Friday, September 30, 2005

Is it Bedtime Yet?

GOD I'm tired! I can feel the bags under my eyes racing to see which one can reach my feet first. I've already had two cups of tea today and it's just doing nothing for me. I'm sitting here waiting for furniture to be delivered from one of our other offices which I, of course, have to schlep up here...two heavy ass book cases that won't fit in the freight elevator. I'm sure you're dying to know why I am so drop dead on my face tired, right?

Last night SmallBoy and I went to his first Cub Scout meeting. It was cute and he had a great time. He's already memorized the Cub Scout Law, the scout handshake and the scout motto. He's very excited. On the way home we stopped to pick up a gift for a party he will be attending early this afternoon (no school today, how nice), went home did a bit of cleaning and then he and I decided we'd best get some sleep. PC was working last night. When he works nights, I always wake up when he gets home and we sit and chat for an hour or so until he winds down enough to go to sleep. I make it a point to get to bed early on those nights, to make up for the hour or so that I'll lose when he gets home. I think last night I made it to bed by about 10:30 or so. PC got home somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:15 this morning. We chatted for a while and then he popped in a DVD so that I'd get back to sleep.

Deep into a sound sleep I woke to the terror filled screams of "MOMMMMMMMMMM! MOMMMMMMMMMMMM!" coming from LargeBoy's room in the basement. LargeBoy has a tendency to talk, walk, and sometimes scream in his sleep, but never has it been for me. I found my robe and slippers and flew, I really think I did fly, down the stairs to his room, with PC right behind me. LargeBoy was sitting up, which is typical of this, but this time he was actually awake. I asked him if he was ok, if it was a nightmare, if he wanted me to stay. He said he didn't know what happened and that it was something before a dream. He laid back down and went to sleep. PC & I went back to bed. I was rather shaken, in my worst-case-overly-active-mommy-imagination, trying to figure out what could have triggered this episode and trying to calm down, so I snuggled up deep into my bed. It was cold last night. PC had made a stop before coming to bed and had a sneezing attack...that lasted until about 5:45 this morning. It would come and go in spurts, but when he wasn't sneezing, he was congested and couldn't breathe, would be coughing or dealing with a horrible runny nose. My poor hubby! Finally I gave him some allergy medicine so that he could at least get some temporary relief and sleep for a few hours before having to get up and work the day shift today (btw - his boss is a moron for thinking working nights and then days the next day is healthy). Needless to say when the alarm went off at 6, I hit the snooze as long as humanly possible and then sucked it up and went to work. LargeBoy was fine this morning, but remembered waking up screaming last night - which is not typical of this for him.

Tonight, we have SmallBoy's first birthday party with friends. It's going to be small, only three other boys are coming. It's going to be a sleepover, which means that PC & I have to stay up until the boys go to sleep. I think it's going to be an early bedtime tonight. I'll be lucky if I can keep my eyes open until I go home from work today - to clean up and prepare for the party...YIKES!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

About That Family Meeting...

Yeah, you know the one that we were supposed to have earlier in the week that got rescheduled? Well, last night was insane and it just didn't happen. Girl had mud soccer and didn't get home until PC and I were getting ready to walk out the door for a Parents Alliance for Learning (PAL) meeting. Tonight, SmallBoy and I have his very first Cub Scout meeting. We've been too busy the last two years to get him involved. Now, he very much needs to do this. It is an organized way, not to mention a fun way, for him to work on his social skills. The best part is that PC or I will always be with him, so he'll be able to cue from us until he feels comfortable doing it himself. After the meeting, it's power cleaning for the sleepover party tomorrow, trip to the store for presents for an afternoon party tomorrow that SmallBoy was invited to (HOORAY!), and then some serious sleepage. I think I could use some sleepage now...I feel a sneezing fit coming on!

Laundry Sucks

Check out this post at DotMoms about the 10 Things hated most about laundry. It's hilarious!


I love polka dots, but I got bored. I'm still very actively seeking a new background, but I know nothing of html and RSS and all of that other mumbo jumbo, so until I figure out how to do that, we'll keep up with the blogger templates. What do you think?

To Tell or Not to Tell....

I am rewriting an old post from an old blogsite that I no longer maintain. Marti, in her blog, was discussing homework and how her ASD Child was distracted, thinking about Christmas and Santa. Her Child is a year older than SmallBoy and she, like me, has yet to touch that subject with him. I thought I would re-post this for opinions, ideas, and a general hoot. I have added a bit to it since my original post, so, if you've read it before, it's not necessarily the same thing.

To Tell or Not To Tell

When does a mother destroy, nay, CRUSH, the visions of the Bunny? Because you KNOW that once the Bunny has been ratted out, there goes Santa and the Tooth Fairy. My mother didn't have to carry the burden of disillusioning me, someone on the playground took the privilege of doing that. Mom just had to comfort her sobbing daughter and comfirm the worst...that yes, Virgina, there is NO SANTA. My youngest is 8 1/2 (now 9). SmallBoy also has some components of Asperger's Syndrome, which is somewhere on the autistic spectrum (SmallBoy, since, has been formally diagnosed). With any other child, this squashing of the Bunny would be a bit easier (not that destroying our children's fantasies was ever easy in the first place), but with SmallBoy, I'm worried about how he will take it. Compare this to telling a 3 year old who finally gets excited about the idea of Santa that you were really just making it up. Will this destroy his trust? Will he just say, "Oh," and move on with his life? Will he figure it out and link the Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Great Red One? Will that remove the behavioral manipulation that we, as parents, use on our children: "Santa's watching. You'd best behave or you'll only get coal in your stocking."

I know that I'm very overprotective of SmallBoy, many times to the dismay of Girl and LargeBoy. I could take the direct approach and just sit him down and tell him instead of letting it happen on the playground. But then, will he turn into the child who destroys it for some other schoolmate in his innocent need to share his newfound knowledge? Woe is me!

SmallBoy will be 9 before Christmas. My family thinks that it's time we sat him down and shwed him how to read between the lines of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." What tact does a mother take, though, when breaking this kind of news? It hurts to know I'm quite possibly going to cause him pain. I know, it's not going to be this big emotional scar that lasts for the rest of his live for which he will never forgive me, but seriously...Some would say that I should liken this experience to taking a child to the pediatrician for immunizations; it hurts, but it's for the child's well-being.

He has lost most of his baby teeth by now, at least the exciting ones. I guess that letting go of the tooth fairy wouldn't be too bad. We sort of let it slip about the Easter Bunny to gauge SmallBoy's reaction, but he was somewhere in SmallBoy Land and clearly didn't hear us. I suppose we could always dress PC in a rabbit costume and just change holidays for "I Saw Mommy Kissing...." Maybe by Christmas I will have figured out some way to break his tender little heart, but not yet. Suggestions?

Update: A note from PM somehow didn't get into the comments, but her suggestion was to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". She mentioned that this particular issue is tackled very delicately within the show. I'm going to have to find mine, although I think it was sacrificed in the great VHS toss when we cleaned out the back porch. That's got to be floating around all over the place right now, with it being so close to Halloween. Thanks, PM for your suggestion!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rescheduling...So What's New?

