Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Wine Whine

Appropos of nothing, have you noticed that more and more wine bottles seem to be coming with screw tops instead of corks? Now, we are in no way wine aficionados - more like wine "apprecionatos" - but something just seems wrong when you twist open a bottle of red! I don't care if it is, in fact, a better preserving mechanism - I never keep a bottle around long enough for that to matter. Besides, a number of years ago we bought a $200 cork screw (though, at that price, they call it a "cork puller"), and I like to use it dammit!

Ok, I'm done ranting.

Note to Self

Note to self: while a pancake supper at church may sound like a good way to kill an hour and avoid cooking dinner, three servings of pancakes with whipped cream and syrup, three cups of juice and a big bowl of fruit salad translates into two hours of bedtime hell. Just in case you thought it might be a good idea next year too.

Virtual Book Club

I read a post over at Chicago Mama Spot that mentioned her book club (and its snack menu, man, I would move to Chicago for the snacks there!), and it got me thinking about book clubs. While I have always liked the concept, like many things in my life I have never gotten around to the follow through and actually found or started a club. Primarily because, well, I'm lazy and once the kids are in bed I have little interest in moving off my couch or bed and motivating to someone's house, even if there are yummy snacks there.

Then I started thinking about a post over at Phantom's that mentioned how she gets to make friends from the comfort of her own home by blogging. Which is so true, and probably why I like blogging as well. A built in social life for the lazy, socially reticent. Then my mind started to wander, as it tends to do while watching children's TV at a very early hour in the morning, and it occurred to me that perhaps, just perhaps, a virtual book club might be the key to satiating my interest in discussing interesting books with interesting people without having to leave my couch. Granted, I don't get the bonus of yummy snacks prepared by others, but the ability to comment while in my pajamas totally outweighs the yummy snack factor.

So is anyone game? I'm not going to work out the details unless some people are interested (remember, lazy) but if there is a core group who don't already have real-life book group commitments and are willing to forgo yummy snacks in favor of pajamas, I'll come up with a plan.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Computer savvy

While we were watching an underwater segment on the Wiggles, C asked "A computer makes those bubbles, right mommy? Cause it's just a pretend underwater scene."

I'm constantly amazed what a child raised around computers takes for granted and understands.

On my own again...

M took off for sunny Florida for business today, and while I should be used to the business trips by this point, the ones that start on the weekends are particularly dreary as no one ever wants to play on a weekend. And it is about 19 degrees here, so any kind of outing is much more trouble than it is worth.

On the upside, the burst pipe seems to have refrozen, so we are no longer single-handedly responsible for any water shortages on the East coast...at least for today.

Friday, February 24, 2006

There's a hole in the bucket

Oh! Wait! Not in the bucket, in my KITCHEN.

While we were up at Nana's, a mysterious water sound began in/around/under/somewhere in the vicinity of our kitchen. M spent the better part of a day crawling under the house trying the find the source, with no luck. So we called in the big guns, one of my favorite buddies, the plumber. M calls him MacGyver as he somehow manages to fix our verging on ridiculous plumbing issues. Remind me to tell you about the 26 inches of water in our basement the week after we moved in sometime ....

Anyway, MacGyver arrived, crawled around for a bit and resurfaced from under the house looking glum. "It's never good when I get a message from you," he said. He too could not find the source of the water, although he has a theory. Unfortunately, testing his theory will most likely result in the destruction of part of my kitchen. Because, you see, he can't actually get to the area where he thinks the burst pipe is without cutting through my circa 1771 floorboards. And even after cutting through where he thinks the problem is, there is no guarantee that he will find the problem as no one can actually see where the water is leaking out. We can just hear it gushing. So there may in fact end up being many, many holes in my floor.

I have a very special prize for whoever comes up with the most accurate estimate of how much this is going to end up costing us. To help you out, remember that my house was built in 1771, the bulk of it sits on dirt (think crawling on your belly through a two foot high crawl space littered with insulation and random piping and wiring), there have been two bathroom additions over the last 250+ years, and there is a poorly installed outdoor sprinkler system.

