Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life Savors

Tea is the best way to start a day, perfect as a mid-afternoon treat, and wonderful to soothe away the worries of the day at day's end.

walks on the bog
Every time we walk the bogs we find treasures...whether it be an elusive deer track, a confidence shared, or ruby red berries collected along the way.

the beach
Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to sinking your bare feet into the sand at the edge of the shore, listening to the waves, and just wandering down the beach for what seems like forever before turning around to head back into the real world. I cherish the times I spend at the beach.

I am a snuggler. I think feeling someone else pressed up against my side makes me feel secure and safe. It could be one of the kids, Joe, or even the dogs. I am tickled that I have passed this snuggling trait on down to the kids.

the thrill of perusing the library shelves in search of something to read
I never get to read a best seller when it's actually a best seller. Instead I aimlessly wander the stacks of the library and emerge with six or seven possible treasures. I am rarely disappointed and have discovered some favorite authors with my willy nilly approach to book choosing.

a cat in my lap
It's been years and years since I've had a cat that really LOVES to curl up in my lap. Miss Charlotte not only loves it, she follows me around and the instant I sit down, she leaps into my lap, curls into a ball and purrs like a freight train. I am in heaven.

magazines in the mailbox
I adore magazines and get several in the mail that are just for me. Each time they arrive in my mailbox I do a little leap and click my heels together in happiness!

hunting for heart shaped rocks
Treasure hunting never gets old. I can spend hours sitting on the beach amidst a pile of polished stones...sifting them through my fingers, hoping to find one that happens to be in the shape of a heart. I have heart shaped rocks lined up on windowsills and piled into glass jars in my kitchen. I even have teeny tiny ones on a heart shaped dish above my sink. Looking at them while I do the dishes makes me happy.


a warm quilt on a cold day
The best quilts are made for you with love and our favorite is well worn and warms you up instantaneously despite being a bit threadbare. Must be all that love woven into the fabric.


walking hand in hand with a child
The child can be mine, a beloved niece or nephew, or one of my daycare friends. Clasping that small, soft, warm hand slipped into my own with love and trust is something I could never get enough of.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maine: by the numbers

7: days spent at the lake in Maine



37: bags of Humpty Dumpty potato chips consumed in those 7 days
6: bags of Humpty Dumpty potato chips we bought to bring home
5: nights there were sleepovers with cousins in cabins or tents
2: nights random nieces appeared on my doorstep at bedtime
0: number of times I heard "I'm bored."
1847: collecitive number of mosquito bites
1: nights I had to make dinner
3: movies enjoyed under the stars


0:number of showers the kids got in 6 days
17: rides in the boat


3: number of boat rides where Sam got to "drive"
359: rocks the kids painted that we had to haul home
5: time I got up each morning
4:beds in our cabin


0: number of nights Sam slept in a bed
6:number of nights Sam slept on the recliner
7:spectacular dinners AND desserts
1: trip to town for supplies
4 (okay 5): trips to town for alcohol
2: nights we heard moose


6:nights we heard loons
5: days spent sitting by the lake
1: day spent on the party barge
1:spectacular, amazing, relaxing week


78: times I remarked that this was the BEST VACATION EVER!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

so this happened

and we have been basking in the non scheduled life ever since. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

missing him

He never wore a bruins hat and she certainly does not look much like him at all. But when she looked my way that morning with her hat perched on the top of her head, in exactly the same way he used to, I saw my Dad.  It struck me so hard I had to gasp.  Tears unshed stinging my eyes.  I'm glad I can see him in glimpses, but I'd much rather have him here, sitting beside me, looking ridiculous in a too small hat, and making me laugh. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

her x rated history project

Teresa had to design a brochure for a made up pioneer town.  She featured the village eatery on the front.  I nearly wet myself laughing at the name of the restaurant...the Little Red Pot of Hotness.

Friday, June 14, 2013

play ball!

Watching my older daughter play softball has never been particularly exciting.  Our town's girls softball is very laid back. That's not the problem.  I tend to like this approach.  There is less cut throat competition and more camaraderie.  When your kid isn't athlete of the year, this approach is more fun and less stressful.  The girls spend more time discussing what cheers to do while waiting for their at bats, and less time following the game.  They shriek and cheer as loudly for a foul ball as they do for a home run.  They encourage each other with "you are the best pitcher EVER!!!! You're awesome!" They have even been known to hug each other, while on the field, after a particularly exciting play.  But even I have a limit to being relaxed about sports.

