Don't mess with my cubs!

I had a total "mother bear" moment this evening. When it comes to my children, their safety, their feelings...cross me (or them, for that matter) and I turn "mother bear".

Zachary has been playing baseball for the past two years. He has been on the same team but this year they have a different coach. He enjoys it (but will probably never be an all star athlete and I don't care - as long as he is having fun).

The team he plays on is full of true to life boys. Pushy, mouthy, attention deficient, dirty boys. They are not bad kids, they are just typical boys who need a lot of redirection, a lot of discipline and a lot of tolerance.

Kirby "coaches" and I keep score (and attempt to keep these monsters in line while they are in the dugout). I say "coaches" because he has never officially volunteered with the league, just helps out when he sees the need as often as he can.

This is the new coaches first year coaching. He is a great guy - no doubt - he just hasn't made it clear to the kids what is expected from them. We have kids that are teasing the other team (as well as their own teammates), throwing equipment (and nearly taking of the head of one of their own players with a bat), chewing gum in the catchers mask (and leaving the remnants for the next person who plays catcher to get all over his mouth), pushing, shoving, talking back to coaches and parents, complaining about the position the play....I could go on.

They are GREAT players. They have only lost one game and even that was close. These kids can hit, they can catch, they make great plays....then there are the fundamentals. There is no sportsmanship, no playing as a team and no respect for their coaches, their peers or the parents helping out.

Tonight they had practice. Practice turned into a free for all. Kids were getting tackled on the field, one kid threatened to hit another with a baseball bat, they were fighting about which position they were playing and the coaches didn't say a thing. In fact, the coaches were horsing around as much as the kids were.

Kirby had to attend a wake this evening and was late for practice. By the time he showed up two other fathers had gotten so irritated that they got on the field to try and keep the kids in line.

A few of the other parents and I were chatting on the sidelines AMAZED at how out of control these kids were. One commented on how "painful" it was to watch and mentioned her husband was on the field because he was "getting ready to blow his top".

Zachary was playing catcher without any gear except the mask. He isn't a great catcher and tends to forget to move into action as soon as the batter makes contact with the ball. The coaches made absolutely NO attempt to correct him. At one point in time I stepped out on the field and reminded him what he was expected to do.

About an hour into practice, the same kid that threatened to hit another with the baseball bat, the same kid that had tackled about 5 kids on the field, the same kid that mouths off to me at EVERY game, shoved my son.

Mother Bear kicked in.

I told Kirby to watch Andrew and marched out onto the field to find that both coaches had seen nothing. I informed them that if I saw one more kid shove I was going to bench them myself. "Go ahead" the head coach says, "whose shoving" the assistant coach asks him as I walk away, "I don't know" he responds "I haven't seen it" (in such ah "oh give me a break" tone), "THEY ALL ARE" I holler "And one of those kids just shoved my kid - I'm DONE, these kids are out of control". I stomped off the field, grabbed Andrew and left Kirby to bring Zach home when they were done.

On the way home I called to get the league president's number. I am fully prepared to call him. One of these kids is going to get hurt if not by one of their own teammates by someone they are on the field playing against.

I took a few minutes, I cooled down and I decided that I need to call the coach, apologize for doing this on the field in the middle of practice and explain to him my concerns:

-This level in the league is called Rookies. They call it Rookie level because the kids are learning the fundamentals of the game, they are not given the score, they are new to the sport and they are there to have fun;

-Zachary is there to learn and to have a good time doing it;

-Somebody is going to seriously get hurt;

-These kids are not being taught discipline, respect, sportsmanship or the fundamentals of the game.

I left a message for him to call me but I think my mother bear attitude scared him off...

I screwed up, I feel badly (and a bit embarrassed) but I am not going to back down. Yes, I need to have a different approach but this is serious and I will not tolerate it anymore.

If it doesn't get resolved I think I am going to have to take a step back...


Canoes on Salmon Falls

Turns out I wasn't the only one to take an unintentional dip in the Salmon Falls river yesterday.

Although I didn't join them, a number of my family members canoed up river yesterday. During the trip Dad took a bit of a spill into the river. I'm sure it was a bit of a scary moment...but it sure was funny to hear about afterwards.

My irrational fear of my children near open water kept me away (as well as my horror at climbing into a canoe at this weight)...now I am wishing I had made it. If for nothing else but to have witnessed my father's dip - evil, I know.

Sue was awesome and sent some great photos from the day.


