Conversations with Andrew

For safety reasons, Andrew sleeps in our room. He is a wanderer and has been found wandering the house in the middle of the night on numerous occasions and even outside once...he is not a good sleeper and wakes often throughout the night for as glass of water or a hug or just to talk.

Last night as I came into the bedroom we had a little conversation:

A: Mommy is that you?
Me: Were you expecting someone else?
Andrew: Mommy I was at Tizzy's house.
Me: Oh yeah? When was this (knowing full well he has never been there)?
At this point in time he becomes incoherent and isn't making any sense..,
Kirby and I start talking about his day...
A: Guys! Stop talking!
Kirby and I start talking is hushed voices...
A: Guys! I can't listen to all this talking!
Me: Alright, Andrew, we'll stop talking just go to sleep.
After a few moments of quiet...
Andrew: Daddy? Daddy? Daddy!
Kirby: Andrew you told us to stop talking. What to you want?
Andrew: I love you...


Looking to win!

I am looking to win some Christmas music...even though I hate Christmas and am the biggest procrastinator on the face of the earth and even though Nicki will laugh at me...

Check out Ben Rudnick and Friends and their Christmas CD!  And enter to win for yourself!


She's awesome...

Spose - I'm Awesome (Clean Version), posted with vodpod  So, that is one of the kid's most favorite songs.  It's one of the songs I play in the car to keep them quiet.
A few days ago Charity says to me: I'm awesome!Me: Yes, you are!Charity: Dude, don't lie.
Maybe I need to rethink the choice of music...


Things I say more times than I can imagine.

-Sit down and eat.

-Get dressed.

-Go potty.

-I don't care if you don't like (x, y, z), you have to do it.

-Please stop screaming.

-Please give me privacy while I (pee, shower, sleep...).

-Get back in your bed.

-Do your homework.

-Turn off the TV.


-Please leave (him, her, ME) alone!

-Put your (shoes, backpack, dirty laundry) where they belong.


-I'm too tired to deal with this.

-My patience has hit its breaking point.

-I love you.



Zach is in the middle of a trumpet lesson (my brother drives up once a week, has dinner with us and instructs him for about an hour).  Tonight, Zach has been playing the same piece over and over and over again WRONG.  My brother has been, patiently, reminding him that he is doing it wrong.

Zach (as serious as can be): They probably won't even hear it during the concert.  The rest of the trumpets will drown me out.

A creature of habit.

C: Where's my pnubutta an jelly? (as she approaches the table for lunch)
Me: You aren't having peanut butter and jelly today, you are having soup.
C: I NEED my pnubutta an jelly!
Me: Well, today you are having soup.  Get up to the table and eat.
Me: Charity, just eat.
C: I NO LIKE IT! Pnubutta an jelly sammich!
Me: You are not having a sandwich today, eat your soup.
C: (cautiously-and dramatically-taking a bite) Oh, I DO like soup!


Bad Behavior vs. Boys Being Boys

This was found on my fridge following our lovely dinner conversation:

This still sits on my fridge - nearly a week later. Somehow, I still find it humorous.

My brother was here tonight for Zachary's weekly trumpet lesson and he too finds it humorous.

Is it wrong that I find this so funny? Am I encouraging "bad behavior" by leaving it there?

I guess I believe that "boys will be boys" and by discouraging it I am only, really, encouraging it. Eventually someone will mess up the letters and eventually someone will write something worse.

Hmmmm, must remove the F. U. C...and K. soon....



Tonight as the boys are eating and I am at the counter preparing my meal Kirby is being a pest.

Me to Kirby: I'm going to punch you in the....
Andrew: In the NUTS?!
Zach: No, in the BALLS?!

I really had hoped that Charity would help even out the obvious imbalance of estrogen in the house...but today at the doctor's office she chose a terrifying Frankenstein sticker over the Barbies and giggled right along with the rest of them during this entire conversation.

I'm screwed.


Bullies. Take 'em down.

