Sunday, August 29, 2004

Freaky Mosquitoes

Tonight the mosquitoes in the car were "freaky" according to Zach. It was like a swampy breeding ground when we started to leave the farm tonight. We probably had 12 mosquitoes in the van. I had to pull over and spray all the children and myself with the Deep Woods Off. We're talking the good stuff here. 25% DEET. And we still got a bite or two each. The van sat on the side of the road as the children & I killed about 8 of the mosquitoes. I got a couple driving down the road but then I had to pay attention more and just watched as they flitted in and out of my line of vision. Itchy!

The update is we stayed at Poppy's (my stepdad) farm for 2 nights. Hung out the first day and explored. The 2nd day we went into Boston to the Aquarium. The boys loved the giant tank in the middle just as I did as a kid. We arrived at the perfect time. Caught the jellies exhibit (they look pretty cool when you don't have to worry about them stinging you.) and watched them feed one species of jelly. I can't remember which kind it was. Not the little blue ones. Not the giant ones. The guy actually stuck his arm in and squeezed the food out of a baster into the jellies' tentacle area. Then the jellies pulled it to them. Amazing. They would drift right by his arm. The boys couldn't believe he would put his arm up to the elbow right in the tank.

The highlight was watching the divers feed the shark in the big tank with a fish on a stick. The sea turtles were very cool. The boys named all the animals that were in Finding Nemo. The giant turtle was Crush and the smaller one Squirt. It went on and on.

That night (last night) we stayed at Uncle Mike's. (my brother) The boys were in video game heaven. Today it was hang with Mike and go to a BBQ at the farm. This is where we picked up the mosquito swarm.

Now the boys are in bed. Showered. Ready to get up and play a last game or two while I pack the car AGAIN (4th time this trip). After I'm done it is off to pick up Grammy, say goodbye to Poppy, go visit my dad and head back home.

It's been a great trip but I am ready to go home. I need a vacation...

the Face of Tomorrow

Something to keep you all busy until I get back - or at least back to the computer: the Face of Tomorrow

This is fascinating! Thanks to Ernie at little.yellow.different. for finding it.

ps- 11 days until school starts!

No, I'm Not Back

Computer withdrawal. I've been without a computer for 4 days and I'm going through withdrawal. It's sad really. But now, here I am.

I'll be back with the kids from Massachusetts tomorrow night some time. The trip should be interesting. Aggravating is probably a better word. The trip home is always a nightmare. It's NEVER a one potty stop. More like a 5 potty stop. And a stop or 2 for food. Another for gas. Another because someone is screaming. And if the trip is going really badly, another for a flat tire, trip to store for a new tire and even more food. Lets hope this trip back is not quite that bad.

Little update...

The beach was wonderful. The only problem is it was too short. A week would be too short. The kids were great. My cousins were great. Everyone had a blast. No one was lost off the side of the ferry either.

Conversation between Zach and my cousin Erin after he was plowed over by a wave, face planted in the sand, came up with a face streaming of salt water, snot and sand (out his nose and mouth), and cleaned up by Mom (that's me):

Zach: "The ocean is freaky."

Erin: "What's freaky about it?"

Zach - thinking hard: "Lots of things," looking out at the waves and horizon, "are freaky about the ocean."

Erin: "Yes, lots of things are freaky about the ocean."
Okay, this conversation was much funnier when she told me about it. Hopefully you get the picture of the little 4 y/o looking all serious and contemplative while trying to decide what exactly is freaky about the ocean. If not, I tried. ~side note: the word of the week has been freaky, It keeps popping up in conversation, on TV, etc.~

After the beach day was a pool day. Tons of fun. Relaxing. The kids didn't get out of the pool except for lunch. Dylan was swimming on his own with no bubble and even Zach graduated to water wings. (Yes Jeff, we can get rid of the turtle floaty. Yay!) Erin took me for a pedicure. Bless her heart. It was lovely and I got a little wild. Instead of my usual black or blue metallic nail polish, I went with raspberry. They do not look like my toes. I'm still not sure what made me do it. Maybe all that sea air.

I also learned about finding your limit in relation to time spent with relatives. I'd never really contemplated this before. I think it's a good idea though. I found one cousin to have a 35 minute limit (that's the shortest). The word freaky has also come up in relation to her.

