Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Eve, Our Style!

We played Settlers of Catan and ate a ton of junk food. Then the kids decided to watch a movie. Problem: of course, they each wanted to watch a different movie. To end the argument I wrote the movies on three different slips of paper and had J. draw one. He drew Spirit. Jake wasn’t happy! “It’s not a violent movie.” He complained. “I only like movies with violence. Movies with shooting or has a spell cast on them or where someone dies. Except if Sirius dies, I’m not happy with that.” Yes, it’s another proud moment for me as a mother.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wii Fit is the New Y

Jake had a friend over the other day. As usual, they were playing the Wii. But this time something was different. Mat and he were playing Wii Fit. THEY WERE JOGGING! I left the room to snicker.

Speaking of exercise: Marcy come back soon because I haven’t exercised since you left!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Newest Obsession

I bought Jake Civilization III for Christmas and I love it. I’ve played it so much that the kids complain that I’m hogging their computer. Last night I started playing it at 10pm and went to bed at 5:45am. Needless to say I’m going to give it up because otherwise I won’t do anything else.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sometimes things just don’t go the way I plan

I planned a really nice Christmas Eve program. Bri has been practicing Christmas songs for several weeks so I decided that I’d read T’was the Night before Christmas, then we’d sing carols. The kids would open one present. Then J. would read a short story as a transition and we would have a spiritual message about the real meaning of Christmas with hymns interspersed with readings from the New Testament. It didn’t go well.

I had to take a detour with Will in the bathroom in the middle of the night before Christmas and he didn’t really cooperate during the caroling. (He appropriated the musical score.) Then Bri and Lizzy did a nice Jingle Bells routine. The rapping encore was quite funny. The kids unwrapped a present. Then J. started reading the short story. Will started playing the keyboard. At first we just told him to turn it down but Will prefers a loud volume so eventually I unplugged it. After trying in vain to find the right plug to plug it back in and after being told “no” multiple times to playing on the computer or DVD player Will lost it. He started running around saying, “Name Jesus Christ, Amen,” in a vain attempt to end his torture. When that didn’t work he moved on to pinching and saying “Quiet voice.”

During the “spiritual” portion there was a significant amount of poking each other, putting feet on each other and laying hands on each other while complaining over how much they had to read. I believe that the message of the true meaning of Christmas was lost in chaos.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Lizzy came home earlier this week with a Christmas wish that she wrote out.

"I wish for pess. And pepoll tobe cind. Becus pepoll love pess. And pepoll to niss. And pepoll wud not be fiding."

Translation: "I wish for peace and people to be kind. Because people love peace. And people to be nice. And [I wish] people would not fight."

I'll second that. Now go open a present!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Exotic Pancakes Courtesy of Will

Will has been making platefuls of food that he leaves around the kitchen and dining room. J. feels that he’s a budding artist expressing his feelings through art. I admit to being at a total loss regarding his motivation. I refuse to believe that it’s artistic expression because the most likely inspiration for smashed bananas and pears is anger. I think he just likes to play with my mind.

I’ve found a lot of plates with mounds of chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Occasionally, he adds other ingredients. Once I found him pouring a pitcher of water on top of the marshmallows and chocolate chips on the plate, the water cascaded off the plate and dripped on the floor.

A couple of days ago a found a plate filled with chocolate chips, marshmallows, a smashed banana, a spoonful of peanut butter and hot chocolate mix. There was only one thing to do – I made pancakes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Monday morning I was woken up at 6:00 am by a recorded phone call stating that school was still on. I came back in my room only to hear J.’s business phone ring with the same message. Only in Massachusetts! Actually, I’m being a little facetious. It snowed for almost two days straight and there were a lot of roads to clear.

After Lizzy and Jake left for school I spent an hour digging 4 feet of plowed snow out the entrance to my driveway. When I came in Will was at the computer. “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” he asked. I looked at the monitor. Will had entered “theeittsseabatssbidrw” as his search term and unbelievably nothing was found. I thought it was a pretty good attempt but I helped him out anyway.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Movie Night

The kids sat on the couch watching a Charlie Brown Christmas special. They were wrapped up with blankets and pillows. I watched them as I folded clothes. William looked like Mary with a blanket over his head and pillow on his lap. His eyes started drooping and his head nodded then he opened his eyes. I watched him for a couple of minutes until he fell asleep sitting up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Day

We got four phone calls telling church would be canceled today because of the snow. One thing I love about living in Massachusetts is that on Sundays the churches that have canceled services due to snow scroll along the bottom of the TV screen the same way the names of canceled school districts scroll on weekdays. I laughed when I first saw that.

It’s finally stopped snowing. It snowed about 28 hours straight. I shoveled the driveway three times and I’ll have to go out one more time. Yesterday afternoon I took Bri shopping for a dress and it was horribly busy considering the crappy weather. We almost didn’t make it up the hill to our house. I called J. and said I’m stuck halfway up the hill please come fix this.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I was going to write a glowing review on Freecycle. I first heard about it a couple of years ago on NPR and was really excited about it. Instead of continuing to fill up landfills with useful stuff, you pass it on to someone who can use it. I have a tendency to hold on to stuff because I want to give it away rather than throw it away. Well, my husband loves Freecycle but for the opposite reason. It’s a giant, ongoing, free garage sale to him. My husband has a history of buying crap at garage sales. When he brings it home I usually react in a non-positive way. After almost 17 years of marriage. I thought I had mostly cured him of bringing home useless crap for me to mutter over but that all changed with I hooked him up with Freecycle.

My enthusiasm for the concept overrode my common sense and I did not foresee the inevitable result. We are now the proud owners of four lawnmowers. We also have a circa 60s fireplace screen in the garage. When he said that he thought I’d like it, I responded that if I’d gone with a mid-century modern look in the living room it would be great but without corresponding furniture it’s nasty. I may have to cut off his internet access!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Half-Snow Day

Schools are closing early today because of the impending foot of snow that is forecasted to be dumped on us today. So, of course I’m puttering my morning away. I should be stocking up at the grocery store where those who have not yet gone shopping are staring at half bare shelves and fighting over the last container of hamburger. (Really, not kidding Marcy said there wasn’t any beef left at Shop and Shop!) I’m picking up Pete and Will from school today because their school was the 75th to call their transportation company and I’d prefer that they not spend three hours driving home. I’ve decided that once all the kids get home we’ll make treats, watch movies and shovel the driveway over and over again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Husband knows what I like

He emailed me this link today. Sock and Awe! We've discussed the shoe incident a lot and sadly I have to admit I find it really funny. Now I'm going to try to double my score!

Sometimes it's hard to wait.

Yesterday, I opened the Christmas present I bought for my husband to give me. Since Marcy was busy my motivation to go work out at the Y was lessened; so, I decided to try out my new Wii Fit. It wasn’t a great cardio workout but my legs were a little sore the next morning. Now I just need to get Will set up on it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Conservation Freak

Because my husband is a conservation freak who cares about the environment he has been very concerned with the plight of the American chestnut tree that was nearly wiped off the planet. As no doubt all of you know, American chestnut trees were struck with blight. Fortunately a dedicated group has been working to cross the chestnuts with a blight resistant tree thus hopefully saving the trees.

My husband sent in a donation and agreed to measure the tree growth for a couple of years in exchange for some chestnut seeds. He’s mentioned this to me a while ago and had nearly given up hope of planting seeds when they arrived in the mail. Why do I care about this you ask? For the simple reason that because of the chestnut seeds I was able to send Marcy an email asking: “do you have any pots for J. to plant his nuts in?” And as a bonus I was able to follow that up with “By the way, he has four nuts.”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marcy, Marcy, Marcy!