I'll take a hole in a bucket any day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm so set in my current friendships that I had almost forgotten how awkward I feel when meeting someone new. Yesterday we met a "bloggy friend" at a local (to Nana's) children's museum, and while it was fabulous to meet her in person and I would do it again in a heartbeat as she was just. so. cool, I spent the afternoon unsure how to act or what to say. Plus, my kids refused to stay put in one place for more than five minutes, so I spent an awful lot of time racing off to the next room while flinging a "be right back" wave behind me. If nothing else she got a pretty good glimpse into a day in the life at Chez J-E. Me chasing two sleep-deprived kids with differing opinions around a public place while trying not to die of embarrassment. Yep, that about sums it up.

When I actually managed to contain both my children in one location long enough to attempt to talk, I kept wanting to bring up topics I had read in her blog, but then thought twice about it as, well, it seemed so PERSONAL to be bringing up such things the first time you meet someone. Even if they have been published on the web for all to read. Which is, I suppose, the irony of an internet friendship. All of you know much more about me than the majority of my "real" friends, but yet you don't actually know me.

Perhaps a more outgoing person would have overcome this obstacle, but I was too self-conscious about saying the wrong thing to move past it. I finally settled on sleep as an innocuous enough conversation topic, as, well, every mommy in the world discusses her children's sleep habits with random strangers. And as I knew we both have poor sleepers thanks to the internet, I also knew the conversation wasn't going to send me into the depths of mommy envy.

But regardless of my own insecurities, I am so happy I got to meet Phantom in person and she is as nice as she seems in her blog. As well as highly understanding about my children's antics. Hopefully she will forgive my awkwardness and believe me when I say I really did want to comment on her very cool shoes but couldn't quite get the words out without a computer to hide behind.

PS. Did I mention that we took no less than four trips to the bathroom in the space of an hour and a half? A pee trip, an aborted poop trip, a diaper change and then yet another trip to deal with the consequences of the infamous arrival of the poop in the pants. It was a grand day in the potty department.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

M the hero

M spent his "supposed to be free of the family" morning driving around trying to find an open service station to fix my flat tire. When that failed he patched the tire himself, on one of the coldest days of the year. We made it to Grandma's 94th birthday party just in time to wolf down some cold food and help clean up. I will have to write about the party tomorrow, after six hours in a car with three children under the age of four, I need a glass of wine and my bed.

Thank you M, you are a good doobie. Miss you already.

It never fails

Three children loaded into a packed car. A flat tire. Three children unloaded from packed car. Many tears. Why oh why is it always so hard to get anyplace on time???

Saturday, February 18, 2006

On the road

We're off tomorrow for a whirlwind tour of New England with a long overdue stop to see my grandmother and a visit to see Nana at the farm. I've heard that Nana now has wireless, so you'll probably get a post or two, assuming that A sleeps at some point during our stay.

Auntie M seems to be recovered from her bout with the stomach flu, praise be, as I am NOT cut out to be the mommy to three. Baby C was a dream, my two were nightmares. Apparently even throwing a dream child into the mix sends my household over the edge.

For anyone out there with twins or more, or anyone out there with more than two, you have my admiration. I don't know how you do it.

Slowest day ever

I believe this is the slowest day ever. My thoughts that life with three children would be hectic was correct, but watching three does not pass the time any faster. In fact time seems to have slowed to a crawl. I feel like I have lived a whole day plus and it is only 10:45. Barely snack time...

This is the best birth control ever.

Welcome to the house of vomit

M spent yesterday puking, and my sister spent last night in the bathroom as well. It is only a matter of time before I too am felled by the virus that has now hit three out of five current residents in my family. So if I disappear from the blogsphere for a while, you will know I am on the floor of my bathroom.

And Rebecca, I am fairly confident you don't want to come over this afternoon. Perhaps you can finally meet Baby C this summer, when she is, ahem, two and clearly no longer a baby. I think I need to come up with a new nickname for her...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Too True

C (as he survey the mess that is our house right now): "Auntie M must be really special. We didn't try to tame the chaos for her."

Yes, she is special. Whether she is horrified by the state of my house or not, she is my sister and is stuck with me regardless of my housekeeping and toy organizing abilities.

So sorry for the mess Auntie M, I thought about picking up for you for a good five minutes right before A started drawing on the hardwood floor....