My other female cousins (wait they're all female) I haven't found my limit with. We haven't spent enough time together since we were kids to find out this kind of information. I'm sure my limit would be much higher than theirs. I hope we get to spend more time together in the future. (If you're reading this Erin & Karen - COME VISIT US!!)

Lots of fun and then we moved on to Mass. Took the ferry from Orient Point to New London. It always seemed like such a long ride as a kid. This one was too short. I had so much I wanted to do with the kids and it seemed it was time to get off before we did anything. An hour and 1/2 just isn't as long as it used to be.

More update later...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Islands Galore

We arrived on Long Island last night. It was a one potty stop trip. The boys were great. A bit loud now and then but very good.

They have already been in the pool. I hope the neighbors have been warned. If not, they know we're here now. The kids are excited. (that means loud)

Today we are off to Fire Island. Ferry ride and ocean here we come. I'll let you know if we all make it back alive. Hope I don't lose anyone off the boat. Actually, do you think I could lose them just until school starts? No.

It's a bit windy. I'm a little concerned about flying sand and whiny boys. I'm waiting to see how it all plays out. Keep your fingers crossed... the day could go either way.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Fish Called Wanda

Jeff was rewatching A Fish called Wanda last night while I was online. I heard this line (a favorite of mine)...
Scene: John Cleese's character is a defense attorney for Wanda's lover. They are in the courtroom and Cleese is questioning Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis).

"And what time did he leave?" asked Cleese.

"Five to seven," says Wanda.

"Five to seven. Are you sure?" asks Cleese.

And Wanda answers, "I know, because I thought to myself, where could he be going at five to seven with that sawed-off shotgun."
I knew I had to mention it in my blog. Funny, funny movie. One of our fav's. So, while looking for a good related link I came across Colin's movie monologue page. A little something to keep you busy while I'm gone.


Why is it, nothing is ever DONE? I'd like to say the boys' room is done but it isn't. Today is washing the curtains and dusting the bookcase headboards on their bunkbeds. Then I could say it's done BUT it needs to be painted. It needs a rug. hmmm... the rug before winter (seems like we should have tons of time but at 10 am it is only 57 degrees out. Seems like winter is right around the next weekend. Brrr. The painting will probably have to wait until next summer. I guess curtains and dusting will have to constitute done.

As for how Jeff is handling the changes... he hates them. I think he is slowly coming around though. The good news is the boys (& I) love the changes. Their room seems bigger & brighter. And it looks... sniff, sniff, like a big kid room. No more little kid room. In one sense it is exciting, moving onto another phase, another adventure with the boys. In another sense it is scary, sad, they aren't my little boys any more and what do I do with big boys? I have no idea.

It may surprise you to hear I always thought I'd have a girl. In the beginning, back eons ago when I was pregnant with Alex, I assumed he was a girl. I never voiced this thought or even admitted it to myself. It was when he was born I realized this. The whole time I was in the hospital I was stunned I'd had a boy. What would I do with a boy? True, I have a brother but still, he was a mystery for the most part. I didn't know his thoughts on growing up. I never really knew what he was thinking. WHAT DO I DO WITH A BOY???

Well, four boys later and I'm still wondering. I think I'd be wondering just as much if I'd had a girl though. What I have learned about boys is pretty standard:
  1. Boys like any noise that could be mistaken for a bodily function.
  2. Boys like things found in nature that wiggle, creep, run... well, pretty much anything that moves.
  3. Not all boys like to actually TOUCH these things.
  4. Boys DO whine - I don't care what anyone says.
  5. Some boys care a lot about their clothes.
  6. Some boys don't care at all.
  7. All boys go through a naked stage (usually ends around the age of 4 or 5 - usually)
  8. Boys fight in ways girls would never think to.
  9. Boys play in ways girls would never think to.
  10. Boys think jumping on each other is fun.
  11. Boys will make a weapon out of anything. (Yes, ANYTHING... fingers, sticks, vacuum tubes, legoes, toast... the list goes on & on & on)
I know there are more boy things but I can't think of any right now and the boys are bugging me to get on the computer. Must make more coffee too.

