Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The shopping?
A dent has been made. A big dent.

The decorating?
I took down another Halloween decoration. Good, right?

The weather?
Rain, rain, more rain, possible flooding and wind. Lots of strong wind. Snow to come. The dog won't even go out.

The status of trying to get the album I downloaded onto my computer?
Unknown. I'm still a moron.

Cooking. Doing much better than yesterday. Yesterday was Mickey-D's.

The pot from yesterday?
Unknown. Still haven't gotten it clean. Tried. But not finished.

The children?
Home and playing legos. Together. With no fighting. Yet.

On track and still fun.

My photography?
Do I own a camera? It's somewhere I'm sure.

Holiday newsletter?
One last picture needed. Of the 4 boys together. HA! They may never go out.

Still don't have them. You want a newsletter? Send me your address. This includes family and in-person friends.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Good & The Bad

The Good News:
Our smoke detectors work.

The Bad News:
Dinner is ruined. (and probably the pot too)


On a lighter, lovelier note... I received my copies of RULES by Cynthia Lord on Friday. Wait, you can't buy them yet. She sent me a couple of proofs.

Say thank you when someone gives you a present (even if you don't like it). (Except I LOVED it!)

I was blessed to receive them on Friday after our 2nd Thanksgiving - the one I had to prepare. So the timing was perfect. And let me say a HUGE THANK YOU to Cindy for sending me 2 copies. Alex grabbed one and was off before I had a chance to blink.

We both snuggled down to the sound of the dishwasher running and the smell of Thanksgiving still hanging in the air. What a lovely experience. You all MUST pick up a copy - in April - when it's officially published.

Looking closer can make something beautiful.

I finished before bed and Alex is just about done. It gets two thumbs up from us both. Today I have the privilege of dropping off one of the copies to the town library. As soon as Alex finishes his copy it's going to the intermediate school.

Not everything worth keeping has to be useful. (But this is so useful!)

Personally, I think the teachers should use it as a classroom book. Have the whole class do it as assigned reading. Alex had a lot of questions about autism when he first started reading. This was a great jumping off point - a great way to introduce a subject many kids don't know much about. Also a great way to create compassion in our kids. Hello, any teachers out there?

You know I'll be promoting it to the boys' teachers.

If you need to borrow words, Cynthia Lord wrote some good ones.

Oh, and I almost forgot...

No toys in the fish tank.

**All rules were written by Cynthia Lord (with a bit of modification to the rule pertaining to borrowing words).

Throw Away Society

Ah, Carmi mentioned something in the comments of the last post that I've been planning on writing about - the fact that today there are so many products out there that we just use and toss away - and then buy some more.

As you can see from the last post there are areas that I'm all for this type of thing. The quick clean up is one of them. Especially when it involves things I have a tendency not to keep up on.

Now for the big but... BUT, some items seem just silly to use and toss and replace. I should qualify that by saying, in OUR home some of these products are just plain impractical.

The toss away toilet brush. Not working out for me. Yes, I tried it. But, no, I wasn't thrilled with it. Yes, it cleaned the toilet. But I have 2 toilets and 4 young boys. So really not convenient or economically sound.

Some of you may recall that I use a cleaning product with Teflon to keep the toilets clean longer. Does it work? I say yes. With the disposable stuff? They seem to need cleaning much more often (2x's a week or more vs. once). If I have to clean the toilets at least twice a week and the refills for the brush come in a pack of like 6 that would last me less than 2 weeks. Not economical and frankly, just plain annoying and gross if I don't get to it.

Another disposable product I just can't see the need for? The dish washing cloth with soap in it. I can only guess it was aimed at single people who eat out a lot. What family would find it economical or even practical? They say it makes your life simpler but how hard is it to squirt some dish washing liquid onto a cloth or sponge?

So, in closing, I'd say I still use the Swiffer products. I still love them for "between" cleanings (carpet) or the more rare cleanings (non-carpeted floors, dusting). As for the other disposable cleaning products? Not for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

More from me...

I'm apparently going through blogging withdrawal. I have so much to say. I must post again.

