Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I feel better now

A few things.

1. Pox parties.  I dare not put into words my opinion of any parent that would take their child to one.  I usually try to maintain a fairly live-and-let-live attitude towards parenting.  And I think American parenting has become a rather embarrassing competition sport.  But if you think pox parties are a good idea I apologize in advance for my judgments about your judgment.

2. Men who try to hurry past you not so they can hold the door for you, but just so they can beat you in line.  This happens to me constantly around here. (I don't know where else it would happen since I am always "around here" but I am inclined to blame it on a lack of manners in my general locale at the moment.)  I am carrying a baby carrier, leading another child by the hand, as well as juggling a diaper bag and a purse, and guaranteed some guy pulls into the parking lot, hops out of his car, and books it so that he can be sure to get into the Subway/Panda Express/Walmart check-out line (to name 3 recent examples) ahead of me.  And then lets the door slam in my face.  And studiously avoids eye contact.  You make me think bad words.

3. People who insist on posting blatantly untrue things on Facebook.  Use it.  Or any basic internet search.  Now I know that 75% of Facebook content would cease to exist if we all followed a basic fact-check-first-then-post policy, but for the love of truth please stop.  Theoretically I could also just stop looking at Facebook, but this is just a theory and hasn't been proven.

4. Rompers.  Super adorable on babies.  Super awkward on adults.

5. Fluff.  Why can you not buy it here?  How am I supposed to send my kid to school every day with a peanut butter and whipped-sugar sandwich without a local Fluff source?

6. Spiders.  Within the last 2 weeks I have found two giant spiders in the house.  Well, technically, one was on the door leading from the garage into the house and the other was in the crawl space.  Obviously their forces are getting alarmingly close to our actual living quarters.  This is a problem because as soon as I find one in said living quarters we will have to move and that sounds like a lot of work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's my bloggy and I'll sigh if I want to.

Because I think writing something on Facebook is like walking into a room filled with everyone I know and making pronouncements on random subjects, I am not writing this on Facebook.  No matter how tempting it might be.

But this here blog, well it's like a private conversation...which you, gentle reader, are welcome to walk away from.

So I'd just like to say that I sure hope the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act tomorrow.  Because it sure has been aggravating to not pay any co-pays when I take my kids in for well-child checks.  And I think it is despicable that kids in this country with pre-existing conditions can get health care.  I mean, that just should not happen in this day and age.  And we were warned about what would happen with this nonsense.  I called to make my kid a doctor's appointment the other day and I had to wait a whole week and a half to have her seen!  They might have said they could see her same day if she were actually sick and didn't just need a well-child check, but I'm ready to be done with all this health-care rationing.  That has gotta be unConstitutional!


But now in all seriousness.  We all know that hospitals are required by law (Constitutional!) to treat you if you show up in need of treatment.  They have to.  They can not say no.  It doesn't matter if you march in announcing "I am uninsured and don't plan to pay you a dime ever!"  If you are in labor, or in need of medical treatment, they have to treat you.  But the government can't make you have insurance right?  (Constitutional?...UnConstitutional?...tomorrow will tell...for now.) So who do you suppose pays for the folks who, whether by personal choice or not, don't have insurance and show up at the hospital doors? That, my friends, would be you.  And me.  And everyone else who DOES have insurance and pays taxes etc.  It seems only logical that if we can't require people to have insurance then we can't require hospitals to treat you if you don't have any way to pay them.  Right?  "Sorry that your dear dad is having a heart attack.  Please stay outside on the sidewalk.  We only treat insured patients here.  Thank you."  Or maybe little Timmy is bleeding from a head wound from the car wreck you just got in (you know, while driving your car, which you are required by law to insure).  Quick!  Pull up a youtube how-to video and stitch the poor little guy up!

Maybe that doesn't sit quite right with you.  Maybe a person's a person no matter how small (or rich, or poor, or uninsured).  Maybe people deserve to have medical treatment because they are members of this human race with us (and some are winning that race and some are not).  Maybe it isn't little Timmy's fault he was born with a genetic condition that is going to make his entire life much harder than mine or yours.  Why should he get to have insurance?  And when he doesn't have insurance (because no one will take him), why should a hospital have to treat him?  We know he can't pay.  Which means you and I are gonna have to pick up the costs one way or another.  And he ain't my kid.  So it ain't my problem.  Because I've got insurance.  Thanks to my job (which I hope I still have tomorrow).  And I shouldn't have to pay for sick people that can't bother to insure themselves (because I'm

Because America is not a country for the weak.  Literally.  We don't want you.
And maybe someone once said to give us your tired and poor.  But we're done with them now.  And the wretched refuse of your teeming shore?  - shudder - No thanks.

