Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye Christmas

Twas the night before New Years
And all through the house
The remnants of Christmas were all strewn about.

The stockings were flung on the sofa without care,
Emptied of goodies and abandoned there.
The children have played with all of their toys,
And lost half the pieces just being boys.
And I in my sweats with Ducky by my side
just want to rest and leave Christmas behind.

The family room would soon look very bare,
The chair would replace the tree that once stood there.
Away to the closet I flew like a flash,
To bring the boxes and bags for the trash.
The Christmas lights tangled, a big ugly mess.
I cursed as I prepared them to rest.
The ornaments were all removed from the tree,
And piled on the couch to await the decree.

Out of the boxes, the tissue spilled forth.
Ready to wrap ornaments, decorations and other holiday cheer.
Each ornament was then wrapped up with care,
To be safe and sound until next year.

The snowmen and Santas,
The reindeer and creche,
Were all wrapped up in tissue,
And packed in their Christmas storage box.

The tree that once filled our house with a glow,
Was dropping needles on the tree skirt below.
Out into the slush the poor tree did go,
Cut into bits to fit in the yard debris bin.

The boxes were packed up
And put in the closet.
The mantle now empty,
The room seemed so bare.
I collapsed on the couch
With a big sigh.

It took me all day
To remove all the clutter.
Our house has returned to its previous state.
In time for the new year I say,
Happy New Year to all and to all a good night!

I am looking forward to another wonderful year filled with family, friends, fun times and more ups than downs in 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Friends

Meet the new family members. We went and picked them out last night. The boys got to hold them on the way home. And who knows how late they stayed up last night watching them. They seem to be happy little fishies.

The funny thing about them is they seem to match the boys personalities. Somehow they picked out their fish equivalent. SweetP chose the "go with the flow" fish. Didn't seem bother by being caught in a net. SweetE chose the "not if I can help it" fish. He zoomed and hid and wiggled and avoided the net. A very independent fish.

We are currently on the second set of names. Last night they were Jr. (Indiana Jones) and Fishy. Today they have been renamed to be Darth Fishy (gold one & sweetP's fish) and Bobba Fishy (white one and sweetE's fish). I told you I can't escape Star Wars.

We also got a snail. We named him Shelton, but the boys call him Gary. If I never see Spongebob again, I will be so happy. He is a speedy little thing. It is fun to see how far he has traveled while we have been away from the tank.

So those are the new family members and friends. The boys love watching them. And they make a nice addition to their room.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Once Upon a Time

My first full time job was at a motel. A dive motel. Not unlike the one pictured above. That is not it, but it had a similar look to it. I had recently graduated from high school and moved into my own apartment with a roommate. And I needed a full time job and full time pay to afford my extravagant life style. If you can call driving a 6 year old beige Ford Escort and only having one chair in the living room extravagant. The roommate is another story for another day.

The best part of this job was the hours. It fit perfectly into my circadian rhythm. I was the front desk clerk from 3pm to 11pm. I would sleep until about 11am. Then get up, do some chores or errands and then head to work. After work, I would go out with friends and then go to bed about 2 or 3am.

As the front desk clerk, there wasn't much actual work. I answered the phone, checked new people in and sat around. In other words, it was boring. I read, a lot. There was one night when no one called or came in for over 5 hours. I nearly lost my mind. Especially since I had run out of reading material. There was no TV. There was no computer. Nothing to do. Nothing!

I never had to feel unsafe while working there. It was one of those motels with an apartment behind the lobby that the manager lived in. So I always had someone to call on if anyone was acting strangely. No one ever did. At one point, a U-haul backed into the lobby and we had to move into Room 1. Nothing that exciting ever happened on my shift. The problem with Room 1, was that it was a motel room. And motel rooms are never that bright. And I worked at night and spent all of my time reading. In low light, with the book propped up right in front of my face. And then I needed glasses. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I met Ducky during this particular job. The GameBoy had recently come out and he had one. He loaned it to me to play while at work. I got really good at Tetris. He worked graveyard too, so we got to spend a lot of time together.

I have never been good about packing food. So most of the time I wouldn't manage to pack any dinner. Sometimes it wouldn't matter. But other times, mostly out of boredom, I would call Dominos. They deliver and it is human contact. Unfortunately, it was kind of expensive and I didn't have much extra cash. But I do love a pepperoni pizza.

Bottom line though, this job sucked. The manager was moody. I swear he had PMS, constantly. He managed another motel and if things didn't go well there he would come back and gripe at me. One time he blamed me for something that happened there. Not sure how I managed to be in two places at once. And I was so bored. I am too social for solitary work. So I put in my notice, asked my old boss for my old job back and settled in for two more weeks.

My two weeks went right over Thanksgiving. Way back in May or June I had asked to have it off. I was the first to ask for it off and the only one that didn't get it off. Another reason I gave notice. Then, I asked if I could trade shifts and was told how rude and inconsiderate I was to even ask. This was after I found out the new girl who had worked there a grand total of two weeks was getting the day off and she asked 3 days before Thanksgiving. So I came in and worked my shift. And the next morning I called in and quit. The manager was such a twit that he called me two hours later and told me I didn't need to come in for my shift. Two hours later! After I had already quit.

The hours were the best though. Now I might only sleep until 8 or 9 in the morning. The rest of the world just doesn't work that way. Bummer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Life Post Christmas

We had a quiet Christmas. Very laid back and casual. It was just our little family. And that meant we got to do everything our own way.

