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2006 October

he ended up with twice as much candy as everyone else

October 31, 2006

Every house we went to he would attack the bowl with both hands. Then he would flash them his dimples and they’d encourage him to take even more candy.

No Susan, you can’t have him.

Mickey Mouse

Posted by Chris @ 10:39 pm | 41 Comments  


When I was little my mother knit me a matching hat and scarf. I hated them and would cry everytime she made we wear them. I even remember trying to lose them at daycare, but they would always be back.

They were navy blue and white, and the hat had a HUGE pom-pom on the top that I thought was the stupidest thing ever to be on the top of a hat.

My mother would try to convince me of their adorableness. But for several winters that I was forced to wear them, I remained unconvinced. Finally, thankfully, I grew out of them.

Fast forward to this fall. I bought my daughter an adorable Halloween theme sweater. I was convinced she would like it. Afterall, what was there NOT to like about it. It’s so freaking cute.

My daughter… she hates the sweater. Over the course of the past month I have suggested she wear it numerous times. Each time she tells me it is a stupid sweater.

This morning I pulled it out again and insisted she put it on for a photo. There were tears (hers) and bribes (mine) and compliments (her brothers), and finally she agreed that she would wear the offending sweater and pose with her jack o’lantern. But then, the sweater would be cast aside never to be mentioned ever again in her presence.

See for your self. And tell me, isn’t this just the cutest sweater? (more…)

Posted by Chris @ 2:59 pm | 51 Comments  

Halloween Eve

October 30, 2006

Turns out I couldn’t just sit on the couch and relax all day, testing the Halloween candy. Because:

1) I realized I haven’t actually bought any Halloween candy yet

2) I had to go out and spend $50 on a hat for Young Indiana Jones. Last year he was Indiana Jones. Though lost on me, apparently the distinction is important.

3) Because I am so committed to shopping exercising, I returned my sneakers and bought a new, better, and therfore more expensive pair.

4) I had to carve, help carve, or supervise the carving of six pumpkins. The seventh is sitting there intact mocking me. I could say that the baby doesn’t want his carved. That he likes it just the way it is. If I don’t get around to doing it tomorrow though that will be my story.

5) I had to buy Christmas ornaments because they were on sale for 60% off. Why are they on sale already? Because nothing says getting into the Halloween spirit like doing a little Christmas shopping.

…and in breaking news, my 5 yr old broke the screen on his Leapster tonight.

Posted by Chris @ 10:38 pm | 24 Comments  

if you have anything breakable, keep it away from me

Three things I use have broken in my house in the past week. Do these things happen in threes? Or is that just dead celebrities? In any event I am begining to take it personally.

Last week it was the dryer.

Now the N key on my computer is broken. I have to push it really hard to make the letter show up. This means that I have to keep going back and adding it in. Do you know how popular the letter N is? I had to do it seven times in the past two sentences alone. Why couldn’t it be the Q that broke? I could avoid words like queen, quake and quagmire much more easily than say the word “and”.

This morning I sat down to begin my morning routine* of running on my treadmill. I put on my new sneakers and pulled the laces. And one of the eyelets that the shoelace runs through BROKE. These are brand new sneakers, and looking at the soles of them I realized I have only ever worn them inside on my treadmill.

I am taking it as a sign from god that exercise is the tool of the devil and should be avoided.

So I think I should take it easy today, relax on the couch, and test the Halloween candy for freshness. And most of all avoid touching the children, lest I break one of them.

*Routine meaning doing something twice over the course of the past four weeks or so.

Posted by Chris @ 8:51 am | 28 Comments  

Real men wear purple

October 28, 2006

Remember those cute tie dye shirts the children made? And some of you said I should be cautious when I washed them? But, me being me, I ignored you and just threw them in with the laundry like I do everything else.

Well now, all the whites are slightly purplish. My 10 yr old held up his formerly white socks and declared that he couldn’t wear them. “They look like GIRL socks!”

Who knew that wearing a lavender shirt was acceptable, but socks that have the slightest purple discoloration are not. And my screaming in mock horror while clawing my face with my fingers, “Oh NO, if you wear them everyone will think you are…A…GIRL. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! A fate worse than DEATH!!!” did nothing to change his mind. Which is a shame.

Feel bad for him, because his feet are going to get awfully cold (and ironically purplish) this winter.

