Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Tonight for his "bed night story" Little Brother chose his favorite library book, about a robot who builds a dog out of shapes.

He told me that this was his almost favorite book, and that he can't find his favorite one--The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I looked on his bookshelf and found it for him. I left his lamp on so he could look at the book before going to sleep.

He decided to "read" it to himself. He did pretty well up until the end, where "the caterpillar made a raccoon for his self and turned into a butterfly!"

Pretty soon he will be a schoolboy learning all about what caterpillars do and how they turn into butterflies, and that raccoons have nothing to do with it. Today, I'm going to let it go.

TheDad finds the big "rites of childhood passage" hard to take: first days of school, graduations, things like that. For me, it's the smaller things, like the day when Middle Sister stopped saying "wotel" instead of "motel" or the day Big Brother learned to correctly pronounce "ambulance." I enjoy the big days and am proud of my children's accomplishments. It's the little moments where they show how grown-up they're getting--those are the ones that get me.

How to Give SFO Mom a Heart Attack

I walked into the house about half an hour ago. I no sooner had sorted through the mail than the phone rang. Caller ID said it was my great-aunt.


My mother yells at me, through the phone, in a very raspy voice, "Why didn't you call me back?"

"I didn't know you called."

"Yes! I called! I left you TWO messages on your answering machine. Why didn't you call me back?"

"I just walked in the door."

"But I left you TWO messages!"

"I haven't had time to check the voice mail yet, Mom. I just came in."

"OH, you just came in."

Meanwhile I am thinking that my great-aunt, who had a stroke 18 months ago, is in the hospital or worse, since my mother sounds like she has been crying all morning and now is going all hyper on me....

"So what's the matter with Great-Aunt?"

"Nothing. She wants to know how you can sell furniture on eBay."

(She's moving to an apartment in a retirement community and needs to downsize the furniture from her 3-bedroom house.)

I get extra points for remaining calm and not screaming at my mother for scaring me into thinking that Great-Aunt is having some sort of health crisis, but only wants to get rid of a late-1950s chair and a vintage stereo.

"Call an antique shop, Mom...."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Melded Books Meme

Jean at Catholic Fire tagged me for this one. I love books AND word games, so this was a lot of fun.

Here are the rules: Blend two book titles together by using the last word of one title and the first word of the second title. If you want, you can blend the authors' names too. (I am assuming that I don’t have to actually OWN the books listed.)

Cold Sassy Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Olive Ann Smith

Notes from a Small Island of the Blue Dolphins by Bill O’Dell

When Crickets Cry the Beloved Country by Charles Patton

Their Eyes Were Watching God on a Harley by Zora Neale Brady

How Green Was My Valley of the Dolls by Richard Susann

North of Hope for the Flowers by Jon Paulus

The Coalwood Way of the Wolf by Homer Bell

A Time to Kill a Mockingbird by John Lee

Peace Like a River Runs Through It by Leif Maclean

and my personal favorite:
The Habit of Being and Nothingness by Flannery Sartre

That's what HE thinks

Little Brother and Adventure Boy just stomped through the front door after clocking off their regular Worm Maintenance shift.

Little Brother headed to the bathroom to wash his filthy hands, announcing loudly, "We're not doing any hard work any more."

Vintage Apron Contest!

Visit Not Quite June Cleaver to participate in the Vintage Apron Giveaway.

Thinking Ahead to Summer

One of the things I want to do this summer vacation is really get the Big Kids involved in cooking and meal planning. Sort of "Mom's Home Ec Class" without the sewing. I want them to learn how to cook simple and healthy meals so that when they are grown and on their own, they can feed themselves!

Middle Sister is very excited about this idea. She already has made a list of 7 "dinner" and 7 "dessert" things she wants to learn to cook:
Chicken pot pie
Pork roast
Pepperoni bread
Homemade pizza
Stuffed peppers

Apple pie
Lemonade pie
Ice cream cake
Homemade onion dip (she classified this as a dessert. That's my girl!)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

Visit the group blog, G.I. June (Cleaver) for some thoughts on this observation. I hate to call it a "holiday" because that connotes picnics, not color guards.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tagged Again!

The Kitchen Madonna has tagged me for the 8 Random Facts meme. So I will have to think of 8 MORE Random Facts. Bear with me here. I am now going for entertainment value.