Thanks for the comments and suggestions for the family meeting. I had thought about a laminated job sheet too, checklists make things much easier for SmallBoy. I will be putting in these suggestions tonight...I hope....I don't think anyone would be very surprised to hear that we didn't quite get to the family meeting last night. Things are too crazy in the after school/after work/dinner/pre - rest of the night hours. Last night, Girl had soccer practice and wasn't home until about 5:30, but still in time for dinner. LargeBoy, being a teenager, was asleep when I got home. I guess he had a lousy night's sleep the night before and was playing catch up. SmallBoy was up and ready to roll, but really, we needed the whole family for the FAMILY meeting. Waiting for LargeBoy to wake up was not even in the question as after dinner we all went our separate ways again. Sheesh! So, we'll try again this evening...I don't think we have anywhere to be tonight until 7:30. PC and I are going to a meeting for parents of children with learning disabilities. Although SmallBoy isn't experiencing any LD problems right now, Asperger's does have a tendency to be linked to hyperlexia - which roughly translates into a comprehension issue, unlike dyslexia. We figured we'd head off to the meeting, meet some parents and maybe find a group of people in our immediate area to form a little "support" group...who knows! Hopefully it will be productive!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Family Meeting

Dun dun duuuuuuun....My house is a mess. I work, PC works. We clean. The kids, not so much. The cats litterbox got trashed in the plumbing flood and decided that anything soft would suffice in its place. Well, after that all got cleaned up, some of the lovely cat pee aroma lingered in a few places. Guess what, the cats found it. So now we're on massive clean up, but PC and I are planning a family meeting to discuss this with the kids. You see, everytime something happens, we all end up crabby, the kids end up killing each other and blaming each other, but they never do anything about it. That's going to end tonight.

The words "family meeting" fill children with dread, hell, they still scare me and I'm usually on the parental end of the meeting. The feeling of, "Oh God, what did I do wrong this time," or "Geez, what are mom & dad pissed about now" is very common when the meeting is mentioned. That's why we haven't told the kids....I know, it would have been fun to make them sweat it out all day and worry and wonder, but, by the same token that would have given them time to get worried and defensive and figure out how to point whatever blame there may be at someone else. Thankfully for the kids, and for us, too, I suppose, it will be a relatively short meeting. We will go over chore lists that MUST be done. They will ask about allowance and I'll tell them, for the 8, 592nd time that I will not give them allowance when a) they don't ever do their jobs unless they're threatened with a punishment worse than death and b) PC and I don't get paid for doing any cleaning around the house...we didn't get paid for ripping up the carpeting and sanding the stairs either!

We will find job lists that are fair and will, ultimately, if followed, lead to rewards for all of them. There are some chores that won't be assigned to SmallBoy and the other two will, as usual, bet mad. SmallBoy needs direction and someone to stand over him to keep him on task, so something complicated is not worth giving to him...better to give him several short easier tasks, than one large task, or to have him assist Girl or LargeBoy in a task. Also, with his asthma, there are chores like dusting and sweeping that I won't have him do. StupidDog sheds and entire sweater's worth of dog hair/hour and the Obnoxiously Cute Furballs, well, they're cats...'nuff said.

5:00 is drawing nearer, so I should set my mind to work and make some notes for tonight's meeting and, perhaps, start the chore list. I will march in their armed and ready, confer with my partner in crime -- oops! --parenting, collaborate our thoughts, and call the meeting to order. Beware Children! While I'm thinking of it, any ideas on household tasks for Aspies that give them a sense of responsibility and teach them about helping out and following rules, but at the same time require minimal guidance? I could really use some.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Oh I Can't Even Come up With a Fun Title

Ack! My whole post is awol! I hit publish and it erased it! Boo hoo!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Back To School Night

Tonight was the annual try-to-meet-as-many-teachers-and-see-as-many-classrooms-as-you-can night. I skipped the welcome portion at church, as I've heard that same spiel for the last 9 yrs. I decided that it would be more time effective to go right into school and find SmallBoy's classroom. His desk was all neat and clean and organized; surprising for an AS child, they must have done that today. There was a packet of information from the teacher explaining expectations for the year, books they will be reading, handwriting samples, and a bunch of extraneous stuff. On top of the packet was a note from SmallBoy.
Dear Mom and dad -

I hope you like my classroom. I hope you like my desk. Third grade is great.

SmallBoy (written twice, once in cursive and once printed).

So I left him a note back saying "hi" and how much I liked how neat his desk looked and that I love him. I also came to school prepared. Knowing what I know now about SmallBoy and his AS, I armed myself with a packet of my own with information from various sites about AS. This packet was geared towards teachers and educators to give them a better idea of what to expect from SmallBoy this year and how to make his school year, and theirs, a bit easier. I walked around to each teacher that he has this year and made sure that each one had a copy of this packet. I didn't push it on them or anything, just said "Hi! I've got a SmallBoy packet for you with anything you could ever want to know about him. He was dx with AS just this past June, but you're all familiar with his quirks and differences by now. This will answer your questions and, perhaps create more. I've included my home and work phone numbers on the front, so PLEASE call me if you need any clarification." The teachers were thrilled. I do have to say that there is a wonderful group of teachers at my children's school. They are kind, caring, compassionate, and more than willing to work with parents and families to ensure the success of the students.

After Back-to-School-Night, I helped SmallBoy get packed for his weekend at Ex's and tucked him into bed. It's always hard to tuck him in on Thursday nights if it's an Ex weekend for the kids because they leave with Ex before I get home from work on Friday. But that's for another article. I kissed him goodnight, gave him his allergy meds, scratched his back and gave him our goodnight I love you routine. He, in turn, hugged me as tight as he could and told me that I was a - now hold on, I have to get a big breath here - super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super (inhale) super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super super mom. I love my SmallBoy. Of course I reciprocated immediately. I have to say that the lack of showing affection towards others is one of the ASD symptoms that he does NOT display.

This mommy's got to work tomorrow morning, so I'd best get to bed. I'm sure I won't get much sleep tomorrow night after going to the scary scary movie!

Who Said it's Fall?

Well, officially it's not Fall for 2 more hours. Someone is being nice to us today? Mother Nature, perhaps? The weather predicted low to mid 70's for today and instead it's mid-high 80's. The breeze has a nice Autumn feel to it, though. The leaves that have fallen, though not many have turned, are skating across the ground as though on ice, adding the the sound of the breeze a nice Autumn sound to it. I must say, though, that even on this beautiful day, my allergies are going crazy, but it's worth it. Worth it to take in one of the last nice days for a while. Winter in this city is awfully long and gray, so days like today are to be taken advantage of.

I took a two hour lunch today and PC and I went to the park for a picnic. After being invaded by some really cranky bees, we set off on a walk about town. We walked all over and ended up at our local novelty shop where PC bought a jaw harp - perfect for our band, Code West. We played hide and seek with the hot sunshine by ducking in and out of storefronts to keep cool. Eventually, though, it found us. We sat down and rested our feet for a few minutes, as my work shoes were absolutely NOT suited for walking around town. As we were relaxing, we spied - with our little eyes - a smoothie poster in a window across the street. We made like moths to a flame and indulged ourselves in the refreshing strawberry-ness of the smoothie. Oh, you should have seen the straw! Remember those gigantic Pixie sticks that we all used to devour as kids? I swear the straw we got with our smoothie was that fat around. It was so much fun!

Tomorrow we have date night again, since the kids will be with Ex. We're planning on going to see a scary movie - I hate scary movies - and then, perhaps meeting up with ET and a few friends. Date night is SO essential. Even with three typical children of 15, 13, and 9, getting out is so crucial to a relationship. Add to that mix, 9 y/o with Asperger's and date night is a necessity...a chance to get out and be two adults again, a chance to talk without bringing up the children - to talk about each other and what's going on in our lives...absolute necessity. Date night can even be date day, especially in the Fall when the weather gets a little cooler and requires warm, snuggly clothes, when the weather is perfect for a walk through the woods to watch the changing leaves as they shed their summer wardrobe for the new fashionable colors. Fall is beautiful. I guess I'm just going to miss the summer, but as they say on the north side of our fair city, there's always next year!

Oh God! Not a Plumber!

Our house is old, built in 1922. The water pressure stinks. The downstairs toilet is still clogged after multiple bottles of draino, using the poor plunger until all of the "suck" had been sucked out of it, the upstairs toilet requires turning the water off and on to use, the spigot outside merely trickles water (my poor poor garden), and now my water heater has a steady drip - enough to keep my basement floor coated in water if the sopping & mopping is not kept up. We broke down and called the plumber. Hopefully he can get to us today, but that's incredibly doubtful since we're still waiting a return phone call.

