Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Then There Were Three

Sometimes things hit you at odd times.

When Sam finished preschool I was a little sad because he had been there for three years and had made friends with some great kids. All of his teachers were amazing and I loved the families I met there, some of whom I will see next year, some of whom I'll see outside of school, and some of whom I might never see again. But I never had the choke up and get really sad and melancholy moment. After all, I'll be at that school for the next three years, so I'm planning to hold off on tears until Quinn graduates.

There were plenty of times for nostalgia: graduation ceremonies, the last day of school, the after-school party I hosted, the last day of camp... However none of them hit me in any way other than, "Well, on to the next thing."

But today I had to stop by the school to pick something up. I'm the Membership VP, so I have keys and was able to go by when no one but myself and the three guys were there. I deposited them in the indoor playroom, known as the Riding Room, and ran off to get the things I needed. When I came back, they wanted to play awhile, so I let them have a few minutes.

Then it hit me.

Every single morning for the past two years the four of us would sit in that room for ten or fifteen or twenty minutes while we waited for school to start. There were things that only two of us did, or three, but this was something all four of us did every single day. And this was probably the last time the four of us would play in there together.

Next year, Sam will be off having adventures at kindergarten while we while away the time before class starts in the Riding Room.

Next year, in a place where we'd spent so much time as a quartet, we will become a trio.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vacation...Had To Get Away

We took a little trip this weekend to Rehoboth Beach to spend a couple of days with one of Alex's friends from work and his wife. (The friend's wife, not Alex's. Although a lot of my and Alex's problems could be solved with a second wife. As long as I get to be in charge and boss her around.)

Just before we left on Saturday, Sam asked if it was going to be a long drive. After I told him it would be, he asked if I needed to go potty first. Thanks, Sam, I think I've had enough practice at going pee before long car trips. I am 34. But the car trip was actually a lot longer than intended. Our first stop was scheduled. We dropped Cassidy off at her doggy hotel. (They kept referring to her pen as a "suite," something it very much was not. See, in my mind a suite involves a multi-room set-up. And probably less concrete and chainlink than there was in her cage.)

Our second stop was not scheduled. It happened shortly after Jack started vomiting profusely while we were on the beltway. We had just gotten him cleaned up and bought water and crackers for him and were standing outside the car deciding what to do when Quinn started throwing up. Followed shortly thereafter by Sam's barfing. See, remember Chuck E. Cheese? Yeah, they poisoned the family. (Maybe instead of calling poison control for the mosquito repellent, we should have called for the pizza.) Even Alex felt queasy. I, being the only one smart enough to not eat the pizza, was the only one to feel great all day Saturday. (That is, until that night when I was laying in bed with Quinn waiting for him to fall asleep and the boulder that he calls his head came crashing down on my nose. Twenty-four hours later and I still have a headache.)

The purging seemed to make everyone feel better, though, so we soldiered on. Soon enough everyone was happily watching Peter Pan on our minivan DVD player (I know, embarrassing) while Quinn jabbered happily away (Alex: "I can't wait until he grows the little creature in his head that tells him to shut up.") and Alex slowly got more and more upset at the traffic.

And when we finally got there, Sam's understanding of family became clear when, in rapid succession, he asked Alex about his friend: "Does he have kids? Does he have babies? Does he have a grown-up girl?" (No, no, and yes.)

We had a great time. It was a little nerve-wracking to be in a nice, mostly white house with our three little monsters, but our hosts were very wonderful and accommodating. They even had hot dogs, chips, and ice cream ready for dinner. They may not have kids, but they clearly understood kids.

The beach was fantastic. It was thundering at first, so the guys got to explore the boardwalk and go on some kiddie rides and win some funny stuffed animals. Then we went to the beach where, by some miracle, all three of them had a delightful time. Even Quinn, He-Who-Fears-the-Baby-Pool, happily launched himself into the ocean. And Sunday we took them to a pool where they happily cavorted until we forced them to leave.

Vomiting, head-butting, and rain, but a fantastic time!

Friday, July 27, 2007


We had just gotten home from dinner tonight and I was already thinking about the post I was going to write about how Chuck E. Cheese is the 10th circle of hell when Jack sprayed himself in the face with mosquito repellent.

He's okay. Apparently a 5% DEET content in young eyes isn't the worst thing in the world, but the back of the bottle said to flush his eyes out and then call poison control. Fortunately I had the number posted on my fridge. Oh wait, someone took that down. Well, it had a lot of twos, I'll just try dialing all twos. Nope, not that either. Oooh, the internet is my friend. Except the computer isn't on. Okay, I'll look it up on the first page of the phone book. Great, except then I dialed the number wrong. Fine then, I'll look it up again. Fucking finally.

All this, of course, while Jack is screaming at the top of his lungs—NOT because of the DEET, but because of the fact that Alex is holding him down to flush his eye out. Barb, the nice lady at poison control, told me to flush his eye for 5 to 7 minutes then keep an eye (ha, ha) on him to see if it was bothering him, in which case we should contact our doctor.

So then I take a turn with the flushing. And all Jack can do (other than fight with every inch of his surprisingly strong little body) is yell over and over, "Water makes me sad! Water makes me sad!" With a "My eye is all better!" thrown in every once in a while for good measure. Are you aware of how long 5 to 7 minutes is? We got maybe 3 or 4 done.

Thankfully, we weren't woefully unprepared for a real poison emergency, but I did learn something about not being able to remember emergency phone numbers when you need them.

FYI, the number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222. Maybe put it on your refrigerator. With some sort of adhesive.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tips on Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Some background: We have three kids (messy), a dog (tracks mud into the house), and two cats (puke a lot). And we moved into a house with off-white carpet three and a half years ago. And for the past, say, three years, that carpet has looked really, really bad. And since we are fortunate enough to have hardwood floors under at least part of that carpet, it seemed like a good idea to take the carpet up. You might think that, but you'd be wrong.

After I talked Alex into doing this, we discovered that whoever had put down the carpet had either painted carelessly because they knew they were going to put down a carpet, or they had put down a carpet because the floor was covered in white paint splotches. Oops. Sorry, Alex. Maybe your reluctance to pull up the carpet was well-founded. That picture below doesn't show the paint in all its glory.

Consequently we (and by "we," I mean "Alex") decided to refinish the floors by ourselves (himself). Bad idea? You might think so, but you'd be wrong.

