Thursday, December 29, 2005

Something else to be addicted to...

First I was hooked on Ebay. I went through my closets, my doo-dads, my junk. I took pictures of my junk. I carefully worded the ads for my junk and thoughtfully priced it. I would obsessively watch the number of hits my junk got and jump up and down and cheer when people would buy my previously worn maternity bathing suit. I had a very exciting couple of months with my friend Ebay. It eventually got tiresome and I no longer had suitable junk to sell.

Now I've discovered a lovely little thing called FreeCycle! Instead of hauling your unwanted crap to the dump, you can post it on your local FreeCycle group and have many many people email you immediately and tell you how much they really need or want your junk! Of course, it makes you no money... but if you really aren't going to use something anymore and you don't mind giving it away for free, you can always find SOMEONE who wants it.

Today is a FreeCycle kind of day. I am in organization mode and I have spent a good part of the day shuffling through lots of different stuff and cleaning. I listed a whole pile of my junk on the site and I've excitedly been sitting here emailing replies "Yes, those electric candles are YOURS!", or "You got it! I'll save these Happy Retirement stickers aside for YOU!". I love it.

I know I have an addictive personality. At least my latest craze is useful.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ho Ho Ho

Saturday we put our tree up. Ever since I was a kid, this has been an honored family tradition, everyone helps out. When I was little we had the Bonanza album Christmas on the Ponderosa and that was the record we put on for the tree-trimming event. Go ahead, snicker. It's damn fine music, but more importantly, it's tradition. The first Christmas Rob and I were together I was reminiscing about our favorite old holiday album and how it had gotten to the point where we couldn't play it anymore. No more Little Joe on tree decorating day. DAMN. What did my sweet, nostalgic beau do? He went on eBay and bought the CD. So, tradition lives on. I'm sure one day Max and Miles will give a hearty thanks to their father accompanied by a full eye roll.

So, Saturday was the appointed day for the tree, we were armed with our music and our brand new 7 1/2 foot artificial tree. Yep, that's right, we went artificial this year. I have never ever done an artificial tree and it was a big adjustment for me. There's something romantic and spiritual about going out on a cold frosty morning to pick out the perfect fresh cut tree. There's something about lugging it all the way home, trimming the trunk, setting it into the stand and hauling it inside. There's the SMELL... ooohhh, the fantastic scent of Christmas. However, after several weeks of being in our house, there's the familiar and irritating pile of needles on the floor. There will come the day when you notice that the tree isn't really drinking the water you've climbed down under the tree to fill up, and you know that tree is drying out and drying out with every day. By Christmas morning, you reach under the tree to get that pretty little present and half of the needles rain down with a crackling on the gifts. By Christmas dinner, the tree looks pathetic. The next day, you're contemplating ripping it down already. Ok, maybe not YOU, but me, yes, several years. The day after Christmas last year Rob and I took full advantage of my father visiting us and took off in the morning for sales. We were determined to buy our very first fake tree. We got a great deal and were excited about putting it together for the first time ever this year.

So, again, back to Saturday. I've got music going, I've hauled up all the boxes of decorations out of the basement. We cut open the box containing our glorious new tree. An hour later, we're still plugging in color coded branches into little holes and fluffing up the fake needles. This is a somewhat long and depressing task. By the time we were done, I'm no longer festive. I no longer care about the damned Ponderosa or if the star will fit on the 7 1/2 foot tree when our ceilings are 7 1/2 feet exactly. I am more annoyed that I just spent an hour plugging branches into a fake tree and now my wee beast is awake and joining big beast in ripping apart boxes of decorations and ornaments. OHHHH, what's THIS???? ARGH.

By the end of the day, I'm exhausted and I have just one more box to put away... why does this take longer and longer every year? But alas, finally, the lights are all on, my little village is lit, and there's Rob handing me an eggnog with plenty of the "nog" and the day doesn't seem as annoying anymore. Hmmm..... Christmas. I'll tell ya later whether or not the artificial tree was worth it. Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hey There, Pilgrim!

Well, the preschool feast went just marvelously, dahling! This is a picture of us all gussied up in our pilgrim clothes. Max modified his outfit a bit with the shades, but it added a nice touch. The other little guy is our next door neighbor, who I've been babysitting and he is also in Max's class.

