Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the apple doesn't fall far

My friends and family love to tease me about my overactive imagination. The night I watched Scream, I kept waking Joe up and made him check the windows and doors, all night long, to prove that there wasn't anyone prowling around the house in a scary mask. Every time I hear a noise at night I'm imagining some crazy impossible scenario and it's usually just the cat sneaking on the counter to drink out of the sink or some random toy sounding off. Because we all know that the bad guys are going to stop and play with a toy or get themselves a drink of water before acting out their diabolical schemes. My imagination gets a little boost from the many crime shows I watch on tv. I know I shouldn't watch them. I know I'm going to get all freaked out. And yet still I watch. I don't know why. But I do.

The other night Katie was sitting on the floor around the other side of my bed. She was sitting quietly playing with some fairy dolls and was so absorbed in her play, she didn't even notice that I had entered the room. I couldn't stop myself. It was like someone took possession of me and I got down on the floor and crept ever so quietly around the foot of the bed and then launched myself around the corner yelling "Raaaahhhhhh!!!" Her reaction was classic and I'm such a horrible person because when she jumped right out of her skin, I laughed and laughed. Katie did not laugh. Actually, she ended up crying. She was mad and a wee bit freaked out. By the time I stopped laughing enough to say sorry, she had gotten over being pissed off. She sat up on the bed next to me and said "Mumma, will you do that again?" So I did. She sat on the floor and anxiously waited for me to creep around and scare her. She would sit there giggling a little in nervous anticipation and every single time I burst around the corner and yelled, she would jump up and cry. But she wanted to do it over and over. I thought to myself "what a little freak she is. Why does she want to keep doing this when it scares her so much"

Hmmmmmmm. Never mind.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

a walk on the bogs

On our way to the bogs next door for a little nature walk. Kate has the best view from way, way, way up on Daddy's shoulders

We were trying to teach them how to skip rocks. They could have cared less. It was much more fun to scoop up handfuls of little rocks and catapult them into the wide blue yonder and watch them drizzle back down into the pond.

In another month the entire surface of the pond will be covered in Lily flowers.

One of the bogs many many bog frogs. Teresa's eagle eyes spotted him resting and he obligingly posed for photos.

The cranberry growers put up many of these birdhouses. They want to attract birds who have their own part in the growing process of the cranberry plants. Both the birds and the bees are employed by cranberry growers during the growing season.

Looking for turtles and frogs

Sam found a couple of geese and attempted to get close to snap a picture but they flew off honking their displeasure before he could get close enough.

As we walked along I had to keep reminding the kids to watch out for geese poops. Sam told me his cousin had picked up and thrown geese poop into the pond. I never thought I'd hear myself say anything remotely close to this, but I had to tell them they were not to pick up poop of any kind and throw it. Sam needed me to clarify, asking "not geese poop? or dog poop? or ox poop? or dinosaur poop?"

losing credibility

My baby has been cranky and coughing and achey. Just a big weepy mess of misery. Note the huge dark circles under her eyes. Despite all that, she still manages to grace me with a smile when she notices the camera pointed her way. No one will believe that she's been so miserable when she goes and smiles like that. But I'll take the smiles over credibility any day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When Sam calls someone and has to leave a message, he ends his usually quite convoluted message with " Sam" It makes me smile to hear him.

I effing HATE HATE HATE computer generated phone calls that always seem to come during naptime. I never remember to turn the ringer off and always jump up and make a mad dash for the phone...usually bruising my hip or stubbing my toe in the process...only to be greeted by a canned cheery female voice telling me I need to act as my vehicle warranty is about to expire or I've earned blockbuster rewards special bonus points or important info regarding my blahbadeeblahblah credit card account.