Posted by Chris @ 12:01 pm | 20 Comments  

because you care

October 27, 2006

So what was wrong with the dryer… I honestly didn’t think anyone would care. My dryer is so touched.

I will try to explain it in layman’s terms, because I don’t know any others, and hope that it is clear. Inside the dryer are clumps of colorful skinny wires. Why are there so many and why are they so colorful? I don’t know… a little bling for the appliances perhaps.

These wires should be tied up somehow to the inside of the dryer so that they don’t just hang there. Because the big metal spinning drum thing takes up most of the inside of the dryer. And it spins really fast, and often in the case of my dryer.

My wires were not tied up and so the drum rubbed on them. Eventually wearing off the colorful rubber coating and finally cutting a couple of the little wires, which caused the dryer to stop.

So the repair guy replaced the little wires. Then he asked me for some twist ties which he used to tie the wires up. I asked if there was some tie made specifically for this purpose that my dryer might enjoy better. But he said no. Which I don’t believe. Wouldn’t they be called sandwich bag/appliance wire twist ties?

The repair guy was an old curmudgeon who could use some lessons in polite interaction with customers. After he walked into the house he followed me to the laundry room and said, “Are you sure you can afford to pay me?”

When he saw my confused look, he added, “I mean look at this place. You hardly even have furniture.”

I really didn’t know what to say. I was completely taken aback. He was standing in our kitchen which is obviously mid renovation, but is still a completely functional kitchen. And he was looking around like he had just walked into a tenement… a trailer park tenement.

I wish I had said, “No. I wasn’t going to pay you. I was planning on killing you and burying you in the backyard once the dryer was repaired.”

But instead I just laughed that feeble non-confrontational laugh and hoped he would be done quickly. Which he was. And then I paid him with a check, that won’t bounce.

But wouldn’t it be funny if it did?

Posted by Chris @ 8:40 am | 56 Comments  

A Love Story

October 26, 2006

(in honor of Love Thursday I realize Thursday is almost over, but I wasn’t sure for awhile if this was going to be a tale of love or heartbreak.)

Once upon a time there was a family with a mom, a dad, and seven children. Every day they wore clothing. Sometimes the little girl child would change her outfit several times a day. And the mother would just shake her head and laugh. The laugh of a woman who has never scrubbed clothing by hand on a rocky riverbed or had to hang them on a clothes line in the cold winter air until her fingers were red and numb.

She would toss another load of laundry into the washing machine and another into the dryer. And fa-la-la on her way.

But the washer and dryer began to feel used. They were not appreciated like they once were. They remembered a time when they were brand new and the woman would sing their praises and lovingly tend to them. Now the woman had become accustum to their extra large capacity and stellar drying performance.

And so they plotted, determining that if one of them broke they fa-la-la-ing would come to a swift halt. So one day when the woman had put in a huge load of sopping wet clothes, the dryer made a huge banging noise and stopped working.

The woman was mad. She smacked the dryer a few times. She pushed the on and off button several times to no avail. She opened and closed the door. She sighed at her utter uselessness.

Then she became a bit paranoid. What was that loud bang? The internet had made her paranoid about all things gas related. Her imagination began to run scenarios all of which ended up with her dead family being featured on the 6 o’clock news.

A call to her husband assured her that the gas leak theory was just her over active imagination. It was just the belt breaking he told her. He would fix it when he got home that night.

But lo the dryer was smarter than them. And when the man pulled the dryer out from beneath the wall of built in cabinetry where it lives, he discovered the belt was still in perfect condition.

“Oh what was wrong with the dryer!?!” she wailed.

The man suggested hanging a rope outside so the woman could could hang the clothing outside to dry. Something he called a clothesline. The woman suggested many other things he could do with the rope, but none of them involved her hanging clothing on it outside in the frigid temperatures.

The next morning the woman called the manufacturer of the washing machine and she got to speak to someone in India who could try to schedule a service call for the following week. “Would the service person becoming all the way from India?” the woman wondered, “because we will be walking around naked long before then. And given the cold temperatures there were many sensitive parts I would rather not be frostbitten.”

The woman then began using the phone book. And she called and talked to numerous repair services. They were on vacation, booked up, or not answering their telephone. Finally she reached one repair man who could come THAT VERY DAY! His service call fee, just for driving to her house, was outrageous. The woman contemplated how she would have to go to a laundromat if the dryer wasn’t repaired within a few days. What price are you willing to pay for your sanity?