That said, onward to the tips:

Tip #1: Have my husband do it for you. I was skeptical. I kinda thought we may not want to do it ourselves. In fact, I kinda thought that if we threw an area rug over the middle of the floor and tried to clean up the edges a little, we'd be okay. Because although Alex has successfully done things like paint rooms and install toilets and garbage disposals, I was a little nervous about this project. I had visions of our new air conditioner breaking when sawdust choked the vents. I had visions of deep divots in our floor. I had visions of me dusting bits of the floor out of the rest of the house for the next year of my life. But Alex, in an apparent bid to live down a careless "No, my husband's not handy" that I said to a neighbor three years ago, stepped up. And you know what? My husband's handy.

Tip #2: Ignore the nay-sayers. You really can do it. We went to a party the day the sanding was to start, and nearly everyone there seemed to think it was a bad idea. People I think of as extremely handy said things like: "Yeah, that's one thing I'll happily pay someone else to do." Ha, ha! Go to hell, nay-sayers!

Tip #3: Update your electrical system before you start sanding. After taping plastic sheeting over every door, vent, and unused electrical outlet, Alex rented a sander and went at it. And then the fuse blew. So he flipped it. And then it blew again. And then he flipped it. Again and again and again. And at one point the room I was in suddenly went temporarily black. I heard some pretty choice curse words come out of that living room, I have to say. But that only lasted for...four...maybe five hours. Okay, maybe seven.

Tip #4: If you have three kids, don't start sanding at 7:30 at night. I hesitate to even say this because it was really nice of Alex to wait until after the little dudes' bedtime to start work. He could easily have said it was my fault he had to do it in the first place and left me with three kids all weekend while he sequestered himself in the living room. But he didn't. And the kids did fine with the sanding. For the most part. Quinn did wake up screaming at 2 a.m. And wouldn't go back to sleep. So Alex brought him to our bedroom and dumped him in the bed next to me. And then Quinn proceeded to chat to me non-stop for the next hour and fifteen minutes until Alex finished sanding and took him back to his crib. ("Where's Daddy? Daddy downstairs. Where's Cassidy? Cassidy barking. Cassidy funny. Where's Jack? Where's Sam? Where's Mommy? Hee, hee, hee. Where's Daddy? Cassidy barking...")

Tip #5: Even if you don't want little kitty prints all through your polyurethane, don't lock your cat in your bedroom all night without a litterbox. Especially don't do this if said cat sleeps on your wife's pillows. Your wife might, just might, wake up to a couple of destroyed pillows and a pee-puddle on her mattress where her head usually lives. She also might wake up smelling like cat pee, requiring a thorough showering, even though she already took a shower the night before. This might happen. And it might be even grosser than giving Quinn a suppository.

Oooh, shiny!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bits & Pieces

Sam: "America is the one that holds all the battles."

Me: "That's very astute of you, Sam."


Yesterday, Quinn thanked me for changing his diaper. (Somehow he's absorbed all the manners lessons my other kids have ignored.) And then, even though he hadn't, he said, "I pooped! Good job, Quinn!"


Harry Potter mania is everywhere in my house. Sam, seemingly picking up on the wizardry in the air, started asking about Harry Potter last week. And I can't remember ever mentioning it to him before. He asked a lot of questions ("Are there battles? Between the witches and wizards? Are there bad guys?"), thought about it overnight, and decided he was interested in joining the phenomenon. I've started reading him a chapter or two a day, starting with The Sorcerer's Stone. Today Quinn saw the book and started chanting, "Harry Potter! Harry Potter!" Seriously. He's two.


My Walk Score is 60. What's yours? Although this website listed Orange Julius as a bar, so its information may not be that reliable. Thanks, Unclutterer.


Quinn is very into time outs. He put himself in one this morning; I'm not sure for what. Then when I put Sam in time out for repeatedly whacking at Quinn with a foam item, Quinn joined him. (I know, I'm always blaming the victim.) And, then, when I meant to playfully fling Quinn around and instead bonked him on the nose, making him cry (Worst. Mommy. Ever.), he said, "Mean. Time Out." So I went and sat on the steps. Yep, that's right, my two-year-old put me in time out today.


Quinn is badly losing the "Labels Race" to Sam and Jack. But he's kicking the shit out of Alex.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


So I did my extra surveillance at pick-up time from gymnastics camp today. My verdict? Gymnastics camp rules!

When I got there, the kids were going through a circular obstacle course that involved jumping, climbing, hopscotching (is that a verb?), and walking across a balance beam. And Jack was right in the middle of the kids, doing all the stuff. And then when they moved them to another activity, Jack tried to stay behind to keep playing. When the teacher's aide came back to get him, he resisted, fervently flapping his hands.

Now, that's the Jack I know and love. It made me happy to see the flapping because it means he was doing something he liked, that he was enjoying himself, and that he wanted to keep doing it.

And then, when they got to their new activity (Duck, Duck, Goose), Jack and Sam both saw me, ran over to me to say hi, and then RAN BACK TO KEEP PLAYING. I don't know if Jack has ever seen me at a pick-up time and not insisted on staying with me. AND he played Duck, Duck, Goose correctly. He waited until he was tagged, went around, tagged Sam, and then ran around the circle giggling 'til he got back to his spot and HE SAT DOWN. Again, unprecedented.

I smiled for the rest of the day.

Oh, and we struck a deal on the popsicles. They got one today and they get one Friday. Seems like a good compromise.

Monday, July 23, 2007

WhyMommy in Stimeyland!

Many of you know WhyMommy. If you don't, go ahead and click on the "Team WhyMommy" button over there on the right. She is a very cool chick; is a lot of fun to hang out with; has two small children, a husband, and a dog; and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. As if she weren't doing enough already, she has embarked on a public awareness campaign about her particular type of cancer: inflammatory breast cancer. She has written the post below and invited us all to steal and re-post it. Done and done. (Feel free to do the same from here.)

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

Playing Can Be Hard Work For Some

Today was the first day of gymnastics camp for Sam and Jack. And it was like sending them off to school for the first time all over again. Well, not for Sam. Sam's Mr. Adaptable. But for Jack. Because I haven't left Jack for a substantial amount of time anywhere other than preschool or with babysitters who he knows well.

