Another Andrew Shenanigan...

Have I told you all about last year's New Years Eve celebration? I didn't think so. I can't imagine why I haven't because, I swear, this one is priceless!

Every year we walk downtown and watch the New Years Eve parade with the boys. It's a short parade with lots of noise and lots of fun. As the parade passes you join in and walk down to the town docks to watch the fireworks. It is always cold and busy and CRAZY down there but we love it.

Last year we were standing in about 5 feet of snow (now, now, I am not know for my exaggerations)...it was especially crowded and it was dark (or course). At the time, A had a bit of an obsession with Barack Obama (nothing like his mother). He also has a bit of a hard time keeping his attention on any one thing...

He turns to talk to the people behind us (we do NOT know these people). It's dark...there is a Hispanic man standing behind us...A screams:


I want to melt. I want to fall to the ground and die. Right there. Of course, I don't because those times that you really wish death on yourself due to humiliation it never comes.

I turn and apologize to the man who is laughing hysterically behind us.


So, we are hoping for a repeat this year :)

Happy New Year to you all! I am sorry I have been a bit MIA but I promise I will be back as soon as I have my house back (the boys and Kirby are all enjoying an extended Christmas break and won't go back until Monday - have I ever told you how much I LOVE Mondays).


Superficial much?

In these "tough economic times" I am doing everything I can to get more bang for my buck. We have always set a budget for Christmas; this year I have just worked a little harder to be sure that the money we spend gets stretched a little further.

Every day I pick the boys up from school. Every day I sit at the same table I have sat at for the past 4 years (god forbid I change the routine). Every day I sit with the same women (the majority of which I like). A couple of weeks ago, however, a comment was made that irritated me...

A woman was talking about having already finished up her daughter's Christmas shopping, how she was so proud that the list was so short and the items on it were so inexpensive. I'm not sure how she got on the subject of her mother-in-law (MIL) but she started talking about how her MIL buys her daughter things from the thrift store for Christmas. I commented on how I thought that was great, that my father's wife does the same thing. She said that it was fine to give her things from the thrift store but "to wrap them up for Christmas, ugh" - like she wanted her to just give her gifts randomly throughout the year.

The next day I walked my butt down to our local consignment shop and looked for some good deals. I walked out of there with a pair of pajama bottoms and 4 shirts for Kirby and a shirt for Z. All for $24. They were in perfect condition. They barely look worn. I was psyched!

I called Kirby to rave about my finds. I tell him I am going to wrap them up and put them under the tree. He says "yeah, that's fine, it's not like they would even know". I promptly informed him that "I don't give a rat's ass if they know, oh and BTW (yeah, that's what I said), the things I got for you are getting wrapped up too". Of course, he changed his tune, "I didn't mean anything, I mean, yeah, that's okay".

So I wonder, what IS wrong with this? I am not giving my kids things that are ripped or torn or even look worn. These are NAME BRAND clothes that MAY have been worn a few times but LOOK brand new. Even if they DID notice, my kids are not going to care (in fact, one of Z's favorite things to do is to go through the tables upon tables of clothes at our local "street fair" on the last night when everything goes for free - he also loves to get bags of "hand-me-downs" from my cousin's son). So why do people make such a big deal about it?

I truly don't understand...


Blogger stinks tonight

My blog roll isn't working. That really grinds my nerves.

So if I have missed any of your wonderful posts I will be by tomorrow to check them out.

I think I depend too much on the blog roll...maybe I am just lazy...

Thursday's Thankful Thirteen

Here we go again, another Thursday, another Thankful Thirteen. If you want to play, leave a comment here and link your blog back here.

1. I am thankful for our MIRACLE of numbing ear drops.

2. I am thankful that the boys' holiday play was such a success and that Z was able to have a speaking roll in his last year.

3. I am thankful that my mother, sister and father's wife were able to make it up for the show.

4. I am thankful that A has so many wonderful friends in our town and that his Dunkin Donuts friend (Mrs. Roberts) was able to come to the show. Also thankful that she is beyond wonderful to him - he loves his yearly Hess truck Christmas present.

5. I am grateful to all the power crews that took care of our state during the recent ice storms. My mother was without power for 5 days and she is one of the luckier ones - many are still without.

6. I am thankful that our town has their OWN power crew and we do not need to depend on PSNH (the crew that most of NH does depend on). We only lost power for a few hours in the middle of the night and our crew got right on it!

7. I am thankful that my neighbor has friends that check in on him and were able to get him the help he needed before his mental health became a more immediate/serious problem.

8. I am thankful that we have friends and family we can depend on, people that I know will always be there and people that my children can turn to.

9. I am thankful to have a job. During these "tough economic times" I am blessed.

10. I am grateful that my children do not expect a lot of us this time of year. Of course, on each of their lists there is something extravagant, but they do not go overboard. I guess, honestly, I am thankful that they are so easy to please :)

11. I am thankful that even though my father is a complete mental case, who drove to camp the day after the ice storm came through, he and his wife made it to and from safely, bringing back two Christmas trees and the old refrigerator (that they replaced with one that actually makes ice cubes).

12. I am thankful that A is feeling better and that, aside from the nose running, he seems all but over his cold.

13. I am thankful that a week from today will be Christmas. That all the shopping will be done. And that my kids will be sitting in the living room watching their new movies, playing with their new toys and enjoying our family.



Yes, I made it through the majority of my to do list yesterday. I did not get to the playroom, however, and that comes today...god help me. I do not exaggerate when I tell you it looks like a bomb exploded in there. No matter how many times I try to organize that room it is to no avail. A is not a organized kid. He likes his toys all around him in a heap. He throws them from the toy box, the drawers and the boxes that I use to keep it organized. I promise he will do that before the end of the day today, but only AFTER I have worked my butt off to clean it up.

Last night was the boys' holiday show. And I will blog more about that later. It is my favorite time of the year. And, honestly, just sitting here thinking about it, I am getting teary again...

But right now I want to talk about the miracle that we found yesterday. Something that took 10 LONG years to find me:


Why has it taken 10 years to find these? Why has no doctor informed me of this miracle before now?

