Monday, December 27, 2010

Toy Review

Santa had a bit of a challenge determining which toys he should bring for S this year.  After all, he's the youngest of three boys; what could be gotten that hasn't already been gotten once, if not twice?

Santa went DUPLO.  Specifically, he got two sets for S:  5497 LEGO® DUPLO® Play with Numbers and 6051 LEGO® DUPLO® Play with Letters, along with 5636 Bus.

I wasn't entirely sure how these would go over with S.  He turns two on New Year's Day, so I worried that stacking and locking the bricks could be a bit of a challenge for his little hands.

It turns out that I was all worried over nothing.  The LEGOs were quite the hit with S.  Of all the toys he received, he has played with the LEGOs far more than any other toy.  As I watched S play with the bricks, I realized what it was about them that worked so well for him.

If you click on the links above, you'll see that the number and letter bricks are twice as tall as a regular LEGO brick.  This made it much easier for little hands to grab and manipulate.  While stacking the bricks was easy, it did take a few tries to master how to lock them together.  Once S got the hang of interlocking the bricks, he was able to make tall towers that he could knock down (by far his favorite part).

In addition to a fun building toy, LEGO also promotes the numbers and letters sets as educational (which, truth be told, was a factor in Santa's decision to gift these sets to S).  Letter bricks can be put side by side to form words, or put into alphabetical order.  The number bricks come with "partners" - like-colored bricks with the corresponding number of objects on them (one teddy bear, two rabbits, etc.).  These can be used to play a "memory" game (flipping over bricks to match a number with its corresponding picture), or have the child stack a number brick atop the corresponding picture brick.

I don't know how I'll use the LEGOs for the above games, but I do appreciate that LEGO offers an alternative to character-driven sets (Toy Story, Cars, etc.).

It's only two days after Christmas, but the LEGOs are by far S's favorite new toy.  Mom is very happy about that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Well, That Was Short Lived stint as a regular blog poster.  You're shocked, I can tell.  You just *knew* that this time was for real, that I would stick with it, that I wouldn't peter out.


But seriously, the thought of blogging thrice weekly about my life forced me to consider some important questions, primarily:  Do I really want to share very personal aspects of my daily life with not just strangers, but with my friends and family?  Honestly, divulging personal details to a bunch of readers I've never seen or met before on the Internet doesn't feel very scary to me.  Change that to a bunch of people who know me and suddenly it scares the bejeezus out of me.  And that brings up a whole other level of privacy:  how fair is it to the Hubster and the kids to put some very personal and possibly unflattering things about them on the Interwebz for all time, and for all who know us, to read?

As much as I want to write, I don't want to unnecessarily cause discomfort or pain to my family doing it.  Besides, my initial goal was never to be a "mommy blogger."  It was to write more one-off pieces (eg, I wrote a piece on my perspective as the mom of three boys) or more research-driven pieces.

So now I go back to the drawing board, sort of.  I will still blog, but as of now I have no idea how frequently.  Sometimes I might share something funny that happened, other times I might respond to an article I read that got me thinking.

So that's that.  I suppose a good New Year's resolution would be to keep polishing my writing, and work on creating several pieces that could be published.  (Note to Sensei's wife - haven't thought about where just yet.  I'll get to that... eventually ;)

Oh yeah, and one last thing - a big special note of gratitude to Sensei's Wife - if not for her keen eye and honest criticism, I would not have given this a fraction of the thought that I have in 2010.  I couldn't ask for a better friend, not just as a writer, but as a human  :D

Friday, December 17, 2010

Can't Let the Turkeys Get Me Down

Been an interesting twenty-four hours.

Got an email from the parochial school where T goes to preschool.  They've decided to change the preschool schedule for next year.  Again.  Last year, they sent a survey to the parents, who decided that three days a week wasn't enough, so the fours can attend three or five mornings and the threes got moved to the afternoon.  Next year, the fours will attend three days, from 8am to 1pm with the option to stay until 2pm. 

This raises some issues:
  1. I cannot be in two places as once.  T needs to be in school at 8am; J waits for the bus at 8am.  I suppose I could take T to school first and then drop off J, but the elementary school doesn't allow dropoffs until 8:20, and the schools are five minutes apart.  And J loves riding the bus; why would I want to take that from him?  Why should I take that from him?
  2. What about the parents who have multiple children attending the school?  For some it may be convenient to drop off both children for an 8am start.  But won't it be rather confusing for the parents with two preschoolers, one child starting at 8am on MWF and the other at 9am on TTH?  And what about the parents with a child in the threes and an older child in the elementary school?  If the decision to start the fours at 8am is to accommodate the parents with children in the fours and in elementary school, what about the parents with children in the threes and another in elementary school?  Why make it easy for some and not others?  And why make an 8am start for the fours if the kindergarteners can arrive between 7:50 and 8:30?  This decision makes absolutely no sense.
  3. Most important to me, I do not think four-year-olds should be in school for six hours a day, even if much of the time is spent at play.  This is a preschool program, not a day care center.  (Note:  This is not a critique of parents who work; rather, a critique of parents who work who also expect their schools to function as day care centers as opposed to centers of education.)
I spoke to the teacher this morning.  She had pushed for a 9am start for the preschool across the board; she was not pleased with the varying start times.  She told me to complain to the principal about the new fours start time, and also told me that the 8am start was to accommodate one parent who complained about having to drive back and forth to the school multiple times. 
Seriously?  I am at that school four times on Wednesdays:  to drop T off, pick him up, then bring J to CCD and pick him up an hour later.  I don't complain because driving my kids to where they need to be is my job
The upshot is that the teacher has absolutely no problem with me bringing T to school after J gets off the bus.  She plans to spend the first hour in free play, with circle time starting at 9am.

So after making myself completely crazy, I feel better about the preschool issue.

And then one of the moms came in to share some news.  Can you guess?  I'll give you a hint:  she's pregnant with her third child and she already has two boys.  You don't still need a hint, do you? 

Yup.  She's having a girl.  Of course she is.  Right now it's just a dull throb, but this morning it briefly brought back some old feelings.  And it made me realize that perhaps my lesson from God is that the things I want are not necessarily the things I need.  It also made me wish that someone would experience the disappointment I felt, but then I immediately realized that not having felt that pang would mean that I wouldn't have S.

After dropoff, I went to the mall with S to get some teacher gifts.  Ran into three different people I haven't seen in a while.  I love random, unplanned mall reunions.

I'm glad that everything panned out as it did.  And I am ready for the weekend.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sleep Wars

Just when I felt that I had a firm handle on my life and on the kids' schedule, just when I thought everything was under control, it Happened.

The Hubster made a Decision.  He decided that S was getting too big for his crib and therefore should be transitioned into a big boy bed.  Starting Now.

Initially, he tried to convince me that we needed to go out Right There and Then and buy a twin bed that matches the older boys' bunk bed set (we got the bunk beds at BJ's about two years ago; they don't make a twin bed, just the bunk beds).  I told him that that was ridiculous idea since we not only already have a double bed in S's room along with the crib, but we also have a Little Tikes race car toddler bed that's gathering dust in the basement.  Either option was fine with me, but there was absolutely no reason to go buying a new bed.

Much to Hubster's credit, he didn't argue his point.  Instead, he brought up the spare crib mattress, spring base, and bed frame. 

I must say that while I was behind this idea in theory, I was not (and still am not) thrilled with the fact that Hubster either overlooked something very important, or very cleverly thrust it in my lap:  the aftermath.  Aftermath? What on earth are you talking about, crazy lady? you ask.  Well, think about it.  Who is home in the afternoons when S will be napping (or learning to nap) in this new bed?  And who will be putting S to sleep in this new bed when Hubster is working late?  Who's got two thumbs and the toughest job she'll ever love?  This gal!

Yep.  He pulled a seagull move.  Flew in, shit all over the place, and flew away.

Okay, that's a bit extreme and perhaps overly harsh.  Yeah, he did kinda crap on me by initiating this major transition that *I* will be managing solo, but let's be real here.  S is almost two.  He's our third boy, and he is far more adventurous than even T, our Fearless Child.  So much so that S makes T look cautious (seriously).  It was just a matter of time before S figured out how to scale the crib and forced the situation.  And the sooner we transition him to a bed, the sooner that brief period of naptime hell is over.

I suppose the true reason why I resist this latest transition is that it signifies the End of the Babyhood.  Of course I'm excited that my little boy is getting bigger (well, that all of my little boys are getting bigger), but there's still that small part of me that's sad that our crib's days are numbered.  The past six and a half years of my life, somebody has been my baby (well, my under-two-year-old).  It was exciting, exhausting, challenging, and worth every minute of it, but now it's time to look forward to the next phase of parenting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I'd Like to Know

I know how my marriage and family work.  I have limited knowledge of how my friends' marriages and families work.  But I have no idea if we are the norm, if we are normal for where in the US we live, or if we are complete outliers.

I want to know if the conflicts that my husband and I have as spouses and as parents are typical.  I suspect that they are, but I would still like to know how other marriages and families work:  Do dual income families have different reasons for the same conflicts than do families where parents fulfill traditional roles?  Are the conflicts specific to one or both of the parents' line of work?  Does the gender of the children play a part?