1. My favorite color is blue (no surprise there, right?) When I was in college, all the Sisters wore blue. Any student who spent more than an hour a week in church and wore anything blue was immediately targeted by what we used to call the "Sisters' Committee on Recruitment." So I stopped wearing blue for 4 years, except for jeans. Now, I go overboard in the other direction. It's a pretty rare day that I'm not wearing something blue.

2. I am currently "ripping" the tracks from this CD to add to my MP3 player: Millennium Soul Party. Found it at the library. This CD has 20 great tunes!

3. I'm usually cold, so I hate to turn on the air conditioning in the house. I'd rather have all the windows open. However, I am married to my "south polar opposite" so I have to give in on this one. So, I turn on the air, and put on my sweats (blue ones, of course!)

4. On my first date with TheDad, I beat him playing Trivial Pursuit. My friends told me it was a very bad idea to beat a guy at a game. But he married me anyway, 1 year later.

5. I hate to swim. I hate to put on a swimsuit, and not being a good swimmer, I don't feel confident in the water. This summer Little Brother is going to want to swim in the big pool at our community pool, and I'm dreading it.

6. Even though I hate shower doors, I did not break mine on purpose. We no longer have shower doors.

7. I had one year of Home Economics in grade school. I did very badly in that class--even the cooking part, and I love to cook! But I am more of an instinctive cook, and the teacher didn't want to work that way. We'd have gotten along a lot better if it were a baking class, since I do follow directions when I bake. And the sewing was a total failure. My sewing ability is limited to attaching merit badges to Boy Scout clothing.

8. I have more recipes and cookbooks than I can use in a lifetime and yet I cannot stop collecting them. Every so often I go through my stack of torn-out recipes and wonder, "Why did I save this one?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

Adventures in Housecleaning: an IM conversation between me and TheDad

[10:57] I think I just broke the shower doors off their track and can't figure out how to get them back on...That's what I get for cleaning the bathtub....

[10:57] We'll figure it out
[10:58] they are a little fussy. I knocked them off the track once
[10:58] so unless the rollers are broken, we should be OK.

[10:58] It's off on the bottom, not the top
[10:59] Is this the part where you say "Don't clean ANYTHING ELSE till I get home"

[10:59] are both doors off or just one?

[10:59] Just one; the other one will not move at all

[11:00] wow...impressive

[11:00] they were looking really clean too

[11:00] is the one off completely?

[11:00] It's hanging on at the top, and the bottom is definitely out on the one end. Can't tell on the other end.

[11:00] how did you do that?

[11:01] Windex

[11:01] just rubbing it?

[11:01] Well, there's a lot of back and forth when cleaning those doors; first I did the inside and then the outside. Fortunately I was on the outside when this happened.

[11:02] reminds me of when you almost fell through the attic in our old house

[11:02] Are you saying that I should not clean unattended?

[11:02] just stay out of the attic!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Night Work, and Why I'm Not Cut Out for It

I've always been a "morning person." It's a bad idea for me to hit that snooze button too many times because my best time of day is the morning. Today I made very sure to be up and at 'em at 5:15 because the neighbor kids were coming over at 7, so I needed to jump-start my day a little. (TheDad is supposed to get up at 5 so the alarm was set no earlier than usual--but I had to be inflexible about that snooze button.)

It was a busy day today. I babysat until 10:00 while tidying the dining room and washing the windows, and working up two practice worksheets on the subjunctive mood in Spanish for the student I am tutoring. Then I packed Little Brother's lunch and we headed to Middle Sister's school for our lunchroom duty, where I spent two hours tossing slices of pizza onto paper plates, hauling crates of chocolate milk out of the cooler, and wiping tables. I had a little down time after that, until it was time to pick up Middle Sister, take her to the nursing home for her class's visit with the residents, shop at Walmart with Little Brother until she was done, and bring her back home in time to make and serve dinner and deliver her to her softball game. 15 minutes later I left for my tutoring job.

At that point there wasn't enough caffeine in the known universe to keep me really alert. It was 6:30 PM and I'd been going, going, going all day. Big mistake. HUGE--as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman.

I meet my student at the public library. He's a senior in high school. Every day that I have tutored him, he's had curly hair and worn a baseball cap.