Apparently, I’ve mentioned Marcy too much on my blog because my dad told me he was thinking about adopting her – I said yes anyways. I’m a very simple creature. I like food, listening to music, reading, being on the computer, my family, my friends, triceps exercises and Marcy. I used to like shopping before autism got in the way (but now that I have kid-free time I’m starting to like it again), and cooking (before years of complains from my children drove any desire to cook from me). I obsess about politics, ethics, couches and maybe Marcy.

I guess there’s only one question left to ask – Marcy, how about it? Do you want to be my sister? You can share with Bri because she has a big room.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Indecisive Shopping

I stood in front of the curtains at Linen ‘N Things trying to decide what to buy. I felt paralyzed with indecision. What if I buy the wrong curtain? What if I don’t like it when I get home? Your basic first world problem I know but it still hurts my head.

I hate to think how much time I’ve wasted in the curtain section -- I know it has been hours. But I feel conflicted and compelled to be there. Do I want stripes or a solid? I almost make a decision but can’t commit. It’s a good thing that I didn’t think this long about marriage or I probably wouldn’t be married! Yesterday, I managed to buy 3 blankets, two sets of curtains, a hamper, a coat hanger and a decorative metal thing. It’s amazing how proud I can be of myself for spending money.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wallpaper Purgatory

I have re-entered wallpaper removal purgatory. Maybe I was inspired when my little sister told me that she almost bought a house completely covered in wallpaper. I blew out her eardrum when I screamed “Are you completely mental?” into the phone. Needless to say, she did not buy that house. Probably to save herself from a lifetime of hearing “I told you so” from me every time we talked. And if you cannot complain about removing wallpaper to everyone you talk to, what is the point of actually removing it? Case in point: I complained about it to another parent at Tae Kwan Do right after I complained about driving all the way to (only an additional 4 miles but through really bad traffic at rush hour) for Tae Kwan Do. Hmmm, I’m noticing a trend perhaps my husband was right about me.

But maybe I’m entering another phase in purgatory because right after Marcy (AKA partner in purgatory – I will grant that conceivably I rather than the wallpaper could be her purgatory) left I continued to remove the wallpaper and removed almost three more stripes of wallpaper rather than ignoring it until she was forced to come over again to help me out of guilt! So, either I’m getting use to it or this wallpaper is easier to remove than the wallpaper in my bedroom.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I’m only Sneaky When I Hide Chocolate

I’m sure my children know everything they’re getting for Christmas. Jake found Super Mario Cart months ago. They picked out another Wii game last week. And their other gifts have been scattered by my bed for weeks. I’ve even asked them if they want ski lessons for Christmas.

When I was little it never occurred to me to search out my Christmas presents I just waited for Christmas. My friend Melissa told me when she was little they would unwrap their presents to find out what they were, then rewrap them. Bri admitted to me a year ago that she would peek at the unwrapped presents.

My husband bought two presents for me to give him – although, I could only find one to wrap so I wonder if he already used the other. And I’m thinking about buying myself Wii Fit for my husband to give me.

Last night I wrapped presents, so if by some small chance the kids did not have time to look at their presents – it’s too late now!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Basic Training Envy

While Marcy and I were working out this morning at the Y we met a recruiter for the marines. We pondered aloud the possibilities of joining up. Marcy said that it sounded like a vacation. I thought the workouts would be great. The only hitch; well, I don't think what we would earn would offset the live-ins our husbands would have to hire to replace us!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Proof That While I May Not Know Things, I Know People That Do.

Last night we had our ward Christmas party Marcy and her son came with us. She was incredibly helpful with the Christmas trivia. She answered half the questions for me. Ironically, my Jewish friend doubled my score.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mike and Barbara

Last night two guys from our church came over. We were a little entertaining to say the least. I think Will’s latest stim is names. He walked up to them, pointed at the first guy and said “Mike.” He walked over to the other guy and said “Barbara.” My kids dissolved in laughter. After calling them Mike and Barbara for a while, he touched Mike on the chest and asked “Name?”


Then he pointed at Barbara, “Name?” He asked.

“Josh.” Will was so excited at the thought of more names he asked them to spell them. Merrill started spelling his name but Will wanted him to sign it while he spelled it. I signed it from across the room and Merrill copied my signs. Then it was Josh’s turn. Will found a piece of paper and wrote their names down.

The kids enjoyed their visit and, as usual, Will did streak by them on his way upstairs then hung out in his underwear for a while before they left. “Josh” and “Merrill,” Will said as they were getting ready to leave. “Barbara.” Josh corrected Will on his way out the door.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Sometimes William will utter a non sequitur. When I woke him up for school this morning he told me Massachusetts twice. Then later he followed that up with salsa. Um, ok. Massachusetts I get, but salsa? Maybe he wants some. I assume he doesn’t mean dancing. He likes to tell me the date. It’s adorable. He’ll say something like, “Friday, December 5th 2008,” with his hand covering his mouth. He caused all his siblings to dissolve in a fit of giggles yesterday at dinner when he said, “December,” during the prayer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Indecisive Shopping Obsession

My newest hobby is apparently buying towels. I’ve been going to Linen and Things often. I’m trying to decide which comforter I should buy but I can’t decide. I almost decide on one but then see something else or I change my mind. I’ve narrowed it down from five choices to two but then I added two new ones. Marcy is so frustrated with me she almost bought one of my choices on Monday. I did actually buy one of my choices so I end up with something but I think I may buy a different one as well as I still have a failsafe method of choosing -- It will be the last of the seven choices in the store.

However, there are other things that I manage to buy (although I will admit that it can take me some time to choose). I bought some white towels for my bathroom. Then I went back and bought some taupe and brown towels for my glorious peach bathroom. Bri also picked out a comforter set. I tried to talk her into a different one but she didn’t like any of the ones I suggested. It’s interesting that I am trying to decide between three sets after a month and Bri never wavered from her first choice. Hmmm.

Yesterday Marcy and I found the curtains.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Keeping up Appearances

Marcy called Monday morning to find out when I was leaving for the Y. I said in just a few minutes only to walk into my room and realize that since I didn’t do laundry over the weekend I didn’t have any clean exercise clothes. I dug around in my drawer for a while and was faced with a choice of yoga pants with a hole in them or knit shorts. I went with the yoga pants. I dragged out my sewing machine and sewed up the hole that I’d ignored for well over a year. Now I had to find a shirt. Let’s see, my choices were a green XXL men’s tee-shirt or a button down. I choose the shirt that ended mid-thigh because I felt like looking like someone who exercised in their pajamas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Garage Sale

After I gave some of Lizzy’s toys away I decided that the kids should go through their toys and decide what they wanted to keep. They dumped the My Little Pony horde, matchbox cars and about two boxes of crap. I asked what they want to do with all their excess. “Have a garage sale.” They responded.

Thinking “Um, it’s December.” I said, “Sure, why not.” We’ll store them in the attic until next summer then pull them out. But what will I write on the posters?

Three boxes of really great toys!

Come to our yard sale!

It’s definitely worth your time!

The only problem with having a garage sale is that I worry that people would be pissed to arrive and only find a couple of boxes of toys.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Circle of Life

My friend DK came over on Saturday with her kids. It’s nice because her kids are all younger than mine so anything we outgrow we just pass on to her. Sometimes I feel a little bad about the amount of stuff we send home with her, but not bad enough to stop. Yesterday, we sent her home with Lizzy’s kitchen, dishes and plastic food. She mentioned that she needed to buy some snow pants and long underwear for her son for skiing. I managed to find her both as well as a pair of snow boots.

The best thing about knowing you aren’t having anymore children is that once someone outgrows something it can go. I don’t have to think; well, maybe I’ll have another child in a few years so I better keep it. The bad thing about it is once someone outgrows something it goes. I got rid of a lot of toys years ago when Will didn’t have any play skills so I’m buying toys for the second time. Seriously! We are on our second train set and I really wish I’d kept the garage. Oh well, DK mentioned that once her baby outgrew some of her toys she'll give some to me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

“Church, please.”