I'm just dreading this. I keep imagining that he's going to tell us that not only does the water heater have to be replaced, but that all of our pipes are old, coated, and need to be replaced also. I am afraid. Very afraid. Of course, once he comes and fixes the ailments all will be well. I'm hoping that the crappy water pressure in the spigot outside is somehow related to what's inside so that we don't need any EXTRA work done. If it's unrelated, though, I guess I'll just be hoping for a really rainy summer next year, cuz that will involve a ton more work.

Oh this bites. Just the word "plumber" brings bad pictures and thoughts to mind. First of all, the dreaded plumber butt. EEEUUUWW!! Then there's my house being ripped apart. Then there's the thought of having to turn my water off and go for days on end without showering or doing dishes while waiting on a part. Then there's the thought that, oh GOD, what if we can only coordinate our schedules on a weekend! A plumber on a weekend?!?!?! $$$$$$$$$$ I think I'm having heart palpitations! I suppose I should just sit here calmly at my desk and not think about it. If worse comes to worse, I suppose I could take part of a day off from's not like there's anything to do today or tomorrow except minor things.

I'd love to hear someone else's plumbing horror stories. Misery loves comapany. It might make me feel better.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

More Blogs by Parents with ASD Children!

Oh Hooray! I am so happy to have found all of you. Is it obvious that I've had NOTHING to do at work today? In addition to MOM-NOS, I am adding Octoberbabies and My 2 Sons to the blogroll. They will also be in both the Mommy/Parenting link spot and the Asperger's/ASD link spot. Check them out & tell them MommyGuilt sent you.

Someone Who Speaks My Language

While doing my daily check of the blogs I like to read, I stopped in at DotMoms. While scrolling through their blogroll, one site, in particular caught my eye. Having a child with Asperger's and working in an office that specializes with children with severe learning disorders, I have seen "Not Otherwise Specified", or NOS on a lot of diagnoses on the Autistic spectrum. So when I saw MOM-NOS as a blog site, I knew it was something I needed to check out. As I read the post, which I've copied below (thanks MOM-NOS), I cried and cried because it reminded me so much of SmallBoy who is having his very first birthday party with friends in a couple of weeks.

Those who know and love children on this spectrum know how much of a milestone doing anything linked to the word "friends" or the concept of socialization is for these children, as making friends is incredibly, incredibly difficult for them. If you know my SmallBoy or anyone else on the spectrum, be sure to have a tissue handy when you read this. Also, please check out MOM-NOS on my blogroll. She is the only one, so far, to be listed under two categories. You can find her under the Mommy/Parenting Links and under the Asperger's Resource Links.

A friend, indeed Bud has a friend.

Clay is a boy in his Kindergarten class. We met Clay at the open house the day before school started, and since his was the name I remembered it was the one I used as we prepared for the first day of school. "And you'll play on the playground with your teacher and the other kids, like Clay..."

Every day after school we have walked from the classroom to the car at about the same time as Clay and his mom. And every day I have prompted Bud to say goodbye to Clay by name. We did this throughout Bud's two and a half years of preschool with a myriad of other children, so it never occurred to me that anything special was happening.

Bud did talk about Clay at home, though. When I asked who he liked at school he named his teacher, then his aide, then Clay. When I asked who he played with, he named his teacher, then his aide, then Clay. Last week he told me he wanted Clay to come and play at Bud's house. But I sort of thought Bud was just trying to give me the "right" answer when I asked a question.

Yesterday as we were leaving school, Bud - because he has the very sweet habit of ALWAYS telling on himself - announced "I can take it home with me!", which prompted me to frisk him and find each one of his pockets stuffed with toy fruit from the classroom. We headed back to the classroom to return the contraband, then I spent some time chatting with Bud's teacher. It was about 15 minutes later when we finally headed back to the parking lot.

As we approached I saw that Clay was sitting on the lawn by our car, and I heard him say "Mom! Here he comes!"

Clay's mom got out of the car and said to me, "Clay insisted that we couldn't leave until he said goodbye to Bud." They had waited 15 minutes, with Clay's mom wondering if we had walked to an appointment somewhere, and with Clay steadfast in his resolve to wait us out.

Bud gave Clay a high five, and they both said goodbye and climbed into their respective cars. It took every ounce of restraint I had to keep from scooping Clay up and smothering him with kisses.

Clay likes Bud. No one told him he had to. No one even suggested that he should. He just likes Bud. He likes Bud for Bud.

Bud has a friend.

Learning a New Skill

As a mother, I can do many things. I can multi-task like nobody's business, I can work, I can run a household, I can be a chauffeur, a fan, a nurse, a psychologist, a secretary, a cook (ok, well, sort of), I can sing in my band, be a den mother, an event organizer, a fixer-upper (when necessary) get the picture. I want to learn something else. Something not related to being a mom. Ok, so the band thing is not directly related to being a mom, but still. I want to learn to play the guitar so that I can play every once in a while in the band. Actually, there's a song that I REALLY want to learn how to play. PC, the wonderful guitar player that he is swears that it will be easy to learn, so I asked him to teach me the basics.

I gotta tell ya, the basics are HARD!!! He's teaching me on his electric guitar since the neck isn't as wide as the acoustic, which is what I ultimately want to play on, not electric. We started with a G-chord. I didn't think it possible for my fingers to stretch that far. Then we went to a C-chord. After I practiced for a while, I managed to make something that sounded like music! I was so proud of myself.

It's almost like piano lessons, though. You have to remember to keep your hand curved, even though it feels awkward, and to always keep your thumb in the right spot, and to not put too much pressure on the top finger on the chord or there won't be enough on the bottom finger. Oh, yes, and my fingers still have string indentations in them this morning. PC did say, though, that for now, practicing will be a simple thing. He said, "Just grab the guitar when you're watching the news and keep trying the positions until they don't feel awkward anymore." It will help to make it feel right, get the fingers used to stretching, and help to get the right amount of pressure on the strings...too little and the chord is wrong, too much and you mute one of the strings.

I WILL do this. I WANT to do this. SmallBoy wants to learn guitar too. They say people with Asperger's typically have wonderful musical ability. He would pick this right up. So, I promised him that perhaps for Christmas we'll get a guitar for him that's his size and I will teach him what PC teaches me....and that, in turn, will keep me practicing. I think I can do this! I even cut all of my fingernails down. I LOVE my fingernails, but, they grow so fast that if for some reason I decide not to pursue the guitar, which I won't decide, but if I do, they'll grow right back. So, seriously, do you think that a 30-something mother of three can learn to play guitar this late in life?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Happy Birthday SmallBoy!

Sorry, no pics posted for this one. Although, maybe I could post the one of him hiding behind his new rocket!!! Yes, a rocket! Seriously, what does a mother buy for an incredibly intelligent 9 year old little boy with Asperger's and a HUGE video game addiction? Certainly NOT video games. I instructed everyone to stay away from those for this birthday. I'd like to, in a few years, get him a computer - just basic, nothing fancy, not even necessarily with internet capabilities - to work on. He's so smart and with Asperger's finding something that is the right fit is key to working towards a career goal. Did you know that Bill Gates has Aspergers? I knew that Einstein did as did many other incredibly intelligent people, but I didn't know about Gates. With SmallBoys love for computers, who knows - he could be the next computer whiz.