I supplied the pumpkin pie which all the little people at school seemed to like. I also spent the class helping out and you know what?? It wasn't the horrible hellish experience I anticipated! I know, you're thinking I'm terrible person.. go ahead. Kids are annoying, there's no way round it! I always thought the absolute worst job in the universe for me personally was to be a teacher, especially to really little kids. Every week I unload Max down the street, smile really pretty to his teachers, and run like hell all the way home. Small children frighten me. They are either going to cry, fight, whine.... or have some kind of accident in their clothing. Anyhoo, I started to have the beginnings of an anxiety attack as the the other little pilgrims arrived for the day last Tuesday. I didn't know all their names.... they looked at me skeptically, like they knew my true feelings.... I had a very bad feeling inside. I stood stock still for several minutes sizing them up. It didn't take very long, they're small. One of the teachers told me it was free play for the first segment and I could just make sure people were playing nice. I shrugged and kneeled down at an absurdly small table surrounded by three/four-year olds and various rubber dinosaurs. I realized that it's just like being on stage and I really just had to let it all go and be silly. I tentatively took hold of a Stegosaurus and nibbled at a piece of plastic pizza. Pretty soon we were having a full-fledged dinosaur picnic and were going for drives in Barbies Volkswagen. I was actually having fun, and the best part? The kids LOVED me. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything (aw, who am I kidding??) but I ROCKED those dinosaurs and I had those preschoolers roaring. After free play we sang some songs and had our feast and did other fun things.

Later that night I told Rob how I'd had a change of heart about kids. "I think I like them" I told him. Of course, I always knew that I liked my OWN kids, and I had a liking to familiar children like my nephews and niece and certain of Max's friends... but this was bigger than that. I saw how varied children are in their little personalities and I had fun, lots of fun. I really enjoyed playing with girls, too.... I'm so used to boys and their trucks and stuff. I think I need to get me a little girl.... :)

So, there you have it, my story of pilgrims, pie and preschoolers. Ain't Thanksgiving great?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Homeowner Headaches... Did I Really Sign Up For This??

It was 2:30 am, Monday. I was nestled in my flannel sheets having a bizarre dream about an old friend from High School. She was telling me she was heading for Hawaii, and have I heard about the hurricane there? What was the weather like where I was, she asked me... In my dreamy slumbering state I was listening to water dripping and a light noise in the background... Hmmm... I guess it's raining here in Maine I said in my dream. Reality was slowly slipping in... I am slowly waking up. There is no rain. There is a dripping sound accompanied by some hissing. What IS that noise?? I am not sure I want to get out of my warm bed to see... it's 2:30, we'll be up in a few hours. Nope, I'm a Virgo. I'm neurotic. I HAVE to find out what that blasted noise is.

I lumber into the kitchen and hear the hissing from behind the fridge and there by the bottom is a big puddle of water. GREAT. My first thought is that our fridge is in the midst of biting the dust. I guess this warrants the waking of Rob. The husband needs to see this. I'm a strong, independent woman of course, but there are certain mechanical issues that elude me and I need my super-smart husband to clear things up for me.

I wake Rob and we pull the fridge out. There is an enormous amount of water behind the fridge and Rob discerns that the water line tube to our ice maker/water dispenser has sprung a leak and that's the cause of the water. No problem. We start taking care of the leak when Rob asks me if it's raining out. I have a brief flashback to my dream then say "no". We both turn our heads towards the stairs..... and bolt down them. There in our family room downstairs is a BIG leak from the ceiling and a huge puddle on the carpet.

Needless to say it's not the sort of thing you want to wake up to at 2:30 in the morning. Everything has been cleaned up and remedied, except for, of course, the large hole we cut in the ceiling to let the pooled water out. What a friggen nightmare.

This was a homeowner's test, you know. Sure, the dishwasher could go, or you might need to replace some windows or the roof.... but when water has seeped into your walls and flooring and is squirting out in random spots.... that's terror folks. What's going on behind that sheetrock? That's the real question. We survived this morning and now have some more projects to add to our big list of "stuff". Now the question is... do I still want the icemaker THAT bad??

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Crappy Kind of Day

Miles has learned a new trick. He can now remove his diaper on his own! The other day I was thinking to myself what a long nap my little one had been taking, when I heard a teeny tiny voice talking to his teeny tiny self in his teeny tiny bed. I thought if he was happy, why mess with a good thing? I continued on with the task at hand and thought I would soon hear him raise his teeny tiny voice once he'd had enough conversation with himself. A while later, he was still pretty quiet in there, and my curiosity got the better of me. I HAD to see what was keeping him so entertained. I walked in, and there was my little Miles, sans his diaper. In the buff. Bare bottomed. Au natural. Nekkid. He had been so tired before his nap I quickly swapped his diaper for a fresh one and plopped him in his crib with no pants. Well, he woke up in a curious mood and fiddled with the tabs until he managed to pull them off. I don't think I really need to go into much detail as to what was keeping his attention for so long. What I wondered about was what he was saying in his garbled little baby language?? He was thrilled with himself indeed and I laughed out loud at how funny he was being, even if I did have to change his wet bedding.

