Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Love You Stinky Face

I found myself in the doctor's office with my two rugrats recently. During the visit the doctor had to excuse himself to take an important phone call. Which is exactly when my children started farting. The treatment room in which we were confined was basically airless and my boys were really getting smelly. Exasperated I asked, "Who stinks!?!?!?"

Without a moment's hesitation Mason answered, "Grandma Go Go."

Love you, mommy.

Monday, December 28, 2009


For some unexplained reason I insisted that my family join me when I picked out my new camera -- I'll tell you about said camera a little later on, maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, the camera store is directly across the street from one of the largest DSWs I've ever seen. And let me just say, I'm always on the look out for a good DSW. As we pulled out of the parking lot Mason noticed the DSW and screamed, "Mommy! There's the shoe store!"

My husband rolled his eyes.

There are a few places my children know on sight.

1. The library
2. The elementary school
3. The gym

... and ...

4. DSW

Is this a commentary on my likes and dislikes?

Friday, December 25, 2009

What Does This Mean?

After a few hours of tearing into paper, throwing boxes around, and enjoying the bounty of Christmas morning I looked up and sighed, "This place is a mess."

Cooper replied, "Mom, that's what Christmas is all about ... long pause ... and being good." That last part was added pretty sheepishly.

I'm wondering if there is a record for uninterrupted, non-structured play? We're going on 15 hours and there is no predictable end.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On The Eve of Hysteria

There is something about Christmas Eve that is more special than Christmas. When we stand on the brink of expectations, excitement, and even a bit of anxiety, there is much to treasure and cherish. There is a field of imagination yet to be mined and our minds dig right in and try to. That's the magic of it.

By the following day, we've had what we're going to have and it's over. Only to be wished and planned upon for another year.

At my home right now... we're wavering in between the Eve and the Day. It's warm inside, but cold and snowy outside. The boys are asleep in their beds. Santa has done his (and her) job. And only my busy fingers are flitting over the keyboard searching for memories and thoughts that remind me of some of my favorite years.

At about this time some 16 years ago I charged into my parents' home after a night out with friends to find Santa had done his (and her) job for the night. The house was dark but already I could see the bounty of what would be Christmas morning and my heart broke a little bit. It was the first time I had seen the workings of Eve into Day. Of course I suspected there was a little more to the process than a jolly fellow falling down the chimney. But I'd never peeked behind the curtain. And part of me still wishes I never had.

Rewind even deeper and Christmas Eve would have meant a tiring night of cousins, second cousins, and a bunch of uncles and sweet but alien aunts. Because Christmas Eve was always the night of my Great Grandmother's party cum talent show. There must have been 100 of us -- seriously -- from all over the country in her little farm house. We'd feast on homemade popcorn balls and candy while waiting for our turn in front of or at the piano. And then Santa would come -- who looked a lot like one of my great uncles -- and we'd each get a gift. Something my great grandmother would have sewn for us. Usually a slip with lots of lace, and always longer than any of my dresses and skirts. (I guess she knew what kind of girl I was going to become and was trying to send early hints.)

On the way home my brothers and I would slump in the backseat, sick on candy canes and hot from our party clothes, and fall asleep. But by the time we were home, none of us could sleep in our own beds. You might think this lasted until we were 7. But I distinctly remember staying up well past 4 a.m. on at least one Christmas Eve when I was in junior high.

I'm not sure how my parents decided what traditions we would follow. How they weeded through their respective families' customs to find their own is a mystery to me. I look at my own little foursome and I wonder what I should do. I thought I wanted to have and keep lots and lots of Christmas books. And now it's starting to seem like a storage issue to me, rather than a heartfelt tradition. I thought I wanted to keep the same stockings for my family year after year. But every time I see new trims and patterns, and baubles I want to remake the ones I've already created. (Plus, nothing fits in Cooper's.) I thought I wanted to be insulated from obligation and plans on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. But I felt a little lonely this evening.

