Wednesday, December 5, 2012

never wake a sleeping baby


In the mornings, I often gate the dogs into the kitchen.  With all the comings and going as kids are dropped off or running out the door to catch a bus, it's just easier not to worry about them getting in the way or worse, getting out.  They do not like this.  Not one little bit.  The two of them will sit in front of the gate whining like a two year old the entire time.


Unless of couse, I am in there with them. I stand at my counter fixing breakfasts and lunches and this is what happens when I do.

And like any good pet parent I stand as still as I can, so as not to awake my slumbering babies.  When I do need to move, I ever so carefully sllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiide my feet out from under their heads.  I know, I am nuts. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

fall snapshots

 Waiting for the bus

This one is still feeding us incredibly yummy food.  She decided to whip up blueberry pancakes topped off with strawberries one morning.  I'm getting so spoiled.

 Storytime isn't just for kids, you know.

 And acorns are not just for squirels.  YUM!

 A frenzied apple picking trip.  Seriously, the entire population of the Eastern seaboard decided to go to the exact same orchard we did the exact same morning we did. It was like a Filene's basement sale, trying to pick apples.
Back to school even when school is not in session.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

shut up already!

I am not a confrontational kind of person.  I have always shied away from disagreements and often find myself patting things down when people are involved in a discussion.  I bite my tongue and keep comments to myself.  I like to think I'm keeping the negativity levels in this world down. However, I need to vent some frustration I have with particular people who are constantly harping on about my church and it's pastor.  But I really do not want to deal with the fallout that inevitably occurs when people talk religion.  Luckily, I have this blog, which is still fairly anonymous in my community so I can put it out there and still not have to confront the naysayers. 

I am Catholic.  I go to the church in my community.  It's not your run of the mill church.  In fact, in it's previous life it used to be a supermarket.  Yep. A supermarket.  And the pastor of the church is not exactly your typical pastor either. He is a colonel in the US Army. Not only that, but he doesn't have the best "bedside" manner.  That all being said, I am so sick and tired of people deriding my church and this priest just because they're not what is pretty or easy. Most of the time I just let people say what they're going to say and say nothing.  I have at times stated that the building does not define the church community, the people in it do.  What, do they think the first Catholics worshiped in Cathedrals?  Honestly, they were probably celebrating the Eucharist in caves back in the day. Just because you go to a "pretty" church does not make your church better than anyone else's.  So there.

And our priest?  Yes, he is sometimes rude and didactic but he's a person.  He's human.  Which means he has failings and quirks just like all the rest of us.  God doesn't ask us to love only people who are easy to deal with.  And sometimes, I think people who take the most issue with this guy, do so because he makes them feel uncomfortable.  He makes me feel uncomfortable.  He doesn't pat me on the head and say, "good girl, you go to church every week, and your kids know their prayers, and you deposit regular checks into the collection basket." No, he continually asks us, "what more can you do?"  "what more can you give?"  "how else can you serve?"  He insists that people observe all the facets of their faith, not just the ones that are easy and make you feel good. He does not shirk his responsibility to the laws of the Catholic faith.  And that pisses people off.  They want exceptions made for them.  They want him only to validate what it is they do do and not point out where they could be doing a better job. But too bad, so sad for you, because that is part of his job! If I were at a church were I was not constantly pushed to not just be a better Catholic, but to be a better parent, wife, sister, friend, daughter, human, I would start looking for another church. 

Why don't these people who never have anything good to say about this church and this priest just go to another church?  There are several nearby to choose from.  Just go there already and stop whining.  There. I said it. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

futilly looking for that silver lining

The adage "if it can go wrong, it will" has certainly held true around here lately.  It has been one of those weeks.  No, months.  Maybe even longer.  I've lost track of how long it's been a bit challenging around here. But the last couple days have really just been tragic.  As the cat threw up onto my living room rug this morning, I hollered up to the heavens, "enough already!"