I realize that it is probably impossible to design an experiment that will find these answers using the scientific method, but I still want to know. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Had a very interesting conversation with a neighbor/friend of mine this morning.  She writes for some magazines you have most definitely read (perhaps in the dentist's office, hair salon, or in line at the grocery store), and she's a lot of fun to talk to. 

We've spoken about some of the topics I want to write about, and she has always been very supportive.  She mentioned the possibility of me blogging for a well known website, which I find both exciting and scary as hell.  I know this is all pie in the sky at this point, but still...  The spectre of writing for money (even if it pays $50 per blog entry) is very exciting, but the pressure of having to deliver a server-ready piece several times a week is a bit daunting.  Okay, a lot daunting.  Oh, and there's that bit about baring my soul to millions of strangers.  That is definitely a scary prospect, but what scares me more is knowing that lots of friends and family will seek out my writing. 

And if people I know are going to seek out my writing, and if I'm going to get paid for it, it's probably in my best interest to get back on the blog.  So here I am.

I'm thinking I might publish under a pseudonum.  That might work...  any suggestions? 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Running Out of Steam? Or Just Bored?

I have stuff I could write about today, but I've started wondering about this whole blog as diary thing.

Is this really helping me become a better writer?  Yeah, it's giving me a venue in which I can actually rack up the time writing, but is it helping?  Or is it just a platform for me to whine?

Would my time be better spent if I sat at the kitchen table, set the timer for thirty minutes three or four nights a week (or more), and wrote?  Wrote a response to something I read in the paper or online, edited something I wrote previously?

I don't know.  But I feel like this blog isn't so much an outlet as something I do every day, like brush my teeth.  Except I'm not entirely clear what the benefit is. 

So if I don't come back for a few days, it's because I'm either writing offline or analyzing the benefits of blogging.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Visual Thinking

I need to tattoo this on the inside of my eyelids: 


Remember how I went to the remodeling company's office this week?  And how they printed out floor plans and computer renderings of a proposed addition?

Well, tonight I asked Hubster if he wanted to see the printouts.  He said yes, he did.  So I showed them to him.

Now he is obsessing, much as I have been for oh, about two years, about how best to design the space and, most importantly, what it would cost us.

I find it amusing that even though much of the design was my idea, Hubs thought that the remodeller's designer did a good job.  (Thank you, dear... oh he of little faith...)

At least this has opened up a dialogue between us, which is far more than there has been about this subject since I first broached it two (or was it three?) years ago.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This One TIme? At Band Camp?

Tonight, our town's high school marching band sponsored their annual marching band competition.  I took the kids (all four of them, and yes, I'm counting Hubster as a kid).

I'll admit it, it was 99% for me, 1% for the kids.  J and T in particular; they're very interested in playing the drums, so I thought it might be fun for them to watch real kids playing drums while marching.

Hubster pretty much rolled his eyes the entire time.  Infidel!

So many thoughts about the show:
  • Since we arrived early, the smaller bands were performing.  One had only sixteen musicians, six colorguard, and three drum majors.  Even the marching band from a high school in a nearby city had approximately sixty members (including the colorguard). 
  • Major geek confession:  I actually got teary while walking past the portraits of the senior band members.  As I passed, the announcer said, ", you may now take the field in Class I MAC competition." 
    • I haven't heard that phrase in about twenty-two years.  I got chills, and a huge sense of deja vu.
  • The host school's band is performing as I type.  I would have loved to go back to watch their show (they're about 125 members large), but it's late, and it's kinda cold out there.  And my couch is really comfy and there's wine in the fridge.
  • I am blessed to have had the marching band experience that I did.  In Ohio, people take it much more seriously than they did in New Jersey.  Heck, we took it very seriously.  Why else would we spend two and a half hours practicing Monday through Thursday, Friday nights performing halftime and postgame at the football games, and then all day Saturday at competitions?
  • It was nice to take a walk down memory lane, watching all of the high school kids watching the other bands and hanging out with one another.
  • J decided that he likes the quads best.  T likes the bass drums.  I would love for them to have as positive an experience as I did if they choose to join the marching band.
  • If J and T do decide to join the band, I hope Hubster gets over himself.  He made a comment that he'd rather be grilling burgers on Friday nights instead of on Saturdays like the band fathers were today.  I told him that it wasn't exactly up to him.  Gah.
  • It's not a competition unless some band does Les Miz.  Yes, in 2010, somebody did.  I almost fell off the bleachers laughing when I realized why the opening number sounded so familiar.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome, October

I'm not really in a posting mood tonight.

It's nothing personal; I just don't really have anything exciting to share, and there's no real bee in my bonnet today. 

Well, no bee that I feel like buzzing about.

I'll save that for tomorrow, when I have some energy to go off on my school district's decision to implement full day kindergarten the year T starts.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's a Cubit?

Crazy rainy day today.

Brain is packed with items to process, but I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Future career plans are on hold.

I know that in five years, I'll look back and laugh at how stressed I am over rather inconsequential things.  But right now, because my office is the four walls of my home and my job responsibilities begin and end with my kids, that is exactly what I am consumed with - my home and my kids.  And how they look, and whether the kids succeed, has been squarely placed on my shoulders.  By me.

I am starting to think that I need to find some little something to do from home for money.  Nothing major.  Maybe creating and maintaining a spreadsheet or database of leads and sales for another mom who sells Pampered Chef, or something like that.  Maybe editing user guides for a software developer.  Something that I can do at home, when the kids are in bed, for a couple of hours a week.

Maybe that will helpn me feel like I am slowly gaining control of my life.

Not quite sure how or why it feels like it's slipped from my hands.

Need to sign off and try to get some sleep.  Hoping that J will be well enough to go to school tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crazy Day

When it rains, it pours.

Today started with a fun event.  I went to the remodelers' office to do a first round design of our proposed addition.  It took two hours, way longer than I expected, but it was still pretty cool.  I have a bunch of things to think about, design-wise, which kinda hurts my head right now.

I left there and headed back to pick up T from school.

A little while after I got home, poor S had a little, erm, issue.  Let's just say he had some serious blockage.  A Q-Tip and some Vaseline was required to rectify the situation (pun intended, go ahead and groan). 

Then I ran out to a branch office to pay a bill I talked about yesterday, since waiting for the mail to get to its destination would result in a missed payment rather than a late payment.

Put S down for a nap; the earlier distress wiped him out and he slept for three hours.

At about 3:20, dismissal time, I got a phone call from the substitute school nurse.  J threw up in the classroom at around 3:00.  She said that when she came to escort him to her office, his shirt was soaking wet.  Poor guy.  I had to wait about ten minutes while Grandma came to stay at the house with T and still sleeping S, so J got home at the exact same time he would have had he taken the bus.

Needless to say, J missed CCD today.

He lounged on the couch, munching on toast and drinking tea.

By bedtime, he seemed almost normal. 

We'll see how J feels tomorrow morning.

I'd hate to keep him home if he's feeling fine, but after yesterday's classroom incident, I am hesitant.

Well, tomorrow's another day...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dropped the Ball

Funny, for the past couple of weeks, I felt like there was something important that I had to do, but forgot.

I figured out what it was today.

I forgot to pay the this month's bills.


All of them.

So thankful for autopay.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Crazy Hour

I took J and T to mass this morning. 

We arrived just before the processional because while backing out of the driveway, I paid more attention to the CD player than to what was behind me and ended up scraping my rear fender against Hubster's front one.

I was so pissed with myself, mostly because it was completely avoidable.

So we get there just as the mass begins, and rather than enter through the center, we go in through a side door.  We sit in a rear pew next to an older man (mid- to late-70s, I would guess), one pew ahead of J's friend M.  I could sense that our pew-neighbor wasn't into kids because rather than slide in so the boys could sit directly in front of their friends, he acts as if they don't exist. 

Shortly after mass begins, the priest invites the children to exit the rear of the church for the children's liturgy downstairs.  Of course the boys immediately head to the center aisle.  As they go to cross in front of the man, he holds his hand up as if to stop them from moving past him.  What was that about?  And, of course, the boys are too quick for me to redirect them; I was barely able to remind them to say "Excuse me" when they were in the aisle.  It was rather obvious to me that this man was annoyed, so I muttered, "they're children."

The funniest part of the mass?  When it came to the part where we offer one another the sign of peace, the man refused to make eye contact with me.  He wouldn't even turn his head or body towards me.  I so wished he did; I really wanted to shake his hand after what had happened.

The service continues, and the children return later than usual.  I go into the vestibule to flag down the boys, lest they get too close to Mr. Crankypants.  Fortunately, this time, it works. 

Later, the priest invites the children to the altar to say the Our Father.  The boys make their way up using the side aisle.  Afterwards, J comes back down the side but T comes down the middle, meaning that he has to pass Mr. Crankypants for yet another time.  Would you believe that he, again, stands still and acts as if T doesn't even exist as T wriggles along the seat behind him?

Look, I understand that some people just don't like kids.  That's fine.  But when you're in, say, a public place where children are welcome (you know, like in church or someplace like that; not a bar), you just might want to be civil.

Just sayin'

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Day...

One day... I will be able to attend a family function and have multiple conversations with other adults.

Tonight was the elementary school's Father's Club Barbecue.  Hubster chose to go golfing, so I decided to take the three boys myself.

It wasn't that bad.