I walked into the library, looked around at the crowd and did not see my student. I sat down at the only empty table, behind a young man with very short hair. His back was to me. I picked up the books on reserve for me, started a crossword puzzle, and waited for him to show up. I waited 15 minutes. Just as I was about to get my cell phone out to walk outside and call his home, the young man at the next table turned a little bit--it was my student, with no hat and a very short haircut.

It's going to take a long time to live this one down. Lucky for me, he graduates in 3 weeks so I will only see him twice more.

Boy, do I wish they'd allow us to bring coffee into the library. Either that, or I wish my student would meet me at 6:30 AM when I'm all kinds of awake and alert.

Adventures in Babysitting

This morning I am watching Cutie Pie for a few hours while her mom attends a funeral and her dad's at work.

Mary Poppins Not has a post just today about 3-year-old girls, and it fits Cutie Pie perfectly:
Three year old girls are a unique creation. It's like they go from 2 to 12 over night. Strong willed, independent, argumentative, and bossy. But the big difference is at three, they are still oh so cute and chubby. And they are still small enough to be physically picked up and put in bed, or in the corner, or in a chair.

Three year old girls also change clothes a million times a day, and have very strong opinions about what they want to wear, what shoes go with the outfit, and what sort of clip ought to go in her hair.

Three year old girls hardly eat anything in one sitting. And they don't like food they used to love. And they have a terrific pout.


Also in my experience, three year old girls with clear and enforced boundaries are sweet, cheerful and very energizing. When expectations for their behavior are clearly stated, they strive to please. When given a new task, they devour it with relish, and want more. They notice so many new things about their world, and they are very generous with sharing their insights. Bugs, birds and flowers are the new thrill around here, and it gets me excited all over again about the world I live in.

Cutie Pie has a lot to say, and she invariably has her audience chuckling the whole time. She's as verbal as your average 5-year-old, giving a play-by-play of her day as she goes through it. She also insists that her sandals are much more comfortable when worn on the wrong feet. (Not worth the battle, I figured.)

Oh yeah, she's humble too! She put on one of Little Brother's hats earlier and was striking a pose. I played along. "Cutie Pie, you look FABULOUS in that hat!"

Posing again, and flirting a bit with her long eyelashes, she answered me, completely seriously: "Yes! I do!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Missing: Tools of My Trade

Consider this an APB for two things that I just can't do without:
--my Swiss Army knife
--my Franciscan Crown Rosary

Monday, May 21, 2007

Passing on the Wisdom

The following was posted in Father Jay Toborowsky's blog, Young Fogeys.

Mother’s Day (taken from Judy Grubaugh)

I recently attended a bridal shower that would have fulfilled the dreams of any young woman. The home was beautiful and the conversation among friends who had watched the bride-to-be grow up was warm and welcoming. Then the hostess asked me to share a few words about marriage. As the room quieted, I shared with this young bride-to-be five things I wish I’d known before I walked down the aisle, hoping she’d learn them quicker than I did.

One: I wish I’d known my husband is human, just like me. From the time we’re little girls, we dream of the day when a knight in shining armor will whisk us away to a life of happiness ever after; but even a prince will have days when nothing goes right and he’s just plain weary. At times like these, you will be a wise wife if you rise to the occasion and encourage your husband. Ask God to give you a tongue that has words to sustain him.

Two: I wish I’d known the value of respecting my husband: In Ephesians 5:33 God’s Word says men need respect. Surveys affirm that the most important thing needed by men is the respect of their wives, even though radical feminists discredit the idea. You can show respect in a million ways, but most important is to remind him often that you believe in him. If you do, you will walk hand in hand even when you don’t see eye to eye.

Three: I wish I’d known to make God my refuge, not my husband. Your husband should be your confidant, but God alone is your refuge. Your husband was not created to understand all your emotional needs; trying to force him to do so will cause turmoil in your relationship. God wants to be your refuge. If you go to Him first with your needs and concerns, your marriage will be richer.

Four: I wish I’d known fulfillment in life comes from God, not from my husband. Expecting to find complete fulfillment from your husband is a mistake. God tells us ultimate fulfillment comes through knowledge of Him. The better you get to know God, the more fulfilled you will be. If we put Him first, He will give us everything else we need. And it is important to develop and cultivate friendships with other women - especially those who can help you grow in the faith, provide wisdom for your marriage, and act as God’s hands in your life. As God meets you through your friends, you have more to offer your marriage and family. The support of other women is invaluable.