I signed them up for this camp for several reasons: First, a mom from Jack's class was looking for someone to be in the class with her son. And since I have caught Jack on one or two occasions interacting with this child, I thought this might work out. Second, Jack apparently has low muscle tone, and the doctor keeps suggesting gymnastics. Third, the class is for 3-5 year olds, so Sam and Jack can be together. And last, Jack and Sam love jumping on trampolines, playing in moon bounces, and doing all the other things that happen at this camp.

I wasn't quite sure what to tell the teachers when I dropped them off. For Jack to get the most out of this class, I knew I needed to warn the instructors that he may need some extra encouragement, or that he might have some trouble transitioning. But I didn't really want to put a label on him, nor do I have a label even if I wanted to. So I ended up calling him quirky, gave them some tips, requested that he and Sam not be split up, and left shortly after watching two of the teachers working together to try to get him to participate.

I thought it might be best if I just didn't watch.

When I came back nearly three hours later, Jack was hanging out with the others, happily waiting his turn. At some point when they were walking from point A to point B, I saw him try to veer off, but Sam collared him and brought him back. (Have I ever mentioned that Sam is about the best big brother that Jack could ever hope to have?) Quinn and I spent some time watching the older gymnasts while we waited. He thought they were hilarious: "Flip! Fell down!" When we went to go get Sam and Jack, the teacher said that Sam was great and that Jack didn't want to do everything. Which is pretty much what I expected.

When they released them, Jack ran up to me to tell me that he loved me and then ran off to get his shoes and the picture that he had colored (yay, he participated in coloring!), and Sam ran up to me to tell me that he wanted a popsicle. (Why do gymnastics places for kids ALWAYS have a cooler full of popsicles for sale? Basically I get to be the bitchy mom all week or I get to spend $3 a day to buy popsicles that are just going to drip all over my car. Today I chose to be a bitch. I don't think I'll be able to get away with that tomorrow. I was able to put Sam off for a day, but he can out-bitch me almost every time.)

Jack seemed physically unable to speak about it all the way home so after a few questions I didn't push him. I figure that he needs some time to process it. At least I have my little Sam-spy to help me out. Apparently Jack didn't use the rope to swing into the foam blocks, but he did dive into them. And they both went into the moon bounce, but they hit heads. And Sam? Sam did everything.

I worry that sometimes I'm just stressing Jack out by signing him up for things like this. But a week of gymnastics won't kill him. At the very least, based on his thoughtful silence on the way home, it's giving him something to think about. They did both say that they want to go back tomorrow, so I hope that means that they had fun. I know Sam did, but I hope Jack liked it too. Maybe once he has a day under his belt and knows what to expect, he'll want to do more of the activities. Because, really, these activities are the kinds of things I would expect them to have to drag him away from.

And in lieu of accurate reporting from busy teachers and a snarky Sam, maybe I'll do some extra secret observation tomorrow.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

10 Ways Jack and I Are the Same

I'm an Autism Hub lurker and really enjoy reading the posts there. I particularly enjoy AutismVox where Kristina Chew posts thoughtful and lovely items about autism and her son Charlie. She put up a post recently about how she and her son are alike, and invited others to do the same.

As my mother has claimed for quite a while that Jack reminds her of how I was as a child, and as I see much in him that I also see in me, I have decided to do what I do, which is put it on the Internet for everyone to see.

1. We both adore french fries and ice cream.

2. We're detail people. Jack likes to study large drawings to find the details within, and I have similar tendencies. (I used to be a copy editor, for instance.)

3. Neither of us likes being told what to do, especially if it involves us not getting our way.

4. Neither of us does well with being yelled at or criticized. It can feel like a physical assault to me that I run over and over in my head. And I can see the same thing on his face.

5. We LOVE to cuddle with each other.

6. We both have a focus that can drown out everything around us.

7. Neither of us follow directions very well.

8. We both love to laugh. Oh dear God, that boy's giggle could keep the world turning.

9. From Alex: "You're both shy and sweet, but a little prickly. Well, Jack's not prickly."

10. We're both very stubborn.

And now I could (but I won't) list 600 ways that we are different (#1 being that he loves any tactile sensation, but that I can't stand lotions, playdough, dirt, or even the feel of water on my hands). How are you and your kids (or spouse or parent) the same?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Poop Poop Poop A Doop

I believe that I may have singlehandedly solved Quinn's constipation problem with a song. That's right, with a song.

I have known for awhile that—beyond his physical issues—he dislikes pooping. Which seems right, especially because he has been victim to some particularly vicious, and probably extremely painful, pooping episodes. It used to be that I would see him obviously trying to hold it back, and he would always say no when I asked if he wanted to poop, or if he would feel better if he pooped, and whatnot.

At his last constipation checkup (and how ridiculous that he has to have those) the doctor told me to be very positive when he pooped and that we didn't want to make it into a control issue for him. Because, basically, if he can refuse to poop after I've plied him with Miralax, fiber wafers, and as much apple juice as he can drink, I should just cede defeat here, because this is not a battle I can win.

Unless you factor in the power of a good song about the act itself. For the past three weeks whenever I have caught him pooping or whenever I change his poopy diaper—and only then—I sing a song I made up: "Poop Poop Poop A Doop," sung to the tune of "Duke of Earl." (I'm sure you can recreate this song at home from just those hints.) "Poop Doop again," he'll say.


And for the past two and a half weeks, he has pooped Every. Single. Day.

This is something he has not done since he was literally younger than 3 months old. Maybe he's progressing past his physical issues and just has to overcome some psychological pooping issues (can't wait to get the Google search on that one). I'm not saying that we're going to stop hiding the Miralax in his chocolate millk, and I'm not saying that he'll never again have a stool ball, but I've never been so happy to change a diaper packed full of crap in my life.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Air Conditioning is for Wusses

Or so I used to think. Then our air conditioner broke.

I grew up in Utah, where although the summers are very hot, but it's a—say it with me now—dry heat. I'm sure some people in Utah (read: wusses) have air conditioners. [And I'd like to take a moment to apologize here to my friends who live in Utah, and who probably all have air conditioning. I don't mean you. I mean all those other wusses with air conditioners.] But in my house we had a swamp cooler.

I assumed everyone knew what these were, but whilst chatting on the phone to a friend of mine who has spent the majority of her life in Maryland, she drew a total blank after I started prattling on about swamp coolers. (Really, I'm as fascinating in person as in my posts.)