So, this afternoon I was excitedly creating some outfits for Max and I to wear to his preschool's Thanksgiving Feast. We can either dress up as a Native American or a Pilgrim. Being 5'11" with fair skin and red hair I quickly made the decision to be a Pilgrim, and since Max shares my complexion, why not go with the theme? Anyway, I was quite proud of myself for making a nice, full, long navy skirt (out of some old curtains at that!) and came up with a pattern for a bonnet. I put Max in some black pants and was trying to get them marked so I could make nikkers out of them. I was bent over, rolling Max's pant legs when I caught scent of something horrendous. Little kid poop. It smelled worse than usual and I knew it couldn't just be my four-year-olds notorious gas. I looked over at Miles (do you know where this is going??) and saw his grin first thing. I looked down and noticed his feet were covered in feces. GAG. I looked behind him at the dirty diaper lying on my (BRAND NEW) rug, and my eyes finally settled on the three little poopy foot prints that connected the diaper and my child. I screamed out in horror and lifted Miles up, keeping him arms length away, and whisked him to the changing table. I instructed Max to steer clear of the crime scene and proceeded to assess the situation with Wee Beast. His feet needed to get scrubbed pretty quickly, because he was grabbing at them with his little hands and (HOLY CRAP, WHAT'S THAT NEAR HIS MOUTH???!!) he was tracking it all over the darned place. Ten minutes later, I've broken a sweat and Miles is pissed and I'm out of wipes. I figure this may warrant an impromptu nap and plop him in (WITH pants, I might add). I hesitate in the hallway for a minute, then proceed to the living room to meet my fate. Ugh.

The living room is finally scrubbed clean, and Miles is still napping. I got the meatloaf in the oven and the kitchen squared away. The Pilgrim garments will wait till another day, cause, people, I've had it. Remind me another time to bring up the poop story involving my eldest beast and his construction vehicle. Classic.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Birthday Pictures!

So, here we have a few shots from Saturday. Max's cake was a rescue vehicle cake with trucks and a helicopter and red icing. I may not ever have a cake with red icing again (I have a few hand towels that will never be quite the same again!) Here are my nephews demonstrating how delectable red icing can be. David, Jayson and Evan.

The great fun of popping balloons with your bottom. That little red-head is my niece!! Cute as a button!

Shhhh..... don't tell anyone else how yummy this cake is. One word for you.... leftovers.

Max blew out his candle before the song was over and Rob had to re-light it about four times to last through the singing. By far, Max's favorite part.

The Big Birthday Bash

The news is in... kid's birthday parties are excruciatingly exhausting. But delicious. The big dual birthday party was Saturday and we had a great time celebrating with friends and family. We had lots of visitors and cake and balloons. Max loved it, Miles hated every minute of it except the cake part, in which he heartily participated. I think it was just too much noise, too many people, and he's kind of my shy boy it seems. He calmed down after the party, though. My brother and sister-in-law and the kids stayed overnight and he seemed happy enough with the company. I can't believe people spend weeks planning and anticipating for this kind of function and then, poof, it's over. Sheesh. At least my urge to paint the house is over! Some final thoughts: Hannaford makes a damn good cake. Ten children in one split-entry ranch is maximum capacity and calls for some recovery time involving a hearty glass of wine. Popping balloons with your butt is a good time. Finally, never EVER leave the can of fish food on top of the tank when other children are visiting. Sorry Plop.....

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's Starting

Saturday we are having a party. We planned a celebration for Max's 4th birthday and Miles' 1st birthday so we could kill two birds with one... cake.... and have some friends and family come check out the new homestead. Two weeks ago I decided the living room HAD to be painted. It got painted. Yesterday I tore Max's room apart and declared to Rob that we were hopping on the Paint Express and Max's room was the next destination. If there was one room in the house that really NEEDED fresh paint, it's Max's room and I wanted to do it as soon as we moved in. A year ago. It's time.

While Rob and I were cleaning up after dinner last night he sighed and said "I'm really not looking forward to this week". I, confused, looked at him with complete innocence. What? What about this week? "You know how you get", he said. It's true. At the mere thought of company coming my primal cleaning/organizing instincts kick into gear and cupboards start getting sponged clean and the refrigerated gets pulled out, and (as my brother James recently pointed out) the couch gets moved aside for the vacuuming. It's a party and damnit, this house is gonna sparkle. Oh, and it's gonna smell CLEAN. I'm a Virgo and I was raised right, girlfriend, and I'm proud of it! Phew... don't know what just got ahold of me.