SmallBoy had a wonderful day to celebrate his birthday. The weather was about as perfect as it could get: The sky was baby blue, with just enough clouds to make it look like a picture, the temperature warmed up to the low 80's, and there was just a slight breeze. He spent the day with his father, step-mother, Girl, step-sister, and new baby half-brother. They went into the city to go the the zoo. I guess he got a little upset that, even though it was his birthday, they didn't do everything and go everywhere that he wanted to go, but overall, the trip sounded nice. When he arrived home to me, we had planned a party for him. We have not been able to coordinate the big family party with ALL of the relatives yet, and probably won't get to it til November, but then we can incorporate Girl & LargeBoy's birthdays, too! Last night GR & Chica came over, as did MILLY & FIL, and ET, SIL & Princess. Yesterday was also FIL's birthday. The weather was sill beautiful at 6:00 in the evening, so while we finished preparing dinner, FIL took SmallBoy and Princess down to the park down the street. We barbecued burgers & dogs, ET brought a potato salad that he served from a pumpkin shell, and a to-die for apple, pear & banana salad. We had tater tots for the kiddies, cuz that's just more fun than fancy schmancy food. GR brought the birthday cake - white with confetti sprinkles inside!

Presents - The Game of Life-Spongebob style, Clue - Simpsons style, books - something from the Artemis Fowl series, Blubber by Judy Blume, Harry Potter 3, and something else I can't remember, new sheets and a new bed throw in the colors that he wants to re-decorate his room, a Rubik's cube (can you believe those are back?), and the remote control rocket from PC & me. We got FIL some motown karaoke for the cottage. There was one that had "Born To Be Wild" on it, not exactly motown. I'm dying to hear him sing it, more for the sheer hilarity of that song coming out of FIL, who is the epitome of NOT wild, at least not anymore from what I understand. We're actually thinking about making him a book for his next birthday filled with all of his lectures - we'll call it "FIL's Abbreviated Lectures". It will save him the time of having to tell PC & ET the smoking lecture on deaf ears, the you've-had-one-sip-of-an-alcoholic-beverage-you'd-better-not-be-driving lecture, the newest electrical lecture, etc....This way, whenever he feels we need some good fatherly wisdom, he can hand off the book and say, "please refer to page sixteen". What do you think, MILLY? We love our FIL....but that's for next year. If you can think of any lectures I might be missing, let me know...tee hee. We actually thought about giving him the picture of PC with his thumb on his forehead!

All in all, I think it was a lovely day with wonderful family. Happy Birthday SmallBoy!!!!! Happy Birthday FIL!!!

Monday Funny from Milly

Happy Monday! It's cold and rainy here in the Midwest, so here's a Funny to start your week with a chuckle.

For all of you mothers out there, this is SO TRUE!!!


Your Clothes:

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth:

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette:

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.

2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?


1st baby: At the first sign of distress-a whimper, a frown-you pick up the baby.

2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.


1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.


1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out:

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home:

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.______________________________________________________

Swallowing Coins (a favorite):

1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Team SmallBoy Update

It's been a while since I have mentioned what we are up to with SmallBoy and his Asperger's. Aside from trying desperately to pay off the neuropsychologist before she takes me to court for the remainder, I have been researching different insurance options to get his therapy and his asthma/allergy meds covered (Ex's insurance pays, but you pay forward and wait 6-8 mos to get reimbursed). I found that my plan at work covers everything that he needs and all of the physicians that we currently are with. Unfortunately I cannot enroll him until December, with a Jan. 1, '06 effective date - at which point, everything will be pre-existing. We'll get it all figured out, though.

SmallBoy has been having a really rough go of it lately. For the most part he's happy, but the fact that he is different from everyone is really starting to bother him. He is realizing that he can't remember things that all of us SHOULD remember, like rules, etc. Yesterday he compared himself to Dorey from Finding Nemo, with her short term memory loss. He knows that he is easily confused. Although not diagnosed by the ridiculously expensive neuropsych, I believe that he also has some kind of a language processing disorder. He knows that he can't always find the words or coping mechanisms that he needs to use when dealing with his frustration and that frustrates him even more.

Today we start our behavioral therapy. This is supposed to help him find coping mechanisms for his frustrations and anxieties. It is also supposed to teach him how to act in social situations, especially when he gets overloaded. He is a little nervous about discussing his feeling with a stranger, but I know the psychologist that he'll be working with. Her son went to grade school with LargeBoy, and, before I moved, she lived on the next block. I am hopeful that taking this next step will encourage him; will give him a little better feeling about himself and that he is not a bad child, nor a lost cause. I want this to help him see that even though he is different from the other kids, that doesn't mean he has to stand out from the crowd. I want this to make him feel better about himself. He is the most compassionate little boy and it hurts me so much to watch him hurting like this.

He is now in third grade. This is the age when all "class friendships" start breaking off into little cliques. This is the age when children discover that there are "different" qualities about some of the other children. This is when they start to pick on those who are different. I don't want my little boy to be bullied, but it is so hard to teach him how to fight back without being a tattletale who then, in turn, gets picked on or beat up for tattling. The last couple days have been difficult for him on the playground. I guess a group of girls were chasing him around at recess the other day and he had asked them to stop bothering him. They didn't, but recess was over anyway. Yesterday, the girls continued where they had left off. SmallBoy asked them, again, to please stop and leave him alone. The girls, being girls and innocently thinking they're doing nothing wrong, continued. SmallBoy couldn't remember what he was supposed to do in this situation (tell a teacher) and took matters into his own hands and bit one of the girls. Well, this resulted in a trip to the office, a phone call to me, an apology to the girl, and a very upset little boy. He was more upset that he didn't remember what he needed to do to handle the situation, than about being in trouble. I mean, he was definitely upset about being in trouble, but it bothered him more that he couldn't remember what he should have done.

I made him write a nice note of apology to the girl and her parents so that he would understand that he had done wrong and that he had hurt her. My son is now labeled as a "biter". Fortunately, they know SmallBoy at his school and they are all very familiar with his issues, so they work with me. SmallBoy is not a biter. He had to have been pretty frustrated with the girls and his confusion over how to solve the problem to have done that. See, that only sounds like I'm making an excuse for him. I'm not. That is just him. It is the Asperger's. People don't understand that. They say that he should know better, that he should remember how he is supposed to act in certain situations, that there is no reason he should forget the rules. Well poo-pooh on them! They're wrong and don't understand Asperger's.

Well, with that off my chest, I think I'll dive into some work now. I feel a tad better.

Two More Great Sites for You To Enjoy - I Do!

Today I discovered two wonderful new blogs that I'd like to share with you. Check them out on my blogroll or check them out here: A Mama's Rant and Writing From The Hip. I found this wonderful article, and site, thanks to Blue Grass Mama.

This is from Paul at Writing From the Hip - a refreshing look at parenting from someone with a lot more experience than the most of us!

A Bargain at Twice the Price

Our government—bless it’s heart—recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18. Only $160,140 for a middle income family! Woo-hoo! Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition!

For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about “…all the money we could have banked if not for [insert your child's name here].” For others, that number might confirm their decision to remain childless.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. Thats only $8,896.66 year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. A mere $24.44 a day! Just a dollar an hour. What a bargain! Still, there are those who think the best financial advice is “Don't have children if you want to get rich."

Gong ~ong ~ong! Wrong answer.

What do your get for your $160,140?

Naming rights—first, middle, and last.
Glimpses of God every day.
Whispers from angels.
Giggles under the covers every night.
More love than your heart can hold.
Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
Endless wonder over rocks, ants, worms, clouds, flowers and warm cookies.
A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, playing catch and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to movies and wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee from the garage roof, for taking the training wheels off the bike, for removing a splinter, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets a treat after the game.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to kiss a boo-boo and make it feel all better. You can scare away the monsters from under the bed. You instinctively know how to patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, go tromping through the wilderness—and love them without limits.

You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

You get a front row seat to history to watch the first step, first word, first day of school. "Mom, look! My first fish!" Her first bra, the first date, first time behind the wheel, the first grandchild—and then you get to hear about it all over again. "Guess what, Pee-paw. I went swimming in the deep end!"

You become immortal. A branch is added to your family tree; and if you're lucky, many more branches quickly follow.

Here’s the best part: Because of you, one day they, too, will love without counting the cost.

The Carpet is TOTALLY UP!!

