Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Trash talk

Cameron and I were cleaning up the playroom, putting the colorful pitballs in a large black garbage bag where we usually store them.

"Hey Mom, my whole body could fit in that bag," he proclaimed with a little too much enthusiasm.

"Yes, it could. But why wouldn't you ever do that?"

I've told him before about suffocation and plastic, so I figured he would say something about not being able to breath and dying.

His actual response: "Because if I was in there and then someone tied up the bag and forgot about me, then on Monday, you'd put me out with the garbage and I'd go in the trash truck and it could crush me."

Not the answer I expected, but yet another good reason why not to hide in a garbage bag.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Ella slept through the night last night! She's almost 7 months, but this was the first time she's done this. I know a lot of people who have had kids who've slept through the night almost from the beginning. Not my children. Max didn't until he was 10 1/2 months. But Ella does go to bed around 8:00, so I figured that the trade off was a 3AM bottle. But I'm hoping this newfound sleep pattern suits her well, because I would LOVE some serious solid hours of sleep.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


In the past couple weeks, Cameron has surprised me with the following things that he can now do:

1. Get Max and himself cereal, complete with the placemats, bowls, spoons and milk.

2. Choose Max's clothes and get him dressed.

3. Brush Max's teeth, using all 3 toothpastes currently residing in their bathroom.

Now if he could just figure out how to change diapers....then I won't even have to get out of bed!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sesame Street Values

Max wakes me up almost every morning scream-whining, "See-all! See-all!" (cereal). He spends much of his day chanting, "Hungy! Hungy! Eat! Eat!" As I've stated before, the boy likes his food.

But he usually doesn't like to share it.....usually. If I even sample one of his Golden Grahams, he goes ballistic, and I have to either pretend to take it from my mouth and put it back in his bowl, or pour him more. One morning, I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and I found this on the table.

I wonder if they had learned about sharing on Sesame Street that morning, or else he just felt that Zoe was just as "hungy" as he was.

Monday, June 26, 2006


For Father's Day gifts, I had my husband's dad and brother from Detroit come out for the weekend. Melvin always talks about them all doing something together, but nothing has ever come to fruition. So this year I arranged for them to fly out, not telling Melvin until Father's Day. He was quite surprised and excited to spend time with the two men closest to him.

They spent all day Saturday fishing together, and then on Sunday we all went fishing at a local lake. (Well, the boys fished. Ella and I just watched and took pictures).

Here's Wally preparing his pole. He caught the most this day. Melvin said he caught the most the previous day, and they both argued about whose fault it was that the "big one" got away. Typical brothers.

My father-in-law was showing Cameron how to bait his hook. Cameron wasn't too thrilled about touching any worms.

He did catch the first fish of the day (which we released at the end of the outing).

Max caught his first fish that day. He was having a great time and wanted to hang out with the men, even when I got bored and tried to lure him to the nearby park. "Fish! Fish!" (or something like it), he kept repeating. And whenever someone from Detroit comes to town, we always get treated to some of their awesome cooking. Wally grilled some ribs, Daddy made some yummy corn on the cob and baked beans AND made a delicious breakfast with omlets, grits and more.

It was a good weekend, but way too short! I know my husband wishes he could spend more time with his dad and brother. But it was back to Detroit for them, and back to work for him.

Happy Father's Day! (one weekend late)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What a solution

Almost every Friday we have pizza. I order Papa John's and they deliver it to our door. Since I usually pay by credit card over the phone, Cameron doesn't actually ever see me pay for the pizza.

The other day our electricity was out. Despite the number of books and toys Cameron has, he flopped down on the family room floor and lamented how bored he was since he couldn't watch TV or play on his computer.

I told him about how a long, long time ago people did not ever have electricity and what did he think they did? He was quite fascinated by this fact and kept asking me what else they didn't have a long time ago. I finally pulled out one of those Century in Pictures books that came out around the millenium. I had ordered some for my classroom. He was just enthralled by the pictures and asked me with each one what it was showing.