J and T spent pretty much the entire time with J's friend (and former classmate) M and his brother T.  They're both really good boys, so I was happy that my guys chose to play with them all night.  Their mom is also really nice, so it was a bonus all around.  It also helps that J and T are old enough that I don't need to be within ten feet of them at all times any more.

S, however, is a different story.

The reason I was unable to converse with anyone at length was because S was keeping me on my toes.  I'm not mad; he's twenty-one months old so it's to be expected.  And fortunately he's a really happy kid.  He was busy jumping all over the lawn, dancing to the DJ's music, attempting to climb the playstructure amid kids several years older and larger than him, making friends with anyone who would pay him attention, and just plain ol' running.

All in all, though, I had fun.  And the boys did, too.  I'm glad we went.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Must-See TV

Yeah, I'm a TV nerd.

I am loving this premiere episode of Community.

And now 30 Rock is on.

I want to go to there...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bite My Tongue/From the Mouths of Babes

That's what I should have done today.

Yesterday, I asked J about his homework.  His weekly homework sheet mentioned an alphabet guessing game, but he had no worksheet.  J explained that they were doing the game today.  I assumed that he either misunderstood and that it was due today, or that he forgot the worksheet and was making an excuse.

I was going to do nothing, and let J deal with it.  But no.  I had to email his teacher. 

And he was right.

They played the game today, and he hadn't forgotten anything.  I felt rather small.

Epic Mommy Facepalm.


J had his first CCD class today.  At dinner, I asked him to tell me one cool thing he learned.  He told me the story of Adam and Eve as only a six-year-old could.  It was an incredibly sweet moment for me.

I then asked him to tell me one cool thing he did at school today.  He told me that he and his classmate and longtime friend (since birth, really), R, play Wipeout on the playground.  Yes, I realize that Wipeout isn't exactly highbrow entertainment for six-year-olds, but I think it's pretty cool that after watching an episode, J is inspired to create his own obstacle courses (some are for his Matchbox cars; others are for himself and his brother or friends).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You're Only a Day Away

Tomorrow I have a contractor coming to the house. 


No, really, for the third time.  It's actually kind of embarrassing.

Let me explain:  We live in a six-room colonial.  Three bedrooms, two and a half baths.  No garage.  Unfinished basement.  There are five people in our family, three of them are young, but growing, boys.  The cabinets in my kitchen are original, and have been painted over several times.  The kitchen floor is a sheet of vinyl that was probably once white, but no amount of mopping or steaming will confirm that hypothesis.

In a nutshell:  We need more room.  Stat.

So why am I have my third meeting in two years with aforementioned contractor, you ask?  Well, because, and I quote the Hubster, "I'm in no rush to add on."  Thus says the man who leaves the house and sits in an office all day while I watch the walls close in around me.

But this time, I've changed things up a bit, you see.  For a reasonable fee, the contractor will measure, talk to me about what I want, and draw up a plan and cost proposal for an addition.

Words have made no progress in this discussion.  The time has come to fight with visuals.

And I will be ready.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making a Statement?

While perusing earlier, I saw an item that Kelly McGillis and her girlfriend were recently joined in civil union.

Yeah, I didn't know she was gay, either.

Don't get me wrong; I take no issue with gays or with same-sex civil unions.  No, what I find interesting is the seeming increase in fifty-something celebrities who are "outing" themselves:  Kelly McGillis, Meredith Baxter Birney, Carol Leifer.  These women had marriages to men; they are mothers.  It certainly puts a spin on the "nature vs. nurture" argument regarding homosexuality.

Look, I don't doubt that these women sincerely love their partners.  But have they always been attracted to women and denied those urges, or are they choosing women because they were so badly burned by their former male partners?

Marriage is wonderful, but let's be honest, there are days (and sometimes weeks or months) that are difficult.  Days when you would much rather share your home with a close female friend because, with her, you wouldn't have to explain (for the umpteenth time) why you're so tired and bitchy the week before your period, or how draining it is to spend all day negotiating with a four-year-old while simultaneously keeping your two-year-old from scaling the fireplace.

I have no desire to leave my husband for anyone, much less a woman, but this does give one pause... 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm Psychotic. I Have ESPN.

Actually, I'm not.  But I do have ESPN. 

I'm also not psychic.  However, today was one of those days when I wish I were.  (were not was, right?)  Hubster said very little to me, but kept giving me these ridiculous, glaring looks - you know the kind, they're the ones that middle school girls give one another when they're in a "fight" and not speaking.

Hon, I love you, but if you need something from me, or have expectations that I am not meeting, you need to tell me.  I cannot read your mind nor your expressions.

But I do love you.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Meh.  That's pretty much how I feel right now.

I just got off the phone with J's teacher.  I really like her, and we had a very good conversation.  I'm just really annoyed with my beloved first child for giving reason for her to call home in the first place.

At school today, J and another boy went to the boys' room.  Another teacher found the two of them yelling in the bathroom and in the hallway and told J's teacher.  Hence the phone call home.  The teacher also spoke to both of them about their behavior, and took away their non-group bathroom privileges for next week (a decision with which I agree). 

At least the beginning of the day went well.

I got my laundry done before taking T to preschool.  Went to playgroup for S after dropping off T.  Came home and hung out for a little while, had lunch, then picked up T.  Played on the playground for about twenty minutes.  Went home and hung out again until S's nap.  Quiet time for Mom and T.

So at least that was positive.

And a big, fat thank you to Sensei's Wife for some perspective on the "I Hate Everything" syndrome.  Just like Hubster, sometimes I have my head so far up my own ass it's hard to see daylight.  Thank you for shining your light on me; Lord knows I needed it.

Lemon out...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Hate Everything!

Well, I don't, but my first grader does. 

While this is the third week of school, it's the first five-day week.  And the typical first-grade transition kicked in, big time, on Tuesday.

Tuesday, J announced that he hates school.

Yesterday, he hated his jeans because they kept falling down.  These are the same size 7 Slim jeans that he wore to kindergarten last year.  He apparently has grown taller without gaining weight.  I told him to eat more at lunch.  J failed to appreciate my sparkling wit.

Today, J wanted to watch TV as soon as he got off the bus, but I told him that he couldn't watch until he did his homework.  Commence the Stage Three Meltdown.  He hates school, he hates homework, everything is stupid, he doesn't like me, blah blah blah.

Deep Breaths.  This too shall pass.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Is With People?

I went shopping with S today while J and T were at school.  I noticed something.  Well, actually, I've known this for some time, but it was once again demonstrated that Many People Are Rude.

First, we went to Osh Kosh.  S needed pants that were long enough but also narrow enough in the waist so he didn't walk out of them.  He's 20 months old and in the 97th %ile for height and rather skinny; it's harder than one would think to find pants that fit him.  But I digress..

So, at Osh Kosh.  I'm pushing S in a six and a half year old stroller, it's a beast, but I do my best not to take the clothing racks with me or run into anyone's ankles.  Apparently, I'm a freak of nature because at least two other women (mothers, mind you) are blocking aisles and when I try to get by, they IGNORE ME.  Seriously.  They know I'm there; I even did the whole fake-surprised thing and apologized.  One woman DID NOT EVEN LOOK AWAY FROM THE MERCHANDISE.  Gah.

After doing some damage at Osh Kosh, I headed to Kohl's to meet my mother.  She had a 30% off coupon and I needed some underwear (ooh - exciting!).  We went down to the lower level to look at the shoes (sadly, nothing good).  It's bad enough that many of the aisles are not stroller-friendly; mirrored posts block many of them.  But I tried to go around an island of shoes in the main aisle, and this woman JUST STOOD THERE TRYING ON SHOES, IGNORING ME.  Again, I know she knew I was there; I said "excuse me" rather clearly.  And don't play that "My hearing isn't what it used to be," Mrs. I'm-A-Senior-Citizen-So-You-Should-Show-Me-Some-Respect-And-Let-Me-Do-Whatever-I-Damn-Well-Please.  You were being rude, and even my mother saw it.  Double Gah.

But on the upside, I bought an article of clothing with what is quite possibly the stupidest name ever given to an article of clothing.  Yes, I am now the proud owner of JEGGINGS.  Ugh, how I loathe that word.  So much that I think I threw up a little in my mouth.  Bleagh.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Did It!

I know, I took a couple of nights off.  I needed to recover.  Allow me to explain:

I did it!  Success!

I threw Hubster a surprise un-40th birthday party on Sunday.  I started planning this back in the summer, and he only figured it out on Saturday because he found the two cases of beer (under a blanket) when he was looking for a ladder to paint windowsills.  So, it would have been nice if that didn't happen, but by that point I just didn't care; I was so excited for him to see his high school and college friends again.

Hub's highlight of the day was pretty much everything - he was so excited to see his friends, including a good friend from college we haven't seen in over eight years (her husband, also a good friend from college, was FDNY and perished in the 9/11 attacks).

My highlight of the day was Hubs telling me that the party was the best present anyone has ever given him.  I am so glad; to quote the Dubya, "Mission Accomplished."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

On Facebook today, so many people were posting where they were on September 11, 2001.

It's interesting to read posts of friends who live in the midwest, and have lived there their whole lives.  I mean no disrespect to them, but I don't know that people who weren't in the New York metro area, near Schwenksville, PA, or Washington, DC, or are close to someone who was in one of those areas, or who spent a significant amount of time in one of those areas, experienced September 11th in quite the same way.