Our Christmas starts out on Christmas eve. We made cookies for Santa. The boys got into their new Christmas jammies (they had gingerbread men on them) and then opened their Christmas eve gift. I get them an ornament every year that shows some big part of the year. Then we decorated the cookies. Or decimated the cookies. SweetE put the entire contents of sugar confetti on one small cookie (that is the one with the circles on it). SweetP had frosting, then sprinkles, then icing, then more sprinkles and then more icing and sprinkles. It is a good thing that Santa has a strong stomach (or he knows how to use the insinkerator). There was no actual cookie visible. And the boys put out magic reindeer food on the lawn and carrots for the reindeer.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. Ducky's alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, five different times. And not on purpose. Then my sweetP came in at 5:30. I had given them very specific instructions that we don't go downstairs until it is light. It was not light. I sent him back to bed. At 6:10 he was back. We cuddle until almost 7. I know he is excited, but I am so tired. But off we go to see if Santa came. And he did. Of course. And brought the boys exactly what they asked for.

And then we had a leisurely morning opening gifts after breakfast. SweetP got to play Santa and pass out the gifts this year since he can read now. Just as the boys were getting ready to get dressed to go out and fly the new remote control helicopter. It started to snow. We had a white Christmas. For about two hours. Which was still really cool. I haven't seen a white Christmas in years. So they went to the school to ride their scooters under the covered play area. And I made dinner.

And they played. And played. And played with their new toys.

And today we had to go to the pet store to outfit the new fish tank. That's right, new critters are joining the clan. And the boys want a shark. And Velcro doesn't mind, since fish don't have fur. We got gravel, plants, a treasure chest and skull. And we set it up in their room and they are so excited to get fish. And then they played and played some more.

And now we are back to the mundane part of life. We got sweetE a new booster seat. His had expired. It was 7 years old. And the new one has a cup holder. Now he can put his own drink away! And laundry and life. But I still have 11 more days off and I am so thankful.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Velcro!

Velcro turns 11 today. So I thought I would devote today to him. He was our first child. He has his own scrapbook to prove it. Ducky made it for me. He was spoiled rotten from the day we got him.

We got Velcro when he was 7 months old. We had been living in apartments and family housing that didn't allow us to have pets. So as soon as we could we moved to a house that allowed pets. And we started hunting. I had fallen for Corgi's almost a decade earlier. And we were trying to find one. We tried Corgi rescue. They had one, but he needed surgeries and we had just graduated from college. We tried the pounds, but all they had were big dogs. I scoured the newspaper. And one morning we spotted the ad. I called as early as I dared and we had an appointment to see him after work. But I had a gut feeling that if we didn't get out there and see if he fit, someone else would get him. So we headed right over. I would be late for work, but it would be worth it. We fell in love on the spot. We paid for him and they agreed to keep him until we could take him home after work. And the big bonus, he was already house broken.

He was and is spoiled. He went everywhere with us. He got taken on long walks. He has his own stocking. We bought him his own kiddie pool. After a long walk on a warm day, he would hop in. And then roll to the left, and roll to the right. And lay there and drink his pool water as happy as any dog could be.

He was allowed on the furniture and the bed. He slept with us every night. We bought a lower bed so it would be easier for him to jump up. Then we had sweetP and he hurt his hip and stopped sleeping on the bed with us. And we discouraged him from jumping on the furniture, because it only seemed to make it worse.

I taught him tricks. He says hello. He shakes. He rolls over. He will wait (even with the treat right in front of his nose). He takes treats gently. He is a wonderful dog. He grew a little leery of sweetP, he pulled his fur too much.

And sweetE came along. We still adore Velcro. And sweetE adores him too. He would go over and just love him. And Velcro realized that the boys loved him too.

And even though he has been demoted twice. He is still one of the boys and adored by the entire family. We have promised him that he will be the only furry child. Velcro for his part tolerates all kinds of abuse without grumble. He is learning that as the boys get older, they become more fun.

He is a good sport. Although I did have to convince sweetE just this morning that Velcro did not want a Santa hat costume. So we hope that Velcro continues to be happy and healthy for many years to come.

So, Happy Birthday Velcro. The most wonderful dog a family could have.

And to everyone else, a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Bane of My Existence

Once upon a time, I knew nothing about Star Wars. I had managed to have a childhood that excluded having any part of Star Wars. And that is saying a lot since all three of the original movies came out during my childhood. In my house, if it didn't have a horse, what was the point? My mother and brothers opinions that were inflicted on me.

So when I met Ducky, he was shocked and dismayed that I had never seen it. And he quickly rectified the situation. I was indifferent to it for a very long time. I cannot remember how many different versions of those movies we have owned over the years. And I could have lived quite happily that way. But then we had children. Boy children. And from day one, he was quoting Star Wars lyrics to them.

And now they are obsessed too. I cannot get away from Star Wars! The boys go around singing or humming the theme song almost constantly. They act out Star Wars. They talk about Star Wars. They want to play Star Wars Lego game on the wii. They know all the characters. Now instead of one Star Wars fan, who I could shoo off to talk to like minded people, I have three.

Not even the Christmas tree is safe. Darth Vader is front and center of the tree. One of the few ornaments that the boys put on the tree. He just exudes holiday spirit doesn't he. They are battling with light sabers as I type.

I know that plenty of girls like Star Wars too. But they don't get into it nearly as much as these boys do. When sweetP was five, he was Darth Sidius for Halloween. He wanted to be Darth Vader, but I told him that was too hard to make. In our house, we eat, breath, sleep Star Wars. And I just want a little variety.

I think I will just put it in the category of "Y, it is the question and the answer."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oh, Happy Day

We have been living with the construction stairs since August. We have tried twice before to get treads on there. Now on the third set, they are in. The Renovation Gods smiled upon us. It took most of a day, but the results are spectacular. Unfortunately, that means there is work for me to do now. But who cares! The treads are in, the treads are in, the treads are finally in. The blessed stairs are nearly done. So here they are.

Final pictures will be posted soon. I want this project DONE!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, What a Week!

This week was a train wreck. Sunday night, I just wanted to write a check from the business account. Otherwise I was ready to head to bed. And then it happened. A software glitch, not a virus, just poorly programed software erased our entire desktop of every single file. All my worksheets, all Ducky's files he had at home, all the home movies. In about 3 seconds. Gone, all gone. I can handle the loss of worksheets, I can recreate those. Ducky has his own computer which he backs up weekly, so most of his stuff is fine. But the movies. All the raw footage. And about half of it was taken with is camera so there is no tape backup. That is what bothers me.