This time I must tell you about a wondrous gift that made my holiday cleaning (aka Quick, people are coming over - DO SOMETHING!) oh so much easier. It was a gift from Katheryn from MS&L (the Swiffer people). Seems she read my rave about the Carpetflick and wanted to thank me by sending some refills. She happened to ask if their were any other products I was interested in trying and well, **cough, cough** there was one I've been dying to try.

So Tuesday I get a lovely package delivered to my door. Inside are refills! and a new Sweep & Vac. Oh, how I love the Sweep & Vac.

It is the original Swiffer, with a little vacuum. So, when you Swiffer up the dust and end up with a pile of crap Perler beads, sticks, paper scraps from the kids and a pair of scissors, dirt, and various other stuff there is no need to fetch the broom and dust pan. Or the dust buster. (Not that I have one anymore. Damn thing died. Probably from excessive use.) You just push a button and it sucks up the pile.

So now? No need for a new Dust Buster. Between my Sweep & Vac and CarpetFlick, I've got it covered. The kids? Still fighting over wanting to use them both. But they're MINE. ALL. MINE. Back away from the Swiffer products.

The sad thing is, I now own EVERY Swiffer product. And, I love them all. I almost don't mind cleaning. (Yes, I said almost. If I could I'd hire a cleaning lady. But again, Back away from my Swiffer products.)

I do have to be honest and say I had trouble with one thing while using my new Sweep & Vac... Unlike the original, you can't get under the furniture because the vacuum part is too big. BUT! I'm so ingenious that it is not a problem any longer... I just picked up my extended handle duster which was nearby (I was cleaning for company) and used that to get under the furniture. Then I just vacuumed up the pile. So really, no real problem.

Now that I sound like a total sell-out, product whore and an advertisement for Swiffer, I must say - too bad! I love my new Sweep & Vac. LOVE IT! So just back away and no one will get hurt.

Rudolf is Behind

Actually, the nose is fading so no more Rudolf. Also, the meals have been cooked and enjoyed and the house actually got clean (well, at least the downstairs). My cold is receding.

All of this is very good because I am so behind in the business of life and preparing for the next round of holidays that I need the energy to start digging in and making a dent.

**NOTE TO SELF: Do NOT leave everything until the last minute. You may become ill and unable to fulfill your parenting/hosting duties.

One of the first things I must do is enter all my addresses because they are GONE. ALL. GONE. You may recall The Great Loss of 2005? Well, no, I didn't have my contacts backed up. So, that means I have NO addresses. NO e-mail addresses (unless you've e-mailed me since). NONE.

This means I can't print out my address labels for the holiday cards. The holiday cards I haven't started thinking about any more than the abstract "must start holiday cards" way. The last several years I have done those annoying family newsletters. Well, annoying to my husband and most men I know. BUT, to the friends and family we never see or talk to? They are nice. Or so I like to believe anyway.

Last year I did the old standby printed photo card. I was tired of the flack of the annoyed ones and honestly... not much to report on. But this year, this year many things have happened. Also, I'm now receiving complaints about the lack of newsletter. Actual complaints. And not just from family. More from friends we don't see much. One from a guy my husband grew up with. A guy. Who is single. Who has no children. Seems he's kept the ones from the past and was not pleased he didn't get one last year.

So in closing... must start holiday newsletter. And shopping, address entry (PLEASE, if you usually get a card and are not related to me? SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS!!! Better yet, e-mail it to me. I've lost it.) and many other life/holiday related things.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned... I'm thankful for my family, friends, health of everyone and you, the peoples of the internets. Not to mention, having one holiday down and only a monthful of celebrations to go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Santa Is Coming

He is on his way to pick me up for training. At least I think that is what all this snow means.

Snow! I know it's by no means early for the snow but the amount is surprising. The fact it is STILL snowing has shocked my snot-filled head. Or maybe I'm surprised for no reason at all other than the fact that my brain is addled from the stuffiness and unable to comprehend much of anything.

All I can say is Santa must be on his way. I just hope he gets here soon. The list of things to do before tomorrow is as long as the children's wish lists. If I'm not here no one can expect the house to be cleaned and the food to be prepared. Of course I might die in transit. The pressure of snot and flying is not a great combination.

