Monday, December 14, 2009

I resolve every year to take a family picture and design beautiful holiday cards. And every year something happens and time slips up on me. This year was no exception. I did design the card, the picture however was not what I had intended but given the deadline it worked. I even got the cards stamped and mailed today. Finally something I can cross off that list. Now if I could just find those last few presents and get them wrapped....

Friday, December 4, 2009

A case of a mispelled word

The English language makes it difficult to teach spelling. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason in some instances to the way things are spelled. Teaching young children to spell phonetically works often but sometimes it can be tricky. For instance this week Harrison had for and more. How do you explain to a child why one has an e and the other doesn't? He was able to remember the word more has a e because I kept saying more has one more letter than for.

Sometimes spelling can also be confusing because certain letters have a similiar sound if not spoken clearly which was apparently the case when I called out another of Harrison's words - ship. He spelled it S-H-I-T. Haley was in the next room laughing and trying hard not to myself, I said "No spell ship" (making emphasis on the letter p).   I didn't want to explain to him what he just spelled because I knew that he might find it funny and repeat it. We went through the whole list again and when we got to ship he once again spelled it with a t but quickly changed to a p. 

The test is today and I am hoping that he spells ship correctly. I can only imagine the expression on his teachers face if he inserts a T where the P is suppose to be. She might wonder exactly what Harrison is learning at home. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

How we get our turkey

Let's talk turkey. Today Harrison came home from school with his interpretation of how turkeys get to our Thanksgiving table. Here is his storyboard creation.

Step One: The turkey is running around happy and carefree and loving life not knowing of it's impending doom.

Step Two: The turkey becomes scared and bolts when he figures out that someone has come to catch him.

Step Three: The turkey is unable to escape and meets his fate when he is slaughtered with an axe. Am I wrong to be disturbed by the fact that my 7 year old portrays the slaughter of a turkey so descriptively?

Step Three: The turkey has been baked and prepared for us to eat on Thanksgiving.

Happy Turkey Day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A new kind of Batmobile

The other day as I walked past David's car, I noticed something small and brown protruding from the grill.

I guess that gives new meaning to "batmobile".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Never understanding

Last week someone that I thought a lot of passed away at the age of 48. While our relationship wasn't on a particularly personal level, he was an important part of my life during a very difficult time.

I met him the first time I moved to Charleston when he became my family doctor. From the time I met him, I felt at ease. He treated everyone as a friend and I believe he truly cared about his patients health and well being. I got to know him pretty well over the years and even after having moved away and back again, he knew who I was when we would run into each other somewhere.

Last year, Harrison had the privilege of having this man's wife as his kindergarten teacher. I got to know her and through her got to know her husband even better. If there were matches made in heaven then I truly believe this was one. It was evident that they loved each other and their children.

For days after I heard the news of his passing, I searched my soul for answers as to why such a good man would be taken at such a young age. The harder I searched for an answer the further away from understanding I got. I talked to my dad about it and he suggested that there was no logical reason for these things and that while it was difficult, I should look at the life that he lived while he was here. Some people live more more in a short time than most do in an entire lifetime. And he truly did. So while I don't understand why, I do know that I have faith enough in God to know that he had a plan. I may not understand it now, but one day perhaps after my death, I finally will. And I do know that one day again I will see my friend.

Someone sent this video to me this week and it touched me. I think the words say it all, "I'm going to miss that smile, I'm going to miss you my friend..I'm not cryin for you 'cause I feel so sorry for you, I'm crying for me."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keep Out

Kids deal with things in different ways when facing something challenging. When Holden gets frustrated, he starts making grunting noises and stomping his feet. If he gets really frustrated he might even start flailing around on the floor. Homework tends to be the time when this happens most often. Some weeks we go with no problems and some weeks it occurs on a regular basis.  This week hasn't been all that bad except for tonight. He and David were reviewing his spelling words. I had already gone over them last night with him and he knew 75% of them with no problem but for some reason he kept getting them tonight. David kept making him repeat them and the more he repeated them the more frustrated he got.

When I left to go pick Haley up from swim team David was trying to get Holden to spell and Holden was arguing with him. When I got back David was downstairs and Holden was no where to be seen. Apparently Holden had gotten so mad at David that he started screaming and went up stairs and slammed the door and got in bed.

