Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you don't have grips, you're going to have slips...

When my children were younger they would sometimes start running laps through the dining room, living room and kitchen in their stocking feet. (Who says "stocking feet"? So weird.) Seeing disaster, visualizing the blood and trip to the emergency room, I would make them wear socks with rubber grips on them.

It worked great. They rarely slipped and crashed into furniture.

All of this knowledge however, did not prevent me from being completely stupid.

This morning in the usual rush to get Lily to school I put on my new socks (from TJMaxx) and rushed into the kitchen to grab my keys, shoes and coffee. I was feeling particularly buoyant because my dentist office had just called to cancel my appointment for a cavity filling that was scheduled for today. They were so apologetic. I told them they had just improved my day tremendously.

As I rushed into the kitchen my feet hit the floor and a very strange thing happened. I slipped and began to fall.

When you are 37 years old and you find yourself falling it seems to take a very long time.

I lost my footing and it seemed as though I twisted my body in at least a dozen ways as I attempted to regain my balance.

As I was struggling not to fall I realized that I was indeed going to fall all the way down. There would be no grabbing the counter or last minute save. Nope, I was going down and down I went.

Luckily I fell on my ass, which is by far the most well padded body part I have.

The crash was huge and the children were very concerned. Mommies aren't supposed to fall down and yet there I was sitting on the floor trying to regain my dignity.

Luckily I was not injured, but man, am I sore. My hip is sore. So is the side of my foot. My back isn't feeling so great either.

The most incredible thing is that all of this happened before eight o'clock this morning!

Luckily I know just the thing to do when you fall on your butt in your stocking feet at 7:45 am. You make chocolate chip cookies. They helped. They provided a balm to my wounds, an extra layer of padding to protect my delicate bones.

Chocolate heals all wounds, even the wounds on heels.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The dirty secrets of a housewife...

David is out of town on a short business trip.

He left this afternoon.

We miss him of course, when he is gone...except not for the first few days. I have to be honest. Mostly it's the quiet, but also it's how I simplify things.

When David is away we do things a little differently.

Dinner when David is here:

Real meal with meat, vegetable and starch eaten in the dining room.

Dinner when David is away:

Mac and cheese with a side of strawberries eaten in front of the TV.

Somehow when David is away everyone goes to bed earlier. Lily will be in bed by 7:30. Rebecca at 8:00.

It will be very quiet. I will practice being 72 years old. I will eat a bowl of popcorn while wearing my old lady nightgown and read a murder mystery.

I will go to bed at 10pm.

By the time he gets back on Friday I'll be so happy to see him. We'll throw our arms around him and welcome him home, but tonight I will enjoy the solitude.

In other news I just have to tell you what I found at TJMaxx today!

An apron. Yes, an apron.

I found it in the "Things I don't need but at 12.99 it's too cute to pass up" section.

Look at that pocket! And the ribbon! Did I mention that it was only 12.99?

It matches my kitchen!!!!

That's my entire story tonight. Shopping and going to bed early.

Even I wouldn't make it through this entire lameness is vast. I'll do better tomorrow...maybe!

Monday, September 28, 2009

You say you want a revolution...

Tomorrow will mark our first week of homeschooling and let me tell you, it rocks.

Holy moly.

No busy work, no stress, just learning at our own relaxed pace.

We did some spelling, some math, and something called Wordly Wise which is really just fancy spelling with reading comprehension.

Rebecca got a history lesson too when a civil war re-enactor and planner came by David's office to talk about a civil war shoot that is coming up. Dave Gallagher told Rebecca all about medals awarded to soldiers in the civil war. His favorite medal and the one that really captured Rebecca's imagination is something called the The Society of the Army of Cumberland Medal, also known as the Acorn Medal.

"The major features of this medal are the scroll and wreath surrounding the words, Army of the Cumberland, the Star representing the 11th and 12th Corps of the Army of the Potomac which were combined in July 1864 under Major General Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker and incorporated into the 20th Corps Army of the Cumberland, the Triangle of the 4th Corps under Major General Gordon Granger, and the Acorn representing General Thomas' 14th Corps which, as the story goes, adopted this symbol because the men often ate roasted acorns when rations ran out, especially following its defeat at Chickamauga when the AoC fell back and was besieged at Chattanooga by Braxton Bragg's Army of the Tennessee in the Fall of 1863."

I just love this! I had no idea it could be this good.

The best surprise of our day came on our dog walk.