So, much to the dismay of my husband, I'm on a cleaning and preparing mission. And I'm off to sand spackle in Max's room.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Big Birthday Boy

Here is the Birthday Boy! Max turned four years old last Tuesday and I'm finally getting around to posting a picture. Please note: That tastey-looking babba in front of him is NOT his. He is a BIG BOY! Miles leaves them everywhere. This is one of the cool boy presents we gave Max. It's a slot car track and he was squealing and giggling in a high-pitched frenzy when this photo was taken. I say cool "boy" presents because I went out shopping for a little four-year-old girl today and MAN, there's nothing fun that's girly. Another topic entirely. Anyway, he had a blast on his birthday and we look forward to seeing everyone at the big bash in November!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Squirrel Seduction on a Sunny Sunday

Sunday morning the sun was out. AHHHH.... sweet bliss, it seems like years since we've had a nice sunny day. I was feeling great. We were drinking our coffee and getting organized for church. I was standing at the kitchen sink, admiring the freshly mowed back lawn (yes, I'm strange), commenting to Rob how much darn fun it was to mow with the bag on the back. Seriously, it was just like vacuuming the grass! Anyway, I was happily surveying the outside and I noticed several squirrels scamping through the yard. I then looked at the tree directly in front of the window and saw two squirrels fighting and carrying on. Rob was standing next to me and we were smiling, sipping coffee and enjoying our nature vista. Gradually our smiles transformed into open mouthed grimaces as we realized those rambunctious squirrels were not, in fact, fighting. Nor were they wrestling. They were not playing, or competing for a snack. They were err.... um.... having an intimate moment. I felt like I was watching the mating segment on animal planet. It was pretty in-your-face action and all I could do was hold my hands to my face and cry out. I quickly turned away from the window, haunted by the vision of squirrel sex in my maple tree. Rob kept his stance at the window and observed that the female didn't look like she was "into it". With a sick feeling in my stomach, I remembered that I needed to take my meds for the day. Nothing like mating squirrels to remind you to take your birth control pills.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I've Stepped Back In Time

Well, sort of anyway.... All was fine on Saturday. It was your typical weekend morning. Rob and Max were out doing errands and I was trying to get ahead of the laundry game. I was in pretty good shape and had just sat down with Miles to have a snack when I heard this horrendous squealing/grinding/not-good-for-your-dryer sound coming from the downstairs. I thoughtfully finished my mouthful, gave Miles a woeful look and proceeded to get a handle on the situation. My dryer was down for the count. When Rob returned home I broke the news to him and guessed it might be a belt, and when he took a look behind the panel he pulled out a broken belt alright. I was mightily distressed that my beloved laundry center was out of commission temporarily, but I was proud that I had correctly detected what the problem was! In any case, we ordered the new part and I have been anxiously awaiting it ALL week. I mean, c'mon, how long should this take?? I have a mountain of not-so-nice smelling clothes and towels that seriously need to be laundered. I have a drying rack, but folks, that will only solve the little problems. By little, I mean size five Sponge Bob underoos and baby socks. I have been trying to keep up with Max's pants, undies and socks since his wardrobe is the most limited and he is the messiest with his clothing, but the towel situation is dire. I will be forced to wash a load and hang them in various spots all over my downstairs. They will be crunchy people. I hate crunchy towels. I keep hoping the UPS man will ride in on a white horse (or a big brown truck) and save the day. The UPS man is slowly losing his favor with me. GET HERE ALREADY. So, when I say I've stepped back in time it's sort of true. I have wash ability, but I have to (gasp) hang dry!!! OH, the horror.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Painting Will Only Cause Headaches

Painting will only cause headaches. I'm not speaking about fumes, or leaning over in one spot too long making you lightheaded.... or concentrating on something too long.... it's the aftermath of a freshly painted room that will cause you to fret. Well, perhaps it's just me. In our home we have an entry way where the stairs go up and down (split level entry for those who are confused), and in that spot where the ceiling's so high and the thought of painting it (or even dusting the cobwebs out of it for that matter) is so unappealing, is this pink and blue floral wallpaper. Now, I've always loudly proclaimed my infinite distaste for wallpaper. It's a freakin' nightmare to put up. If it tears, it's a pain to patch. It's busy, very very busy. I just pretty much dislike wallpaper. So, here's this wallpaper on the walls. Not only is it wallpaper, but it's floral. Pink and blue floral. ICK. It's not so incredibly disgusting that I had to rip it down immediately upon moving in, but I've often sat on my sofa glaring at the little pink flowers and dreaming of a better day... a day when there is nothing on those walls but fresh clean paint. I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Wallpaper stinks to put up, but it's even less thrilling to remove. The thought of rigging some kind of ladder contraption over the stairs, to reach way up high, to scrape wallpaper has me putting color swatches up against the blue stripes in this said wallpaper to match for the rest of the living room's paint. If you can't beat it, join it. I decided to go with a light grayish blue for the living room to tie in with the wallpaper on the stairs and put some color behind our very neutral sofa. I finished painting it yesterday. I keep walking through the room from different angles, you know, sizing it all up. I thought I'd like it better when the curtains went up. I thought I'd like it better when the furniture was all back in place.... Or the pictures were hung back up. I'm still not sure. It matches that darned wallpaper just fine. Sure, it's colorful. It's just SO, so, so blue. It's like a little boy's bedroom. Also, our area rug no longer matches, so we now have no rug over the cold wood floor. The floor looks naked is really what it is. Our throw pillows.... Out. I keep wondering what lovely color I would've chosen if I wasn't imprisoned by the wallpaper the previous owners picked off a clearance rack at Home Depot. I know, I'm bitter. I am bound by wallpaper, my nemesis.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Simply Fabulous