When I went up stairs to see if he was okay and to tell him goodnight, this is what I found taped to his door.

Guess Holden got the last word in after all.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Messy matter

This is what happens when you tell one of my children to go and clean up the playroom without being specific as to what "clean-up" means.

Which is why I spent 20 minutes this morning looking for the tennis shoe that was located inside the entertainement unit along with the mass of cords. Logical place for it, right? Only I didn't find it until after he had gone to school mad because he had to wear Crocs.

Notice the flip flop? I found it underneath the entertainment unit when I was down on my knees looking under the couch for the tennis shoe. Wonder how long that has been there?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We went last week and picked out our pumpkin from the pumpkin patch at Hibben UMC. We decided that this year we were only going to get one pumpkin because carving three pumpkins takes a tremendous amount of time not to mention the cost. It was much easier for the children to agree on one pumpkin than I thought it would be. The kids let me take a few pictures of them in the pumpkin patch even though Haley was not very happy about it. I told her she would thank me when she was my age and she had nice pictures to look at.
Our busy schedule prevented us from carving the pumpkin until Halloween Day. The kids are now getting old enough to pretty much do everything themselves once the top is cut off the pumpkin. Haley and Holden did most of the work but left a little for Harrison so he would think he had a part in carving.

Our neighbors had a Halloween get together at their house so we all went down for dinner before trick or treating. This year was the first year in a long time that I actually got to go with the kids trick or treating because Haley and her friend handed out candy at our house. We had a group of 9 children (8 boys and 1 girl) who went along with us. It was funny to see how fast they moved from house to house. Harrison and Helena were always in the lead. I think that Harrison was all about getting as much candy as he could and Helena was all about chasing Harrison. The kids had a good time and came home with a huge bag full of candy. If all the kids in the neighborhood got as much candy as our kids did, there will be a lot of busy dentists come this winter.

Here are the boys in their costumes :

Holden as "The Scream" and Harrison as "Ninja Warrior"

NOTE: The nunchucks in Harrison's hand are foam. He did however get in trouble for hitting the other kids BEFORE we even had dinner so they had to be put away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yeah. I thought my blog was deleted and it wasn't. Maybe I will actually keep uo with it now. More updates later.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's good to know....

Many times the only correspondence that you receive from teachers is to discuss a problem that your child is having with school work or behavior. It's good to know that sometimes teachers go out of their way to send a nice note to parents just because. I received one of those notes on Friday. It said:

Good Afternoon!

I am Haley's ELA teacher and just wanted to tell you what a joy she is in class. I am enjoying getting to know her and am realizing how smart and polite she is. She is a wonderful role model and you should be so proud of her. I hope my little one grows up to be just like that!

Have a wonderful weekend and don't hesitate to email me should you ever need anything.

Needless to say I was quite impressed that this teacher would take the time to send me an email just to say that and I was certainly proud of my little (or not so much anymore) girl.  It's nice to know that she has that effect on others.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

52 Weeks/52 Things

Here's another list of things that evolved as I was doing my Me album. It's a bucket list of sorts. These are things that I haven't done (at least not in some time) that don't cost a ton of money and therefore are attainable. My goal is to do one a week over the next year (thus the 52 weeks/52 things).

In no particular order here they are:

1. Plant some flowers

2. Handwrite a letter to someone

3. Bake cookies

4. Make a digital scrapbook album for my someone special

5. Get a massage

6. Go for a bike ride

7. Book a weekend trip somewhere

8. Get a new hairstyle

9. Walk on the beach

10. Spend a day photographing things I love

11. Spend an afternoon thrift store shopping

12. Make homemade bread
13. Have breakfast in bed

14. Have fondue

15. Take a cooking class

16. Buy someone flowers just because

17. Make homemade ice-cream and have a sundae bar

18. Go to a flea market

19. Have a mother/daughter day

20. Go to the movies with my husband
21. Sew an apron

22. Make cards to hand out at the nursing home

23. Go to a flea market

24. Buy some pretty shoes

25. Have pajama night with popcorn and movies

26. Take a candlelit bath

27. Make chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream for the kids

28. Pick fresh fruit/veggies from a farm

29. Buy flowers for myself

30.  Get a facial

31. Take a photography class

32. Learn a new word

33. Volunteer at a non-profit function

34. Restore an old piece of furniture

35. Go to the zoo

36. Frame and hang pictures of the kids on the wall upstairs

37. Dress up and go out to dinner with friends

38. Paint the hallway walls a fun new color

39. Make curtains for Haley

40. Learn a new song on the piano

41. Sleep late

42. Make a purse

43. Organize my closet

44. Make new artwork
45. Cook dinner for friends

46. Jump on the bed with the kids

47. Take the kids hiking

48. Take a walk downtown to explore the city

49. Learn something new

50. Bake a cake for someone

51. Buy a new color of lipstick

52. Read a Classic Novel

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A to Z Gratitude List

I am working on a scrapbook called Me: The Abridged Version. In it, I am chronicling things that are a part of my life in encyclopedia style from A-Z. As I was making my list of things, I started thinking of all the things I am grateful for. Here is my list which only includes one entry per letter even though I surely could have come up with dozens more.

A to Z Gratitude List

A – Air Conditioning

B – Boisterous children

C – Chick-fil-a

D – David

E – Every extraordinary day and waking up to begin each anew.

F – Family (and friends)

G – God and the freedom to practice religion

H – Haley, Holden and Harrison

I – Internet - how did we ever live without it

J – Jeans, my favorite pair that fit just right

K – Kisses from my kids every morning and night

L – Love

M – Magic Eraser (how does it work?)

N – naps

O – Organized space

P – Parents

Q – Quiet Time

R – rainy days

S – sweater weather

T – Target

U – Underwear

V – Vacuum

W – Washer (and Dryer)

X – XTI, Canon (my camera)

Y – Yard sales

Z – Zillons of little things like butterflies, spring rain showers, bright flowers ….. and on and on

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because it never hurts to be reminded.....

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
or listened to the rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance too fast,
Time is short, the music won’t last

Do you run through each day on the fly
When you ask ‘how are you?’ do you hear the reply?

When the day is done do you lie in your bed
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance too fast
Time is short, the music won’t last

Ever told your child you will do it tomorrow
and in your haste not seen his sorrow?

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day
It’s like an unopened gift thrown away

Life isn’t a race so take it slower
Hear the music before your song is over…

Friday, August 28, 2009

I just don't understand

Somewhere between the age of 12 and 13 my daughter started speaking a language that is sometimes hard for me to understand. It's not an actual foreign language although at times it seems so. It's what we adults term teen slang. For example, if she refers to something as "kickin" she doesn't mean something got kicked or that she kicked something but rather that it is something great. Or if she is just hanging out with friends it's chillaxin (you know chilling and relaxing).

It took me awhile to catch on to the meaning of some of her terminology and just when I think I finally understand what she is saying, she goes and changes the words she uses. It keeps a parent on their toes.

The other night we were at the dinner table talking about school. Haley was telling us about her bus ride home and she said "it was really cool".  I replied, "They have air conditioning on the bus now?" Haley looks at me, rolls her eyes and says (in that can you get any dumber tone) "No mom, I mean cool like because I am in 8th grade".

So while I might not always understand the language, I do understand the eye roll. That seems to be the one thing that has not changed over the years. I find that I am more and more frequently the recipent of the eye roll. That single gesture is more effective at delivering her message than any spoken word. One roll of the eyes and no other words are needed. It tells me that she is either 1) utterly disgusted at something I said or did or 2) she thinks that I am the most annoying parent on the planet. Over the past couple of years she has perfected the art of eye rolling and sometimes her eyes roll so far back in her head I am afraid they are going to get stuck. I can't ever remembering rolling my eyes at my mother although I am sure that at some point I did.  I'll have to remember to ask her, though I am sure I didn't have it as perfected as my daughter does. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school here. I can't say that the kids were very excited about going back but they were all excited about seeing all the friends that they didn't see over the summer. Although they went to bed early, waking up was hard for them because they had gotten use to sleeping in until 8 or 9.

Instead of riding the bus on the first day, I took them in the car. That gave them a few more minutes to sleep and I could be assured that Harrison found his class without any problems. They posed for these first day pictures as we were leaving the house.