(And please...I paid good money to sit through a semester of Con Law so I am quite aware of what is in the Constitution and what isn't...whether this is ruled Constitutional or unConstitutional tomorrow has nothing to do with what the Constitution does or does not say.)

And now that I am writing to an empty room I shall bid myself adieu.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

9 months

Dear Adelaide,
You are 9 months old!  That really doesn't seem possible.  Especially when I think about the fact that I have not slept through the night in 9 months.  Actually, I have slept longer than 4 hours in one stretch exactly twice since you were born.  I will try to get over this.  You could avoid making this an issue between us by sleeping more.  Please and thank you.

You are asleep right now like a good little girl...but somebody nearby has decided that 9:40 on a Thursday is fireworks time so that may not last.  They might be a little surprised when I march down and hand them a baby to deal with.

Back to the point.  You are 9 months old!  You started off your 9 month birthday with...a trip to the pediatrician's office!  Only the best for our baby girl.  You didn't have to get any immunizations this trip, but just to keep things lively they poked your toe for an iron test.  You didn't even flinch when they poked your toe.  I guess your brothers' tough love has desensitized you.

Seriously, the fireworks are getting annoying.

This month you decided that life would be more fun if you were mobile.  Up until now you have been our lazy baby.  You never really rolled over.  If I set you on the floor and you got bored you would just scream until someone came and got you.  At the beginning of the month you started getting up on your hands and knees but weren't sure what to do from there so after looking around you would just plop back down on your stomach.  If there was something interesting you wanted to reach you would try desperately to kick your way toward it, but only ended up going backward.  With this maneuver you frequently got yourself wedged under the couch with the object of your desire farther away than when you set out for it in the first place.

Over the past 10 days you have started crawling.  Real live text-book crawling.  You also roll around from front to back and back to front whenever you want.  I suspect you've been capable of doing this for quite some time, but didn't want to let on that you really didn't need me to carry you around every second of every day.  If I sit on the floor you will crawl over and climb your way into my lap and pull yourself up onto your feet.

Your laughs are still few and far between.  The more desperately I try to make you laugh the more likely you are to stare at me apathetically.  And then you will bust out laughing at a strange loud noise - like grandma making crow noises in the bedtime stories she recorded for Will.  I can usually get a little giggle by tickling your armpits and squeezing your chunky baby thighs.

You ALWAYS smile for Daddy.  You have done this since you first learned how to smile.  Mommy...not so much.  You prefer to have me holding you, however.  Clearly I am the transportation and food provider and Daddy is the entertainment.

The physician assistant we saw for your check-up asked if I was brushing your teeth twice a day.  I said you didn't have any.  She said I should brush your gums twice a day.  (That is a little low on the priority list I will admit.)

Now that you can sit up on your own (another skill you picked up this month) you will actually take a bath without screaming the entire time.  You like to keep a death grip on my arm until you re-discover how fun it is to splash and then you spend the rest of the time slapping the water with your hands.

You are still very quiet, but once in a while you get in a squealing mood and sometimes you talk to yourself when you are playing or when you are upset and want attention.  It sounds like you say "momma momma momma" and, while I'd like to think you know what you're talking about, I won't flatter myself.

You were 16 lb. 4 oz. at your checkup, putting you in the 28th percentile, and you were around 47% for height.  You look like a chubbers, but there actually isn't much to you!

You decided that solid foods were acceptable this month.  You went from eating some puffs and taking half an hour to eat 2 ounces of baby food to guzzling down 8-12 ounces of baby food in about 5 minutes!  All of this mobility must have made you hungry.  You will feed yourself Cheerios all day and love any bits of fruit or beans or bread that I give you.

Your sudden abandonment of your lazy ways makes me laugh.  At the beginning of the month you really did not roll over, sit up, or crawl.  You would try to feed yourself food, but it would get stuck in your fist and you couldn't figure out how to release it into your mouth.  You must have been feeling neglected, because it seems that suddenly one day a few weeks ago you decided you were going to have to take care of yourself.