But first, I need to get a petty pet peeve off my chest:  PLEASE DO NOT REFER TO SEPTEMBER 11TH AS "911."  911 IS THE EMERGENCY NUMBER, 9/11 IS THE DATE.

Thank you.  Back to what I was rambling about...

I remember exactly where I was when I found out what happened.  I could look out my office window and see only one tower still standing.  I remember calling my mother and grandmother in PA to let them know that I was okay.  I remember calling my then fiance (our wedding was eleven days later), who told me that his friend T was probably at the towers, since he was FDNY Special Ops.  I remember telling him that hopefully T wasn't at the towers, since it looked really bad.

My memories of September 11th may fade, but I will never forget.  Rest in peace, all of you who we lost that day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stampin' Out

So Wednesday night I was invited to my friend's house for a Stamping party. 

What is a Stamping party, you ask?

Well, it's kind of like a Pampered Chef party, or a Lia Sophia party, except instead of someone selling Pampered Chef or Lia Sophia products, Stamping products are sold.  This particular company sells stamps, the blocks on which they are attached, ink pads, card stock, paper punches, and all sorts of paraphernalia used to make one's own greeting cards.

When I arrived, L was showing the group how to make a Halloween card.  On the coffee table were several dozen samples, cards made using Stamping products.  Each of us was given a folder containing the Stamping catalog, an order form, and a list of suggested items that ranged from packages of eight gift cards (that needed small touches, such as tying a ribbon and sticking on a gem) for $30 to stamping packages that were $150 - $175.

After the demonstration, we were invited to make two of our own cards, as well as peruse the catalog and order lots of products.  Most of the other women who came were very interested in the stuff, but I'm just not there right now.  When would I possibly have time to sit down and make a dozen greeting cards?  I didn't write out thank you notes for my son's sixth birthday; I had him handwrite a note, scanned it, and printed it onto patterened paper.

As part of her pitch, L went on about how special hand made greeting cards are as a gift.  As some oohed and aahed and nodded in agreement, I just thought Really?  Who has time for that?

Don't get me wrong:  I get a beautiful hand stamped card from Sensei's mother-in-law every Christmas, which I love.  But it's just not my thing, and definitely not while I have three small kids.  And honestly, I think I'd rather take up drawing or painting as a creative outlet.  You know, because this writing thing just isn't enough... *wink*

Anyway, after making my sample cards (which, admittedly, was fun, but I would never do at home on my own), I sat with T to look through the catalog.  We both agreed that it reminded us of the first time we went to Babies R Us to register.  Overwhelming!

I thought about ordering a return address stamp, or a stamp for the boys' books ("This book belongs to ....'s library").  I spent a good half an hour with the catalog opened to the personalized stamps.  I wanted to like them, but wasn't crazy about the graphics, or the fonts.  I felt weird about coming to a party and not ordering anything, but T told me I was ridiculous for feeling that way (gotta love friends like that).

So at around 10pm, I headed out, empty handed and feeling kinda not great.

I wasn't sure why, but the thought that kept going through my head was, "I feel small."  In hindsight, I think it was because I was the only one at the party who is still in the toddler stage.  All of the other women had older kids.  T's youngest is four; K's youngest is five, J's six.  Not too much older, but enough to make a difference.  And they all have daughters.  A few of the women planned to work on projects with their girls. 

I think I just felt... not left out, but in a different place.  Just not into the stamping thing.  And PMSy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stepping Outside of Myself

I had one of those amazingly sweet and touching moments that you want to bottle and keep forever.

There was no school today, in honor of Rosh Hashana (L'Shana Tovah, everyone!). 

We had a playdate scheduled, with a friend who has two boys around T's and S's ages.  Needless to say, J didn't want to be there.  I can't say I blame him; why would he want to play with four boys younger than him?  A bunch of babies!  Fortunately, Grandma and Grandpa saved the day, and hosted J for the day.

Around 5pm, I got a phone call from my parents' number.  It was J on the other line, very politely asking me if he could stay at Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner.  It was definitely something:  I got to experience my son the way other people do.  He sounded so mature, a little tentative, but very polite.  My heart swelled with love and pride, and I even teared up a little bit. 

Thank you, J, for giving me a glimpse of how others see you.  You are a terrific little boy, and I am terribly proud of you.  I love you!

(note to self:  need to write about last night's Stamping party)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Got Nothin' Today

Nothing.  Nothing particularly exciting to write about today.  I'm feeling kinda tired, so I might call it a night and go read in bed.  Or watch Sunday's episode of Mad Men

Oh, wait.  I went to get my color retouched today.  Once again, KM refused to charge me.  She also refused to take a tip.  I felt a little awkward, and I actually teared up because I was so touched by her honesty and professionalism.  In fact, it touched my mouth; I was rather tongue-tied trying to explain why I should give her a tip.

Sigh... so, peach ice cream or a cup of green tea?  I know what I want, and I know which I should have...

Good night, all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Taking a Page from a Comedian

Oh no I di'int! 

We had company today.  And I decided to take a page from Eddie Murphy, Comedian.  Oh yes, I did. 

Remember the bit where Eddie talks about his family, and how his father would get drunk and slur, "This is my house, bitch!  And if you don' like it, you can getdafukout!"?  Yeah, I borrowed that attitude today.  I didn't get drunk, and I wasn't nasty, but I politely held my ground.

T and I ran to the grocery store to get some things for lunch, and when we got home, they had already arrived.  And, as is typical, everyone was talking in the kitchen.  I walked in carrying four grocery bags, and said, "Hi guys.  I don't mean to be rude, but could you all please talk inside so I can unpack?" 

I know, that doesn't sound like a big deal, but for someone who has a tendency to quietly seethe instead of speaking up, it was pretty big for me.

That's all I've got.  For now...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Get Me to the Church on Time

For the past six weeks or so, I've been taking J to church.  There are two main reasons I've waited this long:
  1. I've been wanting to go to church regularly for some time, but every time one of my kids was old enough to accompany me, I was also taking care of a newborn.
  2. Hubs has no desire to accompany me, nor to watch all three kids so I can go to mass.
In all honesty, #2 has been the biggest impediment to me going to mass on a regular basis.  But S is over a year and a half now, so there's no need to worry about #1 any more.

So this morning, as we have for the past several weeks, I took J and T to mass.  We attend the family mass, and the boys go downstairs for the children's liturgy while I remain in the church.  For the first two weeks, J was fine.  He was receptive to going, and while he wasn't particularly excited, he didn't complain about coming with me.  The past four or five weeks, that hasn't been the case.

I understand that church isn't the most exciting place to be for a six year old, but his attitude is really starting to get to me.  I could retire if I had a dime for every time he told me that he hated church, or thought it was stupid, or that he didn't want to go.

I've tried to bribe him with munchkins after mass, which works with diminishing returns.  Last week Hubs had to physically carry him to the car.  This week I had to threaten him with missing Family Fun Day. 

And of course I'm putting so much pressure on myself, too.  That letter from the parish about CCD, stating that "It is expected that you and your child will attend mass weekly," was one more poke in my psyche.  Like I really need outside influences; I can do enough damage myself, thank you.

I've explained that church is what we do on Sunday mornings.  I've used the argument that my mother used with us - "God does no much for you all week, and all He asks in return in one hour."  He doesn't care.  Of course he doesn't - how many six year olds really understand who God is, and what He does, and why we should be grateful to Him?  I don't blame J for feeling how he does; I just get so frustrated by his stubbornness. 

I need to figure this one out.  It's tough.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Give Me A Break

And if anyone hands me a piece of that Kit Kat bar, I'm gonna smack them.  Seriously.

I'm not annoyed any more, but two and a half hours ago, I was.  I called Hubs a couple of times (in the office, and another couple of times on his cell) to see when he would be leaving work.  Of course, no answer on either line.  I don't know why it took me a couple of hours to figure it out, but I eventually did.  The stinker went golfing! 

Now, if I told Hubs that I was going to go grocery shopping and came home three and a half hours later because I decided to hit the mall first, I would expect him to be annoyed.  Rightly so, too.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't have a problem with him golfing, or with taking a break.  But doing so without at least picking up his office phone (he told me his cell phone died... grrr)?  Come on. 

And I could use a break, too.  I know, I've heard his argument - I should be grateful that we can afford for me to stay home.  I am.  I would much rather stay at home with my boys than go to work every day.  But let's be honest.  Don't you think Derek Jeter needs a day off every once in a while?  As much as Bruce Springsteen loves performing live, I'm sure he needs a break.  Heck, even GOD rested on the seventh day, and He's the Almighty. 

I think I just need to get over it and take that three and a half hour grocery shopping trip.  Perhaps tomorrow?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's About Trust

Today I let J get hot lunch at school today for the first time.

After his first day of school, we sat down with the monthly lunch menu and he decided which days he wanted to have the hot lunch and which days he wanted to bring something from home.  Later that night, I went online and set up his lunch money account.  (Our district recently joined, which lets parents deposit money into a PIN-accessed account.  Parents can see what items their children have ordered over the past seven meal days, as well as restrict what can be purchased - meals only vs. a la carte items, etc.)

This morning, J asked me if he could get ice cream or a popsicle with his lunch.  I immediately wondered if hot lunch, and the debit account in particular, was a really bad idea.  I told him no, he could only get what was part of the lunch - chicken nuggets, vegetables, fruit, and milk.  He immediately asked if he could get chocolate milk (I said yes), and then said that the ice cream is part of the meal.