Teresa enjoys this softball more for the social aspects of the game than the actual game itself.  This year she waffled about signing up to play.  In fact, I went down and signed up Kate only, because Teresa was leaning so heavily towards not playing.  I never pushed it, just asked her if she wanted to play and left it at that.  Finally on the last day possible, she asked me to sign her up to play.  I have regretted it all season long.  It has been painful to watch her.  She looks bored out on the field.  She will watch a ball roll by her. Really! Watch it go right by her, not even a few feet away.  When I ask her why she didn't get the ball she replied, "Mo-um! It didn't come to me!"  Her coach has to tell her to put her glove on while she's playing.  Seriously?! And when she is at bat, she stands there with the bat on her shoulder and watches every single pitch go by without moving a muscle.  Sometimes she gets lucky and gets walked.  But many times she just strikes out.  Finally about half way through the season I had had enough.  Why was I wasting my time sitting there watching her "play", if she couldn't be bothered to even make an effort?  So as she walked out to the outfield I called her over and this was our actual conversation.
M: Next time you get up, swing. the. stinking. bat.  If you just stand there, I will make you walk home.
T: You're mean!
M: Yes I am. Now get out there, keep your glove on, and don't chew on it.

I felt a twinge of guilt that I wasn't being more supportive and blah blah and so on. But next time she got up, wouldn't you know, she swung away.  Swung the bat hard.  I wish I could say she hit it but she didn't.  She struck out.  The other parents must think I'm certifiable because I was clapping and cheering like she hit a grand slam.  She has kept on swinging and after her next game she very proudly told her Dad she got a hit.  It was a foul ball but still, a hit. Apparently, she asked to play catcher, and surprisingly enough she's not that bad at it.  At least she keeps the glove on and out of her mouth when she's catching.

Her last game of the regular season was the other night and I had to miss nearly the entire game because of a school event.  I arrived at the field and she happened to be up at bat.  Girlfriend swung that bat like she meant business, made contact, and got herself a double.  I didn't think anyone could be more proud of her at that moment than I was.  I was wrong.  When she came home the entire team piled off the bench screaming and jumping up and down and hugging her.  The coaches all had high fives and pats on the back for her.  Her team lost the game.  But you wouldn't know it.  They were celebrating anyways.  Because Teresa finally hit the damn ball.  You gotta love that. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013



She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.  She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.  She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.  She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.  Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child.  ~Barbara Alpert 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

gifts that make you go hmmmmm?

We don't go in for big gifts for birthdays, anniversary, or Mother's/Father's day. But the kids do like to give gifts.  They get all secretive and hide things in closets and giggle because they think we have no idea what they're up to.  I've got my share of homemade bookmarks, beaded necklaces, and magnets.  Some I keep, others (shhhhh! do not tell them this!) get "misplaced."  Teresa made sure I'd have a hard time losing this years homemade Mother's day gift.  Am I horrible that the first thing that popped into my head upon receiving it was, "how long before I can recycle this thing?"

It's a model of our family at home  Kate and I are in the kitchen making dinner, Joe is just coming in the door from work, Sam is on the laptop in the other room, and Teresa is holding up the wall looking pretty.  Teresa made sure to use dolls she doesn't play with so I display it FOREVER.  Lucky me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

things said and not said

Kate asked as we drove down a road that has ditches dug on both sides as it is under construction for new sidewalks, "wow! look at that! They're making moats."

Kate came home from school complaining that she had two conkers in her mouth that hurt.  I have yet to correct her and ask her several times a day if her conkers are bothering her. 

The kids were asking Joe if they could go to work with him.  Kate, who was sitting beside me, said she wanted to meet his boss.  Teresa replied, "She's sitting right next to you."

On Mother's day Kate inquired why there wasn't a kids day.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying something fresh.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

doing the happy dance!

It may not have been the easiest week but he did it! He is so awesome.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

seven things about me

Seven things about me

1. I do not like confrontation. It makes me nervous and anxious and I try to avoid it if at all possible.
2. I am painfully shy and have been most of my life. I have certainly learned to come out of my shell since high school but I still dislike going to large gatherings where I know few people. Sometimes this shyness has been mis-interpreted as being snooty and that is so not the case at all. I am the most down to earth person on the planet.
3. I don't know how to do a cartwheel and this really pisses me off.
4. I've always wanted to write a children's picture book.
5.I harbor an inner Rachel Ray and love to cook. Sadly the joy of cooking gets shelved most days of the week because my days are stuffed to the gills with activities and I can't luxuriate in perusing recipes and trying out new ones.
6. Animals have always been a passion of mine. I believed as a child I could talk to animals and they could talk to me. My sister teasingly calls me Marie Doolittle.  My pets calm me when I'm worried, comfort me when I'm sad, and bring me constant joy. My pets are members of my family and I love them with every fiber of my being.
7. I am a shameless hypochondriac. I have a hangnail and I'm diagnosing myself with leprosy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a few things I will never ever forget...some of which I really wish I could

