Friday, December 30, 2005

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am looking forward to the prospect of a new year and a fresh slate. '05 was, to say the least, eventful. I'm sure we'd all say the same, respective to each of our lives.

For our family, 2005 was a fresh start. We began the year, from minute one, as a brand new family. PC and I were married on New Year's Eve '04 and since then our lives have moved and grown. The children have grown to adore him and see him as both a friend and someone to respect as an authority figure in our home. I have completely enjoyed watching as each of my children formed their own unique bonds with him.

2005 brought me a couple of milestones to make me feel old. In June, LargeBoy graduated from 8th grade. He has been at the same school since Kdg, so this was a HUGE deal for us. All of the kids that we've watched since they were toothless and crying for mommy at the door were GRADUATING, finally moving on to a new school, some to different schools than the rest. I swear, LargeBoy will never ever wear a light blue oxford shirt ever again. Then, in August, he started High school. Yeah, so now I have a child in high school....GOD!!!!!!!!! Second big event that made me feel old was when, in October, Girl turned 13. Not only do I now have a high school student, but TWO of my three children are now teenagers. YIKES. Girl will be in 8th grade in September of '06, and then on to high school with her. LORD, I'm not ready for this!!!

HUGE year for SmallBoy. The Diagnosis. The Frustration. The Knowledge. The Friends. The Breakthroughs. We have found wonderful resources to help our wonderful teachers. We've begun a system with a therapist to help him learn new coping strategies. We are experimenting with visual cues and lists. Still difficulties with his father not understanding Asperger's (or as he says, "AWSBURGERS"), but that will come, hopefully. I told you about the surprise room cleaning, right? Well, yesterday, we were getting ready to do something or other and he was on the computer. I asked him to please log off and close up and HE DID! No arguments, no, "but...but...but...."It was fabulous. I told him how wonderful it was that two days in a row did he do something the first time we talked about it and with no complaints. I told him how very proud I was. Then, when PC dropped of Girl & LargeBoy at their evening things, he stopped and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough for us to share, but primarily for SmallBoy. He explained, hey, you did something really awesome and for that, we've got this ice cream just for the three of us.

Now, the year is drawing to an end and it's time to bring out the party hats, silly string, poppers, blowers, tiaras, whistles, pots & pans, champagne, etc...(tiaras are mandatory at our house). The kids are excited and we are looking forward to the promise that 2006 holds. Further growth for SmallBoy, LargeBoy turning 16 and driving (OH GOD - a whole new set of things to worry about), Girl getting ready to head into 8th grade, a whole lot of unknowns - which can be scary, but we're ready for them. I think that with all we have gone through so far, there isn't much that '06 can bring that we won't have the strength to tackle (of course, I don't want to jinx us), but I say BRING IT ON!!!!!

Tomorrow night we will celebrate our first anniversary with a few good friends (all who live within walking distance) and our children (and a few of their good friends). PC and I are going downtown to a restaurant that is supposed to be phenomenal, I've never been to, and is closing at the end of February. That will be the time that WE will celebrate with each other (besides, the el is only charging a penny on New Year's!) Home again after that and it's up til dawn with our friends. I think I will wear my tiara (from our wedding) when we go out for dinner (yeah, that one in the picture). I can do that, right? It's New Year's Eve!

So I wish to all of you: Strength, hope, love, ALL GOOD THINGS, faith, and health in 2006!!!!!!!! In case I don't get to write tomorrow: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Almost Done Christmas-ing

Last night was the celebration with my father. I gotta tell ya, I SCORED! I got to hang with both of my sisters, AND, I got a cordless microphone to use with the band!

It was really nice. SmallBoy got one of those Zero Gravity HUM-Vs and is having MAJOR anticipation of playing with it. The battery needed to charge at least 4 hours before it would be ready, and to charge no more than 12, but the directions said to check it in the first 30mins, presumably to make sure that it is, in fact, charging. Once SmallBoy found that the battery was "charged" after 30mins, he was certain that he could play with it then. He had a very difficult time understanding why he could not play with it after the first 30 minutes because, from what he saw, the battery was clearly charged and, therefore, ready to be used. He got a little frustrated, but I was finally able to explain it to him. It's so hard when you're a kid and you get a new toy and can't play with it right away, but when you have Asperger's, that just makes it even more difficult to handle. He did ok, though.

OH WAIT!!! I have to tell you what my children did yesterday! I was FLOORED! As I mentioned in a previous post, yesterday was a major rush once I got home from work in order to get Girl to her babysitting job and the house clean for Christmas-ing. I had forgotten, in all the hub-bub, that PC had called me at work earlier in the day and told me that SmallBoy had CLEANED HIS ROOM!!!!! When I got home and went upstairs, I was even more surprised to find that not only had he cleaned his room, but that he had laid his rug back out. I was totally taken aback. He and I had discussed on Tuesday night that in order for him to get the guitar lessons that he and PC had talked about (from PC), that he would need to get his room clean so we can bring in the dresser that's been in the garage for a year. I didn't remind him again on Wed...never spoke a word about it after our Tuesday night going to bed conversation. So, WOW - I mean, this was HUGE!!! I just really didn't know what to say. I told him how proud I was, especially that he did such a great job without being reminded...and he really did a great job. It wasn't as thorough as if I'd been there to supervise, but it was fantastic!

After I had recovered from that, and from our 4th Christmas celebration, the band had rehearsal and I was able to try out my new mic (works great, btw). We had a band meeting afterwards and didn't get back home until almost 2:00am. I wasn't surprised at all to find LargeBoy & Girl still awake, I mean, it's Christmas break, they're teenagers with hours upon hours of DVD to watch. I was surprised, however, when LargeBoy called me downstairs and I found that he had done - AND FOLDED - laundry. This was amazing! For the most part, LargeBoy does his own laundry anyway, especially since his bedroom is connected to the laundry room.