Tuesday is my little Maxer's birthday. I don't know how we managed to fly into October so fast this year, or how it's happened that my first born is already almost four! Rob and I have been discussing the important stuff... presents. Now, I don't really think we need to do much seeing as how my mother is a deal shopper and three boxes arrived for his birthday a week ago. She claims it was buy two get one free and she got a "heck of a deal". Anyone who knows Grammie Garzone knows just what this means. (Love you Mom!) I know she didn't blow her retirement or anything, but this kid's got three large gifts sitting in the downstairs closet (good thing he can't read this yet). I hardly think Rob and I need to get ANYTHING else for him, but alas, we don't buy toys much throughout the year and darnit, it's fun to buy toys! Actually what he really needs is clothes. This kid is a tank and instead of looking like a preschooler, he looks more like he belongs in the 2nd grade. He's got Burden/Jordan genes and he's a big-boned lad. Virtually all of his clothing from last year is outgrown and he needs it all. So, while he was at school today, I had a two hour window to whisk Miles over to Sears and KB Toys for a quick spree. The clothes shopping was not as easy as I anticipated. I recall something my sister-in-law said recently about how picky my nephew's taste in fashion is. I wholeheartedly sympathize as Max has a keen eye as to what is "in" and what is not. And I don't mean "in" as far as current trend or what the stars are sporting. He decides what is worthy to wear and what will be neglected at the bottom of the drawer for ever-more. He has one red sleeveless shirt that gets worn as soon as it hits the shirt drawer. It could be 40 degrees.... he could be freshly dressed already.... he could be on his way to church and that red sleeveless shirt will find it's way onto my son. So, while I was browsing through the boys section at Sears I had a sudden overwhelming sense of panic. It had to meet with Max's style needs, as well as mine and Rob's checkbook needs. (While I'm not nearly as skilled at bargain shopping as Grammie Garzone, I am definitely not into spending oodles of money.) So, I finally decided on some cords and a striped turtleneck (his new favorite this season), also some comfy loungewear. I was running out of time and money so I called it a day at the store. Who'd have thought that at such a tender age a boy could be soooo hard to shop for?

Awww... Can You Believe It??

It was 11:30 am, Thursday. I was hauling my 11-month-old heavyweight, Miles, down three houses to pick up Max from preschool. I was navigating through the cluster of small people and their parents, trying to get to the door, when a friendly woman I know only as "Hailey's Mom" asks me if I'm "Max's Mom". I smile and nod (as that is, of course, my new name since having kids- I no longer go by Catherine). The nice lady declares she thinks Hailey has a little crush on Max. Every day after school Hailey recounts to her family what funny things Max has done, or that Max got a little scratch above his eye today, or that Max got a new haircut. Apparently the nice lady called him Max casually and Hailey sternly corrected her that it was MaxWELL. I had to grin hearing this, as they are in PRESCHOOL. Max is just shy of four years old. That is simply too darned cute. TOO CUTE. I laughed with Nice Lady and said I'd definitely heard Hailey's name around the dinner table a couple of times when talking about school, too. Maybe someday they'll date each other, lol. I feel like a very proud mama... my little boy is a preschool stud.... (sigh). Are we there already? Oh, and by the way, Nice Lady's name is Julie.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's a Date!

Rob and I had a date Friday night! The Community Little Theater in Auburn was doing Beauty and the Beast, and my friend Carmen's husband Mitch was playing Lumier. I got James to sit for the boys and Rob and I actually had a night out! The show was great, Mitch was wonderful (very, very funny!), and just being in the audience in the theater was a breath of fresh air. It's been ages since I've been to a show! This seems like a super little community theater group and several cast members were local high school students. Maybe one day when I have courage I will audition for one of their productions. Thanks for babysitting Uncle James!