~ 18 day until school ~

Saturday, August 21, 2004

It's Unanimous - I NEED SLEEP!

This explains it all...

Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with

Heidi's Syndrome
Cause:early mornings
Symptoms:extreme invisibility, glowing in the dark, hairy legs
Enter your name, for your own diagnosis:
~ 19 days until school starts!!! ~
Thanks to Liz over at This Full House for this.

Friday, August 20, 2004


I had tons to do today and I did none of it. What I did do, was rip the older boys' room apart. For some reason, every time Jeff goes out of town I do some rearranging. Or remodeling. Or something that changes things. I never plan it, it just works out that way. I'm thinking there's some sort of subconscious ping when the "King of Hates Change" leaves.

I've decided to do away with the boys' dressers. They have managed to take two well made dressers and pull off drawer fronts, push out drawer bottoms and break runners so the drawers fall on their feet when they are opened more than two inches. The clothes are crumpled. The clothes are jammed. The clothes are stuffed in the back never to see the light of day until I deem it time to go through them. So - to the curb they go!

What to do with all those clothes now? I bought some wire basket tower thingy yesterday and put it together today. I needed a rubber mallet and more muscles than I knew I had. The thing will NOT fall apart. Well, hopefully not before Christmas. I pulled shelves out of the closet, went through toys, setup shelves out of the closet, put wire racks in. The dust was amazing. Who knew so much dust could accumulate in a closet? It was frightening!

Tomorrow I must get more shelves and more wire basket thingys (that's the official name for them), dump another dresser, dust another corner of the closet and wash the floor. The boys will each have a set of shelves for "stuff" and baskets for clothes. Oh, and Jeff, if you manage to read this before you get home...

I took the closet doors off. Deep breathes.

The Good & The Bad

Whaaaa! Last day of rec camp and 20 more days until school starts. What am I going to do? This can't be happening!

Other bad things that are happening...
  1. Tyler's 8th birthday party is in exactly 2 weeks and I've only invited one kid so far.
  2. Reject on a manuscript this week.
  3. I am suppose to be taking the kids to visit relatives on Long Island & Massachusetts on Monday (for a week) and have done NOTHING to prepare.
  4. The house is a disaster of major proportions.
  5. Jeff is going out of town today.
Let's not forget the good things that are happening...
  1. School shopping is done.
  2. Reject was because they were working on another book with the same topic and the editor would like to see some more of my work.
  3. My mom is going on the trip to LI & MA with the kids & I.
  4. The dust bunnies haven't grown large enough to harm the children yet.
  5. Jeff will only be gone 1 night. He'll be back late Saturday.
  6. My friend Candice is working on a movie deal with ABC.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Fascination of a Three-Way-Mirror

I finished the school shopping. Let's hear a big Hooray! The older boys went to an amusement park with summer rec. and Zach and I hit the stores. And the sales!

We did well. Got what we needed with an extra item or two. The boys came home and loved it all. Except...

(you didn't really think that would be all did you?) Dylan. He hated the shirts I bought him. He wanted to go back to the store "RIGHT NOW!" And fool that I am agreed to take him after dinner when his dad got home. (**note: he went back to the store wearing one of the shirts I bought him. I think instead of not liking the shirts, he wanted to pick one out himself.**)

Off we went. Me, who makes decisions in the blink of an eye. (okay, most of the time) Dylan who spent a WHOLE HOUR trying to decide between two shirts. This is a child you can't rush. Try it and he melts down. I did try once or twice and there were tears. LOUD tears. Then sobbing tears. You know the ones. They just break your heart. (And yes, I know he knows just how to play me. He's 5 and it still works.)

The other thing that kept me from pushing him was the entertainment. Dylan can hold a crowd. He swaggered up to the three-way-mirror with a new shirt on, "There are three of me." His voice held the wonder and delight of discovery. This is a boy who loves to look at himself in the mirror.

While modeling the shirts for himself he started conversing with his images. I'm talking conversations. At one point, between shirts, he started telling his images they'd better put a shirt on. This was all done in a serious reprimanding tone.

When I finally convinced him to go look at a couple more things (he still hadn't decided on a damn shirt) he lectured his images not to follow him. He repeatedly turned every couple of steps to remind them not to follow. I then explained they were walking the other way. He turned once more and praised them for listening.