I told him that if ice cream or a popsicle is part of his meal, and if he ate all of the rest of his meal - the chicken nuggets AND the broccoli - then he could have an ice cream.

On and off all day, I wondered if J was going to have ice cream with his lunch.

I know, not the hill to die on, but I knew that this would be one of those turning points for J - would he do the right thing, or would he give in to temptation?  And would the teachers, cafeteria staff, and parents let him?

After J got off the bus, I asked him about his day.  I especially grilled him about lunch (I know).  Earlier this morning he expressed concern about what to do when in line for hot lunch, so I wanted to make sure he didn't have any problems.  I asked him what he ate, and he told me that he had....

Chicken nuggets, broccoli and carrot sticks, and chocolate milk.  No ice cream. 

I'm so proud of J.  I realize that this isn't really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I am really pleased that I know I can trust him to do the right thing (ie, not get junk instead of food for lunch) when I'm not there to guide him.  I know there are many days left in the school year, and many more opportunities to get that ice cream instead of the nachos, but this is a good start.  (I suppose warning him that if I find out that he had ice cream instead of the chicken nuggets and broccoli, it would be the end of hot lunch was a good thing, too).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why Do They Need to Know?

I was going through some paperwork for T's preschool when I came across a form that had me scratching my head. 

The school (his preschool is part of a Catholic elementary school) is planning a special celebration honoring the students' grandparents, so they sent home a form requesting the names and mailing addresses for them, regardless of how far away they live (paraphrasing here, but "so we can consider ways to virtually participate"). 

Okay, maybe I've been reading too much DWILs, but my immediate reaction was, "No 3#$%ing way!"  Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with involving T's grandparents in some sort of Grandparents Day celebration (depending on what it is), but why should I provide T's school with contact information when they haven't yet decided what they're going to do with it?  And shouldn't it be my decision as T's parent, and not the school's, as how his extended family is involved?

To put it another way:  let's say some software company approaches you about a new application.  You fill out some forms, disclosing your personal medical information, and when the application is built, they'll contact you.  You'd tell them where to go stick it, wouldn't you?  Exactly my point.

Well, as long as Hurricane Earl doesn't make landfall in CT on Friday, I'll have the opportunity to ask about what these plans are.  If they're worthy, I'll share.  If not, I might mention something in passing, but just to be safe, figure that it's nothing newsworthy.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Big Events

Yup, two of 'em.

First, today is the Hubster's birthday.  It's not a milestone; he turned forty last year.  And since I'm just oh, so mature, I must share that not only had I started planning a surprise birthday party for Hubs that I abandoned when he told me he didn't want one (a surprise party), but his freaking parents attempted to throw a surprise party for him, upon which he also put the kibosh.  Oh, and did I mention that his parents did not tell me about their plans for the aforementioned party?  I found out about it when Hubster called me from work and attemped to "out" me.  When he realized that I had no freaking clue what he was talking about, he believed me when I said I wasn't involved.  Pissed me off to no end, one, that his parents tried to pull that kind of shit, and two, that Hubster didn't think it was such a big deal.

But, ahem, I digress.  Hubster's birthday.  Right.  He wanted birthday burritos, so he picked them up on the ride home.  I also made a cake - chocolate with vanilla frosting - because the kids wanted a birthday cake.  The cake turned out pretty well, but those darn gel-mate tubes are a pain to write with.

The second big event was J's first day of first grade.  As the day progressed, I realized what a big transition this is for kids.  I'm really fortunate in that J takes to school like a duck to water, but I also expect some challenges as he acclimates to a new year.  First, he's in school all day, where kindergarten was only a half day.  Second, he gets to eat lunch in the cafeteria, which is quite the highlight for these little guys.  Third, when he's in school all day, he's there to learn, not to play for half the day, as he did last year.  Fourth, he will learn how to eat enough to get him through each part of his day.  That one didn't occur to me until I was doing the breakfast dishes.  My train of thought went something like this:
J had oatmeal and chocolate milk for breakfast.  I hope that's enough food to keep him.  I wonder if he has one snack a day or two.  I only packed one snack; I hope the teacher has one of those huge milk carton containers of goldfish for the kids who forgot their snack.  What else should J eat for breakfast?  Probably fruit, you know, like the old commercials for breakfast cereal:  "Part of a complete, balanced breakfast."
But again, I digress.

I didn't get too many details about today, other than who he sat next to at lunch, but J seemed to have a good day.  I'm glad.  I hope he has 179 more.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It All Comes Down to This...

Tomorrow is J's first day of first grade. 

It's rather bittersweet for me.  I'm really excited about his class - it's such a great group of kids, and the teacher seems very nice.  He's looking forward to being with his friends all day, and especially eating lunch in school.  It's yet another huge milestone for both of us - J is going to be away at school all day, every day this year.  I worry that I did enough for him during the past six years.  Or, that I did enough things "right." 

I'm sure every mother goes through this.  God, I hope they do.  I mean, I know I'm an overanalyzer, and more than a bit anal retentive, but I can't possibly be the only mother in the world who worries that she's done her job, at the very least, adequately.

Good luck tomorrow, J.  I love you and I am very proud of you.  Go get 'em!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Say Goodbye to Summer

Hubster goes back to work tomorrow morning.

J starts first grade on Tuesday.

I am very much looking forward to getting on a regular, rhythmic schedule.  But I will also very much miss the time spent with friends at the lake, especially since some of them are teachers and will be back at work.  I will also miss having the Hubster home.  Although he can sometimes make me crazy, it was nice having him home, especially at dinner time.

And now for something completely different...

Can I just say, once again, how freakin' awesome that opening number was for the Emmys?  I have been harboring a secret crush on Jimmy Fallon and ... wow.  Just, wow.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I know you missed me terribly, but I'm baaaaaaack!

The Hubster and I went into the city yesterday for a little overnight getaway.  My parents offered to watch the kids for us as a Christmas present; eight months later, we finally took them up on their generous offer.

What a busy twenty-four hours we had!  We checked into the hotel, then began our adventure. 

First, we walked around Times Square while we decided what to do.  Both Hubs and I used to work in the city, so it was fun to play tourist and take in all of the sights - the gigantic video screens on the buildings (I'm old enough to remember when they were billboards with neon lights), an F-16 fighter and monster truck courtesy of the Air Force and, of course, the Naked Cowboy.  It's a much nicer, albeit more crowded, place today than it was when I was little.

We decided to go to the Discovery Exposition Center to see the Tutankhamun exhibit.  I've been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art many times, spending many hours among the Egyptian artifacts, but this exhibit was amazing.  It showed how religion took center stage in ancient Egyptian culture, and how thoroughly their royals were prepared for death and the afterlife.  I highly recommend the exhibit.  Oh, and the quote of the day:  "Look, there's a chartreuse on that."  Um, hon, I think you mean cartouche.  Chartreuse is a color.

Since we bought a combination ticket for the exhibit and a ride to the Top of the Rock, we left Times Square and headed to Rockefeller Center.  We spent some time walking around the area before heading inside to the observation deck.  The walk to the elevators and the elevator ride itself were, as expected, NBC-centric.  Lots of "Yay, us!" music and images, but the glass-topped elevators were pretty cool, as were the blue lights at each floor.  And seeing the city from seventy stories up is always worthwhile. 

Back on the ground, we headed to Bryant Park to people watch while we decided where to go for dinner.  Hubs wanted to grab a beer, but the bar was packed with businesspeople enjoying an after-work drink, so we found some chairs and watched an enormous yoga class take place on the lawn.  We kicked around a few ideas before deciding on Plataforma.  Plataforma can be summed up with one word:  meat.  We ate so much that it hurt. 

We walked back to the hotel and relaxed.  We had hoped to go out again later, but we were so stuffed and tired that we called it a night.

This morning, we checked out, left our bag at the hotel, and walked through Central Park.  Neither of us had walked through the park before.  We'd both been there for various reasons - concerts, races, other events - but this was a first for both of us.  It's a gorgeous park, and the weather was perfect for our stroll up to our destination.

Although we've both been there before, it had been years since either of us has been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I really wanted to start with the Egyptian antiquities, but since we had spent yesterday at the Tut exhibit, I let Hubs lead the way.  We began with Greek and Roman antiquities (phenomenal) and worked our way around, ending at the Temple of Dendur (my favorite).  Headed upstairs to take in the late 19th and early 20th century European artists (Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Gaughin, Renoir), and then called it a day.

We ate lunch at an Irish pub (an Irish pub in the city?  Get out!) near our hotel, then took a train home. 

We were only gone for twenty-four hours, but it was a wonderful adventure.  Hubs and I got some precious alone time during both day- and nighttime.  We enjoyed a city as tourists instead of as commuters, and had no time restrictions whatsoever.  This getaway was especially helpful for me, as I spend every day taking care of the kids.  I hadn't been away from them for twenty-four hours since I was pregnant with S.  As good as it was for the kids for me to be away for them (and to come back), it was equally if not more beneficial to me.  I missed them, and was happy to see their smiling faces when we got home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Excellent Customer Service

I went to get my hair cut and colored today.  The last time I got it cut, I tried a new salon and really liked how KM cut my hair.  I knew it was a really good cut when it grew in and still looked good.  So when it was time for a trim, I decided to go back to KM and have her do my color as well.