Yet another sleep rant

I apologize, but you are about to be subjected to yet another sleep rant. But I'm tired and grumpy as I've been up trying to get A back to sleep since 4am, so you get to suffer along with me, or stop reading now. Your choice....

The child didn't get to bed until 9pm last night as we had to pick up my sister and Baby C at the airport. How could she possibly be up at 4am? With a 1am wake up thrown in there for good measure. It's unbelievable.

We cannot continue to function like this. Or shall I say I cannot continue to function like this. I am a 8+ hour a night gal. But there is just no way I can get eight hours if she continues to wake up at 4 or 5 am. I can't possible go to bed at 8pm every night, I have to pick up the chaos from the day, cook dinner for M, do laundry, and get all the crap that can't get done while the kids are up done. Plus, nine times out of ten someone in my house is still up at 8pm, and I am guaranteed at least one and generally three plus wakes ups by one child or the other.

I am tired and cranky and am a lousy parent these days as I am just to tired to have any patience. I fly off the handle at the smallest incident, and am on the verge of tears most of the time. I keep waiting for her sleep to get better and it just gets worse and worse. She is clearly tired, so it's not even that she doesn't need as much sleep as I do. She just doesn't know how to sleep.

I don't even know where I am going with this as I am too tired to type. So I'm just going to crawl onto the couch and mumble incoherently as A plays dolls now.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Really, today was an exception, I swear

While at the pediatrician's this morning C was clamoring for attention while Dr. S and I discussed A's, ahem, pooping issues.

C: "Dr. S! Dr. S!"

Dr. S: "Yes C?"

C: "I got to watch TWO shows downstairs and TWO shows upstairs!"*

Dr. S (while giving me a really??? It's only 11am look): "Really????"

C (Happy as a clam): "Yeah!"

Mommy: "Did you TELL Dr. S what time you and A got up this am???"

C: "Oh. Yeah. Too bloody early."

Thankfully his speech is incomprehensible enough that I don't think she caught the bloody...

As for A's issues, while I now have to collect six, count them, six stool samples into very small vials to rule out parasitic infections and the like, the current opinion is that the fact that the child refuses to eat anything with protein and fat is the actual root of the issue. Apparently a diet consisting of only fruit and vegetables is not so gentle on a toddler's tummy.

*By my count it was actually two shows total, the tail end of Blues Clues downstairs, Blues Clues upstairs while I showered, and then the begining of Miffy before I lured them to the table with chocolate chip waffles and plums.**

** And no, A did not touch the waffles. Just the plum. If I can't get the child to eat chocolate chip waffles, I dare someone to get her to eat fat and protein.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Thank you random stranger

During an emergency run for diapers and wipes and cat food yesterday afternoon, C LOST it because I refused to buy him whatever junky toy had caught his fancy. He was tired as he hasn't napped in a really long time now, and I was tired because I haven't slept in a really long time now, which is a deadly combination. I refused to cave, as once I cave once I'll be buying junky toys whenever we enter a store. Instead I tried to use my limited inner calm reserves to repeatedly say "Put the toy back, I am not buying it."

After about ten minutes of this he finally headed back to rack where he had found it but as we wended our way to the registers (forget the paper towels that we also really needed) he continued to sob hysterically. My voice first became deadly calm, and then headed into the high-pitched "I am trying not to scream" registers as I began threatening the revocation of TV privileges if he didn't get it together.

A woman with three teenage boys in tow stopped us as we turned a corner and immediately starting conversing with C while her children continued on with her shopping list. "Do you have a cat at home?" she asked while eyeing the cat food in the cart. C looked suspiciously at her but stopped crying and nodded. "What color is it?" "We have TWO cats," C responded promptly. "Ohhh. How lucky. What are there names?" She continued to follow us for a bit, chatting with C as she dispatched her incredibly mild-mannered and well-behaved teens around the store to pick up her list, and even sent one to get me paper towels.

As she finally split off to find her own checkout line, I gave her a heartfelt thank you. She smiled a gentle smile and said "We've all been there." Her teens fell into line and helped her sort and bag. I found it hard to believe that her children had ever been anything but helpful and quiet, but was grateful for her solidarity.