Swamp coolers are loud, damp, cooling systems prevelant in dry areas, and while they may not really cool your house, per se, they make it slightly less horrible to live in said houses. Especially if you lay directly under them, as I remember doing as a teenager. I do know that they do not necessarily make a tremendously obvious difference in the indoor climate. If I remember correctly, my sister lived in a house with a broken swamp cooler, and neither she, her roommate, or her landlord was able to tell the difference.

Then after thirty years of life as a Westerner/Left Coaster, I moved to Maryland and within three days I was a convert. And then I didn't think about air conditioning much (unless I was yelling at the always-hot Alex to turn it down) until last week when ours broke. And then it was fixed and I didn't think about it until Monday when it broke again.

Then I officially joined the Realm of Wussdom.

No reasonable person would want to live in Maryland without the glorious wonder that is the AC. My new favorite people in the whole world, the HVAC people, finished installing our new unit at about 2 pm today. By 3:30, it was amazing how much my mood had improved. Those poor men who installed it though, just when my sweatbox of a house started cooling down they had to leave. And when my heater inevitably breaks in the middle of winter, they'll have to leave just when my icebox turns back into a house. What a crappy job. But what lovely people they were considering they had to lug all sorts of heavy stuff around in ridiculous heat.

And now I'm going to go turn up the air conditioning so high that I have to wear a coat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Alex, seeing the paint-splotched hardwood floor we ripped the carpet off of (at my suggestion), and thinking about what he was going to do about it while I sit in front of the computer and let him do it: "That's going to be a lot of work."

Me: "I'm not that worried about it."


Alex (who works in a comfy, climate-controlled office downtown), after our air conditioner broke: "Maybe we should see if we can get through the rest of this year before we buy a new one."

Me, fuming silently, thinking about the fact that the three guys and I would undoubtedly sweat through the rest of this week before Alex decided (probably at noon on Saturday), to go ahead and buy the new damn air conditioner: "!?@*%^;!"


See how much we care about each other?


Blogging. What a funny thing. I blab on and on about my family and expect YOU, potentially someone I don't even know, to read it. And even if I do know you, I expect that you will care enough about my son's poop to read about it on a practically daily basis? Weird.

I was inspired by this post at BlogRhet to opine for a while on my theory of blogging. I will not be particularly coherent, nor will I be able to make intelligent reference to the aforementioned piece because our air conditioning is broken and it is nearing 1500 degrees Farenheit (the temperature at which blogs burn) in my house.

Now, if you look at my archives, you'll see that I am pretty new to this blogging business. I read my first blog in 2002 (shout-out to Lane who, unless I am mistaken, is no longer blogging at all—please let me know if I'm wrong) because it was written by Alex's co-worker (one of three law clerks in a particular judge's office in Fairbanks, Alaska, and pretty much a third of our social circle) and it chronicled a lot of what we did up there. (We were about one-third of his social circle too. He and Sam were best friends for awhile.) Plus he's a fun writer and I genuinely enjoyed what he wrote.

Then I left the blogosphere for awhile, only to return when I was desperately looking for something to read on the computer while The Wonder Pets saved the baby elephant for the 600th time.

After quickly tiring of Perez Hilton and TMZ, and having no interest in the blogs Alex had bookmarked (How Appealing and InstaPundit), I went looking for others. I found Dooce (who didn't?), later started reading Toddler Planet, and browsed around from there.

One day I started my own. Just up and did it. Much to the chagrin of Alex, who was pulling extra parenting duty because of the extra work I was doing with starting my own business and whatnot. I believe his exact words were: "I'm not going to watch the kids while you BLOG!" (Insert disbelieving and insulted tone of voice.) He's since come around and is now one of my biggest fans, but I'm not sure even he totally gets why I do this.

See, I'm not a journaler. I have scads of journals with the first three pages written in, an entry four years after that, and then nothing for the rest of the book. But when I'm writing online for an "audience" (my mom and Alex, pretty much), some days it's hard for me to keep it to one post. For instance, today. And yesterday. (I'm endlessly fascinating to me.)

I've always been a writer. Memoir-style writing is the easiest and most fun for me, and something I think I do with some ability. (Some. Not great amounts. Some.) I also feel that this is a good way to keep my family and friends up to date with my doin's. Perhaps too up to date for some tastes—did I mention I often write about poop? And, in some ways, I'm a bit of an attention hog. (Those ways being a semi-anonymous, writing for strangers, so I'll say whatever jerky thing pops into my head kind of way.)

Anywho. Since starting Stimeyland up, I've been sort of blindly feeling around for the "rules" and "etiquette" of this place. And for the know-how. I don't think I have an RSS feed, and even after Blogging Basics 101 told me why I need one, I'm still not quite sure if I do. I've been trying to figure out trackbacks, pinging, and how lame Blogger is at comments for several months now. I've wrestled with the fact that anyone who really wanted to figure out who I am, show up at my door, and bother my adorable children could, but that I decided to use (most of) our names anyway. I did learn that if I write about dropping my second child off at school that there may be some unsavory Googlers out there visiting Stimeyland. (Go ahead, put his name together with "off" and see where it gets you.)

Here are a couple of my big "I don't knows": First and foremost, I don't know that I "belong" yet. I suppose once I have "2007 (300)" in my archives section and can start my second year, maybe I'll feel I belong more. And what's more, why do I care about belonging? I write almost entirely for myself, and a little bit for my friends and family, and I'm not looking for a book deal or advertisers, plus I can get the same enjoyment out of reading someone else's blog whether they know I exist or not. Why do I have an unhealthy relationship with my sitemeter?

I guess what I may be looking for is community. Because who doesn't love a community? I lived in co-op housing in college, I have belonged to a moms group in every city I've lived in since I had kids, my children go to a co-op preschool. I'm pretty much screaming out for a community, I suppose. And to really get what you need out of a community, you have to put in too. Because giving to others&#8212be it support, friendship, a blog comment, whatever&#8212is one of the best parts of community.

I've found my real-life community that I love. I have a village, I'm part of the village, and we're all working together to keep each other sane, live happily, and raise lovely children. But I'm sort of still looking for the blog community I belong to. I'm a mommy blogger, that's for sure, but I agree with Tere, who wrote that BlogRhet post that there are first, second, third generation mommy bloggers. I'm probably fourth-generation, if that. And I'm totally intimidated by the first-gens (and, honestly, the second and thirds). I'm exploring the autism blogging world, but, Jesus, that's a whole other post, because that community is fractured, confusing, and sort of terrifying, although I have found several interesting sites that I visit regularly. Plus, since we don't have a diagnosis for Jack yet (and who knows if we will), I feel like an imposter there sometimes. I'm a woman blogger. I (try to be) a humor blogger. I'm a working mother blogger and a stay at home mom blogger.