Christian trying to catch some fish

Monica, Steve and Thanny


Dad and Loren


Dad and Sue

Dad and Thanny (on a side note, I wonder how long Nathaniel will allow us to call him Thanny...)


Than in an inner tube

And in the kayak

Than and Monica



A fishy, water logged Memorial Weekend.

What a gorgeous, long weekend! The weather was near perfect every day. And we took full - well close to full - advantage of it.

Friday was the boy's Memorial Day Presentation at school. Since it was in the morning, Andrew was not going to participate (he is in the afternoon kindergarten session). He and I agreed that he would come and sit with me and sing all the songs. Unfortunately, he had a total "autistic moment" about 10 minutes in. He wanted a flag that was being used as a decoration, I said no and all hell broke loose. He cried so hard that he hyperventilated, he hit me, he screamed...we left. It was mortifying! Thankfully, Zach wasn't aware that I had to leave...he thinks I saw the whole thing (and I am not about to admit otherwise).

Saturday was quiet. Well, as quiet as it can be when you are fighting with an 8 year old to clean his room. Truthfully, it took all day. He started at 10am and by 7pm he was FINALLY done. It was a disaster and I was fed up. It's done, for now...

Sunday I had an Embracing Autism NH (EANH) meeting in the morning As soon as I got back the boys were ready to go. Go where? Where else? Fishing, of course!


One of Andrew's friends from school happened to be walking by and he and his family decided to join us. T and F had never been fishing before and Zachary had a great time teaching them to cast and put the worm on the hook.

We did catch much other than a sunburn. I forgot the sunscreen and a few hours of sitting on the water in the sun isn't a great idea for me. Before I left my EANH Tracy told me to enjoy my weekend and to "get some sun". I'm not sure that was her idea. Thankfully the boys got away with very little redness. Redheads with fair skin should ALWAYS wear sunscreen - unfortunately, Mom tends to forget.

Sunday evening was the first Movie in the Barn at Dad's house of the season.



After Andrew broke the birdbath...

We watched the short video Sue made about her time in Iraq (WONDERFUL) followed by Ratatouille.


We made it through the movie with few incidences. Andrew even sat for most of it. Home at 11pm...exhausted.

The Moving Wall (www.themovingwall.org) has been in Ossipee all weekend and Kirby really wanted to get out and see it. First thing Sunday we packed a lunch and made our way over.

He and I have seen The Moving Wall together once before and got to see the real thing once as well. Every time we see it we are incredibly moved.

I was happy to have the boys with us but worried about how they were going to behave. Again, few incidences...thank you god!





The boys even got the ride in a "real Army truck"! Andrew was so excited!




I am glad that we made it over there and proud of how well my kids handled themselves. I hate having to talk to my kids about those things - the violence and reality of the world. I want them to believe that the world is full of love and peace...I worry that I will taint their views. Of course, my worry doesn't stop me. After all, it is reality.

After visiting the wall we traveled down to New Durham to The Powder Mill Fish Hatchery. The hatchery is run by NH Fish and Game. We had taken the boys there once before but they were so young they didn't even remember it.


You'd think we had brought them to Six Flags for a weekend! They had SUCH a great time! It just reinforces the fact that you don't have to spend money to have fun with your kids. Seriously, we spent $1 on fish food and they had over an hour of enjoyment!




Check out the size of those fish!






We ended the day by taking the kids fishing at the Salmon Falls River in Rochester.






The boys aren't use to river fishing and it was harder than I remembered. We lost 3 lines, didn't catch a thing and Mom ended up looking like this:


I totally fell in. Kirby took this picture AFTER he took the camera out of my pocket (soaking wet), AFTER he asked me if I was okay but not BEFORE he tried to get the camera to take a picture of me lying in the water trying like hell to get out.

I had been fishing out of the water the whole time (well after I climbed into the water to try and get my line out). It wasn't all that cold, I was enjoying dipping my feet...then I lost my footing. Sonuvabiscuit!!!

I smelled like a dead fish the whole way back to Wolfeboro in soaking wet jeans with two screaming, whining kids in the back...


Quick thoughts

My father tells me that his job as a parent is to embarrass his children, to the best of his ability, on all occassions (including following behind us in a busy grocery store, dragging his foot, hollering our names like a crazy person). I learned well.

I only hope that I can take those lessons and make my parents proud as I raise my children.

Feet - glorious, beautiful, wonderful feet!


How can you not love that? My fellow blogger Tony aka I Sweat Butter hates feet. He even blogged about his disgust here: http://isweatbutter.blogspot.com/2008/05/tis-season-to-wear-dem-flip-flops.html (someone really needs to tell me how to fix those links so they look nice and neat so it will say "see HERE" instead of putting the whole stinking link there).