Rebecca and I were walking with TJIC and Joanna when coming around the bend we saw Amy and her son Charlie. Charlie is one of Rebecca's classmates and as we saw them approach we all started to grin.

Amy and I have been talking about homeschooling for years. Charlie is an aspiring comic book writer, aficionado of irony and inventor of hare brain schemes. The perfect candidate for homeschooling.

Welcome to freedom Charlie, don't you know it's gonna be all right...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rain and quiet...

Rain soothes me.

I could never live in a place where the weather is always nice. I find too much sunshine oppressive.

"Go out and enjoy the weather!" people chide.

I like a sunny day, but I love the relief of rain. Rain means that I can stay inside and catch up on things. If it's a cold rain like we've been having today it's even better. Cold rain means that all of the windows are closed. When the windows are closed the only sounds I hear are the ones inside my house.

The girls playing.

The dogs snoring.

The gentle hum of the dryer.

Today the girls and I spent some time organizing the play area in the attic. It's not a fancy space. The attic is unfinished, though it has hardwood floors. The rafters are bare and there are only two small windows. The girls love it. It's especially wonderful on cool rainy days; the steady drum of rain on the roof makes this space feel especially cozy.

The attic is the doll space. Last year we moved most of the American Girl dolls, clothes and furniture up there. All summer it was too hot to play up there, but now it is perfect. The beds are lined up and the clothes hung up. A tea party is planned for the dolls.

After the attic I sat down with some of Rebecca's workbooks and wrote out some lesson plans for the week. Then I made my grocery list and clipped my coupons. The laundry is put away. Lily's lunch is made for school tomorrow.

I am ready for the week to begin...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Had myself a ball in a small town...

This weekend was very special because with it brought Town Night and Town Day.

We had been waiting weeks for Town Night. Town Night is held in a large field across from the local Boys and Girls Club. There are pony rides, a train ride, face painting and a bounce house. The most highly anticipated events of Town Night are the dog show and fireworks.

The girls have been eagerly awaiting Town Night because this year we entered the pugs in the dog show.

We put them in costumes.

I tried to get a better picture of them but they weren't really cooperating. Sophie kept trying to shake her dragon hood off and Pugsley, well, I suspect Pugsley was too consumed with the shame of being dressed as a lady bug to try to get out of his costume.

Luckily the costume contest was first. Guess what?

They won third place! Rebecca and Lily were thrilled. In fact they are still talking about it and each are trying to claim ultimate possession of the ribbon.

After the dog show we released the dogs from the misery of their costumes and waited for the fireworks. You know what is splendid about fireworks at the end of September? They start at 7:30 and everyone is home by 8:15. We sat with some good friends and I was warmed by the sweet delight of living in a small town. Over the course of the evening we ran into so many good friends, some of whom we see often and others whom we run into only occasionally. Each hello and hug felt like home to me and I loved it all.

This morning we headed to Massachusetts Avenue, the very same Massachusetts Avenue where Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride.

In honor of Town Day Mass Ave. is closed to traffic and all of the local businesses, restaurants, schools and organizations set up booths to promote themselves and say hello to the community.

First Rebecca and Lily decorated free cookies. Two wonderful words. Free. Cookie.


There were many many things which my children begged me to buy for them.

Check out these flowers.

They are made out of corn starch!

The children begged for these crowns and tutus.

Lily got her face painted.

Some lunatic woman tried to convince me that I should let my kids get lizards.

Because that's exactly what my house needs. I shooed my kids away from there speedy quick!

These puppets were cute...

but Rebecca spent the bulk of her begging on these marionettes.

She stood by them for so long she ended up getting her picture taken by a newspaper photographer.

I distracted her from the marionettes by suggesting that she draw a picture of our house to enter into a contest.

And then, just like that, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived....

The number one reason to attend Town Day....

Sausage and peppers. Perfection. Bliss. Magic. Heart attack. Forget that last one. I only allow myself this delight once a year because I fear if I ate them more often I would become addicted. I'd eat them everyday. Then I'd need a muumuu. Maybe it would be worth it...

And with that culinary delight another Town Day ended. We came home tired but well fed and still basking in the glow of being a part of a small town.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm still here!

The funny thing about suddenly deciding to start homeschooling your child is that all of the other plans you had for the week are suddenly changed. In my case this meant that I started homeschooling on a day when I should have been doing laundry and cleaning my house. And then the next day I took Rebecca to a homeschooling get-together and the laundry continued to pile and the house squalor grew. Yesterday involved a trip to the Museum of Science to learn about Antarctica, then we went shopping at Target and Costco, picked Lily up from a playdate and dropped Rebecca off at dance class. Then last night I went out.