You may not sleep through the night, but you have been helping me out by taking a 2-3 hour nap most afternoons.  This is a first since you were born.  Up until a few weeks ago you took NO naps during the day (zero, zilch, nada) except for occasional 10-30 minute catnaps when you fell asleep on me and only for as long as I did not move and no noises woke you up.  It is kind of strange to actually be able to accomplish a couple things each day - even if it is just taking a shower.

You are a sweet thing and we love you.  Let's work on that whole sleeping at night thing though, okay?  You are still sweet at 3 in the morning...but let's just say it would be even sweeter if Mom got some sleep.  mmmmkay?

And I just heard you start fussing upstairs.  This is the point where I start chanting in my head "please go back to sleep - please go back to sleep."  Aaaaand if that car drives down the street blasting its horn again (at 10:15 pm) I might go let the air out of its tires.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Transcript of a tantrum.

I bought Sawyer an ABC game a while back, but we hadn't opened it yet.  He was pestering me to play a game today so I told him we could do the ABC game in a few minutes.  After much whining I sat down to play with him.  The "game" consists of a board with all the letters of the alphabet printed on it and then a bunch of small cards which have a letter on one side and a drawing of an object whose name begins with that letter on the reverse.  I would show Sawyer a picture and ask him what letter it started with.  He wasn't getting any of them right (this is why I bought the game in the first place) so then I would tell him which letter and have him look for it on the board (still getting very few right even though I swear he does know quite a few letters).  We went through about 5 letters and then I held up the picture of a quilt and asked him to find Q.  At which point he went into full tantrum mode and was rolling on the floor and throwing pieces around.  After a few minutes I started writing down his rage.  I missed the beginning, but I present for you now an "Almost Complete Transcript of a Complete Tantrum."

"You're just doing the too hard ones!  You just always do the too hard ones!  I want that game out of our house.  Cuz if you do the hard ones ever again I won't want to be in our family (fwamly) any more and I won't want to be on the earth ever again. I would just stay in my room and sleep.  I'm not going to eat anything you make. I would just stay in my room and sleep. That's all I would do.  I would just eat my desserts every day. Stupid letter ABC game. I'm not gonna play your games any more Momma. I'm not. Cuz you did a too hard game.  So I'm not even going to learn my letters!  I'm just gonna stick with the letters I know.  I know P, A, D, L, H, W, A, D, S, P,  like H.  So I don't want to play your games any more.  I'll just stick with my own games.  Cuz if you only do the hard ones first on any game I won't even want to play the game.  I won't even want to play it ever!  If you just do the hard ones first.  So just make that chalk game* and I'll play that every day.  That's all the game I want to play.  I only want to play your easy peesy games.  Except after your ABC game you go into the crazy hard games!  And I don't want to play it!  That's what I don't want to do ever again!  Cuz it's too stupid games you make!  Just stupid games that you make.  Cuz they are always just 'too hard games, too hard games.'  That's all you make.  Only the hard games.  That's all you make.  Every day.  Or else I would never play your games!  If you do that every, every single day!" 

 (Break to throw pieces across the room.) 

"Uh! Boo boo Momma!  That's what you always do.  You only do the hard and hard and hard.  So I'll just stick with my games and never learn your games to play.  I'll just learn how to play them and never play them though.  That's all I would want to do with your games!  your stupid games!  and cuz I don't want to play your stupid letter game for learning.  I just want to play normal games that's in our closet that have destructions** too.  Poo poo Mom."

(bathroom break)  Singing the alphabet song while on the toilet and skipping half the letters ending with  "W, X, Y and S!  S!  That's all I would do now!"  (muttering to self)

Comes out of bathroom inspecting shorts - "Bwackwards?!  Are these on bwackwards Mom?" Then walks back over to game.

"Cuz I don't want to play your games any more.  Cuz you are making them way, waaayyy, waaaaayyyy too hard games!  Cuz I'll only stick with...cuz I know all the letters to your game!  And I'll just always get them right!  Xray!  X starts with... watermelon!  That's what I'll do.  I won't play your games!  Cuz I'll just know.  I know all the letters to your game now.  Now I don't have to play it ANY MORE.  Cuz I don't like your games any more.  You make it way, way, way too hard.  So I'm not playing your games of stupidness any more.  Bo bo."