Holden- Fourth Grade

Harrison - First Grade

Haley- Eighth Grade

Harrison let me take a couple of pictures at school.

Harrison walking into school

and in his classroom

Holden however was thoroughly embarrassed that I was trying to take his picture. He wouldn't look at me and smile until his friend Noah jumped in (and even then I am not sure you'd call that a smile but at least I can see his eyes).

Haley agreed to pose for the annual picture on the front porch but that was it. I suggested that when we got to school I could park the car and we could walk over by the school sign and I could take her picture there (and I was only half kidding). She was not okay with that so I guess I will settle for the one at home. At least she is smiling.

Holden still insisted on riding the bus home so I picked Harrison up and we came home and walked down to meet Holden as he got off the bus. Holden said it was a great day made even better because the vice principal that he wasn't fond of had been replaced. Harrison said he loved his teacher and was glad that he had a lot of his kindergarten classmates in his class. Haley said her day was better than she thought it would be (isn't that all we can expect from a teenager) and she was happy about her homeroom/science teacher.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The last day of summer vacation

I haven't been very good about posting this summer. I would like to say it's because I was so busy entertaining/educating/traveling with my children that I didn't have time. But really the truth of the matter is that it was just put at the bottom of my priority list. When the kids are home during the summer, some things have to slide and this was unfortunately one of them. It's amazing the number of times that you have to pick up during the day when the kids are home. Or the amount of dirty dishes or clothes that they create. Or the number of kids in and out of your house at all hours of the day.

I always have these grandiose plans for the summer. I make lists and plans of things to do and somehow every summer, I find that some time around the third week of summer vacation, my plans just aren't happening. I have good intentions but as my kids get older they become less interested in doing things with me and more interested in doing things with their friends. I suppose their having a lot of friends is a good problem to have although sometimes I long for the days when they really wanted to be with me.

Last week I began to feel a bit panicky that I hadn't really done much with the kids all summer so I tried to cram in some of the things I had intended to do all summer. We had an evening picnic on the beach, had dinner on the pier and went fishing afterwards, went to the Pitt Street Pharmacy and had chocolate shakes, went on a bike ride, and played some games and finished our summer reading.

Today marks the end of summer vacation even though it seems like school just got out. There will be no more late dinners, no more staying up to watch movies, no more hanging out at the pool, and no more sleeping in until next summer. And that makes me sad. It's time again for homework, packing lunches, and early bedtimes. And that makes me even sadder. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Sometimes I feel that no one in my family even notices the things I do. They take for granted the fact that their clothes will be clean when they need them. That there will be food in the pantry and milk in the fridge. They have no clue that the toilets must be cleaned at least once a week and the floors must be swept daily. They have no idea that bills must be paid on time so that they have electricity to power the television that never seems to get turned off. And of course all those shoes, toys and miscellaneous what-nots that are left under the couch or in the middle of the floor somehow mysteriously put themselves back in their rightful place at the end of the day.

And then there are the times when I walk into the room and ask one of the kids to do something and if they even acknowledge my presence, they stare at me as if I am speaking a foreign language. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

I came across this video recently from Nicole Johnson who has a great message for those of us who feel invisible.

Now I have a new perspective. I realized that everything I do no matter how small or insignificant is noticed by the one who really matters - God.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Money matters

I have always tried to teach my children that they should save their money for important things rather than buying something every time they get a few dollars. When they were young, the concept of savings was foreign. They were into instant gratification so until they were school age, I always took most of the money they received as gifts and deposited it in their account and gave them a little to spend. They were still allowed to do as they wanted with their allowance. As they got older, I wanted them to learn the aspects of money management so I began letting them make some choices about how their money was spent with some guidance from me.

Harrison is still a bit young and savings to him means not spending his allowance for two weeks straight. Haley has been saving her money to buy larger items for some time now. This summer she put over half of her babysitting money in savings for a trip next summer. It's exciting for her to see how it all adds up. We have even talked about buying a CD. She likes the fact that she can make money with her money.

Holden never gave a whole lot of thought to saving money until this summer. In fact, saving money has become a fixation. When asked to help move the dining table chairs to the den so that I could mop, he asked if that was included in his allowance or if it was extra. If I mention in passing that I can't believe how dirty my car is, he wants to know how much I will pay him to wash it. He schemes on how to make money. He has had lemonade stands, sold shaved ice, and cleaned out the garage and sold some of his unused sports equipment. He even digs through trash that other people put out by the road to see if there is anything of value. It's actually pretty amazing at the things he finds.

