Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In honor of Billy Mays, I'd like to dedicate this post to my brother.

Tired of those pesky dirty ants taking over the house? They're on your floor, in your cabinets, under your appliances, and EVEN IN YOUR FOOD!

Take back control of your home with the "ANT KILLER 3000!" Designed and named by experts, (Shannon) this gadget will rid your lovely home of these critters and make your house a nicer, cleaner place to live.
You simply place the ANT KILLER 3000 on the surface the ant is occupying and press the masher down several times. IT'S THAT SIMPLE!

No more disease-infested insects invading your immaculate kitchen. It also works on sitting-still flies, spiders, and sometimes cockroaches. IT'S A MULTI-PURPOSE TOOL!
Clean up is a breeze! With a simple wipe, ant guts are virtually invisible!

Does your brother or sister drive you insane? Do they make your life miserable with the constant picking and teasing and...talking?

Well you'll be excited to know that the ANT KILLER 3000 also doubles as a crayon launcher!

Now when the tormenting becomes unbearable and you find yourself reaching for some kind of retaliation, look no further than the ANT KILLER 3000! Simply load the shaft with ammo of your choice, pull back the plunger, aim, and... WHAM! No more pesky sibling!

*keep away from parents*

*not recommended for use as a cookie press*

Monday, June 29, 2009

"All...my...friends....drive a low rider"

"I always feel like...somebody's watching me..."

"1 2 3 4 PRESSURE!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

The last cinnamon roll. So lonely. So dejected. The rest were gobbled up so quickly he never had a chance to say goodbye. After casually reading (in an addict's gotta-get-a-fix kind of way) the pioneer woman's website, I decided to try one of her recipes and chose the cinnamon rolls.

Man-oh-man there aren't even words.

Yes there are, but you have to sing them because I have been all day in between mouthfuls.

Truly scrumptious, you're truly truly scrumptious. Scrumptious as a cherry peach parfait....

That last one isn't gonna know what hit him tomorrow morning.

The kids danced to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tonight. I'd like to thank Mr. Costello, my eighth grade social studies teacher for helping us memorize the entire score to this musical rather than teaching us geography. And thank you Sue for graciously giving me a copy of the soundtrack. While I do long to know the capitals of our fine country, (heck, even the states) I'll never forget the lyrics to that production.

It's nice to know that if we were ever to have a reunion, we could just break into song during those awkward silences when you're trying to get reacquainted with someone.
(I'm being sarcastic only about wanting to learn the capitals. not about Mr. Costello's teaching choices. He was an inspirational teacher who I'll never forget.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

There's no denying it now.

We're here; knee-deep, stuck-in-the-muck, there's-no-goin' back, it's-time-to-face-the-music in the throes of summer.

I can't stand it. I'm sure I'm the only twisted individual from these parts that dislikes this tortuous time of year.

What's to like?

Bugs? Mosquitoes? Flies? Bees? *shudder* SPIDERS? You all know how I feel about those creepy critters. I'd rather not talk about them anymore.

Don't even get me started on humidity and yucky, sticky days so uncomfortable you don't even want to do anything but sit on the hot couch and listen to the sweat drip from your body.

Yep, that's my cup of tea.

What's the big deal about summer? A few over-priced water parks and ice cream? (I eat ice cream in winter and I'm happy to report, it tastes the same)

Hey we got Christmas in winter. And hot chocolate and chestnuts roasting by the fireplaces and excuses to cover up our pale, veiny legs and naps....glorious snuggle-up-in-blankets and dream about santa naps. Hot showers and slippers and warm woolen mittens. (ok, I borrowed that one)

We've got "It's a Wonderful Life" for cryin' out loud!

Just look at the picture. Don't they look so happy?

Anyone converting?

Didn't think so. *sigh*

The summer season is so overrated.

I should move to Alaska. People say I look like Sarah Palin when I put my hair up anyway.

And the kids. The kids are home ALL DAY EVERY DAY FOR TWO WHOLE MONTHS. If that's not a reason to long for the cooler, prettier, construction-free days of fall then call me Sarah and ship me off to Alaska.

Daniel put the cones around Maggie today and informed me very seriously that we can't go near her. She's under construction.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This is how our afternoon went.

Stop me if you've heard it before.

We had a mostly nice time at the zoo. Then I:

* put Katie to bed but before that I noticed the table and chairs needed cleaning so I wiped them.

* put Katie to bed, but first killed about a hundred ants (ok, 3)

* actually put Katie to bed.

* rested on couch, played on computer, during which time I told the non-nappers about three hundred times "go outside please!"