I am a foot lover. My first job was in a shoe store. Now, of course, I am a massage therapist, my job being to rub tired feet (well, that isn't my only job, but a good part of it). And being a mother, I constantly have feet in my face, day in and day out, whether washing them, cutting the nails, smelling them or biting...

Now, this is not some crazy, sick fetish...I just love feet. I do have some criteria, however. They must be clean, they must smell nice (well, as nice as a foot can smell), the nails must be trimmed (and clean, of course) - not like these:


I love flip fops and sandals and, if it were possible in NH, would wear them year round. My little man loves them enough to create his very own flip flop/ski invention:


I grew up in a strange family. Well, we were normal by most standards but we did strange things. We lip-synced to "I'm Too Sexy" for a family friend's 16th birthday, we went caroling at Christmas time (from the car, screaming to our victim's home), we mooned New York City from our hotel room on our first family trip (well, I did...it was my father's idea, I'm just not sure anyone else joined me at the window - I am sure the natives were complaining about "those damned tourists - never passing up the opportunity to do something considered somewhat immoral with my parent's permission...that's for another blog) and we had a foot contest.

This contest was complete with pictures of each family member's foot and judge's forms. The judges rated the pictures and placed them in the most appropriate categories including Most Beautiful, Most Feminine and Most Masculine.

My mother insisted handing out the pictures to family friends - including my high school guidance counselor (how mortifying).

In the end, I was voted most beautiful, my mother most feminine and my sister, Monica, most masculine. Poor Monica. No wonder she hates to have her feet rubbed. I, on the other hand, love a good foot massage.

I am sure that my mother has those pictures somewhere. I will have to work on finding them...

Potty training

Who am I kidding? My child is going to be 30, married with 2 kids and a dog before he gets potty trained.

I am SO sick and tired of hearing the parents of 3 year old children complaining. You know what? I have been changing diapers for 8 years, 3 months and 12 days. My child is 6 YEARS OLD!! Every single day since the day Zachary was born I have changed diapers.

Andrew does not have the want, need or desire to use the toilet. And, quiet frankly, I don't have the want, need or desire to fight him EVERY FREAKING DAY to use it.

I have tried bribes, I have tried making him sit in it, I have tried forcing him, I have read to him while he was on the toilet, I promised him a party with all of his friends when he was potty trained...heck, I would promise him a trip to Disney World if I thought it would work.

I know this is not uncommon with kids on the spectrum...but jeez! I am beginning to think that I will be cleaning up crap for the rest of my life. Believe you me, the second Andrew gets trained, Kirby will be old enough to start losing his bodily functions...

The Guilt of Motherhood...

A few years ago when a close friend was pregnant, she spoke of feeling guilty about being a vegetarian. She worried that her baby was not getting enough protein (even though she was a GREAT vegetarian and got plenty of protein in her diet). I teased her that this was only the beginning; that motherhood brings guilt no matter what you do or do not do.

Andrew slept until 10:30 this morning. He has always been a bad sleeper. He doesn't sleep through the night, he wakes incredibly early or incredibly late. He does not go to bed on his own (Kirby has to lay down with him every night, oftentimes falling asleep too).

At 9:30 I was feeling great, enjoying the peace and quiet. At 10 I started to feel a little guilty because I knew that this meant I would not get to see him much today (he leaves for school at 11:15, gets home at 3:30, I leave for work at 5:15 and am there until he is in bed for the night). At 10:15 I decided that it was safe for me to hop in the shower...I was wrong.

I SWEAR this child has the uncanny ability to know when I am taking a shower so he can wreak havoc through my home.

Minutes after I got in the shower he was climbing on chairs, playing with the toilet plunger...

From that moment until 11:20 when I shoved him out the door for school I heard:

"I'm going to bite you in a minute."



"You're going to have to hold me down" - all the while with the most EVIL look on his face as I am trying to change a diaper full of poop


At 11:10 - minutes before we needed to leave for school - I snapped these photos of him trying to put on his shoes to keep my hands busy and to stop from screaming bloody murder:




And now I feel guilty that are morning went the way it did.

Ah, the joys of motherhood...



Tom's girlfriend just emailed me and asked if he could join her on a trip to Maine this weekend...

Seriously? Are you freaking kidding me?

I consider myself to be pretty liberal. In fact, compared to Kirby I am WAY liberal when it comes to parenting. But even my reaction was a BIG FAT YEAH RIGHT!

