking me to get you juice, get you a snack, help you get on the computer. Oh wait . . . that was yesterday.

Wednesday, August 27

Edging Back To Normal

I was going to post yesterday and entitle it "Hand, Foot and they might fire my Ass" but never got around to it. Today I am back at work and thoroughly enjoyed my coffee and bagel this morning in peace and quiet. Everyone seems to be on their way back to healthy and I will be happy to stop making multiple meals trying to find something that the kids can eat that doesn't bother their mouth sores. Meals that they couldn't eat that ended up where? Where do you think? Down my gullet. Scrambled eggs still hurt your mouth, I'll eat them. Chicken noodle soup too salty, don't want to waste it. Pudding too cold? (too cold???) No problem, tastes great.

So the school year has gotten off to a bumpy start, with Jack missing his first day of first grade yesterday. He was so distraught, he watched the bus go by and just looked pathetic. I was pretty distraught myself, after having been in the house for 6 days straight dealing with the cocksucker virus, I had had enough! But today he was well enough to go, not 100% better but good enough. Every time the phone rings though I am expecting it to be the school. "Excuse me, but did you know your son is still sick? Why would you send him to school like this you sadistic uncaring fool?" But so far, so good.

Waiting at the bus stop this morning he was excited, nervous and extremely shy. Last year the bus picked him up and dropped him off at the end of the driveway, which was great for us. Now that he is a big first grader he has to go to the "official" bus stop down the road with the other kids. It will be fine I'm sure, once he gets into the swing of it. We are just not used to interacting with others that early in the morning. At least he only has to stand there, I had to make chit chat with the other mothers. Not that I mind, I can mingle with the best of them. I do wonder about shy mother's though. How do they do it? Do they have anxiety over every play date, every trip to the park? God bless them, I guess you just have to grin and bear it.

Sunday, August 24

Kids In The Shoe

While Abbey has been sick she has been wanting to watch this old DVD we have. My parents picked it up for Jack about 3 years ago after he became obsessed with Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Unfortunately, when we got it home and put it on it wasn't at all the Rudolph from t.v. but a strange assortment of old cartoons from the 30's. One of them was this semi-creepy cartoon of the Old Woman Who Lived In The Shoe. I had forgotten all about it until now, but it makes me laugh my ass off. All of the cartoons are a riot, and involve the characters smoking and even a parrot drinking beer. Amazing what they used to get away with! I had to share this one with you so after some careful investigation I found the exact cartoon on You Tube (you can find anything these days). So check it out (just click on the title "Kids In The Shoe" above) and be prepared to laugh.

Saturday, August 23

Plans, Interruptous Update

OK, I must say that I shouldn't be at all surprised that I have gotten a call from the lake. Jack is not feeling well. He is already asleep. It is 7 pm. He barely wanted his tuna sandwich at lunch when normally the child can down like 3. Shocker. The first day of school is Tuesday and Jack is not feeling well. Can anyone say Coxsackievirus Part II? Do you think the school would frown on me if I sent him with a communicable disease?

Friday, August 22

Plans, Interruptous

Weekend Scenario Number 1:

Go to work
Dennis drops children off with Grammy and Grampy for weekend at the lake
After work leisurely go to the grocery store
Go home, work out on treadmill, take a long long shower
Primp forever and actually get hair to look good
Go out to romantic long overdue dinner with husband
Continue Saturday with productive yet slow paced day of chores intermittent with bouts of laying in the sun on the deck reading a book

Weekend Scenario Number 2:

Abbey comes down with Coxsackievirus, otherwise known as Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
Jack heads to the lake alone, Abbey cries piteously because she can't go even though she is all packed
Go to Dollar Store to make sick child feel better about missing out on great weekend fun
Spend day playing Go Fish, Barbies, painting, coloring, Memory
Feel slightly sorry for self for missing out on great night so compensate by eating raw cookie dough from the fridge previously purchased to bring to birthday party on Sunday which we will now be cancelling

So, have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, August 20


"I didn't do it, it's her fault!"
"He hit me!"
"Stop it's my turn to say my words!"
"She pushed me first!"
"He's poking me!"
"She's laughing and it's not funny!"

