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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A "double" shower

This morning my sleep was interrupted at 5 AM by Cameron.

“Mommy, I need a shower.”

“Cameron, it’s 5 AM. You do not need a shower right now. Go back to sleep,” I mummbled.

“I can’t Mommy. I need to get a shower,” he reponded urgently.

“Did you wet the bed?” (a common occurrence, as he just never wakes up).


“Well, just change your PJs like you always do, and lie down on the little couch.” (A small foam fold-out kids couch that was next to our bed).

“I can’t Mommy. I really need a shower.”

I am EVIL when I’m tired, and I sighed in complete frustration.

Cameron quickly added, “When I was sleeping, I pulled my pull-ups down and didn’t know it. And my penis was sticking out. When I peed, it squirted on my head.”

I could do nothing at that moment but just crack up laughing….and turn the shower on for him.

While he was cleaning off, I laid back down and went back to sleep for at least 20 minutes. I woke up to the sound of the shower still going. When I went in the bathroom to coax him out, I found him lying flat on the ground, with the shower water pouring over him. He was singing to himself, totally relaxed.

Again, I could only laugh…and quickly turn off that water.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


In search of the following:

Fisher Price Kid-Touch Digital Camera for Boys.

If you find it, buy it! (If it's not more than $80) Then let me know.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Lately Max has been obsessed with washing his hands. I’d say he has a touch of OCD, except his idea of clean doesn’t warrant such a diagnosis. Last week I wrote about him washing his hands in the toilet. This morning, as I walked into the kitchen, he was sitting at the table proclaiming once again, “I wash my hands!”

And there he sat, with his fingers in his yogurt container, rubbing the yogurt all over his hands, as if it were soap. UUUGGHH!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Emotional Engagement

Max seems to tap into all my emotions every day. Take today, for instance.

This morning, he wrapped Ella’s pink blanket around his waste and said, “Mommy, I princess!”

As I was emptying the dishwasher, Max decided he wanted to help. He put away all his bowls and cups, but then was very upset that I had already put away the forks and spoons. He opened up the silverware drawer, took out all the spoons, put them back into the dishwasher, and then returned them, one-by-one, to their proper drawer. “I do it!” he screamed.

At music class today, he sat joyfully on my lap, sang each song, followed all the teacher’s instructions and helped his little friend Levi with his instruments. When singing the final lullaby, he even laid his head back on me and just relaxed. At the end, he still wouldn’t let the teacher put a stamp on his hand, but he willingly took it from her to do it himself, and to stamp some blueberries on my hand as well.

While I was putting Ella to bed, Max decided that he wanted more strawberries than what I had already given him. He pushed a chair over to the counter where they were sitting on the cutting board. He climbed up on the granite, took the sharp steak knife that I had previously used to cut out the green stems from the other strawberries, and he began slicing up the new ones in his hand. Thankfully the only red I saw was from the strawberry juice, and not any of his blood.

Max, you make me laugh, you make me smile, you make me groan, and you make me scream. But most of all, you make me love you more and more each day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Little Turkeys

Cameron had a short, but cute, Thanksgiving program at school. In addition to some singing, reciting poetry, and a little butt wiggling, each student had to say what he/she was thankful for. It seemed like every child said, "I'm thankful for my family"...or "I'm thankful for my mom and dad." Until it came to Cameron. His response, "I'm thankful for my HOUSE."

Max seems to think that he can actually work the DVD player, and I often catch him trying to insert a Dora or Diego DVD. I'm not sure why he thinks he needs to be naked to do this. De-diapering himself has been his latest shinnanigan...which wouldn't be bad if he was doing it to use the toilet!

Ella continues to stand in her high chair at every meal. If I buckle her in, she spends most of the time screaming and wiggling her way out of the belt. Then she just stands, and eats that way. The shirt she's wearing says it all, "I'm in charge here. The parents are just for show."

Friday, November 24, 2006


I discovered something new about myself yesterday. I actually like to cook. I spent the whole day in the kitchen, and I actually enjoyed myself. Melvin entertained the kids outside (high 50s in Minnesota during this time of year is quite an anomaly….and must be enjoyed outdoors)

I cooked a turkey for the first time...well sorta. It wasn’t a whole turkey, just the breast part, but still with the little cavity for stuffing. It didn’t turn out so great…but we’re not big turkey eaters. For us, it’s all about the sides. And my lack of measuring utensils didn’t seem to affect my culinary skills.