One thing is for sure. I don't have to figure it out in one night, or one year, or ever. It's the most fluid holiday I've ever experienced. The only thing I'm hellbent on preserving is the magic. So, for my children I wish...

May you never see the strings that orchestrate the puppet show and may Christmas EVE live in your mind forever.

PHOTO NOTE: My Great Grandmother (when she was a child).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Word for Nutcracker

You know that fabled legend claiming a nutcracker shows power and strength and can guard your family from evil spirits and danger? Yeah, my kids don't buy it either. But they sure like staring at 'em.

Only problem is, they can't ever remember what they are called.

That duy with the treepy teef. (Mason)

You know, that toy with the handle cruncher? (Cooper)

Graham cracker (Cooper)

Nut-tracker (Mason)

Anyway, hope you can keep track of your nuts this holiday season. If not, well, you better call in the aforementioned guard.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A List

At this time of year, I suspect you are making lists. What food to buy. What food to cook. What food to give away. It's a very simple season, really.

Anyway we have our lists, too. At bedtime, Mason became quite focused in reciting a list of his own.

"I don't like salad...."

"orrrrrrrr totatoes...."

"or cheese that is old."

Try as I might, I've been trying to make sense of this list. Salad? No surprises. And totatoes? Well, that could be either tomatoes or potatoes. I haven't seen him consume a large portion of either, unless it has been in the form of salsa and french fries, respectively. But old cheese!?!?!? Who doesn't like old cheese.

I hope you can make sense of your lists this time of year. Please, please, please remember to make a list that is meaningful, reasonable, and full of service. You'll be better for it. Now, let's see... what did I do with that list I made this morning?
PHOTO NOTE: Mason swimming in "cheese".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Child of the World

What do you say when your 5-year-old asks, "Mom, do you know what strike a pose means?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Date with Mom

I don't go to extreme efforts to spend days out with only one of my children -- a date if you will. Call me lazy. But recently Cooper literally begged to have a day with me. It was a day in which I had planned to do a million things, things I knew he would be none to pleased to escort me during. But I relented, after a great deal of negotiating and issuing of threats and rules.

It went something like this:

I'm serious, Cooper. No whining, crying, quitting early, or acting like you don't want to be doing what I have to do today.

OK. Really, Mommy, I just want to go with you.


Really. I will be good.

Then following the post office errand we can go lunch, but that is the only fun thing we are going to do all day and I don't want you to give me any guff.

No mom, I didn't bring the guff, I promise.

He's so sweet. I love him. But after that, I had to look up guff. –noun Informal.

1. empty or foolish talk; nonsense.
2. insolent talk.

Basically he was right. He didn't bring the guff.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No, No, Don't Tell Me...

Teaching your children to rhyme is an amusing avocation. Of course, as with so many topics, we take it to the next level. After exhaustive research and several trips to the library we have both boys practicing reading and identifying words that have similar endings.

This has resulted in many hours of the boys spitting out made up words and phrases that they think are hysterical; but leave the rest of us scratching our heads.

One of our tools -- the trusty literary masterpiece, HOP ON POP by Dr. Seuss -- is the source of grand entertainment. Both boys enjoy when we read and point to each word individually. They mutter the words as we go along and pretend to read -- actually Cooper is actually starting to read some of the words, too.

This particular book uses both words and pictures to illustrate the rhyming words and their meanings. In one series of rhymes a fat, furry bear wearing white, 3-fingered gloves fumbles through the task of sitting on various, inappropriate things.

Pat sat on a hat.
(There is a picture of Pat sitting on a hat that is sitting in a chair.)

This page produces roars of laughter.

Pat sat on cat.
(Another picture, this time of Pat sitting on a cat who is sitting in a very smart looking Parsons' chair.)

Again, loads of giggles.

Pat sat on ....

And here Mason interrupted and yelled, "A BASEBALL HITTER!"

