Sunday, September 28, 2008

All in a night's "sleep"

Friday night:

10pm - went to bed..  

10:15pm - Ben awake and crying.  I bring him into bed with us.  

Midnight - Sam is up with growing pains.  Kick Aaron under the covers to get him  to deal with Sam.  Aaron not there. Go in to Sam.  Find motrin and a medicine dropper.  Give motrin to Sam.  Look for Aaron.  He is sleeping on the Living Room floor.  Lie down with Sam for a few minutes to help him fall back to sleep.  Go back to my bed.  Ben is snoring and attaches himself like velcro to my neck.  

3am - wake up to Ben falling out of bed and crying.  Notice that Jack is also now in my bed.  Stumble out to LR to make Aaron take Jack back to bed.

5:50 - Sam up for the day.



Can someone please explain to me how I blinked and all of a sudden I live with 4 males and have a Green Bay Packers cheesehead hat hanging from my window?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sam's spelling homework tonight was to define his spelling words.  My favorite was his definition of brother - "a little sibling who sometimes likes to wrestle."


Right now Jack and Ben are in their room "sleeping."  Jack is trying to teach Ben to count.

Jack says, "Okay, Ben.  Like this.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten."

Ben says, "One, two, three, four, seven, eight, four."

Jack says, "No, Ben.  Say the numbers after me.... one..."

Ben: "one."

Jack: "two..."

Ben:  "two."

Jack:  "three..."

Ben: "three."

Jack:  "four..."

Ben:  "four."

Jack:  "five..."

Ben:  "seven."

Jack:  "No Ben, five comes after four."

Ben:  "no.  seven."

And on an on.  Jack has the patience of a saint.  It is adorable.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When words are tonic to the soul

Last Fragment by Raymond Carver:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel mysef
beloved on the earth.

Rest in peace, David Beadles.  And a peace beyond all understanding to Nicole and Emmi.

More sad

One of our friends died today.  He was young, 35, with a 3 year old daughter.  Cancer, diagnosed less than a year ago.   He was tall, handsome, and vibrant.  

Life is a gift to be grateful for every day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A little comic relief

I told the boys that after Jack's gymnastics this morning we would go out for a treat.  When we got to our friendly neighborhood Starbucks, they were out of the coffee cake that we wanted.  So we went to the Starbucks a mile or two away.  On the way, Aaron called on my cell phone and I told him we were in search of everyone's favorite treats and may have to stop at even another Starbucks in addition to the first two so everyone could have their choice of treat.  

Without missing a beat, he replied, "It's the suburban mom's pub crawl."  

Can't sleep

I have come to realize that I am a delayed feeler.  I say goodbye to loved ones at the airport and am dry-eyed.  I am solid as nails if one of my kids gets hurt and needs medical attention.  I didn't even get a lump in my throat watching Schindler's List.  But late at night, when my body and mind are still and I try to sleep, the emotions come and the tears start.

I'm having one of those nights.

It started so happily.  Sam had a soccer game and he and Jack were running toward the field.  Feelings of pride washed over me as I saw Sam slowing his pace so he and Jack could run at the same speed.  When they joined Sam's teem members, I was so pleased to see that Jack was part of the crowd.  I don't think I had turned away for more than a moment or two when I realized that something had gone wrong.  I realized it at the same moment as two other parents who came rushing toward the group of boys who were tormenting Jack.  

Jack was at the bottom of a pile of about 5 boys.  A tall boy caught my eye as he was running to take advantage of a little kid being down.  They had removed his shoes and were laughing at him and pointing and just being really mean spirited.  Jack was lying on side, trying to wiggle away, calling for me.  They were trying to keep him down.

It all happened so quickly, I don't really remember the specifics but I do know that what was once a group of boys having fun turned on a dime and quickly became a group of boys taking advantage of the little kid in the group.

I was furious.  Oh, was I furious.  I practically threw the kids away from him as I yelled (in a really deep, angry, gutteral voice that I barely even recognized as my own as it was coming out of my mouth) at them to get off.  I don't recall what I said other than screaming at Sam to sit down on the side of the field.  Of course all of the boys stared at me with wide eyes, one daring enough to say, "I didn't do anything."

I picked Jack up, he buried his head in my shoulder and cried in my arms for a good 15 minutes.  He kept saying "I want to go home.  I want to go home."  

