29 April 2008

If Only...

If only I were post-menopausal, I would spend a year in East Anglia eating chocolate in the name of medical research because I am totally giving like that.

28 April 2008

Using Parents

"Mama, my teacher would like you and Daddy to come to school on Friday, May 30th. She's having a Parent Appropriation Breakfast! And you don't have to bring anything! Can you come?"

Chris and I look at each other quizzically. "A Parent Appreciation Breakfast," I venture? Chris smiles.

"Yes! And I get to serve you! Well, everything except the hot coffee - you can help yourself to that."

"We'd love to come," we assure him, "It will be great!"

On My Calendar In May

  • Visit from Rob (mmm...bbq)
  • Trip to Birmingham, AL for work
  • Trip to Plano, TX for work
  • Trip to Austin, TX to visit my sister. New townhouse! New kitten!
  • Trip to Albany, NY to visit Carol and maybe meet another Worst Mama
  • Two Bonus Snow Days (extra days off school for the kids, since they weren’t used as snow days)
  • Trip to Vermont to visit family (a trip Chris and I have been meaning to take for, oh, twelve years or so…)
  • 12th Anniversary!

In between all these excitements, I’ve got a ton of appointments for work scheduled and several birthdays and anniversaries to remember. June may bust out all over but I hope it does it in a slightly less busy way than May!

27 April 2008


Working late Sunday night is infinitely more enjoyable with a warm kitten sleeping in your lap.

26 April 2008

National Day of Puppetry

Did you know today was the National Day of Puppetry? No? Don't feel too badly - I didn't either. Lars has been going to activities in our local 4H center, though, and today's was a Puppet Adventure. The event was co-sponsored by the Garden State Puppetry Guild and offered three classes in puppetry before lunch and a puppet show after.

Lars made a turtle shadow puppet, which was eaten by the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (we don't know why). Lars also made a rat sock puppet, which came in handy for The Pied Piper of Hamlin. Ross had no interest in signing up for the day and had even been a bit grumpy over having to go see the puppet show this afternoon. He stopped fussing when he found out we'd have subs for lunch and then, when he found out that Lars would be IN the puppet show, you could tell Ross was thinking he might have enjoyed the program after all. We all sat to enjoy the different puppet performances and nobody was more happy than Ross when the man leading the Pied Piper skit needed a kid who could read - one who had not made a rat sock puppet - to play the Mayor. Ross is the arm with the yellow strip running shoulder to elbow and the Mayor puppet; Lars is the black rat that pops up just to the right, in front. I forgot to bring an actual camera so, wound up taking the pics and video with my phone.

After the puppet fun, the boys played ball in the side yard with the neighborhood kids and we had roasted chicken with new potatoes and asparagus - one of our favorite one-pan recipes for dinner, which made a great finish to the day.

25 April 2008

Kitten Update: 11 Weeks

Kippah's first trip to the veterinarian went very well. Our vet is only a few blocks away, so the car ride (seemed to be the worst part for her) was quite short. Once at the vet, she charmed everyone with her total cuteness and was even adorable while getting her shots. She weighed in right on schedule - almost three pounds at almost three months. The vet said to expect her to gain about a pound a month, which means she'll be about the same size as Pixie by the fall.

In social news, Kippah is very fond of chasing scraps of paper, laser dots, strings, and bugs. It only took her two head bashes into the sliding glass door to learn that it will always be more solid than her head. We're on six water squirts for climbing the screen door and, while I don't think she's quite got it out of her system, she's at least looking around to see if anyone's watching before climbing up it. Pixie is also a tattle, if nobody seems to be noticing Kippah scale the screens, Pixie can be counted on to raise the alarm. Kippah has not yet thought to seek revenge for this betrayal. When she does, I'm guessing that will be a good time to get her spayed.

24 April 2008


On seeing the photos in my last post, my mom sent evidence that my kids don't resemble me at all:

Mom wouldn't let us have pets in the house, so I was forced to read to my sister.

22 April 2008

Twenty Minutes A Day

Twenty minutes of reading per day is a constant homework assignment. Ross is currently plowing his way through the Bruce Coville books. We own many of them but Ross prefers to get them from the school library - he seems to think his reading time is weighted more heavily if he reads a library book than if he chooses something from our own shelves.