It's an interesting subculture. I think once you delve under the surface of any subculture you find fascinating things about it. the blogosphere is no different. Here's to exploration, my over-the-top self-analyzation, and getting it off your chest.

Thanks to both of you who finished reading this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm a Professional. Wink, Wink.

Alex, while watching the title sequence I put together for the workout video I've been hired to make:

"It looks real!"

Thanks, Alex, 'cause I'd hate to be the cubic zirconium of the videography world.

You Bet Your Ass Those Moments Are Idyllic

Today was better than yesterday. Nobody bit anyone else. Although Jack did admit that, yesterday? Before the dog bit him? He says he bit the dog. On her back. So I really don't know who to blame. Maybe I'll just call it even, watch 'em both like a hawk, and, other than that, pretend it didn't happen.

We started our morning with a (wading) pool party that was incredibly lovely. Friend H told me that her daughter also suffered an animal attack yesterday, albeit her attack was from a gerbil. Who nibbled on her daughter's finger. And it only got ugly because the girl panicked and forgot to take her hand away from the little furball while he chewed on her.

Friend H also confirmed that my Alex avatar (see right) looks EXACTLY like him. (Interestingly, Alex and I both created one independently of each other, and except for the fact that he forgot that he wears glasses, his was identical to mine.)

I got to see Darling Baby K in her two-piece swim suit that quickly because a one-piece after the top floated away. I finally got to meet Darling Infant K, who just turned two months old and slept in a Snugli the ENTIRE TIME. (Those days are long gone for me. No one in my family naps anymore.)

WhyMommy came by, and for those of you who aren't local but are looking for news, she looked beautiful. Maybe a little tired, but she was sporting her very cute new short haircut and some adorable pink and brown shoes. (I love that color combo.) Keep on keepin' on, WhyMommy. And Widget happily put every truck on our porch into the sand table before moving on to Hot Wheels and a little garage.

All of the kids that were there got along so nicely (except for a little bit of shrieking and hand flapping by Jack, but I even caught him giggling for a second with a little girl over pretzels). And in a change of pace from the usual swath of terror that follows me and my children, no one was injured or had a meltdown. Success!

And at 12:15 my mother's helper showed up to take my children to the basement so I could say goodbye to my friends and clean up partially eaten sandwiches all by myself.

What a lovely morning.

There was some perfectly pleasant afternoon time and then I got to go out by myself to a wine-tasting, jewelry-sales party. Really? I get to talk to grown women, drink wine, and buy jewelry? Rock the fuck on!

Although, frankly, my confidence as a hostess has been shaken by the woman who put together this party, hereafter known as Super Hostess. She had four Chardonnays to taste and had made complementary snacks to go with each selection. And she had little signs detailing why they were complementary by each wine station. And she made up a fun little quiz for people to learn about wines and jewelry. And she gave me wine corks to take home and put in my dish of wine corks. (Don't ask.) And, the best part? She was totally unpretentious and fun about it.

The party was only marred by the fact that there was another guest there who recognized me, and I recognized her, but we couldn't figure from where. And that is going to bug the crap out of me for weeks. Until I finally forget about her, then run into her, and not know what she's talking about when reminds me that I know her.

What a lovely evening.

Poor Alex though. He's in such a bad mood that he's watching The Godfather Part III on cable. With commercials. You know you're hard up when you're doing that. Don't worry, Alex, maybe tomorrow will be better.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ups & Downs, Ins & Outs

It was an eventful day.

High point of the day: Quinn finally played in the wading pool! Sam and Jack were happily playing in the pool and Quinn said, "Go in," took my hand, stepped in the pool, and didn't get out for an hour.

Low Point of the Day: I feel too bad about this to even write much about it, but suffice it to say, it involved Cassidy, Jack, and a nip-wound on the face. Jack's face, not the dog's. Please don't hate my dog. She's a nice dog. And not five minutes ago, when I thought Quinn was standing on the floor, I noticed that he was actually standing on the dog's neck and the dog was letting it happen. She's a nice dog. And Jack, although not the most reliable of witnesses, did later say, "I hurted her." Really. She's a nice dog.

Most Nervewracking Moment of the Day: (Other than the period of time I was trying to decide if I should take three kids on the bus to the ER because our car was in the shop.) 1:30-2:30 p.m., the very time my client was at her home viewing the DVD project I was working on all weekend. I still haven't heard what she thought. Is that good or bad?

Most Encouraging Moment of the day: When Jack's teacher for next year came by with her kids for a playdate and we talked over her plans for Jack for next year. She's going to make sure he has a solid routine and that part of that routine is teacher-facilitated time interacting with other kids. I don't know what I did in a former life to have this woman as my friend and Jack's teacher, but I'm glad I did it.

And that photo on the left? That's Jack after the teacher massaged his head until he fell asleep on her lap. Apparently, she's the "Jack Whisperer."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm Sure This Won't Backfire. Literally.

I am working on a DVD project today. So while the rest of my family is playing around outside in the warm sun, I am sitting in a shaded room making video edits. A few minutes ago my computer was taking some time to process something so I went to the kitchen for a soda.

As I passed the screen door that opens onto the side porch, I looked outside to see Alex teaching Sam to, get this: melt crayons with a magnifying glass.

Let me give you a minute to process that. Oh, and by the way, remember that Sam is five years old.

And, as I write, I hear Sam say, "Dad, can we make a fire again? I want to do the fire!"

[Note to Alex: Remember how you're supposed to ask me before you start fires? This qualifies.]

Friday, July 13, 2007

No, Sam. I'm Too Lazy to Do That By Myself.

We—and by "we", I mean "Alex"—are in the process of painting our living room, something that will be closely followed by the removal of our filthy off-white (more "off" than it really should be) carpet. We are doing it in this order so that we don't have to worry about dripping paint on a freshly uncovered wood floor.

Alex has been doing this piecemeal almost entirely after the kids go to bed (and I use that phrase loosely, as they go to bed, but don't stay there reliably). Alex painted all the trim and the ceilings, then we moved all the furniture to the middle of the room, and he plans to begin painting the walls this evening. Considering his limited painting hours, he is working at light-speed.