This is a comment I left for a friend regarding THIS POST he put on Facebook:

I recently told my 10 year old son (regarding the kid who bullies him on the bus) - "Take him down.  If he lays a single finger on you, TAKE HIM DOWN.  I will support you.  We will face problems with the school but I will support you.  No person EVER has the right to bully another or put their hands on another.  Take him down.  He's a jerk, you don't need him, TAKE HIM DOWN."

This bully got off the bus the other day and stared ME down.  I stared right back at him.  And then he smiled.  A genuine, heartfelt smile.

The second I told my kid he had the right to stand up for himself and defend himself he gained the confidence to do just that.  He has not had a single problem with this bully since.

I am not saying that "my" way is the right way or the only way...but it worked for us.  She is right, bullies, no matter the age (because, let's face it - any child over the age of 5 knows that it is WRONG to pick on someone), is a fucking asshole and they deserve to be told so.

I certainly do not condone violence, typically.  A little background: this bully has been bullying my child for 5 years.  He recently shoved my child.  It was time he was given a taste of his own medicine.  I do not know that it ever turned physical (from my son's side) but I do know that the teasing stopped as soon as I gave him the option.

I will not claim that I never bullied.  I did.  And I can tell you, with all honesty, that if she had beat me to a pulp, I never would have teased her again.

I was also bullied.  Not seriously like poor Tyler Clementi or the other gay teens that recently committed suicide.  But I like to think that part of the reason that I was able to get through it was because I stood up for myself.  I surrounded myself with people who loved and cared about me and I stood up for myself.

In high school, two of my closest friends were gay (well, they still are gay...).  I was often enraged with the humiliation and horror these two were subjected to.  Recently one told me that he stopped telling me when people referred to him as a "faggot" because I wouldn't sit by and let it go.  I would confront them, I would speak up and I would let my voice be heard.  I don't know that it was helpful.  I don't know that he didn't get MORE ridicule that "a girl" would stand up for him...I don't know that I made a difference.

What I DO know is that I would do the same thing today.  I hope that you all do the same as well.  As a society, we need to stop allowing bullies (children and adults alike) from getting away with it.  As a society, we need to speak up.  We need to let them know that this will not be tolerated.

I hope that I am raising those children today and I hope that you are as well.

I saw this quote today (whether it is truly Sarah Silverman's quote or not, I do not know) but it makes a whole lot of sense to me:  "Dear America, when you tell gay Americans that they can't serve their country openly, or marry the person that they love, you're telling that to kids, too. So don't be fucking shocked, and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids, and driving them to kill themselves because they're different. They learned it from watching you." -Sarah Silverman

While you may not see bullying as a problem for you or your child, give it time.  We have all been subjected to someone, somewhere in our lives that makes us feel like shit...

Stand up.  Take 'em down.  Don't tolerate it any longer. 


Little things...

Charity: Those Nemayums? (pointing to her plate of trail mix)
Me: What?
C: Those Nemayums?  For me?
M: Yes, Charity, those M&Ms are for you.


Me: HEY! (as I am watching Charity put soap all over a toothbrush)
Charity: (jump) You scared me!
M: That was intentional.
C: (bursting into tears) You hurt my feelings, 'pologize to me.


Me: I'm sorry, the cat died. 
Andrew: (hysterically crying) But I loved him and I took very good care of him....
M: I know you did, buddy.  He didn't die because you didn't love him or because you didn't take good care of him.  He died because he was old and sick.
A: It's your fault.
M: What?!  Honey, I didn't do anything.
A: You brought him to the vet and they broke his insides.  It's your fault.
M: .............

While having coffee with a friend I receive a text: Fr: Kirby: 911! Call me!
Me: What's going on?
K: I'm taking her to the ER right now. 
K: She swallowed a penny....

Yes, before we even got the the ER she was bouncing up and down so hard I was beginning to wonder if said penny had been laced with something...

I'm a winner...

I totally won!  Thanks so much, Lisa over at Lisa's Clay Happenings!  Be sure to check out her blog, her amazing Etsy site and my awesomely fantabulous prize!

Thanks again, Lisa! 



My children love to read.  And not much in this world makes me more proud than watching my children get lost in a book.  Though I don't tell him this, my heart swells with pride when I find Zach in his bed, way past his bedtime, reading a book, begging to "just finish this chapter".