The children have been bickering like an old married couple, while alternatively hugging and laying all over each other, loving like the best of friends. It is hot and cold, fire and ice with these two lately. All the togetherness has taken it's toll. Besides one week mid-summer when they each went to separate camps, Jack and Abbey have spent their summer together. To the lake, together. The zoo, together. Grampy's house, together. Park, together. Outings, together. On and on and on it goes. I am usually with them as well, but I do have work and an occasional break for mental health reasons, but for some reason we may forget that children. . . siblings. . . need a break from each other just as much as we do. In regular life we do not spend every waking moment of the day with our spouses, thank the Lord, and if we did we definitely wouldn't like it. So in this regard I can safely say that I am more than ready for summer to wrap up and the school year to begin. Jack will head into first grade next week, away from his family (and most importantly his sister) for 7 hours, 5 days a week. When he returns they will hug and be grateful to see each other, for the first 2 - 3 minutes, anyway.

Monday, August 18

An Aura of Calm

There is a part in the movie Titanic that always made me start to bawl when I watched it (OK, it made me cry like the first 8 times I saw it). It is when the ship is going down and the poor Irish mother is tucking her kids into bed, and telling them that it will be alright, it will all be over soon. Heartbreaking. Like mothers in all walks of life for generations she had to put her children first and calm their fears without even having the option of having any of her own (even though inside she must have been shi**ing). I had a similar experience today, except on about 1 millionth of a less dramatic scale. The kids came to my office with me which they love to do, and after we had lunch I had to go upstairs in the building for an eye appointment. On the way down (two floors but we of course had to take the elevator because they are right up there with escalators on the fun factor) the elevator got stuck. Right there between floors 5 & 6, stuck, stuck, stuck. Now, I have worked in this building for 12 years, and with my avoidance of all things exercise related, ridden in these elevators 2 or 3, sometimes 4 times a day. Thousands of times. But today, today I get stuck. I knew it was bad immediately because instead of the usual creak the elevator makes it just shuddered to a stop and none of the buttons would work. The whole panel went black.

Jack - "Are we stuck?"
Me - "Umm, I think so, but that's OK"
Jack - "How are we going to get out of here?"
Me - "No problem, I'll just push this little button here and we'll be out in a jiffy."

I then proceeded to calmly speak to the voice at the other end of the button, telling her where we were and letting her know that it was not an emergency or anything but I did have 2 children with me so maybe they could get us out speedily.

Jack - "How are we going to get out of here?"
Me - "They will just push some buttons and fix it right up and we'll be out."
Jack - "What if they can't, do we have to stay in here forever?"
Me - "Of course not silly, people get stuck in elevators all the time (on my soap opera) and they always get out."
Jack - "Like in Curious George. He got stuck in the elevator and the fire department had to come and rescue him. Cool, is the fire department coming?"

You may wonder where Abbey was during this. She was standing still and not saying a word. I had to keep asking her if she was alright. She said she was, but I could tell she was a little freaked. They both were, and I was a little freaked myself but I knew that I couldn't let my eyes even show a bit of freaked-out-ness (is this a word?) because I am their mother and mothers have to stay calm in all emergencies and be in control. Any fears you may have are reflected in their eyes, so my eyes had to stay full of confidence of our swift rescue. So I joked and we talked and I kept acting as if it is no big deal, people got stuck in elevators all the time and what a great story they were going to have to tell. We were rescued in only about 15 minutes, not by burly sexy firefighters I might add but by 2 guys from maintenance with tool belts and grimy hats. Once the doors were opened I had to actually hand the kids up to them and then get hoisted out myself, and after that we wisely took the stairs. I was proud of the kids though, there was no screaming and no crying, no breaking down. And when we left 1 hour later, they took a vote amongst themselves and decided that they wanted to give the elevator another chance. Phew, exercise avoided again!