We've been having an issue with our cats being a little upset that there is a river between the entrance to the laundry room and their litterbox. They tend to express their discontent by using the laundry pile instead of the litterbox - because they don't have get across the river - really, it makes perfect sense, it's not their fault. Needless to say, the "aroma" lingers in his room and works its way through the duct work and into the rest of the house. It's yucky. LargeBoy, being the sweet child that he is, took it upon himself to help dwindle that pile! Of course, this meant that at 1:30/2:00 in the morning, we were putting laundry away before going to bed, but it got A LOT done. Brilliant children!!!!! LOVE THEM!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Secrets of the Divine "Ma-Ma" Sisterhood

I just got back from visiting Irish. She has the most incredible post about the "sorority" to which all of us mothers of special needs children belong. It is wonderful and a great tribute to the sisterhood which we all share. Please stop by and read it. It is very moving. I know you will all enjoy it.

New Kid!!!

Hi all! I want to introduce you to the "new kid in class". Pop on in and say hi to Karen at Pseudo-Supermum. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland with her 3 boys and husband, SuperSpouse. They've recently put their wall heaters back together, and she has become Queen of Superglue and something else that I can't remember, but liken it to superglue! Go on- stop in - say hi! You'll love her!


I have now thrown the rest of the week into total chaos simply by thinking that our Christmas with my Dad and KR was tomorrow. UGH! Panic Shopped last night and got everything done, but I'm not pleased with anything that I bought, except what I got for my Chica, because there wasn't much time to put any thought into gifts (well, there WAS, I just procrastinated too long).

Originally, LargeBoy was going to have to miss the fun due to a reunion of all of his 8th grade classmates. After they graduated, they all went their separate ways to different high schools. A couple families got together and organized a "reunion" for them over break. Cool, huh? That is tomorrow night. Ok, I thought, no biggie. He won't be heartbroken if he misses Christmas as long as he gets his presents (sounds totally greedy, doesn't it), but that was scheduled before our evening was.

NOW, that this shindig is tonight, Girl is going to miss it - she has a babysitting job from 6 - 8:30 or so. This wouldn't normally be a big deal, but Girl and KR haven't seen each other since the end of July when KR was last in town. I'm hoping that maybe I can convince Dad to let KR stay over Thursday night....think so, Dad?????? I think it would be fun!

Wait, the confusion gets better. Thinking that our get together was Thursday night, I scheduled our rehearsal with the band for tonight, as it was our "only free night" this week. HA! So NOW, it's rush rush home from work, hurry up and clean the house, freshen up, order food, cuz party's at 6 and rehearsal is at 8:30! YIKES. And rehearsal is a MUST! (btw, that's PC in the orange shirt with the guitar).

Even with having Monday off, I feel like I haven't seen my kids this week hardly at all. Monday we ran around to the after-sales, cleaned the house, and vegged out. Yesterday was back to work and then rush rush panic shopping. Today, work, then, "hi kids, let's open presents," followed by, "Bye kids, mom & PC have to rush off to rehearsal." GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN!

Will my head stop spinning? I think next year, I will plan my vacation time around Christmas break. I would have this year, but for our anniversary present to each other, we bought tickets to see the Rolling Stones in January. Since the concert falls on a Wednesday, I used my vacation time to take the rest of that week off, so that we can sort of have a little retreat - even if it's just at home.

Now that I'm done complaining about the hectic schedule I leave, I want to take a serious moment. I know that I have asked you all to stop in and visit our friend Rebekah, the sweet little 4 y/o girl with cerebral palsy and a rare form of cancer in her face and neck. You've all been so wonderful with that. Her family posts every day to keep us abreast of what is happening and how her health is. The family's last post was on Monday when they were heading off to take Rebekah to the hospital and they haven't posted again since. I'm a bit troubled and worried. If you could stop in an offer your prayers or support, I'm certain the family would appreciate it. Thanks everyone. I'm going to get back to work now...oh wait, I'm done and it's only 9:30 - whatever shall I do until 5???

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

3 Down, 2 To Go

Back to work today. God, did that suck getting out of bed this morning! UGH. Yesterday PC and I went out and spent one of his gift cards - I LOVE after Christmas sales! I found something for my half sis, KR. Just have to finish up Mom, Chica, Dad & B.

We did a very low key Christmas thing this year, even though we are still not done. Christmas Eve, Girl and I sang at 6:00 mass and then headed over to Meem & FIL's with the boys for Christmas Eve dinner. This year, we did fondue. SmallBoy thought it was just the coolest thing to be able to cook his own food. He dipped the beef tenderloin and LOVED IT! Wait, it gets better.....the other alternative was shrimp. He tried it. HE LIKED IT! I was just floored. Perhaps it was because no one told him that he HAD to try it, that he thought it interesting, saw others enjoying it and figured, what the hell, why not?!

Sunday morning we got up, did our unwrapping and sharing and snarfed down some Pilsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls (those are SO EVIL!). PC remembered that I had talked about all of the loose pictures that I have from my trip to Italy in 2001, so he found the most exquisite, leather bound photo album for me to store them in. It's absolutely beautiful. Now, all I have to do is FIND my photos...I think they're in my closet.

Meem got me a Marti necklace!!!!!! I'd show you the pic, but I got the one in the picture, so it's all gone. This one is similar, though, as it was my back up in case she had already sold the one I wanted. You'd love it, though! Go over and check out her pottery site and you'll see what I mean about how awesome her work is.