As of the last carpet posting, my stairwell, top and bottom landings were carpet free, and PC and ET had removed the nasty foot-biting staples from the floor. Yesterday, PC called me at work and asked, since he was working nights, if I could come home for lunch and see the surprise he had gotten for me. He told me he didn't know if it was returnable, or if it would fit in our bedroom, and that he wanted to see my reaction to this "surprise". So, of course, I said yes. I flew out of the office at 1:00 and made it home by 1:10 to find that my surprise was a bedroom floor! A FLOOR, mind you, not a bedroom carpet! PC had pulled the carpet from up there also, and I must say, it looks FABULOUS! He cut around the heavy furniture and we'll get rid of that this weekend, but WOW! What a difference! It's like a totally different room! I love this man! Milly, can I keep him? Ooooh, or maybe next summer you and I can hit the beach with a pitcher of something yummy while he rips the carpeting up from the cottage!!!!! That would be nice!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

'Tis the Season, The Sports Season, That Is

The kids are back in school and our lives are back on a very structured schedule. Awake at a certain time, home at a certain time, dinner at a certain time (give or take), bed at a certain time. Seems to make things a bit easier, huh? Nope. Just when we thought we were organized and scheduled again, along comes soccer season, the first of many many sports seasons until late next August. This schedule really only reeks havoc on our evenings and weekends, thus affecting dinner time, dinner as a family, quality of dinner, fighting for showertime, homework time, bedtime, family time on the weekends, and, ultimately wake up time.

It is nice, however, to see the children happy and running around the field using up all of that excess energy. She LOVES sports. She loves the competition and she loves all of the friends that she makes. She loves striving to be the best. I compare that to me with music. I always want to be the best that I can be when it comes to singing and she has that same drive with sports, although, I think she's a bit tougher than I am. She will play four full quarters of soccer or basketball, constantly running back and forth, and rejuvenate after water or a sports drink. She can play 7 innings of girls softball in 90 degree heat and feel no more than a nap's worth of exhaustion. She can take criticism and instruction better than I can. She lets it roll off, I let it fester.

You should have seen her play last night. She played 3 quarters and played defense all three. Not once did I see anyone get past her. She plays on her school soccer team, which is co-ed. She never backs down from a hit, a block, a fall, a boy. She takes them all and knocks them down. She will run you over if she must. Two years ago her coach was trying to motivate her to play harder (like that's really necessary) and used the negative reinforcement approach. He told her she played like a girl. Being Girl, she responded, "That's because I am." During the next quarter there was a player trying desperately to get past her. The poor opponent ended up with a concussion because Girl wasn't letting her by and flattened her. Now, don't get the wrong idea, Girl is not a brute, but if you get in her way, you're pretty much entering shark infested waters covered in blood. She doesn't mean to hurt or maim, even, but sometimes it happens. She always feels bad when she hurts someone, even if it's as minor as a trip and fall, and she always apologizes. She felt awful after giving that poor player a concussion, but she never got anymore razzing from her coach!

So back to the changing seasons of sports, crock pot, electric frypan, Market Day, and fast food dinners. I think this year we'll plan out our meals according to the sports schedule - if we have one. The school seems to find it terribly difficult to get schedules to the students before the day of the game, so parents are left changing every plan and other schedule that they have made for the family while counting on it being a game or practice -free evening. Well, we've gotten used to it. Sometimes we miss the games. I hate doing that. Even if it makes me available to do something else, like laundry or grocery shop, or do something with Small or LargeBoys, it still leaves me with MommyGuilt because I'm not there watching her do the one thing she LOVES. Until August '06, though, I'm going to have to adjust.

Once soccer is over, actually before that, we move into basketball season. With the playoffs overlapping the beginning of basketball practice, we're running around every night. As basketball season is winding to a close, volleyball practice starts up - again, more running around every night. As the school year and volleyball finish up, we're into softball tournaments every weekend until August. Keep in mind, though, that during all of these other sports, softball practice is going on indoors so that the girls are fresh for the start of the season! Hopefully with all of these sports, Girl will excel at one of them, have phenomenal grades, be socially active, and end up with a scholarship to the college of her choice. Boy wouldn't that be amazing.

I should close today by saying that all of this sacrifice is well worth it. It keeps my child(ren) extremely happy, busy, and out of trouble - and off the computer, and off the phone, and off of the video games....With all of the craziness, sports really are a good thing in our lives (God, I can't believe I just said that!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Welcoming A New Friend

ET, PC, & I went out for chicken at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket last night before heading off to our Tuesday night karaoke date. We stuffed ourselves silly. Corn fritters, mashed potatoes (with the skin - darn tootin'! Take that Cordon Bleu!), and the best M*&# F*@#! fried chicken this side of the Mason-Dixon line. Sorry Mom & MILLY about the French, but there truly are no other words to describe this chicken. "Mouth watering," doesn't cover it, "finger licking," is just the tip of the iceberg. I can still taste it - oh, well, that's because I just went and swiped a corn fritter out of my carry-out box that I brought to work with me today. Anyway, Dell Rhea's is famous not only for the best MF fried chicken this side of the Mason - Dixon line, but for being the last stop on historic Route 66.

PC & ET had slaved all day pulling the throngs of carpet staples out of my staircase, so we fed the kids Mac Dog (Mac-n-cheese with hot dogs), went for chicken, and then went to karaoke. We LOVE karaoke, especially at this bar and with Barb, the phenomenal karaoke babe with the even more phenomenal voice! Week to week the crowd is different at karaoke, as there are many hotels in the area, housing more business travelers than vacationers, so you never know how many people will be there any given Tuesday. There could be 30, or there could be just PC & myself, you never know. Last night was a small, but fun crowd. We met Andie, who was in on business from Arkansas. It took us a while to get her up singing, but she finally did and she was great! After talking to her for a while, I found out she is with the military and she has her own Blogger blog! She loves to take photos and use them in her should see some of them, they're awesome. Oh,'s the link to her site, Life In the Ozarks. You can see them for yourself. I've added her to my blogroll so you can check it out anytime! Welcome Andie. She also took some pictures at karaoke, so maybe one of them will make it here onto my site and maybe onto my band, Code West's, site.

Andie, it was a pleasure to meet you. Come back out next time you're up this way...and thanks for the round!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Carpet is UP!!!!

We have two cats and a yellow lab that sheds so much we could knit a sweater from her fur, one for every day of the year, and still have too much left over. We also have carpeted stairs to the second floor and a carpeted floor in our bedroom. Let me tell you, Lab hair does not like to vaccum out of carpeting. It has this attraction, almost magnetic, to the carpet and defies the suction of the vaccum. I'm convinced that as the dog sheds, her hair wraps itself around each strand in the rug individually, forming another layer on the floor. In order to get the hair out, we have to get on our hands and knees with those U-shaped wire dog brushes and scrape it out of the floor. Our indoor throw rugs have been moved to the porches because we couldn't keep them free from dog hair. SmallBoy has asthma and allergies that lead to asthma. We had two choices: Lose the dog or lose the carpet. The decision was to lose the carpet, although PC and I would have taken both of the above.

After our long day on Sunday celebrating my grandfather's birthday, we settled the kids down and set out to our task. Starting at the top of the stairs, we sliced the rug into sections thinking that would make our job a whole lot easier. We figured we'd have it knocked out in an hour or so. We started at 4:30 on a Sunday evening. Yeah, I know - never start a project that will only take an hour or so at 4:30 on a Sunday evening. We slowly pulled away the carpet, yanking it, tearing it, ripping it, forcing it from its bond with the wooden floor beneath. We encountered many more staples than we would have liked - many that ended up under fingernails or ripping legs.

A pint of lost blood later (no, I'm kidding), we finished tearing up the carpet and bringing it out to the trash. HUGE portion of this job accomplished - the stairs were a bitch! We could have paid someone to do this for us, but why? We don't have the money for it, and, even if we did, we will have a huge sense of pride in our beautiful new floors and stairs once we have completed the project. We'll answer the question, "Oh, you're floors and stairs are beautiful. Who did you use?" with, "Oh, we did it ourselves." It's a wonderful feeling.