"So I'm not playing your games any more.  In fact, I'm for sure not doing it.  That's what I'm not doing any more.  I'll stick with my own letters now.  Oh yeaaaahhh.  Uh huh."

(Fly goes by) "Flies!"

"Cuz I'm NOT PLAYING YOUR STUPID games any more.  That's all they are.  They're just stupid! That's what won't ever happen ever again - which is me playing your games."

"Alligator.  Lyle. Alligator.  Oooowwwww."

"So I'm not playing your stupid bo bo games.  That's what I'm not gonna do again." (takes off shoe and throws it)

"Ouch. Bouch.  Ouch.  Bouch.  Ouch.  Alligator.  Ice.  Bryce.  Bow wow wice.  Ooouuuuucchh."  

(wanders off into the kitchen and gets into the band-aids...after a few minutes wanders back into the family room and says "Mom, can you please open the garage?" and kisses my leg.)

The End.

* About a month ago I drew all the letters of the alphabet in chalk on the driveway and tried to play letter recognition games with him.  This lasted about 30 seconds before he freaked out that it was too hard and took off.  The next day they got washed away by a rainstorm and he flipped out that his game was gone.

** He says "destructions" instead of "instructions" and I don't plan to correct him any time soon.

PS- New blogger can't handle my colored background and I don't know how to fix it.  Sigh.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pop Quiz

It's quiz time!

1. Last night Addie...
A. Slept through the night!
B. Required minimal attention.
C. Woke up the second I went to bed, finally fell back asleep for about 1.5 hours and then woke up again and decided it was play/whine/cry/practice crawling and try to throw yourself off the side of my bed time until 6 am (which I thought was 7 am - see question 2).

2. Today our alarm went off at
A. 7:05 just like normal
B. 6:05
C. 6:05 which I thought was 7:05 like normal

3. Today I got up at
A. 7:30 just like normal
B. 6:30
C. 6:30 which I thought was 7:30 like normal

4. Today I woke Will up at
A. 7:35 just like normal
B. 6:35
C. 6:35 which I thought was 7:35 like normal

5. When I finally realized it was an hour earlier than I thought I headed back to bed and found
A. everyone sleeping peacefully
B. gold under my pillow
C. that Addie was awake and ready for more play time

6. Amount of sleep I got in the hour until I had to get up for real
A. 1 hour of bliss
B. a good power nap
C. zero.

If you answered all C's you are correct!  If you chose all A's you are a very optimistic person and probably don't know me in real life.

Bryce set the alarm and has no explanation for why he set it for an hour earlier.  Also, at some point around 4 a.m. when I was dozing in and out while trying to stop Addie from throwing herself off the side of the bed I opened my eyes and found Bryce's face about 6 inches in front of me with his eyes open wide staring at me with a huge grin.  I said "What are you doing?!"  He looked around confused, closed his eyes, and continued sleeping.  He does not remember this.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened

Humorous things of late: I walked to the school and picked up Will one nice day and let the boys play at the park for a while. For a while until I sat down to feed the baby and they wandered away and then I looked over and saw that Sawyer was doing his best to break branches off the newly-planted tree while Will watched. If you are at the new park by the school and see the sad tree with the twisted down and broken branch say hello for us. There were about 5 other moms sitting nearby watching too. Embarrassing. Then I told them they were in trouble and made them go home. We started walking home and Will was throwing a fit about how mistreated he is. He told me he was going to run away. I told him to go ahead and see if he could find any one else that wanted to take care of him when he's naughty. We were at a cross street so he turned right and started walking while I continued going straight. He made it about half the distance of one yard and then turned around yelling "Oh! So, you're just going to allow this?! You're allowing this?!" and then he turned around and caught up with me. Hahahaha.

 Sometimes I pretend I do things like exercise. One day I was doing an exercise video and I had been at it for all of about 5 minutes when Sawyer walked in with a Poptart and waved it under my nose saying "Just take a break Mom. Just take a break and have a niiiiice Poptart." Then last week I was doing another exercise video and Sawyer asked why the lady was saying "Don't stop. Keep going." I told him that she was just trying to help you keep exercising. He said "But Mom, you don't have to listen. You can just stop. You can just turn it off because they can't see you!"