Now that the house is quiet and I should be sleeping, I can't keep the scene from playing over and over in my mind.  Once Jack calmed down, he was fine and happy and he certainly seems to have no lingering ill effects.

Children are so resilient.  But my heart broke today.  And now I can't sleep.        

Friday, September 12, 2008


As I go through my day, I mentally sift through events as either blogworthy or not blogworthy.  My neighbor agrees that this one is blogworthy.  

Aaron called me mid-morning from work.  "Honey, C and H* are in town for the weekend.  Do you think we can have them over for dinner Saturday night?"

(C and H are, respectively, the President and CEO of Aaron's company.  They are French.  They are members of the intelligentsia, foodies, wine connoisseurs, and distinguished older gentlemen.   They would not be the least entertained by turkey burgers on the grill served with Two Buck Chuck.)

My response, without giving it a moment's thought:  "Are you out of your fucking mind?"

Seriously - if we hired full time help for two months, our home and meal would still not be ready for C and H.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who's the Dude?

We have an 8x10 glossry photo of Barack and Joe Biden on our fridge.  Jack saw it yesterday and looked at me with horror.  "Why do we have a photo of John McCain on our fridge?"

"That's not John McCain, sweetie, that's Joe Biden, Barack Obama's running mate."

Today his buddy E came over.  E excitedly exclaimed, "Look!  There's Hillary Clinton with Obama!!"

His older brother M, aged 6, heard him and said, "That's not Hillary Clinton.  That's George Bush."

Clearly the Obama-Biden campaign needs to increase "brand recognition" for Joe Biden to the under 7 demographic.

Don't read this while drinking coffee.

I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee this morning while commiserating with a friend about the state of politics.  She said,  "Someone should feed Karl Rove to a woodchipper."  

I can now officially confirm that if you laugh hard while drinking coffee it will, in fact, come out your nose.  

A worthwhile blog

Very interesting...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Compliment or Insult: You Decide

Sam said to me tonight, "Mom, you are just like the parrot in Walter the Farting Dog."

Free Pass

This gets me thinking, Internet, who would be on your free pass list?

(Please answer so I don't feel like a complete dork for posing a question that no one answers.)

My list:

1) Matt Damon
2) Ben Affleck 
3) Michael Phelps (my newest addition - but he wouldn't be allowed to talk)
4) Viggo Mortensen
5) Angelina Jolie (come on, don't tell me you wouldn't be curious)

It's not very cultured, I know.  

Loving Matt Damon

Any of you who know me in real life know that Matt Damon is my "free pass."*  So you can imagine my joy when my BIL introduced me to this clip:

(Someday I will learn how to post a video directly.  Until then, you'll just have to follow the URL).

* Free Pass - an agreement between a monogamous couple that, should the opportunity arise, you are allowed to have guilt-free sex with the celebrity or celebrities on your "free pass" list.  Of course, the reason this kind of list exists is because the chances of you actually being in a position to meet the person and then having them agree to have sex with you is approximately... zero.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Friend to the Special Needs Community?

One of the more touching moments of Sarah Palin's mean-spirited, flippant speech to the RNC was when she declared to the millions of families with special needs children that they would have a friend and advocate in the White House.  


All we have to do is look at her current state of Alaska to get an idea of exactly how she will "advocate" for families of special needs kids.

All mental health institutions were shut down in Alaska in the 1990s.  During her governorship she took exactly ZERO steps to provide alternative services for kids with mental health issues.

She cut the state's Special Olympics budget in half.

Her state is the subject of two lawsuits that allege inadequate services and financing for children with special needs.

Since she made this proclamation during her speech, she has refused to provide details of what she means by "advocate."  When questioned, her spokeswoman provided more fluff.  "She will be an advocate in the White House on multiple  levels."

And her running mate?

John McCain opposes federal legislation that would help people with special needs find alternative living arrangements.

He voted against a measure to provide additional federal funding to state programs for teaching kids with special needs.  Why?  Because to do so would involve providing tax cuts to the wealthy.  (By the way, the majority of Republicans also voted against this measure.  The majority of Democrats supported the measure.)

My mom always told me our actions speak louder than our words.  Once again, she is right.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

She's here!

My new baby niece is here.  Mia Faith.  Hooray, hooray!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Here is what I am wondering.

Why is it that when African American teens get pregnant and keep the baby they are "welfare queens" but when white teens get pregnant and keep the baby they are making the morally courageous choice?