* killed more ants

* put lotion on Shannon's awful bug bite (or whatever it is)

* prepared dinner

* wiped the table again

* actually, before preparing dinner I got fed up with the state of the fridge (not working right) so I fixed it with a screwdriver. (MacGuyver is my cousin)

* more stuff on the bug bite

* prepared dinner

* again, more table and chair wiping

* fielded questions like: "mommy, what are you doing?" and "momma, how did you treat your bug bites?" and "MA! CEEN UP! MA! I CEEN! MA! KILL AN!"

* gave 2 out of 3 kids a bath

* killed more ants

* watched "The Black Stallion" while fielding more questions that all went pretty much like this: "What's he doing? Mom, what's happening? Mom, what's going to happen next?"

* killed another ant, then kids went to bed.

* reminded kids to actually "GO TO BED"

It's thrilling, I know.

I put up the pic of the rhino just because I thought it looked neat. They're so prehistoric and wrinkly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just 3 short random thoughts today.

1. Why do I like disgusting food?
I had the pleasure of eating two of my favorite snacks today which are not particularly healthy nor are they something I highly recommend eating. Nutella is a yummy alternative to actual quality chocolate and so when I need a fix but haven't got any Ghiradelli around, I spread some of this stuff on a Ritz cracker and BOING! Salty-sweet deliciousness.

P.S. the kids don't like it. They're weird.

Also I enjoy corn tortilla chips with, not salsa but... chip dip. It's a good excuse to eat the dip without all the grease of a potato chip.

2. Why did I find myself emotional at Shannon's last-day-of-school rainbow ceremony on Friday, not during her part (lovely little dance with a scarf) but my eyes prickled while the kids were singing "Rainbow Connection"?

3. Why were Shannon and Daniel out back "cutting the grass" with scissors? While not really funny right now, when I'm 80 and I read this I'm sure it'll be hilarious.

Monday, June 22, 2009

As I was mopping the kitchen floor today, I found myself explaining some fundamentals about the task to Daniel.

This is how it went.

*on Kate's little trike* D- "Can I come in here?"

M- "Not now, I'm mopping. When it's dry you can walk here."

D- "Well, how can you walk there?"

M- "I'm mopping and walking on the dry floor behind me. When it's all wet, I'll stay off the floor too."

D- "Well, can I come in right here?"

M- "That spot is dry still, so you can if you want to but it will be wet very soon."

D- "Well how come you are over there and I can't come there?"

M- "Because I'm mopping and the floor will be wet soon. You can come over here but you will have to move in a minute."

D- "Well when can I get there?"

M- " When the floor is dry."

D- "Well when will that be?"

M- "Didn't we already cover this?"

D- "Well when will lunch be?"


D- "Well how can you make lunch when the floor is wet?"

M- "It will be dry soon, then I will make lunch."

D- "But how can you walk on the wet floor?"

I give up!

This whole scenario reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from monty python

Speaking of movies, this picture of Dan always brings to my mind the quote: "Fire! I... have created fire!' said by Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

Friday, June 19, 2009

WARNING!!! Do not purchase this item if you own a cat!
*note the ineffective duct tape*

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My eyes are blurry. My kids are at the table eating(?) dinner by themselves (rather noisily) and all I want to do is keep reading the love story of the Pioneer Woman-Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. Holy cow! What a life! I feel like this should be my life. I've always felt like I should have been raised on a farm. Surprisingly, that cliched term never escaped my mother's lips. (live in a barn, whatever)

Sitting on the porch, quietly watching the sunset after a day of hard manual labor. How dreamy. (really, no sarcasm) I've always sort of liked physical work in a weird, you-actually-liked-that-job? kind of way. (laundry at the nursing home) I can't help but daydream about children so tired from working cattle, (yes, I hear the child labor complaints here) that they pass out at six pm and now me and my cowboy can finally go view the lovely sunset while being serenaded by crickets.

Instead I'm hurrying off to dissipate a skirmish about spilled milk and the no-toys-at-the-table rule being horrendously breached. Or physically prying little hands off an other's little neck. Or saying for the umpteen millionth time "If you don't clean up, you will not watch the movie!" Which is quickly followed by "We all work together to clean up, don't worry about what (so and so) is doing." Then, there is almost always a firm reminder that "You will be going to Time Out if you fight."

Every family does this right? Because so often the things I read and see lead me to believe that everyone else's lives are rosy and the nasty stuff is fleeting and handled with utmost of care. Where's the reality? Where's the stress? I'm not talking about those corny reality shows. I mean real people with real stress. I know I can't be the only one who's flawed.