 Sawyer also cried, with real tears, when he caught me pulling out dandelions last week. He was sobbing "You're hurting them! They don't like that! My flowers! We aren't going to have any more flowers!" (Don't worry, there are still about a million in our park strip alone.)

 He also cried when he saw the pile of debris I swept up in the kitchen and knelt down to try to pick bits of things out of it. This happens almost every time I sweep. Also, if he sees me removing a bag of garbage from the house he will run along beside me and look through the bags for things that he wants. He is amazingly talented at this. He can spot the corner of a paper he colored three weeks ago at church from 5 feet away while in motion.

 I'm realizing that Sawyer is a major demotivating factor in my life.

 The other day I got up, made Will's lunch, gave Will and Sawyer breakfast, fed the baby solid foods and nursed her, did my exercise video, packed lunches for Sawyer and I, packed the diaper bag, and got showered and dressed and left the house by 10 a.m. I felt very accomplished. And thanks to the power of television I kept thinking all day that I deserved Arctic Circle.

 Will happily told me the other day that he has a new seat at school and that he is "the only person at his table who doesn't speak Spanish!" Hmmmmmm. This was followed a few days later by him telling me that he "didn't even get in trouble at school today!" I said "Do you usually get in trouble?" to which he enthusiastically replied "Yes!" I asked why he gets in trouble and he said "Because I talk to people and I don't remember to raise my hand and I just say answers out loud!" I'm not sure having Spanish-speaking tablemates will deter him.

 I have come to the conclusion that Sawyer doesn't understand much of what he sees and hears around him. I mean, he thinks he understands, but really he must end up with a bizarre view of the world. I suppose most four-year-olds probably have a bizarre view of the world. Some examples: he told me they learned about agency at church = Ah, smart. And then continued to tell me that he "is a spy or something and his name is Agent C." = Ah, well, not quite. Or: "Mom, did you know that Adam is the first person every one meets on Earth?!" Hmmm... really. And then 3 days later I hear him singing a church song - "Adam is a prophet, first one that we know, in a place called Eden, he helped things to grow." And it dawns on me. "First one that we know." Ohhhh.

We won't even get into his theories on how Addie got here and "when she is going to turn into a boy" and how she eats "the milk that [I] drink and store inside" of me.

 Sawyer calls hand sanitizer "hanitizer." I think it is an improvement.

 Addie doesn't like to sleep alone in her bed. It is a rare event. The other day I actually got her to sleep by herself in her bed. Then Sawyer went upstairs and shouted "Mom! Addie is in here ALONE!" He was very concerned. And then she wasn't asleep any more.

 Sawyer built something out of Legos and asked me if I knew what it was. I said that I did not. He said "It's an antique gun!"

 Will told me he wrote Grandma a letter and asked if I would mail it. I thought that was nice. Then I read the letter: "Dear Grandma, Can you send me some Easter cookies like the Halloween cookies? Will." I told him I wasn't mailing it until he wrote a letter rather than a demand note.

I asked Will to go get in the car to go to school. He said he had to get something from his room. He ran upstairs and came down with a piece of paper which he handed to me. On this paper he had written "100 strikes and you are out" and then he had drawn a bunch of boxes. He gave me the paper and said "While I'm at school will you mark off a box every time Sawyer is naughty?"

 I asked Sawyer if we should take him to get a haircut. He said "Uhhh no. I was just about to make it cool and it needs to be long."

 I have more to report on Sawyer than Will because he is home with me all day. Also, I usually instant message Bryce the funny things the kids say during the day. So I did a search for "Sawyer" and found all the things I told Bryce over the last few months. Doing a search for "Will" is not helpful. The downsides of having a name that is also a commonly used word.

 Everything Sawyer says starts with "Anyways..." I have no idea where he got that from.

 Anyways. That's all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coincidental theater

This is a random entry and has nothing to do with my children (as my remaining 2 readers click away...)



Sometimes I read this blog: I don't know why I just do.

A little while ago she mentioned this tidbit:

"Also, last night Jake and I went to *Sleep No More. I had to buy tickets clear back in November because they were sold out for so long. It was insane!!! I don’t know what to think, but that’s ok because we are going again next month.*Sleep no more is a theatre type show in a huge old hotel. It’s floors and floors of intricate sets/rooms. You wear masks and follow the characters you’re most interested in. I went with Jake and two friends, but we split up at the beginning and had our own very different experiences, seeing totally different things. It’s very strange and not for everyone, but so so cool if that’s your bag."