After a good wholesome family bowling expedition last Monday, Jack noticed the flashing red XXXs on a windowless storefront across the street from the alley.  

He is just learning to sound out words.  

"Vv, vv, vv, vie, vie-dee, vie-dee-oh..... Video.  Video.  X X X Video.  Mommy, mommy, can we stop there for the new Dora video on the way home?"  

"Uh, Jack, I don't think their Dora videos are the kind you are looking for."

Ut oh, Mommy.

The other day Aaron noticed that our new rug was in need of a cleaning so he got out the vacuum and started vacuuming.  This is an unusual occurrence in our household.

Ben came running to me.  "Ut oh, Mommy.  Ut oh.  Daddy's cleaning."  

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin

Aaron, Sam and I just finished watching Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican Convention. Aaron sat and silently seethed, Sam wondered why people were cheering for someone who was in favor of war, and I tried to listen openly to her words.

What I heard was a charming, charismatic speaker.  John McCain could not have found a better champion for his candidacy.  She was also flippant, mean-spirited and high schoolish.

What I didn't hear was one bit of policy other than that which was related to oil.  And no surprise, I couldn't disagree with her more on that.  (The deafening chants of "drill, baby, drill" made me shake with anger.)  I heard nothing about education or the economy or health care or a strategy for the war in Iraq.

Her speech was meant to reach out and touch the suburban soccer moms (or hockey moms as she calls us) who will decide this election.   Sadly, it looks like the first woman nominee for the presidential office brought us all style and no substance.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Toughy

Today is J's birthday.  5 years old.  Man does time fly.

I've heard it said that your child's birth is a preview of his life.  That is certainly true in 
J's case. He was born with intensity and gusto and that's how he lives his 

He spent his first few months messing with us. 
 He tricked us into thinking he was a mild mannered, timid baby.  And while his first year was mild mannered, he also quickly evolved into an opinionated tank.  His baby fat rolls were so immense it prevented him from sitting up straight.  

Jack was talking well before age one and his walk was as distinctive as his personality.  He'd walk upright, but with arms stuck straight out BEHIND him.  He'd put his head forward, stick back his arms and come at you like a battering ram.   Aaron's mom affectionately referred to him as a bulldozer.  My dad nicknamed him "Straight Line" because it didn't matter what was in his way, if he saw something he made a straight line right for it.  

Sam, Aaron and I called him Toughy because although he was still sweet and mild tempered, he was clearly a bad ass.  None of the other kids on the playground were going to mess with him. 

 I think Jack's most endearing feature is his protectiveness of his brothers.  We saw it for the first time when he was maybe 14 months old.  Aaron had the boys at the local children's musuem.  Sam, who was almost 4, was playing with a ball.  Some big kid came up to him and took the ball out of his hands.  Jack saw it happen.  In response he furrowed his brow, squared up his target and went at him.  He grabbed the ball back, gave the big kid a push and marched the ball right back to Sam.  

Just recently I forced Sam to have a playdate with the new kid in his class.  Sam said he didn't want to but I gave him a lecture on empathy and inclusiveness and invited the boy, we'll call him Aidan, anyway.  Within 5 minutes, it was clear WHY Sam didn't want to have Aidan over.  Let's just say he was a PITA and leave it at that (but my kind readers must know I am making a gross understatement).  

At one point, Aidan accidentally hurt Ben.  Ben erupted in tears, I ran to comfort him, and Jack came out to see what happened.  "Did that kid hurt Ben?!" he asked in his gruffest, meanest voice that he is not allowed to use.  "YES!"  yelled Sam.  As soon as Sam said yes I knew there was trouble.  Before I could grab Jack and tell him it was an accident, he was running at Aidan full force like a bear - his claws outstretched, growling at him.  

Sadly for Jack, Aidan is 3 years older than he is and Jack was the one who got taken down.  But despite the long conversation I had with Jack about violence and hitting not being the way to express anger, I was secretly filled with pride over his fierce protection of his little brother.  

So today my sweet, exhausting, affectionate, fiesty, tough, protective, intense boys turned 5.  I still remember our first moments alone together in the hospital.  He had the deepest, slate eyes and he stared at me as though he was memorizing my face.  "Who are you?" I whispered.  "Where will we go together?  What will I learn from you?"  

I'm still learning the answer to those questions.  What I do know is that the joy he has brought to my life is not quantifiable.  He is a blessing beyond all  blessings.

Happy 5, little Toughy.  Mommy loves you.