The good news is I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner until Friday. But we will not be home most of tomorrow so there will be no time to clean. And the cooking I must do - must be done for dinner tomorrow.

This is not a cleaning session I can skip either. I'm sure my family would understand but they will be frightened of the dust bunnies. They've reached new heights. (I actually mean tall here!) At least there will be lots of food to appease them with. Do you think the dust bunnies will leave the guests alone if we offer up the dinner?

Let's not even get into the state of the bathroom. It really needs to be sterilized from top to bottom. You may remember the stomach flu that has been whipping through the house the last couple of weeks. That's all I shall say on that matter.

If I don't show for the next couple of days just know I'm dead. My obituary from last year will probably be suitable.

** Warning:
Do not read right before eating.
Contains many disturbing images.
Really, I'm not kidding about the eating thing.
Unless you don't want to eat too much during the holidays.
Then go for it! **

Monday, November 21, 2005

Parent/Teacher Conferences

The news: Mostly good. Great actually.

The kids are brilliant (but we knew that didn't we).

They are entertaining, good friends, kind and considerate. They listen well.

When they do talk to their friends at inappropriate times - or spin in circles distracting the class, one word or look from the teacher and all is well with the world, or at least the classroom.

I must ask though... who are these children and where do mine go during school hours?

On a parallel topic: The one thing I despise is when a teacher thinks I'm a bad parent... as one of the kids' teachers seems to think. I know I shouldn't care. I know I'm doing just fine. Well, at least in the particular area of concern. I know he doesn't realize that the other children are turning out fine in this area. And by area, let me be clear, I mean the fact that said child must be reminded EVERY. DAY. to hang up his backpack, get out his glasses, put his finished work in the finished work folder. All this 2.5 months into school. SAME. THING. EVERY. DAY. Same lack of knowing what to do EVERY. DAY.

Somehow it is MY fault that the child is in second grade and forgets his glasses at home, asks where to put his finished work or needs to be told to hang up his backpack already. That he does not show responsibility in this area. The fact that his behavior only seems to respond to a reward system is MY fault. Even if said reward system is a small note from his teacher saying he had a great day. (which BTW, he refuses to do) This is all my fault. I'm doing something wrong. No matter that the other boys are much better in this regard. I'M enabling him to shirk responsibility and demand rewards for behavior that should be automatic. (Notice no mention of Dad being at fault.)

Sorry for the rant.

The teacher is great. But? A tad annoying that he puts the blame for my child's inborn characteristics on my shoulders. He's good for Dylan. He seems to be a good teacher. I shouldn't care what he thinks about me. But? I totally cried on the way home. I'm still upset when I think about it.

Ah parenthood... the great giver of guilt.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Excepts from The Parenting Handbook

Section 1
Job Description

Rule 5 – You’re the Boss

You get to tell your children what to do. It is your right. It does not matter if they yell, “You can’t tell me what to do!” You can.

You can tell them to do chores, eat what you put in front of them, shower, go to bed, stop screaming at their brothers and when all that fails you can tell them to go to their room and not come out until you say so. Just because, "I SAID SO!"*

*The nuances of the 'I said so' rule will be discussed later in the handbook.

Rule 18 – Ruining Their Lives

It is your job to impose terrible, life-ruining restrictions on them. Bedtimes, curfews, and a lack of electronic games are perfect ways to do this. Do not be afraid. They will not die. If they scream, “You’re ruining my life!” you know you are headed on the right path.

Rule 29 – Responsible Neglect

It is your job to make them into responsible adults. One way to do this is to refuse to bring forgotten items to school. Just tell them you must watch TV and eat chocolate and you can not possibly take their forgotten flute* to school. They will have to stay for detention the following day to make up the class. This has the added bonus of them staying at school longer and will teach them to be responsible for their own things. Remember to brace yourself for the crashing of the phone into its cradle.

*The flute is just an example. This rule applies to all musical instruments, homework and gym clothes. It does NOT apply to anything that will keep them away from home longer. (ie. money for an all day field trip)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Moon is Waning

The days, they are getting better. The chores are getting done. The mom has not been able to leave the house as the children have been passing around the stomach bug. Yay. Not.