Five: I wish I’d known that the best gift I could give my husband is to pray for him. Ask God to pour favor upon this man you love, and ask God to give him an undivided heart - a heart that hungers to know God. The more devoted your husband is to God, the more devotion he will show you. God wants you to excel as a wife. If you know and understand these five things, you will be a contented wife, and your husband will be a better man for having married you.

Thanks, Father Jay, for posting this wonderful essay. I have been married to TheDad for 16+ years and there is plenty of room for me to improve. I appreciate the inspiration that this essay provides.

Sometimes you just need a standing ovation

Little Brother and Adventure Boy are rebuilding Little Brother's block castle--the one that lasted 4 days on the family room floor before it met an ugly fate at the hands of Cutie Pie, Queen of Demolition.

They just placed the last accent block on the roof.

"Mom, look at my castle!"

I admired it. "It looks great! I'm glad you rebuilt it the way you like it."

I guess that wasn't enough. "Aren't you going to clap?"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Ducks Have Left the Neighborhood

Every spring the ducks come to our neighborhood for a few weeks. We feed them when we see them, and we've known for a while that Mama Duck had again nested under our neighbor's shrubbery.

This morning my neighbor told me that the babies had hatched and there were at least eight little ones! She expected, though, that Mama and the babies would be walking away from their nest soon.

She was right...when TheDad was making his lunch in the kitchen, he saw the duck family by our back fence. Mama wasn't happy that I came outside for a last photo opportunity before she herded her ducklings through the fence on their way to the nearby creek. They've got to cross two streets to get there, and one of those is really busy. I hope they make it safely.

I counted 10 babies. If you click on the bottom picture to make it larger, you can see 9 right by Mama, and one on the other side of the fence in the top left of that photo if you look really hard!

Pipe Dreams

Little Brother is sitting at the dining room table, waiting for TheDad to finish making toast so they can have breakfast. He's keeping himself amused by singing random bits of songs he knows.

"...what do you think of that?" he sang just now.

I couldn't think of what song he was singing, so I asked, "What do I think of what?"

"NOTHING!" he shouted in a very irritated voice. "Mom, I want some privacy!"

"You're sitting at the dining room table singing, and you want privacy?! How much privacy do you think you're going to get over there?"

"A LOT!"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say

"You may not do damage to anyone else's eyebrows."

An Actual Conversation

Me: "Big Brother, the boys said earlier that there's a dead bird under the big tree."

Big Brother: "Cool."

Me: "Get a shovel."

Big Brother: "Not now. I just ate. I'll do it later."

I'll be sure to remind him again, right after dinner.


What you will find if you look in my planner for today's date:
--Ascension Thursday (translation: GO TO CHURCH!)
--Middle Sister Field Day: donate 50 10-oz cups
--noon: Tutor at library (with 2 children in tow)
--house: laundry, change 2 beds, trash day
--dinner: Teriyaki Pork, rice, green beans

What you won't find, but nevertheless has happened:
--nag Middle Sister about staying off her injured foot (the reason she is not at school on Field Day)
--instruct Little Brother and Adventure Boy on proper protocol for their Earthworm Relocation Program: "Do not dump your bucket of dirt and worms on the sidewalk! Someone will step in it and kill the worms. You can dump that into the garden, over here. Now get some shovels and clean all that up and put it in the garden."
--take a phone call from your student's father after your student skipped his second tutoring appointment this week. Tell said student's father that the student only has a D in class right now, and that he has to put in some serious study time if he intends to pass his final exam and graduate high school. Reschedule for Saturday morning.
--email student's guidance counselor to ask about proper protocol for students who repeatedly skip tutoring sessions

The Village People

No, not those Village People. I'm talking about the ones who wind up raising a child whose family cannot, or will not, raise him, even though he lives in their home. I'm talking about the families on my block who are that Village for Adventure Boy.

Lately I have read two books about a little girl who, like Adventure Boy, was pretty much on her own from the time she could walk (A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch, both by Haven Kimmel). If it were not for her neighbors she wouldn't have had many regular meals, baths, or clean clothing. I don't believe that Adventure Boy's situation is that extreme; his lack appears to be in the area of attention and supervision. Yet I could certainly see from her writing that she needed (and ultimately appreciated) the care and attention she got from her neighbors.