Did I mention the dogs realized the batteries were dead on their collars before I did? Which means freedom was just a short jump over the five foot high fence away.  Oh yes, you betcha they took advantage of that fact.  And then no matter that I've replaced batteries in their collars for two years, I could not get the new batteries in properly.  I seriously worked on it for two days.  There really isn't a secret to it and I still don't know what I was doing wrong but after they got out yesterday morning and came home reeking of shit, I managed to finally get them to work.  A little too little too late but hopefully that's the end of that little bit hell raising.  At least now they're clean, right?

Oh, and I've been volunteering my time at the kids' school for several years now.  Yesterday I have an hour to get some work done for the stupid bookfair that raises money for the school and no one would let me use the frigging photo copiers.  Seriously, you people are here all day, I've got an hour, can you cut me some slack?  I was actually near tears when I was leaving the school.  Overreaction, most definitely, but that's where I'm at.

Between the moody tween girl, the stressed out tween boy, the always a handful dogs, and the possessed cat, I am ready to commit myself.  I tell myself to focus on the positive and "serenity now" but that's doing nothing for me at this point.  I am barely holding it together.  And it shows.  I went to bed last night at seven because I just needed to be done with the day.

The black cloud that's been hanging around seriously needs to move on.  I'm ready for some blue skies and better days. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

time well spent

Sam needed a haircut...BAD! His hair was curling all around his shirt collar and covered his ears and was looking exceptionally poofy. There just never seems to be a good time to bring him in and get it done. Not to mention the whole experience is usually so horrible, we both put it off as long as we possibly can. But the time had come. There was no more putting it off. Sam's hair demanded attention. We had an hour after lunch on Saturday so I just grabbed him and we took ourselves to the Supercuts.

Apparently everyone and their brother also had that exact same hour free and chose to bring themselves and all their relations in for haircuts. I steamed that we had a wait and wandered outside with Sam muttering under my breath about "not having time for this" and "why can't things just be easy for once." Sam took me by the hand and as we walked down the sidewalk he swung my arm. We stopped in front of a shop and looked in the window. Sam asked if we could go in and look at the stuffed animals. After wandering through that store a bit, we headed back outside and popped in and out of a couple more little shops.

The anticipated wait time was nearly up, so we strolled back to Supercuts and sat outside on a bench in the sun.  Sam chattered on about sports related triviality demanding nothing more from me than a little attention. Finally his name was called and we went back inside for his haircut.

Afterwards as we drove home, Sam all smiles and sucking on his lollipop and looking very handsome now that I could see his face again.  He caught me glancing at him and said, "Mom, I had so much fun just you and me.  Can we do that again sometime?"

I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to make meaningful memories with my kids, thinking it has to be Martha perfect in order for it to qualify.  I need to take a lesson from Sam and remember we don't need the perfect outing, we just need to be with each other. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

thank you

I'm not going to bother trying to play catch up or highlight all the many thoughts, events, ideas, photos that have occurred since last I visited here.  Just the thought of that makes me want to scrap this altogether.  And that's the thing, I don't want to scrap this here blog altogether.  I like my little space here.

Sadly my last post was all the way back in May.  May seems like it was another century at this point in time.  In May, all three of my kids were in Elementary school. Now, I have a middle schooler.  In May we had the whole glorious summer ahead of us.  Now, we are basking in the wonders of fall.  In May life was crazy busy chaotically hectic. is still crazy busy chaotically hectic.  Ah well, not everything changes. 

This past year I've made more of an effort to embrace gratitude. And I don't mean remembering to say a polite thank you, although that is always a good idea to do.  I read an article in the Sunday paper reviewing a book I believe.  The point of the book was to inspire people to express gratitude to someone every day, or maybe week (can't quite remember...I blame old age).   I thought what a wonderful attitude.  To look for the little things we have to be grateful for and most importantly to make sure those responsible for those little things know how much we appreciate it.  Wouldn't the world be a happier place if more of us did that?

Well, I knew I don't have the sticktoittiveness to adhere to one a day, or even one a week.  I like to set that bar low, I guess.  But I bought a few boxes of thank you notes and when I thought to myself, "wasn't that nice of so and so..." I made a point to grab a card and scribble off a note.  My life hasn't changed dramatically but I have noticed a subtle shift in my attitude.  I see the good in people more and find myself believing that there is more good in the world than not.  And that makes me happier.  And happier is good.