The cut looks great, again, but what I was really impressed by how KM handled the color.  After blowdrying my hair, she told me that she wasn't thrilled with how the color turned out - she didn't pull it through to the ends - so she wasn't going to charge me for it.  I admitted that I was wondering why she didn't do that, but didn't say anything because I figured she knew what she was doing.  She told me to call her in a few days to let her know if I wanted to come back to have it fixed.  That is good customer service.

I will definitely call KM to go back and have my color done - if only to thank her for her honesty and her time. 

Sadly, my experience with KM today was an exception and not the rule.  More often than not, I find that people just do not give a crap whether or not their customers are happy.  I don't know if it's because the economy stinks, because employees in general are apathetic because employers are forcing them as individuals to do the same amount of work that was formerly done by three people, or if the workforce is the product of parents who both worked full time, or divorced and, out of guilt, overcompensated by giving their kids material possessions instead of time.

Regardless, until KM starts giving me crappy cuts, I'm gonna stick with her.  She's more concerned that I look good than with lining her pockets.  She earned my loyalty today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One More Week

That's it. 

One more week until school starts. 

Part of me is excited and ready for J to start first grade, but another part of me would like just a few more perfect, sunny days at the lake with the boys.  Maybe it's because today and yesterday felt more like late September than mid-August.  Probably.

It feels like I have so much more to do before I feel completely ready.  I need to take the boys for shoes; all they have that fit are their sandals.  I also need to pick up last minute supplies for J's and T's classrooms - paper towels, baby wipes, Purell.

Even though I'm no longer in school, back to school time always feels like a new beginning to me.  This year, I plan to stay on top of my housework, get T and S into playgroups, sign T up for an activity (soccer?), finish at least two written pieces and prepare them for submission (haven't yet figured out where).

It is bittersweet to say farewell to summer, but I look forward to the new adventures that autumn brings.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Redshirting Kindergarten

Today I read two articles about redshirting kindergarten:
This is (yet another) subject that affects me personally.  My middle child, T, is eligible to enter kindergarten at the age of four, but I have decided to hold him for a year (I'll get into that later).  Interestingly, talk about this practice seems to be coming to a crescendo in my neighborhood; I've had at least three different conversations whether or not to hold a child during the past two months.

We live in Connecticut, where a child entering kindergarten must turn five by January 1 (which also makes S eligible to start when he is four, but he would be the absolute youngest child in his grade).  The only other states that have such late cutoff dates are:
  • California - December 3
  • Hawaii - December 31
  • Maryland - December 31
  • Michigan - December 1
  • Montana - December 2
I would presume that the practice of "redshirting" four-year-olds is more common in these six states than in others, but I have no data to back up that presumption.

I decided that T would wait until he turned five before starting kindergarten when he was still in utero.  I had three reasons for this:
  1. If we lived in any other nearby state (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts), he would not be eligible to start school at age four.
  2. When I was in kindergarten, I could read (my teacher used to have me read stories to the class), so my teacher suggested that I move into first grade.  Thinking it was for the best, my mother agreed.  While I thrived academically, emotionally and socially I always felt insecure and "less than."  In hindsight, staying in kindergarten would have been a better decision. 
  3. As the youngest person in my grade, it was not easy to be one of the last girls to get her period, one of the last to get a driver's license, or to sit home on a Thursday night when all of her friends were barhopping.
I am not holding T to give him an advantage in sports.  Both articles above mention Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point as a reason for "redshirting" children (the first chapter explains that athletes who are among the oldest of their cohort excel), but that is not my reason for keeping T back.  I am also not holding him to give him an edge academically.  I am holding him because I don't think a four-and-a-half year old boy is emotionally ready for the rigors of school.

When T was in Mother's Day Out, I had many conversations with the director about whether to hold T or send him to school on time per Connecticut's cutoff.  P (the director) gave me some sage advice:  If I put T in kindergarten at age four and he hits "bumps in the road,"  I will always wonder if it's because he's one of the youngest in the class.  If I wait until T turns five to have him start, I will figure that any "bumps" are just part of the process.

I'll admit, it would be convenient for T to start kindergarten at age four.  It would be easier for me to have him in school sooner rather than later.  But what's easier for me is not what's important.  What is best for T is what's important.  And as his mother, I strongly feel that giving T the time to mature emotionally and socially is what is best for him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

At Last - Success!

I ran to the health food store this afternoon to get some supplements.  On the way home, I decided to stop at Kohl's to try on some bras, since that's where I had luck last time.  The stars were lined up again today.

I had a rather short list of requirements as far as the bra's construction is concerned:
  • It must have underwire
  • It must be padded and a push-up
  • It has to look good on me, whether or not I am wearing a top (this is where things get tricky)
While the bra department is rather small, I took my time looking around, inspecting the wares to determine which styles to try on.  I found fourteen candidates, and went to the fitting room.

As expected, there were more misses than hits.  Among the styles that didn't fit for various reasons:
  • Lily of France - very cute on the hanger, but on me it puckered at the top
  • Wonderbra - looked promising, but it was too loose at the top
  • So - fit well and looked cute, but there just wasn't enough padding (it's a junior's bra)
  • Candie's - cute, worked in the past, but the push-up style was too loose at the top
  • Barely There - I didn't even bother trying it on because of the minimal padding
  • Maidenform - purported to add a cup, but it was too lose at the top
On the upside, I found three different styles that fit well, looked good on (with and without a T-shirt) and hit all of the important points.  They are:
  • Daisy Fuentes Extreme Lace Push Up
  • Apt. 9 Add a Cup Satin Push Up
  • Simply Vera Bliss Mesh Push Up 
I know, it's kind of silly to get this worked up over bra shopping, but after my Victoria's Secret debacle, this was a delicious victory. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Up Next: A Crazy Week

Hubster's on vacation this week.  Part of me is really happy to have him home, but part of me doesn't like the upheaval that comes with him being here.  It really messes with my mojo.

So far, here's what is on the schedule:
  • Monday - a visit to the in-laws.  I suppose it's an annual ritual, that we go visit them when Hubs is on vacay, so off we go.  As long as we're home in time for yoga, it's all good.  Hee...
  • Tuesday - doctor's appointment for me.  Yippee.
  • Wednesday - hair cut and color for me.  Yay!  Like, for realz.
  • Thursday - Hubs and I head into the city for - wait for it - an overnight WITHOUT THE KIDS.  Nah, I'm not too excited.  Okay, I'll be honest.  I am really looking forward to it.
  • Friday - still in the city, head home.  Eternally grateful to my parents for so generously offering to watch the kids so we can have some alone time.
  • Saturday and Sunday - still open.  Hmm... what to do?
Stay tuned for updates on mojo mayhem.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tomato Therapy

I have found a great new therapy tool.  Behold, the tomato.

I know what you're thinking:  Technically, tomatoes are ... well, a word that's no longer politically correct, so I won't use it here.  But yes, they are fruits.  How are they therapy tools?  Please allow me to explain.

I have a CSA share at a local farm.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  I paid $550 to a local farmer for one share of her crops for one season.  My money, along with everyone else's, gives her the capital to purchase seeds, compost, soil, whatever else is required to plant one season's worth of crops.  In exchange, once a week during the harvest season (which runs from late May until late September), we shareholders go to the farm to bring home our share of whatever is in season.  And right now, it's tomato season.

Since tomatoes are so abundant at our farm, we are allowed to bring home as many as we can use.  Like last week, this week I brought home well over two dozen full sized tomatoes (red and green zebra), along with two or three pints of yellow and red cherry tomatoes and a pint of plum tomatoes.

What do you do with more tomatoes than you can eat?  Why, you prep and freeze them for the winter, of course.

I spent an hour boiling, peeling, cleaning, and bagging tomatoes.  It sounds boring, I know, but music always makes seemingly boring chores almost meditative. 

Once again, I listened to Pandora Radio.  I created a channel based around the band Muse and, ironically, I like pretty much all of the music offered except the songs by Muse.  Not sure what that means, but as long as I'm getting some good music, I'm happy squishing tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's Good for the Goose?

Last night was Sangria Night.  Six of us got together at K's house to have some delicious homemade sangria (the white was especially tasty!), yummy munchies, and about four hours of kid- and husband-free girl talk.  It was a great night.  So great that I didn't get home until midnight!

The hubster's reaction to my leaving was... expected, I guess.  He pointed out that I just went out Monday night (to yoga, mind you) and now I'm going out again?  What am I, eighteen?  I asked how my going out two nights in a row is different from when he went golfing on Friday night and then again on Saturday night.  No response.  I kissed him goodbye and went to pick up my friend S for our fun evening.

I don't know if it will ever not bother me that there are two standards in our marriage.  When Hubster does something - and it can be pretty much anything - it's fine, and I'm the one who has to "deal with it."  But when I do something that is okay for Hubs to do, suddenly the rules change and it's not okay.  I suspect that this drama plays out in countless homes around the world, but (a) can you make your husband see the light? and (b) if/when he does, does it really matter?

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today definitely felt like the beginning of the end.  Of summer, that is.

K is back from camp, so she joined us at the lake today (Yeah!  I'm not sure who missed her more - me or the kids).  When we got there around 11am, we were the only non-employees there.  Since it was overcast, none of the tables had umbrellas on them, so the kids had a blast climbing up then jumping off the tables.  A and I came about ten minutes later, so I had someone to talk to and the boys had a friend to play with.