All 3 of the boys (including my stepson) have had tubes. A is on his third set and, without a doubt in my mind, will need a fourth.

This poor kid has been sick since the day he was born. Both my kids have immune systems that seem to grab hold of anything within a few feet from them and it doesn't let go until it has been sure to wreak havoc through their entire bodies and pass it along to anyone unfortunate enough to come in contact with them (my poor sister can probably blame her children's last 10 sicknesses on my kids). But, poor A has a constant runny nose, a cough that starts in October and ends in June and ear infections upon ear infections upon ear infections (unless his tubes are working properly and then they just drain this stinky, sticky fluid - gross, believe you me).

I am not big on antibiotics (and I think I have shared this in the past). Antibiotics are used for BACTERIA and most ear infections are caused by VIRUSES (like the common cold). Therefore, giving a kid (or anyone) an antibiotic to "cure" a virus is not only ineffective but almost as havoc wreaking as the virus itself. Antibiotics kill most all bacteria in its path (including the good stuff that lives in your small intestine - which is what leads to "the runs" when you take antibiotics). The bacteria that it DOESN'T kill then starts to become resistant to antibiotics (this also happens if you don't take the antibiotics correctly) and we end up with the super bacterias like MRSA. Having said all that, when kids get ear infections if they do not clear up quickly enough it is possible that the fluid sitting in the Eustachian tubes will grow bacteria and they DO need antibiotics - but there is no way for a doctor to know by looking at it. Of course, antibiotics are AMAZING as well, just way over prescribed and thought of as a necessity by too many people (including doctors).*

Okay, off my soapbox and back to my story...

I don't often bring him to the doctor if he has an ear infection because I know that, most of the time, they clear up on their own. His pediatrician has been great about working with me on this and agrees that, more often than not, antibiotics are unnecessary when treating ear infections.

This one was bad, however. A had been sick for over a week, had a strange rash all over his body (that the medical assistant tried to tell me was a heat rash - I asked her to step outside to remind herself of the temperatures) and, most importantly, he had his holiday show that night and he NEEDED to get to it. No way was I going to keep him from it. But he was MISERABLE and I knew we needed to take action.

So off to the doctor we went. Well, actually, off to the nurse practitioner since all the doctors were booked. We spent about 5 minutes in the office (she informed me that the "rash" was just his eczema acting up and it appeared to be inflamed because of his virus) and left with two prescriptions, an antibiotic and THE MIRACLE: numbing ear drops. I am okay with the antibiotics this time since the stuff coming out of him is colors that only show up in nightclubs lit with black lights. In other words, it was neon green. But the miracle, oh the miracle of all miracles (makes me think of Fiddler on the Roof* - I told you I was a geek) were the numbing ear drops.

It makes me wonder why I was never given these before. I do not joke when I say that my kids have had more ear infections than I can count on both my fingers and toes. And everyone that I have spoken with about them since says, "oh, I have about 3 of those bottles in my medicine cabinet, I would have given you one" or "you've never heard of those".

After bombarding the nurse practitioner about the safety of them I have decided (with her help) that from now on, we will be using those ear drops at the slightest sign of an ear infection. Since they also loosen wax (which tends to build up around A's tube) it will help keep his ear clear so they can drain on their own.

And, I fully intend on bombarding his regular pediatrician with questions next time I see him (which will, more than likely be sooner rather than later) as to WHY he has never prescribed these before - because, as you parents know, ear infections only seem to bother them in the middle of the night when nothing in the world you do can console them!

And, most importantly, A made it to his show last night and performed perfectly! More to come on that in a later post...

*I am not a doctor, I do not play one on TV and I do not pretend to be one. If you have concerns about antibiotics speak with your doctor. Google it, do some of your own research and don't diagnose your kids yourself (like I tend to do).




Every day I have a list of things to do. More often than not I forget or put it off or get involved in something else until 5pm comes along and I think "WTF have I been doing all day?". Then at bed time I lie awake thinking of all the things I need to do the next day. It is not uncommon for me to grab my cell phone and start making up lists of things I NEED to remember to do. Sometimes it helps. Other times I ignore it long enough that I forget about it. I am such a procrastinator.

We have had some type of cold bug in our house for over a week. Needless to say, my house is trashed. TRASHED! From top to bottom. But today I have the day off and today is the day it HAS to be taken care of. Before I lose my mind...

So today I have a list. I am giving myself permission to hop on the computer after I finish each thing and check it off (and maybe check my Facebook too 'cause I am busy whopping Nicki's butt at Scrabble and can't let it go too long between turns).

  • Make beef stew and bread for tonight's dinner
  • Clean out A's playroom
  • LAUNDRY (and NO this does not mean washing and drying it all to leave it on the couch - you have to fold it too)
  • Wash sheets
  • Wash, dry and put away dishes
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Vacuum living room and sweep stairs
  • Fill Andrew's prescription (for the stinky ear infection)
  • Make bed with clean sheets
  • Find A's costume for holiday play
  • Bathe both boys
  • Dinner done and eaten by 5
  • **Edited to add** Don't beat yourself up if you don't finish everything
  • Call Sarah and check in on her (preferably while you are doing one of the other chores)

I have 3 hours to complete it all before the kids make it home from school. We have their holiday play tonight so there won't be much time to do anything after they get home...

So if you try and call and I don't answer its because Newsies and Les Mis are turned up full blast and I can't hear anything...wish me luck!

**Edited** Confessions:

I did not make the beef stew because, apparently, beef left in the fridge for a week is no longer good (at least it didn't smell or look good when I opened it).

I did not actually TALK to Sarah. She was at work when I called but I told her I was thinking of her and to give me a call when she could.

The playroom will have to wait for another day...although it NEEDS to be done before Santa comes. He will not leaves presents at a house where the kids moms haven't cleaned up the messes.

The stories of apartment life

The background:

We moved into our apartment about a year and a half ago to escape my crazy mother in law. God love her...I do not exaggerate. She is certifiably crazy. We tried to make it work, honestly but it got to be too much.

We love our new home. It is close to the kids school. It is close to downtown (and the streets roll up at 9pm around here so noise isn't an issue either). There are parks and stores and, most importantly, a Dunkin Donuts all within walking distance. Lately I have even been walking to work.