The kids are obviously aware of this process because all the furniture has been shoved into a little plush island in the middle of the room and because they watch Alex paint after they "go to bed." They are not, apparently, aware of the forthcoming carpet project, however.

Today Sam got a couple chunks of watermelon out to snack on, carried them to the living room where we were all playing, and asked where he should sit to eat it. I said something to the effect of, "Sit on the floor. We're getting rid of this carpet, so you can spill on it all you want." (I know, how could the carpet have possibly gotten dirty in the first place, since I'm so clean?)

Sam, obviously flabbergasted by this, (and I can't stress enough the sincerity and disbelief in his voice for the next couple of minutes) said, "Are you joking?" To which I replied, "No." To which he replied, "Did you talk to Dad about this?"

Clearly Sam was concerned by the fact that I was planning to sneak the carpet out of the house in the middle of the night without prior approval from Alex. The conversation deteriorated from there with Sam declaring his love for the stained carpet and his sadness that there would only be wood around the edges of the room, where there is no blue area rug. Then he used six different variations of, "Are we getting a new carpet?" ("No, I mean for this room. No, I don't mean the blue rug, are we getting a carpet for under the blue rug?" and so on) until I finally declared the topic closed.

Aside from the fact that he has shown heretofore unsuspected depth of feeling for a...dingy carpet, I love that he was checking up on me, and worried that I had made this decision all by myself without, God forbid, Dad's approval.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Siiiiiimp-sons!

In case you've been wondering what I look like, this is me:
Create your own avatar.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm It!

I'm pretty new to this whole blogging business and feel like a total newbie, so it is with great pride that I take part in my first meme. Thanks to Joeymom, a very nice-seeming mom of a couple very nice-seeming kids, for initiating me.

So on to my assignment: Relate 8 random facts about myself.

1. I am an absolute Bob Dylan freak. But, interestingly, one of the most disappointing concerts I went to was my first Dylan concert. For my brothers and sisters in Dylan-love, you may have already noticed that I named my third child after The Mighty Quinn. (Alex had to be talked into that at first.)

2. When I was in high school I volunteered at a zoo. I worked there for many years and got myself promoted up the volunteer chain from Junior Zookeeper (cleaning out the barn animal pens) to Docent (answering questions about small animals in the zoo's "Discovery Center") to Nursery Aide (playing with baby animals, most memorably a baby lion named Babs). The nursery aide job really kicked the shit out of the other two jobs, although I did get to hang out with some cool animals my earlier capacities.

3. I, rebelling against the culture in which I grew up (Utah), swore that I'd never get married or have kids. Guess how that turned out.

4. I am 53% geek.

53% Geek

Mingle2.com - Free Online Dating Funny, I thought I'd be more. Alex is, barely; he's 56% geek. Thanks, WhyMommy, for the teeny little button that led me here. I believe you're even more geek than me.

5. This may be too much information, but the medical oddity aspect of it fascinates me enough to include it. I have psoriasis, which came on three and a half years ago, about the same time I started taking antidepressant/anxiety medication. Both the prescribing doctor and the dermatologist said there was no correlation. It wasn't horrific psoriasis, but it was pretty bad, and definitely noticible on my arms, legs, and scalp and bad enough that I didn't wear shorts for at least two years. Now that I'm coming off the medication, the psoriasis is disappearing. Rapidly and, hopefully (knock on wood), permanently. Just in time for summer!

6. I LOVE zombies. Or, rather, I love zombie-related pop culture: Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, World War Z, 28 Days Later, and so much more. (Did I mention that I'm more than half geek?)

7. My favorite movie is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. And remember, you can't fight in the war room.

8. I have been often asked what's up with Stimey. Well, in grad school, a new friend of mine asked if I'd ever had a nickname. Being saddled with a one-syllable name, whose only variation I dislike (only Aunt M is allowed to use it), I had never had a nickname. So he came up with "Stimey" on the spot. And 10 years (Oh. My. God. I am SOOOOO old.) later, here we are.

Eight people to tag... Jeez, I don't even know if I know 8 blogospeople well enough to tag them. OK, here are a few. Rest assured, I won't be offended if you don't want to take part. I, in fact, am not usually the type of person to do things like this; I just got so excited when I saw my name over at Life With Joey.

OK, Alex's cousin Claire in Tuba-Town 'cause she's a cool chick. MOM-NOS because she was the first autism blog I happened upon after figuring out that Jack is probably on the spectrum. And Kristi, who's Living Life in TX, because she was the first person that I didn't know who commented on my blog. And because she probably has enough to do, and in no way needs to be saddled with this, I won't tag WhyMommy, but as she is my only genuine real-life friend I know who blogs: if you feel like blogging about something other than the elephant in the room, I'd love to know some things about pre-Widget WhyMommy.

And I think I'll stop there at four. Fact number nine about me could be that I don't necessarily follow instructions well. Here are yours: You're supposed to say who tagged you, post the rules and 8 random things about you, then tag 8 other people.


Sometimes you feel good, and sometimes you need four dogs, a tiger, and The Wonder Pets to make you feel better:

Taking the Word "Snorkel" and Making it EVEN Better

Some of you may be relieved to hear that instead of being a soldier, Sam now wants to be a scuba diver so he can have a snorkelus and breathe underwater.

That's right, you heard me: a snorkelus.

Best. Word. Ever.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Take Me Out to the Overpriced Food Stand.

Because, basically, that's what Sam and Jack got out of our recent trip to RFK Stadium for a Nationals v. Brewers game.

Okay, that's not entirely fair or true, but the food was the part they liked the most. We started our culinary journey with chicken tenders and french fries, followed by cotton candy. (Oh! Oh! Oh! And a beer that I got carded for!) And then a hot dog, two if you count Alex's brat as well. Fifth inning ants in the pants were cured by a trip to the ice cream stand.

It was a 7:05 p.m. game that we went to, a mere 25 minutes before the little dudes' regular bedtime. But they were troopers and stayed wide awake through our whole adventure and beyond. We were smart enough to leave Quinn with a babysitter, however.

I wasn't smart enough to think ahead about how a sports arena would affect Jack, who almost immediately went into sensory overload. I'm not entirely sure that he noticed the field at all until the 2nd inning or so because of everything else that was going on. Although I didn't see him watching the game, I know he saw at least part of it because, when I asked him what his favorite part of the game was, he said, "I pitched the ball too far." When I asked the same question 24 hours later, he had the same response. So he at least heard us talking about pitching and saw a ball. And then his nifty little brain took those two things and ran with 'em.

