Monday, December 14, 2009

All Thumbs

There are times where this Mommy Gig is truckin' along smoothly and I feel like I have a handle on things. Daniel is having a blast at preschool, I'm staying on top of projects, carving out time for H and I, finding time for me and some friends.

Yet somehow the end of the year is tinged with this scramble/trying to keep up feeling. The weather is colder and I am trying hard not to hibernate. The four year old is full of bounding boy-energy, all sweetness one minute and contrary the next. I'm still hunting for picky-eater meal solutions. And dressing for the cold/heading out to preschool took an interesting turn the other day when he put his mittens on backwards. His pinkies were actually in the thumbs of his mittens, and he was struggling to pick something up. He absolutely, positively insisted that this was the way the mittens went and nothing I could do would convince him otherwise.

Mom of a four year old mantra: "Pick your battles. Pick your battles." Repeat often.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Simply put, I'm a bit of a couch potato.

No, I take that back. I don't shy away from active things, but I prefer them to be activities themselves. I grew up water skiing and swimming, riding bikes and ice skating, playing softball... one of my favorite Christmas memories is the year the entire family got cross-country skis and that became a family activity for awhile.

Even though I know I need to exercise, talk to me about going to the gym or running or something and I can feel my shoulders go into an automatic shrug. It's just not all that appealing. (H, on the other hand, gets grouchy if he can't work out at least every other day.) So I was a little bit surprised to find myself at a local dance studio recently with a few friends to give Zumba a try.

I was even more surprised to find - I think I like it! Latin and international music, combined with (mostly) easy to follow moves - Zumba keeps my heart rate up. I feel good and energized when the hour is over. Even better, our energetic instructor is low-key and very adaptable and encouraging. I like the reassurance that if I'm having trouble with a move to, "Just shake it! Move to the beat! Have fun!"

Me and my lack of rhythm may have actually found a workout routine. Yay!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bits O' Grace

1. Fall days that reach 67 degrees!
2. Mommy friends from my now, sadly, defunct Family Network. You ladies save my sanity...
3. Zumba! So refreshing to get moving...
4. Early morning snuggles with the four year old.
5. Testing myself on Cash Cab trivia.

Monday, November 02, 2009


1. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!
2. Snuggling into Daniel when he came to our room and climbed into bed in the early am.
3. The bluest sky.
4. The crunch of leaves underfoot on a crisp day.
5. Tex-Mex shepherd's pie followed by a chaser of limeade.

November seems like the perfect month to revisit Grace-full Mondays, inspired by 365 Days of Grace.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Underwater Adventure

Our fishy saga continues. One of the two guppies went belly-up awhile back. I've been content to sit back with the one fish, so imagine my shock when there was a new crop of little fry several weeks later. Remembering the disappearance of the last batch of babies, we scooped about a dozen out into a little bowl that sits on the counter in the kitchen. The ones remaining in the tank seemed to disappear after a bit.

Peering into the tank a week or so ago I discovered at least four more babies. Either they were very good at hiding from the carnage, or Mama Guppy had a few more!

Can a fish be perpetually pregnant? How long are guppy pregnancies anyway? I've been thinking of reintroducing the babies as they get a bit larger and hopefully some will make it. In the meantime I'm just grateful that I haven't had to explain to my little man why the fish he named Daniel keeps having offspring!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So first my Yahoo email address got hacked. Highly embarrassing, and many apologies to anyone who has had any email contact with me whatsoever.

Now in the midst of this past week of single parenting with H out of town, I come down with yet again The Cough That Won't Quit. I was checking out at a store this morning and could hardly get a breath for the coughing. The poor clerk was sympathetic, but I have visions of her sanitizing everything as soon as I walked out the door.


This week has been hard. I'm off to hug my pillow and fantasize about ghost cupcakes landing on my doorstep.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Complaint Department

So we've been doing this potty-training thing, and it's going swimmingly during the daytime. We're still working on the whole dry at night thing, and so I popped a Pull-up on Daniel the other evening before getting his PJs on. He proceeded to get a rather odd look on his face, and start itching at first one leg and then the other. I finally peeked, only to see strips of what looked almost like packing tape on the leg elastics of the Pull-up.

Huh? And I've actually pulled two out of this package with the same problem. Where in the past, I might have simply thrown away defective product I am going to sit down and write a (nicely worded) complaint email to Huggies/Kimberly-Clark.

The Internet is a great tool for this. Where in the past, the complaint process could be laborious and time-consuming Internet communication greatly shortens the distance between company and consumer. I've had two instances over the past several years, both food-related, where I felt a complaint was in order. I bought a tub of margarine once, only after a knife-full or two I discovered a hollowed out air bubble in the center. Enough of the margarine was gone, that I felt I had not gotten what I paid for. In another case I bought some cookies-n-cream ice cream. Got it home, to find two tiny cookie bits in a sea of vanilla. Again, nothing wrong with the ice cream - but certainly not what I'd paid for. Both times, after inquiring emails to the companies, I received apologies and coupons for free product. Over and above that, I had the feeling of being heard and certainly a stronger inclination to give these companies' products another try.

I'm off to start writing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

From the too cute files...

Daniel gets into a lot of play-acting: superheroes of all kinds, firemen, policemen. A park near us put in loads of new play structures recently, one of which is shaped like a fire truck. The whole area is peppered with bells that the kids can ring by stomping on them. He spent a good portion of our afternoon there yesterday stomping and ringing and yelling "Fire!" and then racing for the fire truck.

After watching some cop shows with Daddy, Daniel started talking about how he's going to: "Put handcups on you!"