We gave the kids some pennies to throw into a fountain the other night. Sam announced his wishes as he tossed his pennies in but the girls kept theirs close. Joe threw in a couple pennies too but didn't say a word. Sam studied Joe for a moment and then, with a poker face but mischief in his eyes, asked him if he wished for all his hair back. :)

My friend Donna who drives the kid's bus called me the other day to tell me Teresa was crying when she got on the bus. After talking to her to find out what was going on, Donna sent Teresa to her seat where Sam and a friend sat waiting. As soon as Teresa sat down, Sam wrapped one arm around her shoulders and pulled her in close and held her the whole way to school. Hearing this makes my heart full to bursting with pride that Sam is such a caring and loving big brother.

A rainy day and I was running to the van with Katie when she commented, "It's not raining Mumma...just dribbling."

Teresa shared a joke with me the other day. She could barely get the punchline out between her giggles. I love her giggles.

What's invisible and smells like carrots?

Bunny farts! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

the lilac fort

The lilacs are in bloom. Lilacs are such a favorite of mine. I wish they bloomed longer. It seems like such a cheat that they only bloom for a short couple of weeks. I keep my windows open so that their delicate scent drifts in and I catch it each time I sit or pass by the windows (ha...who am I kidding...when do I get to sit down, pass by with a kid under each arm and a basket of laundry on my head is more like it). All it takes is the tiniest little tickle of their scent and I am refreshed. I'm not sure if it's some aromatherapy thing or if it's the memories that scent conjures for me that is responsible.

Out in the backyard just behind and beside the swingset was a huge stand of lilac bushes. They grew as high as the swingset and grew in a large stand all along the side of the bus garage next door. We used to pick bunches of the blossoms and bring them in to give to our mother. The scent was heaven to me even when I was a child. What looked like a dense stand of lilac bushes was actually the entrance to an enchanted world. My brothers and sisters and I discovered the secret fort... or so we always thought and no one told us otherwise. Over time, little feet eventually beat down paths into the lilac fort. We'd tromp over the paths and part the branches and enter into our own little world. A world that was inhabited by all the wonderings of our imaginations. We dragged area rugs from the barn and put them down on the clearing floor to mark off rooms and make it cozier. We made tables and chairs out of rocks and leftover bits of wood. All this we did ourselves. Half the fun was in making the lilac fort our own. I don't ever remember a grownup once stepping foot into this world of ours. Sometimes we were the Swiss Family Robinson living in the jungle treetops and friends to the wild animals. Sometimes we were children who had run away from the orphanage to live in the wild outdoors. Sometimes we were hiding from bandits or "bad guys" and we had to band together to outwit them and evade capture. We played in the lilac fort all spring and summer long. Whiling away long hot days in the cool shade of the clearing, sipping Koolaid and eating popsicles. The best time of all was when the lilacs were in bloom and we'd play out there and drink in the scent of the multitude of blossoms. It truly was heaven on earth. It now only exists in our memories. Years ago, my mother asked one of my brothers to trim the bushes, I have no idea why since I can't remember her ever trimming them before. He was a tad over eager and before she knew it the huge stand of lilacs was decimated. A few years after that my father decided to clear out all the brush on that side of the yard and they took out almost all the remaining lilacs. Only a few remain. They still create a shady area and curve around just enough to make a hidden area. A very small hidden space but enough. When we go to my parents house and the kids head outside to play, they can very often be found playing back there...hiding from the world of us grownups and romping in the garden of their imaginations.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I ♥ Faces laughter photo challenge

This weeks theme for the i heart faces photo challenge is Laughter. I love this picture because of the interaction going on between my youngest and oldest. They found something funny and couldn't help giggling over their joke. I think it's kind of funny too how my older daughter doesn't stop looking at the camera despite the silliness going on around her. Not only does this photo capture the close bond my three children have, it also manages to capture the joy they get in being together...and I love it.

I'm still very much the newbie at this photo thing but if you want to check out some amazing photos go to i heart faces and visit some of the other entries.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

my name is Marie and I am a...

picture book junkie. I have been collecting children's books my entire life. I have a library of thousands. And those are just mine. I'm not including the bookshelves of books my children have amassed. Being a teacher of young children I always had the excuse that I was buying the books for my classroom. Never exactly the truth. I always have bought them for me. There is something about picture books that just speaks to my soul. The right book can actually bring me to tears, calm me or make me laugh out loud. So much is wrapped up in their 30 or so pages, some with hardly any words at all. The illustrations...oh the illustrations. I have illustrators that I adore. Nadine Bernard Westcott is one whose illustrations are so endearing in a cartoony way I can't help but smile when I see them. And don't even get me started on Peggy Rathmann. Some of her books have less ten words but the pictures tell stories upon stories upon stories. Some children's books are actually not written to children. There is many a book in my library that does not appeal much to the kids but make me swoon when I read them.