But! The last child is on the mend. AND, he made it to the toilet EVERY TIME he puked yesterday. So... YAY! And back to school for him tomorrow.

Now, the oldest of the clan is ill. Yes, my husband. It's his first sick day in something like TWO YEARS. TWO. YEARS. Amazing to me. But, I have duct taped him to the bed convinced him to stay home and cancel his appointments. I'm thinking his clients and co-workers should send me some chocolate in thanks. Really, would you want to meet with someone with the stomach flu? Not I.

The best part? Now that he is home sick with the mending child? I can go out. I can go out to lunch with his mom and pick up her purchased antiques. She says it will be dull, just a long car trip and some lunch. I say there will be no children. No vomiting (we hope). No children. Or sick husbands. So YAY! for Nana.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kid Creations

We have a box full of bits and pieces of broken things that we keep in the garage. Living in a house with the four boys keeps the box full of random things: sprinkler parts, scooter parts, parts to a broken alarm clock, my old, broken tripod I got in college, etc.

Sunday Zach pulled the box out while I was at work. I came home to him flying a spaceship he had made.

Monday, November 14, 2005

One of Those Days

I've found the reason I'm further behind now than when I got up this morning. I came out of work and found this...

One of Those Days

It's still one of those days...

I have a feeling I'm not going to be welcomed back to my kindergartner's class.

Last week I was in charge of mess-free finger-painting. It ended up being quite messy.

This week was paper & pine cone turkeys. Someone's glue exploded. Everywhere.

I was calm both times. (Amazing!)

The teacher says I can come back because I make her laugh. I still think she may change her mind once she mulls it over.

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days where you spend all day doing things but nothing gets done?

Like trying to figure out how the whole downloading of music thing works? (SHUT UP! I know I'm an idiot.)

Or, trying to get access to an online account only to not have your password fit in the space and no way to get a new one except to wait 5 days? But we need the info NOW!

So maybe things will turn around and I'll get something accomplished or maybe I'll just spend the rest of the day helping out in one of the kids' classrooms and driving others all over creation.

**NOTE TO JEFF: Honey, don't expect the laundry to be done or the dishwasher unloaded. But my new music? It's totally on my MP3 player. But still not working on my computer. Grrrr...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

It Amazes Me...

when someone tells me how well behaved and polite my children are. I mean, I know they are sometimes, kind of, sort of. But to have someone come out and tell me my child is the best behaved and politest of the group... makes me realize that he was really born that way. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. I'm learning more every day that they are the way they are and their good qualities are theirs.

On the flip side, I can't blame myself for all of their bad qualities either. It's a sort of dance between trying to teach them well and not beating myself up for seeming to fail.

I just wish I could take credit for the good stuff. It'd be nice to think I'm doing something right here... but most of the time? Not so much. More like getting by.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Kids Are Home...

need I say more?

Of course I do!

I woke to tears and candy wrappers and yelling and screaming and whining. Oh, the whining!

BUT! The quickest way to end all that is to make them do chores. Before I knew it they were hiding in their rooms playing quietly and together.

The good news:
Playing quietly and together.

The bad news:
Not many chores got done.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

In Other News...

The cold, the wind, the rain, the thunder and lightning - goodness yesterday was a stormy, wrath of mother nature, type of day.

Today it is just dark and gloomy. And cold.

Gee, this weather report is so exciting. I think I may wet myself.

Would it help if I mentioned the snow that is coming?


It's not doing it for me either... what to talk about? I'm feeling chatty but don't know what to say...

Should I discuss my zombie-like state of the past couple of days? The worry I've felt for the little ones that are so ill and my friend whose mom is losing the battle to cancer?

Should I discuss the lack of direction my week has taken? The lack of accomplishment? The need to vacuum the stairs?

How about we discuss the lack of creativity I've been showing? The lack of writing? The lack of photography? The lack of showering and getting dressed?


Let's skip the state of the world and the state of politics. I can't even watch the news. The world is going insane.