Then a few nights ago I was searching for something to read on the kindle and came across "The Night Circus" available to borrow from the library site. I figured I'd give it a try since most of the other available titles were 1. romance novels 2. Dr. Laura books (apparently her advice is not well-valued out here) or 3. super specific non-applicable titles such as "A Guide to Better Relationships between Black Men and Women" (no, I'm serious).As I was reading it I kept thinking "this reminds me of that theater thing mentioned in that one blog thingy I read" and "it would be cool if this were made into one of those theater things and you could wander from tent to tent and follow the characters around."Then at the end of the book there was an Acknowledgments section, as there always is, and I read it, as I always do AND the author mentioned something called Punchdrunk as a source of inspiration.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"IF New York’s junk shops, antiques fairs and confectioners have fielded some odd requests recently, it may be because the British theater company Punchdrunk is coming to town for the first time. The props list for its show “Sleep No More,” an environmental, stylized mash-up of Shakespearean drama and Hitchcockian noir, reads like the contents of a madman’s shopping cart: plastic teeth, animal eyes, hair samples, several kinds of blood, caramel spray. For “Sleep No More,” which arrives in New York after a run at a school near Boston in 2009, the company took over six stories of three adjoining warehouses on West 27th Street in the Chelsea gallery district. Audience members don masks and explore some 100 rooms and environments, including a spooky hospital, mossy garden and bloody bedroom. An eerie soundtrack fills the air as costumed performers move about all six floors re-enacting pivotal scenes from “Macbeth.”Each room has a back story that has been painstakingly detailed and designed with a mid-1930s vibe. More than 200 unpaid volunteer artists spent about four months hand-writing letters, coloring wallpaper and building furniture. A spokesman for the show declined to say how much the production cost, other than the budget was “in the millions of dollars.” . . .“In our world, every single drawer, cupboard, wardrobe that can be opened, should be opened because you’ll find something inside,” he said."


Punchdrunk IS that theater thing that the book reminded me of.

I feel 1. very clever 2. like the stars are aligning for some mysterious purpose and 3. like I need to go see this.

The End.

My clown collection - because circuses are fascinating, but also creepy. My baby - for sleeping in her bed by herself long enough for me to type this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To Catch a Leprechaun

The boys were determined that this would be the year they caught a leprechaun. Sawyer is now old enough to team up with Will and between the two of them they were confident it could be done.

The leprechauns scored the first points in the St. Patrick's Day battle though. The boys woke up to find that a leprechaun had colored their fingernails and toenails green, drawn shamrocks on their cheeks, colored the toilet water green, and left them a taunting note on the bathroom mirror along with little leprechaun footprints.

I *may* have still been awake when the leprechauns were going about this nasty business. Shortly after they completed their mischief Will woke up to go to the bathroom. I watched from the bottom of the stairs as he wandered into the bathroom, turned on the light, peed, washed his hands, turned off the light and got back into bed. All without noticing any of the leprechaun's recent activities. This makes me wonder what else we could get away with in the middle of the night.

In the morning Bryce had an early church basketball game. He had told Will that he could go with him if he woke up on time. Will had been up the night before so, of course, he wasn't awake by 7:30 on Saturday morning. I heard him wake up shortly after Bryce left and he came running into our bedroom to tell us he was ready to go. I told him that Dad had already left. Total meltdown ensued. I sent him back to his room to cry and after about 5 minutes of crying I heard:...(long pause)...gasp!...gasp! And then he came tearing into my room saying "Mom! Look what a leprechaun did!" He woke up Sawyer and they discovered the "Will and Sawyer can't catch me!" note on the bathroom mirror. They took off downstairs to get their butterfly nets and spent the morning creating various traps.

The boys spent the day trying to find a leprechaun. I spent the day trying to convince them that maybe if they cleaned up the house it would be easier to see if there were any leprechauns hiding out in here. (Any opportunity to trick children into cleaning up I will take.)

We made another leprechaun trap cake as well as some pot roast with (supposedly) traditional Irish potato pancakes (boxtys) and mashed potato and cabbage dish (colcannon). I found the recipes online so I'm sure they are legit.