For a minute I thought he was raising his hands in a cheer, but it turns out that he was just mimicking the guy carrying the board of cotton candy above his head. And the thing is, I totally get where he's coming from. Big events like that are so distracting that it's hard to focus on the main attraction. At least it is for me. We used to have season tickets to the Oakland Raiders, and I'd probably been to three or four games before I could pay attention to the game instead of the cheerleaders. Jack reminds me of me more often than not.

Largely he was interested in moving all of the seats around us from their upright position to a down ready-to-be-sat in position. There weren't many people around us, and most of them didn't mind his antsiness. There was one comment, from one of those gentlemen seated behind us, who said, "What's wrong with you, boy?" after Jack put down the seat IN FRONT of him. It's not like it was even adjacent to him. And it's not like we were at the opera, for Christ's sake. Even though I don't think Jack heard him, I spent a fair amount of time composing biting comebacks, none of which I spoke aloud, and most of which ended with: "What the fuck is wrong with YOU?!"

I'm not very forgiving if you mess with Jack.

I really enjoyed the game, though. I'm not a baseball fan, and so was surprised at my joy at hanging out and watching the game. I can see how you could while away a lovely evening at the ballpark on a regular basis. I won't be tuning in to televised baseball anytime soon though.

Sam seemed to enjoy himself, and was sort of interested in the game. It was totally fun to talk to him about the rules and answer his questions and see him be a little kid at his first baseball game. But he may still be too young. I think Alex was a little disappointed that Sam wasn't more into it and grateful for the opportunity to go to a game, particularly because Alex would love to have been able to go to a baseball game with his dad. But I believe, and I told Alex, that when Sam is 11 or 12 and is (dear God, hopefully) out of his current snotty 5-year-old phase, he'll love going to those games.

And Jack and I will go and watch the beer vendors.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I'd Like an Order of Mud, With a Side of Toddler

I don't really want to go into how we went from this:

to this:

in the space of about 15 minutes (or, for that matter, why I let him start doing this at all), but I thought I should let you know that we are that family that lets its children cavort in diapers and roll in mud on their driveway.

We's totally classy that way.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Proving Alex Right...

Alex: "Sam, are you aware that you're a contrarian?"

Sam: "No, you are."

Thursday, July 5, 2007


WhyMommy has posted a writing assignment over at Toddler Planet to give away her much-deserved BlogHer pass. While I cannot go to BlogHer, I knew that I wanted to participate. And then I saw the topic and sort of freaked out: Write a post this week about a person who inspires you, a person who has survived cancer, or motherhood, or her own personal challenge.

See, while we keep on keepin' on, my family (and Alex's family) is not necessarily known for their survivorship. We have unending stories of disease and chronic conditions and accidents and dead plants. So I've spent the past few days trying to come up with something (in the meantime blogging about things like 50-cent dashboard chickens). But then I really looked at the topic and I thought about the fact that I really do know some people who are survivors and who inspire me.

There is the director of my kids' preschool who beat breast cancer. She was in the group I walked with at the Race For the Cure. She went through the whole deal, but in the end she says, "I just did what my doctors told me, and I got better." AND at the Walk she got a free pink tote bag full of swag for being a survivor. (Something to look forward to, WhyMommy. You have to have cancer to get it, but at the end, you're going to have a kick-ass little pink tote bag.) She is a survivor. And she inspires me.

There is my mom, who raised two kids with very little money, but rarely let us know that. While my mom was making dinner for four for $2, I grew up with everything I needed, and what's more, everything I thought I needed. I may not have had the fanciest of clothes or caviar for dinner, but I never didn't have what was important. While Alex and I are doing okay, I see how easy it is to get close to that edge and how scary it must be to try to keep your kids away from it. She survived (as did my sister and I). And she inspires me.

There is my aunt, whose husband did not beat cancer. But she survives and inspires. And the uncle in question? He inspires. To this day I think about him and how wonderful he was. And he survives in my heart and in every heart that knew him. These two are my inspiration for how a marriage should be. I don't think I was ever at their house when he would walk in the door and not kiss her. And they were married for 43 years. (Excuse me if I'm a year or two off; after 40, I don't know if it matters.) My aunt and her family are people I think of often. And they inspire me.

There is my old college chum (you know who you are) who practices what she preaches. Although I desire a clean environment, a healthy planet, and a peaceable world, I drive my car, use more plastic than I should, and don't bother to make it to political protests. This chum, although she has a truck, rides her bicycle almost every place she goes (hundreds of miles sometimes). She refuses water that comes out of a bottle, to the point of being thirsty. (She re-used one of my old soda bottles as a water bottle for months on end, probably far longer than it should have been used, bacteria-wise.) And she makes her feelings known politically as well. Out of all the people I know, she is the one who cares least about what people think about her. She does what she wants and what she thinks is right. And while I sometimes feel a wee bit like a bad person when she comes to visit, she never tries to make me feel that way, even though I'm sure some of the things I do make her skin crawl. My old college chum is someone I think of often. And she inspires me.

There is my mother in law, who has had two hip replacement surgeries in the past two years. She does physical work and lives by herself (except for her cat, Garth) and she made it through. It's been tough on her, and she went through a lot of pain, but she survives. And she inspires me.

There are Alex and me. Both of our fathers were unexpectedly killed when we were under 10. And we both think of those fathers often. And we don't love them any less because they are not here with us. And we found each other and we survived.

There is my sister who overcame the stranglehold of deep depression that had its sticky claws on her for months. And she came out of it with the strength to walk away from more than five years of higher education aimed at archaeology to find her passion. A few short years later and she is doing rotations and studying for boards as she works toward her dream of being a pediatrician. She survives. And she inspires me.

Then there is WhyMommy. She already inspired me due to her intelligence and the way she very thoughtfully parented Widget and Little Bear when it felt like I was just making up rules on the spot. But she's become even more of an inspiration in the way she is bravely handling her cancer. I admit, I was really worried at first, and worst case scenarios did cross my mind. But in the last few days something in me clicked over and I wonder why I ever had doubts. This is a disease that people beat now. This is a disease that WhyMommy will beat now. Her next six months to a year may have moments of extreme suckitude, but next July 4th, she can have another barbecue for her playgroup and it can be her Suvivor picnic: WhyMommy's Independence From Cancer Day. She's a survivor. And she inspires me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


July 4th was great for our family. We had an 11:30 brunch with some friends from Alex's work. They and their other guests were really nice and my three children behaved maybe better than they ever have in their entire lives.