Thank you, thank you random stranger for saving my sanity yesterday afternoon. And in return, I promise to save the sanity of others just as soon as my children behave as well as yours in the store.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It was all about the TV

We didn't get the house. We decided not to go to our top number for a variety of reasons, but the one that seems most critical? Not the fact that the kitchen needed to be gutted. Not the fact that the garage had been ravaged by termites and had to be ripped down and replaced. No, the deciding factor was that we couldn't figure out where to put the TV in the family room. So we bid low and lost. "Blown out of the water," as our real estate agent put it.

Apparently, someone has better interior design capabilities than we do. Or perhaps they are not as concerned about proper TV placement and will spend the next umpteen years regretting their purchase decision. But after spending the past three years craning to get a glimpse of the screen while hanging off of the couch, the location of the TV in any future home is apparently of utmost concern to us.

You may all laugh now.

Lacking in original thought

Well, since my brain is otherwise occupied for the next 12 hours or so obsessing over whether we bid the right number or not on the dream house, I'm going to follow the herd and direct you all to a Johari Window. Plus, I'm very curious to see what people who have never met me think I am like. Can you tell that I have always loved the self-help and "find your inner self"quizzes in women's magazines?

So join in and play along...and when we know something, anything about the house y'all will be the first (or second or third) to know. You know, right after the mortgage folks who will own us for the rest of our lives.

Monday, February 13, 2006


"It's going to be a bloodbath" were the real estate agent's parting words this morning. Apparently nine, count them nine, people now think that our dream house is also their dream house. And they are still showing the house until 6pm today, so who knows how many more people will conspire to take away the house that is so clearly supposed to be ours.

I shouldn't have gone back in to see it today. Or told a close friend who lives three blocks over we were bidding on it, as her visions of walks and park meet-ups and easy kid-swaps painted way too wonderful a picture.

I'm a nervous wreak. I'm not cut out for a bidding war. And C is under the impression that we have already bought the house and has picked out his room, designated corners for all of his toys in the playroom, and announced exactly where a swingset will go.

The next 24 hours are going to be a living hell.

Update: The bid is in. I guess we hear tomorrow if we are in on round two(yes, at least two rounds of this nonsense). C started packing at quiet time today. It's going to be ugly if we don't get the house....

Snow Day

At 8pm last night I got "the call" from C's preschool; school has been cancelled. As I squinted outside to see if it had started snowing again without my knowledge, I was a bit confused. I mean, it had stopped snowing at 1pm or so. Everyone should have been shoveled out by this point. The road, while still snow covered, was passable as evidenced by the numerous cars headed down the street. And we were talking 12 hours longer for the crews to plow one more time. The town isn't THAT big...

Clearly, I am no longer in New England. And I am definitely not in upstate NY where school was only cancelled once. I could understand if we were in the south someplace. But it's not like we never get snow here; there is at least one big storm and many little storms a year in our area. And this one happened on a weekend. Clearly I am missing something; perhaps it will become clear when I actually head outside and try to make it to the grocery store with two children in tow.

I'm actually kind of glad school was cancelled as it means I got a few days reprieve on the execution of a Valentine's day craft. And M is thrilled because he didn't have to stay home this morning to watch A as I made a fool out of myself with glue and scissors. It's really just the principle of the thing...snow days should happen when it is still snowing outside.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

This time it is M's fault

I was going to write a glowing post about my new birthday laptop (No airplane taking off sounds! No crashes!) or the fact that we found our dream house yesterday (In our price range! Walking distance to the elementary and junior high schools!) and are placing a bid. But all I can focus on is the fact that A has vomited eight times since midnight.

This time the jinx blame can all be laid at M's feet. Is this winter over yet? Oh, wait, look, there are 12.inches.of.snow. outside my door.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Little Fatherly Pride

So now that A is no longer sick (for the moment) we were able to go to swimming lessons. And she swam all by herself! I never got to see this with C since we started him later and after one session he moved to non-parent lessons. Needless to say, she made me proud - especially when the instructor said she wants to move A to the next level class.

End of gloating.

What are friends for?

Knowing my losing track record at Scrabble, despite one lone win, Rebecca broke our "no birthday presents because, well, birthday present purchasing is a pain" rule and bought me this. I will crush M like a bug. I've never been so excited to put the kids to bed, and C isn't even up yet.