Handcups. It's too cute! I haven't the heart to correct it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello, SuperNanny?

Just spent several days in meltdown-land with the four year old, and I'm really looking for a map or an arrow or a guide or a big freakin' neon sign or something to point me out of this minefield. We seem to have crossed more firmly into the realm of Daniel wanting to do everything himself. I love the independence he is showing, and I certainly do admire his persistence. If only I could do something about his frustration level.

It could be anything that sets it off. Getting his socks on, the building blocks that won't go together, wanting dessert when he hasn't eaten his meal yet (and of course being told no!). And woe betide me if I offer help, or even just directions. Trying to move things along by say, implying that if the socks and shoes are not on then you can't meet your friend Marisa at the library just transfers the storm. Instead of wailing about the socks I get wailing about NOOO! I WANT TO GOOOO!

Other responses run the gamut of ignoring him (made all the more difficult when the aforementioned wailing involves much clutching of Mommy's legs) to picking him up and removing him bodily from a situation. Or in the case of being at home, plunking him in his room and shutting the door for a time out.

Maybe it's a school adjustment? He's been a champ at preschool, and I've talked to some folks who have suggested that some kids expend so much energy being "on" and "good" at school that they do a bit of a fall-apart when they get home in a safe environment. I'm not sure yet. I just want to get back to some cheery interaction with my kid.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Full Day

Finally got in for Daniel's four-year appointment a bit belatedly. I wasn't really realizing that we would be getting three shots today. You'd think I'd be a wee bit immune what with all the pokes kids get but his pain still drives me immediately to tears.

On the flip side, I'm still tickled at my little chatterbox telling the doctor all about school and his teacher Miss Katie and firetrucks and I like the red ones and the green ones - the green ones are the airport fire trucks, you know. And then he held up the toy dinosaur that he had brought with him and proclaimed that there are no more dinosaurs - They're all stinked!

Shots wiped the both of us out a bit, and so it was only after a nap that we hit the park to enjoy the glorious Fall day. A little boy around Daniel's age popped up and said What's your name? Daniel.

What's your name? Matt.

Let's play together! And the two proceeded to chase around and around the playground for the rest of the afternoon. Loving my little social butterfly!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Remembering - and onward...

Things were a whirl yesterday. Like so many, September 11th gives me pause. A flashbulb moment, we all have recollections of what we were doing that day.

I was an executive assistant at a B2B publishing company outside of Boston. My early-bird routine had become established once I had married in 2000 and moved westerly. Getting on the road early eased my commute, gave me some time in the office without distraction and enabled me to get a bit of a jump on my demanding boss. Thus I was already at work as events began to unfold. Time has blurred things just a bit, and I don't recall the first indications of something wrong. I remember hopping on the Internet, moving from news site to news site trying to get updates. Staying on the line with the terrified wife of one of our sales reps - she knew her husband was traveling that day, but did not know his itinerary. The relief as we tracked him down. The hush in the office. Thinking of colleagues in New York. Someone had pulled a TV into the atrium so that anyone who stopped in could keep up with any televised news. The shock of realizing that two gentlemen who had dinner with my boss the evening before had lost their lives on Flight 11.

I struggle to find a balance. I have many moments where I want to go on a "media diet" of sorts. Forgo any news of the economy, of 9/11, of the thefts and murders and horrible things that go on in the world. Balance. To never forget, and yet to not have the awfulness that is out there pull me down like quicksand.

It is eight years later, and my world is different in so many ways. I am a stay at home Mom of a beautiful little boy. And this year on September 11th he ventured out to his first day of preschool. I choose to look at the world with the same hope and excitement I saw on my little boy's face yesterday.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All in an 8 Gallon Tank

Condo living limits our available space, options - and often even a desire to have a pet. Daniel got a fish tank for his birthday from Grandma and Grandpa. Setting it up has felt a bit like an exercise in how to do everything wrong. Put the fish in too soon, whoops - we're supposed to have a heater? Two out of four fish croaked by the first morning.

Lucky for me we haven't had them long enough for any real attachments to develop... Had the two remaining guppies for a week or two, and while I've been trying very hard not to overfeed them I couldn't help but think they were acting strangely. Steeling myself to find them belly-up in the near future I went to feed them the other day. Only to find a mini-cloud of nine little fish babies buzzing around the tank! I pointed them out to Daniel, but when I went to peek at the tank after lunch the whole lot of itty-bitties were gone. Apparently they were yummy? Ack!

Daniel puzzled over things when my parents lost their dog Sophie. We even had our own (imaginary) dog named Sophie who came to hang out with us for awhile. I'm just grateful to have skimmed over the hard questions on this one so far... but the guppies are still acting strangely.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hurricane D

Before I had Daniel, if anyone had ever told me that my kid could make me cry frustrated, upset, angry tears I probably would have laughed. Little did I know! After a particularly harrowing afternoon of the two of us at odds over every... single... cotton-pickin'... thing... I finally sat on my bed for a good sob. Something had to give, and apparently it was me in that moment. Up until my little man stopped his own fussing to meekly walk in and hand me a tissue.

Recently had some strides on the potty-training front. Great ones - but we have hit this sort of middle-ground, impasse: Peeing on the potty like a champ, yet insisting on a Pull-up for any other business. No amount of bribery is swaying him. Talks excitedly of when he will get this or that (currently a Star Wars figure), but when it comes to the moment it's a Pull-up or no go. Any tips from folks who have been there about how to get past this?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Heebie Jeebies

I don't get icked-out much. Probably a good thing in my house full of testosterone. When I was little, my brother and I used to go frog hunting with flashlights at night. In summer, the kiddie pool was often leaning against the house, and if you flipped it over the little buggers were usually hopping everywhere. Picking 'em up was a guarantee that at least one would pee in your hands. We caught turtles, dug for worms... I used to go fishing with my Grandpa and my Dad and could bait a hook. They taught me how to get fish off the line too.