I made my special sweet potato casserole…very yummy, and my black-eyed peas and ham…which I don’t eat, but Melvin said were delicious. I made my mother-in-law’s macaroni and cheese, and Melvin gave me the ultimate compliment, telling me it was just like his mothers. To which I responded that he obviously hadn’t had his mother’s mac and cheese in a while, because I could never make mine as good as hers. I also made some killer green beans (which is what they were actually called on blackrecipes.com). I didn’t quite have all the ingredients, so I improvised, adding ham, breakfast sausage and using chicken stock, with a little crushed red pepper, and they were awesome!!!!! (not as good as my husband’s grandfather’s…but Melvin said I’m giving him a run for his money). Then I defrosted some greens that my mother-in-law made last time she was here, and I used Stove Top and Pillsbury to help out with the stuffing and rolls. My husband even said to me at one point, “When did you learn how to cook?” Not sure if that was completely a compliment or not, but I guess I could take it as one.

I did discover the real reason I usually don’t like to cook……when you’re all done, there’s a MESS to clean up. And some of it is still sitting in my sink now.

Overall, despite the fact that we weren’t around family, the day was pretty nice. Melvin’s new partner came over for dinner, and she helped out tremendously with the kiddos. It was so warm at night, we even had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. Then the kids watched a movie, and were in bed by 8:00, so that the adults could focus all their attention on Grey’s Anatomy. What a perfect way to end the day!

We are truly so blessed, and so thankful for all that God has given us.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Morning of Monsters

I did not have the best of mornings. Ella was up at 4:00, and then Max was up around 5:30 (even though he didn’t go to sleep until 11:00 the previous night).

Cameron slept in a little, but then still dilly-dallyed all morning, and was running late. I had to tell him five times before he did anything. And then when I finally yelled to try to kick start some urgency in his movements, he acted like I was just the meanest mom ever. Later I hate myself for yelling…been hating myself a lot lately.

Ella would not sit down to eat her cereal She continued to stand up in her high chair, clap and laugh, and sometimes crawl onto the table. But stay on her bum and eat??? Just was not happening. She quite enjoyed my almost-heart attacks everytime she’d stand up and raise her hands over her head, waving Hi!

Not surprisingly, Max gets the credit for sending me over the edge. He decided he needed to wash his hands. He sees soap and thinks it’s an automatic invitation to get clean. However, he wasn’t able to reach the faucet knobs to rinse the lather off…..so he use the TOILET WATER instead.

Monday, November 20, 2006

a birthday...sorta

Cameron has been asking me "How many more days..." for weeks now. Today, he came bounding in my room, all smiles and filled with excitement. "Good morning, Mom! Today I'm 5 and a HALF!"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My "refrigerator" friends

This weekend my mom’s group gathered at my house to make marinades for chicken (for ourselves) and cookies (to send to one of the mom’s husband, who is stationed in Iraq).

When we were discussing the things we needed to bring, the baking queen in my group asked if I had a mixer. “Yes!” I said, resoundingly. “You do?” another mom responded quite surprised.

To help dispel this myth that I’m totally incompetent in the kitchen (I can cook and clean…I just choose not to…especially with little ones screaming and crying to be picked up all the time), I decided that I would actually make the cookie dough…using my mixer…instead of buying it from the store as we had planned.

Of course I had no recipe, so I purchased my first Good Housekeeping magazine…with Kelly Ripa on the front holding a tray of Christmas cookies. And I found the recipe and made the dough.
However, my cookie dough making ability failed to prove to my friends that I may one day climb to the level of all the “Marthas” in the world, as it didn’t make up for my lack of cooking utensils. They were quite entertained with my lack of measuring spoons (aren’t the teaspoons I use for my coffee adequate?), and my old beat up plastic measuring cups that were hand-me-down’s from my husband’s sister over 10 years ago (last I checked...a ½ cup is still a ½ cup, no matter how ugly the scoop is). Did it really matter that I didn’t have a ¼ cup? I was good at math and fractions….and know that ¼ a cup is just a little less than a 1/3. Not hard at all to adjust! But when they asked where my garlic press was, well, I couldn’t even pretend to know what the heck they were talking about. Luckily my neighbor did and was able to run across the street to retrieve hers. They all said they know what to get me for Christmas!