Friday, October 07, 2005

It Starts With a Tickle

For the past two weeks Max has had a brutal cough. No runny nose to speak of, no fever, no sneezing... just a horrible horrible cough. Then one day, Rob started coughing so hard I thought I caught a glimpse of intestines hanging out of his throat. Gross, I know. I shivered with disgust every time I heard this emphysema-like, chest-rattling, vomit-inducing cough. Finally it seemed that Max was on the mend. I no longer heard him coughing at night in bed and it seemed like he was overcoming this chest cold. Rob, on the other hand kept going strong. A few days ago I felt a tickle at the back of my throat. Oh, wonderful I said to myself. Here we go. I am currently in the midst of a horrendous chest cold that has me hacking with every breath I take. For two nights I have been in between light sleep and mid-cough. My brow is sweaty. My stomach is nauseous. My kids are aggravating me. Oh wait, that's normal... heh heh. I'm (violins, please) really, really sick, and I'm really, really cranky. I keep doing my normal daily stuff; making beds, fixing meals, cleaning up dishes and clothes and sticky faces. I just happen to be doing these normal daily things in a thick fog. I suppose somedays having a regular old day job would be nice. I could call in sick, stay in bed and eat soup. But alas, I'm a mommy and those days don't exist anymore. Ok, I'll stop with the poor-me routine and go get some DayQuil. Ok, a lot of DayQuil.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fun Fish Facts

Ok, so I last blogged that our beloved friend Plop was found early in the morning by me "resting" on the bottom of the tank. After some time, he came to and resumed his normal fishly routine of swimming in circles, picking up and dropping rocks, and blowing bubbles at the top of the tank (I'm telling you, this fish is a card!). So, as predicted, Rob was horrified when I recounted my experience and he did some investigating online. Apparently fish "rest" periodically. They "snooze" so to speak, although they don't have eyelids, so they look freaky. They're called "diurnal" and they go into a "trance-like" mode at night. So, my feisty little aquatic acquaintance wasn't dying, simply in a trance! And when I mentioned he blinked, his eyes must've been dilating or something (because as I know now, being a fish expert and all, fish don't have eyelids!). Anyways, I know most of you out there were on the edges of your seats waiting to hear the fate of Plop and I couldn't leave you hanging like that. The news is in... yes, fish sleep.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Sad Tale of a Fish Named Plop

It's early. My little Miles woke up at 4am, had a bottle and then snoozed back off. Unfortunately, I have a cold right now and after getting up for fifteen minutes with him, my cough got all worked up and I'm wide awake. So, what else is there to do when you're wide awake at 4:30 besides have some coffee (of course), throw a load of laundry in and fiddle on the computer. It's actually quiet peaceful because since Max is still in dreamland, I don't have to haggle over who gets computer time!

anyways, this post is titled after our beloved family pet, Plop. This morning when I turned on the light in the living room, Plop was laying down. Now, I've had fish before, but I'm no expert when it comes to these underwater friends.... but.... fish aren't... SUPPOSED to lay down, right? He definitely looked like he was not doing well at all. I sighed a heavy-hearted sigh and sat down. Maybe feeding him would make him feel better (it has always worked for me). I pinched in some food. Nothing. I got some coffee and came back. He was blinking at me. I went to the bathroom and came back. He was waving his fins a little. I decided not to watch him so closely because maybe I was giving him some kind of anxiety. I flicked through the stations looking for news. After kind of side-looking over to see how Ploppy was doing, I noticed he was king of limp-swimming and even trying to eat some of the food bits floating up top.

It's now been an hour since I saw him looking so sad and he is swimming about and he has eaten. I have a sad feeling deep inside though, I sort of know that this is the end of days for poor, poor Plop. Rob is closest to him. Rob always asks if Plop's been fed and how Plop's doing. He laughs it off saying if anything ever happened to him, Max would be devastated. You know, I'm not so sure Max would care much. Not that my super-intelligent dramatic four-year-old is callous or cold.... it's just that he's got bigger things on his mind; Rescue Heros, what's for snack, are we going outside? I think the news will be harder to break to Rob.