Turns out the woman was willing to pay a very high price.

And so the man came to the house. Within ten minutes the dryer was working again. The woman vowed never to take her major home appliances for granted again. And showered them with her undying love. (more…)

Posted by Chris @ 9:27 pm | 34 Comments  

Twenty two months

October 25, 2006

We are quickly approaching your second birthday and as cliche as it sounds your father and I frequently look at each other and say, “Wow, where did these two years go?”

22 months

I have been trying to teach you to answer “two” when asked your age. But you just laugh and say, “Fwee. My fwee.” And then you laugh and hold up all five fingers on your hand. Clearly you are genius material or else telling me your suggested retail value. Hard to tell.

This past month you have begun forming sentences. Mostly they relate to your ownership of things around you, whether or not they actually belong to you is a completely different matter. Your speech isn’t that clear to anyone who isn’t familiar with toddlerese.

“My do!”
“My wan DAT.”
COCK-ees (cookies, or crackers)
BAH-poes (apples)
Haaaaaaaaaht (hot)
choo-choo-wain (choo-choo train)
side (out side)
bar (granola bars)
vee-vee (tv)
joejoe (water)
shhhhhh (stop talking right now)

These are some that immediately come to mind. You also love to shout an enthusiastic “whoa” and “wow” whenever you think it is appropriate. You sit in the first row of the van in the center so you have a perfect view of the road and my driving. Sometimes we will drive around a corner and you will scream, “whoa” and as I look at you in the rear view mirror you are very dramatically clutching onto the arm rests of your carseat. It cracks me up every single time.

You adore your sister and follow her around everywhere she goes. She is kind to you, but mostly tolerates your adoration the way a movie star does a stalking fan. I told her how much I thought you loved her and she said, “I love my Mini-mini-moo-moo. But I love chocolate better.” Don’t be offended, that is quite a compliment. I feel confident that should we dip you in chocolate you would move to the top of the list.


The other day I walked into the pantry to discover that someone had dropped the marker to the whiteboard on the floor and left it there. At which point I can only surmise you came along, saw it there, and thought it was your lucky day. Every surface under 36″ was colored with black swirls. You even opened the cabinet doors and colored on the inside of them.

I stood there and shouted, “WHO DID THIS!?!” (meaning who dropped the damn marker, I was pretty sure I knew who did the drawing) It was mostly a rhetorical question that I like to shout right before my head spins around on my shoulders.

Coloring on paper for a change

Everyone came running to see what had happened and who was in trouble. You were at the front of the pack, running with your arm in the air, shouting, “Meeeee. My do it!”

When you stopped in front of me, I looked down and said, “Who did this?” You waved your raised hand and shouted, “Meeee!” then you clapped for yourself. Everyone laughed.

In the past couple of weeks you have decided that you do not to sleep. Oh how you cry when I say it is bedtime, even though most of the time you fall asleep before I even leave the room. Your newest thing is to wake up in the middle of the night and scream. two nights ago Rob got up to comfort you and tuck you back in. You humored him with you silence for a few minutes before you began shouting, “ma-MA. ma-MA”

It was also a lesson for me to allow your father to comfort you and not immediately jump up and tend to you myself or shout directives at him. In the end you got your way and ended up in bed with us where you proceeded to lay all 28 lbs of your body mass on my chest and fall fast asleep. I, on the other hand, tried to continue breathing. I should have this parenting thing mastered by the time I am a grandparent.


You love music and anytime a commercial with music comes on tv you get so excited and scream, “DAN! DAN!” And then you will stand in front of the tv and dance your heart out. The fact that you come from a long line of helplessly white rythmn challenged people doesn’t deter you.

Last night we were sitting together on the couch watching tv right before your bedtime. It is our nightly ritual to snuggle together while you drink your bottle of rice milk. I know you are old enough to drop the bottle, but, well, you are my baby and I see no need to rush things. Rob was away on a business trip so I had control of the remote and took the opportunity to watch all the HGTV shows I could stand. As I flipped through the channels we caught a glimpse of a baseball game. You began shouting, “BAY-ball. BAY-ball” with such furor that I imagine you were convinced I hadn’t seen it. Afterall, who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to watch baseball. When I didn’t turn the channel back you sulked for a few minutes, muttering, “ma-MA BAY-ball”

You are getting so big and yet in the grand scheme of things you are still so very small.