Bugs give me trouble. I've been avoiding the humongous spider that has been lurking in the eaves at the corner of our garage. The recent torrential rains took down the web, but it's a determined bugger and was back today. Finally got a broom and tried to swipe everything down this afternoon. First time Daniel has been treated to a screeching Mama doing the heebie jeebie dance. I'm not sure he knew what to think! I'm trying not to transfer my phobia to him, but this one is tough... ever faced down a bug you're scared to squish?

Enough talk. Skin is crawling. Off to think happy thoughts!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Preschool is coming! A first for our household. We've talked up school, visited the classroom. We've even driven by any number of times, and Daniel has often pointed out: That's my school. Now that we are in the final days, I suddenly hear:

Will Marisa be there? (No.)

Will you and Daddy be there? (No.)

I don't want to go to school! I don't want to go there alone!

Urk! What do I do? He's usually pretty fearless when it comes to activities and classes and such. Tae Kwon Do has been something new, which doesn't include any of his best buds. Of course he also knows that I don't leave while that class is going on.

I'm off to calm my racing heart/head and think up reassuring thoughts/phrases regarding school. Any advice from those of you who have done this?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Early Riser

It used to be that I got up early to get some early morning "me" time before the Mom stuff started. Summer has defeated that as Daniel has an innate internal clock that seem to tell him the moment we have daylight. Typical rising time is 6/6:30am, even with blackout curtains in the room!

I don't remember having too many food throwing battles when Daniel was younger. I suppose it is always possible that I blocked them from memory, but the battle has always been will he or won't he eat it vs. where is it going to land. So why, now when he knows better, do I get him upending his (luckily dry) cereal bowl on the carpet before handing it to me?

Our town has a hot air balloon festival this morning. Close enough to wave, and chat with - these folks barely cleared our chimney!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Mommy Survivor Mode

I was reading something this morning that referred to this as "the summer that wasn't." At least here in New England, the temperature has only recently climbed to a point where I'm switching on the AC. And still we battle the rains - some massive storms moved through our area just yesterday. I'm starting to read about local farmers battling problems like tomato blight due to the excess water as well.

H spent a week out of town, which sent me into a tizzy of Must Stay Busy with the little guy. It was exhausting, but mostly successful with playdates and pool/splash park/beach visits where the weather allowed. And Daniel has sort of settled into his Tae Kwon Do class and seems to be enjoying it. Standing still and minding the teacher are new concepts - but good practice for preschool in the Fall. He even earned a "stripe" on his belt for doing a front snap kick!

H's return sort of coincided with Daniel's getting a summer cold, however, and it is just the slightest bit crazy-making for me. He is beside himself with the runny nose, screeching "My nose!" every 2.3 minutes and needing it wiped. Which is leading to a sore nose, naturally, of which there is no cure. Horrible Mommy that I am, I'm eventually just walking away as the din wears at my patience and he allows no comforting.

ALERT! Potential potty breakthrough! He just interrupted my writing to say that he needed to go use the potty! This is a HUGE departure from my begging/pleading/cajoling/bribing him into trips to the potty. I'm off to see what's up in my bathroom... Happy August everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The "I Don't Wannas"

Whoo, that was a trip yesterday.

I've been considering signing Daniel up for a kids martial arts class for some time. Found one I thought I liked, and we moved a little bit slowly. Just went and watched a class one visit. The next time, we could try one out without paying so he participated in his street clothes. He said he wanted to do it, would wear the uniform, etc. so Tuesday was his first official class and the second one was Friday/yesterday. And he wigged out. Shrieking about how he didn't want to wear this (uniform), didn't want to go, please listen to me! At top volume. I gave him my best bland face, didn't get mad, but bundled him into the car anyway. Commotion the whole way there.

To be fair, I think a couple of things were going on. He napped late, and I pretty much had to wake him to go to class. Naps have been all over the board lately. They could happen at any time, and could be a) a two hour affair b) a 15 minute power nap or c) nothing at all. Makes it hard to plan some days. Being woken up, popped in your uniform and hustled to the car probably doesn't put you in a good frame of mind. He's also been a bit shy lately around strange men. Tuesday's class, while he did fine in it, also had two older (teenage) students (guys) who were helping and who towered over the little tykes. Everything went fine, but I started to wonder if he felt a little intimidated. The usual helper is a girl, and the instructor is also a woman.

A little bribery of an ice cream after class ensued. (He responded with: Ice cream first! - nice try, kid...) With a bit of sniffling, we got him into class and once there he hopped around and seemed to enjoy it.

Technically yes, coming to a class like this is optional. I guess I feel like we committed to this, and I want him to at least see it through the 8 week session and then decide if he wants to continue. There are going to be plenty of things coming up where he will have no choice but to continue - we start preschool in the fall, for example. How do you deal with the "I don't wannas?"

Photo courtesy of: AP An Oscar Mayer Weinermobile crashed into a home in Mt. Pleasant WI yesterday...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Do you have a memory of being lost/separated from your parents when you were little? At the mall? An amusement park?

I can't think of too many. But I do remember getting on the school bus - I think it must have been first grade, and I was new to the whole bus thing. The ride was OK, school went OK... and then I walked out the front door at the end of the day to find an endless row of school buses. I can remember a sinking feeling and a sudden jolt of fear. I had no idea which one was mine. How would I ever get home?