I think we should definitely skip my lack of exercise and uncontrollable eating. The fact that my face is getting so fat I don't recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Ick... must be something more interesting to write about.

I will say YAY! to the good news of Ethan. And YAY! to the good news of many of my writing buddies. And Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law. And have you seen all the cute babies born recently in the blogosphere? (Somehow that last sentence is just not right. And I'm not sure how to fix it.)

I will also say that I've realized I'm not a writer. I'm not a business person. I am a pretty good librarian though. And YAY! for my job. I still can't believe they pay me to do it. Buy books and do library things with office supplies! It's even better than when I played library as a child. (Shut up! I know I'm a geek. I just wish I was a smarter geek.)

I will go now and try to work on a decent topic for tomorrow. Maybe now that I've cleared my mind of all the random muck there will be room for a post with an actual topic.

Friday, November 4, 2005


I had to do it. I had to run out and buy the new Carpetflick by Swiffer.

No, not just because Melanie said it was cool. No, not because Mir said how great it worked (although that gave me the final push).

I had to get it because:
  1. My Dust Buster died. And I was sad. And I was wondering which new one I should buy because who wants to haul out the Kirby every time the kids eat cereal in the playroom. (Sidenote: Yes, I too have a Kirby. Back from when we had a house full of carpet. Now we have 2 carpets - someday to be one. Anyone want a used Kirby?)
  2. I got a coupon for $2.00 off (which, of course, I forgot to use).
Really though, I need no convincing when it comes to new Swiffer products.
Well, I bought it.
And I used it.
And the kids used it.
And it is as good, if not better, than Mir said.
  1. The kids like to use it.
  2. It is light.
  3. It is quiet.
  4. No need to wash the filter (like the above mentioned D.B.).
  5. It picked up so much nasty... I was scared. I'm v. difficult to scare.
I would have posted pictures like Mir but mine looked a lot worse than her's. It has also been a week since the room was vacuumed with a Kirby. The kids have spent minimal time in the room. The dog is non-shedding. My only excuse is we did the whole room vs a 2' sq.
BTW, Be sure to check out Confessions of Super Mom by Melanie. It features Swiffer products. What more so you need in a book? Swiffer products and someone called Super Mom?

He's Well

Seems there has been a miraculous recovery.

After much laying about and sleeping (and virtually no eating) yesterday, Tyler is cured and back at school.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

How You Know Your Son (age 9) Is Really Sick

... when he willingly does not move from a bed for 7.5 daylight hours.

... doesn't ask to play video games.

... doesn't ask to watch TV.

... doesn't ask to read.

... he just lays there, naps periodically and watches 1 movie you suggest.

Hope he is feeling better tomorrow.

Kid Conversation

ME: "Why did you get into bed with us last night?"

ZACH (5 years old): "First I got out of my bed then I went out of my room. Then I went into your room. I closed the door and got in your bed. Then I snuggled in."

ME: "Yes, but WHY did you get in our bed?"

ZACH: "Because I missed you. I miss you at night."

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


I'm working on mastering Flickr. Yes, I know I'm late to the party. But Look! I'm finally here.

Also, sending out some linky lovin'... Go Look! and check out these links.
  • Check out this project (Homemade Hero - Watch it!). Thanks to (and written by) Tequila MockingbirdHysterical!
  • This art I found thanks to Livvie's LimelightFunny!
  • Don't forget about NaNoWriMoNot even going to try this year - but you totally should.
  • If you haven't checked out Zoot's new girly... what are you waiting for?
Ok, that's it. Must hide candy wrappers get dressed do stuff before the children get home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The Halloween, it was Fun.

The candy. The beautiful weather. (Seriously, the best Halloween weather E.V.E.R.) The candy.

Halloween 2005

In case you can't surmise from the photo what exactly the children are - from left to right: Darth Maul, Zorro, some kind of Elf Sorcerer (his character he made up from D&D - I have no idea, but check out the rockin' cloak) and our Glow-in-the-dark Ninja.

The all important Trading of the Candy

*Please ignore hideous wallpaper behind the children. We're getting to that... really.