We're still working on rhyming.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Gift

Are you a huffer? A honker? A holiday whiner? You know who you are. You stand in line and get exasperated when there are others waiting in front of you, or when it is the checkers first day on the job. If the person in front of you dares pay with exact change you utter profanities under your breath. You come unglued when the long line of cars waiting to turn left is preventing you to turn right. This is your least favorite time of year. Or at least you’re acting like it.

But why? Are you superior to the person waiting in front of you? Are you smarter than the checker? Have you ever been a checker? Are you a better driver? Is your car nicer? And if so, so what!

Now take a step back and think about the people you love. Around those who you never loose your temper. Are you buying them gifts this year? Have you picked the perfect gift? Do you ever look at your long list and wonder how you’ll afford to buy gifts for all those folks? What if there was a better gift? And you could give it to everyone you know, and a few of those who you do not.

What if your neighbor knocked on your door and said, “Can you help me? Just for a second.” Would you agree and willingly follow them into the backyard to tie trash bags, or rake leaves, or scoop dog poop. Probably.

Most of us, when asked, help.

I bet if the checker thought he/she could ask for your help they would. They’d sweetly look into your eyes and say, “Could you please do me a favor? This is my first day and I was wondering if you’d let me practice on you.” You’d agree to it. But the checker doesn’t ask. And though you know it’s his or her first day, you stand in line, stamp your foot, huff and sigh, and may even utter obscenities under your breath.

If you could hear the conversations inside someone else’s car you might hear, “Oh shoot, didn’t even see you there. I’m sorry.” But you can’t hear that driver. Instead you get hot under the collar and honk your horn, maybe even pull your own car up on his/her ass and stare ‘em down. Cla-sssssy.

This year, the hottest gift is not Zhu Zhu pets and ‘New Moon’ Barbie Dolls. It is giving up huffing, sighing, impatiently tapping toes, and generally being a horse’s arse. It goes with everything and it’s always in style. What’s more, it fits in everyone’s budget.

PS -- The best stocking stuffer? Gratitude. Spread the word.

PHOTO NOTE: Our kids giving the babysitter a heart attack. Heart shaped post it notes with sweet words written on them: You are beautiful. You are smart. We love your smile. Thanks for taking care of us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thank You for all the Hoopla

December is singular in its strangeness. Unlike the eleven months preceding it, It's like a gigantic deadline we're all waiting for to realize, "Oh my goodness the year is almost over and I've yet to have fun." Then we frantically plan parties, activities, and get-together all over the place. In our camp it gets especially frenzied because there are quite a few December birthdays to spread around.

But I have to say Thank You to all the folks who remember December is for having fun. Not just when it's your birthday, or someone else's, or you know... the BIG holiday. It really is your last fling before buckling down for the coming year. You know, that new year when you'll actually loose weight, actually finish updates to the house, actually get organized, actually save more money. Pah-leez. That doesn't sound like fun. But eggnog and good conversation does. So do it. (Actually I'd rather like the bottom of my foot than drink eggnog, but you get the picture.)

We're also grateful to all the people who remember us in December and send us stuff. I even love the parade of ridiculous Christmas cards. Call me sentimental, but I like correspondence. And in this past year, I've remembered how much I really like it. There have been two people who have reignited our appreciation for opening the mailbox this year. Our family -- you just would not believe the spectacular surprises that have shown up throughout the year from our loved ones. And a stranger. Well, she was a stranger until July of this year. Just some sewing compatriot who I spied on via the blog world... you know, like the rest of you. And then I met her. And she sent me a note -- just because -- via the mail. The mail. Antiquated, surprisingly sentimental mode of communication. Try it sometime. Or, at the very least, send a handwritten holiday card. It will make someone's day. (And you might just remember what your penmanship looks like.)

PS -- Speaking of deadlines... I'm busy. I've been sewing Christmas presents and such. No. time. to write.

PHOTO NOTE: I know it looks like Mason is naked in this photo, but he is not.