Weather has been a bit nicer, and we had a beach day in York, Maine recently. Daniel loves to run to the water, and back. It's way too cold for much actual swimming to be going on... but there's lots of running and digging in the sand. At one point I watched as he ran to the water, spun - and started marching off down the beach in the opposite direction from where we were sitting. I heard some family members speculating that he was going to check out the sandcastle that this little girl was building. But something about his body language struck me and I thought: He doesn't see us. If you think about it, turn yourself around a couple times on a huge beach full of people and it could be pretty easy to lose track. I took off after him, finally yelling his name. He turned, and it's at that point I saw his face crumple as he started to cry. He was scared.

He seems to be over it now. But it's me who still gets a little squeeze of the heart every time I think about it. And I'm now wondering about how to have the discussions about what to do if you get lost, and stranger danger, and so on without freaking out the 3.5 year old (or Mommy) in the process.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Lickety Split

We've been enjoying a break, visiting my family in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Basking in family time with Daniel's Grandparents, and Uncle Andy and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins. Good food, beautiful area, loads of activities... fireworks, a Fourth of July parade, trips to the park and the beach. And bedtime seems to have gone by the wayside. Our return to a regular home routine may be interesting in the days to come. But it sure has been fun!
I was fussing over something or other during my trip - can't even remember what it was at this point, just that something didn't look right. My Mother said that her quilt group in Elkhart Lake has what they call the Galloping Horse Rule. Can whatever you think is wrong - in their instance some bit of work on a current quilt - be seen from a galloping horse? If not, move along...

I think I like it. I may start adapting this to other areas of my life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So I was reading something online the other day that pretty much said that 15 of the last 22 days around here have involved rain. It's damp when I get up, wet when I go out, drippy when I go to sleep. Throw in some general overcast gloominess that has me turning on the lights in the middle of the day and I feel like I'm frantically paddling to get my mood upstream at the moment.

This was not helped by landing in the hospital again last Friday/Saturday. Part of this was planned. During my last emergency visit in early May they left a stent behind. This endoscopic procedure was to remove the stent, and darn near everyone assured me I was going home. One of the first things to make it through my fluttery, coming-out-of-anesthesia brain was the little tidbit that they were keeping me until Saturday.

Apparently they found more pieces of the gallstone, did a balloon sweep to get those out, incisions to widen the duct further... all of which necessitated my sticking around to be watched. I remember just crumpling. It was suggested I treat it as a rest break, and I tried. But reality is sharing a room, sharing a bathroom, curling up in bed with an IV in my arm. I just wanted home and family.

Daniel seems to take these interruptions in stride. He asks after me, but they keep putting me up in the pediatric ward which has a toy room - which is quite naturally pretty interesting to a 3.5 year old.

I'm now home - bruised up and sore, but doing OK. No food/diet or activity restrictions. And so very ready to be done with this whole thing. Sunshine is coming, I know it is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Brain on Summer

Summer, feh! I've got no excuses, really. June has been cool to cold, and raining. I bought Daniel a Slip-N-Slide to try this year, but in the grand tradition of experiencing drought as soon as you buy a kid some rainboots we have yet to use it. Where is my summer???

My scattered summer brain has started and stopped a number of blog posts that couldn't seem to get beyond a "cliff's notes" stage. Like:

- Driver beware! At least in Massachusetts, the state police are pulling over cars to enforce the "move over" law. (If there are police, emergency personnel, etc. at the side of the road you are obligated to move to farther lanes.) I understand the law, but man did we fall into a ticket trap last week.

-Must find more activities for the 3.5 year old this summer! If we are leaving one activity, he wants to know where we are going next. I find him running laps of our tiny deck when we are at home. Any recommendations?

-Tickled to find the Retro TV Network on one of the random Comcast stations that I don't usually frequent. Magnum PI/vintage Tom Selleck has helped me wind down the past few nights after the kiddo is in bed. Anyone want to volunteer a favorite vintage TV show that you can't help but watch? Particularly one you haven't seen for awhile?

Tonight I am off to a Thirty-One purse party with the girls, and to perhaps drink a margarita. Hopefully to usher in SUMMER!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Relishing the Dirt

Some days I marvel, and wonder what would I do without the Internet. I can hop online and find the phone number for my mechanic (urrgh, yes, the car needs more fixing.). Or I can map out the route to that new bookstore that has a story hour that Daniel might like. A bit of information overload led to my finally discovering and (somewhat) mastering the art of using a feed reader to keep up with posts on my favorite blogs and stay a bit organized.

In an effort to keep my own little corner of the Internet organized, I have been keeping a separate blog at Relishing the Dirt. Accessible via the top tabs here, it is where you will find tips, advice, giveaways and reviews. I enjoy passing along fun products we've tried, like the Build-a-Bear Workshop or telling you about the new breadmaker I've been trying out. Or even giving you the heads-up about funky contests that have tickled my fancy - like guessing Mrs. Butterworth's first name. Recently I was contacted by about doing a product review. They sell items as varied as kids bedroom furniture, decor and a multitude of playthings. They look like a good spot to do some hunting for that perfect item for your kid. Stop by! I hope to have more good things soon!

Sunday, June 07, 2009


H has been setting me free for some bits of "me time" lately, and I must say that it has been kind of delicious. There was a night out with the Moms at the local pub, that involved many drinks, munchies and lots of laughs. Pamela and I spent another night feeding our girlie sci-fi geek selves by seeing the new Star Trek movie. (Go see it! Great action! Excellent cast!)