Friday, August 15

Meat Heaven

I may be feeding my family a bit too much chicken. Tonight we had barbequed ribs that I cooked in the oven a while before putting them on the grill (OK, Dennis put them on the grill). Yes, I admit, they were delicious. Soft and juicy. The whole family just kept making these yummy yummy noises and practically gave me a standing ovation. Jack declared he was in "Meat Heaven." Don't get too used to it family, tomorrow ~ back to chicken. It's not that I don't love them and want to feed them what they like, but I have always gotten a little confused in the red meat section of the grocery store. I'm not at all sure what is a "good" piece of steak or a bad one and I don't know the prices that well, so I never know if something is a good deal or if I'm the sucker paying 3 times more than I should for a roast!

In other food news, Micheal Phelps apparently needs to eat 10,000 calories a day to fuel himself. 10,000!!!!! That's a lot of cheese. Screw gymnastics, I am so becoming a swimmer.

Thursday, August 14

Once Upon A Time

First off, it was brought to my attention by a couple of very observant friends that I incorrectly listed my age as 33 on my last post. Really, that birthday last month just slipped my mind, it really did. I now remember and am admitting that I am, in fact, 34. OK? OK?

So Once Upon A Time there were two children who loved their mommy to tell them stories in the car because they didn't have one of those handy dandy DVD players in their vehicle. Sometimes the stories involved princesses and frogs, other times they involved pumpkins and animals. There was one story in particular that they liked to hear again and again, a "scary" story involving two children lost in the woods. There was only 1 catch, each of the children required a different ending to this story, so the weary yet infinitely patient mother would have to tell the ending twice, kind of in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" fashion. (Remember those books? "If you want Pete to take the cave, turn to page 34. If you want him to go over the mountaintop, turn to page 56." So fun.) OK, back to the story (a condensed version).

So, Once Upon A Time a brother & sister go into the woods to pick berries. The brother says "there's a great berry patch over that hill, lets go." The sister replies "but we won't know the way back, let's leave these bread crumbs from our lunch as a trail." So they do. The kids pick berries and get really full eating them, blah blah blah and then it is getting dark so they decide to head home. But "Oh No!" birds have eaten the crumbs and they can't find their way out. They are hopelessly lost and start to cry. They come upon a tidy little house in the woods with gingerbread walls and a licorice fence, gumdrop windows and frosting doors (is this sounding vaguely familiar yet? I didn't say the mother was a total original!) So a little old woman comes out and tells the children to stop crying, they can stay at her house tonight and she will help them find their way home in the morning. She brings them in and makes them tons of yummy foods to eat, like [insert children's favorite foods here]. They eat & eat & eat & eat until they are stuffed and then she shows them to a cute little room with two little beds and says goodnight. When she shuts the door they realize that they are locked in, and their are bars on the windows. They are trapped! Then the old lady turns evil and cackles . . . . "hee hee hee children, now you are nice and fattened up I can eat you tomorrow . . . cackle cackle cackle . . . evil laugh . . . evil laugh . . . evil laugh . . ." The children are so scared and upset, they cry and cry and try with all their might to break open the bars on the windows to escape, but to no avail. Morning comes and the old lady comes in to get them.

This is where Jack & Abbey require different endings, endings that they have made up themselves, and the conclusion has to be told twice. First, in Jack's version the evil witch lets the kids out but makes them clean her house (hmmmm, interesting) from top to bottom first and while she is leaning over stirring the boiling kettle of water to cook them in, they give each other a wink and push her with all their might, toppling her into the boiling water. The End.

In Abbey's version the evil witch lets the kids out, puts them in the trunk of her car and drives into town to her friends house. There she lets them out, throws them into the boiling water that her friend has ready, cooks them up and then the evil witch and her friend eat them on toast and they are so delicious.