So I immediately shoot off an email to the company. And they call us right back. It is 11:30 on a Sunday night. We are not to use the computer, they are trying to figure out what went wrong and will try to save our files. So I was once again banished from the computer.

Agony! I am not addicted to blogging. I can quit any time I want to. I just don't want to. So days without getting on the computer was challenging. But I survived.

So Tuesday, day two computerless, I get a cold. Oh goodie.

Wednesday, day three without the computer. I feel worse. My students get to watch 40 minutes about the sun and stars. A lot of the info is over their heads but the images are really cool. And they know I don't feel well and act pretty well. Like I have said before, they are pretty good kids. Ducky lets me know that sweetP didn't get to eat lunch at school. Apparently, it took most of the lunch time for him to get his milk. And then when he finally got to sit down to eat, he was told it was time to go. At back to school night, they said that kids can stay and finish. Ducky ate lunch with sweetP a few weeks ago and he said, it didn't seem like an option to stay and finish. And sweetP is such a rule follower that when they say go, he goes.

We get the verdict on the computer. Go pick up some data recovery software and run it. So off to the computer store I go. High ho, high ho, it's off to shop I go. And deal with cranky drivers on the way there. But my parking kharma holds and I get a good spot close to the store. I don't have to slog in from the back forty in the rain to get the stuff. With my cold.

Ducky goes to run the software and you need an external hard drive to run it. That way it won't write over the stuff it is trying to save. And then we wait while it does it stuff to see what it could save. And it takes hours. And then it is done. And the only thing we can tell that it didn't save is the movies. It has the movie project files, but no actual movies. They are all gone.

Which brings us to yesterday. When life seemed to looking up. I hurried home from work. So we could head out to see the Christmas light display and ride the train. SweetE was tired and a little cranky. But, as usual, the lights were magical and it wasn't raining and it wasn't too cold. It was perfect. And then we headed out to our favorite restaurant from the old neighborhood. And yummy!

It is past the boys bedtime and we are ready to be home when BAM! We get rear-ended. SweetE slept through the whole thing. SweetP wanted to know what happened and proceeded to ask questions non-stop for 20 minutes until we were headed home again. There is a lovely new line on the bumper. But who knows what it looks like underneath. So now we have a new thing to deal with.

The good news. I am feeling a little better. I am going in to eat lunch with sweetP today. I get to use the computer again. And the stairs are being worked on while I type this. They should be in by the end of the day. Fingers crossed. Pictures tomorrow if they are in!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Back From the Abyss

Oh what a week. I have use of the computer back. I will fill in details tomorrow. Tonight I am just too tired.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Warning - Virus!

If you use Quickbooks Pro for Mac 2006, do not open it. There is a virus or problem with the software. It will erase all desktop files. Last night we lost 40+ gigs of files, including home movies.

The problem started yesterday. There is a lot of discussion on the Mac Forum at the Intuit site. So I know it was not operator error. It goes to do an auto update and then wipes your desktop. Intuit is aware of the problem. We got a call from support last night after we reported it.

So for the time being, don't open it.

Fun Monday is below.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fun Monday

Here I am at my second fun Monday. I would have participated last week, but all the ornaments were still packed up.

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by kitten. And the assignment is: I think it would be neat to hear about the story behind your home and the road you live on. It doesn't have to be historical, maybe just something that stands out to you. It would be nice to have pictures to go with your little story. I also would like to know who has the oldest house. Whoever has the oldest house will get a little Christmas treat from little ole me.

I live in a suburb of suburbia. When we were house hunting, we were looking here and in the larger suburb where I work. I do not believe in a long commute. In a perfect world, we would have bought an older house. But instead we found one that met most of the criteria in a newer subdivision and we moved from the city to the burbs.

Our house has no interesting story behind it. That was our last house. And a story I will tell another day. But it had the space and yard and was in a great location. It scored 74 out of 100 on the walk score.

The first thing we did when we moved in was have the toddler death trap closed up. There was a bonus room upstairs with a view of the downstairs and a nice wide sill on it. Perfect for an adventurous 2 year old to balance on and fall to their death. So we closed it in and made it a bedroom. I saw potential in our little cookie cutter. Even though it had a big sign that said welcome back to the 90's plastered on every surface. And the projects began.

Which leads us to now. And the remodel projects. And the stairs that are waiting patiently in the garage for our stereotypical contractor to show up and put them in. And the new projects that are bubbling at the surface, barely being suppressed until we get some of the others completed.

What we didn't realize is that we were moving in next door to the Clampett's. At least that is how I refer to them. Every year they plant a new evergreen in their yard. To replace the one they cut down to use as their Christmas tree. And they leave about a foot of stump sticking up out of the ground. And they take those big rubber mats that are for children's play rooms and cover a large part of their backyard with them for the summer. Last year they moved the basketball hoop out onto the patio and installed an above ground pool. And at the end of the summer, just let all the water out into the back yard. And created a swamp in their yard and ours. We built a berm this year. We planted three curly willows along the back fence so the view will be improving greatly in the next few years.

Burn, Baby, Burn

The DVD burner is working overtime. We are burning the family DVD. And that means I am banished again. We are between DVD's at this very minute. So, I better let the computer get back to work!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Night Owl in an Early Bird World

My entire life I have been a night owl. I never wanted to go to bed as a child. I always have had a hard time waking up. Every morning I am reminded that I am not a morning person. I have a strong dislike for alarm clocks. The snooze feature is dangerous. Especially when you accidentally turn it off and think you hit snooze. Every night I stay up too late, because that is my energy time. And my me time. I have to wonder why the world has to be (or seem to be) so oriented towards mornings. School starts early. Work days start early. I tried exercising early in the morning. I couldn't stay awake later in the day.