I also found out that this is the last week of swimming lessons.  T had no problem passing his Level 1 exit skills test, but K suggested that J repeat Level 2 next summer.  That means that the boys will be in swimming lessons together next year.  Should be interesting, a second grader sharing a class with his younger, preschooler brother.  Maybe that will be the motivation to get J to pass Level 2.

As much as I will miss my time at the lake, I am just about ready for a new school year to start.  I know that I'll miss the kids (J especially, since he'll be gone all day), but I am much more productive when I have a firm schedule.  The loosey-goosey schedule that we follow during summer is fine for a month, but then the house starts to look like a disaster area, and so goes my focus.  It will be better for everyone when I'm more in control of my days.

Besides, football season is starting soon!  Bring on the pepperoni bread!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rough Day

I didn't post last night.  After putting the kids to bed, I got busy.  First I went grocery shopping.  Then I got busy processing about twenty tomatoes - boiled, peeled, squished out the mushy goop, then put into a ziplock freezer bag.  Had a glass of wine, read some more Breaking Dawn, then went to bed.

Today was rough.  I was woken up by the boys telling me that S was poopy.  Poopy doesn't even describe the half of it.  I don't know if he caught a stomach bug, ate something that didn't agree with him, or is just getting his eye teeth, but the poor kid was covered with poop, as was his crib, and it stunk!  I immediately stuck him in the tub, wiped him down with baby wipes, then gave him a bath.  After that, I stripped his crib, rinsed out the sheet and his pajamas, and threw them in the laundry.  Then I got to work on the crib itself.  More baby wipes, then disinfecting wipes.  All told, it took me about forty-five minutes to get everything cleaned up.  I didn't make it to mass this morning.

I took a ride to the mall this afternoon once S went down for his nap.  I have been wanting to go bra shopping for a long time.  I haven't been measured since I've stopped nursing, and I really wanted to find a really nice style that would make me look like I did before I had kids (with a little extra, perhaps, but not so much that I look like I had something done). 

My first stop was the lingerie department in a department store.  The ladies working there looked like they were easily in their late sixties.  I wasn't particularly comfortable asking them to measure me, so I grabbed a bunch of styles that I thought might look good.  Zero for zero.  I tried different sizes - started with my initial size, 34B, then tried 34A, 36B, 36A, all with no luck.  So I left.

I headed straight for Victoria's Secret.  Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan, but I figured who knows bras better?  I was approached by Colleen, who helped me with a bra fitting.  She was absolutely wonderful - very friendly, helpful, and most importantly, patient.  The biggest bummer of the day, worst than not finding anything that fits?  Discovering my real bra size - 34AA.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a 34AA.  Just call me Madame President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee.  That tiny size (plus the fact that I seem to be the only woman whose breasts are so far apart from one another) made finding a bra for me impossible.  On the upside, Colleen was wonderful (did I say that already?  too bad... she deserves a gold star for helping me, the breast impaired), and she suggested Frederick's of Hollywood (yep, that one) since they have a wide range of specialty sizes.  So the search continues.

Hoping to be cheered up, I went to Ann Taylor.  I tried on a really cute skirt and some tops, but nothing fit correctly.  The skirt puckered in a weird way, and the tops didn't hang right.  I also tried on a gorgeous grey dress, but I wasn't crazy about how it fit below my arms.  Oh well.  Maybe next time...

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Long Day

I wondered if there was a full moon today, or a freak impending snowstorm, or some other explanation for my kids' behavior today.  Turns out it was just Friday the 13th.

I love my kids.  Really, I do.  But today was one of those rare days where I just wanted to crawl under a rock for a few hours, curl into a ball, and not deal with them.

I've already blocked out as much of today as I possibly could, so trying to remember enough to write about now is actually quite difficult.  I will do my best.

J woke up in a rather grouchy mood.  He didn't want to go to the lake; he said it was boring.  He wanted to go to Bounce U instead.  The three boys were all kinds of wound up midmorning.  There was the usual disagreeing over which DVD to watch (Fraggle Rock!  Wiggles!  No, Blue's Clues!), the usual chasing one another around the house, the usual T pushing S off the trampoline and, of course, the usual J tattling on T pushing S off the trampoline.

I couldn't take it any more, staying in the house.  I packed a lunch and brought the kids to the lake.  This week at the lake has been a bit of a challenge; my babysitter has been at sleepaway camp all week.  Putting suntan lotion on the kids took forever; S kept making a break for the dock as soon as my hands were covered.

The rest of the time at the lake was definitely better.  I was still in a foul mood (I didn't sleep well last night; Hubster decided to stay up until 1am blasting YouTube videos on his laptop), but spending time chatting with friends and neighbors was the perfect remedy for it.

Well, I made it through the day.  It wasn't one of my best, but it's over.  Tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can't Do It All

Today I had an experience that beautifully illustrated how it's impossible for me to meet all of my children's needs myself.

We were at my parents' house, and it was time to go home because S needed to take a nap.  J asked if he could stay for a while, and T asked if he could stay, too.  I said that it was okay with me if it was okay with Grandma and Grandpa, which it was.  When J realized that T was going to stay, too, he got very upset.  He wanted to stay by himself, without T.  He cried, complaining that they (T and S) were always getting in his way, messing up the things that he wanted to do.  I immediately understood how he felt.  During the week, it's pretty much impossible for J to have any one-on-one time with me; unless S is napping, he and T are always around.  J desperately needed to be the complete center of attention, and while I couldn't arrange that for him at our house, Grandma and Grandpa could.

I pulled T aside and explained that J was going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's by himself today, and when J was in school, T would have his turn to stay by himself.  Thankfully T didn't have a problem with this change of plans.  He just wanted to be able to visit his favorite website when we got home.

It's hard, raising three boys so close in age.  This - when one of the boys really needs some "special" time, J in particular, since he is in school five days a week now - is probably most challenging.  I am incredibly fortunate and grateful that my parents live in town and are happy to give the boys the "special" time that I might not be able to give them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Looking Out for Number One

As I have mentioned before, I have spent most of the last seven years either pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant.  I have also spent all of the last six years as a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  I do not regret these choices that I have made.

That does mean, however, that I have spent the past seven years focusing on things and people other than myself.  My absolute, utmost, and foremost priorities have had very little to do with me.  Sure, I made sure to eat well while pregnant, but it wasn't for my own benefit; it was for the boys.  I did the same while nursing, for the same reason.  Just about every decision I made during this period was to ensure that someone other than me would get the highest benefit possible.

I don't begrudge my children anything.  I would gladly give of myself again, for their benefit.  But now, the time for me to give of myself physically (through pregnancy or breastfeeding) is over.  I will continue to give of myself emotionally, and spiritually, to shepherd them on the path to adulthood.  However, I now need to move myself and my own well being - physically, emotionally, spiritually - higher up on my priority list.

It's now time for me to be a priority.  I need to do things that make me happy, for my own benefit.  I need to do things that make my body feel strong and healthy, spend time with my friends, figure out how I want to give back to the world.  I need to show my boys that I am a vibrant woman with many, many interests, who is capable of many, many things.

The men in my life will benefit, but that won't be the reason why I'm doing it.  No, I need to start nurturing *me* for my own sake.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Out of Focus

Yeah, I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a few days.  I don't know why, but I felt very unfocus, unmotivated, and very lazy.  Bad me.

Nothing really exciting has been going on here.  Just the chaos that is the usual daily routine of life with three small kids. 

I feel like I should have more to say, but I also feel the need to stay inside my head for a while.  Like I need to sit back and observe, and maybe rewire some pathways.  Heaven knows it will only help...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Old School, Preschool Style

A while back, I'd say at least two years ago, J really got into Nick Jr's The Upside Down Show.  His level of adoration for the show could probably be described as bordering on obsession.  At first the show drove me completely insane, but in time, it grew on me.  It eventually became one of my favorite kids' shows, not because I liked to watch it (I would much rather watch The Backyardigans or Blue's Clues), but because of what J got out of it. 

And now, for your reading pleasure, here is my expert review and opinion on The Upside Down Show:

The Upside Down Show
The Upside Down Show made its debut on Nickelodeon's Noggin (now Nick Jr.) in October of 2006.  The live-action show features Australian comedians Shane Dundas and David Collins, who also perform comedy for adults as the Umbilical Brothers.  Shane and David explore the world by visiting various rooms within their house.  Each room has its own crazy theme - the no-room room, the no-fun room, the echo room, etc.  Joining their adventures are Mrs. Foil (their human neighbor), Puppet (you guessed it, a puppet), and the Shmuzzies (fuzzy little creatures with a language of their own - "Shmello, Shmuzzies!").

In The UDS, Shane and David encourage their viewers to help them with their exploration by asking them to press various buttons on an invisible remote control; it's a clever way to "get meta" with the viewers.  The "remote" can move the action forward; it can give kids an instant replay of an action (complete with Shane and David's commentary); and it sometimes turns things - literally - upside down.  Often, the "incorrect" button is pressed ("Whatever you do, don't press the ... button!"), leading to rather silly situations - such buttons include the "Wiggle" button, the Irish Dancing button, and the celebration button (which causes balloons and streamers to fall from the sky and disco music to blare). 