I took Will to a nutritionist last week. He didn’t enjoy it, which is confusing because he spent the whole time looking at books. He actually requested church several times. I’m not sure why, as he has never before requested going to church. Maybe he thought if he requested something non-preferred I would let him leave.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Second Annual Turkey Trot

Last year my cousin and her family came for Thanksgiving. She suggested that we all go to the park for a Turkey Trot. When I asked her what that was. She explained that it involved exercise. We all walked over to the park and she and her husband jogged around the park a couple of times and I jogged very slowly -- alright, I walked around the park.

Today when the kids and I drove up to the house I noticed the flock of wild turkeys was back in my front yard. The kids were very excited at the sight of an animal in their yard. (I swear that living here is the next best thing to the kids actually owning a pet because we see a lot of wildlife!) Will ignored the turkeys and ran into the house to go to the bathroom and the other kids stayed outside to watch the turkeys. Three minutes later I looked out the window in my front yard to see Bri doubled over laughing, Will running to the car completely naked and Jake running after him trying to catch him. Fortunately, Jake got him back inside before I could make it down the stairs. When I looked back outside Bri was chasing nine turkeys across the street.

Sometimes I really don’t know what to say to my neighbors.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving the Easy Way

I got smart this year and decided to give myself a break for Thanksgiving; so, I'm going to Marcy's. I'm bringing desserts. I love making desserts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Read, Lizzy Read!

It’s amazing how much Lizzy’s reading has improved in the couple of weeks that I’ve had her read to me. Gosh, I could have had her read a couple of books during the summer and she wouldn’t have had a reading problem. Poor Lizzy, she thinks that it rocks to be the littlest but actually sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve decided not to ask her teacher how much her reading has improved because if she’s caught up, well, there goes my motivation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Maybe he wants to be home schooled?

Will started moving all the dining room chairs into the living room over a week ago. He either puts them in a long line or layers them two deep. Last night, as the whole family watched in kind of an amazed stupor, Will very carefully pushed the chairs to and fro until they were perfect with the front of one line butting up against the back of the other.

The chair moving is becoming a little annoying. When I bring my bowl of cereal into the dining room in the morning I just want to read the paper and eat my cereal! I don’t want to track down a chair and drag it back in the dining room while my cereal goes mushy. Or separate Lizzy and Jake as they fight over who gets to sit on the only chair at the table! Chair repositioning is not the kind of perseverating behavior I want to encourage in my nine year-old, why couldn’t he obsess over cleaning the house or reading to Lizzy?

Will had twelve chairs in the living room one morning! There were zero left in the dining room. But my greatest worry is that he’s getting pretty big, so big in fact that I can foresee him working his way up to moving around couches.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Question of the Day:

If I lined up all the toilet paper Will has unrolled, how many times would it circle the earth?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Contemplating my Mortality

I was driving Will back to school on route 9 when I noticed the driver of the car in front of me obviously was in a quandary over which lane she wanted to drive in. This is completely understandable as sometimes I have a hard time choosing an entree. I slowed down and gave her some space to decide; well, really I just wasn’t brave enough to try to squeeze through. I watched in awe as she drove throughWellesley straddling the dashed line markers. As the traffic got heavier I agonized over the decision that she must now feel forced to make -- but I underestimated her. She just scooted over a little. Someone driving a Spider noticed how close she was and swerved into the breakdown lane. I felt a little more concern when she turned towards Will’s school as autistic children might not know to dive out of the way if someone was driving on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, she turned off; but as I drove past I creened my neck to look for the flask in her car.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Look Mom, A Circus!

I was at the computer when I heard the door clink, thinking it was my husband coming home I ignored it for a couple of seconds. Then I got up to check on Will. Out the window I see William running across the yard in a baby blue tee-shirt and the inevitable pair of backwards underwear. I didn’t stop to grab shoes or a coat I just ran after him. We’re both running down the middle of the street, but I’m calling his name, telling him to stop and trying not to wet my pants because I need to pee. We run past a crew cleaning up leaves from a yard. A guy driving his truck down the street pulls up by me to ask if I need help. As I’m jogging I manage to incoherently gasp out that I’m just trying to catch my son and I put on a burst of speed and manage to grab him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you need a can opener with that?

Today I had to get a tooth pulled and having a gap in my mouth big enough to hide a small child makes me feel like a hillbilly. And because I can, I blame it on my dentist’s son who did my root cannel eighteen years ago. However, unfortunately a missing tooth does not magically cause an errand fairy to appear and do all the stuff I need to get done today. So, I stopped at Whole Foods to buy myself Calm, an herbal tea, that I suspect I will require today and some probiotics for Will. Then I went to Stop and Shop. However, nothing really looked good, quite possibly due to the nausea caused by the wad of bloody gauze in my mouth. But beans and canned vegetables were on sale so I put a lot of cans in my cart. Imagine my cart – 500 cans of beans and vegetables, two boxes of frozen waffles for Will, a bag of French fries, some cheese and crackers, granola bars and a couple of boxes of brownie mix. I looked like a homeless person.

Then my dad called me. “Hallooo,” I say. I’m trying to talk to him with a numb and swollen face and a mouthful of bloody gauze. However, I come to the surprising realization that I am not completely use to public humiliation. I still have a speck of pride that has not yet been excised out of me by my children and I get off the phone before the other customers, who think my slurred speech is due to drinking, call a manager. I slink out of the store fully expecting the store employees who naturally have mistaken me for a vagrant to say, “Excuse me, ma’am you know you can’t take the cart out of the parking lot.”

At this point I should have expected that CVS would not have my prescription ready but I’m an optimist. I waited at the drive up window my mind racing with the clock. Will I get home before Will’s bus? I did, but I was starving because I didn’t eat lunch before going to get my tooth pulled! I’m not really sure how that managed to happen because I always remember to eat. I looked in the fridge for a soft food. Why oh why, didn’t I buy something at the grocery store? Because it’s really hard to eat something with a half numb mouth and a cavern you’re trying to avoid! On a positive note, I’m lucky I didn’t eat my tongue because I probably wouldn’t have felt it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life is Slowly Getting Back to Normal

The last couple of weeks have not been great. Bri was home sick for over a week with Pneumonia. Then I got sick, then my husband, then Will got an ear infection, then Lizzy got Pneumonia. I’m still giving Will and Lizzy breathing treatments. I don’t take my kids to the doctor very often because their pediatrician is a half hour away and that raises the bar in terms of it being worth my time. But I’ve made up for that over the last few weeks when I feel like I’ve gone twice a week. But the most ridiculous thing about going to the doctor that often is that they still ask me if anything has changed. I feel like responding. “You know, it’s crazy but when I left here four days ago I decided to sell my house and move so yes, I have a new address. And my husband got a new job.” Quite frankly, stuff doesn’t change that quickly for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Facebook Loser

Yesterday I added some friends to Facebook. When I clicked on what I thought was my brother’s page I noticed he was born in 1982 which is not even the right decade and lived in a different city. I felt like a Facebook loser who asks random people, “Please be my friend.” So I sent the guy an email explaining that I thought he was my brother and maybe we were related. That wasn’t awkward at all and I’m sure he thought I was brilliant.

The response? It was my brother he just likes to shake things up and play with my mind. I haven’t decided what I will write on his wall, but rest assured it will be epic!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hansel in the Backyard

Will drops his clothes behind him the way Hansel dropped bread crumbs. I went outside to find his clothes. I found a shirt by the swings, and his hoodie, his socks and shoes on the trampoline. But I couldn’t find his pants. Hmmmm, I searched the entire back yard – no pants. I finally found them in the family room. I only wonder what came off first.