I told you....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Have My Reasons

OK OK OK. I've been thinking a lot about that little pissed off post. And I'm worried about some of yous. You know who you are. I have my reasons for getting pissed off around here. My boys are cute, but when I'm not looking a lot of crap goes down. For instance:

I wanted to help my kids feel the joy of service and being compassionate during the month of December. So, I wrote out 24 things they could do from now until Christmas day. They were small things -- like decorating the bedroom of their favorite babysitter for her birthday, and opening the door for others, and saying Merry Christmas to at least 5 people in one day. You get the idea.

I was also pretty sure that having a service project advent would be a hard sell, so I was a super nice mom and I actually researched a bunch of LEGO builder sites and printed out the instructions for 24 Christmas-y things you can make with LEGOs. Then I printed them out and folded 'em up with the service ideas and slid one into each slot on our nifty advent counting down thingy.

Lots of work, people.

Woke up on Dec. 3 to find they had already been up for a while and had opened every single day of advent and scattered the papers all over the house. All of them. Grrrrrrr.

On that very same day I slammed the door to the dryer and went running into my room because I could hear some suspicious giggling. Guess what I found? Mason. Covered in white goo. Let's just say it's a good thing one of my sisters-in-law is a stylist and gets us our hair products at a discount. Every last bit of my favorite hair slime was wiped onto Mason's head and face. Grrrrrrr.

Oh, and before I forget... that same day Mason came proudly marching into the kitchen with no pants on. From that vantage point I could see that he had poo smeared all over his rear end and down both legs. What was he so proud of? "Mom! I have dialeah!" Like it's a good thing. Should have seen the bathroom. Grrrrrrr.

I'm just saying. Before you get all pointy fingered on me, wipe a few butts for me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'll Take One Mingo


Mason: Hey Tooper! I was flying to the rescue of the mingo!

Cooper: What is a mingo?

Mason: It's like an applescotch.

Cooper: Oh right.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Do You Feel Today?

Nothing good follows a teacher who pulls you aside and proceeds in hushed tones to tell you what your child has said during class. Especially when those words are your own.

In a proper discussion of feelings and emotions, Cooper's teachers posed a question to the class. "Who knows another word for angry?"

Cooper -- my brilliant boy -- politely raised his hand and waited to be called on. Then said, "Pissed off."

Oh, I'm so proud.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Clippers

I could write a book on all the things I make Mason do against his will. He's a bit bullheaded and especially chickenhearted -- a strange combination. He's that kid who I just know will grow up and refuse to do things like dress in front of other kids in the locker room and then give excuses like, "I don't want to see others and they shouldn't see me. It's a matter of principle." How do I know this? He's a little bit like me. Just a little.

Currently, he does not like to get in the pool, go to bed in his own room, walk down the stairs without holding onto the rail (even if it's holding up traffic), enter a dark room, watch Monster House in its entirety, eat anything other than scrambled eggs, nor get his hair cut.

Big drama at the salon. In the warmer months I don't really mind being the one to shear them. But in the cooler months, well, let's say it, I just don't like the mess in the house. And yes, that means that when I do cut hair, it's out on the porch in all my white trash glory.

We've tried Sports Clips, a few actual stylists at a few actual fancy salons, and Fantastic Sam's. Fantastic Sam's is the current favorite because they have actually convinced Mason to sit down, only cry a little bit, and sit still. He gets so terrified that he crunches up his fists and does this weird pinching thing with his fingers. And most of the other patrons in the salon sit and laugh at him -- he's that funny about his fear.

The entire 15 minutes he is dictating how things should be done. No clippers! Just scissors! Don't cut my ear! Give me a sucker! Don't look at me!