You may be wondering if he is all there. He is. He knew they were nothing more than his image but he was having a great time pretending they weren't. (and I didn't demand anything from him because I was fascinated - another bonus in his eyes)

Imagine how his life would be if he didn't have brothers to play with...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Highest Score Battles Giant Squash

Just when I start to doubt the children they redeem themselves.

Tyler decided to learn to skateboard yesterday. He strapped on his helmet, grabbed my brother's old skateboard and started across the garage. I was heading out to paint the front porch (trying to avoid making dinner) and invited him down to the sidewalk so I could watch.

I painted, he practiced. Not too much falling and surprisingly no scrapes. The other boys soon came out to watch. None wanted to try it but they were all for rooting him on. He had my broom set out as his "highest score." That would be video game speak for furthest he made it without falling. When I tried to dislodge the video game analogy he staunchly refused.

This is when I started to worry. Why was everything related to video games? Should I not let them play them? They seemed a bit too consumed.

Well, during dinner they reassured me a bit. We were discussing yucky vegetables and how if they complained about dinner again, all they would get tomorrow would be various things like brussel sprouts. (note: I've NEVER even had a brussel sprout - and never will.) Then Dylan started talking about giant squash like Mrs. McNosh's. They then went off on a whole scenario involving a version of Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash with us playing the role of Mrs. McNosh.

Okay, so they were consumed by more than video games. Books seemed to get a hold of them too. I guess this is a good thing. Taking things they learn/read about/play and changing them to fit into other things. I guess this would be called creativity. Creativity... one thing I value highly. One thing I think is important. If you are smart or not, if you are creative, you have a better chance to succeed. It is the one element that puts you above the rest. Let the battle between highest score and giant squash continue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Three of the kids were talking about the Renaissance Festival on the way back from the grocery today (Dylan is at a friend's - you don't think I'd take them all do you?). I overheard Zach telling his big brothers about the ride on the dragon.

"The guy pushed us way up high. We almost got stuck in the tree."

"You looked scared." (Zach was VERY scared. We're talking crying and begging to get off by the end.)

"Dylan was scared a little too."

Now, I'll tell you... Dylan was NOT scared in the least. In fact, the image of him with his mouth in a wide open smile, eyes glittering, joy splashed across his face - that is what I think of when I picture him at the festival. His pure joy is burned into my mind. A great image to have forever.

Zach recovered quickly. We're talking before he made it off the ride. The next ride his brother dragged him on - convinced him was not going to be scary (even though I said it might be) - is where I have an image of Zach burned into my mind. Zach clutching his brother's hand, trying to convince himself flying through the air in a little chair, then being spun around, is fun. The look of trying to be brave. No tears this time. He is SO brave and I know his brother's hand helped.



You're Albus Dumbledore! You're wise (one might say

wise beyond your years, except you're

150...)You are an excellent judge of character

and people are always coming to you for advice.

You tend to be a bit eccentric, but that makes

everyone love you even more. Hey- when you go

back to your office, would you give my best to

the Sorting Hat?

The Harry Potter Personality Quiz

brought to you by

Am I really that old? I mean the children do call me "Oldwife". (It's a kind of fish in their underwater alphabet book. They find it hysterically funny.) I don't like it when they do it & I certainly don't like it when the computer says it. As for the wisdom Dumbledore displays... not really me. I'm guessing I'm more like... well, I don't know. Hagrid? No, I'm not so fond of dangerous animals. Ron? Sounds a bit more like me. But I answered the questions truthfully so... maybe I'll let myself be a tad delusional for a while. I'm Dumbledore!
Almost forgot... JKR's offical site - loads of fun!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Renaissance Festival

It was our 12th trip to the Renaissance Festival yesterday. The 11th anniversary of Jeff's & my first date. I'm not one to remember dates but that one always sticks in my mind. I always use the festival as a marker of what has happened in the last year.