Yes, you read that correctly. I went out at night time. It was very dark.

I went to a friends house for a mommy get-together and it was very very lovely. However I have very serious limits to how much I can enjoy being outside of my home, particularly a home in need of some serious attention and by 10pm last night I had had enough fun.

This morning came far too early, but arrived with the soothing balm of dropping Rebecca off for gym class at her former school, and then taking a short trip to the junk store.

You didn't think that I'd stop junking just because I am homeschooling did you?

There are some things I simply cannot resist.

Vintage fans. I almost never find them for cheap. This one was 7.99.

Baby scales.

I find the little teddy bear and elephant so sweet.

The real find was this chippy table which is exactly what I have been looking for to put in Rebecca's room.

Those are real chips people.

When I got home from junking I ate about eight chocolate hazelnut yum-yums to fuel myself in order to dig myself out of the rat hole our house had become.

First I organized Lily's room and vacuumed. It's all about the vacuuming.

Then I rearranged Rebecca's desk a bit to make it more homeschooling friendly.

Then my room, the laundry, the kitchen, the porch, the bathrooms.

Right this second, this very moment my house is clean.

The laundry is done.

The dogs are settled and the children are asleep.

A clean quiet house is the sweetest serenity to me.

Speaking of serenity guess who is happy, seriously happy?

Rebecca. That child is just so happy homeschooling. She is able to go back to school for gym, art and library which she loves. In the meantime she's been reading and writing like crazy. She did some workbook work today as well. I don't know why I waited so long. It's heaven.

This week I hope to get our routine established and to get back to daily blogging. I hate to miss a day. I'm lucky to have such great readers. When I first started blogging I swore that I would respond to every comment anyone left me and for a while I did. But then I missed a day and then another and the comments keep coming and I haven't emailed back. I love your comments. They are so often some of the best parts of my day. They warm my heart and make me laugh. If you've left comments recently and I haven't emailed you please accept my apology and know that if it weren't for you guys reading, I wouldn't be writing. Sleep sweet folks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The trials of marriage...

Every marriage has its ups and downs. About some things David and I agree completely. About other things he is wrong.

Did I just say that?

What I meant to say is that about other things we have a mature discussion, use active listening and come to a mutual decision about whatever the issue is.

However, there are some topics, some issues, that are marital minefields.

The minefield of my marriage is in the basement.

To be more accurate, the minefield of my marriage is the basement.

This Sunday I was whining a bit about how overwhelming the mess in the basement is.

"It's just so bad down there." I said. "It'll take forever."

Then David did a crazy thing. He gambled.

"Would you like me to not go inline skating and instead help you in the basement?" he asked.

He was betting that I'd say no. He knows that I am very protective of my treasures down there, treasures he'd love to see on the curb. He wanted the credit for offering to help, hoping that I'd decline.

I surprised him. "Yes. I'd love for you to help me in the basement." I said, "But you can't do that thing you do."

"What thing?" He asked innocently.

"That thing where you go down there and start saying that we have to throw away all my crap!" I answered.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he lied.

Down into the basement we went.

Once down there I immediately saw the problem.

"Over there! Behind that broken chair! Your old ski boots are cluttering my basement!" I announced.

He blinked. He looked at me. He tried to find the boots. He looked at me again. "Get rid of them." He calmly replied.

Hmmmm. This was a problem. I had lobbed the boots as a grenade, to force him to clutch to something he refused to get rid of to distract him from my collection of eight-two decorative pitchers.

After seeing him chuck his old ski boots, I laid down my sword and agreed to get rid of a wobbly end table, a ripped slipcover and a broken garbage can. A huge bag of old clothes went to good will and before too long the basement, while still not lovely, was no longer in need of a bulldozer.

In the end we were both able to part with a lot of useless crap and we actually enjoyed ourselves. It's sort of funny actually. David and I have almost no interests in common. He likes to watch television. I mostly hate television. He likes to watch movies. I am loathe to commit to a movie. He likes to play sports and exercise. Not. My. Thing. The one thing that David and I have always excelled at as a couple though is having fun doing nothing.

The basement, which could have been miserable, ended up being a blast and I was reminded once again just how much I enjoy hanging out with that man. He's funny and even better, he thinks I'm funny.

I lucked out with him.

Also, don't tell him, but I didn't get rid of a single decorative pitcher.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The first day of the rest of our lives...