Hoping to grab some outdoor fun today. Perhaps the beaches of York, Maine again. Daniel loves to run on the sand, in the wind, jump the waves. I grew up by Michigan lakes, and love the water. While I find the Maine coast a bit cold for my taste (see: jumping into an ice bath) - I do enjoy strolling the beach and breathing in the salty spray.

Wishing you a Sunday - and a summer - chock full of your own blissful moments.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Feel the Burn

One of my favorite shows returns tonight, 9pm. Burn Notice features sexy, savvy characters, and lots of fun spy stuff mixed with a healthy dose of humor. It's actually shot in Miami, and the city itself lends lots of flavor to the show. If you haven't caught it already, check it out! I can't wait!

Monday, May 25, 2009


I learned to type on a real, honest-to-goodness typewriter. I'm occasionally finding it a bit disconcerting as I watch my 3.5 year old zoom around playing computer games with Diego or the Backyardigans. He's become pretty adept with the mouse, and even remembers where to click off and on various pages and how to print! There are so many things that I grew up with, that my kid may never see (except for Mommy reminiscing): Real LPs (heck, even cassette tapes), VHS (remember your first VCR?). The list goes on. Just another of those Mommy Moments where I wonder: Where has my baby gone?

Reading: Just finished The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. A mystery set in Salem, MA about a woman with a gift - a seer - and her unique family. I have a soft spot for books set in familiar places, and Salem is a wonderful place to visit.

Listening: Free* by Jim's Big Ego. Erin introduced me to Boston's folk music scene, and JBE is a long-time favorite. They used to do a big Halloween show every year at Club Passim where audience and band members alike showed up in costume. Great music with a quirky sense of humor. Great fun!

Watching: Many shows are gone for the summer (LOST, Heroes) or gone for good (Battlestar Galactica, Terminator:TSCC). I've recently been enjoying In Plain Sight, and Burn Notice is back in early June - Yay!

Hoping to see: Pamela, my sci-fi partner in crime, and I are trying to carve time out of our schedules to get out to see the new Star Trek. It looks fabulous!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Picking my battles

I try hard these days to be choosy about my battles with my increasingly opinionated preschooler. Issues involving safety are non-negotiable. You must take my hand in this parking lot, and crossing the street! But I try to let go of the fact that he finds a total of three shirts acceptable for wearing at the moment...

We were poring through the library yesterday which always involves videos and kids books, and an occasional item for Mommy too. It was a little disconcerting to have him emerge from the stacks with a Star Wars novel that you might find me reading on the beach. No amount of discussion could sway him from his opinion that this was his Star Wars book. I shrugged my shoulders, figuring What the heck? and checked the thing out. I figure he can have fun looking at the soldier on the cover until our next trip to the library.

I did get an odd look from the children's librarian later when he proudly showed his book off to her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eagle Eye

The kid notices everything.

A few weeks ago we were out to dinner with some friends. We'd been seated sort of in the "pub" area, which was fine as smoking vs. non is no longer a consideration on these outings. Daniel started loudly voicing that he wanted to see Scooby-Doo. Glancing around the room, I realized that every other table or so came equipped with small screen TVs. (I suspect for Keno, but they played shows too...). We were under a large-screen TV that was blasting sports or news or somesuch... and across the room was a young family with Scooby on for their kids.

Today, H gave me the Mother's Day gift of time. He whisked Daniel away on a boys-only outing for a few hours, leaving me to do whatever I wished around the house. When they returned, H reported that Daniel, while driving through a town he had never been in before, piped up with: I think you work there.

When H turned his head, he realized that the building said: US Post Office. I can only guess that he must have spotted the emblem or something.

I'm going to scratch the kid's eyesight off my list of worries, that's for sure!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Stones Strike Back

Where I've been. Let's see.

There was that little matter two years ago of finding out that my year and a half of intestinal distress was being caused by gallstones. I had them take that gallbladder out, surgery, recovery, and things have been trucking along mostly fine.

Flash forward two years and minor pain last Saturday plus major pain last Sunday equals one trip to the emergency room.

Did you know that you can have stones stuck in a duct, even minus your gallbladder? Yup, new one for me too.

There were tests, calls to the GI (No, your symptoms aren't consistent with a stone...) only to have a CAT Scan say that yup, indeedy I was carrying around a boulder and my body had had enough. The endoscopic procedure uncovered a stone large enough that the doctor was very surprised that I had had no trouble before now. They pretty much had to crush it up, and put in a stent to help keep everything cleaned out and moving.

I didn't get to eat or drink until Tuesday. Can I just say that you never see more food commercials on TV than when you can't have anything yourself?

I'm on the mend, and getting back into the swing of things. I'm due back in a few weeks to have the stent taken out, and hopefully that will be the end of my intestinal saga.

Just to make sure the weekend was very interesting, we got the phone call while I was in the hospital that my nephew was in a very serious car accident on Sunday, the same day that I was admitted. Please join us in prayers for his speedy and complete recovery.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's the little things...

1. Cold iced tea.
2. While I'm scratching my head a bit over the fact that we seem to have skipped Spring (it's due to be 90-something here tomorrow) - I am enjoying this lovely warm weather.
3. The weight of my little man, heavy on my shoulder in the rocking chair.
4. Watching Suzanne's little man Owen delight in his new-found walking ability.
5. Listening to Daniel's animated stories of knights, and the birthday party that he and Daddy made for his cousin while I was away at a meeting this evening.

Zeroing in on those little spots of Grace in my life.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yesterday, in a museum not far from here...