But when it's done, he does look pretty good. It's getting relaxing enough, I might not go back to cutting it ever again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go Stuff Yourself

Have a pleasant meal filled with guilty pleasures and grateful thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Changing of the Garb

In a few days time we'll be wrestling with the Christmas tree and hanging lights on our front porch. All this craziness is an attempt to show our holiday spirit on the outside of our homes, the inside, and anywhere else we can find a niche, crevice or shelf with room for a garland. We're saying, it's winter. We're ready to lay down Lady Fall and open the door to Old Man Winter.

Which is wild, really, considering my boys are still marching around in Halloween costumes. When I see a fellow mother of the festooned costume-wearer in public I always look over with empathetic eyes and say, "I love you." Which is to say:

I appreciate that you are fostering creativity in your home.
You are so right to let your child express his individuality through his clothes.
It's not as embarrassing after the first 23 times, is it?
How many days in a row?
Have you found a good detergent for those flimsy polyester numbers?
Did you know you can get those at Target the week after Halloween for a quarter of the cost!?!?!?
Has he/she worn a costume to school, yet?
Mine has, should I be worried?
How many "personalities" does your child don?
You are such a good mom.

In other words, sometimes when it is said, "Oh! How I love thee, let me count the ways." It should actually be said, "I understand you, I don't know how to say it other than I love you."

PHOTO NOTE: Notice yesterday's costume on the floor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Mr. Incredible

Dear Mr. Incredible,
I just wanted to write and let you know I've enjoyed borrowing your super suit. The thing is, it doesn't fit anymore. I was wondering if you're at liberty to share the number of your famed tailor -- Edna Mode. I know she's retired, but surely when she sees how this is fitting me, she'll make a comeback.

Honestly, it's only a little tight around the waist, but the shirt shows a bit more than my bellybutton these days. And I've grown a few inches taller, so, it's not tucking into my super boots like it should. Any suggestions? My mother claims she hasn't washed it in warm water, but that woman is not much of a laundress. And I swear I saw her taking it out of a very hot dryer just the other day. Isn't it supposed to be line-dried, exclusively?!??!

Other than that, my hero work has been on hold. I've been working on my numbers and letters and haven't had much time for cats up trees. You?

Mr. Mason

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pour Some Sugar on Me

It’s a rare occasion when I get to grocery shop alone. I of course prefer to shop alone. I can actually look for the items on my list without the constant barrage of begging for Fruit Loops and Oreo Cookies.

Following the much-anticipated parent-teacher conference I rounded out the evening with a solo-shopping trip. I was already in a funk thanks to the conference (more on that later) and doubly funkified to be shopping to the sounds of what I can only describe as the Top 10 Van Halen Songs of the 80s. When I pulled a gallon of rocky road ice cream out of the freezer the lyrics of Jump almost forced me to pick up two more gallons.

Anyway, I get to the checkout and am greeted by a sweet, if perhaps over-energetic checker. She appears to be about 20, but could be as young as 18.

And then I hear it, the familiar opening bars to "Pour Some Sugar on Me", a song by Def Leppard. As the song starts blaring from the overhead speakers the girl pauses, cocks her head as if to listen just a bit more intently and squeals, “Oh my God! This is my mom’s favorite song.”

This is where I cringe. Not because I hate the song, but because I once loved it. As does her MOTHER, not her sister, not her aunt, her MOTHER. Am I that old? If I had kept up with some of my high school peers I could have a child who is a checker at the local Kroger. Instead I’m actually buying another box of pull-ups for my baby.

To be clear, Pour Some Sugar on Me is from Def Leppard’s Hysteria album, released in 1987. I was only in seventh grade back then, so no I could not have a child who is 20. BUT, my husband graduated in 1986, so HE could have a child who is a checker at the local Kroger. And that freaked me out. Is this how it begins? Next I’ll be wearing Pull On Polyester Pants from Sears.

PS -- This girl had to ask me what each of the vegetables I bought was. She couldn't tell a zucchini from a butternut squash and had no idea what ginger root was.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everything I Wanted

I get headaches. Bad ones. I can still describe to you the occasion of the first one I remember, which felt like it split my head wide open in about the 3rd grade.