You know what I've discovered?  Writing thank you notes is contagious.  I found this little note one morning shortly after school began from my now seven (!!??) year old.  In case you can't decipher it..."It has been a great summer.  Thank you Mom and Dad for this wonderful summer."  And that little note right there, had the power to change my whole day.  It still does now, several weeks later.

Give it a shot.  Try thanking someone you may not normally think to thank.  You may just turn their whole day around. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

the flip side

These are the fabrics Katie chose for the back of her quilt.  I wanted to go with just one but there were no if's and's or but's about it for Miss Katie.  I think her quilt has a split personality.  The back is nothing like the front.  In colors or pattern or...anything.

What's amazing is she picked the fabrics because she loves pink and she thought the flowers, hearts, kitty cats, and ladybugs are pretty.  For me most of  those fabrics say something about my Katie girl.  Cats have always been special to her.  In fact, her very first word was "meow" and "kitty" was a close second.  So the kitty cat print was very fitting.  Bug has been one of her many nicknames and so the ladybug print too was a serendipitous choice.  The hearts, well, duh, that one was a given, what with my love of anything heart related and she is one of the loves of my life.  The floral one is the wild card.  There isn't any underlying meaning behind that one. 

I ended up adding a pink gingham border to the back because I needed another couple inches around in order of it to be the same size as the front.  That's just the way I do things, especially quilting.  I kind of guess and then when things don't quite match up, figure out a way to make it work.  One hundred years from now, someone will be looking at my quilts and think a seven year old put them together.  For most quilters, precision and aesthetics are paramount.  I just want to create some warm and snuggly. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

quilting with heart

I must be the slowest quilter in the history of the world.  But to be quite honest, I don't mind being slow.  I savor each and every minuscule stop along the way.  I finally got to the fabric store this spring and Katie and I picked out the border fabrics for the top and the flannel for the back.

   Wait until you see the fabrics Kate chose for the back.  I haven't uploaded a picture of them yet but hooooo boy! This is going to be one interesting quilt.  I wanted to just slap one HUGE piece of flannel on the back and call it a day.  Not my girlie though.  She fell in love with not two fabrics, not three fabrics, but four sweet flannels.  She assured me, using a cajoling tone and a little smile, I could piece them together to make the back and it would be more than perfect.   How could I say no?  And it is her quilt when all is said and done.


   Anywho! I got lost on a tangent there.  We've had a spell of dreary rainy weather.  Perfect weather to get some sewing done.  I spent one afternoon and evening cutting and sewing and the top is officially FINISHED!!! I really love how it turned out. Miss Charlotte approves too. 

On a side note...look at this most adorable pin cushion my sister made me for my birthday! She could have stopped right there but she didn't. She added some pins...pins with hearts adorning them...that make me want to squeal, they are just that cute.

   I am hoping once we are done with the craziness that is the dance recital, I will get to work on piecing the back together.  That's another step that should be relatively quick.  My speed quick, not actually quick kind of quick. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

a dog with a lot of heart

i ♥ that little heart shaped patch on our Daisy girl

Daisy epitomizes the word "sweetheart." There is nothing her little doggy self loves more than to love on her humans, her Mudgie, and even Miss Feistiness herself-Princess Charlotte. She is not a perfect pup. Quite the contrary, her list of "ways to improve" is indeed long. But I can forgive her eating Teresa's medications that were on the kitchen counter (again!) and her sneaking down to the basement to eat the kitty litter (again!), and her annoying habit of jumping up to say hello. Because anytime I'm blue, Daisy seems to know, and she wiggles herself in next to my leg and looks up into my eyes and wags with her whole body to let me know I'm loved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

cat vs dog

My animals have it all backwards. I'm refering to the canine and feline animals in the household here. They do not behave the way typical cats and dogs do. I lay the blame mostly at the feet of Charlotte. She just does not understand that she weighs a mere fourish pounds as compared to the 100ish pounds of the dogs. She truly believes she can get her way, steal their food, and nudge them out of a prime sleeping spot in the sun whenever she wants. But the reason she believes all this to be that it is! The stupid dogs always acquiese to her wishes.

There may be some resistance, but it is token resistance, and the confrontations end with the dogs walking away in shame. I do not get it.