I was put even more to shame as I tried to decorate the cookies we made for the servicemen. My amazing friend Angela (http://www.angelaskitchen.com/), is a cookie decorating guru!
Check out her tie-dyed and polka dot bikinis, lacy lingerie, sexy ladies, and marvelous martinis.
Think the men in Iraq will get a kick out of them???? When my friend was telling her husband about the kind of cookies we were going to be making, his response was, "Wait a minute, I thought this was your church group who was doing this." We "church ladies" know how to have fun.

The night was wonderful, especially since one of the husbands offered to run Daddy Daycare in the basement! A day/night with fabulous friends, a little wine, no kids….what a fabulous time.

But I don't think I'll be making the cover of Good Housekeeping anytime soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Saving my projects, for the next time they're in town.

Sometimes it’s great to have relatives who are a little “off.” Take my dad, for instance. He, my mom and my grandfather came to visit last weekend. My dad doesn’t like it when I plan a lot of things for them to do. He says he wants to just relax. His idea of relaxing???? Putting up all my pictures and mirrors that have been resting on the floor for over a year. (If I have to just put in a nail, I can hang up a picture…but dealing with those anchors…I avoid those). Hanging up all the towel racks and paper holders in the basement bathroom, and cleaning up the storage area of my basement. Then he told me that he wished he had enough time to clean out our garage. A little off…don’t ya think!!!!

Oh, and although I don’t think he believed this was relaxing, my dad fixed my sink/garbage disposal, that I had apparently clogged up with potato peelings (yet another reason why I shouldn’t cook).

My mom was wonderful keeping the kids busy. And she even took Max to music class, which was great since I had lost my voice being sick and could barely utter any sound, let alone a musical one. But she, and everyone else, spoiled Ella. She started this fake cry/scream anytime anyone would put her down. (She tried to continue with this technique after they left, but Sara and I weren't going for it, and she returned to her complacent self...most of the time)

This was the first time my grandfather was here, and the first time he had flown since 2000. Having no clue about the latest in travel security, he had a few issues at the airport. They took away his brand new tube of toothpaste…and his unopened bottle of Chaps cologne (coincidentally, I was the one who bought him that bottle for Christmas last year). Plus, they took his money clip, which had a little knife attached to it. Despite these annoyances, he made it here, and Cameron LOVED having someone to play the War card game with. (Not as much as I loved him having someone ELSE to play with) My grandfather had magical powers over him, as he was able to put him to sleep one afternoon while watching TV.

I had a great time having them here. We even went to a show (Triple Espresso) and a Polish lounge/restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. The place has been featured on Good Morning America, and it hasn’t changed in 40 years! There was even an old, old lady playing the piano and “singing”…I guess she’s the entertainment 6 nights a week. The bar area also had polka music. The place was PACKED…with the young and old. Especially when a group of college students part of a pub crawl crammed into the place. I feared trying to get my 80 year old Grandfather past all of those drunkards, but we managed to avoid the sardines by going out a back door. The food was really good. Not as good as my Grandmothers (who passed away a year ago), but still good. But the best part was…..I got carded…..TWICE! (It was obviously a little dark in there, hiding all my grays and “fine lines”).

I know it’s hard for my Pop-pop without my Mom-mom around. But I sure am glad that he was able to overcome his anxiousness and let my parents talk him into coming. The kids, and I, really enjoyed his company.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

2:30 AM

Next time I volunteer to do a newsletter.....please just shoot me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Out of Max's Mouth

When Max was younger, he didn’t talk. He felt it was much easier to communicate by screaming. He didn’t even say Mommy until after 18 months.

But now that he’s 2 years and 4 months, he has finally discovered the power of speech, and the boy won’t shut up! In just the past few months, he’s gone from stringing one or two words together to speaking in comprehendible phrases and even complete sentences. He also likes to question everything we’re doing, especially if it’s something we’re not including him in.