Before we had friends over for dinner we promised we would take the boys out leprechaun hunting. We gathered up some nets and drove around the neighborhood looking for mischief or anything green lurking about. When we drove past the church Bryce thought he saw something green dart past out of the corner of his eye. We let the boys out to investigate. And while they weren't quite fast enough to catch the little stinker they did find a pot of treasure! Will said "Hey! There's something over here! It's a pot! The leprechaun's pot!"

The boys were ecstatic. They were also a little worried that the leprechaun was going to be really, really mad. The pot is still being stored in our garage where they can keep an eye on it because they are convinced he will come try to take it back.

The pot has a striking similarity to one that has been in the flower bed in our front yard for the past 3 years, and which is now missing, but the boys haven't noticed its familiarity nor its absence. Makes me wonder what else could disappear and reappear as something new.

The boys were very excited to tell their friends, aunts, grandparents, etc. about their find, but they really were a little stressed that an angry leprechaun might come steal their money. Luckily we haven't had any go missing so far.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The Dog who Came in from the Cold (Corduroy Mansions, #2)The Dog who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These books are like bowls of chocolate ice cream: they always taste the same, but I could eat one every night.

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The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (8)The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing much happens, as usual. An easy, enjoyable read, as usual.

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La's Orchestra Saves the World

Some day I will post something besides my book reviews...which I only post so that I can remember that I've already read these books.

La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fans of Alexander McCall Smith might be surprised by this stand-alone novel. The tone is a significant departure from the lighthearted stories sprinkled with observations about human nature that I am used to from this author. The novel is well-written and enjoyable. The story takes place during WWII and while I wouldn't categorize it as a war story (war is more the backdrop), I must admit that the story line doesn't stand out in my memory as much as how it made me think about war. It boggles my mind that a generation had to live through not one, but two, devastating wars where your daily stresses included realities such as "I wonder if a bomb will land on my home and kill my family today or if I'll ever see my sons again?" in addition to the usual "What shall I make for dinner?"

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Monday, January 30, 2012


I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a WomanI Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Funny, readable, and largely relatable despite the differences between my stay-at-home mom life and the author's movie exec, monied, New York lifestyle. A book of humorous essays, most of which were previously published elsewhere. Clean, unlike a lot of "humor" these days.

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The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High SchoolThe Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book simply tells you what you already know and could have done so in about 10 pages. Summary: traits that make kids unpopular can be the same traits that later make adults unique, creative, innovative, great leaders etc. The author calls this idea "quirk theory" and by coining the phrase seems to want to claim this discovery as her own. On the way we find out that people's personalities don't change that much as they grow up, that the so-called, self-proclaimed popular kids aren't really very happy, and that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade your social standing in high school. But if you went to high school you already knew all that. I couldn't read more than a chapter at a time as the writing style is very dry and much of the anecdotes and dialogue seemed forced and unnatural.

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The Saturday Big Tent Wedding PartyThe Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An easy read. I always feel like I've had a short visit with old friends when I read McCall Smith.

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Corduroy Mansions (Corduroy Mansions, #1)Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As always the author delivers a quick and easy light-hearted read. If you have read his other series you will find yourself mixing up the Corduroy Mansions characters with their doppelgangers in his other books.

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am curious if there will be a sequel to this book because it just ends. The plot builds throughout the book and then reaches a crisis in the last few pages and there is not much resolution to the story. The story itself was interesting although I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half. The most interesting part of this book was the note that all of the photographs are real photographs found by the author or borrowed from other sources. The photographs add a unique element to the book and the author is skilled at creating an eerie mood.

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A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was actually surprised to find that this is classified as Young Adult literature- not because there is inappropriate or explicitly mature material, but rather because the story centers on so many adult themes: class distinction, poverty, human relations, and essentially all the reasons that people do the things they do. I think the essay at the beginning of the edition I read explained it well when it said that is it hard to describe what the book is about. It isn't about much of anything really, but it is also about everything. All the major events that happen in a life happen through Francie's eyes. There is a reason it is a classic.

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NurtureShock: New Thinking About ChildrenNurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my favorite of all the parenting books I've read...and it isn't a parenting book at all! You won't find any advice on how to get little Jonny to stay in bed or to clean up his toys, but it will make you rethink your most basic parenting actions. Although the book is largely a report on various studies, it is very readable and interesting.