One of the pictures was of a LONG line of men, trying to get a job, during the time of the depression. I told Cameron that there was a time when a lot of people couldn't get jobs and didn't even have money to feed their family.

His reaction, "Well Mom, why didn't they just call up and order pizza from Papa John's?!?"

Oh how times have changed.

Friday, June 23, 2006


The only thing better than a sleeping toddler............TWO sleeping toddlers!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An earful

Max must think I’m hard of hearing.

When Max wants something he says what he wants in a rather loud voice.

Now when this happens, a couple actions occur. If by chance I can actually decipher his toddler talk, and I don’t retrieve the item he wants a millisecond after he requests it, he repeats himself louder, and louder, and louder until I’m able to give him what he wants. And since I’m often preoccupied with my 2 other kids, it takes several elevated screams before I can appease him.

However, often, I can’t understand a thing he’s saying. Animals and Cereal and Elmo all sound the same through Max’s mouth. So what usually happens is he’ll yell his request, and then I just begin guessing what it is he wants. And if I don’t guess correctly, he just yells it louder, and louder and louder, until by process of elimination I go through every single TV show he has ever watched and discover that he wasn’t asking for Blues Clues, or Tubbies or Barney at all. What he really wanted was juice.

He screams not only when he wants something, but also when he doesn’t want something. Like when he doesn’t want Cameron to hug him, but Cameron hugs him anyway. Or when he doesn’t want Ella to touch his face, even though he purposefully puts his face directly near her hand. Or when he doesn’t want me to wipe his bottom, even though it has poop smeared all over it. Or when he doesn’t want me to put the spoon he requested directly in his cereal, because he wants to do that himself (actually, that’s often associated with not just a scream, but with tossing the spoon across the table, as well).

One day Cameron had a friend over, and when his mom came to pick him up, the little boy pointed to Max and said to his mom, “Momma, see that boy! He screams all the time!”

Today, midmorning, as he was screaming for cereal, which I didn’t have, I was able to pacify him with a box of graham cracker sticks. Usually Max will get his own bowl and carefully take a handful (or two or three) of the sticks and put them in his bowl. But today, while I was dealing with Ella, who was also screaming, he decided, instead, to swing the box all around until the entire box of grahams flew everywhere.

Now I was the one who was screaming, “No!!!!!!” He eventually picked them all up, but started screaming because he didn’t want to share any of them with Cameron. Eventually, I convinced him that he had to, and he gave his brother TWO crackers. I finally just took charge, gave Cameron half of his crackers and let Max scream it out….which wasn’t too long because he couldn’t eat and scream at the same time.

Almost my entire day was like this, filled with Max exercising his vocal chords to no end. By the evening, when a friend and her kids came over for dinner, Max was finally distracted enough with our company that he decided to let me drink my margarita and chat in peace. And he was all smiles after his bath. I have heard that working in a loud environment can cause hearing loss….I wonder if I should visit an audiologist soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Teacher to Teacher Initiative

As a stay-at-home mom, I continue to worry sometimes about my passion for the career that I have put on hold. I've written about this before, but with my daily routine now, I have little time to really even think about teaching. And this scares me, because I LOVED teaching before. It wasn't easy, and there were times I hated it, but as a whole, I adored my students, loved creating exciting lessons and delighted in my students' progress. But right now, I feel so far removed from that.

However, the past two days I spent my time at a teaching conference. It's hard to explain the feeling, but the moment I walked into the conference room filled with hundreds of teachers, I just felt a bit ecstatic, energized, and in awe of everyone. I almost felt like I was back "home" again, and I know I wore this goofy grin throughout the day.

When I first signed up for the conference I was very wary about what I might be attending. It was put on by the Federal Department of Education..and their website has that No Child Left Behind symbol posted prominently, so I feared it would be all about how "wonderful" this mandate is and everything would pertain to the "boxed programs" you should be using to raise test scores . Except for the speech given by the Federal Secretary of Education (who brought her own entourage), it wasn't focused on No Child Left Behind at all. It was really just about good teaching, and the workshops were given by some amazing teachers, who created their own units and developed materials to meet the needs and interests of their students. (For any teachers out there, you can access the same workshops via video, for free, and receive profesional development points by going here ).