But what about the neighbors? What you don't see in those books is the attitude of the grownups who had to take the place of this child's parents. You don't hear them whispering about the role they were playing in this child's life. You don't know if they resented having to take care of another child. You don't know if they sighed when that child appeared at their home before 8 AM, planning to stay the day. Did they react like I did the other day when Adventure Boy helped himself to a yogurt from my back-porch refrigerator and left the door wide-open on a summerlike afternoon, until I found it two hours later? Did they react like my neighbor did when she found Adventure Boy had let himself into her house without knocking, so he could play with Cutie Pie and Little Brother? Did they agonize over what will happen in a few weeks when the pool opens up, because there is no way they want to be responsible for an extra-adventurous five-year-old at a swimming pool? Did they breathe a quick prayer to that little one's guardian angel every time he sailed across the street on his bike without looking for cars?

My head wants to say that I am not my brother's keeper. Then my heart reminds me where that sentence led.

So where's the boundary line? Where do I draw it? What would the Village People do?

I don't know how to figure it out, but until I do, I'll be doling out those toaster waffles and cups of apple juice--because what else can I do for this child who's been bringing his favorite blanket here these past couple of days?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just One More Thing

First it was 7 things. Now it's 8 things. UKOK has tagged me for the "8 Facts Meme" which is just like the 7 Facts Meme, except of course that it has one more fact. But since she just moved into a new "blog home" I will not just add one fact to the last one but start fresh.

“Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.”

I might skip the tagging part, though, since it's late and I'm tired.

1. I am watching "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and I have to say, I never saw this movie before and I can't see what's so great about it now. Back to Netflix it goes tomorrow.

2. For the past 2 years I have been growing my hair, staring with a very short haircut. It is now the longest it has been since 1995.

3. I've had stitches on several occasions but never needed to wear a cast.

4. I really enjoy playing the game "Rack-O." Little Brother's very good at it. We like to vie for the title "King or Queen of Rack-O."

5. I stink at math but I'm very good at adding in my head. I developed this trick when I used to work at a bakery. I'd add up the customers' bills in my head while I wrapped up their orders, instead of using the register. Drove my boss nuts, but I was always right.

6. I always wanted to learn to play the banjo. I own one but I can't play it.

7. I have absolutely no patience for people who brag about how good their child's school is, based on the hours of homework their children are assigned each night--and then wind up doing some of it themselves.

8. I resent the havoc that children's athletic events is playing with our family dinnertime. I'm not handling this one with grace or even good humor.

If you want to play, consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Must-Read: The Power of Mary

Run, do not walk, over to A Friar's Life to read The Power of Mary.

A highlight:
Catholicism offered my friends other comforts. As a kid, I would have liked a patron saint or a guardian angel, but the Methodist Church didn't offer those. Instead we were counseled, in an ecumenically respectful way, that all that stuff was Catholic...The best thing, though, that Catholic girls got was Mary. She was presented as motherhood and sweetness, but Catholic girls got a clear message that a woman in heaven understood the female side of things.

What are you waiting for? Go read the rest! I could do without the very last sentence, but the rest of this article is fabulous.

It's Carnival Time!

The Catholic Carnival, that is!

So far I have read only 2 of the selections but they were great! Looking forward to checking out the rest during the week ahead. Thanks to Steven for hosting.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Here's my Mother's Day Present! All Done!

I got all the "accessories" installed today so the bathroom is now complete. A HUGE "thank you" to my whole family for the hard work all weekend. I got to use my Power Drill! Division of labor in this house: TheDad and the kids paint, I install "accessories."

the wallpaper is peeling off the walls, patched, and just "not our taste"


I think the color appears more "gray" in these pictures than it actually does on the walls. "In person" this is a light blue with a gray tone to it.

How to Scandalize Your Mother in One Easy Step

It wasn't my kids this time. It was me. But I will say that my mom is very easy to shock.

This year for Mother's Day, TheDad spent a big chunk of the weekend removing the wallpaper in the bathroom and then painting it in the color of my choice. All the kids helped. It was a great present!

Of course, some new accessories must be purchased, since some of the old ones broke or were rusty. I was left in need of towel bars, a window shade, a curtain rod, and (most essential) a toilet-paper holder.

All of those things are not things you can do without if you intend the bathroom to be, um, functional. So for a day or so I was forced to improvise.

