Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Training Your Focus



Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri

Christmas is right around the corner, as well as filling the shelves in every store, and we've gotten past Thanksgiving, when we've thought of everything we're grateful for, and have counted our blessings. 

You’ve heard the song Count Your Blessings: 

♫ Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done. ♫

Even if you personally don’t ascribe a spiritual value to the blessings in your life, even if you don’t call them “blessings,” but think of them as Good Things That Happen, you’re thankful for them. You’ve labeled them good, something to be grateful for. You recognize that they have value and they benefit you.

The problem is, sometimes we can get so caught up in the chaos of life; the problems at work, the car breaking down, the death of a loved one, the tragedy in a friend’s life, the catastrophic weather, the pink slip from an employer…that we fail to recognize the blessings in our lives, especially the small, seemingly inconsequential ones.

And sometimes it can be the very mundane, everyday, run-of-the-mill experiences in life that, day after day, wear on our spirits like ocean water on a seashell. 

But have you ever noticed seashells, the shiny ones you find washed up on the beach, a trillion shades of cream and yellow? Have you ever noticed how smooth they feel, how they reflect the light, and that’s how you found them? 

They’ve been polished, and edges smoothed out, by those same ocean waves that wore them down. Greater beauty has come from that slight friction of the water against the hard, rough shell. 

That’s how our everyday life itself can shape us and mold us into the person we are each meant to be. All those little things that happen day in and day out, those minor irritations we deal with, don’t have to bring us down, if we look at them from another angle.

Instead of seeing the troubles and annoyances, look again, and see the blessings. It’s a matter of training yourself to focus not on the negative, but the positive. 

And yes, we’re going to fail; we’re human, after all. But just as with anything else, it takes time, practice, and reminders. 

And when we make a habit of looking at our situation and finding the good in it, seeking out the blessings, then having a thankful heart soon becomes second nature and you can’t help but have an “attitude of gratitude.” 

One night about two years ago, I looked around the house and saw all the laundry needing to be done, the mess in the kitchen, and I still hadn’t even decided what to make for supper. Feeling weary and somewhat overwhelmed at all the undone work to do, suddenly my “Thankful Seeker” kicked in and I started thinking of the blessings I was grateful for. 

A poem came to me and I sat down, wrote it, and went back to the kitchen and my kids, feeling light as a feather. And very thankful as peace settled into my soul. 

My Messy House

My house is a mess,
No silverware clean;
The laundry piled up
By the washing machine. 
The pans on the stove
Are crusty and cold,
While a bowl in the fridge
Slowly grows mold.
Cobwebs in corners 
And pillows on floors;
Smears on the mirrors 
And smudges on doors.
I look at all this,
Wondering what I should do;
But seeing my kids
Always gives me a clue:
I’ll make them some supper, 
It’s pizza tonight!
Have them all help me
And to my delight,
I’ll hear them all chatter
Like little grey squirrels;
Believe it or not,
The boys more than the girls!
We’ll cook it together
And as if with a wand,
I’ll forget all the mess,
For I’m building a bond.

~VJC 10.24.13~





Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Tale of Groceries and Tacos



So, I’m in the kitchen making lunch: sandwiches, and cucumber spears and baby carrots with dressing to dip them in. Ryan and Timmy were jostling each other, saying ridiculous things to each other, then laughing too loudly, and generally being a pain in the butt. I shooed them out of the kitchen and continued making the meal.

Megan sat at the table across from me, sorting through a bunch of canned goods and food products that were graciously given to us by angels at a local church for Thanksgiving.

She asked me if I wanted her to put them in a couple plastic grocery bags to get them off the table, and I said yes, so she picked each one up and placed it in the bags, exclaiming as she came to certain ones.






“Ooooo! Mum, look! Now you can make tacos!”

I laugh and tell her that’s cranberry sauce.










“Mummy! Beets!!!”

Well, in her defense, the slices of jellied cranberry sauce *do* look like beets. ;-)













A few cans later….”See Mummy, da stuff fowr tacos, it’s aww made!”

I tell her that’s lentils-something-or-other, and she says, “Oh, okay.”









Everything’s in the bags when she picks up one last item.

“MUMMY!!!! Now you can make TACOS!!!”

Yes, Megan, now I can make tacos. ;)

And yes, I did use a cucumber as a prop. :-D






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Dalerie Jeanne!"



I was “Dalerie Jeanned” today. 

That’s one of Megan’s terms she uses for mock indignation.

We were in the kitchen making lunch. Despite her repeated suggestions for corn chips, bean and cheese burritos, and other fat laden foods, I was gearing her towards more healthy choices. 