Throughout the day when people asked me where I teached, I would explain that I taught for 8 years, but I'm staying home right now with my 3 kids, at least for another year. And if the teacher was older, they always told me how great it was that I was with them...that they grow so fast, etc., etc. And I know this, but still......learning all of these new teaching strategies just made me want to run right into a classroom and try them out!!!

And yet, I'm at peace now, knowing that I still have at least one more year before I try to return to a classroom...somewhere. My friend Libby reminded a couple weeks ago that staying at home is not forever. And it really is just a short time when you look at the whole picture.

So I'll continue to love on my kids daily and appreciate the time that I do get to spend with them. But I'll also start making more time for professional reading and workshops as well. So send along your professional recommendations, and I'll add them to my Summer Reading List!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cheap for a Reason

Ever since Cameron's friend Ben told him about his collection of Transformers, Cameron has decided that he wanted to have a collection of something. A few weeks ago he decided that he wanted to collect rocks. He went into our landscaping with a plastic bucket and collected probably over a hundred rocks. I told him he had to choose about 20. I think he ended up with closer to 40. The rocks went directly into a plastic bag and into his closet, never to be looked at or even spoken of again.

Today, while traveling back from an outing about 30 minutes from our house, Cameron decided that he wanted to start a new collection. I figured he was going to tell me he wanted to collect leaves, or cars, or even Happy Meal toys. But instead, he matter-of-factly declared that he was going to start a collection of broken sandals.

Maybe I better stop buying my kids' shoes at Kmart.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Note to Daddy

Hi Daddy! We hope you're enjoying your much-deserved break on the gulf coast of Florida. While you're gone, we're just up to the usual stuff.

We've been getting very dirty, so a bubble bath was warranted.

While Max was playing nicely with his own legos, I was able to build this castle all by myself, adding some extra parts to "make it more interesting."

We used all the family room and deck furniture cushions to make a pillow house.

Some "older" boys have been flirting with Ella.

And Max has something important to tell you.

"Hi Daddy! You know those custom-made earplugs that were just torturous to have made for me? Well, when mommy wasn't looking, I flushed one of them down the toilet." "I still have the green one though."
Needless to say, you should hurry home. We miss you....especially Mommy!!!

Friday, June 16, 2006


I go out to my car in my garage today in order to run a million errors while Sara was here to watch the kids. I discover that my husband had locked my car last night, something I never do when it's in the garage. I peer into the window, and resting on the middle console I can see both my regular set of keys and my spare set (don't ask why I have my spare set in the car). My only other car key would be on my husband's keyring, which was currently with him on a plane to Florida.

In my next life, I'm going to become a locksmith. Five minutes work..$50 in the pocket.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


People say that if you get a bunch of women together, they'll be catty, backstab, gossip about each other, etc. Well I must say that I have found a group of women from my Mom's Spiritual Spa group from church who defy such a stereotype. Last night, most of us were able to get away from the kids for a few hours to go out to dinner so we could talk about our lives, encourage each other, empathize with each other, etc. And we didn't talk negative about anyone of the female gender! It was fun, fun fun. I am so thankful for this group of women who are so inspiring to me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Always something

Today I took the kids and Cameron's friend to a local park to see a puppet show. Max actually sat attentively through the entire show. AND later, when they played on the playground equipment, he did NOT eat any rocks!!!

Instead, he decided to shove the gravel up his nose.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Countdown

Blast off!

This is what I overhear Cameron saying right before he pees.

Must be a boy thing.

Monday, June 12, 2006

All wet

I know that I should write more positive things about my little Max....like how he is always hugging and kissing on his sister, or how he copies everything that Cameron does, or how he sings ALL THE TIME!

But why would I write about all that when I could write about how he is now obsessed with toilet water. Not sure what brought on this new facination, but today:

Twice, he stuck is hand in the toilet so he could suck the water off his fingers.