that phone call from Tim...that horrible phone call that ripped apart my world before he even spoke a word...hearing him struggle to get the words out shook me to my very core

seeing my Mom...wanting to wrap her in my arms and comfort her because she looked so lost

the hugs from my brothers and sisters...hugs that you didn't want to end

seeing him wheeled by in the hall and recoiling in shock at the stranger on the stretcher...was that really him?

the kindness of the doctor who took the time to repeat his words to us several times over because when he's talking about your Dad it takes many repititions for it to even begin to make a little bit of sense

holding Dad's hand and feeling him squeeze my hand wrenches my heart even now to think about it

the hope...that devastatingly cruel emotion that resides in your heart even when you know you have little reason to hope because, maybe?

being ordered, yelled at, to leave the room when all the alarms started their noise and the terror that sound managed to create

standing in the waiting room and watching through the windows as the doctors and nurses ran by the windows, knowing they are running to save the life of your Dad and every fiber of my being praying they succeed

the nurses in the ICU bringing more chairs to accomadate our family and how that simple gesture brought me to tears

the look on the doctor's face and knowing finally that life was never going to be the same

taking a phone call from Sam after Joe inadvertently told Sam what was going on and hearing the wrenching sobs from my boy...knowing I had to ease his fears and comfort him in his sorrow but not knowing how to even begin to do that because I could barely stop from crying myself as I listened to him sob

needing to touch Dad...his hand, his leg, his hair...and the comfort I received from that contact

hearing my Mom talking to him quietly...telling him over and over how much she's loved him...that it was okay for him to go...and the miracle of him turning towards her voice

watching my children tiptoe in and say their goodbyes...a little fearful, tremendously sad, but really not fully understanding the finality of that goodbye

breaking down again and again and again and there always being someone there to wrap me in a hug and doing the same for the others when they couldn't hold it together themselves

making the decision, as a family, a single unanimous decision, that he'd want nature to determine the time of his death and not to simply exist on machines

walking in to his hospital room the next morning as they were preparing to take him off life support...angry at the priest as he gave him Last Rites and yet at the exact same time being so thankful he was there for him, my Mom, and all of us...tears streaming down my cheeks unchecked and realizing when we finished praying that I had grabbed onto the hands of my siblings on either side of me.

listening to his uneven times shuddering, at times strong and deep...and once again, hope steals into my heart, enough hope that I felt okay leaving

my phone ringing as I drove home not even ten minutes from the hospital and crying aloud "no, no, no, no" before I could answer

seeing my oldest brother waiting at the door to the ICU and collapsing into his hug sobbing

kissing Dad goodbye one last time and the horrible aching pain in my heart as we all had to walk away and leave him, all alone in that room.  It felt so wrong

It still feels wrong

Monday, May 13, 2013

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can

I sent my boy off to camp this week.  A week we've been preparing for for the last six months.  He started fundraising for camp back in the fall.  He dutifully sold coupon books and cookie dough to help fund his trip to camp.  It was sometime during the cookie dough fundraiser that he understood going to camp meant GOING and STAYING at camp.  He was going to go somewhere he had never been before and stay there for five days all on his own.  After selling enough cookie dough and coupon books to cover over half the cost of the trip, he informed me he would not be going, thank you very much.  I struggled with this.  I didn't want to force him to go.  However, I believe that the activities, field trips, and programs planned for this week are adventures he would love taking part in.  What to do? 

Our plan was to play up everything awesome about camp and do our best to alleviate his fears and anxieties concerning camp. And as far as I could tell, the plan seemed to work.  Sam left this morning after a hurried goodbye.  He got on the bus and is at camp.  I am praying to the powers that be to look over him and give him strength.  He needs it more than most.

 For many people routine reigns supreme. Autistic people take the love of routine to a whole new level.  Sam finds comfort and control in his routines.  Certain foods must be eaten on certain days and daily tasks must happen in the exact same order. Any change to routine would best be prepped for, if at all possible.  Sam can go about his day with happiness and security because he knows what to expect and what is expected of him.  But camp was a huge unknown. 