“What you doing Mommy?”
“Making dinner.”
“Oh, making dinner?”
“Yes Max”
“I help.”

Some of his more entertaining phrases are as follows:

“I made this.” And when I ask what his scribbles are, he usually responds with, “I made Mommy!” (and if you saw how frazzled I’ve been looking lately, you’d understand that he really did draw an accurate picture of me).

“I NEED that back.” Because he really NEEDS the fork I’m eating with, or the cell phone I’m talking on, or the car keys.

“Cameron HIT me.” To which Cameron truthfully responds that Max hit him first, but that’s no matter to Max. When I ask him if he hit Cameron, he just changes the emphasis to, “Cameron hit ME!”

“Ella is naughty.” He loves having someone else to point to who may be doing something wrong. If Ella’s eating paper, or tearing a book or heading toward the bathroom to play in the toilet, Max runs over to her, yells, “NO ELLA! NO!” and then informs me of her bad behavior.

And my favorite, which he learned after a week in Florida: “Daddy, I need money!”

Friday, November 10, 2006

My swimming fish

While in Florida, we took a break from the parks one day to hang around our resort's swimming pool. Neither or my boys have any fear of water. Max walked right in and didn't stop until he was up to his ears! Then he just played at that level most of the day.

Cameron can swim a little, but thinks he's an expert swimmer. I tubed with him around the lazy river...but he seemed to think it was more of a "crazy river." He did so much twisting and turning in and out of his tube, I was on edge the entire time. And instead of allowing me to relax and just float with the tide, he wanted me to chase him. Although I usually would spend the majority of my day just cruising along in my tube, with Cameron, I could only make it through once before I just had to get out of there and into "safer" waters. In this picture he's "trying" to look tough, but instead he looks like a synchronized swimmer.

Ella was the only one who didn't feel the need to submerge her whole body into the pool. She did a lot of crawling and splashing in the water, but she was quite content to do this along the edges.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My climbing monkeys

We're back from wonderful, WARM, Florida. And although it was a pleasant surprise to come back to high 60s Minnesota sunshine yesterday, it's back to the 30s & 40s today and expecting snow tomorrow.

Despite camera problems, I managed to get a few shots of the kids at MGM and Universal doing some climbing. Ella LOVED it, and would throw tantrums anytime we tried to take her away from the ropes.
More pics to follow in the coming days.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Forgotten, Lost, Stolen, Broken

I have a camera curse.

It all started when I was a sophomore in high school. I went to France for a 3 week exchange program, and my parents gave me their new camera. “Don’t lose it,’ my mom said, knowing my track record with keeping track of…well…anything. “I won’t,” I promised. And I made it all 3 weeks without misplacing it, but as I arrived back in America, I left the damn thing on the plane. We never got it back. That was the beginning of the curse.

Then those throw away camera’s were invented, and for years, I just used those. They were fine. If I lost one, no real guilt….or so I thought. When we moved to Minnesota, I had one of these cameras holding pictures of Cameron when he was only a few weeks old and the last pictures I took with my friends in New Jersey. On our second day here, we went furniture shopping, and I put my backpack/diaper bag down to checkout some of the couches…I forgot to pick the bag back up. While we were still in the store, someone stole my bag! I was a little upset about losing my glasses and my license, but I literally cried about losing the memories preserved in the camera.

I immediately went out and bought another throw away camera, and continued to do so for awhile, until I went to visit a friend. He shared some of his pictures, which he took with a really nice 35 mm camera…the kind with one of those large telephoto lenses, and I was hooked. I wanted to not just take pictures of my baby…I wanted to take GOOD ones. So I bought a similar style camera, costing a couple hundred bucks.

But during one of our trips…I think to beautiful Atlantis in the Bahamas, Melvin and I were walking around the resort with Cameron (who was only 9 months), and the camera curse struck again. I had the camera sitting in the indented “tray” on top of the stroller. As we were walking, I hit a bump or something, and the camera fell, crashing to the sidewalk, breaking the battery door. Because of the way it broke, I couldn’t take anymore pictures throughout our entire trip.