That's okay though. Because once they're in bed, sleeping and quiet, I forget the stress and noise of the day and my thoughts are my own again. I can think about whatever I want without being interrupted by a whining "Mommy, Daniel's hitting me!" Or a "Mommy, Shannon took my cup!" Or like tonight, "Maeey, hep me! Do dat! Dwa bi bud! Dwa maeey bud!" (if you can figure that one out please help me interpret her. Speech therapy is imminent.)

I want to remember the good stuff and forget the nasty. Because unlike what everybody says about childbirth, I VIVIDLY remember the pain of it (at least in Shannon's case, there wasn't much pain with the other two.) and right now, my skeptical heart dwells too much on the unpleasant. I suppose the bad is funnier in retrospect though.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Vacation... I mean the country.

I think a move to the country would do us all some good. Tim wouldn't mind. After all, he is half redneck and I think a part of him yearns for wide open spaces too.

But something in me, that little reality-check voice reminds me that I'd be bringing all the noise and stress with me, except now the neighbors won't hear my desperate pleas for peace and order. And Shannon would be surrounded by so much wildlife and (gasp) BUGS that she would be condemned to a secluded life indoors. And I couldn't run off to Wegman's quick to pick up milk. (strike that one, instead it'd be fresh) And, worst of all... I would have to get up before the birds do and I'm not sure I'm willing to make that sacrifice.

For now, I'm happy to live with these little suburban creatures and the closest thing I can get to a cowboy. All he needs is a cowboy hat and some nice-fitting Wranglers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daniel endured his "moving up" ceremony today. I say endured because he looked like this the entire time. Cute songs about little ducks and penguins. "Baaahhh! Humbug" he seemed to think. Who thought up this silly stuff? All the other children are happily performing to their parents' delight, and then there's Daniel, who would rather be doing this to our backyard. Note the perfectly usable sandbox in the background. Real dirt is just more fun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I seem to be suffering from an inability to focus on one topic today. I want to write about many mundane topics and make them seem interesting but I'm pretty sure they're just boring.

Tim and I went shopping today and I'm proud to say we are able to go to a store as a family and avoid tension and/or meltdowns. Yeah! (I'm referring to myself and Tim as well as the kids) We have different shopping styles. I like to get it done quick and Tim likes to browse more. (Although I suppose this changes depending on what we are looking at.) We used to walk together down the aisles. Me much further ahead but constantly having to stop so Tim could show me something. Doesn't he know by now what a short attention span I have? I've already given that item all the attention it needs, why must I stop my mission to go back? He must know how it irks me. Why should it do that to me? He just wants to share something interesting. Eventually I would get snippy and then Tim would wonder what the heck got into me, and you throw some good 'ole kids whining and you've got yourself a most unpleasant shopping experience.

Oh how we've grown. For all you newlyweds out there, the secret is... SEPARATE. In fact you could probably apply this theory to any marital situation. Of course I'm not talking about changing residences, I mean you go one way and he goes another and you meet in the middle. But make sure you are clear where and when you are to meet. That one has been trouble for us more than once and then you're right back at square one. Or do what the old folks do and sleep apart for a night, give each other space. They know what they're doing. Okay, that's extreme but you get the gist. It took us 11 years to figure that out.

Other things are growing as well.

I witnessed Shannon skipping today on the way to the playground.

When did this happen? I always envisioned hours of trying to teach her because I was sure she had inherited my lack of coordination.

Then, while at the park, a friend she's made boasts "I have a DS." And Shannon answers "I don't have one but I have a my meebas."

What the heck is a DS and how does Shannon know what it is? (I do know what a "my meebas" is but only because she showed us specifically when she requested one for her birthday.) When did I become the old lady who's out of the loop? When did kids learn another language? I couldn't text a message to save my life...literally.

When she came home from school she brought a lot of school supplies and things because the students are cleaning out their desks. One paper was a "my favorite things" type of report. Shannon put ICarly as her favorite tv show. I've never even seen this show, when has she?

What's happening? I don't feel as much like time is slipping away as I'm losing control. I don't like it, but I guess I'd better get used to it, and learn how to text or twitter or whatever the kids are doing these days.

Even Katie is in on the action to put mommy in her place. My sweet, cuddly little angel turned on me today with no warning. We were having a nice, quiet time in Kmart. Mom even commented how well behaved she was being. I thought "of course, she's my baby and I expected nothing less than perfect behavior."

All she did was drop the teeny notebook she was carrying. The heavens opened and the gods punished me for being so arrogant as to think this child was angelic. I'm walking ahead and she's screaming to me "pi up!"

"No, you can pick that up yourself."

"No mommy...YOU PI UP!"

I walk further and remind her again "You dropped it, you can pick it up."