So, should I be worried? Abbey's ending seems a little bit . . . I don't know . . . morbid? Jack HATES this ending and feels in no way should the kids actually, gulp, die. I agree. In most fairy tales the kids don't end up on toast, but she insists that this makes the story better. I guess it might, if it was a horror story! May we might have a future female Stephen King on our hands?

Wednesday, August 13


Why hadn't I seen this show before? Last night the kids and I stumbled across Wipeout when they should have been getting ready for bed and became mesmerized. This show is genius in the fact that me, Jack & Abbey all watched it intently and loved it. So that means the three of us in the age range of 3 - 33 were equally entertained. Not too many shows can say that. How long has it been on? I hope that it is not just one of those "summer" shows that will end in the fall, as I plan on spending Tuesday nights from 8 - 9 with the kids laughing my ass off at these people trying to jump over the big blue balls.

Tuesday, August 12

Yet Another Use For Anti-Monkey Butt

Abbey did something really helpful today. I was just thinking it was probably time to replace our toothbrushes because it is one thing I do every 3 months (griminess on my brush gives me the heebie jeebies). This drives my husband crazy, because he doesn't like change, and when I change his toothbrush he gets all confused. For days I hear "Hey, is the red one mine again, or the blue? What about this Strawberry Shortcake one? Is this mine?" OK, not exactly that confused, but close. But now I don't have to replace them, because Abbey washed every single one of our brushes in the sink with a wonderful concoction of water, soap, body spray and half the can of Anti-Monkey Butt. Now our brushes are super shiny & clean. Phew, that saves me a trip to the drugstore.

Sunday, August 10

Memories of Atlanta

I love when the Olympics are on. Not that I watch much of it or anything, but there's something about the fact that it is just on. And whenever you want to check in, poof, there it is. I always think of Mary Lou Retton, flipping and twisting amazingly around on the mat. Also, I'm probably dating myself, but watching always makes me think of another gymnast. The year, 1996. This was an all-around great year for me. I graduated from college and landed my first job (ironically, it is the same job I still have). I was 22, soon to be engaged, living at home again with my parents. I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was in my old bedroom doing leg lifts (even when I used to exercise way more, I still could never get below a size 10!) I was watching the gymnastics competition at the Olympics in Atlanta, being that gymnastics and diving are the only 2 events I did and still like to watch. Its quite sad, but I can remember all those girls. They were called the "Magnificent 7" and it seemed like they were everywhere. McDonald's ads, coke ads, cereal boxes . . . underwear and tampons probably. Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps. And Kerri Strug hurt her ankle but still nailed the vault, and that Russian or Romanian coach, Bela Karolyi had to carry her off. It was historic, awe inspiring. It made me want to run out and become a gymnast at the age of 22. What? It could still happen.

In other Olympic worthy news, Jack is RIDING his bike, sans training wheels (and with no help from me I might add). Dennis worked with him a little, but he must have just been ready because within 10 minutes he was off. I should learn by now that no matter how hard I push and plead, he does everything at his own speed, when he is ready. That bike has sat next to the shed since our failed attempts in the spring, collecting cobwebs and looking sad and forlorn, and then boom ~ Jack decided that today was the day. No training wheels, starting the first grade in a little over 2 weeks . . . sniff sniff. There is no stopping him now!
In other non-Olympic non-bike riding news, it is insanely sunny outside right now, but thundering like a mother. What the????

Thursday, August 7

Contest Alert

Quick, click onto the title above and head over to My Semblance of Sanity and post your own "Top 10 Things Mom's Never Dreamed They'd Have To Say" contest and you may win an adorable handmade namesake. I may too. Or don't, whatever.

Too Much Bother

I just can't seem to stop playing with myself over here, whoops, that didn't sound too good. You may notice that I have changed my look again. Sorry to all of you out there who have trouble embracing change, but I think the white was just a little too boring.