I just cannot get up and go, go, go in the morning. I need to meander through the morning and work up to speed. I can't eat early in the morning. It upsets my stomach. Except, I have children. School-age children. And school starts at 8 am. And sweetP is just like me. He likes to meander through the morning too. It worked like magic last year. His kindergarten started at 11:40 and we eased our way into the day.

Now, I have to coax him awake most of the time. And then nag him to get him dressed. It can take 20 minutes. That happens to be 4 minutes per clothing item. Socks count as two. The shoes take at least 5 more minutes and that is with me tying them for him. And I can't get mad at him. He is just like me. But as the parent, I have to get up and get moving and get him moving too. And I wish we could all just crawl back into bed and go back to sleep all snuggly and warm.

I managed to get my job to cooperate. I don't get there until almost noon. At least 3 days a week. I need to find a way to convince sweetP's school to start about an hour later. One of our friends children's school doesn't start until 9:15 am. Heaven! I can't even begin to think how perfect that would be. I am insanely jealous.

My greatest fear is that by the time I actually get to sleep in until 8 every morning, I will no longer be able to. Okay that isn't my greatest fear. But it is up there. The greatest fear happens to be snakes. Pictures of snakes, actual snakes, toy snakes. Doesn't matter. I even covered pictures of snakes in a text book with sticky notes when I had to teach it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Tonight I dragged the boys back to school to see my students in their dance competition. They have been learning how to ballroom dance for the last 6 weeks. You would think that we were torturing them. Slowly and painfully based on their complaints.

But for all the moaning, they had a good time. It was fun to see them in a different environment. And to not be in charge of them for the event. They were all dressed up and acting very proper. It is like a window into the future.

SweetE informed me on the way home, after he woke up, that he needed a girl. I asked him if he meant a sister. Because that isn't going to happen. Apparently a sister would do, but he meant that he needed a girl when he learns to dance. I had to hold him up so he could see the entire time. Until he fell asleep. I guess he thought it looked like fun. SweetP was bouncing with the beat. I wonder if that will change by the time he is in 5th grade. They were so patient the whole time. There were not enough seats so we stood the entire time. SweetP didn't complain once. Such good boys.

On another note, my sweetP received an award at school today. Academic Excellence in Mathematics! My little clone. His mathematical mommy could not be prouder. I wasn't surprised. He goes around making everything into a pattern and working out addition and subtraction problems that he makes up. But it is always nice when an impartial party agrees with you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Problem with 5th Graders

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break can make a teacher seriously rethink their career choice. My students, whom I love dearly, are expressing their enthusiasm continuously. They cannot be quiet. They are constantly talking. They are wound up and stuck at a desk so the only they can move is their mouth.

Don't get me wrong. They are good kids. And they are not being bad. But they cannot keep quiet. If I inhale, they take it as an invitation to talk. If I walk to my desk, you guessed it, they talk. I would worry that it is just me, but the rest of my team and my partner's substitute (who had excellent classroom management before she retired) have said the same thing.

If they were younger, I could use the whole Santa thing. It is working great with my own children. But 5th graders don't believe in Santa any more. So what is a teacher to do. I am counting the days until break. I have six more work days. Then 17 days of just being a mommy.

In the mean time, I need to learn the life cycle of a star for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I seem to have run out of things to talk about. At least for the moment. No good stories are coming to mind. Nothing noteworthy happened today. So I keep a sticky on my computer for just such an occasion. A while back there was one of those random question posts that someone (I have no idea who) did that I liked the questions to. So tonight I give random facts while I think of something to say tomorrow.

Been out of the country? Yes, but just barely into Canada. They are very friendly up there.

Been in love? Yes, to my Ducky for over 17 years. I am so lucky! He is a lucky Ducky too.

Gone skydiving? No, and no plans to. I love to fly contained in the plane.

Climbed a mountain? No, I might climb a small one someday. I used to climb a butte almost every day. I was in great shape back then.

Got fired? Does it count if I had already quit an hour and half before and had given my two weeks a week before? I don't think so. So, no.

Been promoted? Not really. Been given increased responsibility, but no new title.

Rode a horse? Much, much more than I ever wanted to.

Stay awake for over 48 hours? College, darn computer programs. So yes, and boy was a tired. Remember my love affair with sleep.

Graduated? Yes, yes and yes again. One diploma and two degrees.

Been on honor roll? Yes, yes. And yes, I was one of those obnoxious smart kids.

Caught a firefly? No, I don't believe I have ever even seen one.

Eaten a bug? Yes, while on the stinkin' horse. And a spider while I was sleeping. That sucked.

Been in a car wreck? Yes, totaled the car but not me. Although it did get me out of PE for the rest of the year. "I was doing physical therapy at the pool." wink.

Been in a fight? Once in elementary school, I think. My memory is a bit hazy on that one.

Helped a friend? Who hasn't. Anytime.

Swam in the ocean? Waded, yes. Swim, no. I don't much care for swimming anywhere. Love the ocean though.

Swam with a dolphin? See above and see what you think. (No)

Been arrested? No, and I have only been pulled over once. And I got the ticket. I cried and I still got the ticket.

Told a white lie? Yes, who hasn't.

Broken a bone? Not a bone, but I did crack my sternum. That wasn't fun. It makes breathing a challenge and breathing is kind of important.

Played sports? Only in a recreational sense. Never on a team. That was not the focus in our house.

Been divorced? No, and there are no plans either. We have a strict no divorce clause in the marriage. We also have a "you are not allowed to die" clause. So far, so good.

Sang in the shower? Used to all the time. I require a radio and we no longer have that in the bathroom.

Loved your life? Most days yes. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

There you have my random facts of the day. Should you get a case of blank brain, feel free to borrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I've Been Good

And I have proof.
You Were Nice This Year!