Year 1: 1st date

Year 2: wedding day (we eloped)

Year 3: New baby (Alex)

Year 4: VERY pregnant & we had a new house

Year 5: Another new baby (Tyler)

Year 6: Pregnant

Year 7: Another new baby (Dylan)

Year 8: Yet another new baby (Zach) & getting ready to move into new, bigger house & have nervous breakdown

Year 9: 1 kid entering kindergarten, 1 entering 1st grade & 1 entering pre-school - Life is looking up.

Year 10: "School starts soon, right?"

Year 11: 1 kid entering preschool, 1 entering kindergarten, 1 entering 2nd grade, 1 entering 3rd grade - Life is looking marvelous!

Year 12: Lots of whining at festival. I keep counting, "How many more days until school starts???"

Next year... I vote we leave the kids home!

~24 days until school starts!!!~

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Birthday Request

Setting: Our house yesterday

Speaker: Tyler, age 7

"Mom, I decided what I want for my 18th birthday."

"Your 18th birthday?"

"Yah, a tattoo of ~insert some video game related-triangle thing here~ on my hand."

"If you still want that tattooed on your body when your 18, I say go for it."

Kid Questions

Setting: Dinner in St. Louis, kids at kid table, adults at adult table, conversations going on at both

Speaker: Tyler, age 7
"Dad, is the women's underwear a thong or a tong?"
"Thong." This is said with a straight face and no laughter - the man deserves a medal.

Friday, August 13, 2004

I Actually Said This Today

Only when you have kids could you utter the phrase, "Can you carry this eyeball and the yucky milk please?" on your way in from the car.

This Week's: Kids & Books

The latest, most requested book at potty time is Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes by Bruce Koscielniak. A quick check at Amazon shows this book is out of print. I've linked you to his other books though.

I'm embarrassed to admit I'm a bunny gardener. I'm not one for doing the job right when it comes to gardening. Too much work. I'd rather sit in a chair, drink lemonade & read a book. I did put my seven-year-old to work planting seeds this spring after he decimated a bush with a stick. His excuse? He was fighting orcs. No more LoTR for him.

Back to the gardening... He planted the sunflower seeds and I planted the other 4 packets of various seeds. They were all planted in anger. We were both fuming. The results? Nothing grew. Not one single flower. Lesson for today? Do not plant in anger.

The Dreaded Deed

I did the dreaded deed. The once a year nightmare. The worst planned day of the year.

I took all four boys shopping for new sneakers. I didn't plan to do it - yet. It just sort of happened. I didn't even have backup. Usually I plan for another adult to accompany me. Mostly to prevent my killing them all.

It was as bad as ever. Dylan took forever to decide. He also produced many tears and a few tantrums. At least this year we only had to go to two stores instead of the FIVE of last year. Yes, my (then) four year old had to go to five stores before he could pick a pair of sneakers.

They ran through the stores. Played. Talked at top volume - no inside voices today. Ignored me. Ran away from me... it was all enough to make me want to drink when I got home. I'm not talking coffee here.

Then, to top it off, Jeff came home late. Past bedtime. The kids were still up. I didn't care. In his defense, he asked if it was okay if he worked late. I did say yes. I fed them a healthy dinner (well, it would have been had they eaten more than one lima bean), made sure they got in their pj's, and made sure at least a couple of them had brushed their teeth. Then I had a beer. Okay, it was a Mike's Hard Lime and I had it while making dinner. Oh, there was a beer too, during dinner. ~note to self: buy more Mike's Hard Lime~

The good news... I do not have to take them shopping again until next year! Whoohoo! I only need them for jeans and sneakers. The rest I buy without them. I know their tastes and sizes so I do that shopping alone. It is win-win. They hate shopping and I hate taking them.

More good news... Summer rec went on a field trip to the planetarium today. For $4.00 a kid and a bag lunch they are gone from 9am to 3pm. HUGE WHOOHOO! here. It's almost like school is back in. The director told me I could go along. Seeing my expression of horror she quickly told me it was okay if I didn't, she understood. I probably was looking forward to the time alone. Just a bit of an understatement there. I am realizing Zach needs to get used to entertaining himself again. Conversation just completed:

"Let's find something fun for you to play with," says the happy, pj clad Mom. (yes, I took the kids to rec in my pj's) 
"For you and me to play?" 
"No, for you to play." 
"I wanted to play a two player game because," he looks around the room, "you are the only one here." 
"hmmm," guilt is starting to reign. "Maybe in a couple minutes. Come here and give me a hug." 
"Not right now. I'm busy," says the strangely quiet four year old. 
Ack! We interrupt this program...