His most recent scheme involves a lawn business. There is only one problem - he needs a lawnmower. Last month he told his grandmother that for his birthday (in September) he wants a lawn mower. In the meantime, his dad has offered the use of our push mower. But apparently Holden has grand visions of his lawn business because he is now searching for a used riding lawn mower. I came home recently and Holden excitedly announced that he had found a mower on Ebay for only $26 and it included free shipping. Here's his diamond in the rough.

Its a 1970 Montgomery Ward riding lawn mower with a 5 HP Briggs and Stratton motor. The seller says that the body and deck only have surface rust with no holes. The mower apparently runs because the seller "rode it around in the yard about a month ago" but is says that it is "NOT yard ready" and "needs some work" (you think?).

I hated to burst his bubble but the seller was located in NC and the free shipping involved a local delivery. Not to mention the fact that the mower is almost as old as I am and doesn't even mow. I let him down easy and I thought that might be the end of that quest. I underestimated him because not thirty minutes later I found him scouring the classifieds in search of another diamond in the rough. I'll have to hand it to him, once he gets his mind on something he doesn't give up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame

No summer would be complete without baseball, hot dogs and Spongebob. Last night, we took the kids to see the Charleston Riverdogs play. Harrison was excited because Spongebob was going to make an appearance. After we got settled into our seats, Harrison and I headed over to the tent area to see if we could see Spongebob. When I saw the line I had flashbacks of standing in line to see Mickey Mouse at Disney. Apparently Spongebob needs frequent breaks (maybe he dries up out of water?) so he would come out for 20 minutes and then go back in for 20 minutes. Forty five minutes after we got in line, we got our 5 second encounter with Spongebob.

We headed back to our seats just after the game started to find Haley and Holden munching on boiled peanuts and a giant bag of cotton candy waiting on Harrison. After Spongebob, cotton candy was the reason he wanted to go to the game.

After a few innings, the food was running low so Haley headed off to get a funnel cake and an order of nachos for us to share. The boys still wanted something else after the nachos. Maybe because the game was slow or maybe because they think you should get all the junk food you never get at home. David bought them both a bowl of dippin dots.

The Riverdogs scored 5 runs in the sixth inning but the most excitement was not on the field but rather in the stands. A bat broke after a player hit the ball and flew through the air and landed in the stadium not far from where we were sitting. Fortunately it grazed a man with the unbroken end. There was a little girl standing not 2 feet from where it landed.

After that, the kids pretty much lost interest in the game so we packed up and headed home. As we were leaving, Harrison complained of a stomachache. Wonder why?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Icky things

Before I had little boys, I didn't realize just how attracted they are to all things that crawl, hop, squirm and slither. It must be something in that male chromosome that makes them want to pick up every bug or frog that they see. The first time they brought a frog in the house I started screaming and pointing at the door and making some unintelligible grunting sound but they got the message and quickly retreated back outdoors. Trust me it was much safer for them and for the poor unsuspecting frog that they had found. When the shock of the unwelcome visitor wore off, I realized much to my horror that they had been TOUCHING a frog with all it's slimy frog germs. I made a beeline for the door with the hand sanitizer.

As the boys grew and the shock of their attraction to icky things wore off, I relaxed a little. Now don't get me wrong, I still don't like any slimy, squirmy, crawling things in my house but I no longer scream when I see one. Nor do I run after them with the hand sanitizer after I see them holding one.

I finally came to realize that the allure of all crawling, hopping, squirming, slithering things is just as strong as the allure of a mud puddle. If they see a frog, chances are they are going to try to catch it and chances are if they see a mud puddle, they are going to tromp through it. Seeking adventures in nature is just a normal part of being a little boy. If I scream and fuss then I am discouraging them from following their natural curiosity. It's better if I encourage them and share as they explore their world even if sometimes it is a little muddy or slimy.

Harrison's most recent catch.