So today I started homeschooling Rebecca.

It feels kind of strange to say that.

Yesterday Rebecca came home from school completely miserable. When I saw her homework load I began to understand. Then I saw the completed and graded work that she brought home and understood completely.

One paper exemplified everything I hate about public school. The assignment was to write a descriptive paragraph about an earthquake using spelling words. She produced a beautiful paragraph. Sadly however, she did not underline the spelling words. The only comments on the paper were a check minus and a reminder to underline her spelling words.

It was depressing.

There were tears about pointless homework and I gently said, "We can start homeschooling now you know..."

After lots of discussion we agreed that we'd try it for a few days. I reached out to the homeschooling community searching for other families with 10 year girls who are obsessed with Warrior Kitties, Harry Potter and American Girl dolls and guess what? I received many emails from other families, welcoming us and inviting us to many events. Tomorrow Rebecca and I are going to a local playground where the homeschoolers meet. We are going to bring the dogs with us because nothing breaks the ice faster than two snorty little pugs.

Rebecca and I are both excited, but also nervous. This change is huge and while we have been talking about homeschooling for the past year, making the decision so suddenly feels very dramatic.

And I suppose it is.

The good news is that Rebecca can still attend field trips with her class and even go back to school for things like library or gym.

I think that Rebecca and I will start to feel more settled once she makes some friends and is able to start really enjoying the social aspects of homeschooling. For now Rebecca and I are going to ease into homeschooling. I need to find a math curriculum for her. Much of our work, at least in the short term will be reading and writing, and following our interests where they take us.

Lily? For now she's going to stay in school. She's happy and enjoying herself and the curriculum which is not yet dictated by standardized tests.

What has Sophie learned today? That if you roll around in a dead bird you will get a bath.

Happily Rebecca was home to wash the stinky dog! Homeschooling is paying off already!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Junking and exploring...

Yesterday David and I took the girls up to Concord, NH. We were meeting my folks so that we could take my grandmother out to lunch for her birthday.

Here she is with Rebecca and Lily.

Guess how old she is?

87. This woman in 87.

Please god let me age even half as well.

After lunch at Newicks, I sweet-talked my fine husband into stopping at Goodwill. It was such a nice store! Well organized and full of great junk!

First Lily found this dress.

I also found these.

I have always loved these strawberry glasses and now they are mine!

Red patent leather- need I say more?

David did not actually enjoy Goodwill that much.

Then the fun continued as we explored Main Street in Concord.

You know how in movies you sometimes see Main Streets with sweet streetlights, charming shops and restaurants. Concord NH has all of those things.

First we stopped at a local bookshop.

At Gibson's Bookstore I further indulged Rebecca's obsession with the Warrior Kitty series.

Then I bribed my family.

I told them that if they came with me to an antique mall we could go to a pastry shop after.

They agreed and off we went to the Concord Antiques Gallery.

Would you like a tour?

This display made me reconsider my entire decorating scene for a few minutes. All cream, white and black. So soothing, so refined.

It was so lovely!

My family had had enough, so they were very happy when we arrived at Bread and Chocolate.

There were so many yummy things to chose from!

After we made our selections we packed out tired selves back in the car and headed home.

Family, junk and chocolate- a perfect day!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Hello my sweet bloggie-poos!

This will be a short post I am afraid because I have a bad cold and am just plain pooped. I am sipping the chicken soup that I made earlier in the summer and froze for just this very moment, when my nose is both stuffed and running and my eyes feel like they are full of scratchy wool.

First I want to announce the winner of the "My Junk is Your Junk" Contest. The random integer generator selected kayleeg2005!

Congratulations! I know you'll make a great home for these treasures!

Speaking of winners...I won a contest! It's my favorite kind of prize too- chocolate! Thanks to Cheryl for a great contest.

That's it from me today folks. I'm heading to bed with with some heavy duty cold medicine and my dogs to keep me warm.

L'Shana Tova to all who celebrate!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shiny Red Painting Project: House Facade!

Remember when I bought this on the day that I found the dead bird in the bathroom exhaust vent?

Yesterday I finally got to work on redoing it. I wanted it to be the same colors as my house so I just used the exterior house paint that was left over from when we had our house painted.

I am really happy with how it came out! Can you tell that the windows are lit? There is a string of fairy lights behind the curtains in the windows.

It's autumn in my play house and my real house!

All this getting ready for autumn has Sophie all tuckered out!

I hope that where ever you are you're not too far away from a cup of warm cider and a round orange pumpkin!