But if he’s Hansel then who am I?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mountain Boy

I picked up Jake from his play practice and he informed me that he has to wear clothes under his costume and needs to wear deodorant during the performances. “Mom what’s deodorant?” He asked. I told him why people wear it and that he’d probably start wearing it in a couple of years. “Ewww!” was his response. But I clearly went into more detail than he wanted because when I mentioned that he’d also start showering every day he yelled, “Everyday!” Clearly, I’d just informed him of a future colossal waste of time. Let's see, eleven year-old boy. Yeah, at this point in his life he could probably go a year without bathing or changing his sheets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Living the Dream

Lizzy is home sick again. At this point I’m just suspicious she wants to stay home and watch TV all day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Apparently I’m right out of a 50s sitcom, or at least I am according to Marcy

The kids were out of school on Veteran’s Day. Jake’s scout leader called and said she was planning a service project for the troop. When Marcy asked me what our plans were for the day I told her Jake and I were going to go rake leaves for a widow. She laughed at me and asked, “Why not an elderly couple?” She said that I sounded like I belonged in the 50s.

But the raking wasn’t all fun and games because we only had one good rake and both Jake and I wanted it. I got it because I’m bigger, but Jake wasn’t happy using the scavenged rake (it's partially broken and has dangling pieces) that I appropriated from my neighbor’s garbage on trash day. Fortunately, someone brought brownies and there were two adorable little girls that Jake gave rides to, so his day wasn’t ruined.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One of my Dominos Fell Down

I kept Lizzy and Will home from school Monday; Lizzy because she threw up that morning and Will because my husband guilted me into it. I decided that as long as I was keeping Will home I’d make it worth my while by taking him to the doctor. I drove to Newton for a 3:30 appointment. Will had an ear infection and wasn’t at 100% oxygen. So, he got a breathing treatment and we waited for the doctor to come back. And we waited for the doctor, and we waited for the doctor. I was inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt because we had been squeezed into an already full schedule. But as I noticed it was getting up on 5:00 and I was worried about not getting home to drive Bri to piano I went out to find the doctor. . . . She had forgotten about us. She ran right in and was very apologetic. And she mentioned that she had forgotten someone that morning as well. I can only assume her memory problems are due to her four children as I am sure my four children negatively affect my memory.

So, I called my husband and asked him to take Bri to piano and this is where my whole house of cards fell apart. Either my husband thought that I took Jake with me to the doctor or he was so busy working that he didn’t notice Jake wasn’t home. I routinely depend upon the “Jake didn’t come home on the bus with Lizzy – that’s right, he has play practice” methodology. Unfortunately, since I was still at the doctor’s office at the time Jake would be arriving home my method failed. Only when I noticed that my friend had called my cell phone did I realize that I had neglected to ask my husband to pick up Jake. So, I called him and asked him to pick up Jake on his way to Bri’s piano lesson. He did but was twenty minutes late picking him up and got my reprimand. (Thanks for taking one for the team, honey!) About ten minutes later Bri noticed that she had grabbed the wrong backpack and didn’t have her music. I was closer to the house by that time and drove home to pick up her music planning to meet up with Bri and give her the music. My brilliant plan saved them about 4 minutes as we met up on our street. I threw the music and a phone book at them (because, of course, no one had her piano teacher’s phone number) and drove Will to his MyGym class. We were naturally late. Then I had to pick up Bri and didn’t make it home until 7:20. Then to top off the night – Lizzy threw up. I’m just lucky I had cancelled Tae Kwan Do and Bri didn’t have play practice!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I didn't ask her what year she was born.

I heard the woman behind me say, “That’s not old!” I turned around and asked what Jake had called old. “Anyone born before 1975,” she responded.

I had to explain that in Jake calculations that was in fact near to death and tell her that he asks me questions like, “In your day did cars exist?”

I had him going for a while about having to wind up our cars to get them started. He kept saying, “No, you didn’t!” but in half disbelieving tones. But on a positive note – Bean I guess you aren’t old, yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It just as easily could have taken out the fence!

A couple of weeks ago, a 30 foot branch from one of our trees fell onto some of our bushes. We cleared that out today. My husband got out his chain saw and started hacking away at the branches. That must have emboldened us to channel our inner lumberjack because he mentioned that he wanted to take down two more trees. I said, “Why don’t we just go for it.” The first one was easy but we were concerned about the second. It was really tall and it leaned over our beautiful fence. We had about five feet between the fence and our shed where it would need to fall. We got out the ladder and tied a rope around the trunk and my husband started sawing away. I pulled on the rope and dropped that tree one foot parallel to the fence. My husband had to pause and admire how well we had done. We probably saved ourselves $800. I was so impressed with myself I suggested we take out more trees behind our house and make the kids a bigger play area.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spreading the Love

I feel that I’ve spent the last couple of weeks busily getting nothing done. It sucks when I can’t think of one accomplishment beyond uh, well, driving my kids around a lot. I haven’t even been exercising. I got on a machine for fifteen minutes on Thursday and was winded. I didn’t feel I was getting enough air. But I’m starting to feel better. Once I finish transferring my hacking cough to my husband, which should happen this weekend, I should be able to exercise again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Littlest Part II

I had Lizzy’s Parent Teacher Conference today and met Lizzy’s teacher. She was adorable. I’ve noticed that Hemenway’s principal only hires cute, youthful teachers but I think she outdid herself with Lizzy’s teacher. I wanted to pinch her cheeks!

Often the youngest sibling gets more stuff or to do things younger than the older ones did. I remember my oldest sister telling me that she fought the battle to get to wear makeup and the battle for bangs. We all lost the battle for pierced ears; I rectified that immediately after moving out in college. But I’ve slammed up against the ugly side of youngest sibling privilege! Well, at least the way it works in my family. Lizzy has an old and worn out mother. The kind of mother who assigns a sibling to read to her instead of doing it herself; the kind of mother who has been doing this for years! Brianne read to me everyday through at least second grade. I taught Jacob to read before he started kindergarten. William . . . we’ll leave him out of this. No, maybe not, maybe I can somehow transfer the blame from myself. Anyway, by the time it was Lizzy’s turn I thought I have two readers who can soldier some of Lizzy’s read time.

Well it hasn’t worked very well. Lizzy isn’t quite where she should be in reading. Her teacher was a little confused because she is where she should be in spelling and she said that most kids are in the opposite situation. This is the part of the conversation where I think it diverged from the typical conference. I’m different than other mothers because there is nothing like repeated public humiliation to take away the need for others to admire you. You eventually reach the point where you rarely care about what other people think of you. It’s called Zen. I can find Will at the park wearing only underwear and think well; at least he’s not naked. So, at this part of the conversation I flat out say that it’s probably because I don’t have her read to me. (I gave it to Jacob as a chore. Although now, I must say that I’m reconsidering that assignment!)

My parting comment to the teacher you ask? I mentioned that I might have Lizzy practice addition with her brother.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall in New England Seems Different This Year

Maybe it’s because I live on a different street next to a state park and my house feels like it’s nestled in the woods in a corner of Framingham. The glorious orange oak leaves are stubbornly clinging to the tree in my front yard and my back yard is rimmed with pine and oak trees. But now I can see neighbors’ houses peeking through the trunks of the trees. This summer was oddly rainy and somehow I feel the rain affected the fall, although I haven’t lived here long enough to have become fully integrated into the seasonal changes. Maybe the oak has the perfect symmetry with New England: hardy, beautiful and durable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope for the Future

While I was driving the kids to their Monday lessons Bri casually mentioned that their school had an election. I asked her who she voted for. “Obama,” she replied.

“You know that your dad and I are voting for Obama, too.” I said.

“I know, but that’s not why I’m voting for him.”

“Really? Why are you voting for him?”