With the promise of Dell Rhea's Chicken for dinner, PC was able to bribe his brother into coming by today and helping to pry out all of the staples from the wood. We just need to get our hands on some little sanders to fix the stairs. The wood is beautiful, but the stairs have this layer of goo on them that needs some coaxing off. My thought was Goo-gone, but it would take about 100 gallons of the stuff, plus a lot of elbow grease to remove it all and I think we'd all be too tired to actually USE the stairs. Ultimately we will strip and refinish the banisters also and match them to the stairs. I'm terribly excited about this project. The banisters will take a LONG time, though. A previous owner painted them and they are SO thick with paint that the paint is beginning to crack.

I am one of those people who likes to see the end result before beginning the project. This is going to make me crazy in the process, but little by little, the finished staircase will come shining through and we will be so proud. We'll show it off. Then we'll move on to the next project - removal of the bedroom carpet! Anyone want to help?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday Funny

From a very dear friend. CORK IT! Even moms have to appreciate bathroom humor now and then!

Never hold your farts in. They travel up your spine, into your brain, and that is where shitty ideas come from!!!!


It seems that as the years pass, people are forgetting September 11, 2001. On my street, I only saw two flags displayed - one of which was ours. I did not see any notices of memorials in the paper, nor much else to mark the day. Granted, life does go on, but it is a day that MUST be remembered, not forgotten. I am certain that those affected the most by 9/11 have not forgotten. I will not let my children forget. Heck, they didn't know what Pearl Harbor Day was until the movie came out....let's not let 9/11 be just another date on the calendar. Yes, it was tragic. It was horrific. It was awful. But we have to remember.

Our September 11, in addition to being a day of remembrance, was also a day of celebration. My entire family gathered together to celebrate my grandfather's 90th birthday. There was food, music, happiness. People took new family photos and looked at old family photos and tried hard not to chuckle at appearances 20, 30, 60, 80 years ago. There were actually 90 candles on the cake with no fire extinguisher in sight. With the help of a couple of the grandkids, including LargeBoy, he managed to blow out all 90 before the wax became a new layer on his cake. My grandfather is a candy hound and always has plenty in stock, so for his 90th birthday, he received 90 bags of candy. I think that should hold him for a while. It was a very momentous day!

Later that afternoon, and into the evening, PC and I ripped up the carpeting on my stairs. Oh it was gross. The dog hair, cat hair, and all of the dirt just from everyday traffic made this a very gritty and dusty process. With the exception of the staples in the ground, the carpeting is up. The only thing left to do now is to remove the staples, sand, and perhaps re-stain the stairs. The hardwood underneath the landing was beautiful, but the stairs were covered in a coating of goo. Another project for another day.

Throughout the day, the kids were noticing the lack of memorial around the day. So last night, after all was said and done, and SmallBoy was tucked away in bed, the four of us sat down and watched the HBO special "In Memoriam" and remembered. We watched in silence. We shed some tears and relived some of the painful memories of that day....but we refused to forget, only to remember.

There are horrible things going on in our world today - London bombings, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, and so many more, including the things that go on everyday in third world countries unnoticed by the rest of us. Let us always remember those things so that perhaps we can all learn from them and live a better tomorrow. Let us remember those who lost their lives not knowing what was happening, and those who went in to help knowing that there was an enormous chance they would never return. Let us remember their loved ones. Let us also rejoice in the fact that we have survived, that the sky is still blue and that the sun still rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Let us remember to love each other and to keep living until we have lived all that we can - 90 would be nice, like my Gramp.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Unnecessary MommyGuilt...but MommyGuilt, nonetheless

Girl and SmallBoy are sick today. SmallBoy was almost sent home from school yesterday, but PC took over his inhaler to get him through the last three hours. Bad Mommy sent him to school yesterday after having a fever the night before (the school has this rule about no school for 24hrs after a fever), but I popped some acetaminiphin (sp?) in him and sent him on his merry way. Foolish, foolish, woman! When I got home from work last night, I found Girl and SmallBoy miserable, hacking, and losing snot at a rate of 2 kleenex/minute for about an hour and a half. I put SmallBoy to bed early and gave Girl some of the Nighttime-Sniffling-Stuffy Head-Fever-So-You-Can-Rest-Medicine and she finally crashed about 2hours later. Neither of them went to school this morning. Thankfully PC worked nights last night and is home to be with them today, since I only have 4 available sick hours to use.
I should be happy that PC is able to be with them today so I don't have to use my last 4 sick hours (did you ever notice how moms never get to actually use their sick hours when they're sick?). I should be comforted with the knowledge that someone whom I love and trust is with them and genuinely cares about their well being and is familiar enought with SmallBoy's asthma to know what to watch for as the cold works its way through his little body. I am elated that I have that. I'm overjoyed that PC is there with them. He loves them dearly and will take good care of them. I just feel AWFUL that I can't be there. I'm the mama. My mama always took care of me when I was sick. I STILL need to be cuddled, loved, and babied when I'm sick. I need to have my hair rubbed and my back scratched (Scwahtchy, as Girl calls it), to feel better. I need someone to make me soup or jello or whatever I need. PC can do all that, I know. I want to.

Ok, so I suppose this is taking more of a selfish turn instead of a MommyGuilt turn. But I really do feel awful that I have to be here at work instead of at home, where my children need me. Oh, I know, they will be just fine, especially with PC, but there is this huge part of me that just rips apart when I can't be the one there to take care of them, to do the Scwatchy, to pick up the snot rags (ok, so that's not my favorite part), to watch The Sound of Music all afternoon while trying to get them to rest their head on my lap, so they will - maybe - sleep. Even LargeBoy likes to be taken care of when he's sick - most of the time. I suppose I should get used to not being able to be with them, though, when they're sick. Someday they will grow up and leave the nest and if I keep on them, I will turn into the mother (and MIL) from HELL. Don't want that title at all.

LargeBoy is Definitely My Child

Not like there was ever any doubt, I carried him for 9 1/2mos, chose a c-section as opposed to a breach baby for my first child...oh yes, he IS mine! What I am getting at here is that he is finally turning into a music loving, goofing around, air guitar and drums, dancing like a dork kind of person! We were in his room two nights ago while PC & SmallBoy were battling each other on their favorite video game, Star Wars Battlefront, and LargeBoy was playing a song for me that he was considering using for his film class music video project. It was hysterical to watch him break out playing his air guitar, smiling, laughing, completely unabashed at having his mother, brother, and step-dad as an audience and then started I dance when I'm performing or listening to music; dancing the way I do when Girl looks at me and says, "Uh,!" That's her way of saying, "Uh,'re a mom and you're not supposed to be dancing like that and, furthermore, you're embarrassing me."

This LargeBoy of mine has got the musical ear that we've all inherited from my family, he's got the creativity of George Lucas when it comes to film, and just enough dorkiness to have fun! I LOVE it...and at almost 15 years old, too! How many teenagers will act like that in front of their family, let alone admit that they KNOW their family. I am truly lucky.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Commenting Lesson

I have gotten so tired of deleting spam comments from my site that I followed in the blogsteps of Julie (thanks - you're a peach!) and added a fun little feature to the comments. It's just a matter of writing the word that you see in the box below it. You'll love it, trust me! You'll also notice a new format for my comments. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

For Kicks & Giggles

Thanks to Julie at It's a Trip for this great idea. Now you're all going to be able to figure out how old I am by the music. Go to this site, scroll down until you find Top 100 Songs and then pick the year you graduated high school. This is a list of the top 100 songs from the year I graduated (like I was going to mention the year...). The ones I liked are in bold and the ones I didn't even know are in red. Trust me, you'll find this very interesting.