Okay, he didn't come over because he was trying not to - how to put this - I'll just say it, poop. He is now sitting on the potty. ~insert sigh of relief~

Guess I should go. Read a story and then play a game. Maybe after lunch I'll do some actual work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

What A Way To Spend A Day

Well, I whimped out on my revisions. Instead I put together a whole new photoblog. I've always wanted to do something with all of the flower pictures I take. Other than making my mother feel better about spending all that money on my BFA in photography and use as an occasional gift, they've been sitting in a box. Many boxes actually. Not organized. Not cared for. Just tossed aside like my education.

Now, if for no one else but myself, I have a place to display them. If you look to the right you'll see a button called photography under "My Website". Click there if you're curious. Now I won't have to subject the regular readers of my blog to the photos. If you want to see them, you'll have to go look yourself.

Back to my revisions - tomorrow... wait, I think I have school shopping to do. Oh, and I must do a new button for my website to get to the photoblog. And one more thing...


My mind is starting to make connections again. It's all thanks to a wonderful critique partner, Donna, who met with me last night and talked to me about my WIP. She pointed out some problems and helped me brainstorm. It is amazing the difference of having someone to talk to about a project. I think discussion is so important to the creative process. You do have to wait for the right moment to have the discussions though. Last night was the right moment.

This picture reminds me of those mental connections I've been having such a hard time making lately.

some lilypad type thing at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Mind Leaps on Lilypads

Still trying to catch up with life - buying school supplies, ferrying kids around, doing mundane tasks like cooking real meals and grocery shopping. Can't seem to write a word. Even the renovations have lost their appeal. My mind is jumping from lillypad to lillypad, not settling anywhere for long.

lilypads at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Monday, August 9, 2004

Bellybuttons & Nipples

I may have mentioned my son Dylan, the five year old, has decided to become a doctor. This occurred when he received 7 stitches in his face. Far from being horrified - he was intrigued.

Last night my MIL watched the boys so Jeff and I could enjoy a belated anniversary evening. During this visit she gave him an anatomy book - fully illustrated, college level. ~relevant note: my MIL has a PhD in anatomy. She teaches our future doctors at a local medical school.~

Today Dylan asked me to find "bellybutton man".

I dutifully looked in the index. I tried to figure out what the medical term is for bellybutton, found it ~BTW look for umbilicus~ and turned to the appropriate page.

"Here he is." 
"That is not bellybutton man." 
I started flipping pages. "Is it this one?" 
"How about this one?" 
I continued to flip pages. "There are no more with a bellybutton." 
"That is not a bellybutton." 
"Yes it is. I saw it before. He's bellybutton man." 
The illustration showed the upper right quadrant of a woman's torso. The various muscles, bone, vessels showing. There was also an area of skin. 
"That is a woman's breast." 
Much laughter. "It's not a bellybutton?" 
More laughter. I believe he was rolling on the floor at this point. 
"No, it's a nipple. Please take your book and go."

Crafty Monday

Rec camp has begun. WHOOHOO! Peace and quiet. Can't wait to see what 'Crafty Monday' brings. Sounds like I'm going to have to find someplace to display some new artwork (x3). What better use for ugly kitchen cupboards.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Things I Learned Today

We started some renovations today. Yes, we've lived here for four years. No, we haven't done more than stop leaks (whether from pipes, walls or roofs). We are redoing our first room. Okay, maybe it isn't exactly a room. I decided we should start small... very small. We are doing the vestibule. There is no heat or electricity. Is is just over 3'x5'. I told you it was small. This space also includes a window, door and double doors. And it has still taken us a couple of hours to remove the wallpaper. This does not bode well for the rest of the house. I am convinced people only wallpaper to torture future residents of their home.

The ugly red carpet is gone. The crumbling black carpet pad is gone. The hideous flooring under that is gone. Guess what we found... an unfinished wood floor. Yellow pine planks. No, not subfloor but wood floor. What were the previous owners thinking? It is in great shape so I have decided to toss out my original idea of gray stone tile and finish the wood. Some sanding, some stain, a whole lot of poly. Whoohoo! new floor.