“I believe that Obama thinks carefully about his decisions before making them. McCain would do whatever he thought was right then. McCain would try to win the war though the military even though the General of the Army said that we can’t win this war through weapons. I think Obama will find a better way to get us out of the war.”

Then, as my heart swelled with pride, she reinforced my belief in the usual thought processes of twelve-year olds by adding, “And I liked the videos supporting Obama on YouTube better.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crack your Cheeks

I guess it was inevitable that I would catch something from Bri or Lizzy. I’ve taken them to the pediatrician 3 times in the last two weeks which is a lot for me. Since I was brought up by “him who does not feel pain” even to the point of having a root canal without pain medicine, yes, really! I’ve internalized that lesson even if I do feel pain. Both because I’m a redhead (we do feel pain more intensely -- its biology!) and because I’m a wimp. So, while I might not take pain medicine until my husband reminds me, I will alway wimp out and succumb to drugs.

My husband took all the kids to church and left me home alone. That in and of itself almost qualifies as a vacation as I’m not expected to do anything (except make dinner if I’m not deathly ill) while they’re gone; I wouldn’t even do that but my husband always makes a lovely and elaborate dinner complete with garnishes even if he has to drag himself in to the kitchen to do it. Which I do appreciate but it raises expectations for me which I would sooner do without.

I tried to drug myself with two Advils because I do not like the sensation of my brain reverberating against my skull when I cough, nor do I enjoy the accompanying aches from my ribcage. I tried to sleep with a cough drop in my mouth but couldn’t. And I was freezing despise wearing socks, a sweater, an extra blanket and a heating pad!

I feel like King Lear who has been cast of by his two eldest daughters after foolishly giving up his kingdom. “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!” Except foolishly it is my own body that has cruelly cast me off into the heath.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Transfering the Blame

Friday afternoon, Marcy and I took an exercise ball class at the Y. It may have initially been my idea but since I knew I would be late getting there and Marcy made me come anyway I believe that I am able to transfer the blame to Marcy. Blame because my butt still hurts from that class!

Saturday night I was complaining to Bri about how much my butt hurt when I decided that I needed to go to the source – Marcy. I called her up. And before I could even start describing the agony I was experiencing she asked, “Does your butt hurt? Mine woke me up in the middle of the night.”

"Feasting" on the Gospel

I looked down the pew at Jacob who was sucking on a dum dum. I mouth to him, “No Candy!” In response he slumps down and covers his mouth and the candy with his jacket.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Power of Mother

Occasionally being a mother means that I get to toy with my children the way a cat toys with a mouse. Today was that day! I got Lizzy a bowl of ice cream. When Jake heard the magic words ice cream he asked for some. Just to toy with him I said "no."

EVIL LAUGH!! The power I hold is immense! Not really, usually I’m at their beck and call.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I got in the car, turned on the radio and started signing along. After about five seconds I realized I was singing along to the CD Jake got with the music for his 5th grade play. Yes, I was listening to and singing along with Aladdin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gutenberg! The Musical.

On Saturday night Marcy and I went to see Gutenberg! The Musical. I’m not really sure how to describe it in an appropriate way for my family to read about. Parts of it were hilarious while many other parts were a little lewd.

My favorite line of the night (and the most ironic) was when Bud was explaining the musical. He called it historical fiction, which he explained was “. . . fiction that's true!"

But I was pretty disappointed in the conclusion! Sadly poor, lovesick Helvetica destroyed Gutenberg’s printing press and that the townspeople killed Gutenberg before he could build another; which led to the general illiteracy that still plagues the America today.

Lesson learned? Well, yes, next time I’m going to choose the play!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trunk or Treat

At the Halloween party last Saturday, Will was a little annoyed. We kept heading him off from the CD players, I tried to get him to eat chili and to top it off I put a costume on him. After a half an hour of putting up with crap like that from his parents he was “all done!” He found a book from the nursery and read it the rest of the time. He even sat in the van reading while all the other kids went trunk to trunk collecting candy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I grabbed Will and hugged him. He wanted me to let go. I saw the wheels turning. He kissed me and I let go.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Candy the Pirate

We’ve been working on the kids' Halloween costumes. Jake has been death for the last three years so all I had to buy him was a replacement sickle. I forced Lizzy to be a pilgrim because I made Bri an adorable pilgrim costume five years ago and I think it’s sooo cute! Bri vacillated between a pirate and a witch. We finally settled on the pirate last week.

Problem -- All the pirate costumes we found looked like Candy the Slutty Pirate. And call me prudish but I’m not comfortable having my twelve year-old look like a medieval prostitute. So, I had to make her a pirate shirt. (Which I am trying to finish before we leave in two hours for a Halloween party!) I have had to unpick seams multiple times and when I stuck myself with a pin and worried aloud about getting blood on her costume. Bri responded, “Don’t worry! That just makes it more realistic!”

Friday, October 24, 2008

I put my mind down for a minute and now I can’t remember where I put it!

I was in the middle of making a berry sauce when my sister called me. By the time I answered the phone I had forgotten what I was doing. Fortunately, I was still in the kitchen and happened to walk past the stove.

Today, I called Bri from my cell phone and heard the answering machine message that Will must have recorded a couple of weeks ago when he was messing with the machine. (I meant to check it, but forgot.) He, of course, said nothing during the very long recording of background noise. By the time I got home the thought that I should re-record something had flown from my brain. But I was reminded when my mom called and said that she‘d called earlier and Will had answered the phone.

Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe it's because I only got five hours of sleep last night.

. . . I'm going with old!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maybe I’m a Little Obsessive

I called my sister because I hadn’t talked to her for so long. I’m a little perturbed at her because she hadn’t called me in a long time and quite frankly her excuse of “her husband taking a new job in a different state, packing up her house and putting it on the market and the aforementioned husband actually being in a different state leaving her alone with four children and a house that needs to be ready to show at a moment’s notice” sounded a little thin. I mean she is one of my sisters that sews, bottles food and manages to decorate her house! Can this be much harder? Although, now that I think about it maybe I gave her the disease I had a year ago in which my husband got a job in Texas, commuted there for six months. We sold our house, moved into a two-bedroom apartment, ended up living there for six months, then decided to stay in Massachusetts and had to look for a new house.

Bean, a word of advice, go for a four bedroom apartment right off the bat!

Back to our conversation -- I was worried that Obama wouldn’t win and she was worried he would. And I’m jealous that Palin got a $150,000 new wardrobe. And I thought, hey, if everyone who reads my blog contributed $10,000 then I, too, could look smokin’. No, not really and anyway I’d blow it all on chocolate and lessons for the kids. But I did promise to call her on November 4rd and remind her to vote. She was surprised that I’d risk a vote against the last, great hope for America but I told her I loved her more than I loved Obama and anyway she lives in Idaho. If she lived in a swing state . . . maybe, no, I’d still call her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yarrgh! I need to figure out a costume for Halloween.

I’m supposed to dress like my favorite band and come prepared to sing. But I don’t think I’ll look very good dressed as one of the band members of Snow Patrol, or the Killers. Maybe I’ll go as James Blunt and sing You’re Beautiful. But I won’t act out the video!

Anyway, suggestions?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This goes out to 5 special white woman and you know who you are!

Boybama - Battleground for Your Heart from Portal A Interactive on Vimeo.

(Here's a shout out to two of Marcy's sisters-in-laws who happen to be white and living in Ohio and to my white friend Karen also in Ohio, my white sister-in-law Valerie in Nevada and to Tara my white hair dresser in New Hampshire. Great, there's my five!)

Lunch Conversation

“Can the clam chowder have hot dogs in it?” Jacob asked.

“No” said my husband and I.

“If it has hot dogs in it I’m not eating it!” Lizzy stated.

. . . . during lunch . . .

Jacob: “It’s pretty good, but it would be better with hot dogs. You should try it dad.”