SmallBoy did great with our weird schedule. He and I sat down on Thursday evening and just took a piece of paper and wrote three columns on it: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We wrote down exactly what was planned for each day and a rough time frame for each. I taught him about "ish" time which turned out to be a HUGE help. In the spots where he was going to be with his dad, we left the boxes blank. I told him to fill those in with his dad. I also told him that some of the things might change because schedules get so hectic at the holidays. He LOVED it! He even sat through Christmas Eve mass and behaved! The boys sat separate from Girl (she sat in the loft with the choir) and me (I sat in the front of the church as I had to sing the mass parts and lead the congregation). At one point I looked over and I saw LargeBoy and I saw the woman on the other side of SmallBoy, and they were both looking at SmallBoy (whom I could not see). I was up singing in front of the whole church trying desperately to figure out if something was wrong. It turns out that the woman next to him couldn't get over how well he was behaving and was telling him about what a good boy he was. It was really cute to look over during another part of mass and see him just singing away.

I think until I get totally organized, I will keep this "ish" schedule going. It helped him to see and be able to visualize what was going on, where things MIGHT change, and what was definite. He was able to bring the schedule with him to his dad's and didn't even lose it!

So, today is back into our regular routine - ok, MY regular routine, except that I only had to wake PC this morning instead of everyone. Tonight, more Christmas shopping because I still have 2 more Christmases to go - one tomorrow with Dad (which I thought was Thursday, so now I'm panic shopping), and one on Friday with Mom. Then Saturday is New Year's Eve and mine & PC's 1st annivesary! YEA!!!!!!!! Did you all survive? How are the kids faring? How are the Hanukkah celebrations ( I think it's cool that everything started together this year)? OH!!!!!!!! And please stop in and see Griffin's Mom. She is home and excited to be with Griffin again and most anxious to hear from everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy/Merry Everything - ChristmaHanuKwanzikah

Ok, because I'm totally overloaded on Political Correctness in general, and especially the whole holiday correctness, I want to wish everyone a Happy/Merry Everything. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah (I KNOW I spelled that wrong, sorry), or Kwanzaa, this is a very special season for almost all of us. We celebrate Christ, light, family - all in all, whatever the holiday, we are celebrating miracles. In truth, regardless of religious affiliation, I believe that we are all each others' miracles.

I started this blog, good grief, back in March or April. In just these last 8 or 9 months, I have met some wonderful people and children who are most certainly miracles. We all celebrate each other. We cheer our success stories, pray for miracles when others need them most, and have formed our own "family". Isn't that wonderful? We can celebrate THAT together. We may not share the same year end holidays, but we can celebrate being our own family of miracles together.

I'm fairly certain that the next few days of "out of routine" is going to be incredibly taxing and difficult, especially for those of us with kids on the spectrum. SmallBoy and I sat down and made a schedule for the really messed up days coming up. For the times that we didn't really know what was going on and when, we left the time blank. I taught him about "ish"-time. He thought that was rather hilarious. We wrote in where things were 99%, "this may change", so that even if it seemed absolutely positive that what was on his schedule was going to happen, there was still room to expect change.

I know that despite the planning, the explaining, the flexibility, things will still be difficult. Even the most scheduled and routine day will still end up in exhaustion for parents and kids. Exhausted ASD kids. Can I tell you though, God, it's so worth it! My kids were with Ex last Christmas morning - our first in our new house, so I didn't get to see their faces. This year, even though Christmas Eve is going to be crazy and Christmas Day is going to be hectic, we will all be having our first Christmas as a family, a new family, together in this house. Despite all of the stress, and all of the upset of routine, that moment alone will be worth it. I will be in MY home with MY children and MY husband. At that moment, nothing else matters except that gratitude that I have for all of my blessings.

So whatever holiday you celebrate, no matter who you celebrate with, or where, expect and accept that our kids will be pooped, that we will be just totally wiped out - - - and LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Happy/Merry Everything to all of you! Tell me what your plans are. I'd love to hear them...whatever you celebrate!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Hi everyone! I'm still alive! We've had a crazy few days finished off by a sick mommy with stomach flu (oh yes, that was fun!) Between basketball, Cub Scouts, cookie day, sled hills, weddings, singing at wonder I was wiped out. Oh could I forget Christmas shopping!

Let me recap what I can remember: SmallBoy's Cub Scout troop took a trip to the police station on Saturday. I think SmallBoy's favorite part of this was that his friend, P. carpooled with us and was at our house for an hour or two before we left until an hour or two after we got home. He was thrilled with the idea of having a friend over to play (and he played relatively well!) Thankfully, the whole troop didn't make it, cuz these boys were just chaos. The boys got to tour the station, including the 911 call center. THAT was really cool. Nothing came in on the 911 lines, but the operators simulated a call for them so that they could see what really goes on. Then they got to see the squad room - totally reminded me of "Hill Street Blues" (anyone remember that besides me?). They thought that the WANTED posters were really cool...and that it was neat that there really WERE WANTED posters, that they weren't just something out of cartoons and westerns.

At this point, SmallBoy got bored and started stimming. He doesn't do that very often, but when he does, it's very blatant. I went over to him and took him in the hall for a few minutes and he was ok after he had some time to get that out of his system. We rejoined the group on the way to the "Lock Up". Unfortunately, the boys couldn't go in, as they had three people in custody, but they just thought the whole idea of them being in the same place as the bad guys was totally WAY COOL!

After that, Girl and I had to work a wedding, she as the altar server, and me as the cantor/soloist (always nice to make money singing some one's wedding service!). On our way home from that (and it was BEAUTIFUL), Girl had a babysitting interview, so we stopped there for a few minutes. Once we were finally at home, we started making cookie dough for our afternoon of baking with Meem, FIL, and Princess. That was awesome. I got the kids to help roll the dough into balls, had them "watch" the mixer, had them "prepare" ingredients, and then help with the "Post production". We had a great time, truly.