I brought in a coat tree to hold the towels. (So far, so good. Mom approved.)

I took Little Brother's favorite beach towel (the one with the big, yellow, cartoon-y octopus on it), and opened the window from the top, stuffing the top end of the towel into the opening. That took care of window coverings.

Finally, I got one of those suit hangers with the bar that kind of "unhooks" so you can slide the pants on, then hooks back in so they don't slide off. That worked for the toilet paper, for the time being.

I was patting myself on the back for finding creative and free solutions for a temporary problem (I'll have the shade purchased and installed by noon today) and my mother was completely shocked that I would (a) think to do these things and (b) freely admit them to her.

What would she think if she knew I was telling you about it here?

Don't worry, Mom. I'm just like you--I have to have all my windows open "evenly" and the bottoms of the shades must be even as well. So don't feel like you failed or anything.

National Wear an Apron Day

I'm wearing my apron today! How about you?

Press Release

Right now, women across the United States and the blogosphere are searching thrift stores, ebay, and their mother's linen drawers for aprons to wear May 14th. Some are making their own. Wearing their aprons inside and outside of their homes, Apron Moms will celebrate their pivotal role in making a house a home.

As the search for domestic bliss continues, a search that includes cleaning and decluttering, cooking tasty nutritious meals, educating children, and the care and feeding of husbands, women will celebrate the difference they make in the lives of their families. They know an apron is like a uniform that conveys authority, unconditional regard, and motherly wisdom all at once. Apron Moms know aprons are about cooking and cleaning but they are also about emotional availablity, hospitality, and femininity.

On Monday, May 14th, apron wearing women will drop children off at school, go to the post office and grocery store, and greet their families at the door wearing their aprons. Some will go to their work outside of the home. But regardless of where they spend most of their day, they will post pictures on their blogs of the places they boldly wear their aprons.

There will be a virtual cocktail party at 5pm CST to giggle about our experiences, to toast the internet's role in bringing us together, and to plan next year's Apron Mom March on Washington.

The devil very well may wear Prada but authentically feminine women wear aprons!

For further information, please visit the Kitchen Madonna.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

20 Facts Meme

I was tagged by Ellen for this meme of 20 facts about me.

1. Male or Female: Female

2. Married or Single (or religious): Married to a wonderful man

3. Dream vacation: Ireland (but not on a bicycle)

4. Birthplace: Passaic County, NJ

5. Area I live in currently: Burlington County, NJ

6. Someone you wish you could meet: Father Groeschel

7. Biggest "pet-peeve": I could fill a whole blog with my Peeves Du Jour but I don't think anyone would want to read about them! At the moment, though, it's "someone is sitting in my chair. Again."

8. Favorite Religious devotion: The Liturgy of the Hours

9. Favorite Saint (besides the Blessed Mother): St. Francis of Assisi

10. Favorite sport that you play: ROFLMBO!! I do not play sports. I am the Chief Klutz, TYVM. I used to be really good at Double Dutch jump rope, though.

11. Favorite food: Bread

12. Tridentine or Novus Ordo: Novus Ordo

13. Would you (or are you) home school or public school: Me: Public school until 6th grade, then Catholic school all through grad school. For the kids: Catholic school, so far so good (oldest is in 9th grade)

14. How many kids do you have: 3

15. Ever been in an auto accident: Yes, 2

16. Ever seen a pope in person: No

17. Languages that you know fluently: English

18. Last movie you saw in theatres: I can't remember. I have 3 kids...

19. Favorite Blog: I can't answer that! I'd leave someone out!! Can I just say, "Open up my blogroll and check it out!"

20. Your thoughts on Barney, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus: Barney should be shot, the Easter Bunny is okay and Santa rules. (That was Ellen's answer but I agree with it completely. As a friend of mine used to say "Barney is a tool of Satan!")

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ostrich for Breakfast

This morning Little Brother and I headed down to the Omelet House so we could meet Ellen "From Across the Net." On the way there I asked him what I thought was a simple question, "What do you want for breakfast?"
"Pancakes they have any ostrich there?"
Way to stop me in my tracks! After some interrogation I figured out that he wanted sausage with his pancakes.
Fortunately the diner had plenty of sausage and, apparently, really good pancakes, so Little Brother was kept pretty busy while Ellen and I visited. Since our sons attend the same school it was a great opportunity to compare notes on what teachers Big Brother should hope to have for next year, and I was happy to get the inside track on some of what will be in store for him. We found plenty to chat about and I hope we'll get together again soon.
Thanks for breakfast, Ellen. It was a great time, and Little Brother definitely liked his ostrich.