Kippah had a vet visit and shots today and wasn't feeling her best. In an effort to lift her spirits, Lars dragged a chair over near the cat tower and read to her. I think she liked his reading because she stopped looking so glum and fell asleep.

21 April 2008

Scary Bushes

Lars and I are on the way home from hockey team tryouts. He's in the back, telling me which parts of the tryout were fun and which part (only one exercise) he didn't like. Lars feels pretty confident that he'll be called back for the second tryout session on Wednesday and is excited about skating for the Bears again.

After hockey talk, there's a bit of quiet as he checks out evidence of road construction starting up soon. "Mama," he says, "Can we rent a pick-up truck?"

"Do you have something we need to pick up?"

"Yes, something SCARY!"

"You have something scary to pick up? What is it? Is it big?"

"You have too many questions, Mama. We only need a pick-up truck. A red pick-up truck. And big. It should be really big."

"Ok, then. Only one question...what scary thing do we have to pick up?"


19 April 2008

Spring Flowers

It's been sunny and gorgeous this week and the kids have been out playing in the woods. After school on Thursday, a day I spent in the city, they picked armloads of flowers for me. Chris helped them with vases (including milk pitchers and shot glasses for the shorter stemmed blooms) and water and I came home to a house that smelled wonderful and looked even better! To burst my heart even further, Ross informed me that they'd ONLY picked the flowers that were far into the woods - the ones we can't see from the house. Sure enough, the patches of wild daffodils we can see from the kitchen and upstairs bath are still dotted with yellow and white. Last year, the boys picked all of those for me and, while I loved the gesture, I missed seeing the flowers out the windows. I'm in awe that Ross remembered that fact.

I got to work at home on Friday, so was able to enjoy my flowers all day. I love the little bunch in the cow pitcher, which has all our different kinds of daffodil, the only hyacinth they could find that wasn't in a garden, and the little white flowers that provide the great scent - I have no clue what they are called. Daffodils are, for the record, the only flower our deer have never eaten, so we have huge patches of them all over the place.

Today, when I got to the point of the day when I wanted to wring a little neck or two, I went and sniffed the flowers a bit before going upstairs. There were still some stern remarks regarding bedtime but, on the whole, it will be better if the boys never know just how much I love their gift!

15 April 2008

Pixie Is Not Amused

We learned a few things about Pixie this week. She speaks at least seven languages! We heard from her about the kitten in all of them. Despite Carolyn's mild mannered disguise, I know now that she had a secret life as a cargo sailor...some of the words her cat knows made me blush! It's a good thing the kids are of an age where they just don't listen, otherwise there'd be notes from the school for sure.

Kippah is clearly not yet classically schooled. At 11 weeks, she barely speaks cat, let alone Urdu or port Greek, so she pretty much ignores Pixie's comments. For two days, this infuriated Pixie so much that she'd stalk off, yelling, whenever Kippah entered a room. Today, though, Pixie reduced the comments and even (grudgingly) allowed Kippah to exist in the same room!

A few more days and Pixie will have figured out that kids are around to do all the pesky chores you don't like to do and all will be right in our world again.

12 April 2008


Friends of ours foster rescued cats and took in a pregnant boarder at Christmas. Five kittens were born on Sunday, February 3rd, and we decided to adopt one. A few weeks after the kittens were born, we made a visit so the kids could meet the kittens as infants - so small they fit into the kids hands! Ross and Lars were both very gentle and very much in awe of such tiny cats. Chris decided which kitten we'd have - he liked the pink nose and pads on the little white girl with black spots. Also, she reminds us of Oliver (although she will hopefully not get quite so large as he did!). We had to wait ten weeks before we could take our kitten home.

Angela, the woman who fostered the cats, is amazing! The mama cat didn't seem to know what to do with her kittens. When the kittens would get out of the box, the mama cat would just cry for them - she wouldn't go get them! So, Angela stepped in to help with things like moving the kittens around and litter training them.

Angela's brother took some wonderful pictures of the kittens, which were fun to get during the wait. Today, finally, the waiting was finally over! Ross cleaned our cat carrier and set it up with a fresh towel and a new toy. He also scooped the litter box, a chore he's going to help with now that we're a two-cat family. With all the preparations made, we went to pick up our kitten this afternoon.

