trick or treat!

Halloween Eve was not a happy day for Brooks.

It actually started out the night before at the Trunk or Treat. By the time we got home, he had worked himself into an angry, candy-overloaded tizzy! So when I came downstairs early Sunday morning to find all three chillins chowing down on candy for breakfast, I knew we were off to a scary start to the day. When I managed to pry a tootsie roll from Brooks' kung-fu grip, he erupted in a string of toddler obscenities. I eventually had to get in the shower, so I left Dad to begin the wrestling match and attempt to get a kicking, flailing 3 year-old into a shirt and tie for church! (insert evil witch laugh now!)

When I was drying my hair, I could tell that the screaming Brooks had been left in his room to "cool down"! By the time I was putting on my earrings, I heard Mike open the garage door to get the other boys out to the car to wait for me. Brooks obviously heard the door too, and in the nicest, sobbing voice he could muster, he pleaded, "Mommy... Daddy.... please don't leave me!"

I opened his bedroom door and saw the tear-stained face of my little munchkin, who was obviously relieved to see me. Contrary to his understanding of the situation, we had no intention of leaving him at home while we were at church for 3 hours... but his fear of abandonment worked to our advantage when he promised to be nice and willingly got into his car seat.

When I picked him up from his nursery class, I was informed that he refused to clean up, and told another boy, "I don't care if I hurt your feelings." This was turning into a Halloween full of TRICKS!

After lunch, I lured him into my bed and we curled up to take a "little snooze". 2 1/2 hours later, I rolled over to a wide-eyed, smiling little dude as he said, "Good morning Mommy!"

Thanks to our afternoon nap, the remaining hours left of our Halloween Eve turned out to be filled with cheerful after-dinner chores, a fun game, playful banter and lovely singing... turns out I got a TREAT after all!

who says you don't use algebra as a mom

If you've ever felt like your brain is going to mush because of lack of use... try THESE mind benders to ward off the Alzheimer's!

Algebraic Equation:
Multiplication: Distributive Property

Sample: 4(a + b) = x

Mom Equation:
4 days (chocolate milk in sippy cup + under bed) = chocolate cottage cheese


Algebraic Equation:
Solve using the FOIL method
Sample Problem: (1 + x)(3 + 2x)

Mom Equation:
Laundry FOILed again!
(1 dryer + brown crayon)(1 load of whites + 2brown crayons)
Solution: Poopy looking underwear


Mom Equation:
(2a + 1b)
________ x 4d (2s) = M
(1h + 3c)

a= cans of cherry pop
b= clumsy husband
c= towels laid on top to keep our feet from getting wet
d= days lapsed
h= hours scrubbing carpet
M= Mildew smell wafting through the house!


All this is enough to make my head spin!

you might be a bad mom, if you did this...

Last Friday was NOT one of my finest moments as a mom. Even as I write this, I'm experiencing serious inner conflict about admitting this. But one of my goals is to be more humble... so here I go.

9:00 p.m. last Thursday
I crawl out of Brooks' bed and shake the needles out of my right arm. I must have been pretty tired to have fallen asleep in a toddler bed with a wiggly 3 year old. As I lock Brooks' door behind me, (look back HERE to see why I have to lock the door in the first place) I realize that Josh and Caleb are still awake despite having been in bed for an hour. Caleb informs me that he has a project due tomorrow. Confident that I would've known about it, I tell him he must be mistaken and coerce him into bed and turn off the light.

Just to be safe, I look around for any evidence of a project deadline amongst the plethora of papers that arrive home every day. There it is. I stare in disbelief at the project flyer right on the kitchen counter. Why is this the first time I'm seeing this? How did it magically appear right in plain sight. I do admit, I have been a bit preoccupied, and the house has been "under the weather" lately, but I'm in shock! I do a double take at the weekly homework sheet that has been posted on my bulletin board ALL WEEK LONG when I notice that right there, plastered across the top are the words, "We can't wait to see all the American Symbol projects that are due this Friday!"

"I'm the worst mom ever!" I mutter to my husband who is in the reclined position watching ESPN.

I have visions of Josh's American symbols project from 1st grade... and can see clearly in my mind's eye the Washington Monument model that is collecting dust in the attic. I brush the thought away because it isn't honest, right?

"You could always pull out Josh's old Washington Monument project from the attic?" my husband suggests sarcastically. Embarrassed to admit that the thought had already occurred to me, I tell him it's out of the question. I slump on the couch in silence as my mind races with horrific images of Caleb going to school WITHOUT a project... and the sight of possible "excuse note" sentences flash as I consider how I can possibly explain this oversight!

Don't get me wrong... Caleb is partly responsible. But he's also 6... and I'm 33. And who is the parent again? So after much debate with myself... and weighing out the outcomes of every possibility, I come to the conclusion that the only logical solution is to keep him home from school. Luckily we have the weekend to come up with something that is 3 feet tall, made out of clay (Caleb's requirements) and somewhat resembles either the Washington Monument, an eagle, a flag or the Statue of Liberty (the teacher's requirements).

Caleb is literally elated when I inform him the next morning that he will NOT be going to school that day, despite the absence of a fever or sore throat. But he voices his own thoughts to fix the situation by saying, "Why don't I just take Josh's Washington Monument project in the attic?" Great minds really do think alike, I guess.

Thanks to a friend's suggestion, a last-minute trip to the craft store is averted when Caleb becomes giddy at the idea of building the Washington Monument out of Legos. So, in addition to all the other things I HAD to get done that very day (I'll spare you on the details... but take my word for it, this day was intense), we spent the next 2 hours burrowing through Lego bins sorting out all the small, white lego pieces... including white slanted pieces, which are hard to come by.