This summer one of the banks in the area had a challenge: read 10 books, get a bank account with $10 in it.  Zach was all over it.

Yesterday was the last day to go in and open an account with this program so I took both boys down with their reading lists. 

And the story goes like this:

Andrew was at the end of his rope. He was tired and cranky and wired.  Thursdays are hard days and towards the end of the week his behavior gets a little out of hand.

Thankfully, Dan, the man who was helping the boys open their accounts, was very patient.  He laughed with them and fell for Andrew immediately (as most people do).  Even through Andrew's farting (that he felt the need to announce every time - as if the stench wasn't enough).  Even through Andrew's incessant questions about "the vault".  He even heard someone answer the phone "TD Bank, how can I help you?" and it got caught in his mouth (meaning he felt the need to repeat it over and over and over and...).

In the end they both had new passbook savings accounts with $10.  They also walked out with "vaults" of their own (big green TD Bank coin banks).  I gave them each $20 and let them make their first deposits, showed them how to fill out the paperwork and how the passbook worked.  Zach got a lollipop and Andrew informed us all that "lollipops are bad for your teeth" and that he didn't want one.

On the way home Zachary and I had a little conversation:

Z: I'm one lucky kid!
Me: Why's that?
Z: The bank account!  Thank you, Mom!
Me: Oh, honey, you did all the hard work by reading those books.  You deserve it!
Z: That wasn't hard work reading those books!

That's when my heart melted.  Who's the lucky one here?  Him for opening his first bank account or me for having such an amazing child that opening a bank account makes him feel so lucky and grateful?  Not a video game or a new bike but a bank account. 

I am so damn lucky.


The Potty Wars

I thought I was done.  After 9 1/2 years of changing diapers I really thought I would be rid of them, at least until Kirby gets old and gray (and, let's face it, next year he turns 40...it will happen sooner rather than later).  But then, we had the opportunity to welcome Little Miss into our lives. 

We are blessed.  And we are, again, potty training.

In July came the underwear and the temper tantrums.  I really thought Andrew was awful but at least I knew that he wasn't capable.  Charity IS capable she just doesn't want to.  I have been told boys are easier to train than girls.  I beg to differ.

Yes, she has had an "interesting" 2 1/2 years.  Yes, she has had very little stability in her life.  Yes, she has dealt with more than any 2 1/2 year old should have in her short little life.  And, yes, she is as stubborn as a mule.

Me: Do you have to go potty (as I watch her holding herself)?
C: Nooooooooo!
Me: I think you should try.
Me: Go potty right now.
C: Nooooo!  I neva' eva' go potty again.
Me: Hey, Drama, go potty right now!
C: (she sighs, throws her hand to her forehead, and stomps to the bathroom....) I not go potty again!

Since July we have done this.  And, honestly, she is getting better.  It has been a few weeks since we have had any accidents while wearing "undies".  She still wears diapers for nap time and still wears diapers at night.  Which means, I clean up a dirty diaper twice a day.

Me: Charity, do you have anything in your diaper?
C: Nooooooo, I go on da potty.
Me: Let me check.  Charity!  You need to be changed!  Why?
C: I go on da potty?

Sigh.  The year long break from diapers was nice.  But I am beginning to feel that I am destined to change diapers "foa-eva'".  'Cause you know, as soon as she is completely trained, Kirby will be old enough to need help...


Liar, liar.

I love that little kids can't tell time.  I think it is an amazing gift provided by God.

I have no idea what time Little Miss got up this morning but I do know that by the time I got up she had already been through the house, "stealing" little bits and pieces (including Andrew's glasses) and making a mess.

I also know that since she got "caught" this morning and tried like hell to charm her way out of it (which did not work) she has cried.  "Go potty"..."noooooooo, neva', eva'".  "No, you may not watch TV, you were playing with the computer", "noooooooo, can I watch TVs? Let me 'pologize to you". 

Thankfully, at 2 1/2 Little Miss still naps.  She always naps after lunch.  And, thankfully, at 2 1/2 Little Miss can't tell time. 