She was left screaming and stomping her feet and I think if mom wasn't with me, I may not have found it so amusing. Thank goodness for Grandmas. She was willing to do what I was too stubborn to do and picked up the cursed thing for her. She's still my little sweetie, I'm sure she was just hungry. I'm denying the notion that this is the beginning of a very trying toddler hood or that she is indeed the devil.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Aaahhh, Sundays. A day to sleep in, to not get dressed right away, to lounge around for a bit. Most of our Sundays are like that. Yesterday was not. I don't really know what happened (someone must have sat in someone alse's spot, or taken their toy, or horrors...they were blocking the tv) but as I was on the computer doing my "checking in", I heard it from above. To quote Dr. Seuss, "It started in low, then it started to grow..." So loud and horrible sounding, I wanted to curl up inside the kids' play tent and hide.

Daniel was doing most of the fighting this time and seemed the most angry so, in that moment, I decided today he was going to church with me and Shannon. He has been before but I have been weaning him into it slowly because he can't sit still for long. I decided today he really needed it. A good 'ole healthy dose of children's liturgy outta straighten him out.

Telling him this information must be done delicately to avoid further damage to an already difficult morning.

"Daniel, today you're coming with us to church."

"No! I hate church! It's so boooring."

I wait, then mention it again in a bit. "Dan, we need to start getting ready, we're going to Grandma's after too. Won't that be fun!"

This is the noise he makes "Grrraaarrrrgghh!" I'm not going!"

Okay, time to pull out the big guns and cheat a little. It must be worded correctly or else it leaves him a choice. Which he doesn't have. I pause and gather my thoughts. "Daniel, after mass we're going to Hegedorn's to get donuts. If you don't come, you won't get any."

I know this is a form of bribery, but at this point, I don't care.

He was quiet for awhile, carefully weighing the pros and cons of the situation. This was no easy decision. If he came willingly, then he has resigned to mommy's will and we all know that goes against the very nature of being a boy.

He came. After more coaxing and reminders of the goodies to come, he came. Without even a real tantrum. He was even good in church. Due of course, to the promise of those wonderful, artery-clogging, family-saving treats. Heck, these things are as good as Santa. Now what can I offer to get him to clean the house...
Today the kids prepared a wedding. Shannon officiated, Katie witnessed, and the picture is of Daniel kissing the bride. She (the bride) needed a little persuasion of the "fancy feast" variety to go through with it.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I have a little.

I had more when I was younger.

I'd like a little more now, at least for my kids' sake.

When I hear my words back at me in a semi-angry voice, it makes me rethink my strategies for discipline.
Daniel is, once again, frustrated about this whole "dessert issue." This time, he has a problem with finishing his fruit before dessert. He thinks he can order what kind of fruit he has to eat (as in a restaurant) rather than eat what he is given. Herein lies the birth of :

Quote #1. me: "I am not a restaurant!"

Daniel also has a tendency to decide that maybe tonight he doesn't feel so much like cleaning up. he's rather play and make more of a mess. (can you blame him?)

Quote #2 me: "Whatever is left on the ground after the timer goes off is going in the garbage!"

After several uses of #2 prove to be ineffective, I resort to:

Quote #3 me-in a much firmer, louder voice- "That's it! You're going straight upstairs to bed and all these things left out will be gone tomorrow!"

Now I know he hears me. Even though it doesn't appear that way, I know he does. Because tonight, after the aforementioned argument about the fruit, this is what he said:

"That's it! I'm not going to eat this because this is not a restaurant! I WANT ANOTHER FRUIT! I'm getting applesauce!"

me: "If you want dessert, you'll eat the peaches."

Dan-face all scrunched up and fists tight- "I'm going to throw all this away! It's going in the garbage! You are just going to bed! I'm getting my own dessert!" He proceeds to open the fridge and try to take out all the peaches to throw away.

If I didn't think this was so funny, I may have become angry. (I guarantee if I was in a "mood" I would not be fondly retelling this.) But because he caught me chuckling softly, his face brightened and he walked away. I shouted after him "I'll leave the peaches on the counter when you're ready!"

And sure enough, once I got dessert out for the girls, he was ready.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not a finger was lifted by me today. I guess it was the equivalent of taking a day off. (as much as a mother can at least) Tim was going to be at work then basketball all day so I never even had a desire to cook. Chicken nuggets and frozen pizza all around!

Not a thing was done that didn't absolutely have to be done. Dirt tracked on the floor... so what? Toys EVERYWHERE... they'll pick 'em up. (eventually) Cat puke on the stairs... well I did clean that up at least. Shannon had school, but as luck would have it, her only homework was to bring a teddy bear to school tomorrow. So not even any math to struggle over tonight. Yippee! The kids played outside in the mud a lot, and with no need for sunscreen, well there's one more reason to mark this day as exceptional. I didn't even bother to let the idea of a bath (which they needed after playing in the mud today) cross my mind.