The Upside Down Show was not well received by Noggin viewers (despite its affiliation with Sesame Workshop), and thus only twelve episodes were produced.  It currently runs late at night on Nick Jr. 

(Reference cited:  Wikipedia)

It's been almost four years since The Upside Down Show debuted on Noggin, but all three boys are currently enjoying it, thanks to DVR.  What first made me appreciate the show was watching J use pretend play as a direct result of watching.  What makes me continue to appreciate it is that all three boys - ages six, three and a half, and nineteen months - love to watch it together, and they love to reenact it. 

The Upside Down Show is silly, creative, fun, and developmentally appropriate for a wide range of ages.  It's really a shame that (a) this show never took off in the United States, and (b) there aren't more children's shows that have such broad appeal.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paralysis by Analysis

Yeah, that's a Dadism.

I'm doing exhaustive research to find a hotel in the city for our romantic getaway.  I've never stayed overnight in a hotel there; I commuted there for years to work instead.

Sigh...  my head just might explode.  So if I don't come back, that'll be why...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grownup Time

The hubster has scheduled a weeklong vacation at the end of the month.  I want to spend two days of that week on a romantic getaway, just the two of us.  My parents have even agreed to watch the kids for us.  Do you know what his reaction was when I asked him how he felt about an overnight in the city?  He said he'd rather just stay at home.  Seriously.  What the hell is wrong with him?

I realize that work is stressful.  I don't have many friends whose husbands are honestly happy with their jobs right now.  The economy is tough, and most companies now want to get as much work done with the smallest staff.  Can't have our CEOs not get a bonus, right? 

But what really pisses me off is his seemingly complete disinterest in spending time with me alone, without our kids.  In some posh hotel.  Sleeping as late as we want.  Eating at a swanky restaurant, drinking wine, and not having to worry about little people's table manners.

Well, screw him.  I'm booking a romantic little getaway.  And if I have to drag him kicking and screaming, so be it.  He'll thank me later.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Catching Up

I haven't been here in a few days.  I've missed it, having an outlet for my thoughts.  It's been a busy few days.

Saturday was J's sixth birthday.  It was also the day of his party.  We had about thirty five kids (yes, you did read that correctly.  THIRTY-FIVE kids), along with a bounce house, three gigantic pizzas, ice cream cake, and a pinata stuffed with Silly Bandz.  A good time was had by all, I hope, with the exception of pinata drama.  My mistake was not shaking the pinata so that the booty was sprayed throughout the crowd.  Some kids (ahem, the birthday boy included) walked off with a dozen Silly Bandz while others were in tears because they got none.  But I am pretty sure that everyone had a good time.

Saturday night there was a carnival at the lake.  A woman wanted to hold a carnival for her 50th birthday party but had nowhere to put the rides.  The lake was planning a members event, and thus the members' carnival came to be.  The boys were still wound up after the party, so the carnival was icing on the cake.  They had a blast.

Sunday was the family party.  My parents, the in-laws, my aunt and uncle, and my youngest brother came to celebrate.  We still had the bounce house, and incredible sausage and peppers and cavatelli from a local Italian restaurant.  I was still exhausted from Saturday (I didn't eat much at all), so I probably wasn't the best company. 

I'm still recovering today.  I took a nap this afternoon and woke still drained.  I even stayed home from yoga that's how tired I am. 

I'm hoping to be back to normal by tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interesting Revelations

I took J to a nutritionist today.  Well, technically he's a nutritionist; he also practices applied kinesiology and energy work (I'm not quite sure how else to explain it).  While a lot of people will dismiss this as hokey, out there, and a load of crap, I find it fascinating.

Before we left, J was very hesitant.  He did not want to go see a doctor.  I can't say I blame him; as a healthy kid, most of his experience with doctors involves annual checkups, which means shots.  I explained that G was a different kind of doctor, and that I thought he might actually like seeing him.

As we pulled into G's driveway, J was curious:  where is the doctor's office?  This is a house, he announced.  I explained that G practices from his home.  That immediately put J at ease.  Before we entered his office, G offered him a glass of water, which thrilled J.  G also offered some books for J to look through while G and I discussed his diet, behavior, any concerns, and so on.  Amazingly, J was calm and very well behaved for well over an hour.

While much of what G told me was not news - specifically, his ability to maintain focus is low, some of it was news - the cause of the lack of focus, and how to remedy it.  Probably the most interesting thing G discovered was that chicken is not a good for for J.  He also told me that it's not good for me, either.  Neither J nor I am allergic to it, but for whatever reason our bodies can't utilize its nutrition, so it's as if we ate Twinkies instead.  At least J and I like pork and beef; I'll have to make some slight modifications to our family's diet.

Oh, and the other really cool thing that G told me is that J needs to be more grounded, as in spending more time physically connected with the earth.  He suggested jumping on a trampoline, and that by jumping on it, J would benefit (by gaining improved focus) for approximately nine hours.  I'd be a fool not to bring the trampoline back up from the basement.  If he jumped for a few minutes in the morning, imagine how it would help him during the school day!

The next four days will be transitional - J's body will be adjusting to the changes of energy within his body.  I am curious to see how J responds!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brain on Vacation

It must be a summer thing.  I had a few bursts of inspiration, but I'm having a tough time with consistency.  I want to write an entry every night, just to "keep my chops," but my brain doesn't always want to comply.

My faithful reader has posed an insightful question that has gotten me thinking.  I hope it hasn't slowed my creative flow, but it certainly started more wheels turning.  Those wheels are raising questions, some of which can be easily answered, and some that have me scratching my head.

I can find classes to improve my writing easily enough.  I'm sure I can find plenty of classes that I can take from the comfort of my couch (aka "The Vortex"), while drinking a nice glass of Chardonnay.  I don't think you can do that (the Chardonnay part) if you take a class in a building at a real place, but I digress...

The questions that have me scratching my head have less to do with the craft of writing, and more to do with the creative process.  If these are "well, DUH!" questions, I apologize.  I never took a creative writing class in college, nor do I know anyone who writes fiction for a living, so I don't know any professionals I can approach.

Regarding the creative process,
  • Do most ideas come in dreams?  Are they sparked by a real event, or by an existing work (book, movie, TV show, etc.)?  How do you know if you've hit on an idea worth pursuing?  Do you know?
  • When you get an idea, what is it, usually? The climax? The conflict?  One scene?
  • Say you've got this small kernel of an idea.  How do you massage it into something worth writing?
  • When writing fiction, how much of that world have you fleshed out?  Can you picture every physical aspect of your characters as if they were real people?  What about the setting?  With how much detail?  If you're writing from the perspective of one character, while you know their motivations, do you know what the other characters are thinking?  In essence, do you need to play the all-knowing God to the universe you've created?
  • Regarding the above, what if you don't know all of the answers?  As the author, are you expected to hold a Ph.D. in your story, and can defend any questions about it that might be posed to you?  Or does it not matter, as long as the story makes sense?
Here are some of my... whatever.  Fears, hesitations, questions:
  • I have a lot of experience writing non-fiction, and am curious to try writing fiction.  My biggest fear is coming up with a worthwhile plot.  I can write great, full-bodied character sketches, describe setting and action within scenes, but I never felt confident creating a plot that had a conflict or climax that was compelling.
  • I have a lot to say, but how do I know whether other people will give a crap about it?
  • Is it a matter of who I know, or how persistent I am?
  • I feel like I'm a bit old to be trying to break into (yet) another field in which I have no real world experience, yet I think I could really excel once I find my niche.
  • This might come as a complete shock - SHOCK! - to some, but I have been described as "verbose" (yeah, the results from that standardized test back in third grade stuck)
I guess I had more to say than I thought I did.  But I seem to think in bullet points... I don't think editors give final approval to pieces written entirely in bullet points...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Working in Mysterious Ways

[Note:  This entry talks about religion, and specifically my experience at church today.  I'm warning you only because I know that religion can make people uncomfortable.]

I went to church this morning with J.  It was the first time in a long time, quite possibly years, since I've gone to mass regularly.  Maybe even since I was pregnant with him. 

We went to the family mass.  After the greeting, the children are invited to go to the basement of the church for the children's liturgy and return just before the Profession of Faith.  I was impressed with and proud of J; when the kids left, he got up and went with no hint of hesitation.  When he came back, he had a worksheet and a note.  The note stated that he was chosen to carry the Lectionary Book next week.  I asked J how he was chosen for this.  He said that they asked if anyone wanted a job, and so he raised his hand.  I just hope he wasn't chosen because he was wearing what one might describe as "play clothes" instead of "church clothes."  Either way, J is looking forward to mass next week and said that T would like going downstairs with him, too. 

I've been wanting to go back to church regularly, and I brought J as a sort of trial run.  I figure it will be more motivating for me (and easier on Hubster) if J will come with me. 

This week's homily seemed so tailor made for me that it could only be Divine Intervention.  The priest spoke about praying to God, and how sometimes we don't get what we pray for.  He explained that just because we don't get what we ask for, it doesn't mean that God hasn't answered our prayers.  Rather, it could be that what we ask for is not what is best for us.  I believe this completely, and hearing it explained to me (and the rest of the congregation) was very comforting.

I feel like I need some big conclusion, but Hubster just threw me a Klondike bar.  Forgive me, but I'm gonna tear into that right now.  Mmmm...