After a couple of hours in the bucket I began to feel sorry for the poor little guy and I encouraged Harrison to release him so that he could go home and have dinner with his parents. And then I sent him in to wash his hands.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Titanic

Harrison wanted to go out fishing in the john boat with his dad. This trip, Harrison didn't want to fish, he just wanted to go along for the ride.

David paddled out into the middle of the river and cast his line. They sat and waited and waited and waited some more. As they were sitting there talking, David noticed that Harrison kept staring at the floor of the boat.

As they had been sitting there, some water had leaked into the bottom of the boat from a small hole. Harrison found the leak and put his finger over it. He looked up to see David watching him and said "Quick Dad, let's go back to the dock. This boat is sinking like the Titanic."

Friday, July 10, 2009


We spent 5 days down at my Uncle's house on the river. The weather was beautiful with only a few showers. The television wasn't working which turned out to be a good thing. We spent quality family time together fishing, kayaking, playing games and just hanging out.

David got my Uncle's little john boat and took the boys out fishing. Harrison was the only one who caught anything and he was fishing with a Snoopy rod. After he reeled in his catch, which was a small shark, he decided that he had enough and was ready to call it quits. The total amount of time they were out in the boat was less than the time it took them to get ready and get out there.

The kids also fished off the dock. Unfortunately the only things they caught were a few crabs, one small fish and several baby sand sharks. Haley caught this fish on the second day we were there.

Since her dad wasn't around (he was sleeping on the bed swing on the porch although he'll deny it if asked) it was up to us to get the fish off the line. Kasey was the brave one who volunteered to get the hook out of it's mouth. Every time the fish flipped, Kasey would scream. I was laughing so hard, I would have been no help anyway. Fortunately we were able to get him back in the water before he died but I am sure he was traumatized.

Harrison never did catch anything else most likely because his rod was out of the water as much as it was in. But, he did have a good time sitting on the dock and trying to catch something.

David spent a few hours trying to catch some fish and he was reward for his diligence with a "big" catch. I made sure that I documented his encounter with Jaws before he was returned to the depths of the ocean.

Holden never did catch anything but it wasn't from lack of trying. He spent a good bit of time sitting on the dock waiting on those fish to bite.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Caught red handed

Late afternoon yesterday I left the house with Harrison to go and pick up my weekly produce box and stop by the grocery store for a couple of things. We were gone about an hour and when I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the garage was closed which is unusual since the boys are constantly in and out with their bikes. I had no sooner opened the garage door and pulled in when both Haley and Holden ran out to the car. Before I could even get one foot out of the door, they both exploded into an animated story about what had happened while I was gone. I was able to decipher bits and pieces of the story from them but didn't get the whole rundown until I came inside and talked to David.

Apparently shortly after I left, Haley was upstairs talking to David in his office which overlooks our side yard. She was standing in the window and looked down to see a strange boy walking between our house and the neighbors. She told David and I guess his private investigator genes kicked in because he immediately ran outside to see the boy walking quickly down the street. David followed him and kept shouting "Hey" but the boy ignored him and kept walking. When David caught up with him, he asked the boy what he was doing in our yard to which the boy replied "cooling off". The boy had a beer in his hand so David asked him where he got it and the boy said at his house. When David asked him where he lived, the boy motioned to the other side of the neighborhood and told him over there. The frost on the can was a clear indicator that the beer hadn't been out in the heat for long so David asked the boy to take him to his house so he could see if indeed the beer had come from there. At this point the boy doubled over. David's first thought was that he was panicking and getting sick but a second later two more beers fell out of his pants and he had apparently tried to stop them from falling out. The beers were the same kind that we have in our garage refrigerator. At this point, the boy started running and David grabbed him around the neck in the choke hold and made him go back to our house. The kid was as tall as David and almost as big so I am sure it was pure adrenaline carrying David at this point.

During the walk back, the boy begged him not to call the police saying he was sixteen and had never been in trouble with the law before. He promised to mow our lawn for a year for free if David didn't call. His begging didn't work and David called the police with the cellphone he takes everywhere apparently including those occasions when he chases criminals down the street.

Once they got back to the house, David held him on our front porch while waiting for the police to come. David told him he was a stupid thief to steal during the middle of the day and to try to get away from a runner. The boy kept saying not to yell at him and David told him the least of his problems was going to be getting yelled at.