We settled on smoked ham and cheese sandwiches with a thick layer of lettuce, and carrot sticks. Personally, I prefer my carrots or cucumbers buck naked without dressing to dip in. But I did acquiesce to Megan’s plea for it. 

We sat at the kitchen table, she handling the dressings while I was making the sandwiches. I had asked Megan to get me the huge gallon of mayonnaise a few minutes earlier and it sat on the table. 

As soon as I finished the mound of lettuce on each sandwich, I got up to wipe my hands and decided to put the ham and cheese away. I started to sit back down and saw the mayo. So I grabbed it up and put it in the fridge. 

Sitting down yet again, I realized I put the mayo away without using it! Off  to the refrigerator for the mayonnaise as Megan sat laughing at me. ;-) 

I  open the mayo and take up the chef’s knife I had gotten out for the carrots. 

“No, use anover knife!” Megan says. “I don’t like my mayo fwom a shawrp knife.”

“Megan, you’re being silly. I’m not dirtying another knife. There’s nothing wrong with using this one.”

So I reached in and gathered up a big blob of mayo on the knife, picked up the top slice of bread from the first sandwich, and slathered some on. As I tried to flip the bread over onto the sandwich, it went over the table and onto the floor. Hey, I was using my left hand and I’m a righty. ;-) 

Megan bursts out with a huge belly laugh. “Dat’s not mine. Phiww can have dat one!” And we’re both laughing as I assess the damage. It landed mayo side up, thankfully.

We finished cutting carrots and getting the plates set up with our food. Megan tried to weasel some candy corn out of me, but I didn’t give in. 

As I took Phil’s and my plates and started to walk out of the kitchen, I may have, um, let a little air escape the lower part of my body. I mean, something may have just slipped out. I may have emitted a booty belch…a panty burp…an air biscuit…OKAY, I FARTED!!!! 

There, I said it! Are you happy now??  <panting>

And that was when it happened. Megan looked at me like I just threw up in her lap, and said, “Dalerie Jeanne!” 

“I’ll leave you with that ‘thought’,” I told her, and went on my way, laughing merrily. ;-) 




Friday, October 30, 2015

What Will a Day Bring?



You just never know what a day will bring. Some days something tragic happens, and you’re dealing with grief and sadness. Some days a surprising blessing will happen, and you’re sharing your joy and happiness with others.

And then there are days when…..well, let’s just say the randomness and funniness of it just makes you bust up in laughter, endorphins abounding.  

Megan just came to me where I’m watching a show in the bedroom and held her hand out. I put my hand out, palm up, and she dropped something into it. 

It was a toenail. 

Me: Oh, hmmmmm…..

Megan: It’s my toenail. 

Me: I see.

Megan: It was too long.

She hoists her leg up on the end of my bed and pulls at one of her piggies, to show me the offending nail, now cropped. 

Me: So you pulled it off?

Megan: Yeah. It’s shawrp now.

She puts her leg down and we both look at the toenail in my hand.

Me: Did you want me to have this?

Megan: Yeah. 

Me: Okay. Thank you. 

Megan: Can I have a buwwito fowr a snack? 

Me: Sure, go ahead.

And with that, she went to the kitchen to heat her snack in the microwave. 

You just never know what a day will bring you. Some days, it might just be….a toenail. ;-) 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Deep Fried......

CHUGRAD MCANDREWS


Have you ever seen something and wished you could literally reach right in and scratch your brain at it? Oh boy, today I had a whopper of a WHAT???? moment.

I was just perusing recipes for Halloween and Fall, looking at various easy treats to make with kids, Autumn monkey bread recipes, foods you could make for a Halloween party, yada yada. I don’t even *do* Halloween, but since I do have my The Magic Meal Fairy and other people do celebrate Halloween, I like to share neat recipes for them. Or cute food-themed costumes. 

So there I am, looking at Monster Pops, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, and (mashed) Potato Ghosts, and I came across…..

Deep-Fried Tarantulas.

Did you hear me??

DEEP-FRIED TARANTULAS!!! 

Okay, so, from the photo, I was thinking it must use those fried noodles you get with chop suey, you know, at the Chinese restaurant? 

No. 

I click to see the recipe, and the guy talks about it before he gives the recipe. I’m skimming over his monologue and he’s saying something about how tarantulas are “more satisfying” because grasshoppers and beetles are “heavily armored,”  and I'm thinking, this *has* to be a joke. It has to be. There’s no way this is for real.

No. 

I go down to the ingredients and there it is: “2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed.”

O.M.G. Thawed?? People freeze tarantulas like broccoli or a package of meat? O_O

This isn’t a joke. It’s real. This guy has a recipe for Deep-Fried Tarantulas….and upon further reading, I discover that this recipe is included in his book, The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook. He also won the gold medal in a Big Bug Cook-Off in 2011 with this recipe. GAH!!!!!