When I was a teenager my parent's allowed co-ed sleepovers. Of course, it was me and 10-15 other people. Does that make it better or worse? I don't know...


Okay, not really...but that is what my mind was telling me to say.

Give him a month. He will be 18. Then he can make all the bad decisions he wants...


A Whirlwind of a Week(end)

Is it Sunday already? Seriously, this past week and weekend have been SO busy, I barely had time to enjoy it...

On Tuesday we found out that my Great Uncle Tom passed away. It was quick and relatively painless and he was 87 years old. I don't want to say that we were prepared - but it wasn't a shock. He was a wonderful man who looked like an exact replica of my grandfather - just add 10 years.

Friday afternoon I went down for the wake and Saturday was the funeral. Of course, Saturday we already had about 10 million other things to do, so squeezing it in AND finding a babysitter wasn't easy.

Friday evening Kirby and I took Zachary fishing for a little bit. I realize that I can be an incredibly anxious person. We went to the docks...open water...Zach isn't even close to a pro at swimming...I was a nervous wreck! New rule: Life vests while Zach is at the docks AND he has to stay withing 2 feet of the edge. No great pictures because it was pretty dark.

The only CATCH of the night (I snagged one but it got away before we got it to land...doesn't count unless you can bring it ashore):

Zach and Dad getting the fish off the hook and back into the water:

Saturday morning we had a baseball game, pictures and the home run derby with Zachary. I apologize for the pictures, I was using the zoom on most of them and it just doesn't work all that well (we really need a new camera...I'll get more into the reason why we are waiting in a bit).

The team:

Zach and his fellow rappers:

Watching the other team during their home run derby:

He's a monster when he hits that ball:

During his hits during the home run derby (he hit 180 feet for his three hits):

After our morning at the ball park Kirby and I flew home to change and get to the funeral. Thankfully, Courtney was willing to come help Tom with the boys for the afternoon and evening (there is no way I could have left them alone with Tom for 7+ hours - someone would have been dead by the time we got home - likely Tom).

The funeral was, well, a funeral. It was sad and hard and...well, just awful. I was fine until I watched my grandfather...watching a man that you see as stronger than life cry...it just kills you. That was the hardest part. I have seen my grandfather cry a total of two times and they both killed me.

After the funeral we went to the burial. As we pulled over to the side of the road our van scraped bottom - HARD. As we walked up to the car afterwards we saw that something was leaking....badly. Come to find out we tore a huge gash in the oil pan. There was no way that van was going much further. Thank god we took two vehicles down (in case there was an emergency at the house and one of us needed to get back). I drove the van to my father's barnyard, parked it and that is where it still sits...

We have had plans to go with my family to a comedy night since Easter. Even though our day was jam packed and our van was parked (possibly for good) we still went and I am so glad we did. All 4 comics were hysterical. I laughed until I cried. There were a few uncomfortable moments: one started ranting about Bush...my father directly behind us - Alex and I turned around at the same time, caught a glimpse of Dad's face and sank into our seats, and one spoke at length and in some detail about performing...well, to put it nicely...jeez, there is NO way to put it nicely....let's just say he was describing how to please a woman - there is NO WAY to watch that, laugh and feel comfortable while your father, his wife and a couple that you look at as family (and have known you since FOREVER) are sitting directly behind you - although it was really funny (the sound effects he used will never be allowed to enter my head again without seeing that, however). And one talked about this video (that I have never seen - OMG):

Seriously? Did you SEE THAT? HOW does that happen? How did he not DIE - if not from exposure from absolute embarrassment?! The comic said that he was offered $10,000 to talk to the media and he refused...can you blame him?

The show ended around 9:30. We had an offer to play poker but opted to head home instead and figure out what we were going to do about the van situation.

Honestly we have been looking at vehicles for a while now. Our van needed some pretty major work, Kirby wants something he can tow with...but we just aren't in a position to buy anything major right now (or anything that requires a payment). Kirby had a van in mind that he had seen on Craig's List.

Bright and early this morning we traveled down to Strafford, checked out the van and bought it on the spot. Then we drove to Dad's cleaned out our old van, told him it might be a few days before the tow company comes to get it and came home.

The "new" van is almost exactly like the "old" van. Same make, model and year. It is a different color and it does NOT have any of the "power" (locks, windows, cruise). It is in much better condition than ours, doesn't need tires, windshield, etc. We are all happy - though broke...and a whole lot less likely to replace the camera...

TGIM - almost.