The apartment we live in is in a building with 5 other apartments. There are only two on our side of the building, we rarely see the other residents. In the past year and a half we have had 4 different tenants in our side of the building. We have been relatively happy with them all and whenever we have gotten frustrated just reminded ourselves that we live in an apartment building. We can only expect so much. We are sharing space with these people.

This summer a single, older gentleman moved in downstairs. He seems nice enough. He has never once complained about the noises "from above" (us) and I know for a fact that my children are rarely, if ever, light footed when walking. He chain smokes on the front porch and, often, fall asleep there (which only totally freaked me out the first few times when I thought he was dead). He plays his music VERY loudly (because he is deaf as a doorknob, but again, that works in our favor) and, usually, turns it down by 8pm when we put the kids to bed - so I never complain. He has his son over every weekend and even he seems like a nice enough pre-teen (and we all know how rare it is to find a nice pre-teen).

I know he has mental problems. He has been candid sharing his issues with us. He doesn't work because he collects disability. And lately I have noticed that he has been acting more "manic" than usual....

The story:

About a week ago he informs me that he is looking for a job. Something part time to help make ends meet. I tried not to discourage him but reminded him that, in our small town and with the economy, there wasn't much out there.

After an afternoon of looking he decided that he couldn't find anything and instead was going to write a book. "A book about what", I ask. "My life, my mental illness". Again, trying not to discourage I tell him it sounds like a great idea, that I am sure there are many people out there that can relate.

The next day he informs me that he has about 16 or 17 books he can write with everything that has happened in his life. He tells me that he has hundreds of pages from the state mental hospital that his PCP is getting for him...I stifle a laugh and encourage him again. I even went as far as telling him to start a blog of his own, that if he got enough advertisers that he could make money that way (knowing that he is more likely to make money with a blog then by publishing an actual book). He tells me what he is planning on doing with his first million...I start to wonder how stable he is.

Please know that I do not make fun of people with mental disabilities. You have to admit, however, his behavior is humorous. There are funny things that happen. It is not like Kirby and I blatantly make fun of him...although we have enjoyed a few laughs at his expense in the comfort of our home, behind closed doors.

The next evening I go out to the front porch and he is sleeping. He wakes up as soon as the door closes and starts talking. He tells me that his PCP got his medical records from the state mental hospital, asks me if I want to read them. I (have a really hard time saying no to people) tell him sure, I would love to read them. He runs inside and grabs a stack of 20 or so.

And then I get scared. Not scared for my life, but nervous about what I am reading and, again, nervous about how stable he is. He has been diagnosed with both bi-polar and schizophrenia. The most recent document was from June of this year. I do the math. He was released in June and came right here...I tell Kirby to lock the door every time he comes through it from now on.

He recently had a friend move in. The music has gotten louder. There is fighting all hours of the day. The music plays well into the night. I have contemplated calling the police but I don't. Again, I rationalize that we live in an apartment building. You can't expect to have peace and quiet all the time. He has never complained about us - I don't want to complain about him.

Last night, as we are sitting down for dinner, there is a knock on the door. "Merry Christmas" he says handing me a bag. I open it and find two lobsters inside. "Where did you get these", I asked, knowing that he is tight for money but more in shock that he is giving me lobster when all I planned to give him was a $5 gift certificate to the local convenience store to buy a pack of smokes. "I bought them," he said, "what did you think...I STOLE them." I gave him a hug, thanked him and brought them upstairs where the kids enjoyed playing with them while we boiled water. I DID NOT tell him that his stealing them was the EXACT thought that had crossed my mind.

At 11pm I can still feel the pulsing of the bass from his music under my feet. I ask Kirby if it is "bad form" to call the police on the neighbor that just gave you lobster. He says it probably is and we should let it go for a little while. Eventually, about the time Kirby and I head to bed (around 11:30pm) the music has quieted down. But as I am lying in the bed (willing the sleep to come) I hear lots of banging, a few slamming doors, a bit of arguing (and we are on the third floor- he is on the first). I ignore it and eventually fall asleep only to be rudely awoken again at 3:30am.

At first I couldn't figure out what woke me up. I thought it was because I had to pee and made my way down to the bathroom...where I feel the pulsing of the music, again, beneath my feet. I can clearly hear what he is listening to (Nickleback for anyone interested). I am beyond annoyed. Again, I contemplate calling the police. I decide that if I am unable to fall asleep because of the music that I will - but I do, peacefully.

This afternoon Kirby is talking with a few of our neighbors friends and realizes that he has been taken back to the state hospital. He had become so manic that he was ordering thousands of dollars of electronics, furniture, wine and, ummmm, lobster.

Ah, crap. Now I feel like a jerk. I accepted lobster from a man that I know is not living within his means. I took lobster from a man who will probably never be able to pay off the credit cards that he used to buy the lobster. I took lobster from a man who was taken to the state mental hospital the very next day...


What's for dinner?

In our house tonight we are having an easy peasy casserole with chicken, rice and cream of mushroom soup with sliced pears and raw baby carrots. Easy, delicious, relatively low fat...

So what is the problem you may ask (because dinner time in our house is ALWAYS a problem).

The problem is that one of my kids always doesn't like something.

Z loves the rice - A does not.

A loves the mushrooms - Z does not.

They will both eat the fruit and vegetable (which is why it is all RAW and not even steamed).

I can do nothing right when it comes to dinner. Unless we are making macaroni and cheese every night of the week I am screwed.

Kirby and I are trying to lose some weight (TRYING is the operative word). This means the meals need to be a little healthier around here. I'm not saying we need to cut out anything or even mac and cheese completely - but we do need to make an effort.

I am taking any and all ideas you have for a healthy, easy, kid friendly meal.

**Edited to add: A asked, as I was dishing the casserole onto his plate, "EEEWWW, WHAT IS THAT?" Neither even took two bites of their casserole (even though Z said "I KNOW I am going to like this) but they did finish their pear and carrots. Z even had a few bites of the lobster that we got as a Christmas present (more on that later).