Meanwhile the kids (and a friend) were inside peeking out through the window watching this unfold. Within minutes, three police cars came barreling down the street with sirens on. They jumped out of the car with their hands on their guns kind of like in one of those police shows.

Long story but the boy did get arrested and it turns out that he was not sixteen but eighteen and had been arrested before for breaking and entering when he was seventeen and was participating in an intervention program. He had enlisted with the Marines not long ago and was suppose to report for boot camp as soon as he finished the program. Unfortunately for him, two beers cost him the possibility of a good military career.

The police said that the boy would be charged with burglary and that David would have to appear in court. If given the opportunity to speak, David will let the court know that it wasn't the fact that he stole the the beer as much as it was that this kid came into our garage and if one of our kids had come out of the house at that time it would have scared them or worse.

As the police were leaving a couple of the neighbors came by and said they had seen the boy walking around and one had even chased the boy before when he caught him trying to get into his car.

I suppose it was a good thing that I wasn't here because I would probably have asked David to let him go or take him to his parents. It isn't that I am such a bad judge of character as much as it is that I am a mom and my thought would have been that it was someones son sitting out there blubbering and scared to death. My mommy instinct would have been to let his parents deal with him.

In the end, I think David did the right thing by calling the police. This kid apparently had not learned his lesson after the first arrest. Maybe now that he is charged with burglary and faces jail, he will get his act together. Maybe he still stands a chance to be a productive member of society rather than a lifelong burden on taxpayers. Maybe two beers will have helped him turn his life around.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No I didn't drop off the face of the Earth.....

Summertime is such a crazy time for me. While I love having my children at home with me, I don't feel like I stop from the time my feet hit the ground in the morning to the time I crawl into bed at night. If I am not making something to eat for one of the kids, I am cleaning up after them. If we aren't gone somewhere there are usually 5 or more children at my house.

Not that I should complain because I know this time goes by way to fast. Had someone told me when my kids were young that I would want those days back I might have laughed at them. But oh sometimes I long for the days when they were young and took naps and went to bed at a decent hour and didn't need to be driven to 15 activities a week and didn't feel the constant need to be entertained 24 hours a day. Yeah, yeah, I know in five years I am going to be complaining because they never stay home and no one tells me where they are going and the house is way to quiet and I can't remember the last time we all sat down for a meal.

So I am trying my best not to wish these days away even when I have made three pitchers of lemonade by noon, tripped over six pairs of shoes, mopped unidentified sticky stuff off the floor twice, turned off the television that was left on a dozen times, refereed ten fights over whose turn it is to play the Playstation, closed the back door that was left open and let flies in the house, listened to "I'm bored and there's nothing to do" repeated like a broken record, cleaned up a sink full of dirty dishes that no one claims and found a thousand airsoft beads in my washer that came out of someone's pocket which of course I missed when sorting the twelve piles of laundry that have accumulated in less than three days because I know, one day I will miss this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I joined a local CSA group this past spring after reading an article in the paper about a farm who offered "shares" of their farm to local consumers. Typically the share consists of a box of fruits and vegetables, but sometimes dependent on the farm, other products (such as eggs, dairy or even fresh cut flowers) may be included. The farm that I purchased a share of delivers my box of produce once a week to a central location during set hours so that I can go and pick it up. The spring season started during the second week of April and runs through mid-July depending on the crops. I purchased a medium share for $250 and each weekly share provides enough for my family of five.

This type of program is advantageous to the farmer because they get the cash up front for the crops they are going to grow and it is great marketing through word of mouth. As for the consumer, in this case my family, we get exposed to a large variety of fresh organic produce some of which we might never have eaten had it not been in our CSA share. The only real risk is if the crops fail which may happen due to heavy rains or drought. Fortunately most farmers plant a large variety of produce so that not all crops are affected.

During the first few weeks I admit that I was a little worried that I might have made a mistake because the a good portion of the produce in my box was not something my family was very happy about eating. Things like beets, collards, arugula, kale, mustard greens and mesculan mix. Unfortunately a lot of the produce from the first couple of weeks went into the trash. I did find that my family would eat arugula pesto and I made several batches of that for the freezer. I also cooked and pureed the beets to use in some future recipes from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. As for the greens, I knew it was a waste of my time to even put them on the table.