Well, stay tuned for updates about Plop. I hear footsteps upstairs and I better go say good morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Movie Madness

Last week I received an email from Netflix telling me my sister-in-law was a customer and she'd recommended me for a free month of Netflix. Well, usually I am quite skeptical of freebies, don't you know there is always a catch. However, after rolling the idea around in my mind for a while, I decided to go for it and try and watch as many movies as I possibly could in one month's time and then cancel before I was billed for the second month. Movie madness has begun. I signed up to receive three DVDs at a time, and I have made my way through the first three. I've watched The Terminal, The Ring II, and Million Dollar Baby. Today I should be receiving two more from my pickings and I'm already trying to mentally squeeze them into my schedule. The tricky thing is the timing of this free month of movies. It coincides inconveniently with premier month on t.v. and a few days of the week I have devoted to favorite shows of mine. Tonight, for instance is Gilmore Girls and Supernatural on the WB, and there is just no room in the schedule to spare for a movie. Tomorrow night is LOST (last week's season kick off was GREAT!). That means Thursday will be the earliest viewing day. I will be curious to see just how many movies I'll be able to watch for free this month. Any suggestions? I have more to add...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Here are some pictures from the Big Apple Adventure to Rocky Ridge Farm.

The Big Apple Adventure

We decided that since fall was officially upon us, it was time to find a new apple orchard here in Maine to visit. I'm picky about apple orchards. We lived in Concord, NH a year ago, and we had a favorite farm we visited for all our apple, berry, pumpkin and scrapbook-worthy-picture needs. It was called Apple Hill Farm (if you're ever in the area) and we were quite fond of it. I was weary of beginning our search for our Maine adventure, because you never know what the place is like until you get there. It has to meet all my criteria in order to be our new favorite. First of all, it has to have apples. Duh. Next, it has to have great photo ops. Also, in order to qualify, it needs some kind of activity for our active and easily-bored boys. A hay ride would do nicely, or some nice little farm animals to feed. We looked around online for a bit in the morning and decided on Rocky Ridge Farm in Bowdoin, ME, about 20 minutes from us. We packed a tote and grabbed our camera and hit the road. Upon arrival, we noticed how incredibly busy it was. Apparently, the rest of the county decided it was the big day for their apple adventure as well. One nice feature of Rocky Ridge is that they have twenty or so kiddie wagons available for use to haul your wee ones, or just your load of pumpkins. We grabbed a wagon and a bag for our apples and walked into the orchard. We picked 13 lbs of Macs and some Courtlands. I think we were a little earlier this year than most, since quite a few varieties aren't ready to pick yet. It was a fairly small farm, but had a great assortment of pumpkins in all colors and a fabulous-smelling little cafe with donuts, pie and fudge. We got a couple of donuts and picked out some pumpkins and cornstalks and after a couple of hours in the windy sun, we decided to head home. My overall rating of the farm was pretty good, however, next time we go apple picking, I think we'll try a different place. This farm seemed a little small and pretty crowded. The boys didn't seem to notice and Miles swiped as many apples as he could get his pudgy little hands on. He did a pretty good job chomping on one and Max had fun being lifted up on Rob's shoulders to pick the high up apples. We arrived back home all tuckered out and I made some apple crisp. The sweet ending to a sweet day.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Baby Babble

Yesterday morning Rob and I were enjoying our normal weekend routine of taking turns reading the Sun Journal, while the other sort of keeps tabs on the boys. As I was drinking my french roast and reading the paper, I overheard a conversation I never dreamed I would be listening to. Miles is 10 months old. He is walking and climbing and babbles away incessantly during the day and has a smile that assures you he is, indeed, full of the dickens. At any rate, Miles says to Rob "arra babsha do". Rob nods his head and says, "oh really?". Emphatically nodding his head, Miles reiterates his point, "Brrrrrr..... (raspberry).... ssshhhhoooo bra bra." Then in a high-pitched frenzy "Eye-ye YA YA". Rob continues on with his dialog with Miles while he scans over the sales fliers. He looks up and catches my eye and says "What?". "You're supposed to do that, right? You know, answer them so their speech gets reinforced?". In that moment I realized why I love my husband so much and why, until you form a family, you never truly know your spouse. If I had never bore Max almost four years ago, I would never have known that my husband could so sweetly converse with a drooly, demanding, precocious and lovable 10-month-old.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pressure Washing: The Power Released