You're an uber-perfect person who is on the top of Santa's list.
You probably didn't even *think* any naughty thoughts this year.
Unless you're a Mormon, you've probably been a little too good.
Is that extra candy cane worth being a sweetheart for 365 days straight?

I think it has more to do with being too busy to be bad. Or it is all those Mormon friends I have. Or maybe I am generally good. I don't quite buy the uber-perfect classification. But who am I to argue.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Here Comes Santa Claus

I am lucky. Neither of my children questions the realness of Santa. They believe hook, line and sinker. I believe too, but in a different way. Today, Santa came to town. He flew in on a helicopter. What could be better than Santa and a helicopter. Happy boys = Happy mommy. I was glad that this weekend we had blue skies, unlike the wind and rain of last weekend. Really happy mommy.

As we headed up to the Santa visit, I had to wonder if there would be tears this year. Or total shyness. We had our letter to Santa. To help him remember what exactly you want. And we waited in line.

When Santa walked by, sweetE asked why he was wearing glasses. So we explained that Santa has to read a lot of letters and that makes you have to wear glasses when you get older. It helps that both of us wear them. As we waited in line, I asked them what they were going to ask for. Coaching is always a good idea. Especially if you already are in possession of the gift from Santa. SweetP wanted a remote control helicopter and a scooter. SweetE wants a bug vacuum and a dart board (magnetic, of course).

When it was our turn, we headed in and they both walked up to Santa. Huge improvement over previous years. They both sat on his lap. SweetP talked to him! He gave him details of what kind of helicopter he wanted. SweetE whispered that he wanted a bug vacuum. Success!!! Everyone oohed and ahhed about how cute they were. And they really were. They were in their winter sweaters and they had haircuts Thursday night. And they were being their cute selves. Not the whiney versions that we have seen lately. Tired and or sick will do that to you.

As we were leaving, sweetP asked me, "Do you think Santa used his magic so he wouldn't sound old?" Santa's magic is pretty powerful stuff. Both boys agreed that Santa's beard felt like a pillow. The annual Santa visit could not have been better. Of course I believe in magic, and Santa.


Tonight Ducky was working on the annual DVD. It looks amazing. I watched hour life over the past year and can't believe how much has changed. SweetE needed a translator back in April. Now, he is a non-stop talking machine. SweetP is growing up and getting more independent by the day. Wow, that year went fast!

I feel like my life is on a treadmill that is set just a little too high. Okay, a lot too high. And I am only staying on by sheer grit. And at any moment, I am going to go flying off. I'm not sure where the month of November went. I don't really remember it. And here we are a week into December and I haven't even started to do my shopping yet. I am normally close to done before Thanksgiving. My shopping cart at Amazon is rapidly emptying because things are selling out. Yikes! And I have two weeks of planning to do to keep me sane at work.

But I had an awesome day today. SweetE had a playdate with a friend from school. And they played and ran and wore themselves out. He fell asleep as I was making him a grilled cheese. He never ate the sandwich. I had to wake him up to go collect sweetP from school. We read Christmas books before bed. There were hugs and kisses and I love you's. My house is a little cleaner. My DVR is a little emptier. Mount Laundry is a lot shorter. My to do list is the same length. But I don't care. The important stuff will get done. I will hang in there. We will have fun this weekend. With any luck, I will be ready for Monday before Monday comes. I better get to bed. It is already Saturday.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hope on the Horizon

Late last night, I got the stair treads finished. I sanded them. I put the last coat of finish on them. They are ready to be installed. But not by me. This is the third set and I am not taking any chances.

So for now they are sitting in a box in the garage. And my stairs still belong in a construction zone. But, I am one step closer.

And I am itching to start a new project. But I won't. I have too many to finish.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Worst/Funniest Gift Ever

One Christmas many years ago, when Ducky and I were still in the early years of our marriage, we went home for the holidays. We would spend Christmas eve with his family and Christmas day with mine. It just worked out that our families traditions were on separate days. We had spent a pleasant evening the night before with all of his family. Dinner, gifts, mass, laughing, merriment. The usual Christmas stuff.

Christmas morning we headed over to my parents house. They were waiting and then it was gift time again. My family is much more stoic, so there was significantly less merriment, but it was pleasant enough. We always open gifts one at a time and watch the recipient and drag the whole thing out. I personally like it that way. So it was Ducky's turn to open a gift and he carefully removed the paper (a requirement so my mom can reuse it). It was an illustrated dog book that we always looked at when visiting. We didn't live where we could have a dog yet, so we were planning what kind to get eventually. Great, we could research more often! Ducky graciously thanked her and the gifting moved on to the next person.

Ducky happened to look over at the bookshelf and there on the shelf was the exact same book, brand new, in the wrapper. She had given him the old one and bought herself a new one. But wait, there is more.

When Ducky's turn came around again, he opened the next gift. Ducky is really good at guessing gifts by shaking them. So we often disguise them so he can't figure them out. It was a Rice Krispies box. An opened Rice Krispies box. Therefore, it must be a disguised gift. He started digging around in the half empty box of cereal. At this point my mom pipes up that she hopes he likes Rice Krispies, because they couldn't eat them. The half eaten box of cereal was the gift. My mother wrapped up and gave a half eaten box of cereal as a real gift. Not a gag gift, or even a white elephant gift. A real, serious gift. Wrapped in paper with a bow and everything.

Now, it is not that my parents couldn't afford to buy gifts. They were doing quite well.

Years later, this gift finally paid off. A discussion of bad gifts came up at Ducky's work. Everyone sharing what their worst gift ever was. Ducky of course, shared his half eaten cereal gift and the continuing list of strange gifts he has received from my mother. He won, hands down. Then every year after that, to this day, there are people that ask what he got. The gifts he has received from my mother have become legendary.

What To Tell?