Thank you thank you thank you!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Scooter??? Really???

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

Dove Du

I got my first "I dove du" from A today. It was the sweetest thing ever, or at least since C first told me he loved me. It is the best almost birthday present she could have given me.

I'm going to ignore the fact that she told C she "doved" him first and then I shamelessly showered her with affection until she caved.

100 Things

Someone told me that I was supposed to do a 100 things post for my 100th post. Well, I missed that one by a long shot. I've always been slow on the uptake. Hey, there's number 1! Since I always enjoy reading other people’s lists, and don’t have much else to blog about today since I am already caught up in Spring Carnival planning hell, I’ll subject you to my 100 things list instead of a tirade about who cares whether the donuts are chocolate or powdered. Both are messy and unhealthy.

2. Although I may be slow on the uptake, I’m a fast reader.
3. If I have nothing else to do I can read two or three books in a day.
4. The ability to read quickly served me well in school and on standardized exams.
5. Although my grades were never all that remarkable.
6. Thankfully I went to a particularly liberal prep school where class rankings weren't calculated.
7. I was number 38 in a class of 100.
8. My closest friends were 1, 3, 4 and 6.
9. Hmm, I guess someone was calculating them.
10. I had a lot of back up schools when applying to college.
11. I went to one of them, by choice.
12. My college counselor had a major fit because it made her look bad.
13. My dad had a major fit because I turned down a scholarship to a better school.
14. I'm not sure why my mother let me do that, except maybe to contradict my dad.
15. My mom was always good at letting me make my own decisions.
16. Except when they involved getting involved in professional gymnastics or going on unchaperoned ski weekends with boys.
17. She was probably right, but shhh, don't tell her.
18. After a miserable freshman year I actually really liked college.
19. Even though it snowed all.the.time, even on graduation. In May.
20. I ended up with a triple major because I was too indecisive to narrow it down.
21. It's not nearly as impressive as it might sound.
22. Although it did get me a lot of interviews after graduation.
23. And someone finally offer me a job, in advertising.
24. I was perhaps the worst advertising exec ever.
25. So I left and went to grad school.
26. This time I didn't turn down the scholarship.
27. I planned on getting a PhD in Political Science.
28. But then I fell in love with a guy who lived in NYC.
29. I went to grad school four hours from NYC.
30. I spent a lot of time in the car while in grad school, more time than in the library.
31. After I defended my master's thesis I left grad school.
32. And got married three weeks later.
33. M planned the wedding.
34. I was too busy writing and defending my thesis.
35. He did a lovely job on the wedding, everyone agreed.
36. My dad dropped out of grad school and moved back east to marry my mother instead of finishing his PhD too.
37. They got divorced 12 years later.
38. My mother apparently handed out drinks at my wedding to all passers by.
39. My friends have always loved my mom, and not just because she gave them drinks at my wedding.
40. I love my mom.
41. And my little sister.
42. And my dad, even though we don’t tend to say such things to each other.
43. I don't love my stepbrother.
44. I hope my kids never have stepsiblings.
45. I am a textbook child of divorce according to a therapist I once saw.
46. Therapy has never worked well for me.
47. I don't open up to people well, even if I am paying them gobs of money.
48. Once I know you I won't shut up, but I can count on one had the number of people who have seen that side of me.
49. Ironically, I am a joiner despite my inability to open my mouth in a group setting.
50. I joined a sorority in college.
51. I'm always embarrassed to admit that.
52. It goes against my self-image.
53. But it was probably the best thing that happened to me.
54. Well, up to that point in my life anyway.
55. It's probably the whole reason I didn't drop out of college because I was so lonely.
56. I met my husband through a sorority sister.
57. And my best friend is a sorority sister, despite the fact that we didn't live well together after college.
58. It will surprise no one who knows us that we used to go through the phone bill with highlighters and proportionally split the tax.
59. I think that was probably my idea.
60. I always worry that money isn't being handled equitably.
61. Perhaps that comes from not having much growing up.
62. I grew up on a sheep farm in New England.
63. I have no interest in being a farmer ever again.
64. For a long time I wanted to be president.
65. But that would have involved speaking in front of large groups of people.
66. It turns out I have stage fright.
67. And lots of anxiety.
68. I really hate the anxiety.
69. But I am too anxious about taking medications to try anti-anxiety meds.
70. So I spend a lot of time doing deep breathing.
71. That works a little better than therapy.
72. So does hugging my kids.
73. Having children hasn't helped the anxiety.
74. Now I worry about them on top of everything else.
75. I love my kids more than anything in the world, even though it took me three quarters of this list to get to them.
76. But hey, this list is about me.
77. And there are very few things in my life that are about me these days.
78. My kids frustrate me more than anything in the world.
79. Well, except people who walk slowly.
80. I am a fast walker.
81. I fit right in when I lived in NYC.
82. I miss living in the city.
83. Enough to price out apartments there every six months or so.
84. But not enough to spend the kids’ college savings on a small apartment with no view.
85. My in-laws used to have a drop dead gorgeous view from the 35th floor.
86. I never understood how they could have left that place for a "if you squint you can see a corner of the park" view.
87. But apparently it's a better view to have, go figure.
88. This train of thought isn't really about me, is it?
89. I tend to wander off topic a lot.
90. I got that from my mom.
91. I got my love of cooking from my mom too.
92. I got my taste in condiments from my dad.
93. We both dislike mayonnaise and love ketchup.
94. I also love a good BBQ.
95. It's the only time I will touch beer.
96. But it has to be Corona.
97. When I have a drink it's white wine.
98. Fume Blanc in the summer, chardonnay in the winter.
99. I am a creature of habit and I hate change.
100. That is probably the most important thing you need to know about me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I believe I was slightly possessed this morning at the parents association meeting at C's preschool. Because, you see, I somehow ended up in charge of the Spring Carnival, the biggest event of the year. And do you know HOW this ended up happening? Not because others thought I would be good at it, or because I thought I would be good at it, or even because no one else wanted the job. No, I FOUGHT for the job because the woman who had originally volunteered can't run a meeting to save her life and I couldn't face spending the next six weeks wasting my time in poorly run meetings. So instead I get to spend the next six weeks wasting my time making elaborate timelines and spreadsheets while begging people to do their volunteer duty for the year.