I was just searching the medicine cabinet for something strong to battle one, when Cooper came looking for me. Of course he had like 30 questions. I was none too eager to speak aloud let alone answer his bazillion questions. So when we got to the part where he wanted to know why I had a headache I told him I thought it was because I grind my teeth.

He then proceeded to repeat to me -- word for word -- a commercial for a night mouth guard that he had seen on T.V. He even said, "clenching can cause damage to your teeth, mom." Of course I said, "Cooper you are quite possibly the smartest boy I have ever met, ever." This people is when it got interesting.

"Is that why you bought me?"

"I didn't buy you, I grew you."

"Oh, is that what you wanted to grow, a smart boy?"

"Well, not exactly. But I like what I got."

Blank stare. Some unabashed blinking of the minkiest eyelashes I've ever seen.

"I only wished you would be well and wonderful, and you are. Plus you're smart."

"Did you eat me?"

Aside from being hysterical, I can't put the conversation out of my mind. How do you explain to your child that you didn't wish for him exactly, but you love exactly what you got? They earnestly want to know this. I know I did, or rather I still do. Every child wants to know if you love him. And to know if you wished for him. For his individual awesomeness. Of course we do not wish for it. And yet, once you have them they are everything you wish for, and more. This might not actually be true for all parents, but it is to me.

So while I contemplate this mystery of the ages, I am also panicking because it's only a matter of time before he presses me on the, "Did you eat me?" in order to grow me question. And we all know how I handle pressure situations.

PHOTO NOTE: I don't have very many pictures of my kids right now. I've been listening to them, instead of sticking a lens up their nose. They just show off anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Every Action

It turns out that I don't really think through things sometimes. Like when on Sunday I decided to go ahead and buy that cabinet I wanted for the bathroom. It takes 21 days to ship. So, you know what that means?

In the next 21 days I must....

1. Strip all the wallpaper off my bathroom walls and ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. Who puts wallpaper on a ceiling anyway? I have a feeling I'll be returning to my physical therapist before long.

2. Pull out two vanity cabinets and sinks and counter tops. Do you think I can sell these on Craig's List? How much should I charge?

3. Remove all the towel rods, in-wall medicine cabinets, and strange toilet paper holder that is sunken into the wall. None of these will return... so you know what that means...

4. Cap off the plumbing to one of the existing vanity sinks. Patch all the holes in the walls and mud the walls.

5. Tear our carpet. Yes, carpet. Shouldn't carpet in a bathroom be against code? Seriously it as dangerous as an electrical outlet above the shower head. Black mold and pee. That's all I'm saying.

6. Pull out the toilet and baseboards.

7. Lay tile and seat new toilet.

After all that is done... the new cabinet should arrive. Then I must...

8. Order a counter top and sink and have them installed. I'm not even sure if the installer includes the faucet in that project, but we'll see.

9. Last but not least, paint and replace the baseboards.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Performance Anxiety

It's that time of year when teachers ask parents to come and visit with them, otherwise known as the parent-teacher conference. I don't know about the rest of you all, but conferences have never boded well for me.

There was the all-too-often-called Family Conference in which I would find out I was getting ANOTHER brother.

Of course the parent-teacher conferences my own parents participated in. Followed by the parent-child conference in which your parents translated their version of what your teachers said about you, to you. Fun evening filled with phrases like, " you talk to much," and, "you have so much potential that you are -- fill in the blank depending on the year."

And the corporate-type conference, which always resulted in someone getting fired or put on a "plan" for a few months before actually getting fired. Thankfully, I was never on the getting fired end, but I HATE breaking up with people. So delivering the fired news gave me ulcers and diarrhea. True story.

I'm a bit worried, to say the least.

Not because I have a child with academic issues. But because I have performance anxiety. Luckily the teachers have issued a worksheet. I suspect this will be the script around which the conference will revolve. It has only four simple questions. Four loaded questions. Four questions into which I must pack all my fears, thoughts, hopes, expectations, and covert suggestions or hints into the answers.