I quietly read most of the day and the kids played happily. The universe must be altered, I must be in the twilight zone. It feels great. Let me be stuck in this happy state of laziness forever.

From days like today come the birth of a child's imagination. Shannon cooked up fantastical stories in her room that involved "a tube of wonder, the magical mirror, the tube of secrets, a book of sorcerers, a bunny that tells you what to do, and my favorite, the hand sanimatizer." She never had a meltdown, hardly even raised her voice tonight. Except for the occasional skirmish, no one fought. Nicole, I'm starting to think that mirror really is magical.

Dan and Kate were outside a lot, Kate complete with her hat. I don't know everything they did but it must have been fun because they came in filthy.

And so even though (given the state of the house) I would have been horrified at any unannounced visits today, I felt a twinkle of the magic the kids must feel when they are left alone with their imaginations.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I just changed the settings so now you don't have to become a member to post a comment. Don't hold back, I can take it... "say what you need to say..."
(by the way, I may quote song lyrics when the mood strikes:)
We have a netflix membership. It has been one of the most worthwhile monthly indulgences we have enjoyed for the past 2 years. For less than 10 bucks a month we get unlimited movies, one at a time. Like so many others, I'm a movie buff. There aren't too many movies I can say I hated. Hannah and her Sisters was terrible. (although I was too young too appreciate it, but I heard it did suck) and Atonement was the biggest let down, most overproduced disaster I've seen. Other than that, I enjoy most movies on some level. Oh, I can't forget to mention The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward such and such. I couldn't even finish that one.

I just saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchet) This one is running a fine line next to my all time baddies. I really wanted to like it, it was beautiful to look at, yet overdone. The makeup was fantastic, but that's about the only interesting thing happening. I wanted to see it end just to see how his end could be explained. Someone involved in this movie must have been laughing their head off coming up with the most boring highlights of this man's life to put in a serious, "oscar type" movie. A man aging backwards... great, that's interesting. But the audience needs a little more character development than a lackluster love affair with someone who is not even likable, a job as a tugboat sailor, and being the son of a button man. Forrest Gump this is not. At least Gump was entertaining and whimsical. Button was boring. Like Atonement, I wanted (and for the production $,expected to be) swept out of my chair with a tragic love story. Nothing. I felt nothing except, "how long is this again?" Great actors, mediocre screenplay. Occasional dots of mild humor.

Last night, it was Revolutionary Road. (Kate Winslet, Leo Caprio) This was a movie well done. For a period piece, (the 50's) the scenery was accurate and subtly appealing. As was the acting. It's not a movie I want to see over and over again, but I appreciated it's depth. While circumstances seemed exaggerated, that was okay. (that's what movies are really, right?) Something I can't place my finger on seemed off, maybe I didn't identify with the main characters enough. I think we are more like the conservative couple rather than the main characters in this movie and maybe that bothered me a little. It was one of those movies that looked at the insides of a relationship from a different angle, but when it was over, all I thought was, well, that'll (I know that's not really a word) never happen.

From time to time, I may give my thoughts on films I have seen and I promise I'll try to post "spoiler alerts" where applicable. Please feel free to disagree with me or question my meaning. I know tonight I felt off and may not have come across very clearly. (still recovering from last night)

I wish I had some fun kid stories today, but I'm fresh out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm trying to look for ways to update this blog. Make it easier to get to, to make comments, and to edit. (I can't put pictures where I want to, and today, I typed spaces between the paragraphs which didn't post.)
I'm looking around this website and I come across this phrase: "Provide us with information about how you want the Googlebot to crawl to your site."

Huh? This is a joke right?