Not knowing when he's supposed to brush his teeth and having pancakes on Wednesday instead of Tuesday may not be a cause for worry for most kids, but for Sam all those tiny little changes in his routine add up.  They add up to a tremendous amount of I don't know and that is incredibly scary. 

He will be with the entire sixth grade.  All familiar people.  His teachers will be there.  Dad will stay over two of the nights.  He's memorized the daily schedule.  I'm praying he can focus on the adventure and not on the unknowns around him.  I'm praying he doesn't break down when things get a little challenging.  I'm praying his friends and teachers give him the extra support he so desperately needs this week.  I wish with all of my heart I could be there with him.  But in my heart I know this is something he needs to do on his own.  And I believe he is ready.  He has what he needs to handle any difficulties that may come his way.  I have told him this many times these last few weeks leading up to camp.  I pray that he believes me. 

What I didn't prepare for was how very much I would miss him.  I can get through this...right?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

really...where does the time go?

In the blink of an eye she went from a pudgy round faced little girl to a tall, graceful young lady.

She truly takes my breath away.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I find myself sitting on the sidelines a lot these days.  Baseball, softball, basketball...I am the designated cheerleader.  Sometimes I holler loud and other times I mutter quietly to myself.  Not just my kids either, I cheer on all the kids.  Whether they're on "our" team or not.  A mom at the softball field asked me the other day, "which team are you rooting for?" when I hooted my support of a particularly impressive hit made by a girl on the opposing team as our daughters.  "All of them." is my answer.  I cringe inside when I hear parents yell, "strike him/her out!" Really?  They're little kids.  Even when they're a little bit older, cant you just encourage the pitcher rather than yell something that may stab at someone's sense of self?  I'm just not cut out for sports. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

so long sucker!

a girl and a thumb

the love affair began almost immediately.  I tried to come between them, to no avail.  Eventually I realized they belonged together and allowed their love to flourish and grow. 


But their love story does not have a happy ending.  As some romances do, they would have to go their separate ways. 

It's been sweet but it's time.

 p.s. as I searched through my hard drive for pictures for this I found zero pictures from 2013 of her sucking her thumb.  zero.  Way to go girlie...Mumma's proud. ♥

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

they refuse to admit they are not lapdogs

hmmmmm....I wonder why that is?


Monday, April 22, 2013

They're magically delicious!

Behold this years Leprechaun trap!  I love the attempt at camouflage with the pine branches and the helpful arrow pointing the way in. 

Sadly, as in years past, they were not successful in capturing a single leprechaun.  But once again, they did succeed in luring the cat into the trap. 

Sam wondered aloud if the cat was scaring away any potential leprechauns.  To which Teresa replied, "Nah, I think they do get stuck in our trap and the cat is eating them." 


Friday, April 5, 2013

best present ever

I like going through the kids' backpacks at the end of each day.  You never know what you're going to find in there.  Most of the stuff I pull out ends up in the recycle bin or the trash, but every so often you find one you just want to hang on to. 

Kate brought this home from school the other day.  What a wise little girl.  She understands that family is a  gift worth more than any book, toy, or piece of clothing.  And she cherishes us with all of her heart.  Her great big incredible heart. 

And I thinks it's quite comical and  worth mentioning that part of the reason she likes us is because we feed her. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Girl on fire

Easter came around, as it tends to do this time of year. My kids can't wait for the Easter bunny to pay a visit and leave a basket full of candy that they'll never eat.  Seriously.  The kids run around looking high and low for their baskets as soon as they wake up.  They are frantic as they search because not one of them wants to be the last one to find their basket.  Once the baskets have been found they are forgotten.  My kids have had a total of one chocolate egg from their baskets.  This has been the norm since they've had teeth.  I don't get it.  When I was a kid my Easter basket had nothing in it but Easter grass before I was served breakfast. 

One of our Easter traditions has been to attend the Easter vigil at our church.  I remember my Mom taking my brothers and sisters and myself to the vigil and it's such a dramatic way to start the holiday.  I still remember standing in the dark church and watching as the light was passed from one person to another until the church was filled with candlelight.  It is awe inspiring.  I still find it awe inspiring. 