I am truly a fool.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Over the last 21ish months, while in the depths of around the clock nursing and random toddler who knows why wake ups, I rarely got more than two, maybe three hours of sleep in a row. Over the few weeks, A has finally started sleeping for bigger chunks of time (like four hours!), and once even slept all the way through the night.

The sleep is lovely, but what I find truly shocking is that I started having dreams again. I hadn't even realized that I had stopped dreaming until late last week when I woke up very confused as to why I was in Maine mid-winter in a bikini. Seeing as I would never, ever, ever be seen in a bikini, not even by the dressing room security camera operators. After several minutes it finally dawned on me that it was just a dream, and I had not in fact taken leave of my senses.

Every morning I wake up amazed by the return of my dreams. I don't remember most of them for very long, but just the fact that I am dreaming again seems to have calmed my anxiety and reduced my stress levels. I have been going whole days without thinking the world is coming to an end or something disastrous is going to happen to me or my family.

Dreams have not always been such a calming influence in my life. In high school, college and beyond, I had horrible recurring nightmares of being chased. I would find myself hiding in cramped places with dark shadows, watching through small peep holes as my pursuers relentlessly hunted me down . Just as I was being discovered I would wake up with a racing heart unable to sleep again for hours or days. I dreaded going to sleep some nights for fear of having my nightmares.

In the depths of my nightmare hell, I would have given anything to have dreamless nights. "A night without dreams? I'll take it!" But even though I know that the nightmares will inevitably return, they always do, I have found the knowledge that they still exist somewhat comforting.


A: (From her bed) "Mommy, I sleepy."

Mommy: "Well, go to sleep then A."


A: "Oh. But Mommy, I sleepy."

Mommy: "I know, so go to sleep."

A: "Oh. Kay. But I sleepy Mommy."

C: (From his room) : "A, just go to sleep! The whole world knows you're sleepy!"

A: "How sleep?"

And that folks, is the irony of my life. The child is tired, knows she is tired, but has no idea how to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Please don't feed the email

Am I a horrible person for responding to mass email hoaxes from friends and family with a link to the relevant article on Snopes and no other message? I mean come on people. Please don't forward me something that has been sent to millions of other people unless you've checked it out. Unless of course it's a picture of this cute couple...