And, after having a discussion with Kirby last night about trying to lose weight, he brought out the cookies as soon as he was finished his dinner. I swear, it is a losing battle in this house.**


I want to send a huge congratulations to Marcy at The Glamorous Life the winner of the $25 Home Depot Gift Card. Now she can get her husband something for Christmas!

Be sure to stop on over her way and leave your congratulations!

Thank you all for playing and sending your friends and following the blog! This was a ton of fun!


Kids think up the darndest things and try to manipulate you every step of the way

If you are here for the contest please click HERE. The contest will end on Thursday December 11th (today) and the prize will be mailed out Monday. I hope to post this winner this evening! You can earn multiple entries so go forth and spread the word.

The grocery store in town is collecting toys for the needy. While I was there last week with the boys A was enthralled by the large box filled with toys. Of course, he saw something that he wanted...

If you don't know my kid then you probably aren't aware that this incident is prime meltdown material.

I take his hand and say, "I know, honey, those are really cool toys."

He throws himself to the ground.

"A..., those toys aren't for us, we need to go now."

"BUT, I WAAAAAAANT IT", dragging his feet the whole time...

I get him out of the store, he is still screaming.

"I understand, A, but those toys are for children whose parents don't have a lot of money to buy them things."

His eyes widen, his face perks up....he is putting it together.

"Do YOU have A LOT of money, Mommy."

I smile, I know where he is going with this...

"Well, no, not A LOT of money, sweetie."

"Then those toys are for ME!"'

Ah, crap. How do you explain this to a kid who is so black and white? He's too smart for my good and just doesn't get that gray area enough for me to explain to him the difference...

What a monster.

Pepper and Milk

Can someone please tell me which one of those monsters poured pepper in the milk jug? And can you tell me why I found it AFTER I had already poured it on my cereal? And why now I have this HUGE craving for a nice bowl of cereal but we don't have ANY milk? And why it is snowing like crazy and the weather reports are telling us to stay indoors and off the roads so I can't even get a jug of milk?

Seriously! This is how my day begins...

I'm just thankful it didn't take a big spoonful for me to figure that one out.

Oh yeah, if you are here about the contest scroll down. I am too P.O.ed right now to bother with putting it all up there.


I am either old or a total geek...

If you are here for the contest click HERE. The contest will end on Thursday December 11th and the prize will be mailed out on Monday. You can earn multiple entries so go forth and spread the word!

We take a break from our regularly scheduled cleaning to let you all know what a dork I am.

Can I tell you what got me motivated to do the housecleaning today (even though I am stuffy and cranky and just feel, overall, crappy)? Newsies. Don't know what Newsies is? Go here. (Christian Bale may die a little inside every time someone brings this up...after all he went from singing newsboy to Batman...a bit of a change - honestly this is when I first fell in love with him.)

Want a better idea? Watch these:

So I recently acquired an IPod (more on that in a later blog) and last night I uploaded a bunch of my old CDs including The Newsies Soundtrack and today I was a cleaning fool. Working up a sweat, singing at the top of my lungs...hope the neighbors couldn't hear me...crying at parts, dancing...I swear I could have been on stage (okay, maybe not, but my bathroom sure felt like a stage). And before I was singing from The Newsies I was singing from Les Miserables...it's my "Showtunes" playlist (although neither are REALLY showtunes...).

I feel a little cheesy and even a little more old (as if living through Sunday wasn't bad enough). Reminds me of my high school days - sitting on my boyfriend's couch, singing along (how did I not know he was gay???). We actually performed a Newsies song in chorus (yes, he was in chorus with me too...how did I not know....seriously!).

What gets you motivated? Is it something you might be embarrassed to admit to anyone? (I tell you, Kirby will NEVER see my doing that and my kids - ugh, I would never live it down.) I want to hear all about it!


A night out with....zzzzzzz....I'm sorry - what were you saying?

If you are here for the contest click HERE. The contest will end on Thursday December 11th and the prize will be mailed out on Monday. You can earn multiple entries so go forth and spread the word!

I have discovered just how old I really am. Remember when I turned 30? Remember how I told you all that 30 was NOT old? Well, this weekend I discovered that it is.

We had a relative busy weekend. Really we only had a busy Saturday but it felt like it lasted all weekend. That is how old I really am.

My nephew's celebrated their birthdays on Saturday and had a joint/open house birthday party. I, of course, had not picked up their presents. So after working for a bit that morning we went off to buy their gifts. I wrapped in the car (or really just threw them into gift bags) and off we went to celebrate.

Z was staying with my sister for the night and A had his very first sleepover and Grampie and Nana Sue's. Kirby and I were headed out for a night with old friends.

We were all nervous about the sleepover and were grateful to hear that Nana Sue would be sleeping in the spare bedroom with A. He is an awful sleeper and often gets up a half dozen times a night. He was also very nervous about the sleepover. Being autistic he loves his routine and this was way off course for him.

After dropping the boys Kirby and I headed out for dinner before we met our friends. The plan was to meet at a bar around 8pm.

7:30pm: I was ready to get on with it. I wanted the night to be started already. And I wanted it to be over shortly after.

8pm: We meet at the bar that is EMPTY because nobody really starts going out until 10 or so. I have already had one drink (because we got there a little early) and am ready to start working on my second (or fall asleep on the comfy leather couches that we were sitting on).

Chris, Josiah (the Birthday Boy) and me

9: Josiah is in the middle of a very interesting story. We are sitting side by side on those comfy leather couches. He's talking away and I yawn. Right in his face. Horrifying. Embarrassing. He looked at me, rolled his eyes and turned away. One of my oldest, dearest friends. I haven't seen him in a few months. It is his birthday and I can't stop yawning.

In my defense, aside from Chris, Kirby and I are the only ones with kids. And Chris only has his kids part time. We are the only ones that go out once every 6 months. Still, it is only 9 and I am so exhausted I can't even suppress a yawn in someone's face?! O-L-D!

Me and Kirby laughing at something hysterical Will is sharing

Me, Will and Leah - the last bar

11: We decide that the first bar has gotten a bit to "yuppy" for the rest of us. It is time to find another bar. ANOTHER BAR? This bar, although less yuppy, is PACKED. Standing room only...I refuse to stand all night in a bar...I am too old for this. Eventually we get a table for the 5 of us, we sit, we drink a bit more, we visit...