Bedtime tonight was 7:00 SHARP. As I write this, the time reads 7:14 and the little angels are tucked in, probably not quiet, much less sleeping, but they are somewhat stationary for the night.
It starts around 5:00. I call it "The Witching Hour". Every night at this time, like an impending explosion, the kids grow horns and forked tails and carry out the evil plots they have been cooking up since the nasty punishments they endured the night before.
At first, there is quiet, pleasant play time. They talk like people (not monsters) and seem content. Then, all it takes is one small infraction to set off a chain of events so horrifying to them and so LOUD to me, it feels like Armageddon inside the house and I am powerless.
Talk to them in quiet tones? Don't get angry or give threatening looks?
Yeah, right. Whoever came up with this theory has either never had more than one child or has reached that time in their lives when all the "bad stuff" has long been forgotten. I've tried to speak quietly. In fact, I still do at first. Once in a while it works. 90% of the time it does not. "OK mom, you're gonna whisper to me, I think I'll keep screaming at my sister for looking at me and then I'm gonna start throwing punches and pinches. You can intervene whenever you want, but good luck."
Why do children enjoy teasing? Why do they get pleasure from causing each other pain? Is that fun? I don't remember enjoying that. (doing that, and certainly not being on the receiving end of it)
Dan: (quietly) "no,no,no,no,la,la,la,la,la"
Shannon: (screaming) "Why are you doing that! Stop that! I can't take it any more!"
Seriously? You're gonna start a fight over that? We're in for some rough teenage years if just that bothers you.
Then it's time to take a bath. No problem. Ever washed a kid who's sensitive about the bath anyway let alone having a scab on his knee that he will just die from if it gets wet?
They did settle down. We watched home videos for our movie tonight and that always gets lots of smiles.
For about 10 minutes.
Then there is more crying and arguing over the chair and who sits in it. Shannon wants to sit alone. Katie wants to share. They fight. Daniel is now mad because he can't hear and that's when I say "That's it! Time for bed!" They grumbled but drudged up to bed. (I like to think it's because they know I'm right. Actually, they probably just don't want their toys taken away)
Some version of this happens a lot. I'm sure it's normal. It'll pass and I won't even remember it right? Even as I write now I have lost the drive to unleash my frustrations on the computer. It's gone so quickly. But for that hour, when I'm in charge (yeah, OK) and everything is coming undone, I would trade my soul for some earplugs.
It seems quite a few people want to make comments but can't. I thinkyou have to set up a blog account, make a password...etc. Is there an easier way to post comments? Anyone know?

Monday, June 8, 2009

As promised, here are a couple pictures from my fond "neighborhood memories". Notice the bell for service at the lemonade stand? Lucky customers got free peanuts with the purchase of one lemonade.
The other photo was taken at a neighbor's place down the street. (I wish I could remember the name...) An older woman lived there and I guess we were helping sweep her driveway. Despite not remembering exactly why we were there, (let alone remembering who lived there) I think this picture speaks a bit about the type of neighborhood we grew up in. We could trust everyone.(at least I think we could, as a kid I guess I trusted my parents who hopefully knew this old lady was not a crackpot looking for cheap child labor.) We all knew each other. I still refer to these houses by the names of the people who used to live there. "Well the judge's house is finally done." or "I like the porch on Edwin's house..."
I know times are different and it's been said before, but I miss the freedom and safety of playing after dark or leaving the house on my bike with only a shout of "be back for dinner!" before exploring. Maybe my parents did worry, but gave me liberties I wouldn't dream of giving my kids today. Maybe they were naive and didn't worry as much as they should have? (I don't think so) Maybe I just miss being a kid.
I want to thank most of my family for helping make this weekend successful for Tim and I. Teresa, thanks for getting up early Saturday to bring me to my lesson and to help(?) watch the kids at mom's. We share the same attitude about mornings and , well we all know the effect kids have on you so I do appreciate the favor. Maureen, given the circumstances, you could have canceled. But you didn't and now I regret not insisting that you go. Thank You. Tim and Nicole, I know Dan had a great time at the movies (I hope he didn't talk too much) and I'm glad you could help mom out as well. Though, Tim, you are gonna have to clean up the poop someday! (yeah, mom told me about that.) Nicole, you really didn't have to do the dishes, but it was a nice surprise to come home to a clean kitchen. By the way, I feel the need to say that I know it doesn't matter to anyone, but I was a little embarrassed about the state of the house. Just so you know, I cleaned like a banshee today and now I want you all to come back and see how we live all the time. Cause, you know, our house is always spotless.
And mom, you gave up your whole day on (at?) the spur of the moment. I'm so happy you feel well enough to do as much as you did. (you do feel better, don't you?)
This past weekend made me think of field trips to the museum and learning about the long houses. I don't know why, (ok, short attention span) but the long houses are the only thing I remember learning about at the museum. Extended families lived and worked together to raise the family all in one big house. Now, I'm not suggesting we all live together, let's give Teresa her space, but I'm so grateful that we all live as close together as we are.
So, that said, who wants to sign up to babysit next? Anyone...anyone?

Friday, June 5, 2009

This is what a typical evening in our home sounds like.

Thank you Tim and Nicole for the mirror. (I'm not being sarcastic either) The kids love it and we haven't even put it up yet. However, as most new items do, it brought a little tension with it.

Daniel was looking into it closely and saying in his deepest troll voice "True love's kiss...' (from Enchanted) Then he proceeded to kiss it multiple times.

This would simply not do for Shannon. She screamed for him to stop playing with her mirror and when he didn't, she pummeled him. He then throttles her back and before they can say happily ever after, they are in time out and the mirror is temporarily put away.