I finally was able to get the camera fixed, and I was back in action, snapping photos of my baby boy at any chance I could get. Then we went on a trip to Florida, and I was studying or napping or something while Melvin took Cameron (and the camera) to the pool. He remembered to bring home Cameron, but left the camera behind. That was never to be seen by us again. This time it wasn’t my fault, but I’m sure the curse had something to do with it.

So we bought another nice camera, which has served us well through the years.

But for Christmas one year, my mom gave me a digital camera. I have to admit that it sat in my closet for over a year before I finally decided to figure out how to use it. I wanted to be able to instantly add pictures to the blog I had started. So I packed away my nice “film” camera, and went digital. But the week before Ella was born, I couldn’t find the camera anywhere. This was also about the time that Max used the trashcan as a hiding place for anything he could get his hands on. I can’t prove that he trashed it, but we never did find the camera.

So it was back to the film camera, and using anyone else’s digital camera who was visiting us over the holidays. Until I purchased myself a nice Kodak digital camera. It was a couple hundred dollars, but worth it. Except…I forgot about the curse. And less than 2 months later, while out for a walk, Max didn’t like that I had put the camera in the stroller seat he was refusing to sit in. So he tossed it, quite vehemently, directly onto the concrete sidewalk.

Even though I knew I shouldn’t have, I immediately went out and bought myself another one. I called it my mother’s day gift (but no one else knew about it!). And that camera lasted through the summer, into the beginning of Fall. While at a park one day, the camera strap slid off my shoulder as I bent down to pick up something (or someone), and the camera smashed onto the ground. Most of the park is grass, rubber, or sand, but I managed to do this directly on the concrete. Again, my camera was no good. I did manage a few weeks later to get it to take pictures, but the focus doesn’t work when zooming, and the exposure isn’t quite right anymore.

So I was back to my film camera. I do love it. I love that I get physical prints to put in an album. I love how I can zoom in and how clear the pictures are. And I especially love how it sounds when the shutter opens and closes to take the photo…like I’m a real, professional photographer. But it has it’s “negatives.” (ha ha). For one, I can’t instantly see that the kids’ eyes were closed, or they had moved their heads or the lighting was completely wrong. Secondly, I hate to “waste” film on some silly pictures I might take that’s just for my blog...and nothing I’d ever really put in a photo album…like a spilled bowl of cereal, maker scribbled all over the floor, etc. And then I often take photos I don’t really want or need just to use up the film so that I can get it developed to use on my blog.

But at least I had a camera to use. Except two days ago, when getting ready to head to a nursing home where my mom friends were meeting to parade the kids around in their Halloween costumes, the curse came back. I had put the camera in the top of the diaper bag/backpack, which was only held together by a small piece of Velcro. My bag fell off my shoulder when I bent down to pick up Ella, and the camera came tumbling out, right onto the ceramic tile….breaking the battery door.

So now, as we head out to Orlando, Florida tomorrow, I will be capturing our exciting family moments with either a digital camera that doesn’t focus well, or a nice 35 mm, that has a broken battery door that I must hold shut with one hand, while trying to focus with the other hand and somehow push down the capture button. I’m sure I’ll get many horrible shots to share!

Eventhough my husband is forbidding me to do so, I still want to buy another camera. But I'm almost afraid to for fear of what the curse will cause next....like it might blow up in my face or something.

Any suggestions on how to break the curse?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

J, J, & J

I adore my cousin Jill and her husband Jamie for several reasons…

I just love their names together…Jill and Jamie… J & J.
They laughed through their entire wedding ceremony!
They’re both elementary school teachers. They teach either Kindergarten and 1st or 2nd and 1st in the same school where they met.
This summer at our annual family dinner, they said Melvin and I have set the bar too high for kid cuteness…and next to mine, their children will just be ugly.

This is so not true. A couple weeks ago they had their first little boy, Jeffrey. And he defines cuteness! In addition to being totally adorable, he’s actually quite unique. Jeffrey has one foot with four toes!!!

Which leads me to my favorite reason of all as to why I adore Jill and Jamie. Instead of seeing Jeffrey’s four toes as a “deformity,” instead of being mad about it, sad about it, or embarrassed about it, they embrace it! Jill even sent me a picture to put on my blog! They think his four toes are cool.

Jill and Jamie are going to be awesome parents!