1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles

2. Alone, Heart

3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott

4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston

5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship (gag me!)

6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil

7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake (ok, ok, so I liked it...sue me)

8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range

9. Shakedown, Bob Seger

10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi (I have to explain to my kids WHY I know the "oo-ay-oo-ay-oo-oo-oo part when they look at me like I'm crazy..and then explain that everyone who knew that song knows that part too, not just me)

11. La Bamba, Los Lobos

12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung (Who can forget Frasier Crane's version)

13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House

14. Always, Atlantic Starr

15. With Or Without You, U2

16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley

17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany (liked the SONG, not the artist - Beatles all the way)

19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol (makes me crazy now)

20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters

21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh (an old boyfriend actually made this my song)

22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston

23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2

24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael

25. Notorious, Duran Duran

26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson

27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant

29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau

30. Open Your Heart, Madonna

31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew

33. Heart And Soul, T'pau (does anyone know what that means? T'pau?)

34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde

35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites

36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael

37. Control, Janet Jackson

38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram

39. U Got The Look, Prince (Now I really feel old, I work out to this)

40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis

41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News

42. Who's That Girl, Madonna (are you kidding...this is madonna we're talking about)

43. You Got It All, Jets

44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox

45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett

46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna

47. In Too Deep, Genesis

48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson

49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News

50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago

51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac

52. Luka, Suzanne Vega (Just a sad, sad song)

53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama

54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx

55. Songbird, Kenny G

56. Carrie, Europe

57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System

58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna

59. Bad, Michael Jackson

60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince

61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper

62. Come Go With Me, Expose

63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill

64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol

65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range

66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister

67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King

68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis

69. Someday, Glass Tiger

70. When Smokey Sings, ABC

71. Casanova, Levert

72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine

73. Rock Steady, Whispers

74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi

75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel

76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood

77. Let Me Be The One, Expose

78. Is This Love, Survivor

79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert

80. Point Of No Return, Expose

81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac

82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm

83. Something So Strong, Crowded House

84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams

85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros

86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen

87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson

88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart

89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis

90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets

91. Victory, Kool and The Gang

92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders

93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News

94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club

95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie

96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins (God I LOVED Top Gun)

97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew

98. (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys

99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo

100. Love You Down, Ready For The World

For Milly & FIL

Thank you so much for making it possible for us to head up to PPCC this weekend. It was truly wonderful. The kids were so excited that they now have this wonderful place in their family. They even did work and cleaned up after themselves...I was floored. They loved exploring the park and look so forward to making friends up there. They actually said that they would be willing to do their housework in order to get up to Michigan as much as possible...can you believe that???????? So then I said to them that they would also have to do work while at the cottage and they were absolutely fine with that! I was floored! What a power that place has. It's truly a blessing to have something like that in our family. Thanks again for helping us manipulate the timing this weekend. We'd have loved to stay until yesterday, but we had thousands of things to do!!!!

Monday Again...oh Wait! It's TUESDAY!!!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all were able to take Labor Day to rest (ha ha) or to do whatever Labors were non-office related. My overseas readers, is Labor Day celebrated outside of the states? I don't think so. In that case, Happy Tuesday for getting through Monday!

We labored yesterday, but it was worth it. PC and I tackled our bedroom which had seemingly overnight turned into a walk-in closet/pantry/video library/filing system (I use the word "system" very very loosely). SmallBoy also worked on his room to get it ready for the "BIG BOY" makeover. Now that he's just weeks shy of 9, he and I decided it was time to lose the little boy theme and go for the big kid look. He worked hard, well, sort of, all day with a lot of prompting and nudging from PC & myself, and a bit of help from his brother and sister. Before I delve into that, though, let me brief you on our weekend.

As I had mentioned the other day, we all planned on crashing early on Friday in order to be awake by 5:30 Saturday morning for our trip to Michigan. Well, some of us crashed early (SmallBoy, LargeBoy) and some of us didn't (Girl, us). We all managed, though to be up in the morning. SmallBoy, PC & I got up at 5:30. Girl and LargeBoy were up at 5:00. I was shocked! They were excited, though. LargeBoy had recently been to the cottage and knew what absolute fun was in store and Girl, never having been there, was chomping at the bit to see what all the hype was about. SmallBoy got up as soon as his alarm went off...he's been dying to get up there, too, after listening to all of us talk about it.

We piled into the care at about 6:15, stopped for a box of munchkins and coffee, and headed out. It was a long drive, but there was minimal traffic. Even through the blasted construction for which this state is notorious, the only times we slowed were at the toll booths. The scenery, once was got out of the construction state, was incredible. As we crossed the border into Michigan, we began to see what was left of Hurricane Katrina. As she headed east across land, she sent some storms through the state earlier and was finally fading, looking simply like the remains of a summer storm, only the clouds were MUCH lower and it was clearly visible the circular pattern of the clouds. We remarked at how something that now looked so harmless could have inflicted so much damage on the Gulf just days before.

Stopping part of the way there for a stretch break and a potty break, we still made great time and were pulling up to the cottage within about 2 1/2 hours - probably less. The kids were enthralled by the surroundings...the unending trees give a sense of living out in the woods. After we unpacked the car, we grabbed ET, SIL, and Princess, who had come up the night before, and walked through the grounds to the dunes. Bear in mind these are not your average dunes. The first one we climbed seemed to go on forever. I was a little worried about SmallBoy, but he kept up with me and little by little, we made it to the top. My legs were already starting to feel the workout. Reaching the height of the dune, PC showed the kids the breathtaking view of the park and the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan. They gawked, sighed, and took off racing down the dune! We warned SmallBoy to make sure that if he fell, to close his mouth and his eyes. Well, he fell and came up with a face full of sand. He got right back up in time to watch Princess come tumbling down, almost in a flip, and land right on her face! We gave her a "10" for the grace and form of the fall. We finished the large dune and hiked over to the small Sugar Bowl dune and took off down that one. After telling the kids to be careful where they ran and to watch out for sticks, branches and roots, I snagged my foot on a very large root sticking out of the sand. As I felt it hit, I realized I had two choices, rip my foot out from underneath and scrape the skin off the top, or continue running, fall, and more than likely break my ankle. I opted to scrape off the top layer of skin. If you've been following my blog, you see that I have been accident prone lately.

Dunes behind us, we took the scenic route back to the cottage...along the beach. SmallBoy, not having much experience with large bodies of water, hadn't the slightest idea of the strength of the waves breaking on the shore. PC, ET, and I had all talked to him and told him that he needed to be extra careful and to not walk too far in while we were walking along the shoreling. Of course he didn't listen, he was too taken by the lake to even comprehend what we told him. With my hand around his, though, we all made it safely back. Once back at the cottage, the kids all asked if we could head back to the beach to go swimming. Absolutely! Everyone changed, we packed up a cooler, grabbed some towels and chairs and walked right back down. This time we took a shorter route that meant following trails. LargeBoy and Girl loved it. SmallBoy enjoyed it, too, but wanted to be first. Not knowing where he was going, or the trails at all, we had to convince him that he needed to hang back and follow our leads.

You'd think, after hiking to and over the dunes, and walking back along the beach, fighting the waves, that the kids would have been exhausted. I think they probably were, but no way were they going to admit it. SIL and I hung on the beach while the kids (yes, that includes PC & ET) headed into the water. They went out to the sandbar and were diving off the edge where it dropped off into deeper water. I have to mention something that I though was absolutely adorable. As I was laying on the beach frying, I heard PC and SmallBoy calling my name. As I looked up, I saw PC holding SmallBoy in his arms and then tossing him into the lake. They did this over and over with both of them laughing each time. It made me feel good to see more of this bonding between them.