Sulking to each other, (because both in trouble means they are united against mom now) this is what I hear:

S- "Look what you made me do!"
D- " I didn't make you do that! You're just a mean sister!"
S- "You're the one who wouldn't leave my mirror alone! Now we have to sit here!"
D- "I'm gonna call the police and tell on mommy."
S- "You can't call them, Dad won't let you because he's married to mommy."
D- "Yeah, well I love mom and I'M gonna marry her and then call the police."
S- "You can't marry her because when you grow up, she'll be really old and then she can't take care of you anymore."

This entire time, Katie is happily playing at the table with some toys Shannon had been playing with.

If there isn't at least one brawl a day, then the day is not over yet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our sweet next door neighbor is selling her house. She's 85 and is ready for senior living. She will be dearly missed by our entire family. From over-the-fence talks about gardening and gossip to little gifts for the kids, she has held a treasured spot in our lives since we moved here. She has always had nice things to say and never complained about the noise coming from our general vicinity. Her property is always immaculate which is typically good until we realize that it means it's time to mow our lawn lest we look like slobs. Never could we ask for better neighbors. (except for the Whitlocks who, growing up were like a second family)
The kids have been curious about who our new neighbors will be. Not to mention my apprehension. How can anyone compare to Dorothy? My dream of the kids growing up knowing and remembering someone as sweet as Dorothy are fading into a fear of noisy, messy moochers living way too close for comfort.
This morning, while we were all out waiting for the school bus, Shannon asks "Mommy, are we ever gonna move?"
This answer was fairly easy. "Not for a while, if we do. Why? do you want to live somewhere else?"
"No, I never wanna move, I wanna stay here forever." Dan chimes in "Yeah, let's never go anywhere else, except Grama's"
So refreshing to know that the kids are happy here. For all the work that we would love to do to the house; new roof, siding, windows, driveway, steps, patio... at least none of this matters to the kids and won't hamper the quality of their childhood memories.
If they can have the same kind of experiences I had growing up next to Whitlocks, that's more than I can hope for.
Leah was born less than a month apart from me and was (still is) the best friend anyone could ask for. We did so much together, I couldn't wait to finish dinner so I could go over there and play. I was often left peeking in their dining room window while I waited for her to finish. (theirs were nice, leisurely dinners while ours, to mom's chagrin, usually lasted only minutes.) Driveway chalk drawing, (next door has a great long driveway) playing in the tree house, jumping in the leaves, playing "bloody murder" after dark, (I don't think the folks were too happy with that one) snacking on marshmallows and raisins, oooh! building forts out of boxes from Netzman's. That was a good one. And of course biking up and down the street over and over. Backyard games of S.P.U.D. and freeze tag in the summer. Sledding down the teeny (it seemed huge back then) hill at RAPA and digging snow tunnels near the parking lot in the winter.
I had a fantastic childhood largely due to my neighbors. Even though I still hold dreams of moving to the country on a property with lots of land, (and room for horses) I'm happy that for now, my kids can build happy neighborhood memories like I had.

If I can find any nice old shots from childhood, and figure out how to scan them, I'll post them after this one.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In our house, the tv is on probably more than it should be. But not so much that I feel like we are addicted. (sounds just like an addict right?) I'd like to say it's necessary for us to watch in the morning before school. And Saturday mornings are mandatory. (Tim and I are NOT morning people) We watch right before Katie's nap time, though sometimes the watching spills over into the afternoon with Daniel's "junkyard wars" or speed channel. The evening is just one half hour of a movie chosen by the kids in turn. (I know, I'm a real stickler eh?)

One afternoon when the tv was on but not really being watched, (I know that's wrong... whatever) one of the kids (I think Dan but I can't remember) looks up and says "hey mommy! Uncle Tim is on tv!" And so now whenever we see a Billy Mays infomercial we shout "Look! It's Uncle Tim!"

Didn't know we had a celebrity in the family didja?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Every day seems to end with one child having been the focus. Usually due to misbehaving or drama. There are the days when they are so polite, and they play well together, and all is beautiful... Well I can't really call these "days." They're more like events. Anyhow... this evening Daniel was in the spotlight. Had I been "in a mood" I may (would) have handled this poorly but it really was just, curious.

After dinner the kids are accustomed to having dessert if they have eaten everything. Some nights this is forgotten and some, like tonight, it is NECESSARY. (according to Daniel) I gave him 3 choices for dessert. (a luxury in itself) but he just couldn't choose. He became more and more frustrated with himself and kept repeating "I CAN'T PICK SOMETHING!" He really had a tantrum about it. Kind of an over-tired, I-can't-make-up-my-mind, life's-just-plain-rotten kind of tantrum. I wanted to help, and I kept my cool but what the heck? 3 choices of dessert and you're upset? I don't think so.