Perhaps you will be interested in some of my rough draft. (Yes, I have written a few rough drafts -- which speaks volumes about my personality.) Also, the questions are not questions. They are statements that you are meant to finish. Brilliant.

"I have seen my child grow in the following areas..."

He is interested or aware of differences in his classmates and is concerned for some students who appear -- in his words, not mine -- "hurt" or "broken".

I wanted to write something about the night he asked me why his teachers write on themselves (tattoos). But can't figure out a way to tactfully do that. Suggestions?

"What my child enjoys about preschool..."

Glitter glue

"Questions I have about my child's learning..."

Does he ever complain or appear to be bored? (Because heaven knows he is complaining to me!)

"My goals/hopes for my child for the remainder of the school year..."

Have at least one friend.

So, dear friends, what have you inferred from these incomplete answers? Also, where do you keep your vacuum. I don't know where to store mine. It is the no. 2 issue keeping me up at night, right after this freaking parent-teacher conference script draft.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I am one of those fine people who place undue pressure and guilt on myself. Insert smart-ass looking over my shoulder that is simultaneously gagging himself with his index finger and rolling his eyes. And yes, the universal pronoun for smart-ass is masculine.

Whenever I take a blogging break, or a writing break, or a sewing break, or a break from cleaning the house, I have a hard time getting back into it. The interlude was so nice. You know? You get a whiff of being lazy and it feels good. Damn good.

Then it starts to eat at ya. The whole, I’m not very productive. I’m going to loose all creative thought I’ve ever had. Also, there’s the pressure of creating a colossal anti-climax. If only for myself. And as we all know, the very worst thing any person can ever do is disappoint themselves.

So it is with trepidation and no real good ideas that I dip my toes back in the water before the break becomes so long that I can’t come back at all without earth shattering news. Since we all know I’m never getting pregnant again, I better start writing.

And, I have a dilemma.

My little Mason hates swimming lessons. I don’t know what has spooked him. He was getting along swimmingly and had caught up with Cooper on ribbons. But in the past month has actually regressed – in part because he got silly putty stuck in his goggles. But that’s another post for another day. Does anyone know how to effectively motivate apprehensive swimmers back in the water? (And NO, not those kinds of swimmers.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Zoo, A Photo Essay By Cooper

Ah-hem. I am going away. I'll be back, perhaps by Monday. But for now I leave you with a photo essay by Cooper.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

La Morte-Saison

It’s the dead season around here. The season I dread. People talk about seasonal depression, missing the sun and all that. Not my problem. We have plenty of sunshine in this state. It’s not even the cold. It's the mid-winter warm swings that make me nervous. Go ahead say it, “Weather makes you nervous?” Yes, it does and I’m not ashamed.

I am a pretend gardener. I like my yard. I talk to my plants and I take pictures of my flowers. I just do. Judge me if you must. But at this time of year and in these parts it can snow for four days – closing schools, canceling trick-or-treating, and trapping us inside (the worst punishment known to man).

Then it will melt. I kid you not, the forcast for tomorrow is 73 degrees. Seventy. Three. I might actually have to shave my legs! Don’t get me wrong; I love the warm weather. But it leaves my poor little plants exposed when they do not look their best. Would you want to stand outside with your shirt off? No, I didn’t think so. And neither do my Mr. Fokkers.

So here we are, in the midst of dead season. Dead stuff all around. Nothing to look at but naked twigs and once-crunchy leaves that are now matted, grey and rotting in the grass. This is when I start to panic. Looking at all that dead I wonder if it will ever bloom again. It seriously stresses me out. For seven months. So, don't expect me to be nice. For a while.

Last week:

This week:

The melt:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

100 Times, No

Grrrrrrrrr. I know that as the parent, I'm supposed to get over it. I'm the mature one who should find an amiable route to compromise. But as of yet, the road to a happy dinner experience is closed. The road block, is Cooper.

