Wednesday, July 30, 2008


If you could have been a fly on the wall at our house this week you might have heard the following snippets of conversation:

Me: "What are you doing Abby?"
Abby: "Breathing." (said sarcastically)

(I think I have a teenager hiding in the body of a three year old.)

Me: "Abby, that bathing suit is too small. You're not wearing that one. It doesn't cover your b**bs!"
J.T.: "Well, I don't have b**bs ...... whatever they are."

Me: "I've GAINED a pound this week! A POUND!!"
Rob: "Could that green (chocolate chip mint) ice cream have anything to do with it?"
Me: " (silence)"

Monday, July 28, 2008


Abby and I came across a long-forgotten set of cheap dress-up accessories yesterday. The package even included a set of "claws". Hopefully, the claws will stay far away from an "aggabating" brother!

Friday, July 25, 2008


M from Easternmax has inspired our household to attempt something novel. We have implemented a drying rack in our laundry routine. I confess that I don't use it ALL the time. It is used primarly for sheets, towels and under clothes. Sophie, the puppy, prevents us from using it outdoors, where drying time in the hot sun would be greatly reduced. We do prefer our clothes not chewed, so.... a compromise was in order.

Rack drying is perfect for towels. I like them a little crinkly. Makes me feel like I've had a good spa scrub. Who needs a loofah?

We are using a little less electricity too. Despite the fact that our bill shows that we have used LESS kilowatts this month, our bill still went up $68! It appears that the economic principle of supply and demand is at work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It bugs me how quickly we label people based on appearance, stereotypes, and our own prejudices. Sometimes I think the pursuit of perfect doesn't allow us to appreciate the imperfect, which is perhaps more interesting and worthy of attention than perfection. Disability, for example, is a horrible word. It labels people for what they can't do instead of what they can. Isn't it what makes us different that should be treasured? I could name hundreds of ways that my children are alike, but the things I love most about them are what makes them unique.

Growing up in a small town can allow you to find the special in unique people. A visit to the pharmacy meant an encounter with an elderly man who always wore a pair of overalls. He'd ask everyone he met if they had any change. Regardless of their response, he'd pull out a huge wad of bills from his overalls and start counting them. It makes me smile to remember the huge grin on his face, like a child opening a present on Christmas morning.

We also lay claim to the state's top Special Olympics swimmer. Penny's dad and mine were members of a local service club and we attending pool parties at their house. They had a pool and Penny could swim better than any two-legged person I'd ever seen! She has the gold medals to prove it too!! She's now in her 40s, but I think she could still swim circles around the rest of us.

She also has a cool sense of humor. Her family attends a tiny country church where everybody has known everybody else for ages. Each week the congregation is asked if their are any names to add to the prayer list. One week, Penny's hand shot up. She stood and gave her request: "Michael Jackson" (the singer - her favorite). Her father was mortified and pulled her back down quickly with a sharp "Penny, if you ever embarrass me like that again..." Her brother pointed out that if anybody needs some prayer, it might just be Michael Jackson! When I see Penny, I don't think about what she can't do. I anticipate what funny story she will share with me, how her family takes great pride in what she can do and the joy she is to their family.

Rob and I watched a beautiful documentary called The Teachings of Jon. The subject of the film was born with Down's Syndrome. He can use some sign language, but otherwise doesn't communicate well. He spends his day's folding paper into shapes and trying to ring pots on his mother's pot rack in their kitchen. He swims, he loves Furbies and remote controls, he has a thing for rolling pins. His sister asked a therapist about what went on in Jon's mind. Could he learn? What was going on inside his head? She was told: "It's not about what Jon can be taught, but about what he can teach you."

Labels are more about the person doing the labelling than the person to whom the label is attached. I hope my children look at everyone they meet and see the potential, no matter how others might perceive the same person. I hope they look beyond the rush to judge the can't and see the can. I hope I can.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Belated MeMe

I have neglected this one for quite some time. Now that I have returned from the hormone pit of self-pity and blah, you get the delayed Meme.

Six Places I have Lived: In the house my parents built on Burton Avenue in my home town. I shared a room with my sister. We had a trundle bed. I slept in the drawer part (which I loved, because "making the bed" involved just shoving the "drawer" under the bed. Too bad for me, my mother was wise enough to check my bed-making and I was quickly disabused of the correctness of this method. Rob and I lived in a 1200 square foot house when we first got married ten years ago, just 20 minutes from my childhood home. It was small and inexpensive.... perfect for newlyweds. We built our home on Iron Horse Road in 2005 and moved in just before Thanksgiving. Still in the same town. That's it. Only THREE places I've lived. Our home was just 25 miles from the University I attended, so I commuted from home to save money and because I'd heard way too many roommate horror stories.

Ten Years Ago: Rob and I were newlyweds, settling into our first home together. I was planning to start my student teaching experience and writing the last of those wedding gift thank you notes. It amazes me to think of how we actually eeked out a living on 1/3 of the salary we bring home now. Gas was only $1 a gallon in those golden days, though. The amount of free time we had and the uninterrupted sleep that was so, so underappreciated in those pre-children years.

