Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week In Review

I've been sick again.  Just a cold, but it gave me a headache for a few days that I had to work hard to power through.  We got new furniture, in spite of being sick, and it's awesome.  I have to fix the pictures on the walls, because they're not centered anymore, but I'll post pictures eventually.

I spent the day yesterday with my friend Jen.  We bought running shoes because I'm starting a couch to 5k program on Monday (I'm breaking in my new shoes today).  I am exceptionally nervous about running anything.  I haven't run since high school gym class, and then only grudgingly.  The guy at the shoe store (Fleet Feet) was helpful and funny.  He said, "You have great feet for running."  I laughed and said, "I'll bet you say that to all the girls."

Don't worry, beloved husband, I'm probably old enough to be his mother.

The kids are good.  We've been spending a lot of time on Girl Scouts this week, with cookie sales and World Thinking Day and everything else that's going on.  They completely lied when they said it was a commitment of "a couple hours a week."  More like a couple hours a day.  That's ok, though, I really enjoy it.  We have some cool outings coming up this semester.  I started slow with my Kinders, we only did two last semester.  This semester we'll do 5.  We aren't going to do camping, though.  Not until next year.  One obstacle is that I haven't been able to complete the training, but also they're just too little to do an overnight at 5 or 6 years old.

The main reason I haven't posted lately, though, is because I read Fall of Giants and Winter of the World by Ken Follett this month.  I can't tell you how grateful I am for my Kindle when I read 1000 page books!  I loved both of them, and I can't wait to read the third one in the Century Trilogy which will come out next year sometime (long wait).  I wish I could write like Ken Follett, holy smoke.  I can barely keep all of those characters straight as a reader - I can't imagine how he manages it as a writer (same goes for Diana Gabaldon, who also makes me grateful for my Kindle with her tomes).

Jack completed his evaluation and qualified for speech therapy with First Steps so that will begin next week.  Of course, of course, he has said a lot of new words since I started this whole process.  The most recent was "pie," which he said last night.  Isn't that how it always goes?

Next week promises to be just as busy as this week, so don't expect much.  Sorry!  We're all here and fine, so no need to call and ask why I haven't posted lately.  If anything interesting happens, you'll be the first to know.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Muddy Puppy

I let the dog out to enjoy the warm weather for a little while yesterday, and when I let her back in she was completely covered in mud.  I mean, covered.  I had anticipated this problem, and I brought a wet towel with me to the back door and attempted to clean her up, but it was too much mud for the towel I brought, and she quickly broke free of my grasp to run around the house, trailing mud EVERYWHERE.

Jen was here, and we hollered for BJ and took her into the bathroom where we gave her a bath.  Penny did a pretty good job of holding still, although she did drench me by trying to jump out a time or two.  BJ finally came downstairs to help - little did I know that he was on the phone with an important new client while I was screaming for him.  Whoops.  (Who makes important work calls at 6 pm on a Saturday night?)  I didn't have any dog shampoo handy so I used the kids' Suave 3-in-1 shampoo/conditioner/body wash (green apple scent).  The water coming off of her in the tub as I sprayed her with the hand-held shower head was so muddy that it looked like coffee.

I finally managed to get her clean, dried her off a little with a towel, and let her go in the house.  Big mistake.  She went and jumped directly onto my bed to lick her wounds.

The good news, though, was that Jen and I got to go out for dinner and beers to celebrate our victory over mud and 23 years of being Lucy and Ethyl, and Penny's fur feels exceptionally silky today.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


The girls have gotten into the song Some Nights by Fun.  Up until last night they thought that the lead singer was a girl, but whatever.  It's fun to sing Fun. in the car, too, because Jack sings along with the "oh woah woahs" and he shrugs, palms up, when it gets to the part where he sings, "I don't know..."

Catchy, right?  And fun to sing.  Sadly, there is a big F-bomb in the last verse.

Well, that is it guys, that is all - five minutes in and I'm bored again
Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands
This one is not for the folks at home;
Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

...and I've been censoring it out when it gets to that part in the car.

So Mary Grace asks me, "Mommy, why did they use that bad word in a song that kids would want to sing?"

"Good question.  Words have power, and that word is a very powerful one.  The singer is frustrated because the war in the desert has been going on a long time, and a lot of people think it's not a war that we should be fighting.  He uses that word because it conveys his anger and his frustration.  But it's not a polite word, and it's really not a word that little kids should use.  But it's been a long war, and he's angry.  My gosh, we've been fighting there since before you were born."

And that hit me hard.  I had to sit with that for a minute. My children have never known our country at peace.  That was heavy.

It's January, and they've been talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. at school a lot this month.  Claire chimed in and said, "Why don't they just solve their problems with words, the way Martin Luther King did, Mommy?"