So am I getting old? I had the chance to go to the Jack Johnson concert last night but had to pass because it was just too much bother. Bother? A few years ago I wouldn't have let "bother" stop me from a concert, but now I do. I'm sure I would have had a BLAST once I got there (a giant shout out to the girls who did make it to the concert, thanks for the nice words and compliments ladies, I love that you are reading!) So I should have put in more effort, but it really was way too much bother. I am working an extra day this week, which means I had to find child care for 1 extra day already. Dennis doesn't get home until after 8 each night because he works the STUPID and RIDICULOUS shift that he loves and I HATE of 12-8. That means I would have had to find someone to watch the kids until 8 (my mother probably, and I'm sure she would have loved it after spending the entire day with screaming kids at camp) and then Dennis would have had to put them to bed which he can do, but he does badly. His motto is that since it is summer they should just be allowed to stay up as late as they want, even though they are 6 and 3! Men!

All of this is besides the point anyway, because the truth is that I actually pretty much forgot about the concert, and fell asleep at 9:30 while laying down with Jack. So in a way I guess I did spend my evening with Jack, just the wrong damn one!

Wednesday, August 6

Unorganized Chaos

We went to the Boston Children's Museum yesterday, the kids and I, and I must tell you, it was exhausting. We met 3 of my college friends there and their respective 7 children for a fun-filled outing. It was fun filled for the kids anyway, but just dizzying for us. I had never been to this museum before and I'll tell ya, I'm not in a hurry to return. The rooms are all open to each other and open to the entryway, which results in children having way too easy access to escape. My head was spinning from trying to keep an eye on 9 children running in different directions among 400 children running in different directions. To top it off there were about 6 camp programs there, as I surmised from the different colored tee-shirts I counted. I knew it was going to be a madhouse, I expected a big crowd, but this was ridiculous. One of my friends had the unfortunate foresight to dress her son in a light blue tee-shirt, exactly the same shade as the 42 campers from "Camp Very Loud & Obnoxious." I expected him to end up on their bus headed back to Southie before the day was through.

Alas, we persevered through the day and the kids all had a blast playing with bubbles, riding on the plane that Buster flies, styling hair at the salon, and using a fake jackhammer in the construction zone. My 2 were especially fond of this GIANT climbing contraption in the middle that you snaked your way up through 3 stories while trying to not hit a dead end. I could see them climbing in there, but I couldn't get to them which made me a little uncomfortable. I kept telling Jack "stay with your sister, stay with your sister" which he did, mostly. Except when he didn't and left her far behind. By the end of the day my head hurt and my throat hurt. I think I basically just repeated these same sayings over and over throughout the day in a loop, "stay together" "don't run off" "keep up" "let's go" "no running in the bubble room" "let's try to pee". I was sick of hearing my own voice! At one point Jack was being obnoxious and I had to give him a time out for not listening. I pointed to a green wooden chair and told him to sit down, except when he did it started to play music and make weird sounds. I tried not to laugh but that was just too funny, so there went that time-out. Supernanny would so not be impressed.

For Jack & Abbey the best part of the day had to be taking the train in (or as we natives call it, the "T"). I braved this part of the adventure alone, even though I NEVER go into Boston and have no clue what I am doing. We drove an hour to a station and after being instructed to park strangely up on the curb on the on-ramp to the garage (don't ask) we found our way inside. I had no clue how to put money onto a Charlie Card (?) and had to ask a woman next to me to do it for me. After putting in my $20 it spit out my $16 in change in coins. I thought they were T-tokens of some kind and was mightily pissed, I wanted real money dammit. When I got home though my husband informed me that a) I was not so bright and b) it was real money, each coin was a dollar. Oh yeah, I knew that all along. Once we were through the turnstile though we were good all the way into the city, and once we finally found our Brockton friends we were even better. Who knew South Station had different exits depending on which line you were coming in on. Red, green, blue, can't all the colors just get along?