It was Star Wars Day! We went to the Higgins Armory Museum - heaven for a knight-crazy three year old. A glass and steel building, the place is plastered with suits of armor, swords, shields and all manner of weaponry. On Saturday the invasion force consisted of stormtroopers from the Emperor's 501st Legion and members of the Rebellion. They were closely followed by loads of Star Wars crazy kids. There was a battle demonstration between a Jedi Knight and a Sith Lord, many costumed characters roaming the hallways for photo opportunities, and Daniel and his cousin Nicholas were thrilled to try on stormtrooper helmets.

Star Wars touched off my journey towards loving science fiction and many things "fantastic." I'm tickled to see Daniel enjoying it too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Grace-Full Monday

Read more: " Grace In Small Things: A Challenge For All Of Us" -

I love the idea of gratitude journals. They seem like the perfect antidote to the sadness or overwhelm I sometimes feel when I allow myself to be inundated with the awful news we see so often. I'd like to start doing this regularly. A graceful start to the week, if you like. Five bits of grace from my recent days:

1. Vanilla Bean Edy's Ice Cream, sprinkled in chocolate chips.
2. Losing myself in a favorite TV show (Heroes), snuggled under the down comforter.
3. My 3 year old, arms stretched wide to hug his ailing Daddy - and H's delighted face as he scooped him up for a hug.
4. Hanging out with friends Kim and Pete on Sunday. A day full of visits to the Old North Bridge, a Concord cemetery and a local Italian restaurant. In the process we saw a Redcoat re-enactor (Patriot's Day), and Louisa May Alcott's grave. And I got to try some delicious eggplant Parmesan.
5. Watching Daniel and his best bud Marisa zip up and down the play space at a local McD's while I got to chat with Alex.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Always an Adventure

It was a Happy Easter Sunday! We got to church for a beautiful service, and stopped for a visit with my mother in law and Daniel's Aunt and Uncles and Cousin.

Then came Daniel's encounter with Uncle Bruce's cactus plant. Actually, he was a trooper. After screeching and sniffling and waving his fingers at me he sat and let his fingers be soaked. Then Dr. Mom went to work with a magnifying glass and tweezers. It was one of those dastardly plants where the spines are so thin and fine that they are almost fuzzy. Many TLC band aids later we seem to be on the mend. Hopefully no plant-phobias are going to result!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Work? Less Work? About the Same?

I'm not sure if other stores have a similar program, but Daniel and I tried something a little different for our weekly Stop and Shop grocery run yesterday. Termed Scan It, you basically shop with a hand-held device, scanning your items and bagging as you go. Checking out then consists of handing over your scanner and coupons to the cashier, and paying while none of your items ever have to hit the belt in the checkout line.

I'm sort of undecided as to how I feel about the system.

Pros: The scanner keeps a running tally of items in your cart. Gone is estimating just how much money you are truly spending. Scan It-only discounts occasionally pop up on the device. (The loud Cha-Ching! when this happens had Daniel spinning, looking for the noise.) Once items are scanned and bagged, they are handled just the once and do not have to be unloaded at checkout.

Cons: The produce department is now unwieldy. If I'm buying a tomato, I have to weigh it, put it in a bag, print a sticker from the special scale, stick it to my tomato bag and then scan it. Luckily Daniel was in a mood to simply ride along that day. If he had decided to be contrary about something (anything) it would have been that much harder to focus my attention on the work I was doing. If I were a Mom with multiple kids in the store, forget it for the same reason.

I am willing to concede that I probably didn't pick the best day to try this system. It was a rainy Saturday just before Easter, and the store being chock-full with customers didn't help matters. For this reason, I'd like to try this again mid-week sometime. While it is nice to check out that much faster at the end, I'm not sure the trade-off with all the work I had to do up front made it worth it. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I wanna do it!

Don't help me!

Getting socks and shoes on to leave the house the other day turned into an adventure when Daniel had the socks upside down (thereby trying to jam his toes into the heel) and his frustration level was mounting. "Mom Help," is only acceptable on a case-by-case basis these days, and it turned out that this was not one of those.

We've been making some potty training strides which include shooing Mom out of the room so that he can take care of everything himself. I'm all for encouraging the I Can Do It attitude, but I suddenly heard a wail at the start of yesterday's pit stop. He'd forgotten the potty ring, and executed a perfect splashdown! I couldn't help chuckling as we got everything cleaned up. Ah, preschool independence!

Friday, April 03, 2009

I need some good news...

I am planning a moratorium on news-gathering for awhile. It seems everywhere I turn it's war and families imploding (and just plain killing themselves and each other.) Or it's information about the economy ("The sky is falling!") and it comes time for us to pay the bills and I start to hyperventilate a little...

I want to not complain and not be tired. Spring is here, and I want to concentrate on afternoons like yesterday when I got to run through the park and watch H push Daniel on the swings and help him throw rocks off the park bridge into the water below. I wish there was a store like BabyCakes just a little bit closer, so Daniel and I could take walks and stop in for a small treat. Goodness knows we all need more small treats these days.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We can't seem to get away from the "sicknesses" at the moment. First it was the stomach bug that swept through the household. Now the 3.5 year old has a stuffy/runny nose with the associated horrid cough that is keeping him up nights. He's annoying the heck out of himself (and anyone within a decent radius) with the midnight coughing and periodic rising to bleat like a distressed baby goat every few hours. I feel badly that he's sick, and feeling miserable and all, but the lack of sleep is starting to take a toll. The only solution thus far has been a dose of Tylenol, and my crashing with him on the couch. Virtually guaranteeing that I'm next on the list for the runny nose/cough convention.