So by 10am she had eaten her "lunch" and is now napping nicely in her bed. 

Liar, liar....


What's that smell?

Much to Brian's dismay, this post is NOT about the Potty Wars.  Though, I promise I will do one regarding that specific topic very soon (and perhaps the title will be the same...).

As I was switching laundry today, I noticed a horrendous smell coming from the laundry room.  While I know clothes get dirty when you wear them, we only wear them once...they don't get THAT dirty (and if my kids smell that bad obviously I am not bathing them enough...though I was sure once every two weeks was enough...).

I pulled the two baskets of dirty laundry down and checked behind the washer and dryer where I found no less than 4 pairs of dirty underwear (I couldn't understand where all the new underwear I bought was disappearing to), 5 lonely socks and a shirt....none of which was the source of the smell....

I decided that the best idea was to just start washing.  Eventually the smell would come out in the...well, the wash. 

As I am loading the washing machine I grab a towel and find the source.  Somebody (KIRBY!!!!) wiped up spilled tuna juice with a towel and left it to sit. 

So now a load of laundry is running on the hottest water possible with both laundry detergent and Pine Sol (to kill whatever may be living on that god awful smelling towel).



I miss you!

Yesterday was Andrew and Zachary's first time with their new babysitter.  Kirby and I have always done our best to arrange our schedules so the kids don't need sitters, but as my business grows and since he started driving for the school district, things have had to change. 

We were so lucky to know a young lady who has the time and desire to watch our two monsters for an hour or so after school.  She is fantastic and I am so thankful she was able to make it work with us.

Back to the story.

Yesterday was her first day.  She picked them up at school, brought them home, got snack and started homework.  I walked through the door before 4:30 - they have only been home for 45 minutes.  Andrew runs to the door, jumps in my arms, "Mooooommmyy!!! You're back!!  I missed you!!".  You'd think I had been gone for days. 

God I love that kid.


Little things I want to remember...

Today, on the way to my doctor's appointment, Charity and I have the cutest conversation.

C: You breath, Erica?  The doctor listen to your heart?
Me: Yes, baby, the doctor will listen to my hear.  How did you get so smart?
C: At Grum's house.


Last month we went to camp.  At camp the boys are allowed to pee wherever boys want to pee.  A week after returning, Kirby and I were sitting on the front porch and Andrew came flying out the door from the house.  He runs behind a bush and drops his pants.

Andrew: I had to pee.
Me: You can't do that at home, only at camp.
Andrew: But I had to pee!


Tonight as I am putting Andrew to bed we have a quick conversation about his crazy behavior.

Me: Andrew, what is going on with you tonight?!
A: I'm outta control.
Me: Yes, I see that, but why?
A: Because it's a full moon, or a half moon or a crescent moon.  It's some kind of moon.


Andrew walks into the house last week, sees that it is clean and says "are we having company".  Shit.


I'm in love.

Yes, folks you heard it right.  I am in love.  And I am not talking about Kirby (though I do) or my children (though I do) I am talking about my favorite website of all time (and, no, I am not talking about Facebook). 

For those of you that love to read I highly encourage you to check this out.  Truly, it is amazing. 

I LOVE to read.  I love getting lost in a book and forgetting my world for a while.  And though many have encouraged me to get the Kindle or the like, I love to HOLD a book.  I love the way it smells and feels...I love to turn the pages and use a bookmark.  That is one piece of technology I have no desire in owning. 

Every week I hop online, go to my Swap.com page and update my list.  I have one list of books that I want and one list of books that I am willing to part with (I often save books to reread so not all of my books are listed).  Then I initiate some trades. 

Most recently I received The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.   I am not one of those people that reads things just because everyone else is reading them (it took me almost a year to pick up The Twilight Saga - not that I regret a minute of taking the time to read that..).  But this book intrigued me.  I wasn't sure why but the moment I saw it I wanted to read it.  So, I put it on my want list and traded it for Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (honestly, I hadn't read it, it didn't grab me).  Within a few days I received my "new" book and I was off and running.