Me: Cooper, what would you like for dinner?

Him: What are my options? (the reply is pretty salty)

Me: Quesadillas?

Him: Oh really, no.

Me: How about nachos?

Him: Naaaawwww.

Me: Pepperoni Pizza?

Him: I don't want anything cooked.

Me: OK. How about a sandwich?

Him: What kind?

Me: Peanut butter and jelly?

Him: No way.

Me: Ham and cheese?

Him: Gro-osss. Never.

Me: Turkey?

Him: Not even.

Me: Poop? How about a poop sandwhich?

Him: Mom! Gross, totally no.

Me: Well, I could make macaroni and cheese...

Him: Exasperated sigh followed by No.

Me: Apple?

Him: Nuh uh.

Me: Banana?

Him: Nope.

Me: Scrambled eggs?

Him: Don't even.

Me: I give up. What's your idea?

Him: I was thinking about something with chocolate.

Both: Grrrrrrrrr.

PHOTO NOTE: I know this photo sucks. But it is exactly the contemptuous face Cooper makes while we are having this conversation. Every. night. I'm not even kidding.

PS -- If you have a slightly contrary child, as I have indicated above, you should never, ever check out the book: 1000 Times No, by Tom Warburton. It only encourages them and broadens their ability to turn you down.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Ready

Hey you trick-or-treaters... I am happy to announce, we are ready for you.



Resistant to Change

After two days of being trapped indoors and playing LEGOs non-stop, I thought my boys would welcome a chance to play outdoors. It is sunny, not too cold, and there are mountains of snow for sculpting and fun. I thought they would like to make a snow man. Noooooo. They played "snow LEGO". Because, you know, that's exactly what I would want to do after logging upwards of 12 hours of LEGO time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Raw weather is all about the layers. More specifically it takes three times as long to assemble and put on the stratum of clothing required to endure the snowy cold than you – or your children – will spend playing in it.

But it’s a must.

So are playful pictures of said children in said layers.

PS – Speaking of layers, we need gloves. Our kids grew out of the ones from last year. Go figure!

PHOTO NOTE: Picture of tricycle shows how much snow fell in just a few hours. Look at tires to see the difference.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do Me a Favor?

If you smoke... would you consider quitting? We all know that it’s one of the biggest killers in the world and causes disease and cancer. From what I understand, that's a bummer.

But here's my beef.

It grosses me out to find my 3-year-old anywhere close to an ashtray. In fact, I found him nearly kissing-distance close to a cigarette butt huffing and puffing at it. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "Trying to blow out this stinky candle."

Just quit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wide Open Spaces

I am generally inspired by my children. The things I write about, talk about and do are usually centered around my children -- for better or worse. That's why I haven't been writing as much. If I were to recap what I've heard them say over the past few days it would look something like this.

Screaming. Followed by screaming. And then Mason screamed to Cooper. And Cooper then screamed. There was some kicking, interrupted by screaming. Screaming ceased for a couple hours during sleep, but was abruptly taken up again at day break. Screaming.

I decided it was because they were cooped up in the house. So, I took them for a walk around the neighborhood. I was counting on the wide open spaces, fresh air, and lack of crowds to help me endure it. What I didn't account for was the volume. About midway through the walk Cooper decided he would not walk any farther. So, he laid down in the middle of the golf course (golf courses are generally pretty big) and started screaming.

It was screams like, "No mommy no. Stop mommy!" Said in rapid succession and an awful lot like a child who is being burned by a cigarette. Horrible. So loud, in fact, that people started coming out on their porches and looking at us. I was mortified and just walked away.

Then I realized people were just going to call the police. So, I made the walk of shame back to his howling self. Mason was also so sick of the screaming that he permitted Cooper to sit on his lap, in the stroller, for the rest of the ride home. Let it be said, tantrums work.