Thankfully, I am not the only one that is exhausted:

Chris the DD...

Kirby and I made it home a bit after 1am. The house was quiet, there are no kids...nobody to wake us in the middle of the night. Nobody to interrupt our quiet time together.


Let's be honest here, I am sure you parents can relate, time without the children is so infrequent that we do our best to enjoy every moment of it. To take advantage of every second alone with our significant others. Not me...I sleep.

Seriously...can't even enjoy a night without the children. I fell asleep probably before my head even hit the pillow.

8am: Alarm rings for us to get up and go pick up the kids from their sleepovers. I scream at it to shut the hell up - I am trying to sleep.

9am: After hitting the snooze button 6 times I scream at the alarm again...but roll out of bed and hop in the shower...

And all day Sunday all I wanted to do was sleep.

It was a wonderful night. I love to see Josiah and Leah. We were the best of friends in high school - we were inseparable. We don't get together nearly enough. This time was to celebrate Josiah's birthday. In fact, the last time the three of us were together was to celebrate Josiah's birthday...we need to get together more often.

Maybe next time we can do a nice game night...maybe Bridge or Cribbage or Canasta...aren't those the games that old people play?

Oh, and for anyone interested, A had a great sleepover with Grampie and Nana Sue. Although, I am not sure how often his old parents will be enlisting them for help anymore...


It's all about the contest!

One year ago I started this blog because Z's class had started one. I thought it would be something fun that the kids and I could do together. Little did I know that this would become a place of free therapy for me and that I would make so many good friends.

So today is about paying it forward. In the past couple months I have won two WONDERFUL prizes and now I am offering you the chance to win too!

Now, I don't have hundreds of sponsors, I don't have businesses knocking on my door begging me to endorse their product and I don't have hundreds of dollars to give away...

But I do have this:

Tell me your hubbies wouldn't LOVE this stocking stuffer? Maybe your Dad or even your Mom? Maybe you want to spend this all on yourself?

Whatever way you choose to use this card it could be all yours by following the next few steps:

1) You MUST comment here - that will automatically get you ONE entry

2) If you are interested in a second entry become a follower of my blog (there is a link to the right to become a follower - if you are already a follower you will get an extra entry as soon as you comment)

3) You will receive another entry if you refer someone to the contest - be sure that they leave your name when they comment

4) Browse through my archive and leave a comment on an older post (some of my favorites are to the right) - this will get you another entry

5) And lastly, if you blog about this contest and link it here you will receive 5 additional entries (be sure that you let me know you have blogged so I can give you the entry)

You have the opportunity to win, at least, 9 entries if you play your cards right...so easy!

This contest will end Thursday December 11th and the prize will be sent by Monday December 15th as long as the winner gets back to me in time with their mailing address (this should allow plenty of time to arrive before Christmas).

There it is. The first official bloggy contest of Crazy Town, USA. Go forth, spread the word and ENJOY!


My very first contest!

The contest to celebrate my Bloggiversary is set to begin on Monday, December 8th. Check back and be ready to become AMAZED...

Okay, I may be playing it up just a bit...but just a bit...I think :)

Look forward to seeing you all here on Monday, Monday, MONDAY!


I totally won!!

As I am sure most of you know, SITS had an AMAZING day yesterday! We all celebrated Christmas early with a day full of prizes.

The MOST exciting news is that I WON!! I won the prize that I knew I was going to win. I don't know how I knew, just had a feeling. And my new baby niece is going to LOVE her personalized snap suits and monogrammed blanket from Two Tinas!

I have not been a very good blogger lately. Things have calmed down in our home, but just in time for the holiday rush. So apologies to anyone that I have been neglecting (and just a note to those of you that use the new comment form that appears at the bottom of the blog and allows you to switch from a google ID to Live Journal, etc...I cannot comment on your page. I don't know if this is a ME issue or if others are having that problem as well...).

A huge thank you to SITS for hosting the contest and Two Tinas for donating. Do me a favor and check them both out. Two Tinas has some of THE CUTEST monogrammed and personalized items and SITS, well, you all know how much I LOVE SITS and Tiffany and Heather worked their fingers to the bone yesterday putting this on.

**Edited to add:**

I will be hosting a contest of my own next week to celebrate my bloggiversary (is that how you spell it??). Keep your eyes peeled on Monday!!



So, I am a moron. Well, not entirely. But when I am excited I don't read well...WTF is up with that?

So, the SITSmas prize giveaway is happening ALL DAY today. Every hour on the hour they are putting up another FANTABULOUS prize.

The GREATEST prize? The one that I want more than ANYTHING (even more than the IPod I swore I NEEDED and the vacuum that I wanted to replace my SUCKY one)...the GRAND PRIZE is a $200 Gift Card for Target!!

Can I just tell you that my children would have the BESTEST Christmas EVER if I won that card!! We are BIG budgeters around here. We plan and plan and budget and budget and this card would nearly DOUBLE what we spend every year. Seriously!

So, back to me being a moron, I was suppose to mention this in my last post...so silly of me. I just got overwhelmed with all the excitement and forgot to read the ENTIRE post about it.

Readers, go check it out! Entire yourself (or not, cause really, I WANT TO WIN).


To all our dearest friends and family,

We hope you are celebrating merrily.

Our lives would never have been complete,

If we somehow didn't all of you meet.

So during this time of holiday cheer,

Be sure to join us all for a beer.

Best wishes everyone,

From out Crazy Family.

The rhyming is done :)

Want to join in on the fun? Go to SITS the are having some amazing giveaways all day!


Why can't they just sit down?

When I was pregnant I prayed for boys. I know what I put my parents through and I knew that my brothers were so much different. They didn't worry my parents by cutting class enough times that graduating was nearly not an option. They didn't worry them with the drama of teen love. They didn't run up phone bills larger than what I charge for an hour long massage session. And, most certainly, they did not get pregnant at a young age and make their parents grandparents before they were 50...

God knew what I could handle so he gave me two boys. God also has a sense of humor, however, and gave me a step-daughter that I helped raise from the age of 9 till she moved out at 18 (and I have to tell you, that girl drove me CRAZY from about ages 11-17).