Monday, February 06, 2006


A new family member has taken up residence Chez J-E. Her name is Baby, and she appears to be well over six feet tall. She doesn't like peach yogurt, nor does she like peas. She does, however, like tea parties.

That's right my friends, A has herself an imaginary friend. It took me a while to catch on, but when A started standing on top of her booster seat with her spoon outstretched imploring "Baby just one bite" I finally figured out why I had been so neglected in the tea party department over the last few days.

Baby apparently also likes to sleep in "mama bed." Go figure.

Never Ever

C: "I'm never ever going to watch TV ever again if you don't let me watch two shows."

Mommy: "I'm not letting you watch two shows. So let's go set up a train track."

C: "OK, I'm never ever going to watch TV again starting tomorrow."

Please Explain

Could somebody please explain to me how I could be totally caught up on laundry as of Friday afternoon, and then have to do four, count them--four, loads of laundry yesterday and another two today. And I have not even touched the sheets on anyone's bed. There is clearly a laundry gremlin roaming my house randomly throwing clothes into laundry baskets (or the corners of rooms). Because I find it just impossible to believe that four human beings could generate so much laundry in so little time. Even accounting for the frequent changes of clothes due to water spillage, yogurt droppage and marker mishaps.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Rain on a Tin Roof

Yesterday I took C to a birthday party at the local gymnastics academy. While the kids were bouncing around the trampolines, swinging from the bars and generally having a blast, the mommies stood around uncomfortably and anxiously, looking at watches trying to determine how long we were trapped in the parent holding area that had too few chairs and no ready caffeine source.

As we were fishing for conversation topics (What class are you in next year? Did C get a haircut?), the heavens opened up and rain began to drum onto the tin roof of the gymnasium. The pounding instantly drowned out all of the awkward conversations and everyone stared up at the roof, wondering if it was going to hold or if we were going to be scurrying for buckets.

As I gazed upwards, I found myself in the main barn on Nana's farm during a rain storm. As we did the chores, my sister and I would listen to the rain would beat down on the tin roof, and then stare out the side door trying to determine whether we wanted to run for it or sit tight and see how long it would last. On the days we tried to wait it out, we turned the barn into our own private gymnasium. The piles of sweet smelling hay served as a scratchy but functional climbing wall. The rails around the horse stalls were balance beams, and on one particularly adventuresome afternoon we hung a trapeze from one of the support beams with baling twine. Somehow we were always surprised when it gave out under one of us.

The noise of the rain would be so loud it was almost impossible to talk, which was probably just as well as my sister and I rarely agreed on anything. But somehow during a rain storm we managed to take turns swinging from the rickety trapeze, or choreograph an elaborate acrobatic routine that must have looked utterly farcical, but to us was an Olympic medal winning performance. I would trot back and forth across the horse stalls while my sister would wave baling twine and sheep leads around like ribbons. The sheep would occasionally look up from their munching in horror if I tumbled off into the stalls, and the cats sometimes joined in the fun either following me or chasing the twine.

Eventually the rain would quiet down and we would make a mad dash for the house. My mother would always ask "What took you so long?" with feigned concern. As a parent now, I realize that she lived for the time we were in the barn, out of her hair. If we found something to occupy us for more than the fifteen minutes it actually took to do the chores, she was thrilled. Even if it meant an occasional skinned knee or bashed nose or bruised head.

As I listened to the rain yesterday and watched C wobble across the balance beam, I realized that the drawback to living where we do is the lack of outdoor space. While I can recreate my early gymnastics experiences, sound effects and all, I can't recreate the freedom that living on 15 acres gave my sister and I. My mother could send us outside and expect us to entertain ourselves safely for extended periods of time. On our postage stamp lot on a busy street, C and A won't even be able to get into a game of tee-ball without sending something flying through the neighbors' windows. And while I'm still not moving back to a farm, it made me nostalgic for a life that they'll never really experience.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

My Personality...

according to Blogthings. Scarily accurate.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have high neuroticism.
It's easy for you to feel shaken, worried, or depressed.
You often worry, and your worries prevent you from living life fully.
You tend to be emotionally reactive and moody. Your either flying very high or feeling very low.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Knock Knock

A: "Knock Knock"

C: "Who's there?"