I have been pondering this post for a while. When I started this blog I opted to be anonymous. Partly because I don't know who is reading it and partly because I work in education. In theory, nothing can come back to haunt me. The neurotic/protective parent part of me is afraid someone will see how cute my kids are and want to come and take them. So I don't post pictures of them. Not even old ones. Which can be frustrating because some of the pictures are just plain funny and would go really well with the stories I am sharing. I also don't use their names. Plus names and pictures make it easier to connect with who you really are and there goes the whole anonymous concept.

Working in education, you have to be very careful what you say about your customer (aka students). People are really protective of their kids. And they should be. And because there are only a certain number of students that any story could be about, if someone did figure it out. Yikes! So don't really write about my students. Ducky reminds me periodically that HR can figure out who I am if they wanted to.

So, there is always the question of what to tell and how much to tell. Sometimes I feel like I am being paranoid, but other times I know it is the right choice.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Way Kids Talk

I love the way that little kids say words. I was thinking about this as I was stuck in traffic due to our lovely weather. Grey skies, wind, rain, puddles. Lovely weather.

My boys each have a different way to say computer. SweetE refers to it as the pooter and sweetP has always called it the peer-dough. I am trying to spell them so you can get the gist of their pronunciations. They also give great names to things. SweetE is battling a tummy bug at the moment and he is never far from the "bla bucket." When sweetP was little he called throwing up going bla. That name has stuck and vomit is referred to as bla.

The boys are currently entertaining themselves by playing Star Wars Lego game. Or Star Weres, if you use the sweetE pronunciation.

I am going to be a little sad when they start sounding more adult.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

100th Post, Postponed Due to ...

Headache and computer banishment.

I managed to get a humdinger of a headache and then slogged through the rest of the week. Last night, I was all ready to post and then I was banished from the computer by Ducky. He was uploading video for the annual family DVD and didn't want anything to thwart the progress.

So here it is. The 100th post. Wahoo! I never used to write. I hated writing assignments in class. I am a concise writer and had a horrible time expanding to the length desired by the teacher. Reflection papers were pure torture, I could tell you what I thought in two to three sentences. I did not need an entire page. I preferred and still prefer to get to the point. So starting this blog was an attempt to document my life and get in the habit of writing. And remove the torture part.

Reaching this post means I have accomplished my goal. It has also reminded me of the importance of taking time. The topic was inspired by someone I saw yesterday. I was driving home from doing a couple of errands with the boys. I looked in the rearview mirror, to see an enormous, black SUV trying to kiss my little bumper. The driver of the SUV started lifting his hands in exasperation. We were not going fast enough. And we were not tailgating the car in front of us. How dare we!

His annoyance grew. We weren't out on the open road. We were in town, with stoplights and other cars. He ended up zooming around me and then cutting in a few cars ahead. I was half expecting him to be in a accident down the road. He wasn't.

I wanted to ask him, what was so important that he was willing to put others at risk. And I realized then, that no matter what you do, take the time. Enjoy the moment. Don't rush through things. My blog is me taking the time to think about my day and connect with friends near and far. What is worth posting? What cute moments did I see or hear today? They don't have to be big.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Little Fish

We went to swim lessons last night. Like we do every Monday night. Right before class, sweetP's teacher tells Ducky that he has made unexpected strides and she thinks he is ready for the next level. Yahoo, sweetP! He did this last time too. On recommendation day, his teacher felts he should stay in the class he is in, but then something clicks and they change their mind. Except there are no openings in the next level for the next session. Dang. So he is on wait lists and we have to wait and see.

I don't like to wait and see. I had them taking lessons at the same time. I had it all planned. Ducky and I could go together, divide and conquer. Talk to each other without interruption. Now if sweetP doesn't get in I have to tell him that he will be taking that session off. And then he will be sad. And I will have to worry that he will forget all the stuff they have been teaching him. He is such an enthusiastic little guy. I really hope I don't have to burst his bubble. It is hard to believe that just back in June he didn't like to get his face wet and now he jumps right in. They work miracles at this place.

SweetE is a much more reluctant fish. Exceedingly cute, but not confident yet. I love to watch him. He has his little goggles on and he looks over at us with this big grin and gives us the thumbs up. And you can tell that he can't relax, but that he trusts his teacher. And he wants to do what they ask, he just doesn't trust that it will be okay yet. We can tell how happy he is about class by the number of thumbs ups that we get. Most of the time we get a lot. Last night, he gave his teacher the lip. The one that tells us that he is upset and about to cry. I don't know what upset him, but his teacher got him over it and by the end of class he was laughing and kicking during the train ride around the pool. (A giant train shaped kick board, all the kids lay on it and get pulled around the pool for about two minutes. They love it.)

You know both boys love their classes when they re-enact them in the bath tub. I'm glad they like the water. And I hope sweetE doesn't take after me. I took beginning swim lessons nine times before I passed. It was six times before I put my face in the water. So he is doing better than I did.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A New Record!

Wow, the first time my comment count has reached 2 digits. I should have joined Fun Monday sooner. The part of me that craves validation is in heaven.

I have a milestone coming up. My 100th post will happen in a few days. How should I commemorate the occasion?

Please recall that before I started this blog, I never managed to keep a journal longer than three weeks. 100 posts is a minor miracle. And cause for celebration.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun Monday

I am officially joining the Fun Monday ranks. What can I say, I like knowing I am not the only one in over my head on a regular basis.

Here is the assignment from Blue Momma.
I want you to show me your......projects. More to the point, I want to see your unfinished projects. I have so many that I really need some reassurance that I'm not the only one. Home improvement projects are what I have in mind, but it you don't have any of those show me any kind of project - needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, etc. You can even show me your spouse if they qualify as a work in process.

And please, I WANT PICTURES!!!! You can talk if you want, but you don't have to. I know since you are all bloggers talk is bound to happen, but I most definitely want to see photos of those unfinished projects.

Let me start with the pit of despair, also known as Mommy's work room. I painted it back in February. And I have been planning get it organized every day since. I am really looking forward to having a work space to sew, read, relax, create, etc. But right now it just depresses me. I did manage to get two baby blankets sewn in there today, but still got depressed by the mess. Note to Ducky, you are not allowed to comment on my mess!