“I’ll let mom try it.” My husband responded. Yeah, he’s got my back.

But now that I think about this I realize this has happened before. Anytime one of our children has made a creative new dish; I, of course, try it but my husband doesn’t always. Even if I’m shouting with my eyes, “YOU TRY THAT!!” He’s just a darn foodie!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Outside in 40 degree Weather

I saw a near-naked cherub wearing only a pair of underwear put on backwards and the inevitable iPod trying to open the door to the sunroom. His body chilled my hands as I hugged him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

5th Grade Field Trip

I signed up to go on Jake’s field trip. Well, the note I actually handed in said if you need me to come I will. I guess they needed me because I was on the schedule. I got a late start and worried that the kids would already be there. But I think that I got to Hopkinton before the bus left the school.

We got the kids into their climbing harnesses and some boy ran up to me and shouted that he had a wedgie. What do you say in response to that? “Thanks for letting me know.”

They divided us up into groups and the day started off well when an eleven year old came up to me and informed me that, “I can burp really loud, if you need to get the attention of the group. It’s my talent.”

“I appreciate that,” I responded, “But I can’t imagine I’ll ever need to use that particular skill.” It is so obvious that I was never an eleven year old boy because I don’t understand them at all.

Because the school has been having lice outbreaks, I was in charge of wiping out the helmet between kids; probably because I acquitted myself so well during my experience with small, icky creatures.

Friday, October 17, 2008

He’s playin’ wid me

Will likes to call me Michelle. It started over a month ago. I got him off the bus one day and he said, “Michelle,” over and over again. I tried to correct him but to no avail. Everyday when I get him off his bus he calls me Michelle all the way into the house. I decided that it was a joke.

Today, I went into his school and, of course, as soon as he saw me he started saying, “Michelle” over and over again. His life became sublime when his therapists changed and it was his turn with Michelle. “Mom,” he greeted her. And he alternated between saying mom and Michelle for the next half hour.

I wonder why he always gets his bus driver America’s name right.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Does this mean that there is an eventual end to the torture of listening to children's music over and over again?

I rushed Will, Lizzy and Jake out the door. We were going to be late for Tae Kwan Do and I couldn’t find Will’s iPod anywhere. I asked him where it was but he ignored me. So, I grabbed a Curious George Book and hoped for the best. When we sat down on the bench Will noticed the shuffle in my purse. I told him it wasn’t his. “Dr. Suess?” He hopefully asked.

“No, buddy.” I replied. But undeterred he put the earphones in and turned it on. I expected him to listen for a minute, perhaps forward through all the songs, and when he realized there wasn’t any Lori Berkner or books on tape to throw it down in disgust. But . . . he kept it on. He listened to my songs for 45 minutes. I checked twice to hear if it was on, it was. He was listening to Augustana and Keane. I thought this means that either Will’s musical taste is expanding or that he’ll listen to anything if he’s desperate.

We came home and before I had even walked upstairs Will had found his iPod and it was plugged directly into his brain trying to repair the damage that listening to alternative music might have caused.

. . . .Later that day

Will was sitting on the rocking chair, his shuffle lying on the blanket chest, reading a book and listening to mine. I checked his. It still worked. I guess he preferred Keane to the Ants Go Marching In, maybe I better put some good stuff on his shuffle before he appropriates mine away from me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Choice 2008

Last night on Frontline there was a good documentary, The Choice 2008, that discussed the careers of both Obama and McCain. If you missed it check it out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


There’s a gorgeous yellow leafed tree across the street that I see from my office window. The leaves on the opposite side of the street are colorful and starting to fall while the leaves in my yard are barely tinged with color.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guess What Internet

My husband came home from his appointment with his doctor looking a little shell-shocked. “She said I had baby soft skin,” he managed to get out.

“Well you do,” I said. “And I think I’ll let the internet know.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

He successfully avoided my finger

I looked over at Will and noticed that one eye was a little red and swollen. I put some eye ointment on my finger to put in his eye. But he wiggled away from me. I tried again. It didn’t work that time either. In the past, I would lie him down on a bed with his arms down under my arm, and hold open his eye to put the medicine in. But today I realized that Will is too big for me to hold him down anymore. I tried to reason with him. I showed him his eye in the mirror. I asked if his eye hurt. I told him I could make it feel better. I practiced putting my uncontaminated finger near his eye. I tried singing a song while wrestling with him. Bri tried holding his arms down. I tried to pin him. At one point we were on his bed while I was attempting unsuccessfully to medicate him when I looked up my husband was staring in the window in consternation wondering why I was torturing his son. As he was in the middle of staining our deck I didn’t call him in to hold down our poor little nine year-old. After fifteen minutes I gave up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm getting old

Bri babysat for someone other than me for the first time last night. She made fifteen dollars. Considering the economy, I’m relieved to have a second wage earner in the family.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's Up With That?

There are many things that don’t make any sense to me; things like Bush getting elected for the second time or why anyone would ever choose to have a Formica sink cabinet. But near the top of that list is why when you enter the search terms “37 inch flat screen high definition TV” my blog shows up on the first page. I can’t help thinking that there must be some confusion on the part of google or the person searching for information. I can only imagine that person saying something like “I wanted advice on brands, but what I found was a mom saying she canceled her cable because her kids were watching too much TV. What’s up with that?”

I also get people searching for nudist information. Alright, I’ll grant that anyone who spends any amount of time at our house will definitely see Will naked and there was that one time Will was in the front yard only wearing his iPod; but the rest of us generally wear clothes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Yesterday, Will’s therapist Cait read Where the Wild Things Are. That’s the book he skinned a while ago. They growled at each other. This morning when Will got on the bus one of his friend’s from school said, “Hi William.” And Will growled! It was adorable.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Hug Me Pillow

My sister sent me a link to buy a special pillow that she felt would keep me company during those times my husband is traveling. Although, the pillow promises to "provide comfort as well as piece of mind" and it's "unique shape provides firm sleeping support;" I'm not sure I'm really comfortable having a pillow that looks like this in my house even if it's only $29.99 plus shipping.

Cut to the chase, Bean! What are you really trying to say? I read the comments and felt a little uncomfortable.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A One-Sided Conversation with Will

Yesterday I confiscated Will’s iPod after finding both him and the iPod taking a shower together. With one of his two favorite things not available, Will was forced to focus on jumping on the trampoline for amusement.

But he doesn’t know when to stop. At 9:00pm it was dark and in the 30s but I had to bring him back inside two times. The second time I brought him back inside our conversation was as follows:

Me: “Will it’s to cold to be outside without pants on. I have pants on and I’m still cold.”

Will didn’t say anything to refute that, but gave me a pinch to make his feelings clear on being forced to come inside.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Game Playing Friends

On Saturday, an old pinochle playing friend from college came by. He was in Boston for a few days so he came over for dinner. We used to play with him and his wife frequently. I miss playing cards because we haven’t found “game playing friends” here.

So, we played Wiz War which is one of the coolest games in the world, especially the expansion set! My husband stomped us in less than twenty minutes so it was a quick game. But we made up for that with the longest game of Settlers of Catan I’ve ever played. It lasted over three hours! By that time I didn't care who won, I just wanted someone to put me out of my misery. The kids didn’t get to bed until after 11. Good thing it was Saturday night.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Last night Bri and I went to a service auction. The women in our church wrote down different services they would do for others. You received points to "buy" the services based on service, or how many kids you had or if you read your scriptures, etc.

I brought two bags filled with chocolates and packages of Pepperidge Farm cookies and offered to make anyone’s dessert of choice. Bri offered yard work and babysitting. And we ended up cleaning house!