It was a tough start and I was thinking I shouldn't have traded for it but about 100 pages in I was hooked.  The female lead is the girl I want to be (for those of you that have read it, please don't think ill of me...).  I loved it and have gone on to read the rest of the series (well, I am halfway through the 3rd book The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest). 

Honestly, swap.com is not the only place I get books.  Sometimes I just can't wait for a trade of exactly what I am looking for (like the last two books in the series previously mentioned).  I still shop at the local bookstore (partly because I want them to stay in business) but for the books that I want to read and I can wait a bit for, I head over to swap.com.  And it is certainly a whole lot greener than buying new books (and I usually reuse the shipping packaging that the book I receive was sent in and use it for the next book I ship out.). 

According to my stats I have saved $235 (I don't know if this takes shipping expenses into account but I media ship everything and it costs less than $3 for each book) and decreased my carbon footprint by 339 pounds for only 40 trades.  It's amazing.     
So, if you love to read, want to be a little greener (and save yourself a boatload of money) check it out
 And that's the end of this advertisement.  Please move on to your regularly scheduled programming...


Why bother?

"Cleaning your house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing"-Phyllis Diller

Yeah, this has become my new favorite quote.  I am supposed to be in a cleaning frenzy as we have a new babysitter coming today.  Instead I am wasting time on Facebook, writing a blog, making phone calls....everything BUT cleaning. 

And this quote makes complete sense to me...Why clean it?  They are just going to mess it up anyway!

What HAVE I done? 

Well, I vacuumed up all the little crumbs off my living room carpet.  The week old goldfish, the pieces of thread torn from their sweatshirts, the cat hair and tracked in pebbles...

I have mopped the bathroom and rid it of boy smell...in the process completely singing my sense of smell and taste (does anyone else have that problem with bleach) and wiped down the sink and counter...

I have swept and spot mopped the kitchen (mainly under the table where the food that nobody likes ends up or the spilled milk)...

And what do I have left? 

Laundry.  A couch full of washed and dried laundry that needs to be folded.  The toys should be kicked back in the playroom.  The windows should get cleaned.

And then I wonder...why?  The laundry will get worn one day and end up right back in the same spot.  The toys (no matter how we try) never stay in the playroom, the windows will have fingerprints within hours of washing them. 




Yesterday was a reintroduction.  Today, how about a little navigation?

I think it is easy enough to explain.  This is my blog.  I use this blog to share our life.  Not all of it, of course, but what I find interesting enough.  I try to keep it light-hearted and funny, sometimes I get a little "deep" but, mostly, it is stories of our life.

To the right of the actual blog you see a picture of a little boy praying with a ribbon.  That is the Autism Awareness Ribbon.  I chose this as my profile picture because, as you now know, Andrew is on the Autism Spectrum.  Next to that you can read a little about us (or, mainly, me).

If you scroll down a bit you can see who "follows" me.  These people get a notification whenever I update the blog.  It's easy enough to become a follower...try it out :)

A little further down is a traffic map.  I don't know how accurate it is, but it looks pretty cool to me.  Supposedly, I have visitors from all over the world.  Australia, South America, even Africa.  Who knows how true it all is, but I like it.

Further still is the blog archive.  You can see blogs from when I started this until now.  There are plenty so whenever you are bored (or I haven't updated) check those out.  And, just below that, there is a list of some of my favorite blogs.  These are posts that I find funny myself or ones that generated a lot of feedback.

And past that is a list of blogs that I follow.  I know some of these people, but mostly they are blogs I came across that I find humorous or ones that I find I can relate to.  I encourage you to check them out and leave some comments (all bloggers LOVE comments).

Oh, and, in between each blog is an advertisement.  Now, I cannot encourage you to click these (in fact, I may have signed a contract stating that).  I cannot click on them myself (I am SURE that was in the contract).  But know, those ads are a good thing.

In the past I have had lists that included books I have read, books I want to read, things I want to do...and I may get back there.  But, for today, it's about the blog and keeping up with it. 