"I don't know, kiddo.  Maybe they missed school that day."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Help Fight Niemann-Pick Disease

Nothing can make me want to go back to bed, pull the covers up over my head and cry like imagining the possibility of one of my kids getting sick.  I mean, I can barely handle the stomach flu...  I honestly don't know how parents of kids with chronic diseases manage.

There's this family in town, I don't know them personally but they are friends of our friends.  They have four children and three of them inherited Niemann-Pick disease.  One of those three has died.  They have hosted a golf outing for many years to raise money for research into this horrible disease.

Degenerative neurological diseases are very close to my heart.  You might remember that when the kids were born I donated their umbilical cord blood for Huntington's disease research.  I remain hopeful that research into all of these sorts of diseases will eventually lead to a cure.  Time is running out, though, for so many individuals and their families.

I'm asking you today to help support this family.  You don't even have to leave your computer, and you don't have to pay a dime.  All you have to do is register and vote at ESPN for their Infinity Coaches Charity Contest.  You can vote every day.  The winning coach will win $100,000 for his charity!

Go to that website, click on "Midwest Region," then vote for Matt Painter, the Purdue coach, who has chosen to support the Smith Family BReaKthrough Fund.  Coach Painter is way behind Ohio State as I write this.  I am hoping that the legions of Pretty Babies Readers can turn that around.

Thanks for taking a moment out of your day to help fight degenerative neurological diseases.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Did you think they sequestered me?  Nope, I called the courthouse the night before I was supposed to report for jury duty, and they said I was excused.  Hallelujah!

Jack had his First Steps evaluation today.  I think he'll most likely qualify for speech therapy, but he seems to be doing well, developmentally, in all other areas, so YAY!  Someday I won't be able to get him to stop talking, and I'll feel silly for having worried.  But after the reflux thing last year, it's sure nice to have a concern and have it turn out to actually be something worth being concerned about.  Oy.

We were going to get flu shots last week, in spite of the fact that I'm not usually a flu-shot-getter, but I had a migraine so I texted BJ and asked him to cancel our appointments and start planning my funeral instead.  Started a new medicine that will (*HOPEFULLY*) keep the migraines away for a while.  They're getting worse as I get older, I think.  Ugh.

Between the migraine and the book I'm reading , I've been quiet here.  Sorry.  Dinner just started beeping.  I'm making Monica's hashbrown casserole.  We'll see if it's any good, and if it is I'll post my recipe (which was mostly, "That looks good, I'll throw that in..." over and over until the pan was full!).

What's new with you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Psychosis Continues

Mary Grace:  (lots of running, giggling craziness)

Mom:  Go run around the block!  Get your shoes and your coat and go run around the block and get this out of your system!  Take your sister!!

Mary Grace:  Ok!  Claire - let's go!

Claire comes running out of our bedroom completely naked and laughing like a crazy person.

Darth Daddy is on the job now.  Jeez, Louise.

America's #1 Game

Mary Grace:  JACK! Jack! JACK! Jack! JACK!

Jack:  YAH YA YAH YA YAH WAhahahahhhaHAHAHAH!  Woah woah woah woah woah!!!!

Mom:  Mary Grace?  Mary Grace.  Mary GRACE!

Mary Grace:  What?

Mom:  It's time to start calming down.  Please play something quiet with your brother.

Mary Grace:  We're going to play hide and seek!!!!

Mom:  No, you're not.  Do something quiet like reading a book to him.  It's getting close to bedtime.  Hide and seek is not quiet.

Mary Grace:  But it's America's number one home game!

Mom:  Go read a book. (straight faced)

Mary Grace:  Ok.

Mom:  (dies laughing)


In other news, Claire lost a tooth at school today, and her teacher suspects that she swallowed it.  Mrs. O made her a paper tooth to put under her pillow, but she got it wet on the way home and came in sobbing.  Luckily I heard her before she hit the door, so I had time to stick a Magical Golden Dollar Coin (tm) in my pocket.

I used a little sleight of hand, and now she totally believes that the Tooth Fairy came and put magic in Mommy while she was at school, probably during rest time, and that Mommy used that magic to find a coin in her mouth when she got home from school.



PS - they're still not quiet and no one is reading anyone any books.  Mary Grace is teaching Claire how to play the piano (Mary Grace's first lesson was today) and BJ is swinging Jack upside down and throwing him at the couch.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I am all done with Groupons, Deal Chickens, and every other kind of magic website that sells you stuff in advance for a reduced price.

I have had two different businesses go belly up on me before I had a chance to use my vouchers (I bought tickets for a comedy club in November, they cancelled the show we were going to see, then we tried to reschedule and I found out tonight that they're closed.  Small wonder if they went around cancelling shows, anyway).  I had one that required multiple visits to a spa, and I only got 2/3 of them accomplished before they closed.

It's just bullshit.  It's like gift cards - a way to separate people from their money.  I am finished.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome to our Ool

Both of mine are like the one on the left. Weird.
So remember this?  Guess who has two clubbed thumbs and got selected and is summoned to report for Jury Duty on January 8?