On Sunday, PC took Girl out to do some Christmas shopping. They were gone, probably, a good 6 hours. It was nice for them to have some quality time together - and they had WAY too much fun without me...oh well, I think it's great! She got most of her shopping done, and then LargeBoy and PC went out yesterday. I'm almost done, but I still have to find something else for PC (and manage to get it before Christmas). I HAD the perfect gift for him....a DVD that he has been looking for FOREVER! I found it online at Amazon, ordered it, and was beaming with pride. Well, after the shopping trip with Girl, PC walks in, "Hey Honey! Guess what I FINALLY found?!?!" It was then that I knew. NOT AMUSED! But he didn't know. I've got a couple of ideas, but without physically GOING shopping, I can't get them. GRRRRRRR.

The sickness hit Sunday night and into Monday morning. Out of nowhere. Ok, so my stomach's been acting funky the last couple of weeks, but I just attributed that to all of the crap that I've been eating, and the fact that I've started seriously working out again, giving a HUGE jumpstart to my digestive system. HA! I was wrong. FLU! PC stayed home on Monday and took care of me in my frail condition. I got some major sleep (watching movies - since I ALWAYS sleep during movies), and then slept well that night. I am still exhausted though. I suppose that could just be the ick working its way out.

Made it back into work yesterday and spent the whole day playing catch up. I hate that game, especially when it's tied into trying to finish all the year end stuff. Now, my dear friends, I must play catch up with all of you! If you haven't stopped in by Griffin's mom, please stop by and leave her a note of support. She has checked herself into the hospital to get some help with her bipolar, and is, obviously, away from Griffin. You've all been so sweet sending her your thoughts and support. I know that when she gets home, she'll love to see that we're all still here for her. Also, stop in and see Rebekah and family. They are continually posting on Rebekah's progress and her chemo. They, too, appreciate all of our love, support, and even an "ear" to listen.

P.S. Tina, I can't get at your page anymore. Did you change your address? Even through your comments, I cannot link back. I miss hearing about you & KC!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Group Hug

As I was getting ready to send a big ol' hug out to Griffin's Mom, it occurred to me, that we are one big group hug - all of us bloggers! So here's to all of you from all of us! GROUP HUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005


Thanks to Marti, I went over to discover how much of a nerd I am or am not. Here is the result:
I am nerdier than 18% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

It told me that I am not nerdy, but not necessarily all that cool either. Go figure. They didn't ask me the question about if I was a rock star! How rude!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Let's Continue our "Phenomenal-ness"

Again, I can't say how much I appreciate your support for Griffin's mom. She was overjoyed to hear from all of you!

Last week I told you about an adorable little girl in Oregon with inoperable cancer to her face and neck, Rebekah, and many of you have visited her site. Her family has a site set up to collect donations to help with the mounting medical expenses. I know that we all have our own financial issues to deal with, AND it's the holidays. Wouldn't it be a wonderful holiday gift to Rebekah and her family if we all made a donation, big, small, whatever you can, to help out? I have learned that this group of people has extensive warmth and compassion. Stop on by HelpRebekah and make a donation. I know how appreciative WE would all be if we had people donating to help defray OUR costs, and theirs are SO MUCH greater than ours. Please, help out if you are able. Even if you can't, stop by her blog and lend Mom, Dad, Rebekah, and the rest of the family your ear.

Even better - spread the word. Add Rebekah's Page and Help Rebekah to YOUR blogroll, do a post, tell everyone. Let's get the word out to all of those people that we know have a huge soft spot in their hearts (just like all of you). Let's make it our goal for the new year to give as much exposure to Rebekah and her family as we can.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

YOU Are Phenomenal!!!!!

You GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've just been over visiting Griffin's mom and was floored by the amount of response to her post. Those of you who went there from this reference, those who went on your own, those who shared YOUR stories with her...What an awesome group you are! For those of you who haven't yet made it over, go say hi!

Rivalry of the Red Heads

Tonight, Girl has yet another basketball game. It's against one of her arch rivals. Thankfully, she is squadded for this game. She's terribly excited. We call it the battle of the Reds.

There is this tough little girl on the other team, and she and Girl have been known to get pretty physical on the floor. They're in 7th grade and have been playing since 4th, so they've had plenty of time to build up a "working relationship." This relationship usually involves one, or both, of them, leaving some skin on the floor, or an imprint of a body part in a cheek or rib. The best part is that she LOVES this. She doesn't mind at all the physical part of this. She's a rough and tumble kind of girl.

All this coming from a girl who, when she was two years old, could have passed as "Michelle" from "Full House". Thank GOD she hasn't grown up like Mary Kate and Ashley!

The snow has eased up. We didn't get nearly as much as they had predicted. As a matter of fact, there's hardly anything on the ground, the air temp has warmed up to 31, and we're looking at a rain/sleet mix (I'd rather have snow). Here's to hoping that my sweet little "Be-be goo-wah" (transl: Baby Girl) plays her BUTT off tonight.

Support Mission

Hello my favorite support network. I would like to ask you all to pop over and check in on Griffin's mom today. She's feeling a little down, what with only 3hrs of daylight in Alaska, dealing with her own issues, which I will let you read on her blog, and being woken up at 3:00am last night. I know that we can all relate and support her. I also know that two or three of you out there can probably give her some extra support. Thanks everyone! You are all SO terrific.

By the way, is it snowing by you today?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

THE Christmas Program

The night of the long anticipated school Christmas program has come and gone with much fuss, fanfare, and fun. I wish I had an actual picture from the concert, but this will have to do. This pic is actually from Google, but it is of my church. If you see where the people are standing, behind the altar, that is where the 3rd graders stood, with the orchestra (Girl included) behind them. The second graders were on the steps in front of the altar, and the toothless first graders on the floor in front of them.

What a sight it was to behold. Mom managed to get there before we did and was fortunate enough to not only get rockstar parking, but rockstar seating in the first pew that wasn't reserved (6 pews back). When we arrived, the room was abuzz with the excited energy of the children waiting "patiently" in the pews with their parents until the music teacher called them to assemble.