With cries of "I'm hungry," coming from the small fries, we abandoned our stuff and walked over to the soda bar for some chow, pigged out, and walked back to the beach where we passed a few more hours. Finally we headed for home and started to think about dinner. PC & ET headed into town for wood for the beachfire while SIL, Girl, and I tried to persuade SmallBoy and Princess to snooze for a bit. Ha! A short while later we filled our bellies on BBQ- chicken, slathered in ET's blueberry BBQ sauce (OH YUM!) and hot dogs. There wasn't enough room for all of us to eat at the dining room table, so we let the kids eat inside while we grown ups ate outside on the porch. Terribly relaxing.

Afternoon faded into evening and we packed up to head back to the beach...this time with warm clothes and firewood instead of bathing suits and chairs. PC, ET, and LargeBoy got the fire going and then we all kicked back to watch the sunset. The purples and oranges reflected over the lake were incredible. The kids had seen sunsets before, but nothing of this magnitude. They were in awe as the sun slipped below the horizon and seemed to have been swallowed up by the lake, as there was still a glimmer of red-orange glow on the water after the sun had set. Nightfall had set in and it was time to concentrate on the fire.

Beach fires are a LOT of fun. This time, though, I was there as a parent instead of as a participant. I constantly had one eye on SmallBoy so that he would be safe near the water. Girl and LargeBoy settled in quite nicely. SmallBoy was all about roasting marshmallows. ET had to guide him through the proper procedure, but he wasn't interested - he wanted to do it himself (a characteristic of AS). After a while, SmallBoy tired and fell asleep on the mat that we had brought down. We set him far enough from the fire where he was out of the jumping range of the sparks, yet close enough to be wrapped in its warmth. We covered him with a sleeping bag and let him sleep. Princess curled up in SIL's lap and did the same. We were joined by a group of people from St. Louis and chatted for a while. At one point I did my typical mom move and dozed off in my chair. I'm not sure how long I was out, but once I woke up, I realized I had to take SmallBoy back to the cottage and get him into bed. This is when being the parent really kicked in. I wasn't about to make LargeBoy and Girl end their evening, it was only 11:30, for pete's sakes! I really really really wanted to stay, but I needed to take care of SmallBoy. So, PC and LargeBoy went back with me to tuck him in (thankfully we hitched a ride on a golf cart). PC & LargeBoy then went back and hung out and had fun. It's good for them to bond like this! Girl and SIL were like sisters all night, too. We did some girl bonding too...the outdoors-y kind. Once back at the cottage, though, I spent all of ten minutes moping to myself about how I still wanted to be down on the beach until reality kicked in and said, "Um, HELLOOOOOOOo...more often than not, you're going to be up here without the kids, so suck it up and...ZzzzzzzzZzzzzZzzzzzz...."

We left the next day, headed home and went to the concert. I must say Jimmy Buffett was awesome. I've seen him 11 out of the last 15yrs and he never fails to impress me. He wore a New Orleans shirt to make sure that we all remembered our neighbors and family struggling to get by and, at the end, went out to the bleachers with his guitar player, Mac Macanally, and played acoutstically "The City of New Orleans" while showing shots of Bourbon St and the rest of the city. It brought most of us to tears, but it was amazing, nonetheless. The show was unbelievable, though!

Ahhh, back to Monday. We all slept in late...would you expect any less...and then dove headfirst into our room cleaning project. After nosefulls of dust and dirt, struggling to clean against my sunburned stomach, and still being exhausted from the weekend, the room was conquered and so was SmallBoy's! We ate dinner, packed up for school (punted on a paper that LargeBoy had since Thursday and a printer that didn't work), put SmallBoy to bed, and sat down with a movie, during which I did my usual...fell asleep. And here we are. It's Tuesday. One day closer to Friday!!!!!!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Surviving First Week of School

It's Friday (Thank GOD!). The children have all finished a week of school and everyone's still standing. Not necessarily a sign of things to come, though. I mean, come on, this week was the "fun" week, the I-can't-wait-to-see-my-friends week, the easy-cuz-it's-all-review week....Nevertheless, it was as good a week as one can hope for when getting back into the structure of the school schedule. We had a few glitches and still have a few things to hammer out, and I'm hoping to catch them now before the glitches deteriorate into the school insanity and I begin pulling my hair out looking forward to the holiday break when we are temporarily relieved of the schedule - sort of.

Monday was a nice easy day. Two hours of school on the first day, and Girl and SmallBoy were done. Piece of cake. Only thing difficult that day was making sure that Girl had taken off her nail polish so she wouldn't get busted by the "uniform police". Tuesday - easy enough. Everyone was up, dressed, and ready to roll. Lunches were made the night before and remembered in the out-the-door run. Wednesday. Ha! I knew it had to start sooner or later and Wednesday was the day. LargeBoy still gets a ride from me in the morning. I know, I said I'd make him take the bus, but it's literally 4 blocks from my office, so it's on my way and then I know he got to school on time. Wednesday morning, I rolled out of bed at my usual time, still not adjusted to the fact that I lose 20minutes of prep time making sure that the children are all up. SmallBoy was sleeping, and I heard noises downstairs, so I assumed that the first floor crew of Girl and LargeBoy was up. I continued my morning routine and made it downstairs about 5 minutes earlier than usual. Thankfully I was running early, cuz LargeBoy was not up yet...still blowing Zzzzzzs downstairs in his room.

"Uh, LargeBoy..."


"LargeBoy. It's time to leave. Are you planning on getting up sometime soon?"

"Frmfkzll...pfflll...Huh? What? CRAP! Hold on."

Fortunately, LargeBoy had been diligent in collecting his things for the day and we were able to get out the door on time. That's the beauty of boys. They roll out of bed, throw on a shirt and pants and, aside from the lack of consciousness, they're ready to go. He got to school and I got to work on time. Mission accomplished. Wednesday night, "LargeBoy, set your alarm."

"Yeah, Mom. I will."

"Ok. Well do me a favor and come upstairs when you get up so that I know you're awake."


Morning comes and this time I woke up five minutes before we had to leave. Thank God for ponytails. I still had to wake up SmallBoy, who decided then that he wanted to wear the pants that were too short because they fit better at the waist than his other pants. Oh, wait...wasn't LargeBoy supposed to come up and let me know when he woke up? CRAP! Yup, so I had had to run down the stairs, losing another precious 30seconds. Thankfully, he was up and dressed and in the kitchen. Last night the conversation went a little like this, "LargeBoy, set your alarm."

"Yeah, Mom. I will."

"Ok. Well, do me a favor and come upstairs when you get up to make sure I'm awake."


SOOOOOO.....I dragged myself out of bed on time this morning, woke up SmallBoy, and managed to be ready to go right on time today. As I walked down the stairs I heard an all too familiar sound. Nothing. Silence. Quietude. Oh that was a bad thing. Not only was LargeBoy asleep still, but Girl was out cold. She is ALWAYS up and getting ready with her music on. She's almost always completely ready to go well before I am. Hmmm (Meem, that was for you..tee heee). Run around run around. "LARGEBOY!!!!!! GET UP!!!!!! TIME TO GO!!!!!!"



He did it. Came up the stairs not two minutes later completely dressed, backpack in hand, shoes on - and on the right feet too, mind you, and we were out the door.

Tonight everyone is in bed early. We're talking 8:00. Obviously we're tired, but tomorrow morning we're Michigan bound at 6:00am...latest! We're back early Sunday so that PC and I can make the Jimmy Buffett concert by 6pm. CAN'T WAIT!

Other than the Wakin' Up Blues, we had a pretty decent first week. No one forgot their keys, LargeBoy only forgot his ID once, no lunches were left behind, and SmallBoy thought he had forgotten his homework folder, but as he discovered that night, it had camouflaged itself in his backpack (note to self: change folder to different color than backpack - preferably something BRIGHT), sports schedules were worked out between the siblings and all has gone well. I will be shocked - in a good way - if next week goes this smoothly. Now that the novelty has worn off, I think things will change. I'd love to hear your first week of school stories.