7 Random Facts Meme

While I'm hanging around here fending off a hungry 5-year-old because dinner will be late because the Air Show stuff was delayed...thought I'd catch up on an overdue meme. I was tagged by Aimee at The Mother Load. This game is played by listing 7 random facts you might not know about me.

1. I really need to clean my bathtub right now. But this is much more fun.

2. My daughter is 11. She and I wear the same size shoe. All 4 of my nieces who are over the age of 9 have larger feet than I do.

3. I have a black thumb. I could kill a plastic plant.

4. Last week I cleaned my bookcase. It is 6 feet tall and 30 inches wide. It has 5 shelves which are fully loaded with books (stacked horizontally for more books per square inch, PLUS a layer of books behind the ones you see.) I purged 22 books from my collection. I consider this a huge accomplishment as it is very hard for me to part from any book I have bought unless I absolutely hate it.

5. In my life I have had 2 surprise birthday parties. Both were arranged by my husband. Both times, upon being surprised, I smacked my husband in the arm.

6. My favorite way to taste-test spaghetti sauce is by dipping a pretzel in it.

7. When I am choosing a paint color (the bathroom, at the moment) I am more swayed by the fancy name that someone has given a particular shade than the color itself. I actually have to force myself not to look at the title on the card, because if it's something I don't like (say, Green Tea) then I don't even want to consider the color.

And now I will go make Little Brother a bowl of oatmeal to hold him off until dinnertime.

Air Show

Big Brother and TheDad are joining the Flight Club from school to attend the practice for this airshow.

They'll be on the Air Force Base next to Fort Dix, which just escaped a terrorist attack.

Security will be extreme, which I do not mind in the least. This is probably the safest place in the country right now.

Nevertheless, I will be praying for a safe day for the boys in the Flight Club, the dads who are chaperoning this trip, and all the performers in the Air Show who take plenty of risks to thrill the audience with their amazing flight formations and stunts.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Little Brother informed me a few minutes ago that he wanted a drink of water. I was heading to the kitchen to get one for him when he raced into the bathroom, grabbed a paper cup, and started to fill it.

I was happy that he was doing this for himself, so I got busy with something else.

Then he came walking very slowly into the room, clutching two fairly-squashed paper cups full of water next to his chest.

"Mom! I have a drink of water for you! See these cups that have my hands around them? One of them is for you."

I took my battered cup of "bathroom water" from my little guy with his soaked shirt. It was the best water I've ever drunk.

I Need an Apron Day

This is my apron. I'm a big fan of the Kitchen Madonna's work--I think she must be praying while she pleats.

Every time my neighbor sees me with my apron on, she asks me what I'm cooking. I'm not always cooking, but I like to wear the apron even when I'm not. The color is cheerful and makes me smile. My little neighbor Cutie Pie told me yesterday that she likes the black dots. (Me too, Cutie Pie!)

When I wear my apron I am on the job. The pretty pattern catches my eye and reminds me what I am here to do. Last year my Big Kids used to tease me when I practiced the organ, reminding me that I shouldn't look down at my hands while I played. They'd threaten to borrow Music Teacher's Ugly Apron. Apparently Music Teacher had an apron that she would have kids wear while they had their keyboard lessons. If they could see the apron, they were paying too much attention to their fingers; it was a reminder that they should look at the music instead.

My Pretty Apron works the same way for me. When I wear my apron I am more focused on what I'm to be doing in my home. It's not just doing laundry or cooking a meal. It's nourishing my family in many ways.

Lindsey observed that being home is to a great extent, a heart issue. You've got to really focus your heart on HOME and FAMILY to make it work and not feel frustrated. I think she's absolutely right. I wish I had learned this when the kids were younger. I used to "create" errands so I could get out of the house every day. Now I am trying to think of ways to avoid errands so I don't have to leave. And the more things on my plate that take me out of the house, the more ways I want to cancel them all so I can stay home.

What I really need right now is an Apron Day. A whole day with nowhere to go, and nothing to do besides be here at home and do what moms do best.