The program began with the orchestra playing a piece by Mozart called "Sleigh Ride", no not the one we all know, but a great piece nonetheless. They did another number and then the children sang together as a group before doing their "own grade" songs. SmallBoy was SO excited he could hardly contain himself, but he did very well. He sang loud and strong and was very animated (DUH). In some cases, Asperger's shows itself in speech patterns, enunciation, etc....Well, SmallBoy was clearly enunciating (which, in singing is fantastic).

After the kids sang, the orchestra played another piece and then sent forth some ensembles. Girl, and her two friends Rai & Chop (did I get that right?) performed on viola, violin, and cello, "Angels We Have Heard On High". They blew everyone else right out of the water...including the orchestra as a whole. I was SO proud! If it wouldn't have caused her severe embarrassment, I would have stood up in my seat and applauded and yelled, "Hey...that's MY daughter!" She was fantastic!

We looked up, after Girl's ensemble and noticed that SmallBoy was missing from his spot, only to see him coming back from a hot date with the restroom...shirt totally untucked, but he was comfortable, so who was I to complain. He was getting a bit restless at this point and it showed. He sat back down on the stairs, in his place, put his head between his knees and started to rock. He doesn't do that very often, so when he does, I know he's wearing out. BUT, then it was time to sing again. The kids performed a song that I had done in grade school or jr. high called "Pat-a-pan". The refrain includes a line that goes, "Tu ra lu ra luuuuuu...." Well I just about lost it. I looked up and SmallBoy was making the same face that the Peanuts kids did during the "Loo Loo loo" part at the end when they're singing "Hark the Herald Angels" around the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I had tears not streaming, but RUNNING down my face and I was shaking because I was trying not to laugh out loud. People thought I was totally choked up.

The kids did a Mexican Christmas Carol, "Vamos Todos A Belen", of which SmallBoy was particularly fond, probably because he got to sing in Spanish. Remember, now, that SmallBoy is in the last row of ALL the children in the church. When the song finished, he threw his hands up into the air in a victory shake. If I was falling over with laughter and pride before, I was totally on the floor at this point. He was just SO DAMN CUTE, I couldn't stand it. Most parents would have been mortified. To me, however, it was SmallBoy expressing how much he absolutely loved what he was doing. After another song, he took a bow. During the Pat-a-Pan song, he was immitating one of the parts and playing "air flute."

It was a bittersweet concert, as it was his last. Only the first through third graders sing in the show. Girl will have one more year, however, as the orchestra plays every year. She has been in the show every year since first grade, overlapping singing and playing in the orchestra in 3rd grade.

After that, we FLEW to Girl's basketball game (see how insane this is?). We played our own 8th grade team at another school (yes, terribly confusing, it has something to do with all of the leagues we play in). Our girls held their own, Girl did NOT foul out, but they lost in the end. It was a close game, which was great. If it weren't for the school's new rule of squading the girls, we might have won (or if the coach knew how to properly rotate within the squad).
,br>All in all, it was a wonderful night. Mom, Meem, & FIL all came out. It was wonderful to have everyone together. Missed my Chica though (feel better Cheeks. I "heart" you).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Our "Ski Lodge" and Important Lessons About Dogs and Red Wine

Another short weekend has come and gone. Sitting back and reflecting on the weekend leaves me with a couple of fun/interesting memories.

We live about 1/2 block away from a longtime closed, newly re-opened sled hill. Girl has practically been living there after school and all day on the weekends. The girls have been storing their sleds, discs, and toboggans on our front porch instead of schlepping them all the way home and then all the way back to the sled hill every day. This has been a lot of fun for us. A house full of kids coming in to warm up, borrow some of Girl's socks if theirs have soaked through, have hot chocolate, wait for feels very warm, cozy, and comforting.
The kids were with Ex this weekend. Ex picked up the boys at about 5, but Girl and her friends were still at the hill. Not two minutes after ex pulled away from the house (LATE, of course) Girl walked in. She had a friend with her who was just frozen. She had gone to a friend's house right from school and had not brought anything to change into. She had on her coat, hat, etc...but all she had on her legs were the pajama bottoms that she had worn to school under her uniform skirt. Girl gave her something to change into and some hot chocolate to warm up until her mom arrived.
After she left, PC was running to the store, so he took Girl and dropped her at Ex's house. No sooner had they walked out the door did three MORE friends come a-knocking. They didn't have any cell phones on them and needed to call for rides. So, they hung out for a bit and warmed up til their parents arrived. This is really becoming fun, to be perfectly honest.
PC and I had planned a party for Saturday evening with a few friends, so late Saturday morning we set out to the store to get provisions. When we came home, the sleds were gone from the porch ( I thought this rather cute, since the kids are technically with their father this weekend). About an hour later, Girl and several of her friends, and their little brothers, came in doing the snow-walk. PC and I were making cookies and foodstuffs, so the girls came in and helped while the boys watched a movie. It was very nice having Girl and her friends for a few hours while she was supposed to be at her father's....teee heeee teee heee.

FINALLY it was grown up time and our guests were arriving. Well, my hyper dog ( 8 or 9 y/o yellow lab), was in desperate need of a mani/pedicure. SEVERAL of our friends seemed to glom on to the idea of doing her nails that evening. All was going well, but we would have to pet her and play with her after each nail to give her a chance to forget what was going on. I had been in the other room changing the music or something. When I came back in the kitchen, KH & KC were working on the front claws, so I set my wine (beaujolais, of course) down on the kitchen table so that I could assist in calming the spaz---I mean dog. Well, Dog jumped, I moved, arm swung and NAILED the wine glass. I, obviously, got the brunt of it. The back and the front of my khakis were just covered, as was my sweater. KH got some on her sweater, KC got some on her beautiful light silvery-white crepe shirt, the walls, cabinets and stove were splattered, this morning I found MORE in a place I never would have expected. The best, though, was the dog. Picture this furball of a yellow lab with purple streaks across her...almost like zebra stripes. Oh, it was funny.
The lesson learned here bears repeating, even if it is painfully obvious: When clipping a dogs claws, do NOT bring red wine in the room even if you think you're putting it in the safest possible place. My pants have been in the upstairs tub soaking in cold water and Oxy clean since Saturday night. I think tonight they'll be going in the washer. GOD I hope they come clean!!!

