Tuesday, August 31, 2010

and they're off!

fourth grade

third grade

Kate still has another week before preschool starts (sob, sob, sob) but it's tradition, she has to be in the group photo

Monday, August 30, 2010

truer words...

My sister sent me this in an email and it had me laughing out loud. I have no idea where she got it or who to credit for writing it, but it is hysterical. So in honor of school starting tomorrow, I have decided to borrow it and post it here. Enjoy!

10 Misconceptions of Moms and Back-to-School

Misconception Number 1: Moms miss their kids when they go back to school

Seriously. I’ve had enough of you by now. Every morning with the “what are we going to do today, Mom?” is finally over. I’ve had looked at your face twenty-four seven for the last 77 days. It’s time to go learn something. No more asking me about the pool, when is the next snack or if you can stay up late and watch a movie. It’s over….You’re going back to Hogwarts and I get to have a life again. There is a Christmas morning for parents and it’s called “back to school”.

Misconception Number 2: Moms like to go school shopping.

Are you freaking kidding me? Why do I pay taxes?…so I can rack up a 200 dollar bill at Staples for crap that we have laying around my house in junk drawers. Why does it have to be new pencils? What’s wrong with the chewed up, broken strawberry shortcake pencils sitting in the bottom of the toy box for the last 6 months? And how many subject books can you possibly need? What happened to reading, writing and arithmetic. If they added a couple of things for parents to that list I wouldn’t mind so much….why not pencils, erasers and vodka …..or some Nyquil.

Misconception Number 3: Moms like back to school night.

Why must we do this every year? I got it already. You’re the teacher…I’m the parent. My kid is either going to be smart or dumb. If he gets a certain number or colored dot on his discipline chart, he can’t get a prize from the prize box. Pretty simple stuff. Listen, I’m pretty old school. If he doesn’t listen to you…you can throw something at him. I don’t care. But I got a lot of work to do at home and I’m paying a babysitter right now. Plus, I’m pretty sure you are going to assign some project on wigwams made by some Indian tribe I’ve never heard of, so I need to get home and start my research. So, I got it. We’re all here for the betterment of the kids. Blah Blah Blah. Can I leave now?

Misconception Number 4: Moms like school paperwork.

How many trees are you planning on killing to tell me the same stuff I had to pay a babysitter to listen to the other night? You know our name, where we live and our emergency phone numbers. He doesn’t have a nickname….call him “stinkbutt” for all I care. We don’t have any “special circumstances” that you need to know about. He lives in a home with two parents who may or may not like each other at any given time and they will fight. If that qualifies as a reason he can’t get his homework done on time then he won’t be able to function as an adult and have a real job so you may want to “educate” him on that life lesson.

Misconception Number 5: Moms like covering books in that annoying sticky paper.

What exactly will you be doing with these books that I have to cover them in a plastic laminate? Do you often teach in the rain? Or while the children are drinking soda and eating soup? Do you know how long that takes? Has any parent in the history of education been able to do it without any air bubbles in it? From now on I’m covering it the old way…brown paper bags. That way I can cover the books and pack their lunches at that same time. Who says moms can’t multitask?

PS. Please tell my son if he can’t find his lunch to look in his science book.

Misconception Number 6: Moms like helping you with your homework.

What? I am scared out of my mind. I’m pretty sure that I forgot everything I learned in fifth grade by the time I was in sixth grade. I have no idea what you are talking about most days. I don’t really know my 12 times tables, I read the cliff notes to all your summer reading and I don’t know how to conjugate anything but I do know that song “conjuction junction what’s your function” if that helps at all. And please don’t even say the words “new math” to me. What the heck was wrong the old one?

Misconception Number 7: Moms can’t wait to pack your lunch every day until we die.

I hate doing laundry. Making dinner every night is the bane of my existence, so making your lunch every day for an entire year, in terms of “mom fun”, lies somewhere between brushing plaque off the dogs teeth and scheduling my annual pap smear. Listen, as a child I hated what my mom packed me for lunch. But, like every kid before me, and every generation to come you will find a kid to trade with…I’m sure someone likes sardines.

Misconception Number 8: Moms love after school activities.

I don’t know who made up this idea of organized clubs and sports but they should be the ones in charge of carting your ass around. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all after school programs. I just wish they would offer it during hours that would work best for me so that dinner wasn’t at 8:30 at night followed by 4 hours of homework. Why not do it on the weekends and call it “after-hours activities” so mommy and daddy could actually go out one night and pretend that we have a life of our own. Don’t worry about us though I’m sure that me and “what’s his name” will be married a very long time.