So, here I am, living in a house FULL of testosterone (or budding testosterone as the case may be).

There are many things I have gotten use to:

  • I don't get asked about my day at the dinner table.

  • Nobody notices my haircuts or my pedicures.

  • If I get sick I am still responsible for taking care of the children.

  • I take time off to do doctor's appointments, IEP meetings, etc.

  • I am the one who is responsible for making sure the family looks halfway decent before leaving the house (and as I am sure my sisters would tell you, that isn't really saying all that much).

  • I am the only member of the family who does not own a pair of jeans or underwear with holes in the most unusual places (those get thrown away immediately if they are mine).

  • I am the only member of the family who finds it completely inappropriate to scratch/adjust yourself in public.

I deal with it. These are things that are expected of most moms and women everywhere.

One thing I cannot get use to is the bathroom.

So I wonder:

  • Why must I clean up pee around my toilet, off my toilet seat and, somehow, out of the trash can in the bathroom MULTIPLE times a week (and in all honesty, it probably does not get cleaned enough)?

  • How is it that these boys are not capable of aiming their pee directly INTO the toilet?

  • Why is it that they only put the seat up 4 out of 5 times (and, honestly, I could deal with a seat that was up all the time as long as it meant I would NEVER have to sit in pee again)?

  • Why is it that WHEN they remember to put the seat up the pee, somehow, lands all over the BACK of the toilet?

  • And when the heck are they going to STOP doing this?

I know many of you mommies out there deal with the same thing. I know many of my readers are mommies to all boys (including those wonderful, loving, adoring, PEE FILLED husbands of yours).

What's a mom to do?

Meme from Jessi

10 years ago I:
1.) Was raising two step children.
2.) Was not even legal drinking age.
3.) Was still pretty stupid about life.
4.) Was about to be engaged.
5.) Drove my '78 Dodge Colt...I miss that car!

5 Things on today's to-do list:
1.) Find black pants and a white shirt for Andrew to wear to school.
2.) Clean the bathroom.
3.) Do the dishes.
4.) Walk with Andrew before school to get out some energy.
5.) Figure out how to use my new IPod.

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1.) Pay off all my debts.
2.) Build a beautiful home for my family.
3.) Buy new cars.
4.) Get Zachary into private high school.
5.) Buy my own office.

5 Places I've lived:
1.) Old Ox Rd.
2.) Chamberlain St.
3.) Estes Rd.
4.) Milton, NH.
5.) Wolfeboro, NH.

5 Jobs I've had:
1.) Shoe sales girl.
2.) Movie theater usher/candy girl/ticket girl.
3.) Telemarketer.
4.) Mommy.
5.) Massage Therapist.

I am not going to tag anyone - take it if you like. Have a great weekend!


Thursday's Thankful Thirteen

We have had a few awful weeks. Given what my family has been going through, however, we still have many things to be thankful for.

1. I am grateful that our meeting on Tuesday went as well as could be expected. We are on the road to closure and getting well.

2. I am thankful that Zachary's parent teacher conference went well and I was able to bring home a report card full of threes and only a couple twos (they are graded in numbers 1-4. 4 is more than proficient, 3 is proficient).

3. I am thankful that Zachary was really disappointed about those twos and wants to work harder to get a report card with all threes and fours next quarter.

4. I am grateful for my family who has gone above and beyond the call of duty these past few weeks listening to many of my dramatic phone calls, taking the kids and helping Kirby and I in whatever way they can.

5. I am grateful for my friends who are my chosen family. They have listened to more than their fair share of phone calls these past few weeks. They have emailed and texted and just shown so much support.

6. I am thankful to live in a home that is heated and, mostly, windproof especially these past few days when the wind can go right through you and temperatures are in the 30s BEFORE the windchill is factored in.

7. I am thankful for my two feet that have been getting me to work lately. I have taken up walking to and from work most days and am enjoying the quiet and the exercise that I am getting.

8. I am grateful that my MP3 player survived it's time submerged in a glass of water thanks to Andrew. He was good enough to take the SanDisk out before he did it...I am not so sure that would have survived.

9. I am thankful to the client that gave me a new sweatshirt from her septic company. Andrew loves their trucks (because they have honey bees on them - he calls it a honey truck and thinks it is hysterical every time I remind him it is a POOP truck).

10. I am thankful that Kirby and both have stable employment. Times are tough for many families. We are blessed to have jobs that we can count on everyday. Many others are not as lucky.

11. I am thankful for food in our fridge, pantry and cabinets. Again, many are not as blessed as we are.

12. I am thankful that Kmart is offering layaway this year because we may be blessed and have steady work and food in our home, but money is still tight and I am thankful I can set it all aside and pay a little each week.

13. I am grateful that my children are safe, that they have a home, a loving family, food in their bellies and people who love and care about them every where they go.

Play along, join the gratitude, make a Thursday's Thankful Thirteen and link it over here.


Pure Joy.

I stole this from Tiffany who stole it from someone else.

If you need a smile, if you want to experience pure joy, if you want a laugh...even if you don't: WATCH IT!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.


Prayers and well wishes

Kirby and I will be attending a meeting tomorrow morning. It is an important meeting that will, hopefully, give us some answers and start a process of closure.

I am nervous and anxious. He, in typical Kirby fashion, is sleeping through his nerves.

Although I cannot and will not share the details of our meeting we welcome any thoughts and prayers for our family.

And if for nothing else, pray that this meeting will bring me back to some regular blogging :) I miss you all and apologize for the lack of comment love. I hope to be back soon enough.


October in Pictures

Things are, to say the least, crazy around here. Do we expect anything else in Crazy Town? I think not.
Your prayers are appreciated for my family through a rather difficult time. I will post as I can.
Until then, enjoy the pictures of our month!




Why is it that most everytime these kiddos get a few days "vacation" somebody decides that is the perfect time to bring the flu into our home?

Well, it has happened again. Poor Z spent all day Saturday running between the couch and the toilet, now it is A's turn and even I am having a hard time keeping my toast down...

Ugh! So much for a fun filled few days off!