If you have suggestions, things you would like to see in this blog, questions you would like to ask, or maybe you just want to tell me to shut up...click "post a comment".  Let me know how you really feel.  As I mentioned, all bloggers love comments.  Why else to we do this but to feed our own egos?


Maybe a reintroduction?

I am having a hard time figuring out how to restart the blog...

It's been so long and now I remember why I stopped. I got "writer's block" (or, perhaps, "blogger's block"?). I couldn't figure out how to keep going. Sure my kids are hysterically funny, yes there is plenty of drama to share and, positively, I know how to write about these things and put a certain spin on it to make it even funnier or dramatic (no, I do not have any sense of self confidence..). But, I had lost my flair. And, maybe, I just need to weasel it out of myself.

So, maybe today we will have a bit of a reintroduction.

Kirby and I have been together for 12 years in October. Together we have raised his two children (who are off on their own now), we have had two boys of our own, 10 and 8, (who play a starring role in this blog) and now we are raising his daughter's daughter as well, 2 (and, I am certain she will take a starring role as well).

We live in the downtown area of a small town in New England and adore it. Everybody knows everyone (which has it's downfalls), my kids (and I) get away with NOTHING (because the gossip spreads like wildfire), we are within walking distance of anything we could want or need. But, most importantly for us, the school system is amazing (our youngest son has an autism spectrum disorder).

Our life is busy. Kirby recently started driving bus for the school district, I run my own massage business and we are raising 3 children (how did THAT happen?!). Lately, we are encountering life problems that we never thought we would have to deal with...I guess that is where the blog will start.

Keep an eye on this...we have a roller-coaster of a ride!


It's time.

Yes, it's time. Time to start updating regularly again. Be prepared. I am back and, boy oh boy, do I have stories to share!

Don't get your shoes!

A friend of mine posted about her nose blowing experience on Facebook today. She was 2 miles from home and had to use an oak leaf.

For some reason, her story reminded me about peeing in the woods with Andrew (who I also had to teach how to poop in the woods this summer...but that's a different story).

A few years ago, while we were at camp, we were fishing at the lake and I had to pee. The lake is about a mile and a half from the camp so I was stuck peeing in the woods. I had to take Andrew with me for fear he would fall into the water while I was gone. To keep him occupied I gave him the toilet paper and asked him to hold it.

As I was squatting, arrange my pants and trying to ensure I didn't pee all over myself, Andrew kneels down. He gets real close to my stream...

Meanwhile I can do nothing unless I want it to end up all over me (and him).

He reaches out and puts the toilet paper right in the steamy stream of pee. Awesome.

These are the things I want to remember forever so I can absolutely mortify him at 23, when he brings home his fiancee.


Family Values

Now that I am a "grown up" I have started to recognize the important things that my parents have taught me. For me, the most important thing they taught was the value of family.

This was, once again, recognized last night while having "beans" (it's family "tradition" that every Saturday we have baked beans and hot dogs at someone's home). This dinner was a little different.

First off, it was served in the home of my grandfather, although, he is in Florida for the winter (two of my siblings are "house sitting").

Secondly, Alex and Dana made the meal. This is a first for them. Of course, they are both grown, but they have never had the opportunity to make the meal for us. It was very nice to see them put their own touches on the meal and handle all the minute details.

Last, it was just us siblings and our children. As I mentioned, my grandfather is in Florida, my mother and her sisters were not able to make it. It was beautiful and strange at the same time.

As I sat down at dinner I realized that, someday, this WILL be "beans" for the family. One day my grandfather will pass, my parents will pass...and it will be up to us to continue this family tradition. And we will.

If nothing else, my parents taught us the value of family. Where else can I find people that will be 100% honest with me and love me all at the same time. Who else can I call when I am in trouble and know that, no matter what, they will be there? Where else can I find a room full of people that, sometimes, look like me, act like me and get my jokes? Where else can I find a group of people that put me first and that I put first every single day?

Sure, we all have friends that we consider part of the family (and I DO, oh yes, I DO) but that isn't completely the same.

Even with their quirks (and my goodness do they have many), I am so blessed to have a wonderful family. I will put them first for the rest of my life and I have my parents to thank for that.