I was really tempted by the photography lesson but when I saw face painting I knew it must be mine! It would have cost me $150 to have her come to Lizzy’s party and quite frankly that wasn’t going to happen. The lady sitting next to me reminded me that two years ago I won her offer to plan and come help with a birthday party. Naturally, this happened right after Jake’s party, is that karma?

I had my plan to save all my points for the face painting but the first thing up for auction was an offer to paint a room. What could I do? I bid. Bri agreed to give me whatever extra points I needed for the face painting. Bri and I did well! I get one room painted and face painting at Lizzy’s party, combine that with the party planning and the party is basically done except for the food and decorations, sweet! Brianne gets a 45 minute harp lesson and a sewing lesson -- Halloween costume, check. The only thing that would have made the auction better is if I could have gotten the personal yoga class, too.

Hindsight: I should have auctioned off Marcy's superior wallpaper removal services and made a killing! Kidding. I would have bid on that myself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It sounded like a jet airplane was taking off from my family room

Anyone who believes that girls are louder or talk more than boys is either delusional or has never had a slumber party for 11 year-old boys. Seven boys screamed more than all the girls who have ever come to any of Bri’s slumber parties combined!

I don’t know what possessed me to allow Jake to have a slumber party after last year’s half slumber party fiasco. One of the kids called it a fighting party. I thought this year's party would be better not only through better planning but more importantly through a thorough culling of last year's guest list. Those who made the cut were polite and nice.

Well, after I stopped the boys from screaming and pushing each other around on the rolling chair it got a little quieter. I banished the chair to Lizzy’s room and tried to dull the boys’ senses with food. When that failed I sent them downstairs to watch Speed Racer. They were torn between eating the snacks and throwing gummy bears at each other. Naturally being boys the floor was covered with gummy bears and I was relieved that I didn’t buy the silly string.

They started burping like ducks and one of the boys threw up. Both my mom and dad called during the party. I thought they were in tune with me and heard my psychic call for help; but later I realized they both called to talk to Jake.

Fortunately, only three boys ended up staying over night! I hate to think of how loud it would have been with more! Girls know how to whisper, but 11 year-old boys don’t possess the gene sequence that allows them to whisper.

Last year my husband supervised Jake’s party while I took the other kids out. Surprisingly, this year when I asked what he wanted to do he volunteered to take the other kids to Boston’s Children’s Museum. By the time he got home I figured out that I probably could have doubled the kids he had to take and halved their ages and he still would have chosen to leave.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

William’s Top Ten List of Favorite Activities

10. Go on amusement park rides

9. Watch TV or movies

8. Read books or magazines

7. Swing in the backyard in various states of undress

6. Swim

5. Sit on the toilet reading (because everyone leaves him alone even if he’s been in there for a half hour!)

4. Drive in the car while listening to music

3. Jump on the trampoline while listen to music on his iPod.

2. Surf the web

1. Listen to music or books on tape

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I was really trying to be quiet!

My husband told me he was going to make a difficult business phone call. I was quietly surfing on the computer when the home phone rang. I jumped up, planning on running to the phone to stop the ringing. On my way to the phone I ran into the vacuum cleaner, knocking it over onto the wood floor where it landed with a deafening crash!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In case anyone wondered about my political leanings

You Are 44% Democrat

You aren't a full fledged Democrat yet, but it's likely the party that fits you best.

You probably consider yourself an independent Democrat. You usually support the party, but you also think for yourself!

You Are 12% Republican

If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance.

You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!

How Republican Are You?

I really do think I'm more than 44% Democrat.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Continuation of Yesterday

Now I have spent two days in a row taking Will’s shuffle away from him while he jumps on the trampoline in the rain. I don’t mind him jumping in the rain, although, by the end of the day I was just putting on dry underwear before sending him outside again. The problem was that every time I confiscated his tunes he followed me inside, thus causing a need for another change of clothes if not a shower.

Right before we sat down for dinner I looked out the window for Will. I saw a pair on pants on the grass, underwear and a shirt discarded on the trampoline and a naked cherub jumping happily wearing only his blue iPod shuffle. I bought him the shuffle because I thought he could clip it to his shirt, my plan doesn’t work well if he’s naked. But even if he has more than a pair of undies on, he holds it in his hand so he can skip ahead to whatever song he’s in the mood to hear.

It’s fortunate we have a 12 foot high wooden fence surrounding much of our yard. If not I fear we would be cited for repeatedly violating decency laws.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What a glorious feeling! I’m happy again!

It has been raining for two days here but Kyle won’t stop Will from jumping on the trampoline. I’ve changed his clothes five times today and caught him jumping on the trampoline wearing only underwear and his ipod three times. My husband took a couple of the kids to the library and to distract Will from going I suggested he go jump on the trampoline again. But he was sad. So, I decided to jump with him as I had not yet taken a shower. We jumped until Will was wet and I was somewhat wet. Then I thought I would try bouncing on my butt before landing on my feet. Usually it’s not a problem; however, Will decided to do the same thing at the same time in the same spot. One of his elbows hit my stomach, another elbow hit my head and yet another elbow hit my arm, he, of course, was fine while I was writhing in pain on a wet trampoline. By the time I stood up I belonged in the completely wet category but gamely kept jumping.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Very Cool Site

I might as well be a man

My grandpa found out his real name when he was in his 50s. He saw his birth certificate and it had a different first name. Apparently everyone, even his parents, disagreed with his given name and refused to call him by it! I mention this bit of my family history to put my small lapse in context. My error lasted less than a year and was very minor as it needed only a few phone calls to correct rather than legal documents.

In honor of Jake’s birthday I will admit that I was confused to his actual birth date for almost a year. I thought he was born two days later than he was. Seriously! I know he will need some heavy duty counseling to recover from that; but I figure that I’ll give him enough reason for counseling anyway, so an extra year or so shouldn’t make much of a difference.

It wasn’t until I mentioned birthday plans to a neighbor and mentioned what I thought was Jake’s birthday that I found out I was wrong about the date. My neighbor remembered his birth date as being two days earlier. I went and looked it up. She was right. It was a little embarrassing to have to change his birthday at the doctor’s office. No, not kidding, I had it wrong everywhere. Thankfully someone outside the family was paying attention.

We all know that I don’t remember anyone’s birthday. My twelve year-old mentioned to me yesterday that we needed to something special for her father for his birthday because I forgot it last year and he didn’t even get a cake. Perhaps a friend could . . . .

Friday, September 26, 2008

Full Circle

A couple of years ago I bought The Flavor Point Diet book. The idea behind the diet is if you only eat similar flavors throughout the day you’ll eat less because you’re bored. I did not like the recipes and thought the diet was stupid so I donated the book to the library.

A couple of months later my husband told me that he bought a diet book for me from the library. Guess what book? Yeah, The Flavor Point Diet book. When he told me what it was, I said that I had donated that very book to the library. It kills me that we paid for that stupid book twice! I still have it because I don’t dare donate it again. I feel stalked.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beep . . . . . . . . . . . Beep . . . . . . . . .. . .Beep

My phone started beeping at 5:39am this morning. I didn’t know what it was as first. I checked my alarm. After a few minutes, I realized that the battery in the phone was low. I tried covering it with my husband’s super fluffy pillow. It slightly muffled the beep but I found myself waiting and listening for the next beep so I gave up and hung it up in the kitchen. Then I stubbed my toe on the carpet on the way back to my room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yet another reason I’m grateful my brain is larger than the size of a walnut!

On Saturday, DK and I saw a squirrel run across the highway. Then on Tuesday, Marcy and I saw a suicidal squirrel narrowly escape death as it ran across the highway. The squirrel literally ran between wheels going over 65 mph. I thought it was dead.

Squirrels running to or from the medium are ridiculous. There’s nothing there, except certain death. However, when I said as much to Marcy she countered that the squirrel’s family could be there. Imagine that if you will. A squirrel colony surrounded by whizzing, rumbly bringers of death. The inquisitive squirrels weeded out through the process of natural selection. It almost makes you want to be a part of nature doesn’t it?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Give me a couple more years!