After those first weeks the produce became more familiar and we found our box packed with things like squash, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, beans, potatoes, radishes, beets, turnips, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs. As the season progresses, we find that our box is overflowing each week.

I have had to be very creative in finding ways to introduce my family to some of these vegetables. For instance, mixing turnips in mashed potatoes and cauliflower in macaroni and cheese (another Deceptively Delicious recipe). One week I cooked and pureed beets, cauliflower, and broccoli to freeze for future use. We have tried the veggies roasted and steamed and in casseroles. It's been a learning experience for all of us but I am positive that I will join again in the Fall.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Never say never

NEVER. It's a word that most people say on a regular basis but one that holds different meaning when you use it in reference to your children.

Before I was a mom, I told myself that I was going to be a model parent and my children would of course be little angels and others would look at them longingly and wish their children were more like mine.

I remember before becoming a mom, the sight of a child screaming at the top of his lungs or misbehaving would have me shaking my head and thinking to myself that my child would never dare to act like that and make me look like the worst mother ever. And then I had one of my own little angels who brought me back to reality and made me eat my words.

Never say Never.

Then when my first child was little, I said I will never let her sit and watch television for hours because it turns children's brains to mush and causes all kinds of problems. And then I had the second child and he cried non-stop for the first six months of his life and the only time I got to rest was when the fussy child was napping and the other child was parked in front of the television.

Never say Never.

When my kids were little, I said never would I let them have sugary junk food because I didn't want them to have things that were bad for them. And then they got older and it got harder to find the time to consistently make healthy snacks and I found myself throwing a box of fruit chews or bags of cookies in the cart the whole time rationalizing that a "little bit" wouldn't hurt them.

Never say Never.

As my kids got older, they wanted a game system and I said never because I didn't want them to become zombies sitting in front of it for hours on end. And then I caved because they used their own money and it was much easier than listening to them whine about what a mean mother I was because "everyone else had one".

Never say Never.

Over the years it seems that I would learn never to say "never" but the truth of the matter is that being a parent is hard work. It's unpredictable at best and sometimes those things that seemed so important become less important in the grand scheme of things. These days when I start to say never, I stop myself because all those things I said would never happen did and things have actually turned out okay. I had to break my own “rules” for parenting because I needed to as a means of survival. I understand now that no one is the perfect parent and we all have to learn along the way. Sometimes you just make do in order to get through it. But if you find yourself saying never, stop because you may find that your nevers become reality.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Have you seen this website

I am addicted to scouring the Internet for useful sites (shh, don't tell my husband as he already thinks I spend way too much time in front of the computer). My favorite search topics these days are shabby chic decorating, going green, saving money and cooking (not in that particular order).

One of the sites that I love is Once a Month Mom. This site provides links to money saving coupons, cooking tips, and recipes for making your own baby food (which thank you God I do not need). But to me the best thing about Once a Month Mom is that at the beginning of every month they provide you with all of the information and resources for doing a once a month cooking day for your family. They provide you with a printable grocery list and step by step instructions on how to quickly and efficiently prepare the dishes. They also have a link so that you can print out labels for each of the dishes that you prepare.

The menus are kid friendly (unless of course you have picky eaters like I do then you might have to make a few adjustments) and no special culinary skills are required to prepare. Some of the dinner entrees on Junes menu are Tater-Tot Casserole, Barbeque Meatloaf, and Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole. You don't have to prepare all of the menu items, you can pick and choose what you like and still end up with a large portion of meals for the month. After several months, you should have enough to feed your family straight from the freezer for an entire month.

If you think you might like to try this but still have some questions, you might find the answer here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


One thing I have never understood about kids is their resistance to taking a nap. I can always tell when my kids need a nap because they are unusually grouchy and no fun to be around. Harrison was having one of those days on Sunday. He complained about everything. Everybody was picking on him. Nothing suited. I finally told him that I would like him to go find something to do by himself until he felt better.

I hadn't heard from Harrison in some time so I figured he was following my suggestion to do something by himself. When I walked into the den I found out why he was being so quiet.

As I was taking the picture, Sullivan had to get in on the action.

Harrison was a much happier little boy when he woke up. Sometimes all it takes is a nap.