Sometimes she throws her weight around just for the hell of it. Just because they look a mite too comfortable and she needs to remind them to jump when she says jump. Here she is making sure Daisy understands exactly who calls the shots.

Daisy was relaxing on the kitchen floor and Charlotte sauntered on over and sat right smack dab in front of her. That wasn't in your face enough though, so Charlotte gave a little swipe across Daisy's cheek.

When that didn't elicit the reaction Charlotte expected, she got up on two feet and gave Daisy the old one-two. Daisy did try and block the blows which only angered the little monarch.

So she jumped in and bit that insolent little canine.

When Daisy attempted a bite back, Charlotte completely lost control and leapt onto the hapless pooch's back biting and scratching until Daisy admitted defeat and slunk off to hide in the crate. (No photographic evidence of that last bit because I was laughing too hard. I keep trying to get some of this on video but I think Charlotte is on to me.)

She's had them cowed since day one and there is no turning back now. These poor pups will forever be ruled by this volatile little dictator. But most of the time, they don't seem to mind at all.

some things never change

one year

three years

six years

Oh, the just won't quit. Katie's hair has always had that certain something something. Poor thing was born bald and as soon as hair started to sprout it had a mind of it's own. Cowlicks don't even begin to describe this. Her hair just...floats? knots? matts?...around her head and will only be tamed with hair product. Despite the headache it is to comb out her hair each morning, I adore when she stumbles down the stairs in her little bare feet and pj's with her cloud of hair going every which way possible. Makes me smile.

Friday, March 23, 2012

date night

got myself a date tonight...with Mount Laundry.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

reason #67 shopping is walmart is a pain in the ass

I was in Walmart hoping to get everything I needed in one stop because I have this weird aversion to making mulitiple stops when doing errands. It just bugs me. Allergy med, check. Bananas, check. Photos for Sam's science project, check. Tortillas, check. Plastic Easter eggs, check. Fun foam, check. But I just couldn't find one item. A large roll of drawing paper. I looked in kids crafts. I looked in stationary. I looked in office supplies. I then looked again in all those places. Finally I asked the employee I had passed a couple times in the arts and crafts aisle if they sold large rolls of drawing paper. She quickly and firmly answered no. Imagine my surprise when less than two feet from where she was stocking shelves I found the very item I was looking for. I held it up remarking "Here it is!" She looked at me and said, " I didn't know that was what you meant." Yeah, because "large rolls of drawing paper" is kind of vague, don't you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

cue heart melting

See, they do love each other ♥

Thursday, February 9, 2012

anxiety induced brain dump

I'll be meeting with Sam's team in the very near future to develop the Ed Plan that will be in place for the next three years of his schooling. To say I am anxious would only just begin to describe how I'm feeling about it. I have no doubt that he will continue to qualify for services. That has typically been a worry for me at these meetings but not this go round. This time I am anxious that we get everything right.

Problem is, I don't exactly know what that means. We are entering new territory as he will be heading to middle school next fall. (on a side in God's name is it possible that my baby boy is old enough for middle school?) I don't know how he can manage lockers, and traveling to multiple classes, and carrying books, notebooks, assignments, etc, from room to room to room. I keep telling myself he can do this. The teachers and therapists who work with him have sent other children off to middle school and they know the scaffolding that needs to be in place to make the move a smooth one. I know he is capable. I just need to let my worries go and believe in him. I tell myself this but the worries persist. What if his friend, his one good friend, is not in his house? He'll be so lonely. How do I write into his Ed Plan that he needs to have his friend with him? Transitions are so extremely difficult for Sam. And this is probably one of the biggest transitions of his educational life. New school, new classes, new routines, new team.