A: "Cow!"

C: "Cow who?"

A: "Moo!"

C: "Moo?"

A: "Quack!"

C: "If the answer is quack then we need to start over."

A: "Knock knock..."

This went on for half an hour this morning. They were cracking themselves up.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tis the season

...of the never ending illnesses. I feel like we have been sick more days than healthy this year. Do you think it is a reflection on how infrequently I vacuum?

A has had a cold for a week that continually seems on the verge of going away, but it has been over a week and it is still here. C now seems to be developing the same cold, which means at least another week of this nonsense. Although he insists, while huddled under blankets on the couch clutching a box of tissues and coughing up a lung, that he doesn't want to miss school.

It's raining. No one (including me) is feeling quite right. I don't think he is going to school. I am sure A is not headed to her morning with the lovely ladies at Mothers Morning Out. And I will not be crawling back into my bed for a much needed two hour nap.

Are we sure that the groundhog saw his shadow?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Give me an R...Give me an O...

Give me a Roomba. Ever since the Roomba came on the market, I've been eying them. But with a hefty $200 price tag, I was never willing to purchase one in hopes that it would work on my sloped, crack ridden, wooden floors. And plus, if I were a good housewife, I would whip out my vacuum every night and clean up the remains of dinner the old fashioned way.

Truth is, I almost never whip out the vacuum. On particularly awful nights, the dust buster may make an appearance, but generally I sigh and think about digging through the makeshift cleaning closet for the vacuum, but then figure it is only a few more days until cleaning day, and a few more peas give or take never hurt anyone. Hey, maybe the cats will learn to like them.

A few weeks ago a playgroup mommy started to rave about her new acquisition, the Roomba. "It has changed my life," she proclaimed. "I no longer feel scuzzy walking through my house. Plus, it occupies the kids who love to sit and watch it go." Hmmm. A clean floor AND entertained kids. This merited some thought.

After listening to the Roomba's new walking advertisement a few more times, I decided I had to at least TRY it. But I was still unwilling to commit to its purchase without seeing it in action. So I did the unthinkable, I asked to borrow the Roomba.

After the initial shock of being asked to loan out her vacuum, she graciously handed it over for a test run. Tonight at dinner I let the kids fling with abandon, and even scattered dried play dough bits for good measure. Then we set the Roomba in motion. True to her word, my kids sat in their chairs for a good thirty minutes watching the vacuum bounce around the room sucking up bits of play dough and dinner scraps. While whipping out the vacuum probably would have taken much less time, the Roomba cleaned my floor like it has rarely been cleaned. I might actually consider eating off of it... well, not really. But you get the picture.

When I mentioned the wondrous turn of events to M, who is traveling and missed the whole Roomba demo, his response was predictably practical. "It took how long to do the kitchen? And how long would it have taken you to take out the vacuum and run it around? And it costs how much? Uh huh...." But my floor, it's clean. And I didn't have to do a thing except hit a button...do you think she'll notice if I don't give it back?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Overheard at bedtime

C: "Mommy, what is that character feeling?"

Mommy: "I don't know C, what do you think?"

C: "I don't know either."

Mommy: "Does he look sad?"

C: "No..."

Mommy: Does he look happy?"

C: "No, I think he looks scared."

Mommy: (a bit confused as he looked bored) "Why?"

C: "I think because the American flag is going by and he is afraid of the flag."

Mommy: "Uh, why?"

C: "Some people don't like Americans."

Mommy: "That's true, but many people do..."

C: "I'm an American!"

Mommy: "Yes, you are."

C: "There are Americans and then there are those who live in Town Next Door!!"

We're obviously still working on our geographic hierarchy...

Too good to be true

Well, three guesses where A decided to finally collapse after a massive hysteria fit at naptime. I'll give you a hint, it's not the blow-up bed.

Apparently we did not find the magic bullet after all last night. But I will take the full night's sleep as a token gift from the sleep gods.


Well, after our experiment last night, A did in fact sleep through the night. Still withholding judgment, but, yeah. Slept through the night. That's grand. I feel almost human again. Now we have to see if she'll nap...