The laundry closet. We remodeled that back in January. We put in new floors, new cabinets and painted. Then we had the electrician come in to put in new can lights and move the light switch. Good thing we did, there was a fire hazard in there. But now the paint needs to be touched up and we still haven't gotten the pivot doors. The closet is on a hallway and every time I do laundry I end up banging into those doors because they close up half the hall. Arghhh.

The blessed stairs. We started this project in July and getting the stairs done is taking forever. SweetE likes the construction look, he is allowed to pound on them with his hammer as much as he wants. We are tired of the construction look. We love the remodel, we are glad we turned the stairs, but we are so ready to be done!

Here are the treads to go on the blessed stairs. I have made progress this weekend. I have four coats of finish on them. They still need a light sanding with an extra fine grit paper and then one last coat of finish. Then they can be installed. But when? By Christmas, please before Christmas. This is the third set of treads for the blessed stairs. Do not operate power tools while distracted. I cut every tread too short. That was the first set. Then we hired an incompetent contractor. He cut them all crooked. That was the second set. This is the third set. We are back to the original contractor. The one that turned the stairs, but who knows when he will get to it. Please before Christmas!

This is the new patio door. That leaks. As you can see we haven't finished the drywall and trim around it. The door people have supposedly ordered a new insert, but it should have been here a week ago. In the meantime, it has ruined my grass rug in front of the door. And I need to sand, mud, sand, texture, prime, paint and put up the molding. Dang, I'm tired.

The fireplace. I do not like this brick fireplace. I loathe this brick fireplace. But I vowed I would not start a new project until all projects in progress are completed and I have more money. So I have to look at it. The hearth is two different heights. The mantle is weird. I admit it could be a lot worse. But I still want to get rid of it.

As we were getting ready to head to the beach a few weeks ago, the deadbolt on the front door broke. It was stuck in the locked position. So right when we got back, I had to take it apart and put in a new one. At least I had the new one in my possession. When we replaced the patio door, I bought a new front door handle at the same time. I had planned to put it on the new front door when we got it. But instead I got to put it on the old front door. But only the deadbolt part. The handle has an extra fastener that would require a hole to be drilled in the door. I really don't want to drill and get it in the wrong place and then have to buy the new door now. There is that whole money thing and I have expensive taste. So we have a new deadbolt, an old handle and it now requires two keys to get in the front door.

I did not photograph my bedroom, but it still has white walls and I have the paint in the garage. I just don't have the time and that would technically be starting a new project.

The list continues, but I still have to plan my lessons for tomorrow. Another day, I can share all the non home improvement projects that need finishing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What is Wrong With My Dog?

Beware, dog vomit story ahead.

Last Sunday I shampooed the family room carpet. Velcro had puked on it a few weeks before. And it had gotten pretty colorful from the boys spilling things on it. So I decided it was time to clean it. It looked fabulous for 5.5 days.

Today, Velcro puked on it again. I am not sympathetic. He went from the front door (tile) through the living room and dining room (cork) through the kitchen (linoleum) past the backdoor (aka exit to deck and grass) into the back corner of the family room (carpet). Had he thrown up on any of those other surfaces, I would feel bad for him. And I had just had the door open and he showed no interest in going out at all.

Then in the moment it took me to go into the garage and come back with stuff, he made a new orange stain on the carpet. Getting to it immediately with carpet cleaner didn't prevent that stain. And he had started to eat it! Yuck!!!

What is wrong with my dog? He used to have good sick doggy behavior. Throw up right by the back door on an easy to clean surface, good boy. He would get sympathy. I would sing his praises on what a kind, thoughtful doggy he was. Lately, he heads to the back of the family room. He always goes past the back door without asking to go out. What is wrong with my doggy?

And why does the dog food manufacturer keep changing the formula of his senior dog food and upsetting his delicate tummy?

Poor Velcro. He really is a good dog. But why can't he stop at the back door anymore? His tummy seems to be all better now.

Friday, November 23, 2007

In a Hole

Today I graded 10 sets of papers and I might be half way done. Might be. I still need to plan for next week. So much work to do. And I have two baby blankets to make and five stairs to finish. I need a time machine or something to get everything done.

But I ate yummy leftovers and hung out with my boys. So the day had good points too. And Mt. Laundry has been demoted to butte status. And I watched a movie with Ducky. The first I have seen in months.

Off to bed!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Life, The Musical

I was sitting and watching the boys play this morning. It was some kind of pirate/knight thing. And I realized that they were singing to each other. Instead of talking, they were singing what they wanted to say.

Back and forth. Discussions of bridges, knights, ships, everything in song. And it was so cute. I had to capture this moment on video. Except that when you bring out the camera, they feel the need to perform. They don't realize that you just want to catch them being themselves. So instead of their cute musical, I got a musical performance. Complete with harmonica. Cute, but not what I was going for.

I always know what days sweetP has music at school. He spends the rest of the day singing. Of course the song I hear the most is the Star Wars theme song. I hear it about 10 times a day, sometimes more. Sometimes a lot more.

But, no matter what they do they are cute and my favorite source of entertainment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My boys are discovering the love of reading. Every night lately, we retire to our respective rooms and read with the boys.

Ducky is reading the Narnia books to sweetP. He loves them, even though they lack pictures. When he was about two, he was looking at my books for work. He looked up at me, and in all seriousness said, "But mommy, where are the pitchers." The idea of a book without pictures was beyond him. But now, he is making his own pictures. And they are getting great daddy/boy time.

Meanwhile, I am reading to sweetE. Tonight we read eight books. The same eight books we read last night. We have read the Tigger book so many times, he has it memorized. So I make him read that one to me. He even runs his fingers along the words as he goes. And it is so cute how he reads it. He won't use contractions. And when it talks about Eeyore's thistles, he pronounces it missiles. One night very soon, I am going to video tape it. I have an audio tape from about the same age "reading" Good Night Moon.