You Are 44% Massachusetts

You're likely a Massachusetts transplant. Big rotaries still scare you, and you probably live outside of 495.

Usually He Just Ignores Me

Last night I told Will to put a shirt on as he was only wearing a pair of underwear. He came out of his room wearing three shirts and a pair of pants. I can't believe he listened to me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The kind of Socialism we can all agree on!

New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini said it best referring to the bailout of big business by us, "It is privatizing the gains and profits, and socializing the losses as usual. This is socialism for Wall Street and the rich."

Oh, I get it. Socialism is good for the rich, ah country as long as the poor pay for it!

Under Pressure

While driving in the car I had to yell at Jake and Lizzy to stop fighting which led to a conversation about the pressures facing a 5th grader. “I have a lot of pressure at school, mom. Then I come home and there’s more pressure.”

“What kind of pressure do you feel at home?”

“You just don’t understand the kind of pressure that comes from having a younger sister,” he replied, as if it were obvious. Which thinking back to my days at home with a younger sister should have been obvious. But the pressure I faced came more from my younger sister’s enforcer AKA my oldest sister than from my younger sister. Because if I displeased her in any way she would sic my big sister on me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My old house was tiny! It’s amazing that I kept my sanity!

I dropped off an invitation to the lady that bought our old house. We decided to have an old neighbors’ party. (For people in our old neighborhood, not people who are chronologically old. However, several of them are quite old so perhaps we are having a party for former neighbors and old, former neighbors.) My husband thought that we should invite our old house’s current occupant. I, on the other hand, continue to fear that something will break in that 86 year old house and she will blame us, thus I am tempted to avoid her.

I dropped of the invitation and was invited in to get some mail. I walked in and everything looked so small. It felt tiny! I was incredulous that we had managed to survive in such small square footage. It wasn’t so bad for my husband as he always traveled, but for me alone with four small, vocal, destructive children it was a little tight. Our house was so small we didn’t have an office and my husband would sit on the bed and work on his laptop. Occasionally, when it got really noisy he would be driven to the damp hole of a basement which had a seasonal spring flood.

No, I don’t miss that charming, extraordinarily small house.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is there an Eagle Scout award for mothers?

An ongoing annoyance for me is that I have to help Jake with scouts.

1. I was never a girl scout.

2. I am a wimp about many scouting kinds of things.

3. I don’t know how to tie knots.

4. My husband is an Eagle Scout. He even worked at a Boy Scout Adventure base in his youth.

5. Paternal history of scout leadership. His parents are way into scouting as evidenced by both of them having a Golden Beaver award. (Previous to our marriage I didn’t even know that adults got awards in scouts.)

6. No history of scouts on my side as evidenced by my brother dropping out of cub scouts.

Clearly, I should have nothing more to do with scouting than merely dropping Jake off at the meetings. But not only am I called upon to drive, I am also called upon to help him pass off requirements; which leads to me doing things like forcing my sister to build a fire in her back yard and pretending to cook food over said fire. (We cheated, of course.) Jacob barely got his Webelos two week before his birthday and only because I helped him pass off six belts in about one month.

I may have to learn how to tie knots so I can tie my husband to my child and not let them loose until Jake has passed off a few requirements!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're running a nudist colony here folks!

Question: How many times can Will walk in front of my other children naked without them noticing?

Answer: A lot!

Statement: I shouldn't have to tell him to get dressed as often as I do. Or for that matter, remind my other children that they should tell him to get dressed if they see him in a state of undress.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I can't fire my Personal Trainer because I don't pay her.

My friend Marcy proclaimed that I would be her guinea pig to help her decide if she would like to pursuit a career as a personal trainer. So, she “encourages” me to exercise. She plans our exercise regiment and gets all technical on me; by throwing out the names of the muscles we are using and making me do painful things with bars and weights (while I take her name in vain). I go along with the exercising because it’s just easier and I’d rather my boobs stick out further than my belly.

PT Marcy is taking my exercising very seriously. When I introduced her to a friend at the YMCA, Marcy mentioned that she wouldn’t be there on Friday could Jen supervise my workout. Jen thoughtfully nodded that yes, yes she could; and I felt like a football that had just been handed off to the backup quarterback and prepared myself for the kickoff.

PT Marcy has caused me to experience a certain amount of muscle “acheage” during our workouts. But I get some of my own back. Last week we went for a six mile bike ride on a bike trail that was not flat. And I mentioned it . . . a lot. Then I started talking to distract myself. She told me that she now had an appreciation of what her husband had to listen to. I told her I was glad to give her the opportunity to appreciate her husband, because that’s what I’m all about – complaining uh, empathy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink or Purple Sparkly Books

Lizzy has been my library buddy since she was born. She likes to pick out books for me to read. Years ago, I learned to smile and nod when she showed me the books that she chose. Pink books are her favorite followed by purple. But if she can find a pink sparkly book, well, that is probably the best, most exciting book in the whole world.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband took Lizzy to the library where she chose some books for me to read. They came home with a purple book, a black book, a gray book. J., who knows that I tend to read books in darker hues, said to me, “You won’t believe what books she wanted to check out for you! I talked her into a couple of others.” I responded that I decided to let her choose whatever made her happy, although I didn’t let her chose more than three.

But it came back to bite me when I went to jury duty. I was out of books so I took one of her choices – a purple one. When the other jurors asked me what I was reading I sheepishly had to respond, “A purple book.” But I read it anyway.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Direct quote, “Don’t throw up!”

Will started throwing up his pills earlier this summer. He takes an assortment: Super Nu-Thera (the “autism” vitamin), calcium, zinc, melatonin (to help him sleep), and whatever else his DAN, Defeat Autism Now, doctor suggests. For years he swallowed a truckload of pills every day then during the summer he decided they made him throw up – and they did, every day.

It was great, especially when we were staying at my sister Jane’s house! I started giving him his pills outside accompanied with a stern command of “Don’t throw up!” Will can throw up at the drop of a hat if he wants to. When I made him try a hot dog many years ago he threw up. He threatens to throw up if I make him eat non-preferred vegetables. And about five years ago when he only ate corn chips, hamburger and fruit, he threw up a lot as I forced him to expand his diet.

I cut his pill usage back in an effort to decrease the vomiting. It worked. Today I threw in two tiny cod liver oil caplets and some good digestive bacteria. That sent him over the edge and he let me know. But because that’s the kind of mother I am I rinsed them off and made him swallow them again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

He may not talk much but he sings

Will has a CD of church songs for kids. I walked in the dining room only to hear him singing along to The Books of the Old Testament song. You know the one? Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers . . . .

That’s bound to come in handy at some point in his life, right?

Friday, September 12, 2008

I had a conversation with my husband Rake

While trying to avoid housework, I found a website that answered a question that had been nagging at me since Sarah Palin was announced as McCain's running mate. The question is, of course, if she was my mother what would she have named me?

Answer: Meat Notgay Palin. Truer words were never spoken since I like meat and am not gay.

My husband would be named Rake Trinket Palin. (I will not repeat what he said when I informed him of his true name.) Our kid's names seemed strangly appropriate in ways I'm only starting to understand: Clip Dragon (that's obvious -- Bri's obsessed with dragons and her personal hygiene), Timber Challenger (Jake wants to be a singing lumberjack inclined astronaut), Falter Locust (Will doesn't like to work and goes to the kitchen opens all the cupboards and eats anything he can find) and little Chop Meth (well, I guess Lizzy destined to be a drug addict).

Bonus: If I enter all my friend's names in the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator, I can continue to avoid housework for days!

Dad, you could have been Stick Freedom!
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