Things I learned today:
  1. Removing wallpaper isn't hard.
  2. Removing wallpaper isn't fun.
  3. You leave less dings when removing wallpaper from 100 year old plaster vs drywall.
  4. You find a lot of crumbling plaster when removing wallpaper from 100 year old plaster vs drywall.
  5. There is suprisingly little removal needed at a height in which you don't need to crouch or need a ladder.
  6. Cost of home renevations is in direct relation to importance. (appearances = expensive,necessities = very expensive)

Tip Of The Day

Leave highlighting your hair to the professionals.

Saturday, August 7, 2004


See, I didn't forget...

to my dear hubby.

Does this count in lieu of a card? I know laundry and home improvement projects aren't the rockin' good time you thought we'd have on this monumental occasion but - well, what did you expect? Seems to me to be quite in line with our last 10 years.

Here's to the next 10... Cheers!


We made it. The trip went well. No driving rain and rerouting because of an accident in the middle of the night (like on the trip out). Kids seem glad to be home (this means minimal fighting). I am still in a fog. Not enough coffee. Will try to make more sense tomorrow.

Note to Shana & Rob: Thank you so much for everything. We had a blast! Kids are telling everyone who stops by about going to "the beer factory". Don't we sound like great parents. HA!

Friday, August 6, 2004

Vacation Overload

If I lose one more post I think I may go postal!

Okay, what was I saying? I am ready for this vacation to be over. Don't get me wrong, we're having a great time. I'm just tired. I slept for 12 hours last night and I'm still tired. Tired of the kids whining and fighting. Tired of having to consult others about every decision. Tired of trying to fit in all the activities everyone wants. And tired of living in someone else's house. Let's face it, no matter how comfortable you are in someone else's house - it's still not yours.

The good news: The weather is beautiful. The family has left me alone for an hour or two. We are leaving tonight or tomorrow which means Sunday I will go grocery shopping alone. Sick, I know. It is sad, sad, sad that this mundane event can make me so happy.

I'm actually looking forward to Monday. This is when our schedules return to a bit more normalcy. Three of the kids will be at rec camp from 9-12. And there will be quiet. Besides, by then the laundry should be done.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Speedo Man

I'm sorry about the content of my blog as of late. As much as I have tried to write something a tad more interesting, it seems my brain has decided to join the body on vacation.

I will tell you about Speedo Man. Speedo Man was at the JCC pool on Sunday. As we all know Speedos are illegal unless you are European or an Olympic swimmer. This man was neither and really should have been apprehended by the fashion police. I was not about to make a citizen's arrest because, well, would you want to approach a middle-aged man in a Speedo?

Anyway, back to the story... Speedo Man was playing with his daughter, a cute 2 year old in a becoming pink bikini that shifted with each trip down the mini-waterslide. Alex & Tyler were shooting Zach & I with the water canon. The water canon is perched on a platform along with the top of previously mentioned mini-waterslide. I glanced down at Zach and heard a man's voice booming across the pool and looked up to see Speedo Man hurling himself through the water toward the platform. His daughter was sitting on the platform crying. Tyler was looking stunned and scared. Speedo Man leapt to his daughter's rescue and bellowed at my son. Now I can't tell you what he said. As loud as it was - the pool was louder. We are talking 30 people, 20 of which are under 10 and water spraying and shooting everywhere. Unless someone is yelling directly into your ear, you will not hear anything but a kind of white noise.

Again, back to the story... Many things are running through my mind at this point. One is, "Stop yelling at my son." Another that quickly followed was, "What did he do? I know he did something. He was probably not paying attention. Does he really deserve to be screamed at by a stranger in a scary, too small bathingsuit." And finally, "Hey! That's my kid you're yelling at!" What I did/said was - Run up to the platform (a scary sight I'm sure), grab hold of Tyler and hug him. Ask him what happened and check little girl for blood. Tyler starts crying hysterically. Now I must reassure him and glare menacingly at Speedo Man. The glare must have worked because Speedo Man is now concerned for Tyler's wellbeing. All the while we are now in the center of water spraying and shooting and pouring. I can't hear ANYTHING but my son sobbing. I'm trying to convince him the scary man isn't angry. He was just worried about his little girl. Everything is fine. He didn't mean to scare him. Tyler informs me everyone is angry at him. Now I must reassure him that no one is angry.