I waited till he had calmed some and then we tried again.

"Daniel, you may have a cookie, a taffy, or 2 whoppers."

"I don't know what I want, I fink I want somping else."

"This is it kiddo, no other choices, let's try the taffy."

And sure enough, I'm pretty sure that was what he wanted. But he wouldn't stop asking questions about it. (he's never had it before)

*sobbing quietly in my lap* "How do you chew it?"

"Same way you chew food."

"Then what happens, where does it go?"

"In your tummy. Do you want me to eat a piece with you?" (I'm willing to do what it takes, hard as it may be)

*still crying* "But do I like the taste?"

"I'm sure you might if you try it"

"But how do I chew it?"

"Don't worry, it's not gum, you won't choke. Just chew."

"But what does it do?"

"Just put it in your mouth and let it melt. You'll like it really."

This back and forth went on for too long. By the time he was willing to even taste it, he had pulled it apart so much I was hesitant to let him eat it, (yuck) but we pressed on. I knew he would like it if he only tasted it. Why, you are asking, is she putting so much effort into making this kid eat candy? Why haven't I tried to get him to eat his veggies with the same enthusiasm?

Because this is just weird.

I have no excuse except this had become a challenge for me. What kid doesn't like taffy? Not my kid I tell you what.

"C'mon Dan, just lick a little piece."

He licks a piece on my finger. Then he keeps licking, then he wants to try the other color in that piece. (strawberry cream) Finally, when the moons are aligned and the stars are right, I say "OK, just put it in your mouth."

I would like to say he ate it. I had visions of before and after pictures and of telling the story of how he was reluctant to eat taffy of all things. How funny right? Wrong. He never ate it. Into the garbage it went. Sticky hands washed of all evidence of the incident. And now the bedtime routine was severely delayed and we had no accomplishment to boast of.

*sigh* There are worse things to be worried about anyway. Like high school, driving, girls... Until then, more candy for me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

When I was pregnant with Shannon, everything was (of course) for the first time. First kicks, first bout of sickness, first unbelievable amount of blood drawn, etc... ( I learned to request a bed BEFORE they take all those vials of blood) So our first name choice for her can be written off as a mistake due to inexperience.


Such an old but never-heard-much kind of name. I liked it. Tim, well, I don't really remember what Tim thought. He was wisely keeping his opinion to himself. (I believe) I really have no memory of what he thought. I'm pretty sure he was more concerned with relishing life as we knew it while he could. (correct me if I'm wrong, Tim)

I don't recall what boy names we had picked out. I was pretty sure it was a girl. I had the dream. With every child I have dreamt what it was. (not exactly correctly, but I'll get to that)

Shortly before the due date, (Nov.4) Tim and I suddenly decided we didn't like "Cora" and swiftly switched to Shannon. It came out of nowhere and had no meaning except that we liked it. So there she is. And I guess we still do.

When it was Daniel's turn, I knew I felt a little different and had inklings it might be a boy. I was scared of this idea and so generally convinced myself it was a girl. We had many lovely names we both liked. Meaghan, Sarah, Erin, Rachel... So sure was I that we were having a girl, I ignored the dream in which I gave birth to a lovely red-haired boy. Well, no red hair, but DEFINITELY a boy. We had only briefly discussed boy names during contractions, (his delivery went MUCH smoother than Shannon's thanks to a well-timed epidural) and so Daniel was so named largely due to the wonderful effects of a marvelous anesthesiologist named Dan. And "Danny" just sounded cute to me. (singing "O Danny Boy...") We still have yet to really call him that. But I do sing the song a little. (I really should learn the words)

By the time Katie came, we were pros. Girl would be Katherine Lucille and boy would be William... something. (I don't remember) So the only change was from Katherine to Katelyn. And the only reason was timing. Had she been born 10 mins. earlier (or later) she may have been Katherine. Labor with her was so easy (practically pleasant) and we felt no pressure to make a firm decision. It was a nice day and I think we were happy with either name. Her dream was a bit more odd. First, I dreamt that an old neighbor of grandpa's called to tell me it was a boy. I woke up thinking,"oh, OK." No excitement, just alright then. Later I had the dream she was a girl but I can't remember specifics other than she was about 10 and had long, dark hair.
So that's it. Why they are who they are. And of course, I couldn't imagine calling them anything else. (Except "pipsqueak" once in a while)
That's Katie on top and Shannon on bottom. I meant for them to be switched, but I haven't got the hang of this yet.