Initially wary of her new surroundings, the kitten spent about an hour checking out our dust bunnies, darting from under one chair to under another. The boys watched from the edges of the room, hopefully waving toys and calling gently, and curiosity finally won out. By the two hour mark, the kitten was playfully batting toys from all directions and happily trotting out to meet the neighborhood kids who flocked over as soon as word of our new kitten got out.

We've named her Kippah because it looks as if she's wearing a yarmulke and because "kippen" means "tumble" in German, which kittens do a lot of.

Ross was delighted when Kippah jumped into his lap. Lars was a gentleman when he decided he could wait for his laptime - he found Kippah parked on the still-warm heating pad Chris had been using on his shoulder and was kind enough to leave her there.

For all the playing, Kippah didn't nap at all this afternoon. She tried to once or twice but there was just too much excitement. Even after the kids went to bed, Kippah wandered around for a while, calling, and wouldn't settle. Finally, though, she calmed down. After trying and failing to nurse from my couch cozy, Kippah fell asleep. Here's a life-size picture...I think she likes us:

11 April 2008

Send Me All Your Spoiled Eggs

A lovely family in my town sent their child to school today KNOWING THEIR CHILD HAD HEAD LICE. I gather they did not want to waste any vacation time taking care of their child, since they'd just returned from a vacation (where their kid got lice).

So many facets of this baffle me, especially since there was an outbreak of lice in the fall and we had to endure a month of Head Lice Lockdown at the school, so we know what we're in for. During Head Lice Lockdown, all personal belongings must be secured in large, sealed garbage bags which are kept in the school hall, not in the classroom. Each time a seal is breached, the bag is discarded and another bag must be used. The school custodial staff must de-louse every inch of the school. Concerned Parents will hire Lice Specialists and host head-check parties (I'm not kidding - we got invited to three last fall).

The school nurse will whip out her cheery notes to send home each day, reminding us all that Head Lice Can Happen To Anyone, Head Lice Does Not Indicate Socioeconomic Status, People With Head Lice Are Not Unclean, etc. Great pains are taken by administration to prevent anyone knowing which child(ren) is(are) affected. In this case, I imagine the protection will be doubled as I am absolutely certain that if any of us find out who the rude, socioeconomic equals are that sent their louse-ridden child to school, we will all go egg their house.

Send your kid to school with hives
! Hives are not contagious. Send your kid to school with a cold! We have tissues. DON'T SEND YOUR KID TO SCHOOL WITH HEAD LICE. We do not want to nit-bomb our house and burn all our sheets. Excuse me, I have to go scratch my head.

05 April 2008

4H Sciencesational Day

A few weeks ago, Lars came home from school glowing with enthusiasm. He LOVED SCIENCE! Science was SO COOL! He could do science EVERY DAY! His enthusiasm was contagious and we were all in a good mood as we listened to him gush about how much he adored science. After a while, the germinal fact came out. 4H had come into his classroom for a special "dairy science" activity where the kids made (and ate) yogurt parfaits. Suddenly, it all made sense!

Lars continued to be vocal about how much he loved science (particularly, though not exclusively, when in the dairy aisle...) so, when the school sent home a flier advertising the 4H Sciencesational Day, we signed up. The kids each got to attend three classes and there was also an opening presentation by a "Scienceteller". The scienceteller wove several audience participation science experiments into a story about a dragon kingdom. The experiments involved something exploding or dry ice or fire, so everyone was completely absorbed. Both kids elected Dairy Science (make-your-own ice cream). Lars also did classes on Reptiles and the Seashore; Ross got Star Labs and Panning for Gems.

After the opening show, Chris and I had Two Hours On Our Own, which was an unexpected (and very welcome) bonus - we'd thought the parents had to stay to chaperon in the classes. When we returned from our coffee date (during which we didn't have to remind each other about manners or behavior even once) to have lunch with the boys, we found them blissfully unaware we'd even left. They'd found friends from school in their morning sessions, so we all had lunch together and then observed the last class before heading home to bask in spring sunshine and play baseball in the yard.

04 April 2008

It's A Good Thing We Bought The House

I just dumped approximately 11oz of coffee on my desk. It's a good thing we bought the house...

The mortgage statement saved my cell phone.


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