Does anyone else have any red wine disasters to share?????

Monday Funny from Meem

Haven't had a really good one like this in a while. I particularly like this one because I think this whole political correctness movement has gone WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too far. Here, have a giggle:

A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk says, "What denomination?"

The woman says, "God help us. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran, 8 Methodists, and 14 Baptists."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rebekah's Page

I just found, through Griffin's mom, a sweet little girl named Rebekah and I urge you all to go visit her page. She just turned 4 and, in addition to having cerebral palsy and other neuro disorders, has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer (Ewing's Sarcoma) in her face and neck. Please stop by her site and visit. She just started another 6 day stint in the hospital for chemo. We are all such wonderful support for each other, let's send our love and prayers to Rebekah and her family also.

Friday, December 09, 2005

New Team SmallBoy Post

I finally got SmallBoy back to the computer. He's been so busy that we just haven't gotten around to blogging lately. Stop by and check it out. He loves to hear from you!

Snow...yep, Just Snow

If you live anywhere in the midwest, then you're likely to see that sight when you look out your window today. It started here at about 2:30 yesterday and stopped somewhere after midnight. They estimated that in some places, the snow was falling at a rate of 1inch/hour.

Girl had two basketball games yesterday and I had to go cantor mass last night for Immaculate Conception (why do holy days always fall on days with bad weather????). Girl's first game was at 5:30 in the town immediately south of mine - so close that I cross one major road from my house and I'm in that town. My plan was to leave work at 4:30 - like I always do, stop at Curves for a quick workout, done by 5:15, and head over to Girl's game and be there before the 5:30 tipoff. The drive from my office to workout takes me all of 2 minutes. Not last night.

I left work at 4:30, but by the time I had made that, normally, 2 minute drive, it had been 20 minutes. There was no way that I could stop, workout, and get to Girl's game on time...and since I could only see the first of the two games, since I had to leave to go to mass, it was more important that I get to the game than it was to work out. I pass on by the work out and finally get to her game at 5:20 (normally a 10min drive). PC met me there and for most of the time, we were the only parents there, besides the coaches. Well, as it turned out, the girls won by forfeit, because the other team couldn't get there through the snow. They ended up splitting the squad and playing a scrimmage game - in which Girl had another beautiful SWOOOOOSH!

I left at 6:30 so that I could get to church on time (normally a 3minute drive). Managed to get there AND park in time. There was only a smattering of people at mass - a combination of all of the dedicated Catholics and those who live within walking distance. It was a nice mass. I got to sing a song I learned in 3rd grade on the "flutophone" (similar to a recorder, only much more annoying).

When I got home, SmallBoy was playing games and LargeBoy was watching a movie. I called inside and had LargeBoy come out and help me with the shovelling as PC & Girl were still at her game (an All-Star game, nonetheless - and I missed it cuz with all the snow, I couldn't get there in time :-(((( ). Still in my work clothes & shoes (lost my boots somewhere), LargeBoy and I stayed out in the snow shovelling and salting until we knew that there was a way in and out of the garage and in and out of the house.

With all of the snow, we were all certain that there would be a snow day today - at least for the kids - my office only closes if there's over 2 feet of snow. No such luck. Kids had school and we were open. Now, all of our companies other midwest locations were closed except ours and the only other Illinois location in a northern suburb. GO FIGURE!!!! One center closed because they had 5 inches of snow. Our Regional headquarters called this morning SHOCKED that we were here. (Our boss was off today, and therefore, we should be open - explain that please, someone?)

. I have enough hours in for the week that I only really have to work for 2more. If I can finish up and get out of here, I'm going to see if I can snag PC and go hit the sled hill!!!

Oh, btw...Girl's All-Star game, from what I heard, was awesome. She did great and her team whomped the other team. She was so happy when she came home with her trophy!!!!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Spreading Infection

Irish infected me with this. I will do it and pass it on to YOU and you and YOU! The task is to give 10 random facts about yourself.

1.) I LOVE my espresso machine.
2). Country girl that I am, I actually own a Def Leppard album
3.) I used to like lima beans when I was a kid (how's that for random?).
4.) I have Reynaud's Syndrome in my index finger and my toes on my right side.
5.) I'm happy that my daughter is the bizzare combination of totally me and totally my polar opposite.
6.) My first recorded song was at the age of 2 or 4 or something (Mom?)...Paul Anka's "Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do". I can't remember if it was the slow version or not. It' s forever archived on an 8-track somewhere.
7.) I still haven't finished college.
9.) I am as old as Sesame Street.
10.) I want to learn to ride horses (and Harleys).

Oh, who to tag.....Sal, Kyra, Felicity, Tina, SullenBunny, Cheryl, Mrs. A, Amy, Roni, Kristina, Eileen, Laura, Marti, Lora, Moi;). Ladies, I know some of you have been tagged already by Irish, but this gives you even more incentive to post it!!!!!! AND...those of you I failed to include in the tag, please feel free to do this. ALL of you, let me know so I can come and see!!

Wednesday Wist...on Thursday

OK, so I'm a little behind this week, but I've been working out again AND getting reading for the holidays. BUT yesterday, I paid attention to the random songs I heard so that I could give them to you today. They weren't necessarily the LAST 5 songs I heard, but I'd say they were pretty random anyway. Here goes: So how do you participate in Wednesday Wist? You take your ipod, winamp, windows media player, mp3 player, itunes player..whatever you use. Put it on shuffle. Grab the first 5 songs and write what that song makes you remember. If it’s a new song…and you can’t relate it to a memory….do you like it? Leave me a comment if you do it on your site and if you don’t have a site, comment what you would leave if you did have one. Oh…and feel free to comment about my songs as well!!!

