Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Raising Her Right

Elizabeth was playing around in my bedroom.  She had a plastic pirate sword in her hand.  “Mom,” she said, “I'd like to get better at sword fighting. When I get better can I get a sword for emergencies?  To use against zombies or orcs."

You will obviously want to hang with us during the zombie apocalypse.*

*Ok, well maybe not with Will because he and I will be eaten.  (I already told my husband that Will and I will leave the rest of the family to give them a better chance of survival.  He is after all as Eagle Scout with mad 1980s survival skills!)  But between Jacob who has thought a LOT about surviving a zombie apocalypse and Elizabeth’s plastic sword skills clearly they have a better than average chance of survival.  Unless they are World War Z zombies -- the ones from the movie not the book.  Because those zombies are fast!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Official 2012 End Of Year Sum Up


I liked 2012.  It treated us just fine.  2012 was full of kids, travel and spending two months painting the outside of our house green (possibly a little too green but I’m not going to repaint it!)


Costa Rica:  I was my husband's plus one for his “work” trip to Costa Rica and was able to check deep sea fishing and doing a zip line off my bucket list.

France and Spain:  We took Brianne, Jacob, and Elizabeth to Europe for two weeks because my fantastic nephew David flew out to watch William!  I thought about taking Will but decided that he would hate flying, waiting in lines, going to museums, walking and eating non-preferred foods; and forcing him to go would result in multiple sets of bloody arms.  So, David took Will to the beach, New York, 6 Flags while we were gone.

Surprisingly someone figured out we were tourists in Paris and picked my husband’s pocket but thanks to a man we caught him and he went to jail, and we got to ride in a speedy police car with sirens blaring through red lights.  This was actually Elizabeth’s favorite thing about Europe.  Our favorite city was Taragona Spain which had fantastic Roman ruins.  Unfortunately, we might have scared my children for life when we took them to a beach because I forgot the whole “clothing optional” part of European beaches and I got some wide-eyed distressed looks from my children and I spent a lot of time apologizing and telling them to look in a different direction.

Jacob’s view of Europe can best be summed up by his comment that he would have rather paid someone to paint our house and not have gone.  However, we discovered that he likes escargot.

Husband:  2012 cut his travel budget by 20% which I thought was completely acceptable.  He is no longer a Scout Master and thus will spend 11 fewer nights sleeping on the ground.  Since he is old I think he’s ok with that.  He loves fishing and plans to do a lot more in 2013.

Me:  Quit the Special Ed board in June because I got a big calling at church (I can only assume that everyone else they asked said “no.”)  I still volunteer at the Y teaching two pre-school enrichment classes.  I spend as much time as possible reading and watching Love it or List it.  I foolishly thought painting our house would not be a big deal because my dad had us paint our house twice while I lived at home.

Brianne:  Turned 16!!!!  Now she can drive to school which makes her mother ecstatic!  She is taking violin and has improved a lot in the last two years.  She is doing well in school and joined the Key Club (maybe?) and the Human Rights club.  She doesn’t have as much time to read this year which makes her very sad.

Jacob: Is now in high school.  He is taking piano lessons, hopefully will progress in scouts and wants to be a video game designer.  He ran cross country this fall and will probably do outdoor track in the spring.  He is working on improving his grades but strangely seems to prefer to doing other things to studying.

William: Is big, blond and adorable!  He likes school, reading, writing stories, playing on his iPad and watching TV, previews and looking at the scene sections pictures on movies.  We signed up for cable and I think whoever designed the DVR thought “how can I drive the parents of autistic kids crazy?”  “Oh, I know … I’ll design something that they can rewind over and over again.  Because, come on, doesn’t everyone need to hear the opening song to a TV show again and again and again!”  Designer of the DVR – actually the answer is no.  Will has also recently decided that church needs a little more applause and has started giving standing ovations when people pray or sing solos in Sacrament Meeting.  And about half the time he sings his own lyrics during hymns.

Elizabeth:  Is super cute (I am possibly biased).  She is in the 5th grade.  She is doing really well learning the flute and has played twice at church!  This is fantastic because she gets nervous so her flute teacher and I bribe her.  She likes basketball, riding her bike, playing games, Legos, going anywhere and helping her dad fix things.  She is a great sport and is doing a lot better this year doing her reading and homework.  (Now if she would only start sooner than 8:30pm life would be better.)

Kitty:  Continuing her career as mass murderer.  (We have only seen 10 squirrels in our yard in two years and we don’t have mice in our shed anymore.)  However, the children adore Bri’s cat because she waits for their buses in the afternoon and walks them to the bus in the morning.  We recently installed a cat door in the garage so she can kill animals more conveniently.

We hope that 2013 treats you well!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pictures from Southern France

Chateau de Longecourt

Jacob is tough to impress
Because livestock is what we came to Europe to see!
Colosseum in Nimes

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pictures from Paris

 At the Eiffel Tower

Arc de Triomphe

Close to the Jardin des Tuileries
Bateaux Mouches

Monday, January 7, 2013


I was upstairs in the living room when I heard the front door open.  When it didn’t shut I got up to investigate.  William was standing under the front porch.  He was wearing Elizabeth’s straw hat over my straw hat, snow boots, underpants and carrying two handfuls of baby carrots.

“Do you want to make a snowman?”  I asked him.


I brought him inside and got some clothes on him because that’s what good mothers do – they have their children actually wear clothes outside in single digit weather!  Boom!  Instant “Good Mother” right there!

Elizabeth, William and I went outside to make a snowman.

New England snow is different.  It’s usually heavy, wet, back breaking snow that freezes the next day with a nice crunchy top.  The kind of snow that turns to ice for skiing – the way nature intended!  But this snow was different!  It was powdery, even a day later and it didn’t stick to anything, even itself.  How annoying!  I tried to roll a ball – fail.  I tried to make a square with a shovel – fail. 

The first time my autistic son requests a snowman and the snow won’t cooperate?  No, it will cooperate I decided.  I went over to the mound I had shoveled off the driveway the day before.  I carefully cut out a bottom square, then topped it with two more.  We put branches in for arms, twigs for lips, ice chunks for eyes and a carrot for a nose. 

Best. Snowman. Ever.*

*Well, not really.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

They just keep on getting older, darn it!

Elizabeth turned 11 over Christmas break.  We went to a Japanese Grill for a late lunch.    Will loved watching the chef twirl and throw his utensils but was a little disconcerted (he backed his chair up) when he saw the fire shoot up in front of him.  Naturally that did not stop him from eating all his rice and both of his parents’ bowls as well as half my meat.  Strangely he did not want to eat my vegetables.  And the staff sang Happy Birthday to Elizabeth and a Japanese song.

For dinner we had birthday cake and ice cream.  Elizabeth got some more Toy Story items to add to her collection and a remote control car which everyone has enjoyed – even William drove it which is really cool!

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