Because I am anal and slightly OCD, I have my books categorized. Anyone who knows me, knows I can't just stuff them on the shelf willy nilly. They aren't grouped alphabetically like you'd see at the library, as you might expect. I have them grouped by topic. This just makes more sense to me. As I teacher it made life easier to have all my ocean, planting/growing, number concepts, winter holiday, farm, (you get the idea) books together. I pick books up at yard sales and second hand stores. I buy them new from the book store. I order them through Scholastic book clubs. I am a bona fida junkie.

I don't want to give the impression that any picture book will do. Oh no! I have no tolerance for a certain genre of children's books. I call it trashy kiddie lit. These are books based on movies or tv characters (when the tv character came before the book) or formulaic books (like the Berenstain bears). My kids do ask for these and I don't say no but when I cull through their book collections these are always the first to go. There's nothing to them really. Nothing that grabs you and pulls you in and makes you want to revisit time and time again. I silently groan when I have to read these books. It's truly a painful experience.

But enough about that. I started thinking about some new books my kids have which led to my thinking about my addiction and I rambled all the way over here. I wanted to share a couple of new books I picked up for my kids (and by "my kids" I mean me). I was in Borders, looking for a CD actually, and passed a big display of these two books and it was like a piece of my clothing got caught on the display as I was abruptly puuuulllllllleed right back. I snatched the books up and decided they'd be perfect for my girls Easter baskets. I could almost tell just from the cover illustrations that they would become instant classics. I mean, seriously, look at the basset hound, the expression on his face it's almost more than I can bear. Both the kids and myself would want to read them over and over and over and then ask to read it just one more time. And I was right on the money. They appeal to both my girls and my son (and me! and ME!). How could they not? What child doesn't want to be a superhero at some point in their life? Every child on God's green earth adores dressing up and playing pretend and saving the playground from robots and giant snakes. The illustrations are exquisite and so full of detail. There are sub-stories going on within some of the illustrations that invite you in and ask you to look closer. And look closer you should. If you have a resident pint size superhero, you just may want to check them out.

don't bother clicking on the books...I just borrowed these for show

two shining stars

years tuition for dance, tap and tumbling...$720
three pairs of tights for each girl...$24
two leotards for each girl...$20
pair of tap shoes for each girl...$10
pair of ballet slippers for each girl...$20
two recital costumes...$100
dance photos...$33
dvd of the recital...$43
two bouquets of flowers...$10

watching my ballerinas take the stage...absolutely priceless

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I ♥ Faces photo challenge...Hats

This week's challenge requires your photo to have a face and a hat in it. This here is one of my favorite faces in a hat.

Make sure to jump over to i heart faces and check out the many other amazing entries.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sam's first Holy Communion

It was a beautiful day. Sam was handsome and unbelievably adorable in his white linen suit and suede bucks. It struck me, as I looked at him, how fast he is growing up. Always I am torn by the pride and joy I get in watching him grow and the sadness that my baby is growing so fast. He was very excited and couldn't wait to get up on the alter and do his little reading. Which has been, unbeknownst to me, something "I've been waiting for ALL MY LIFE!!!!" He read so beautifully; slow and even pitched. Like he actually has been reading into a microphone all his life. My parents maintained that he read the best and they are not biased AT ALL, so it must be true. I am such a dork...I got all teary eyed watching him up there. My parents, brother and sister and her family made the Mass and Sam was thrilled they were there. He was even more delighted as people arrived at the house to celebrate this big day with us. So....maybe I'm not going to hell...I must have done something right to deserve my Sam.