Funky Town by Pseudo Echo
Won't you take me to
Won't you take me to
Funky town?
Well I talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, talk about it
Talk about talk about talk about movin'
Gotta move on.
This, in itself is funny, because it reminds me of going rollerskating (yes, skating, not blading) in high school. It also brings up the memories of Girl's slumber party last weekend when she and all of her friends costumed themselves up SO hilariously ridiculous and danced around my living room to this. I heard this last night when I was working out at Curves. They tend to play faster, "happy" music and keep the tempo up to speed with a beat that will give you a good heart rate.
Disco Inferno -Earth Wind & Fire
Burn baby burn
Disco Inferno
Yeah, so that's about all of that song that I ever knew and I'm feeling too lazy to look up the rest. Heard that one as I was winding up my workout yesterday. This one reminds me of my dad & my sister. I have some weird memory of my sister, when she was really small, liking this song or something, and my father going out and buying the 45 of it for her...I mean, she was REAL little, like no more than 2yrs old. But that's the image I have stuck in my head for this.
The Chipmunk Song - Alvin & the Chipmunks
Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys & time for cheer
We've been good but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast.
Want a plane that loops the loop
We can hardly stand the wait, please Christmas don't be late.
THIS is my all-time favorite Christmas song. I LOVE the sappy Christmas songs and the religious songs and the classical songs and blah blah, but I LOVE The Chipmunk Song. I just happened to catch it at the right time in the car and it made my day!!!!
Mr. Boombastic - Shaggy
I'm Mr. Boombastic, say me fantastic
Touch me in my back
She says I'm Mr. Ro...mantic
I'm Mr. Boombastic, say me fantastic
Touch me in my back
She says boom boom boom.
I heard this song for the first time last night at karaoke. I had NO CLUE who sang it before I looked it up...makes sense NOW. Anyway, this song has a Jamaican LOVED UP feel to it...The guy who was karaoke-ing it was this tall white Revenge of the Nerds kind of guy (ok, NOT Carradine, but Anthony Edwards). He must have been practicing this song for a while. I swear the whole bar was falling off the stools and wetting their pants. We were laughing so hard...not AT him in fun, but totally WITH him because it was so hilarious it was great!
Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner
Left a good job in the city
Workin' for the man every night and day
But I never lost a minute of sleep
worryin' 'bout the way things might have been
Big Wheels keep on turnin', Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin' (rollin'), Rollin' (rollin'), Rollin' on the river
Really, does it get any better than this? I like the CCR version, but ain't nothin' like Tina!!!!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005



So I did a little research ( and you can too, if you go here), and found out who else was born on Dec. 7:
Tom Waits (1949)
Harry Chapin (1942)
C. Thomas Howell (1966)
Louis Prima (1910)!!!

HEART HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Come Hither Chicago Democrats in My Age Bracket

Go to Roni's blog and get all the info! Christine Cegelis is running for Congress and is someone we'd love to see represent US- what WE want...someone who knows what our generation needs. She's looking out for rising tuition costs, cost - effective health care, and watching our backs in the employment world. There is a fundraiser at John Barleycorn (in Wrigleyville) this Fri. Dec 9. Go to Roni's to get the details.

And a Word About Parking In My Village

My town has a reputation for RIDICULOUS parking rules. I understand that there are probably a bunch of other towns, cities, villages, what have you, also with archaic rules, but I'd like to share with you a bit about our personal story.

In our village, which is just outside of the Windy City, the parking rules state that you may not park on the street outside your home during the hours of 2:00am to 5:00am. This is especially difficult for those in apartments, but that's another rant altogether. The hours seem reasonable for those of us with houses. We have garages, side parking, driveways, etc.

We have a two car garage which is still full of crap that there isn't room for inside the house, therefore, only one car fits in the garage. One car still has to park on the apron of the garage. PC parks there - so close that if I'm on the passenger side, I have to climb out of his side of the car in order to exit. Our lovely parking patrol has, in the past issued him tickets citing that he was on village property. He paid those and then started parking so close to the garage that I'm surprised the car has not fused with the garage door, making sure that no part of the car whatsoever is sticking into the alley, not even by a centimeter; as a matter of fact, the fence on the houses on either side of us come farther out into the alley than his car.

Well now we find out that PC is being issued tickets that we've NEVER seen for being 18 inches into the alley. Now seriously! Don't these people have anything better to do in the middle of the night in subzero temps than to be on the ground with a measuring tape to see how far my husband's car is into the alley? It's ridiculous. They say you can protest, but the village doesn't care. I told PC that perhaps tonight we should take a picture of me trying to get out of the car or with the garage door coming down on top of his car because we're trying to get even further onto our own property.

It really is ridiculous. When, to avoid this, we have parked MY car on the apron outside the garage, I've not been ticketed...and MY car is considerably larger than his...I drive a station wagon - the Family Truckster, the Vista Cruiser, he drives a 4 door Honda Accord. Which do YOU think would be more likely to stick into the alley????????????? How are they justifying ticketing his car when my car is just fine??????? Any explanations?

Let's Talk About Jobs

Now you never heard this from me, but if someone found a job for you, never asked you if you wanted it, told you any details about it, but told those who would be your supervisors that you would be there, you'd be a little taken aback, wouldn't you?

Then if you found out that you would be driving several people to the job and working hours that you didn't expect you'd still be a little p.o.'d, right?

And then, what if you found out that there were other undesirable factors (including, but not limited to the job hours, factors that I cannot go into) that went into this job that you never asked anyone to find for you and never applied for or accepted? You'd be a little more than ticked.