Five Things on My To-Do List Today: Make Mama take a nap when she comes by on her break from the Nursing Home where Grandmother Hall is staying. Vacuum up the Moon Sand our friends Chris and Ashlee gave to Abby yesterday. Play with the Magnetix set they gave J.T. (I may like it more than he does). Finish up some proof-reading work. Sussanah may demote me if I don't finish soon. Refill the dog's water bowl after she spends 30 seconds "digging" in it instead of drinking. Is she hinting for a pool? Are the kids in on this conspiracy?

Snack I Like to Eat: Whole grain chips with salsa, nuts, fresh strawberries and the occasional (but still too frequent for an effective diet) bowl of chocolate chip mint ice cream.

If I Were a Billionaire: I would, of course, give some to family and friends to do with as they pleased. Angel and I would have a weekly spa day. Mama would more jigsaw puzzles and books she could ever finish. Daddy would have a stellar shop. Rob's parents could traipse around the glove wherever they wanted. A good bit would be given to charity (Habitat for Humanity International, Heifer International and Unicef would be favorites). Buy a lot of books, open a comic book shop for Rob and of course, visit all my Australian friends.... flying in my own jet, you know, eating boiled peanuts and sipping sweet tea.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Little Bits of Happy

Trying to find happy in the small things:

A listmaker

A little girl's red cowgirl boots

A growing puppy with a hot pink collar

Freshly painted nails

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Listmaker and an Assistant Chef

We are going through paper rather quickly. Good thing we recycle!

J.T. is making lists. Lists of his favorite cartoon characters, lists of his favorite "vilens" (villians), lists of super heroes and lists of sheep he counts to fall asleep.

Can you tell he is a phonetic speller? He also applies the 'exception' spelling rules to most words: silent 'e' on the end of most words, 'ch' instead of just a 'c' as in Schooby Doo instead of Scooby Doo, 'ck' instead of just a 'k'. I'll save my pushy curriculum lecture for another post.

He likes everything just so. His favorite teachers are calm and organized. Creative chaos would drive him bonkers. I went to move some of his little plastic figures from his bed the other day and he said: "MOM! I had them in order!"

Abby, on the other hand, finds order a little too confining. She is in constant motion and is unafraid to try anything for the first time, except vegetables, of course.

She helped me bake a cake for Mama's birthday last weekend (don't worry Mama, I'm not going to give away your age!). I didn't realize that not all of the flour made it into the cake until I found these on my dining room wall.

Some days I wish I could give him some of her daring and her some of his caution and order. But then I think of how unique they each are and know that I wouldn't make them different, even on the days they drive me crazy. But if they would eat their vegetables.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Little Bling

I hate that word: "bling". Not sure why I used it.

Fairlie was fortunate enough to attend an Art Deco exhibition recently. I adore the period. The architecture, the clothes, the art work, the jewelry. Especially the jewelry.

The craftmanship of that period is, I think, unmatched. The level of detail amazes me. If ever I become wealthy, I think I'd like to have a few things like this in my jewelry box.

The ironic thing is that I very seldom wear jewelry. I love to look at it, but Rob can tell you that most of what I actually own, with the exception of my wedding rings and an anniversary ring he gave me, is unworn. Actually, I enjoy wearing it. I just never remember to go to the trouble of putting it on.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pretty Lady

My lovely Grandmother, wearer of Muu Muus and lover of Bingo,had a stroke two weeks ago. She has been doing quite well and is impressing her therapists with her strength and improvement. Since she was found unconscious on June 24th she has progressing from a breathing machine to breathing on her own, responding with nods and a shake of her head to questions she's asked, pointing for things she wants and getting from the bed to a chair and back with assistance. She's 89 and a half. Halves are important when you're small and when you're almost 90 I think.

This happened very suddenly and some pretty quick decisions had to be made regarding whether or not to put her on a breathing machine or to use other measures to help her. I think her quick progress has helped everyone believe that the right decision was made. She is as sharp as ever and is expected to return to good health pretty quickly.

Below you see my grandfather, her husband. Quite handsome, isn't he? He was always a meticulously groomed man. Every hair in place, clothes neatly pressed, shoes polished daily.... and a head full of red hair. Not a garish red, as Grandmother would say, but a very pretty shade. They lived across the street from each other when they were this age, met again when they were 19 and married six months later. My favorite photo of them together is the one of them kissing on their honeymoon next to the car that his father gave them as a wedding gift.

While she's no longer the young, blond, bathing beauty you see here, 70 years later, she's still lovely. Here's hoping and praying she's back to B-19 and N-37 soon, putting on her favorite muu muus and flashing the unwary visitor (namely me!).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rock On!

J.T.'s 4 minute 'concert' last night, consisting of the rock anthem: "I'm So Happy to be Free!" Which he both wrote (made up on the spot) and performed (including some serious couch-jumping antics, but no guitar smashing).

A sample:

I was walking down the road when I met a little toad.
I said "hello!"
He said: "I'm happy to be free, so happy to be free. It's great to be free!"

The remaining verses substitute a cow and then a dog for the toad. There was a great deal of rocking moves thrown in and the occasional leap off the back of the couch. Look out American Idol.

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