Once, he stuck half his head and face directly into the toilet water.

And I was able to grab him just a millisecond before he placed his head in the stream of pee Cameron was emitting.

Max thinks it's absolutely hilarious.

Being the medical germophobe that he is, I'm sure that after reading this, even though Max looks just like him, my husband will continue to blame the post-man for his behavior.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lotion anyone?

"Mommy, all week long you've been complaining about my dry skin. So you can't get mad at me because I finally decided to moisturize!"

This is what happened this morning when I left Max in the bedroom to watch TV just after he took a shower, while I went and dressed Ella.

A little too much love

Yesterday, out of the blue, Max kept saying "Abby! Abby!" one of my friend's little girls.

I kept saying to him, "Is she your girlfriend? Are you going to marry her?" Having no idea what I was saying, he just grinned.

Cameron, on the other hand, knew exactly what I was saying and wanted in on the conversation. "Hey Mommy! I know who I'm going to marry when I grow up!"

I figured he was going to say Faith, or Gabi, or Eliana, some of the girls he plays with on a regular basis. But instead he said, "I'm going to marry Ella!"

"Cameron, you can' t marry Ella!"

"But why not?" he responded, a bit disappointed.

"Because she's your sister. You're not allowed to marry your sister!"

"But how will they even know that she's my sister?" (Not sure who "they" are).

"Cameron, when you get older, trust me, you won't want to marry your sister."

"But if I married her," he said with excitement, "then I'd get to see her everyday!"

I wish I had this conversation on tape, becasue I'm sure, during those teenage years, he'll be expressing a much different sentiment toward his sister.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A hungry one

Max likes to eat. Not always off his own plate, but he likes to eat nonetheless. Unlike his brother, who think that the only necessary food in this world is peanut butter and jelly, Max will eat practically anything.

He often goes into the kitchen pantry and just starts pointing to everything that he wants, or pulls it off the shelves himself. He'll go into his drawer and get out his own plates and bowls to let me know that he's hungry, which seems to be throughout the day.

Last weekend I was gone all day on Saturday. When I returned home, the boys came running to me screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" Cameron gave me a big hug. Max came toward me to also give me a hug, but then was suddenly distracted by a silver wrapper in my hand. At that moment, he my presence meant nothing to him and he was only focused on obtaining the granola bar I was carrying.

So I shouldn't be so surprised about what happened yesterday. We had met up with my Mom's Spiritual Spa friends and their kids at a local park. Max was off playing on the equipment, and I'd watch him from the shaded picnic table. He doesn't need much help to climb or slide anymore, only to swing, so I let him explore unless he appears to be in danger or needs my help. I had just finished standing with him while he played on a see-saw type contraption with another little boy, and I thought he had followed me over to the picnic area. I was chatting for a few minutes when I realized that his bright yellow shirt was nowhere in sight.

"Where's Max?" I asked in a panic. As I yelled his name, the group picnicing on the ground next to us immediately called out, "We have an extra one over here!"

I walked over to where they were, and sitting with them, on their blanket, with the biggest eyes ever sporting a look like his mother starves him, Max had joined their group, ready to partake with them in their lunch.

Where there is food...there you'll find Max.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Take one 5 year old, who thinks everything must be absolutely equal and fair all the time even if he's with a 2 year old who doesn't quite understand such a meaning,

Add a determined toddler, who wants what he wants right now or else he will scream his head off and it doesn't matter if someone else had that particular toy first

And you'll often end up with a recipe for disaster.

But amazingly, when they're well fed, and well rested, and I'm not around to run to, they are just a dream.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy 1/2 Birthday

Ella is six months old today. She's just as wonderful as the day she was born! She's so smiley, eats any kind of baby food I give her, and is sitting up pretty well now. She love to bounce around in her jumper (or fall asleep in it),

and she can even swing on the playset. And although she puts everything into her mouth, she is NOT teething. Despite what everyone tries to tell me as soon as they see her chewing on a toy, a key, a paper towel, her pediatrician confirmed that she is nowhere near getting any teeth.