What if, because you opted not to take this job after finding all of the undesirable information, including a horrible schedule (that, when you were FINALLY told that you were starting work on Monday, you'd be working from 11 - 4 or 5, 5 days/wk with enough time to find something better AND to see your wife and kids, when in actuality you'd be working open to close 7 days/wk), that you never asked, applied for, or accepted you got chastized for it?

What if you are helping to care for a child who needs every bit of attention and extra time you can give him? Hell, if I could afford it, I'd quit my job, take all the training classes I could and work with him and devote my time to him! Personally, since I can't do that, even with two incomes, I can use all of the extra help I can get at home. Neither of us can afford to be away from the house until midnight or later 7 days/wk. It takes two of us. It takes more than that, but right now, that's what we're doing.

There are a lot of other things in our house that need help, especially finanically. That doesn't mean, though, that one of us needs to go out and work 12-24hrs/day/7days/wk. It means that we need to find a way to make due until our financial situation gets better.

Now, don't get me wrong, the thought that went into "securing" this job was wonderful, kind, and clearly generous. If all the information were known ahead of time, including that there was this opportunity, and if time had been given, even for an interview to find out about the job, what the hours were, and what was expected, and also about the chaufeurring of staff to and from the job, perhaps all of this could have been avoided and no one would be left feeling like crap about himself right now.

There is enough stress having financial difficulties and having a child whose very services require more money than we'll make (unless the band gets discovered), and a lenghty court battle with Ex to get MORE money from him, that being chastized about not taking a job under these circumstances can really hurt deeply...but you didn't hear this from me.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Weekends Are Entirely Too Short

I'm back! Really, I am. Never went anywhere, just haven't had time to write. Schedules have been crazy, and in my free time (wait, I don't think I had any), I was sleeping.

Girl had a slumber party on Friday night. She really has some great friends. They're all goofs just like she is, no wonder they are all so close. Two particular things stick out in my memory from that: First, they all dressed up like just total I-don't-know-whats and put on Girl's Mix CD. They came out in the living room and danced for us - nothing special, routine, or choreographed...NO, just fun "dork dancing", as they called it. This went on for a couple of hours. We were rolling, wetting our pants, and wiping the tears off of each other's faces - they were hilarious! Now picture 8-10 girls, a giant tub of vanilla fudge swirl ice cream, and a relatively large kitchen table. Nope nope, I didn't say anything about bowls in this picture. The girls were just eating right out of the tub. Oh my God! It was SO funny...the girls just circling around the table, passing around this tub of ice cream. Girl said she didn't want to make any dishes by using bowls, but clearly, I think it was more fun to just do it this way.

SmallBoy desperately wanted this party to be HIS party, but he did pretty ok. The only time he really put up a fight was when it was time to go to bed. ANY child would put up a fight about going to bed when there is still a party going on downstairs.

Saturday was recovery day - sort of. The girls had a basketball game at noon. The girls that weren't playing went home, and we loaded the rest into the car and headed off to the game. Thank GOD the girls have to be there 30mins prior to game time - that left PC and I time to stop at the local convenience store and get some coffee - MUCH NEEDED. The game: Let's to describe word: UGLY! The school has taken to squading the girls now (another rant for another day), and our girls who had an incredible winning season last year, are now struggling to even get on the board. Because of this, the girls are playing twice as hard, not thinking as much when they're on the floor, because they're trying to do whatever they have to in order to win.

First L got hurt - elbow to the chest, which the refs refused to call intentional, then Girl took an elbow to the face - and I don't think there was a foul called on that either, but I think it just sort of happened, not foul-able, sadly. Next Little B got tripped and fell and cracked her head on the floor, thankfully, just a goose egg, no cuts, or concussions, then SS hurt her wrist, L got elbowed in the chest AGAIN...oh it was just sad. Looking at the bench in the middle of the fourth quarter, there were three girls sitting there with ice bags. Girl refused to ice until she had to - when she finally fouled out (she does that a lot this year).

After the game, I went upstairs to lay down with my snuggle pillow - something funky was going on with my stomach (hmm, all the extra food????). Apparently I crashed, cuz I woke up about 3hrs later with PC beside me and a dark sky. Much needed snooze, though, so that was a bonus.

My band played Saturday night. I hate to toot my own horn, but DAMN, did we rock. Hopefully we can get our demo finished FINALLY and get next year booked up. I'd like that a LOT! We tried a song in rehearsal on last week that KC and I had on our original list of songs we wanted to do...way back in 02 or 03 when she and I formed the band. It was never done for a variety of reasons. When we were flipping through a CD looking for a different song, we stumbled across that one, I said, "HEY! I want to do that!" We ran through it a NAILED it at rehearsal and then kicked some butt with it at the gig. That felt awesome.

Yesterday was kind of a blur. Girl and I had to sing at mass in the morning. Got home around 12:30 or so and made breakfast for my guys, Girl was still hanging out with SA - her bestest friend. LargeBoy's buddies showed up at about 2 and they headed over to the sled hill to board down the hill on a skateboard (minus the wheels - yeah, I know, not too smart, but they're teenage boys).

After that, Sunday was gone. Girl had basketball at 3, so she had to be there at 2:45. We dropped her off and ran to Target for Family Socks. (Cheryl's sockmonster has totally invaded my house and eaten ALL of our socks). Then, back to the gym to pick girl up at 3 from basketball (early, mind you) so that she could get to softball practice on time. Dropped her off at softball and went grocery shopping. Picked her up at 6, unloaded groceries, made some frozen pizzas and used the boys (still at my house) to bring in the Christmas tree from the garage.

The tree went up easily. It was the lights that gave us a hassle, but Girl & PC worked tirelessly to fix that problem. By 10, the tree was up and ready to be decorated (that's for tonight). Yeah, day over.

Back at work today...oh joy! How are YOU?