Not to mention that this year has not been an easy one for him. He is struggling to stay on top of things and the least little thing causes him to check out. A bad test grade, worrying that it is not okay to be dismissed early from band practice, missing recess because he forgot his homework again. Any of these happens and Sam has to zone out because he can't deal. I talk with his Special Ed teacher at least once a week. I tell myself we are doing all we can and we are. But I get off the phone and I cry. I cry because I can't go to school with him and make sure everything goes the way it should and he's keeping up and staying focused. But that is what I want to do. And I can't. And soon, sooner than seems possible, he will be leaving the safe enclave of Elementary School and going into the combined Middle/High School. While it scares me, I think it terrifies him. I believe part of his difficulty this year has to do with anxiety over what's to come next year. He knows a big change is coming and that worry is simmering in the back of his mind constantly. I think it will be helpful for him to know we are going to make sure a plan is in place to help ease the transition. A meeting with the team could go far in reassuring Sam that we all want him to succeed and we are doing all we can to make sure that happens.

I know there will be bumps, hell...frigging mountains to climb, along the way as he heads into middle and high school. I pray that we're giving him just the right amount of help. Not too much so that he doesn't develop coping skills and mechanisms but not too little so he starts to flounder. It's a very thin line to walk.

It's not easy being six.

is what she said as she lounged on the couch in all her finery after having attended a field trip gala production at the theater after which she had to go back to school to do work and all.

Oh, yes, my dear, life can be so difficult when you're six.

Miss Daisy seems to agree.

Monday, January 23, 2012

We're going to the SuperBowl baby!!!!

Well, we personally are not, but our hometown team is and that makes for lots of Patriots pride around here. SuperBowl party planning is in high gear...the flyer that Sam has made up is hysterical. I need to post it. I couldn't believe they actually watched the entire game yesterday. Another generation of football fans is here. Although I think the girls are mostly in it for the snacks.

And just for fun, lets rewind six years...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


reminding me always to look around this great big marvelous world with wonder and excitement. Life is full of never know what you might see, if you just look around you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

jump for joy!

bubble wrap...a most wonderful toy

Friday, January 13, 2012

♥ love notes ♥

Teresa loves to give and receive little love notes and she is always trying to think of ways to say "I love you" without saying "I love you" This one I found on my pillow and it is now my current favorite. Her spelling of irreplaceable is hysterical. I think I will spell it like this from now on .

a new tradition

Every Christmas it's the same story. There is just so much we want to see and do and make and we rush from one thing to another and then there's the things we have to do and when all is said and done, we're all cranky and tired and still feeling like we've forgotten something. This year I wanted to take some of that stress away. I had seen online the "advent" calendar idea where families do one special activity a day. I loved the idea but dreaded the thought of having something else to fit into our days.

We already have a true advent calendar. I made it years and years ago out of felt. Each little pocket holds a small figure from the Nativity. I didn't want to have another advent type calendar. I finally hit upon cutting scrap paper into strips and then writing an activity on each one and I tucked the strips into the pockets of our Nativity calendar along with the little figure. When the strip was pulled from it's little nest we'd read the activity and then staple it into a ring to make a paper chain which we hung in the living room above the tree. I deliberately kept most of the activities simple, low cost, and family oriented. I also worked in a few things that were bigger ventures that I knew we'd be doing. It took some strategic planning on my part to make sure I had the time and materials for each activity. I had a master list so I knew what was happening when. Many of the activities were so much fun and so simple we did them over and over and over.

This was probably the best thing I've done to keep the focus of Christmas on family and giving. I know that many of our special activities are things we would have done anyways but doing it like this made our preparations really sing with meaning. Kind of shined it all up some and made us appreciate just how special all the little things really are. And to take time, really take time, to enjoy them and each other.

Some of our activities...
cut out paper snowflakes

have hot cocoa
dance to Christmas music (this one had Katie declaring this the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!)
drive around and look at holiday displays

visit Santa

donate food to the food pantry
donate toys to Toys for Tots
buy gift for the Angel tree at church
pick out a Christmas tree

decorate tree

watch A Christmas Carol
family game night
bake cookies and deliver some to friends
go to Edaville

dress up fancy for dinner and have dinner by candlelight

go to a Christmas concert
write down five things you are thankful for...keep the list up and add to it throughout the month
decorate gingerbread houses

go for a walk at night with flashlights
visit Heritage Gardens for the Holidays Aglow

wrap Christmas presents
do something nice for someone secretly (they loved this)
buy mittens and gloves and donate to a homeless shelter

I will be incorporating this new tradition of ours into every Christmas from here on out.