All in all it was a successful day, measuring success by the fact that we all came home alive and uninjured.

Monday, August 4

New Day, New Look

Just like my mother with her living room furniture, I can't let my blog look the same for too long. I am experimenting with this new look, leave me your comments and let me know what you think. I can always go back to the old style, but it's always good to shake things up a little. I was even able to fit my entire name by my profile without it getting cut in half, bonus. Also check out my new link to the left, yes, look to the left right now. Birch Hill Jewelry is a site started by my sister-in-law Amy, and even though she has 8 (yes, I said 8!) kids she still finds time to make hand-made jewelry, so stop by and visit her.

We were at the lake this weekend for what Jack would call a little "mini-vacation." We had a great time despite the weather being 78% rain. I mean, once you're wet, you're wet so you might as well just stay out in the rain (at least this is the mentality the kids seemed to have). My parents have a trailer that stays year-round in a great campground on a lake that is real woodsy and rustic. Ahhh, I love camping. The smell of the campfire, the sap constantly dripping from the trees, hot dogs, the comfort of a warm bed, t.v. with DVD player, indoor bathroom, kitchen. Just getting back to nature and really roughing it. OK, OK, so maybe it's not totally "roughing" it, but to me it's enough. It's not that I am a high-maintenance kind of girl, I just don't see the appeal of sleeping in a tent on the hard ground, of washing your dishes from a hose, peeing in the woods, all that stuff. In fact, I have an actual inability to pee in the woods. Once, while in college I was at a Phish concert (so, I liked the music. . . that's all. . . really). Anyway, after a few tasty beverages outside beforehand my friends and I all had to pee, so everyone ran off into the woods, except me. I just can't seem to do it. So much in fact that I went in and stood in a line 8 miles long, almost passing out from the pain in my bladder, just to get to a "real" bathroom. So pitching a tent in the middle of the woods just isn't my thing, especially now that I have kids. It just seems like all too much, work to be considered any kind of vacation. My husband loves to camp. Loves the woods, loves the whole thing. Of course, he actually prefers to pee outside, can happily go 2 or 3 days without showering, and loves the outdoors. The sky, the stars. He sits forever and ever outside on our deck at night and watches the stars. He's probably seen over 1,000 shooting stars in his life, while I on the other hand have seen 4. I try to hang out there with him, I really do, but my neck gets sore from looking up, and bugs start to bite me, and I realize that I have 2 loads of laundry to fold and a dishwasher to empty and the joy of staring at the sky just goes out the window. Oh well, this is why we are together, so that when the kids want to have a camp-out in the yard I can happily bring the 3 of them drinks & snacks and kiss them good night, and head on back into the house to my comfy bed, all to myself.

Friday, August 1

How Much Is Your Blog Worth?

My blog is worth $22,017.06.
How much is your blog worth?

So, this was pretty cool. I found this new site that can tell you how much your blog is worth. I figured my blog wouldn't be worth too much, but wow! I can't believe it. I checked out some of the blogs I read regularly to see comparatively what they are worth. Manic Mommy's is worth $43,469.58, Michelle's over at My Semblance of Sanity is worth $40,646.88 and Dawn's blog over at Because I Said So is worth a whopping $304,851.60.

OK, I'm totally lying. This wasn't even for my blog. I just wanted to make myself feel better, because

Nothing? $0.00???? Its insulting. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be up there in the thousands range, but $0.00? I'm not sure exactly how the site comes up with this amount, or what you have to do to raise it, but however they do it mine is worth zero. Nothing. Nada. It's actually a little bit depressing and makes me want to go and eat a GARGANTUAN bag of Tostitos. I won't though. I'm strong and I'll muddle along with my little blog because I know that you, my devoted 10 or so readers, think it is worth at least a buck.