Then some quiet time. And then a pool party at the across the street neighbor's. I stayed home and worked for the first hour of that party, but apparently Quinn fell into the pool as he sat beside Alex. All turned out well though as Alex quickly decided that saving Quinn was worth jumping into a freezing cold pool. The guys' babysitters were there and they had a blast playing with them.

At 7:00 or so, on to the next party down the street. Yay for me, the babysitters were there too. They had a great time. We had a great time. Everyone got brownies, cupcakes, hot dogs, and glow-in-the-dark necklaces.

Way past bedtime, but we took the two-minute walk to the soccer field for fireworks at 9:30. After a rain scare from 9:25 to 9:30, the show started. Jack had wandered off, so he and Alex watched the show on the edge of the field. Apparently at one point Jack told Alex with utmost seriousness and sincerity: "I love them. I love them." After we got home and I asked him what his favorite part of the fireworks was, he said, "To get the fireworks in my mouth." See, we live that close to the fireworks that my son could be amongst the embers floating down and pretend to catch them in his mouth. Fortunately our house didn't burn down.

Sam spent the entire fireworks show with his hands over his ears. See, when you're within ember distance of fireworks, they are really LOUD. Quinn, after looking amazed for a while and then muttering "scared" at one point, fell asleep. Yeah, you read that right, Quinn fell asleep during the fireworks show that was being set off less than a football field's length away.

All in all, Team Stimey in top form.

After 3 Weeks in the Car...

Me: "You haven't mentioned the chicken."

Alex: "I know. I've been purposely not mentioning the chicken. But he's been staring at me with his vacant little eyes."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Only Time Sleeping In Has Ever Sucked.

This morning, a Tuesday, I was woken by Alex's incredulous words: "It's 9:30 in the morning." Only it was more like this: "OH MY GOD, IT'S 9:30 IN THE MORNING!!!!!!!" Because it's, you know, a Tuesday, and normal people—you know, people with jobs and whatnot—have things to do prior to 9:30 in the morning. On a Tuesday.

It's not that we don't have alarm clocks, it's just that was haven't needed them for, hmmmm, 5 years, 8 months, and 21 days. 'Cause we have kids. And just like sometimes you set your alarm clock wrong, our wake-up system failed us this morning. Alex made it downstairs before me to find Sam and Quinn still sleeping soundly. (Sam, mind you, being the one-year-old who used to wake up screaming between 5 and 6 a.m. every morning.) Jack was apparently playing quietly in the living room. (Jack being the one-year-old who used to wake up and then amuse himself in his crib until we came to get him.)

Now, Alex was already more than two hours behind schedule, but a late wakeup is less of a big deal for me, seeing as how I stay home with the kids. Except for today. This particular Tuesday I needed to drop Sam and Jack off for preschool camp at 9:30. Normally it's not a big deal to be late to camp, but I needed to drop them off so I didn't have to drag them to Quinn's doctor appointment at 10. The appointment was to discuss Q's chronic constipation (frequent readers will know of what I speak), and I really didn't want to take two tag-alongs with me.

I'm not going to post my route from MapQuest annotated with driving times or anything, but, Holy Jesus, did I make good time! After waking up at 9:28 or so, the four of us were dressed and in the car and the older two had their extra clothes, towels, and freshly-packed lunches with them at 9:40 by the dashboard clock. Nine minutes later I was at the school. Four quick minutes to shove Sam and Jack into their classrooms (Jack still eating his breakfast), and I was at the doctor's by 10:07.

Of course this whole time I was highly discombobulated. There's something about going from sound sleep to full motion in 3 minutes that throws me off for a good hour or so. And honestly, the last time I had to come out of sleep to action like that is probably back in college when I'd regularly wake up late for things like class. And exams. (Honest to God, I entirely slept through an entire exam once, but was able to get a doctor's note—in my defense, I had been sick—and the TA kindly, and even sympathetically, let me take it in her office later.)

Of course, the question on everybody's mind: Why couldn't the little monste- darlings sleep in until 9:30 on a Saturday?

Monday, July 2, 2007

For WhyMommy

Some flowers for you...

As your "virtual" flowers will not wilt, neither will you.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


We live in one of those neighborhoods where miniature flags show up on all the lawns at the beginning of July. And while part of me objects to the forced patriotism that those flags represent, for the past two years Sam has been really excited by them.

Last year they mostly posed a threat to the family's well-being in that Sam and Jack waved them around haphazardly, pointy ends flying everywhere. It seems to be somewhat of a miracle that we made it through patriot-season with all our eyes intact.

This year, Sam is really into soldiers, and clearly associates them with flags. When he saw ours on the lawn this morning, his eyes lit up as he yelled, "A flag! I bet the soldiers brought them!" I find that mental image amusing: soldiers in camouflage canvassing the neighborhoods to make sure everyone has a flag in their yard. Although, honestly, I'd rather they do that than most anything else they're up to these days.

The plight of our soldiers is utmost in my mind as Sam seems to really want to be one when he grows up, albeit not for the noble reasons one might hope. Here's what he said a couple months ago to first let me know that he wanted to be one: "You know what I want to be when I grow up? A soldier. Can I use a gun then? Because most soldiers in America use guns. Can I?"

At this point, imagine my skin crawling.

Then, about a month ago, he upped the ante by saying, "When I grow up, I want to be a soldier so I can be in a tank."

Now he mostly just ambushes them when he sees them in malls and airports. Although he's too intimidated to go up to speak to most of them.

I'm not completely opposed to the military. And I'm not at all opposed to soldiers as people. (Mostly I just want all of them to be safe and to not have to kill anyone.) In fact, I'm the daughter and niece of two marines, and grew up sort of idolizing the Marine Persona. But even setting aside the fact that I don't love Sam's weapon-worship, I AM opposed to my tiny son going to war. Even when he's not so tiny. So I'm hoping that by the time he gets to enlistment age he decides he wants be a veterinarian or a surfer or, hell, even a lawyer. Just anything that keeps him (mostly) out of harm's way.

Don't they look American?