Misconception Number 9: Moms don’t mind taking you to school if you miss the bus

Your bus comes at 7:10 am….which means that you should be standing by the door at 7:05 am. Not eating breakfast , chasing the dog around the house or in the bathroom, asking me to check your homework while I’m taking a shower. Get it together! I don’t like running down the street in my jammies at 7:12 screaming “Please wait” or “If you stop I’ll show you my boobies.”

Misconception Number 10: Moms cry on your first day of school

We do cry but they are tears of joy. I have done my job. I have successfully kept a human child alive for at least 5 years without doing any major damage. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world!! Sure, doctors save lives and CEO’s run million dollar businesses but…you teach a kid not to poop their pants and then you can say you’ve made the world a better place.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

window shopping

I begin this by saying, I am not a cook. It's not that I don't like to cook or that I don't enjoy trying new recipes. I do. In fact, there was a time in my life when I liked to pretend I was a host on my own cooking show as I prepared food. But now I have three children who seem to be going in three different directions at any given moment. Most of the time I rely on tried and true recipes. Ones that are fairly simple and don't require fancy ingredients one can only find in tiny little markets in the big cities.

But, oh, how I love love love kitchen stuff. I could waste hours in Williams Sonoma or the now defunct Kitchen Etc. I adore all the ingenious little gadgets and adorable little bowls and obscure spices. One of my favorite all time catalogs is the King Arthur Flour catalog. Have you ever seen this one? I literally read the entire catalog from cover to cover. I pore over it. I read and reread the item descriptions so many times I could recite some from memory. And I lust after just about everything. Even though I know I would probably never even take most of it out of the cabinet. I have just finished memorizing...I mean reading...the latest catalog and these are just a few items that I thought should be in my home. Whether it makes sense or not.

Look, cookie scoops. They come in several different sizes and you get perfectly uniform balls of dough. I don't really have a problem making balls of dough of similar size using my tablespoons but I love having a tool that is so task specific. I didn't even realize I needed one of these...but I do.

Oooh! and this!!! I love chocolate but I do not love chocolate cake. I don't really care for brownies all that much either. But this looks like a cross between chocolate cake and fudge. And I really really really need to try it...today if possible.

I LOVE these cupcake liners. They are so fun and pretty! As much as I want them to adorn all the future cupcakes and muffins I will make even I can't justify spending money on something that is ultimately only going to get thrown away. But oh, they are just sooooooo pretty!!!

I have to admit I have never even eaten crystallized ginger or anything with crystallized ginger in it. I have no idea what makes me want to have it in my pantry but I do.

And look at this. Another item I never even knew I had to have. A salt server with an itty bitty oh so adorable spoon. I think that spoon is the real reason I want a salt server. I will probably have to buy some of the salts they sell to put in my fancy salt server. Something called "fluer de sel de guerande" or "red hawaiian sea salt" because Mortons just wouldn't cut it.

I didn't care much for dried fruits of any kind until quite recently. But now I am a convert. I love them all and add them to baked goods, cereals and trail mix. Once again I am sucked in because it looks sooooooo yummy.

I could add my tropical dried fruits to this! Pompanoosuc Porridge! I don't care what the porridge tastes like because it's just so fun to say the name. Poooooooommmmmpaaaaaaaaaanooooooooooooooosuc!

Or, I could add my tropical dried fruits to my own homemade yogurts? I can make individual servings of yogurt right in my own kitchen. Individual serving sizes customized to everyone's specific tastes. I have no idea how to make yogurt but realized while reading the item description that I've always wanted to. Really. I think.

Oooooooooohhhh!!! and this!!! Look it's a bowl for bread dough to rise in and the coiled pattern of the bowl is imprinted on the dough so your bread has a subtle pattern to it after it's baked. Lets just ignore the fact that I have never made homemade bread in my entire life and really don't intend to. Because this bowl...it's just so cool!

Now these little pans, on the other hand I would use. The problem is I can't decide which one to get. Do I get the pan that makes preformed wedge shaped scones for me?

Or do I go with the one that would make the most adorable itty bitty preformed scones?
OR...do I get the stoneware baking dish because you know everything baked in stoneware is infinitely better?

Maybe I'll just get all three.

Did you know you can BUY a kit of "secret ingredients?" You can. Then all your baked goods can officially have that special something and when people ask you what it is that makes it so unique and so damn good, you can smile, wink and say "that's my secret ingredient." I have always wanted to put secret ingredients in when I cook but have no clue what exactly those were. Problem solved...just buy the kit and you're good to go.

This is another stoneware baking piece. And it has little teacups and teapots that will be embossed into your shortbread when you bake it. Seriously? I HAVE to have this. Stoneware, teacups, and shortbread. It's like a dream come true.