Proud to be an American

I can remember few times that I have been as proud to be an American as I am right now.

I am overwhelmed with emotions in reaction to today's election. I have laughed and cried and fell to my knees when they announced the winner.

I am so proud to have been a part of making history. I am so proud that my children were a part in making history (both have campaigned, Z has met Obama and both voted today in school and with Kirby and I). I am so proud that my fellow Americans were a part of history today.

Today we voted for change. Our voices were heard loud and clear.



Get Out the Vote!

Please remember to get out there and vote today!



I finished. Late Wednesday night I read the last page of the last book of The Twilight Series. And then I cried. No, I am not joking.

The books were wonderful. Better than Gone With the Wind...I don't know. Honestly, I never read it. Just please remember that the author wrote these books for young adults.

The stories were entertaining, heart warming (and racing), full of love and passion and just plain enjoyable.

Honestly, these books are not my typical read. Honestly, I judged every last one of you that raved about them over the past 6 months. Honestly, I am a shmuck and now I am embarrassed that I, too, have hopped aboard the Cullen train!

So, if you haven't had a chance to start the series, do. The story of Edward, Bella and Jacob is every girl's fantasy....it may help you remember what you forgot that you wanted.

I won't pretend that they were the best books I EVER read (although they do come close). I don't want anyone to be disappointed and I find that when we build up expectations that is what will happen. I want every one of you to read these books and love them like I do.

Of course, now my house is trashed, Kirby is jealous (of Edward and Jacob, perhaps...but more likely over the fact that I have ignored him for the past week), the laundry needs to be folded, the floor needs to be mopped, the tub needs to be washed...all worth it.

Take a week, enjoy the books and let me know what you think!

I will be back to regular blogging soon enough...great pictures to come of our pumpkin fun and the kids great costumes!


Miss me?

I am sure that I only have to say two words and the majority of you will understand why I have not been blogging as of late:

Twilight Series.

I started a week ago and am currently working on Breaking Dawn.

I can't imagine what took me so long to jump on the wagon....now I can't get off.

I'll talk to you all soon enough - don't lose hope! I will finish this evening and need something to fill the void that Edward and Bella will leave me with...


Potty Training Saga...

Can someone please explain to me why A decided he had to go pee at 4 am this morning....but I have now cleaned up two "accidents" by 9 am...

Seriously. I am getting more than frustrated here. Bribes aren't working. Threatening isn't working. Beating isn't working...well, that could be because he hasn't actually been beaten.

I'm losing precious sleep because he decides that he IS potty trained in the middle of this night but during the day he doesn't care. ARGH!


Me? Are you sure? Little 'ole me?

First I'd like to thank Nicki. Without her it could have been hours before I knew of this amazing winning.

Of course, I need to thank Twenty Four at Heart who has bestowed this gift upon me.

I'd like to thank God, my country and my family whom I am sure will understand a bit more today why I spend so much time on the computer reading all those blogs.

And, lastly, I would like to thank my swinging chiropractor who gave me such wonderful material.

And now I'm off to feel MUCH less guilty about spending all that money on The Twilight Series and get to reading!



My sister and her husband entered the, almost, never ending adoption process about a year and a half ago.

Yesterday we got the news:

They have been matched and IT'S A GIRL!

This is such exciting news. Not only are we a family FULL of boys (I have two and my sister has two) but we expected a boy.

So, please, take a moment and send Monica and Steve your well wishes. Keep Monica, Steve, Christian, Thanny and their new little girl in your prayers through the final journey. There is still a while to wait, we expect that they will be able to fly and get her within the next 4-5 months. They deserve this and this baby deserves a wonderful family like ours.


I love Mondays. Truly, they are my favorite day of the week. Don't misunderstand me, I love spending time with my family on the weekends...but Mondays are good.

We had an incredibly busy weekend. There were many wonderful things about it but I was, unbelievably, ready for it to be over. For things to slow down. For our routine to be back.

Thank God it's Monday!

Saturday was Z's first Cub Scout outing. They all built model rockets and met at the den leader's house for a BBQ and a rocket launching party. Unfortunately I was not able to attend. Instead, Kirby took both boys (which he seriously deserves a merit badge for). I hear they had a great time (until Z shot his rocket a second time and lost it in the woods) and the pictures came out great.

I, on the other hand, spent Saturday in the car. Well, not entirely in the car, but about 10 hours of my day were spent in the car. Monica, Loren and I went down to CT for Andrea's father's funeral.

It was heartbreaking and sad and awful and every other thing you can imagine when a man dies too young. He was only 58 but from what I understand (and I did not know him) he lived a very full life. He loved his family more than anything, loved his job and loved my brother (but, of course, who wouldn't).

We felt it was important that we go down and support Alex and Andrea through this time. So I left at 6:30 am to meet them at Monica's house (nearly an hour from mine) and we traveled another 3 to meet up with Kolbe and Dana at Kolbe's house in CT (I don't know what it is with my younger siblings falling in love CT folk) where Kolbe then chauffeured us to the funeral, burial and "reception". I arrived back at my home around 9:30 pm...exhausted.

I am glad we went. It was hard and long and tiring but I am glad that we were there. And all considered, it could have been an awful trip but it wasn't. Monica only nearly killed us once (but really it was only me, she and Loren would have survived the crash).

Sunday was a very busy family day.

We started the afternoon by going hiking. The last time we hiked as a family A was still in a stroller. Not so much anymore.

Blue Job is a quick mountain (I was told 15 minutes, but it probably took us closer to 30 - little legs and little attention spans). The view is incredible and well worth the effort.

After the hike we went to visit with my grandfather for a bit. He and his girlfriend will be heading down to Florida on Saturday for 6 months. I wanted to say goodbye.

Every year it gets a little harder to say goodbye.

My grandfather will be 81 at the end of this month. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease maybe 10 years ago and each year it gets a little worse. I know that one year he will leave and he won't come back. That kills me.

For as long as I can remember we have had Saturday night beans with my mother's family. Every Saturday (except when they were in Florida) we would meet at my grandparent's house for baked beans and hot dogs. My grandmother use to spoil me rotten because I hate baked beans. She would make me a tuna fish sandwich every week instead.