About a week ago my brother James (who currently resides with us) decided he was going to get a nice soapy bucket of water, grab a scrub brush and have at our deck in an attempt to transform it from desperately yucky to fabulously new. Well, it was a brisk sunny morning and James was full of cleaning gumption. For hours he fiercely scoured that deck, emptying my bottle of dish soap and then the good part of a bottle of bleach. After exhausting himself just in time to get ready for work, the deck did look quite nice. Much much brighter and not nearly as green. After ten-ish years of neglect the structure was grey-green with a caked on dirt that prevented anyone from looking through the cracks below. I, being a clean freak and proud Virgo, watched with much satisfaction as someone, other than myself, in the household was furiously cleaning something. In fact, it made me quite giddy. However, at the end of the day Rob said it wasn't quite done and not ready to stain. There was still, after hours of scrubbing, caked on grub. So, the next morning on James' day off, he announced that he was going to Home Depot to rent a power washer. Now, this had originally been my plan when we moved here, but after almost a year of other little projects and a shortage of spare cash, that had been put on the back burner. I have also discovered any amount of time to do these said projects is scare for me and Rob. Anyhoo, James rents his power washer and fills it with the appropriate amount of gas and fires her up. All I can say is that I was in sheer amazement at the difference in my deck. It looks like it was just built. Even after all that hard work he put into it, the power washer stripped away yet another layer of grime and we now have a bright, light, clean surface to stain. As for the labor, we did take turns at using the machine. No self-respecting clean-freak would pass up the opportunity to use a power washer. In addition to the deck, we also washed our old, weathered wood outdoor furniture. It's truly amazing what these man-made wonders can do for your outdoor cleaning needs. I highly recommend using one the next time you are motivated to do back-breaking outdoor scrubbing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cool Mornings, New Notebooks and Apple Pie

It's hard to believe it's September already and another fall is here. I love fall. I love the crisp cool mornings and the apple picking and the leaf piles. I love wearing cozy clothes and making pies and lighting candles. Fall feels good. All those things are great, but one thing about fall I have always loved so much is buying school supplies. Admittedly, it's been a while since I was in need of school supplies. I do unnecessarily browse through notebooks occasionally trying to come up with an excuse to buy one and leaf through the crisp clean fresh pages. I get excited for kids at back-to-school time when they get to pick out new school bags and pens and trapper-keepers (um, did I just date myself?). My little Max started preschool this month. This is his third day of school today to be precise. He loves school. He's been eyeing Spider Man backpacks for weeks now and insisting that he NEEDS to get "some stuff". I really had to resist the urge. I know it will be just a blink of an eye before he is hopping on the school bus out front and waving to me with his Spider Man backpack on. On that day I will get my fix of school stuff. 'Till that day, I will be more than happy with my almost-four-year-old's crafts from Morse Zoo School and his "award" that reads "Good job following directions, Max". And while my little man is working hard at his numbers and letters maybe I will go bake an apple pie.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Remember what Saturdays used to be like?

This morning I slept in. It was heavenly. I rolled over and snuggled up and fell back alseep in my cozy bed until eventually Rob barrelled in with the two beasts around 7:30 and said "Are you gonna get up now?". I guess so. Yes, you heard me right, 7:30 is sleeping in 'round these parts. Remember when sleeping in meant 11am or even sometimes NOON? Remember when anticipating Saturdays meant planning what fun project you'd like to accomplish, or maybe perhaps going out on the town for a fun evening? What the hell ever happend to my Saturdays? Right now Rob is out with Max (my eldest beast) grocery shopping, dropping clothes off at the clothing bank and other assorted errands. Miles (the wee beast) is snoozing on his daily morning nap and I should be doing something productive while I have the free minutes. Something like pulling spent plants out of the garden, preparing the deck for staining this afternoon, laundry, or perhaps even a shower? Nope, I sit here sneaking computer time because once nap time is over it's back to reality. Saturdays are not quite what they used to be. Don't get me wrong, I still look forward to the weekend. I still eagerly await the days of the week when Rob will be home and we can do something as a family. However, it's chaotic and our big ideas never quite seem to pan out anymore, and there's always a big dose of dirty diapers and whining. Both of my children were born with internal clocks that demanded they rise at 4:30-5am every day, and while we've worked rather hard on reprogramming that, they are still up by 6ish most days. I do love reminiscing on those days when I never realized how good I really had it, but, you know what? I wouldn't go back. Now I know what it feels like to have my chubbly ten-month-old crawl over me to wake me up. I have an almost-four-year-old driving his construction truck like a maniac Massachusetts driver down my hallway wildly honking his horn and yelling "morning Mommy". I get to sit next to Rob on the sofa and have my first cup of coffee each morning and wonder what did I ever do with myself before I had this great, noisy, rambunctious, hillarious family?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Yes, I must be out of my blog...

What the hell is a blog anyways? This question is one I wondered not so very long ago. Here I am beginning my very own. I suppose my most compelling reason is the fact that I enjoy other people's journaling so much. I love checking in and seeing what crazy things happened in the day of my sister-in-law, and have even checked out some of her friends' links. My internet-savvy brother tried turning me on to blogging a while back, but it never seemed to interest me much. Lately, though, it seems like a thoroughly great way to keep up with friends and family that are so spread out. So, here I go.... I am in new, frightening, unfamiliar territory... and I feel blogging crazy.