And in probably unrelated news. I cannot figure out how the remote control to our VCR has disappeared for MONTHS. We live in a condo. How many places could it be?? And I am now missing a library book. Not a skinny children's book, which always seems to slide under the sofa with amazing speed. This is one of mine, in the hundreds of pages. I just renewed it, so I've got two weeks to find and read the darn thing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We have been doing a library story time on Fridays. I was a bit nervous at first, as my little guy is not one of those kids known for sitting still. But we've been trucking along steadily - it's a story, and the kids do a little craft related to the story of the day and they come out with their craft and a treat. He has a few friends that go, and there are Moms I like and can chat with and hang out with... We've signed up and done several sessions now.

So I was a bit befuddled last Friday when the childrens' librarian stopped to talk to me, and to his friend Marisa's Mom about their behavior during the story time. Short version is that Daniel won't leave Marisa alone, and eventually she starts to squirm and act out in response. As we don't do daycare or preschool, it's my first real experience getting a "report card" of sorts on my kid, and so I was feeling a bit unsure how to react. Everything has happened very nicely and with utmost consideration, don't get me wrong. Last Friday the librarian had Daniel come up to be her "page turner" during story time - separating him from his problem behavior, without making it really a negative event. I think the thing that has me scratching my head is that they say this has been going on for awhile, and I guess I would have hoped to hear about it sooner.

So I had a talk with Daniel on Friday. He kept insisting that he needed to tell Marisa something when I talked about sitting and listening to the story like the other kids. I plan to have another talk with him next Friday before story time. I may sit in to see what is going on, and if necessary remove him I suppose. I'm trying to keep to logical consequences, if he can't behave then he will either not come to story time at all, or he will have to come to a separate one from his friends. I'm struggling with how to direct my spirited kid...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Loads of Hope

In December, my area was hit by an ice storm. While there were many, many people hit worse than my family - I am still struck remembering the helpless feeling about how to get heating, cook meals, reach out for help... clean clothes certainly were out of the question. We had no idea when power was going to resume. We were lucky to get electricity back after some 13 hours. For some people it was days - not to mention the property damage, and other fallout.

P&G and Blogher are trying to get the word out about efforts to raise money via T-Shirt sales to support families that are affected by disaster in this one-of-a-kind program. The shirts are vintage-looking and support a great cause. Shirts can be purchased through this link:

From Tide's Loads of Hope Website:

Tide Loads of Hope helps in the aftermath of a natural disaster by providing clean clothes and a sense of comfort to families in need. Partnering with Feeding America, we travel to disaster affected neighborhoods with the Tide Loads of Hope truck or vans, our free mobile laundry service.

Where it all started: In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the need for clean clothing became critical, and Tide found a way to help. So in November 2005, the Tide Loads of Hope truck headed to Camp Hope in the Metairie, LA area and cleaned over 10,000 loads of laundry. The spirit of this first venture informs and inspires everything Tide Loads of Hope program does.

Tide Loads of Hope truck:
- 32 high-efficiency washers and dryers stationed on the truck
- Can do 300 wash and dry cycles a day -equal to one year's worth of laundry for a single family
- Will wash about 9,000 loads of laundry over a four-week period
- Leveraged during massive disasters where electricity is unavailable in the region

Tide Loads of Hope vans:
- In partnership with a local laundromat, the Tide Loads of Hope vans provide free laundry service at the same load rate as the trucks
- Leveraged during disasters where neighboring communities still have a source of electricity

To date: Tide Loads of Hope has washed more than 35,000 loads of laundry for over 20,000 families. Most importantly, the Tide Loads of Hope program means we're equipped to take action whenever and wherever there is a need in our country.

Tide Loads of Hope Vintage Tees: Tide Loads of Hope can also be supported through the purchase of a Tide Vintage Tee. All profits go to support families affected by disaster.


There's a wicked virus making the rounds right now. It felled me over a week ago, and took several days to pass. I thought we were in the clear, and then I was strolling the aisles of Wal-mart with Daniel last Sunday when I heard the ominous: My tummy hurts.


The kid's, shall we say choosy palate was working against us in finding something his system could tolerate while sick. And the only liquid he was willing to down at all was a juice that, while I questioned its value at least kept him hydrated. All in all, he soldiered through his first real stomach bug fairly well, and I think we're finally seeing the other side.

H woke up this morning fairly green, and I'm trying to work out strategies to keep Daniel away from Daddy. I guess not having everyone sick at exactly the same time makes it a bit more manageable... but exhaustion is starting to set in. And I'm just praying that this is the same bug I started with, because if I have to have another go round of this I am really going to cry foul.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kids and Recess

When I hit junior high and high school, there was a bit of a fiscal crunch going on. (Sound familiar?) The schools started trying new and creative ways to cut corners.

Our day began earlier, but eliminated one entire class period all together - if I remember right, we ended about 1:15pm. Study hall was gone. Many "electives" started going by the wayside, and even lunch got eliminated at one point. It was replaced by a "snack break." I don't really remember the duration of said break, but thankfully that was one change that didn't last long.

The NY Times has published a good article on the importance of recess. We are just starting our venture into this whole idea of school where Daniel is concerned. But I am seriously considering clipping this and filing it somewhere for easy access.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The fever started Monday evening, he was uncomfortable and wanted into our bed, then back in his own bed - and we wound up falling asleep in the living room: me on the sofa, and him on his own Superman sofa - with the Noggin channel on for distraction. I dosed him with Tylenol, to which his response was: Mommy, you shouldn't do that. And we got through the evening.