My children don't love the length of the Mass, but they too adore the drama of the plunge into darkness and the slow return of the light.  I am in the fifth year of bringing the kids to the vigil.  At first, watching them holding lit candles in such close quarters was nerve wracking . No, more than that, it was a slight form of torture.  I was positive that one of them was going to light themselves or a neighbor up in flames.  I thought now that they're older, I would relax more this year.  Sadly, after this years drama, I don't think I ever will.  And really, it's all my fault.

I was on the end and had my candle lit by an alter server.  I passed the light to Sam, he lit up Katie's candle, who lit Teresa's, and she passed the light on to Joe. I blissfully gazed around at the softly lit church.  Even our supermarket church looks like a beautiful place of worship under those circumstances.  I kept darting little looks at the kids and every so often hissed "hold your candle away from your head!" Katie in particular was making me nervous.  She was looking all around the church too, but every turn of her head caused her hair to come very close to flames. I tried whispering to her to hold still which was not all that effective.  So I leaned across Sam, taking care to lean away from his candle.  However, Mr. Nosy wanted to get in on what  I was saying to Katie, so he leaned over too, and in the process tilted his candle right into my hair.  Yes, my hair.  Which started to crackle and burn.  Really.  My hair was on fire.  In church.  On the Holiest of Holy days. 

Without missing a beeat, I reached up and smothered the little fire and kept right on scolding my daughter.  I did get a glimpse of the teenage boy's face in front of me when I became a human candle and it was hysterical.  After the moment passed, I sat down in my chair and had to stifle my giggles.  I kept picturing in my mind this beautiful moment and people taking in the serene and spiritual scene around them when, whoosh! Me and my hair ruin the moment.  I am still giggling. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

missing in action

Where to begin?  How to start?  Do I pick up and pretend I never stopped or do I go in for a long winded explanation about life and busy and busy and life? eh, you know.  I missed a week and then another and before you knew it nearly six months had gone by. 

Can I just start by saying how very very tired I am?  Cripes! It seems like I go to bed immediately after dinner and still need to drag my ass out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning.  I blame the kids, and the dogs, and the cat. Oh my God! The damn cat.  She is seriously the bane of my existence.  She knows, I swear she knows, when my alarm is set to go off and she deliberately wakes me about 30 minutes prior to.  Just be a pain in my ass. 

The dogs hold a close second to being the bane of my existence.  In order to leave the house nowadays, I have to barricade my kitchen cabinets and any other potential source of food.  I stash food stuffs into the microwave and oven to prevent them from being swallowed whole by the dogs while we're gone.  They are like the geniuses of the canine world because they have figured out how to open my cabinets, which are childproofed mind, to get at the food stuff.  So I must place chairs which are weighted down with things in front of the cabinets.  I was hiding the Easter candy in the hall closet but they ferreted that one out and I came home to just the empty bags.  They ate all the jelly beans, all the chocolate eggs (foil and all), and all the marshmallow peeps.  The new Easter candy is back in the hall closet but I have two baby gates, one of top of the other, in the door of the closet to keep it safe. They have also learned how to open the diaper pail.  You must step on the pedal in order to make the top pop open.  Not a problem at all for my mensa pups.  So even that is now childproofed.  Because, um...yuck.   It would be a lot easier to just crate them when we leave but we like to keep them out to discourage robbers.  I'm paranoid like that. 

My boy lost his very last baby tooth the other day.  His very last baby tooth.  Is it weird I wanted to save it?  I tossed all his other teeth without a thought but this one I held on to for just a bit before finally rolling it off of my hand into the trash.  How is it possible he can be done with baby teeth?  Why does childhood have to rush by in such a blur?  He's becoming such a funny young man.  At night he likes to come in while I'm reading in bed and talk.  Our discussions range from him reciting plays of football games played over thirty years ago to his fears about death to how much he loves his math teacher to who will be nominated to political positions and what that might mean for us to minecraft and why creepers shouldn't be allowed to destroy anything while you're sleeping.  Little boy and young man co-existing happily.  We've yet to see much teenager in him yet and for that I am thankful.

Because his ten year old sister is more than making up for the lack of teenage attitude in him.  Oh my Lordy, does that girl have attitude and then some.  It's a darn good thing she's cute, otherwise I would have sold her to the gypsies.  Which reminds me...have you ever seen the show about the American gypsies?  My daughter has, and she absolutely lusts after their blinged out clothes, shoes, and accessories.  Yeah, I had better start self medicating myself now in preparation for her teen years.

So, in short, I'm here, still navigating through each day and taking on it's challenges with humor, chocolate, and a little bit of wine.  Because everything is better with chocolate (just ask my dogs) and wine.