Well, I have no recollection of how he became distracted. (I did mention my brain seems to have gone on vacation and it was 2 days ago.) All I know is - he recovered. Speedo Man and his daughter recovered. All was well... until I told the story to my husband later that night and he is now hoping to run into Speedo Man before we leave St. Louis. We have been going to the pool every day (except today) so the chances are good. What are the chances he'll forget? Okay, we all know nil. Because even if he forgets, if he sees a guy in a Speedo, he'll remember real quick.

Warning to all St. Louis men in Speedos - Just say Board Shorts - at least until Sunday.

Today's Shots...


This a.m. was filled with building a zoo type thing for all of Shana & Rob's old beanie babies. We had an ocean, bird perches, farm area and a few others I'm not sure about.

This afternoon we went to the McDonnell Douglas Prologue Room. But first, the crew hanging out on the porch swing. In Boeing's museum we saw models of planes from the beginning of the company (around 1920)to the present. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in airplanes -either commercial or military- or spacecraft. Alex was feeling cynical until we walked over to the entrance. His eyes lit up and there was a whispered, "wow..."

The museum is small but divided into three sections. My kids made a beeline for the spacecraft. They had a mockup of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft. The actual mock ones built to make sure all the stuff that needed to go inside fit inside. The astronauts that actually flew in them came and tested them for fit and convenience. So cool!

The display of Air Force One models was a big hit. It amazes me that the craft used in 1990 was about twice as big as the craft used in 1998. hmmm... an amazing display of Democrats vs Republicans.

The boys were captivated by the shape and speed of the various military crafts. The stealth models and any plane that went over Mach 1 was a hit. Mach 2.5 was the speedest we found. One of Tyler's favorite things was a missile and the "triangle planes". The interior cockpit of a commercial jetliner was greeted with enthusiasm. Alex & Tyler liked comparing the photos of the cockpits of planes in the 1930's, 1950's, 1970 & 1990.

There was also a 5 minute film of the process of building a 777. How do you watch a building of a plane in 5 minutes? Speed it up. Reminded Jeff of a Sesame Street piece.

Pool Pictures


The promised pool pictures have arrived. Remember, all the pictures posted are thanks to Shana & Rob. I've been taking pictures with our camera but the film is still in the camera.

Here are some of the boys in the whirlpool. And another shot of this. Now three of the boys on the tire swing. We all took a trip down the lazy river... Alex, Dylan, and the rest of the crew.

Alex after a trip down the waterslide. Jeff & Zach hanging out. And last, but certainly not least... can you guess who was the last one to get out of the pool?

Monday, August 2, 2004

News From St. Louis


The kids are in love. Bernie is a big hit. The boys help take him out and make sure he gets plenty of play in. Here they are on the first night here. (I was sleeping.)

Today we went to the zoo in the morning. First to the children's zoo. Here the boys are playing in some water spouts. They posed in a hippo for your viewing pleasure. My otters mugging it up. The last part of the children's zoo was the goats. Here the boys are brushing the goats.

After the children's zoo we visited the River's Edge. We saw Black Rhinos, Hippos swam by us, the Cheeta tried to hide but the Dwarf Mongoose were out to play. Here is my cobra crew. In front of the Insectarium my bug boys struck another pose. (The inside of the Insectarium was left for another day.) Before we left we checked out the bears and the penguin & puffin exhibit where Alex got splashed by a penguin. Boy was that cold! 45 degrees after the hot humid temps outside. Brrr!

"I am never going in there ever again!" said Zach. "It's too freezing."

We have a lot more ground to cover at the zoo but it was hot, we were hungry and it started to thunder. The plan is to go back to the JCC pool (forgot the cameras the last 2 days). Dylan insists it's not a pool but a water park. Will try to post pictures from that tomorrow.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Sherman the Shark

Everyone must check out my first published piece. I received a real check for real money for it on Friday. Let's hope this is only the first of many.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me in my writing endeavors! Without the support, I would have given up long before now.