He's my baby, my honey, my little Energizer Bunny, my little blond Tasmanian Devil. So seeing Daniel feverish, with no energy - just poured on the couch watching videos and napping and drowning his sorrows in juice is a bit of a change in routine.

Today he's more up and around. It's Mommy with the run-down appearance, the semi-sore throat and the cough. H's job has pretty much said that they are cracking down on anyone using their sick time. Can you believe it? I'm sure he's wishing for a hermetically sealed room for when he gets home this evening. Makes me want to sneak into the manager's office at his work and lick all the office supplies or something, I mean really!

Here's hoping this virus is as kind to parents as it seems to be to my kiddo so far...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Digging In

We've taken to calling Daniel "Badger" lately. He digs in his heels about everything. What to eat, what to wear, the potty, stalling bedtime... And invariably when I am occupied, say on the phone, is when he most wants my attention.

One item I decided to stop fighting about early on was using utensils at the table. I put out a spoon or a fork every time, and he dug in with his hands. We serve a lot of finger foods.

Both he and his Daddy are big on eating cereal. I've never had much of a problem with it, as we've mostly avoided the really sugary stuff: a lot of that baby-staple Cheerios, oatmeal, and Daddy's Honey Bunches of Oats. Badger has suddenly decided that his formerly-dry Honey Bunches of Oats should have milk, and he should be driving the spoon.

He's not arguing about sitting at the table for it, and all things considered he's doing a pretty good job. Now I have to find a solution for the multiple clothes changes due to milk spillage. Any ideas? Naked cereal eating? A rain poncho?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring - Loaded

H and I spent a lovely Saturday evening recently, eating dinner out with some friends, a couple we have been trying to connect with for months. We finally met up for dinner, courtesy of some babysitting from my parents/Grandma & Grandpa having driven in from Wisconsin for a visit.

They departed, and H and I were spending a quiet evening at the computer and curled up with a book respectively when:


I remember feeling puzzled - peeking in on Daniel to see that everything was OK. I finally settled on feeling annoyed, assuming that one of our condo-neighbors had left late and inconsiderately slammed the door.

The next morning, H discovered that one of the massive springs that move the garage door up and down had broken. Sounding like a gunshot that shook the whole place! I'm certainly glad that I wasn't in the garage at the time. Who knew those things could go like that?

We've had a few warmer days here recently. Teasers of 50 degrees or so, that feel gorgeously like Springtime. While we have retreated again to colder temps, it's not quite as bitterly icy as before. I'm holding on to those wafting bits of warmer weather, coiled and waiting for Spring.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Out of Synch...

I love Fall. H and I married in October, with the crisp air and the falling leaves. Winter, I have to say, has been kicking my butt with increasing frequency every year. I'm always cold, and my thoughts turn to cuddling by a fire with a good book and a hot chocolate until the warm weather returns.

(And now, it seems our things are out to get us. We've been spinning with multiple car repairs, computer problems... at the moment I'm afraid to touch anything around here lest another problem rise up to bite me with an ugly chomp.)

My hibernating self is closeted with a three year old Energizer Bunny, and whoo! some days are an interesting tango of what to wear, what/when to eat, the potty struggle...

Today we went to my mother-in-law's place for a visit. It was the usual happy chaos of dogs, cats, Gram, aunts, uncles and cousins. At one point, Daniel came barrelling through the kitchen up to the gate penning in the dogs and shouted into the living room to us: I'm having fun with Nick-o! He then spun about, tearing back through the kitchen to the back bedrooms where he had been playing with his cousins. Leaving us all smiling.

I do love my stormy, passionate kid.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Ugh, it's cold here. I can tolerate cold and snow up until Christmas, but then as far as I'm concerned it can all go away. Unfortunately the trend is to have nearly zip in the way of snow until January and then get socked for the next few months.

Just off a few days of immobility due to car repairs (yet again). H had mine for work, and so Daniel and I rattled around the house for a few days.

H is hopefully staying mobile, after a recent slip and fall on the job. Some folks are just not into shoveling and salting their drives/paths, I guess.

Computer having major hiccups/difficulties recently. We hadn't exactly budgeted for a new one at the moment, but it may be time. If I am absent for a smidge soon it won't be by choice, but will hopefully have the technical difficulties ironed out on the other side. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Treat

I love my little guy to pieces, but there are moments where my switch always being in Mom Mode just becomes a bit exhausting. H gifted me with a few hours of time to myself this afternoon by taking Daniel for a visit with his Gram and Uncle Bruce.

It was a delightful smorgasbord of things to do - some necessary like a load of laundry, but most were not and just completely my aimless wandering. A power nap, computer work without the guilt, nibbling a snack of avocado, reading a chapter of Driving Sideways while curled under the bedcovers, watching non-kid approved programs such as a documentary on Hollywood folks who escaped Nazi Germany, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives all at the same time. I also got the chance to sneakily wash Daniel's much-loved blankie while he was gone.

The boys returned, and we bustled about dinner. As is typical of late, Daniel was more interested in his robots and coloring and wrestling his father than eating. We all had hysterics when one of us exclaimed: Let me see Daniel! Preparing to scoop him up, only to have Daniel reply: Dam-el isn't ON right now! As though he were a TV show we were all happily watching. Then there were Curious George stories and bedtime.

Buzzing about at my own pace was refreshing. I must work at finding small concentrated moments to do this more often.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mismatched and Freezing

I am always cold this time of year. Pretty much everyone who knows me, knows this and last time I really checked I had amassed what I thought was an impressive collection of slippers. Of course now, someone needs to explain to me why all I can find is what is in this photo.

Apparently organization needs to be on the list for 2009.

Happy New Year Everyone!