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Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 DaysHave a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days by Kevin Leman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found many of the author's techniques helpful. I agree that a parent's job is to be a parent first and foremost and not to concentrate on being your child's friend. The writing is readable and interesting. I appreciated the anecdotes and humor. I think the main failing of this book is that the author doesn't provide alternatives for when the techniques don't work, he simply states that they will work! For example, he suggests that if you are shopping and you tell your child it is time to leave you should say it once and then walk away and don't look over your shoulder or wait. He states that your child will quickly run to catch you when they realize that you are leaving. Well, that may work with some children, but after trying it this weekend I can state that my boys did not care AT ALL that they had been left behind...even after leaving the building and waiting 15 minutes for them to decide they had been left. At that point it wasn't really feasible to leave small children alone any longer and I had to go retrieve them. This is one example of his "guaranteed to work" techniques that do not always work. I also just plain disagreed with some of the material such as the idea that a shy child is a selfish child who is just using shyness as way to gain power and manipulate others. I think that while some children may pretend to be shy in order to draw attention to themselves, many children are actually introverted by nature and it is not fair to force them to play with others or to suggest that they are being selfish if they would prefer to play by themselves. I could go on, but I will end here and in summary say that he has some useful advice, but, let's face it, no one has all the answers when it comes to raising kids!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1 point to the Mom

I think I beat my kids today. Not that kind of beat. I mean, I think I was victorious in a major battle of the wills. The wills of Will and Sawyer vs. the will of Mom.

We have a daily problem that strikes at 5 o'clock. The boys decide they want to eat. By this point in the day, they've already had breakfast, lunch, and snack (plus second breakfast and second lunch in Sawyer's case). They aren't suffering from undernourishment. Five p.m. hits and they start scrounging through the fridge and raiding the pantry and all the while I'm yelling "STAY. OUT. OF. THE. FOOD. Dad is going to be home and we are going to have dinner. Get out of the kitchen!" We do this every day. Including today.

Today: Will opens the fridge. I tell him to close the fridge. He stands there, fridge open. I tell him to close the fridge and get out of the food. Will takes out an apple. I tell him to put it back and close the fridge. He takes a bite of the apple. I tell him he has 2 seconds to put the apple away and close the fridge. He hides behind the counter and continues to eat the apple. I tell him to put the apple down and now he has to go to his room. He darts to the stairs, but not quickly enough to conceal that he has the apple hidden under his shirt. I tell him to get back down here and put the apple down and then get back up to his room and not to come out until dinner is on the table. Screaming ensues.

In case you are wondering why I didn't physically take away the apple at any point in this process it is because I was on the couch feeding the baby = my boys think it is total free reign time to do whatever they want because Mom won't get up and stop them.

So Will goes up to his room and screams and kicks the floor and cries and comes out every 2 minutes with a pathetic show of "Can I puhleeeeeaassee come down now?" I tell him he won't be coming out until dinner is on the table.

Meanwhile, Sawyer, lest you think he is innocent, has also been ignoring my instructions to stay out of the fridge. He has removed a cheese stick and is hiding under the kitchen table and cutting it open with scissors.

I would also like to note that I offered them both apples and cheese sticks when Will got home from school and they responded by pretending to gag and proclaimed these options to be disgusting.

Bryce gets home. Will is still howling in his room. I make dinner for us and set it on the table. Will's seat has a plate and the only thing on the plate is a suspiciously familiar apple that is missing several bites. Sawyer's seat has a plate with an unwrapped cheese stick on it. I told everyone to come to dinner.

Now I will admit that the expression of surprise, followed by confusion, followed by sheer horror that played across their faces was pretty much the best thing I've seen all week. Will cried. Sawyer screamed and shouted that he wasn't eating it and that cheese sticks are disgusting and that he wanted salad. He's an odd child. Will cried. Sawyer smashed his cheese stick with the handle of a toy gun and screamed. Will cried. Bryce and I ate our dinner and ignored them.

And you know what? They eventually stopped crying and screaming and ate. Will ate the apple that was now "disgusting" because the places he had already bit had turned brown. Sawyer ate the smashed cheese stick. Then Will made himself peanut butter and jelly and Sawyer got himself a plate of salad.

I think I won.

Like, I seriously beat them. +1 to Mom

And I once had to lick spray Cheez Whiz off of the back steps of my childhood home, so really, I think they got off easy. -10 to Erin