Oy vey.  Did I ever tell you about the last time I had jury duty?

The case involved a guy who went to this girl's house and hit her new boyfriend upside the head with a tire iron.  That wasn't a question - the guy pretty much admitted it.  Our only duty as a jury was to find the guy guilty of either a) assault or b) assault with a deadly weapon.

The guilty part took like 10 seconds.  But then it got weird.  The definition of "deadly weapon" is pretty clear to anyone with an IQ above produce - if the weapon used in the manner that it was could kill someone, then it's a deadly weapon.  So it has nothing to do with the instrument itself - it's the manner in which it's used that matters.  Stuffing marshmallows down someone's throat could be considered "assault with a deadly weapon" if the person could reasonably have died from the action - whether he actually died or not is only relevant in deciding whether the bad guy gets assault-with-a-deadly or murder.  With me?

So any REASONABLE person would agree that a tire iron, when used in the manner it was used in (bashing upside the head) COULD kill someone.  It was only dumb luck that it didn't.  And they had plenty of evidence that the bad guy had hit the other guy (who wasn't much of a peach, himself) in the head.  Pictures, etc.

I guess the prosecutor didn't explain it at a Kindergarten level (oh who am I kidding, Claire would have done better than the people I served with), though, because they refused to understand that it was a deadly weapon - even though the guy didn't die.  And when I held my ground, as the jury foreman, and insisted on not returning a verdict until I was exhausted (I was pregnant with Claire at the time, and I had been there 12 hours), they started just making crap up.  I remember one woman in particular saying, "We don't know that he hit him in the head with a tire iron.  He could have fallen and hit his head on the TV."

The lawyers actually came up to me after the trial, when I finally gave in (it was everyone against me, and they were getting kind of scary, and I was like, "Screw it, I don't care enough to get my ass kicked by these idiots,") and said, "OMGWTFBBQ?" and I said, "You didn't explain the deadly weapon part at all, and they didn't understand, and I tried everything I could to convince them, but they were not smart people."

It was awesome.

So I am greatly looking forward to Tuesday, y'all.  You can bet that I'll have a story, no matter what happens.  Maybe I'll liveblog.

Have you ever been a juror?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Happy birthday, Dad!

(Squeaking in just under the wire, here, but it's been a busy day!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


The kids and I went over to Karen and Jim's last night to ring in the new year with appetizers and the chocolate fountain that the girls picked out for BJ and I for Christmas.  BJ went to Brandon's to play games.  Jack finally went to bed around 10?  10:30?  I don't know, by then I'd had a lot of wine.  My girls and Karen's boys all made it to midnight.  We all gave kisses, put on one last movie, and Karen and I went upstairs convinced that the kids would be asleep in seconds.

Owen came upstairs at 1:45 am to tell us that the movie had ended!  He and Mary Grace somehow willed themselves to stay awake for the whole thing.  We sent him back down to the basement to sleep and BJ and I drove the half mile home, convinced that none of the kids would stir until morning.

Jim heard Jack at 4 am saying, "Mama?  Mama?" in the kitchen.  Karen retrieved him and spent the next two hours trying to get him back to sleep (she's tenacious - I would have given up after about 20 minutes and driven his little butt home!).  She called us at 8:30 to let us know that he was awake and cheerful and that we ought to come get him before that changed.  We had breakfast over there, gathered up all our stuff, and came home.  We spent the day here, mostly cleaning and organizing.

He took one heck of a long nap this afternoon, but Jack was otherwise cheerful.  The girls got a little fussy toward bedtime.  They were picking at each other and bickering.  I could tell just from the look on Mary Grace's face that she was exhausted.

"Listen, Sis, we're going to eat supper, then we're going to have a nice bath and go to bed.  You just have to hold it together for like 45 minutes, ok?  And then you can rest.  But I want you to remember how you feel right now.  This is why Dad and I want you to get a good night's sleep every night.  It feels really crummy inside when you're tired, doesn't it?"

The tears spilled from her eyes.  "Yes, it does feel very crummy," she sobbed.

"I know.  It's very hard to control yourself when you're too tired.  You just want to yell at everyone, don't you?" she nodded.  Claire snuggled into my shoulder and cried, too.  "I know it's hard.  I'm grouchy too.  We'll get through it.  Dinner will be here soon* and then we'll take a bath and go to bed, and tomorrow will be better."

So they went back into the family room to do whatever they do in there, and I went back to trying to organize the MP3s on my computer.  After a few minutes, they must have started to get into it again, because I heard Claire say, sternly, "Mary Grace!  We have to hold it together for 45 more minutes!"  Miracle of miracles, MG listened, and the delivery driver showed up a moment later.  Dinner, bath, bed, and we all survived.

It's a good thing New Years only happens once a year!

* Mommy got about 5 hours of sleep last night, too.  If ever there were a time to order in, this was it!