He's on the road to nowhere

Posted by Chris @ 2:44 pm | 47 Comments  


October 24, 2006

(Updated below)

This morning I woke up exhausted, which is strange for me. I am never tired. A fact that annoys my husband. Though I am not sure who is annoyed by the disparity in our sleep needs, him or I. I just don’t understand how a perwson can need to sleep so much and, “Why don’t you just get up already in the morning. The alarm clock is supposed to be a signal for you to get out of bed. Not a signal for you to hit the snooze for the next 54 minutes until your wife gets fed up and tears the covers off of you and kicks you in the back.” Not that I have ever said those things… or done them.

But today I am dragging. And I noticed that the children don’t seem to be their normal exhuberant little selves. Lots of sitting around doing activities like coloring and yawning, and the ever popular whining. So maybe we have some sort of weird New England sleeping sickness.

I tried snuggling on the couch and closing my eyes, but my children having inherited my genes of getting annoyed when someone naps, wouldn’t stad for it. Payback is a bitch, huh?

I tried reading some stories out loud, but my eyes kept closing. What are those Berenstain Bears up to now, I can hardly wait to find out.

(Speaking of I have been meaning to write about this for awhile, but I never got around to it. I am a really fast reader. I don’t particularly like reading stories out loud, beyond the board book variety, because my eyes “read” the page faster than I can speak. And so I am saying the words I read a few sentences back. I’m not even sure I am explaining it in a clear fashion. But does anyone else do this? or maybe I am just weird. Or weirder.)

Anyway we ended up playing a few rounds of twenty questions which I can do passably in my half-asleep unthinking state. When I failed at that we decided to watch a movie.

One of the things that I have been enjoying about having, relatively, older children is the ability to share with them things that I enjoyed in my youth, lo those many years ago. Like the movie classics… Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters last week, and this week Beetlejuice. Even though it means hearing my children say things like, “Wow, way back when you were a child the special effects were so bad.” The “and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth” is implied.

You know what else I enjoy? Sneaking upstairs while they are huddled together watching a movie and making ghosts sounds through the heating vent. I know. I can’t believe I am allowed to parent either.


Man, you people are freaking me out with your carbon monoxide stories. We do have a carbon monixide detector but after all the people commenting and emailing me about it I moved it closer to the wood burning stove, thinking perhaps the stove was leaking. We spend most of our time in the back section of our house that is heated with wood.

I tested it and it is working properly. (In case anyone asks if the batteries are dead) We are not being slowly poisoned. Thank God because I would be racked with guilt if I was killing off my children’s brain cells, though it would explain a lot.

Also, unrelated to anything here, I have a new post up over at my other blog reviewing the book, The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Feeding Friends and Family. Go on and read and tell me if you have a system for meal planning that works.

Posted by Chris @ 8:33 am | 52 Comments  

Complaining about the weather already… it’s going to be a LONG winter

October 21, 2006

I now know what it would be like to be sucked up an Oreck Windtunnel.

Holy crap but it was windy at my house yesterday. All the leaves got whipped off of the trees, the recycling got blown away, probably into the neighbors yards. I was hoping that the leaves that were in our yard would be magically blown into the neighbors yard, leaving ours free of leaves. Instead I think we gathered all the leaves town wide into our yard.

Tree limbs fell down all over the place. Our cell phones still aren’t working because a couple of towers blew down or something.

And cold? It was so damn cold. Our central heat kicked on for the first time this season when the house temperature dropped to 56 degrees. Once I realized it was that cold in the house and not my imagination that my fingers and toes were numb, I cranked that thermostat up to 58. 58, the new comfortable. (In case anyone is wondering, my children don’t seem to feel the cold and are in fact runing around in the house barefoot and wearing shorts, while I am swaddled in layers and wearing shoes. IN THE HOUSE! yes, the flylady would be so pleased.)

But worse yet. The internet was down. So I sat down on my couch and turned on the television, but the cable was out also.

Rob arrived home last night at 10:00 pm to find me sitting on the couch staring at the snow on the television. I am not sure what is more pathetic, that I was doing that… or that I am writing about it.

Posted by Chris @ 5:13 pm | 37 Comments