The tradition has continued even since my grandmother passed away over 8 years ago. Instead of meeting at Gramp's every week we rotate. I live too far to be in the rotation (thank GOD) but my sister Monica and Mom don't. So each week the family gathers at someone's home.

Because of the medication that my grandfather is on he has a low tolerance for loud noises. He has never been an incredibly patient man but he has gotten much worse over the years. He would never yell at anyone but we can certainly see when his stress level hits. Therefore, my family doesn't spend a lot of time with him while he is home. A doesn't understand what it means to be quiet or slow down...then I get stressed out and then nobody is having a good time. I try to see them every other weekend or so when beans are at Monica's or Mom's - where Gramp can leave if it gets to be too much.

Though Gramp has gotten older he has certainly not lost any of his wit. He promised me that we would not get a good picture. He told me flat out that he would stick his tongue out. I told him he would fit in with the rest of the family. And his daughter did the same damn thing.

My grandfather is a huge part of the reason I will vote democrat in the upcoming election. Without stem cell research I do not believe a cure will be found for Parkinson's. While it will not save MY grandfather's life it will save someone else's. I can't begin to explain how awful it has been to watch the man I have always looked at as so strong wither away. His brain is there, his body is not. He gets embarrassed, he is easily frustrated and it breaks my heart.

After visiting with Gramp and Lorraine and Aunt Deb for a bit we went to my father's house for the last Movie in the Barn of the season. We watched The Wizard of Oz - a family favorite. It ended way too late, it was long, it was FREEZING in the barn - but we all had a great time.

We got the kids home around 9:30, threw them in bed and I fell asleep on the couch...

I love Mondays! Now I am off to clean my carpets (YES, again, this potty training thing isn't working out like I had hoped)...


Who knew.

Who knew that with all the posting I have done over the past couple of days that the Bison meat would be drawing the most attention.

I guess I should clear up some of the confusion, answer some of the questions and share the funny story.

In Crazy Town we have two grocery stores: an IGA and a "Haaaavest Maaaaket" (yes, you have to say it like that, no r's, it's haaaaaavest). Both are overpriced and understocked. But when I am low on groceries and need to grab something for dinner it is either go to one of those or drive 20 miles to the closest "real" grocery store.

Tuesday I decided we were going to have beef stew for dinner. It's easy enough, the kids (usually) eat it AND I had enough beer in the fridge to use as beef broth (the beer has been there since camp and wasn't going anywhere - in fact one bottle had been leaning against the back of the fridge, had frozen and exploded all over the inside).

So Andrew and I took a walk to Haaaavest Maaaket and grabbed some groceries. Shopping with Andrew is never fun. He runs, he yells, he touches EVERYTHING and he doesn't sit in a cart (in all honesty, I can't get him into a cart, that child weighs too much for me to lift him into the seat). I was frustrated within a few minutes and knowing that I had to walk home with two bags of potatoes and carrots was only adding to the frustration.

I'm standing in the butcher's department looking for beef stewing meat and I can't find it. I search and search and search. I find the bison meat, no beef.

I say to the woman, "I'm looking for the beef stewing meat, I see bison, no beef"

Crazy woman: "Well, I hear really good things about bison."

Me: "yes, but I am looking for the beef"

CW: "it is supposed to be really healthy for you"

Me: "I have heard, but I am still looking for the beef"

CW: "I hear it tastes good too"

Me: "I know, but really, I am just looking for the beef"

CW: "Ooooooh, and look, it's on special"

At which point in time Andrew has tried to stick his fingers through every package of meat in the butcher's department so I give up. I grabbed the bison meat and prayed. And just an FYI, "special" for bison meat really means the price is dropped to just about what you would pay for Angus stewing beef.

I get home and pull everything together, cut the meat (which is VERY bloody), brown the meat, throw the meat in the stew (no, Sometimes Sophia, I do not have a recipe, I don't work with them...just throw it all together....I think THAT is the reason I am such a lousy BAKER though I can cook pretty darn well) . 8 hours later I try the stew with the YUMMY homemade bread bowls I made and it was delicious. Tasted just like beef.

The kids didn't eat a single bite. A knew it was bison and told Z. Z watched me put the beer in and thought I was trying to poison him (the alcohol burns off, but try explaining that to an 8 year old).

So, the reason for ME substituting bison was probably very different than anyone else's reason. The link I provided above claims that it is leaner than both beef and chicken but I didn't get a protein count. You can probably use it as a substitute in anywhere you would use beef (although my brother-in-law says that when he tried it he thought it was dry, so maybe not a burger). I found this site for bison meat recipes, give it a shot and let me know what you think.


Thursday's Thankful Thirteen

1. I am so thankful that Z and I and our amazing team climbed Mt. Major this past weekend and raised nearly $700 for breast cancer research.
















2. I am thankful that whatever was on my camera with a couple of those pictures didn't ruin the whole stinking shot!!

3. I am thankful that Andrea's father was able to walk her down the aisle and that she and Alex were able to be be there with him when he passed away yesterday morning.



4. I am thankful that we made it through the entire day yesterday without any accidents with A!!

5. I am thankful that we have had beautiful weather for the past week or so.

6. I am thankful that the weather should hold out this weekend. Long enough for Z to shoot off his rocket with Cub Scouts and for us to take a hike Sunday as a family.

7. I am SO grateful to have family that is so incredibly close. I am not sure I survive without them.

8. I am grateful that I have NEVER faked it (hey, I never said that all these would be beautiful...just things I am thankful for).

9. I am thankful that this election is almost over. No matter who you are voting for just be sure you do it! VOTE!

10. I am grateful that Kirby is willing to work his butt off trying to get out of work a few hours early so I can be with my brother and his new family in CT tomorrow.

11. I am thankful to have been raised in a family that is open and accepting.

12. I am thankful that I was forced to try discovered bison meat. It didn't taste any different in the stew I made (got it at the regular grocery store in the butcher's department). I am also so excited that I figured out how to strike through something!

13. I am thankful that I made it up and down that mountain even though I am WAY out of shape AND my knees were killing me. It has given me a renewed vigor to start hiking again.