Yesterday, at her appointment, she measured 26", and weighed 14 pounds, 11 ounces. Her doctor said she was of average height, petite weight and had a big head. She received 2 immunizations on her legs. And although she cried, it wasn't for long. We left the office with two circus band-aids on her legs. Sometime throughout the day, both of the band aids fell off. No big deal, she wasn't bleeding or anything. There wasn't any need for them anymore. I even forgot about them, until later on that evening.

Ella was a little fussy and sleepy after receiving her shots. But she dutifully took her naps, consumed some bottles, ate some dinner, etc. In the evening, I laid her down in front of me on a chaise we have in our living room to change her diaper and put on her pjs. At the angle I was sitting, I could see directly into her mouth. And when she opened it to smile, I saw something on the roof of her mouth. I thought it was some piece of paper she must've found, or a piece of paper towel from when I cleaned the food off her face from dinner. I immediately pulled it out and discovered the BAND-AID from earlier that day.

She had spent the whole day...sleeping, playing, drinking, eating...with a band aid stuck to the roof of her mouth!!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Keeping him still

This morning I took all 3 kiddos to the doctors for Ella's 6 month check-up and shots. What should have been a 20 minute appointment turned into a 90 minute ordeal. My pediatrician took a look into Max's ears, as he's had yet another infection, and when listening to his lungs, she felt it would be best to get an x-ray.

Max....x-ray...sitting still. All sorts of thoughts went through my mind while trekking all 3 kids down to Radiology, as I imagined the disaster this was going to turn out to be.

Apparently Max is not the only squirrely kid in this universe. A contraption called a Pigg-O-Stat has actually been invented for such circumstances. Not sure where the name comes from, the the thing looked just evil, like some antiquated piece of equipment you'd see in a psych ward from the 60s. It looked like this:

And when a child is placed in it, he "supposedly" looks like this:

I honestly think this child has been "photoshopped" in. Max did NOT look like this. It took 3 of us to get him in it, and as you can imagine any toddler would do, he screamed and screamed and just looked so sad, it broke my heart. What a cruel contraption

HOWEVER, tonight, as I was just interrupted now at 11 PM by a toddler who adamantly REFUSES to go to sleep, and I discover that he has spent the last hour sneaking around upstairs, including going into Ella's room and tossing toys into her crib, barely missing her sleeping body, I think that such a "pediatric immobilizer" might come in handy!!!!

Toddler fun

Hey toddlers...this is lots of fun!

When your mom is upstairs trying to put away clothes that have been sitting in the basket for 3 days, go into the kitchen cabinets, find the plastic box filled with jars of your sister's baby food and throw the entire box down the basement stairs.

And then when she's trying to clean up the glass and food, bother your brother by continually pushing buttons on the DVD player until it goes off. And after she fixes it, do it again and again, until your dad comes out of his office upset that he can't get his work done with all the screaming and crying going on

I'm not sure if they thought it was fun, but I had a blast!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Boys, boys, boys

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Cameron and his friend, Ben, whose mother is British. Because he spends so much time with her, he, too, has a bit of a British accent.

This time when they were in the car, I forbid any stories that dealt with toilets or poop. So they started singing songs about toilet and poop. I had to clarify myself and make it clear that I didn't want to hear anything about toilets or poop in any type of way.

So instead, they discussed which letters of the alphabet they could burp.

I wonder if you can actually burp with a British accent.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Word Confusion

Today in the car, Cameron heard a radio host talk about a home video she recently saw. In it, she was 7 years old and the camera caught her threatening her brother, telling him that if he didn't sing Happy Birthday to her, she'd kick him in his testicles really hard.

Cameron was actually listening and asked, "Mommy, what's testicles?"

I told him and he just sorta gigled. Then he said with a big grin, "On SpongeBob there's Squidward Testicles!" and he laughed. His actual name is Squidward Tentacles.

Now really, must such words sound so much a like? The other night he told Melvin that he didn't like Vagina, as Melvin placed some Lasagna on his plate.