This is just a taste (you like that little pun? totally intended) of the must have goodies I lust after every time I receive a catalog from King Arthur Flour. I rarely buy anything but I do so enjoy all the perusing. With three kids, I don't have the time to wander through kitchen ware stores and even if I did have the time, I'm terrified at the thought of all those glasses, stemware and other breakables at the mercy of my children's manhandling. My studying of the King Arthur Flour catalog is a little escape for me. I can indulge my fantasy of being a baker extrodinaire with every necessary tool and ingredient at my fingertips even as I sip my tea (made from a teabag not with a mix of spices and steeped in a tea ball) and nibble my plain non teacup imprinted shortbread.

(all images courtesy of King Arthur Flour)

Monday, August 23, 2010


I've had eight years of her smile. Eight years of those dancing brown eyes. Eight years of her sassy attitude. Eight years of her infectious giggle. Eight years of living with a real live Princess. Eight years of listening to her sing from the minute she wakes to the minute she falls asleep. Eight years of watching her lipsmacking delight with food. Eight years of watching her greet every single morning with a smile. Eight years of dramatics. Eight years of reveling in her zest for life. Eight years of her making me so angry I could spit nails. Eight years of my wanting to pump my fist and say "atta girl!" when she won't back down. Eight years of snuggles. Eight years of her soft milk chocolate hair tickling my chin when she sits in my lap. Eight years of a love so strong it brings tears to my eyes. Eight years and I still look at her with wonder and joy that she's part of my life. Happy Birthday my Teresa. I look forward to the next year...and the next...and the next....and the next....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

finished! (well, not quite but the rest is up to me so it'll probably never get done)

Our builder did an amazing job with the addition. He went above and beyond what we expected. Sam is thrilled and wasted no time moving in. There is still some furniture rearranging and buying to do but unlike Tony the builder, I do not do things in a timely manner. Sam will be lucky to get a rug before he leaves for college.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

a glimpse of the young lady

Every so often I take a picture of one of the kids and when I look at it I am struck by what I see. It's a look in the eyes or the shape of their face or something, but I can see the young woman or man that they will one day be. This is one of those photos for me. And I don't know whether to cry because "where did my baby go?!" or marvel at how beautiful she is. Thank goodness for the jimmy on the end of her nose, it helps to keep it all in perspective.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday morning

Every Monday morning for the last six weeks I have parked my tush in my beach chair on the little beach of the pond where the kids take swim lessons and gazed out at this incredible view. Katie's lesson is so early in the morning there are only a couple of us there. The quiet and serenity settle over me like a favorite blanket. You would think after a couple of weeks I'd get accustomed to the view but nope. Each week I'm hit anew with how beautiful the pond and the woods surrounding it are. The water is so still and even the kids splashing in their lessons can't disturb it for long. Sitting there, taking in the commonplace, but still awe-inspiring, beauty around me, I find myself absorbing some of that stillness, that peacefulness. What a wonderful way to start my week. Beauty really is all around us. The problem is we're often so busy, we don't get a chance to sit down week after week to appreciate it. I hope I can remember to and take the time to do so once the beach chair has been packed away for the winter.

Maybe the dogs are smarter in Rhode Island

This sign is a source of great amusement to my children. It resides in the yard of a house we pass by on one of our many walks when at my parent's beach house. In fact, my kids will often insist we make sure to go by it. About three houses down from it, they start giggling and the giggles can sillier the closer we get.

What made me laugh even harder than they though, was Teresa's comment one time we walked by. She asked me why someone would want that in their yard...was it a decoration? I told her it was there because they didn't want dogs to poop in their yard. She gave a snort of disbelief and said "don't they know dogs can't read?!"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

little treasures from the sea

I cannot go to the beach without scouring the shore for heart shaped rocks. I started collecting them many years ago when my two year old niece handed me one and said "I'm giving you my little heart." I melted into a little puddle at that bit of adorableness (word?) and started looking for little hearts myself. An obsession was born. That little two year old is heading off to college come fall. I've amassed quite a collection over the years. I don't consider it a perfect vacation unless I find at least one heart shaped rock.

The beach we go to every summer doesn't have much in the way of beachcombing. The surf is so strong that most shells are smashed into little pieces. But the flip side of this is that the strength of the pounding waves also polishes those little bits of shells and small rocks. They are so smooth and soft. Teresa once rubbed one of the shells over her chubby two year old cheek and told me "Mumma, my shell feels like lotion." We walk on the beach every morning and choose just a few to add to our bowl at home. Sometimes all it takes to send me back to the beach is to dip my hand in the bowl and rub a few between my fingers.