And both boys don't want to stop to go to bed. SweetE had about three more books lined up and ready to go. And if I let him he will start the stack all over again. SweetP would gladly listen to at least one more chapter a night.

I love that they are falling in love with reading. I cleaned out the library as a kid. I think I read every kids book they had.

SweetP has made leaps and bounds so far this year in reading. At the end of kindergarten, he still didn't know all of the alphabet. And now he is reading the decodable books. Yahoo, sweetP! I am looking forward to a time when we can all be sitting and reading our books together and be perfectly content. At the same time, I am willing to freeze time, so I can read to them awhile longer. Their little selves snuggled in and listening. Pointing to the pictures.

I'm ready for December. I have found 20 of the Christmas/winter books so far. I think the rest are packed in the Christmas boxes. But, just in case, I am ordering a few more from sweetP's book order. If I have too many, we will just have to read two some nights. Darn. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Break Through

We had a major breakthrough today. My sweetE never wants to go to preschool. He wants to stay home, with me. Except that I am going to work and nobody would be home. The entire way to school, he complains. Walking up to the door, he wants to go home. Up until recently he would produce tears. And latch onto me with a death grip. And then when Ducky picked him up he would be having a blast.

But today was different. It started out the same. I don't want to go to school. I want to stay home. But in the car something happened. The happy switch flipped or something. He announced as we were going past sweetP's school, "I like my school. It is real fun."

Oh happy day. He likes his school. He admits to liking his school. He wants to go today. Maybe it was the sparkly juice aka sparkling cider. I signed up for juice duty for their friendship feast and thought sparkling cider would be a fun treat.

When we got to school he happily went inside. He didn't get upset when I had to head to kitchen in search of a bottle opener. We did our routine. I put his name tag on. I hung up his coat. We found his name at the table. I gave him a hug and a kiss. Do not skip the hug and kiss step with this kid. It is the end of the world as he knows it if those are missed. Or if he thinks they were missed. I asked him if he is going to wave at mommy at the door. He says yes. I did my crazy wave (highly exaggerated and animated) at the door and he waved back with a big grin on his face.

I am on cloud nine. I don't have to leave with a crying child inside. Even though I know he is fine by the time I get to the car. Today he realized that he likes his school. Today he is happy and so am I.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Looooong Day

It was a long Monday. We opened the school store today. At 9:30 this morning I was ready to turn in.

I made it to bedtime.

I just got done writing a heartfelt letter. It made me sad and thankful at the same time. I feel guilty that I am glad that I am not on the receiving end of it.

I am thankful that there are burdens I don't have to carry. At the same time, I am so sad for the people who have to carry them.

I wish there was a way that I could make this person hurt less. Because I cannot even imagine how they are getting through this.

Sometimes life is not fair. And it can be cruel. And there is nothing we can do about it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Frostbite Story

Way back when renting videos was a fairly new concept, we often rented them from a certain store. It was not the closest store, but it rented them for a dollar. It was also an appliance store. Go figure.

It was sometime in the winter, January I think. We had rented a couple of movies. Don't remember what they were. If I did, I would never watch them again. It snowed overnight. Enough that we couldn't get the car out of the driveway. We lived outside of town on a few acres and had a long driveway. My dad had taken his truck and gone to work. There was probably less snow when he left at five. Either way, the driveway wasn't plowed and we weren't going anywhere. And those movies were due back. Keep in mind that they cost a dollar a day to rent. A dollar!

My mother, in her infinite wisdom decided that those movies had to be back on time. And if we couldn't drive to the store to return, by golly we would go on horseback. More precisely, the children would go by horseback. She would stay at home in the warm house. The store was about 5-7 miles away. The trip included time on a highway. I was about ten.

At the time I rode a Shetland pony named Snoopy. He looked something like this one. So my brother and I saddled up and headed out to return the movies. By the time we got about half way there, I could not feel my toes. Cowboy boots are not known for their warmth. So we started stopping at various businesses. One of us would go in and thaw out, while the other froze outside with the horses.

I'm sure all the people who were driving past thought we were cute or nuts. I wonder if any of them wondered where our parents were. We got the movies returned and by this time I am using words that would get me in a lot of trouble. I am hating every minute of it. I didn't like riding that much to begin with. I have never liked to be cold. It was times like these when I wished my real parents (the royalty) would hurry up and come and collect me. (Remember I firmly believed that I was a princess switched at birth.)

I remember looking fondly at every car that drove by and wishing I was in it. I remember hating my mother with a passion. I remember that saying I wouldn't go was not an option. My family believed in that whole spare the rod, spoil the child philosophy. I remember not feeling my toes, my ears or my nose. I remember my legs tingling with cold. I remember sitting on Snoopy outside an auto parts store, hating that it was my brothers turn to go in. I remember I was wearing a blue stocking cap with a strawberry patch on it. It didn't quite cover my ears.

Remember this was to save $2. Now that I have children, I wonder even more what she was thinking. Besides, not spending that $2. And what was she thinking the whole time we were gone?

I don't know if I got any real frostbite from the experience. I do know that my feet get really cold and have a really hard time warming up again. It can take an hour for them to feel warm. I wear a warm hat at the beach almost year round because the wind makes my ears ache. Even if it is 70 degrees out. And Ducky has said that my nose resembles an ice cube sometimes.

I don't know if my dad ever knew that she made us do that. Lately, I have been finding out that he didn't know a lot of the things she did.

I am not surprised that I hate horses and being cold. I rarely watch movies. And I still resent that my mother put $2 above the health and safety of her children. If anyone invents a time machine, let me borrow it to visit my former self. I would like to give her $2 to rent the movies for another day.

Okay, it got cranky at the end. But my toes are getting cold. In a 70 degree house. And I am wearing socks. Maybe my toes were reliving it too.