The end result is something that both mother and son are proud of! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. So hopefully it will make it back in one piece, so you can see the masterpiece for yourself.

Until then, here are a couple fun facts about the Washington Monument:

The Real One:
-555 feet tall
-897 steps to the top
-36,491 blocks of marble
-50 flags surrounding it... representing each state

Caleb's Model:
-13 inches tall
-35 levels of legos to the top
-325 lego blocks
-25 flags surrounding it... representing every 2 states!

grocery line etiquette

I don't like to make judgments about people based on a person's age. But I also can't argue with facts.

Quite often while I am paying for my groceries, I am crowded at the grocery store check-out. I think most people understand the unspoken rule about giving people space while they punch in secret codes and sign their John Hancock. But there are a few who fail to see the invisible line that exists between the conveyor belt and the credit card machine... a social line that you must not cross until the person has successfully paid for their groceries and has exited the isle. Failure to do so, in my opinion, earns you the title of "lurker". And over the years, I have noticed that "lurkers", without fail, fit within the following age brackets: 80+ years... and 16-18 years.

Recently, while I was loading my groceries into the cart, about 6 teenage boys had encroached past the invisible line. While I was trying to swipe my card, I could actually identify 3 different colognes that were attempting to mask the stale cigarette smoke, a hint of B.O. ... and I felt the guy's long hair brush up against my arm as he tossed it over his shoulder. When I motioned to them and suggested they "back up a bit", they seemed confused until I asked them if they would like to purchase my $300 grocery bill for me. They immediately stepped back... and I think the one wearing the skinny jeans did a courtly bow.

Another time, a little granny was so far forward, her walker was practically nestled right under my heiny!

And yet another time, a grandma and grandpa duo were so close that the grandma kindly brushed off some goldfish crumbs that were on my shoulder.

Although, I'm flattered that people don't find me disgusting enough to keep their distance, the thought has occurred to me that they are actually trying to pick my pockets or something, and so it does make me a little uncomfortable. Maybe next time I won't consider it as much of a priority to shower and put on deodorant before going to Walmart.

Just a mini-toot on my mini-horn for my mini-shades

I've had my eye on some mini-shades for my dining room chandelier for some time now... but have NOT been willing to spend well over $50 to buy them new.

Sooooooooooooooo I found some old, mis-matched, atrocious looking shades for a buck a piece at Goodwill... added some black cardstock and a little double width bias tape... and badda-bing-badda-boom... Fancy shmancy shades for only $10 buckaroos!

Okay, okay... that's definitely enough "tooting" for one day!

2 funerals and a cemetary

This past week, my boys have experienced and dealt with death. For them, it was filled with fascination and intrigue.

As for the wildlife in our back yard?... It has been a pretty tragic week.

When I saw Josh carrying the dead corpse of a squirrel, which had apparently been named Scotty, I knew I had better get off the phone quick. I was a little disturbed to watch the freshly dead rodent slide back and forth in the snow shovel, while my sons and other neighborhood boys crowded around asking me what to do with it.

I shuddered as visions of a fly-infested-5-days-until-trash-pick-up garbage can came to mind, so I immediately gave them the alternative to bury it. Apparently that was the right response, because they all whispered "yes!" in unison.

Fast forward 2 days later... I watched a precession of boys following Josh as he carried the same snow shovel in a funeral-like-march towards me. This time, the unlucky rodent was a very stiff and very dead chipmunk.

I didn't have to say much... just gave them the "go ahead nod" before they all scampered off to the back yard flower bed, which has now been officially designated as the Rodent Cemetary.

Now that I think about it, I think I need to be more careful with the mole poison.

labor of love

Tonight I got a hankerin' for some good 'ole fashioned comfort food... not just any old comfort food... my Grandma's famous rice pudding! The problem is, Grandma lives 6,000 miles away in Alaska, and the last time I tried making her recipe, it was an utter failure!

Several years ago, upon my request, Grandma had given me the recipe, and had written the directions very carefully and detailed... because apparently there's a special science in making a good rice pudding. Hers is so creamy and delicious, it tastes like Christmas in a bowl!.... it's THAT good!

But in trying to replicate her recipe, I thought if I hurried the process and let it boil, and skip the step about pouring a little hot mixture into the beaten eggs first, and then adding it to the rest of the milk mixture... that i would get the same result. Oh contrare! It tasted alright, I guess.... that is, if you like scrambled eggs in every bite.

That image haunted me for years, so I was very reluctant to try making it again. Until tonight. So since Mike was out for the night, and the kids were in bed, I rummaged through my pantry for some evaporated milk and set to work. I turned the stove on... very low... and slowly and patiently stirred the milk. I stirred, and I stirred and I stirred. I followed the recipe meticulously. I was tempted once or twice to crank up the heat and speed things along, but I resisted. (in case you're wondering, the goal is to cook it, without letting it boil). I was also tempted to walk away and load the dishwasher... but I refrained.

As I was standing there, I started thinking about all the times Grandma made rice pudding just for me. When they were living in DC, she often made it when she knew we were coming over, and when she came to visit me, she brought me a big tupperware bowl just for me! Of course I appreciated it then... but I didn't understand all the labor and love cooked up in a big pot of rice pudding. I imagined her standing in her kitchen late at night, stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring... even though she probably had a hundred other things she could've been doing besides standing at the stove. I get it now. And I'm grateful she did it.

And now I'm passing that labor of love onto my family, because for the first time ever, I have created some yummy, creamy rice pudding... and I think it turned out beautifully! (Not a speck of scrambled eggs to be seen!) The question still remains... will they even like rice pudding? I'm not sure yet. Either way, I feel like a better mom for making it!

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