So, here I am, trying to get my eyebrows back down where they belong and trying to pry the look of horror off my face. I might need a crowbar for that. I’m not trying to be judgmental to bug eaters, but all I can think of is…..

WHY??? Seriously, you *do* realize there is real food out there, right? I mean, it’s probably even way less expensive than ordering  “2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed.” 

Where do you even get them?? I doubt you can get them on Amazon. Maybe a specialty shop. From Hell. 

Anyway, trust me, there *is* real food out there. No need to resort to bugs. And if my honey felt he just had to eat bugs or insects, whatever they are, especially Deep-Fried Tarantulas…..I don’t think I’d be kissing him any time soon. 

So there you have it. Deep-Fried Tarantulas. The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook. I’m not sure if this tops my stumbling upon a cookbook of recipes using semen. It just might.

At any rate, it’s time to end this. I’m afraid my breakfast is going to come back up. People, be careful out there. It’s a scary world. 

And no, you will NOT see this on The Magic Meal Fairy. Nope. No way, no how, uh-uh. ;-) 


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Adventures at Five a.m.

Photo: Celebrations.com


Cat, in hallway outside bathroom: Meowwww.

Me, in bathroom: Hrmphlp.

Cat: Meowwwwwww.

Me: <unintelligible grunt, thinking, Go let yourself out. I did it the last 753 times!>

Cat: MEOWWWWWWWWWW!

Me: Oh be quiet. 

Cat: Blurp….blurrrp….BLUUURRRRPPPP!

Me: Oh crap!

No, vomit. 

I finish up faster than a jack rabbit with a dog in pursuit and bolt out of the bathroom in time to see the cat finish emptying the contents of its stomach onto the floor, in the middle of the dark, narrow hallway.

There’s no getting out of it. I can’t just crawl back into bed and leave it for later. It’s a large amount and in the very middle. If I leave it, someone will get to play on an unexpected Slip N Slide on their sleepy trek to the bathroom. 

Bleary eyed, I go get the paper towels from under the kitchen sink and hobble back to the hallway, flicking on the light.

“Turn dat light off,” Megan says from the recesses of her darkened room. 

“I need the light on for a minute, Megan.”

I start scooping with doubled paper towels. When I feel something, I start saying my mantra for gross stuff: I can wash my hands, I can wash my hands, I can wash my hands….

I gather the whole bundle and shuffle off to throw it away. Then back to the hallway for the final wipe of any dampness left there.

Only it was at the edge of the light’s reach so I have no clue where the vomit was now. Can’t see it.

Shifting, back and forth, slanting my head to try and catch a reflection of wetness in the minimal light…..aha! 

Swipe a few times and back to the kitchen to throw the paper towel away and wash my hands. 

Back to bed. Only now I’m not going to be able to just fall asleep. 

Seriously, nothing gets you moving faster than the sound of retching. By the kids or the cats. You can be in a dead sleep and stand straight up out of bed without bending a limb when you hear that sound. 

Cat: Meowww.

Me: Yes, coming, my King! 

I go let him out. 

Why didn’t I just do that the first time???

This episode of Adventures at Five a.m. is brought to you by….me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fog, Leaves, and Spider Webs



So, this morning Megan and I had an extra long wait for her bus to go to Program. We went out at 7, the appointed time, but many times the bus is a minute or two late, no biggie. While waiting, we were commenting on how foggy it was. 

Me: Megan, go stand over there so I can take a picture of the fog and you. 

Megan, with a mock sigh: Oh alwight.

It was so foggy, I’m thinking, And I’m sending my baby out into this abyss???






So Megan stood where I told her to, and looked at me, gritting her teeth together and smiling. Well, it was more like a grimace.







"Dis is not a snile. Ny face froze like dis," she said. 

That’s a line from the movie See Spot Run, when Michael Clarke Duncan was so frozen his face was set in a smile, and he spoke without moving his lips. 

As I sat back down on the porch swing, Megan looked at the lawn and started fussing. “Wook at what he did!” 






I ask what, and she points to a miniscule pile of leaves, slightly separated from the other three trillion leaves all over the lawn.

“Timmy! He messed it up.I wowked hawd on dat.” 





I told her I was sorry, trying not to laugh because the entire lawn is covered with leaves,  and she sat back down on the chair on the porch. Within minutes, her bus comes from the wrong direction and sails past us. We both watched with furrowed brows, wondering what’s going on. 

I said that maybe he was going around the block so he’d be coming from the usual direction, so the door is on our side and Megan wouldn’t have to cross the street to get on. 

Megan agreed and then pointed out a spider web in the corner of the porch. 




Me: Oh, cool, look at that!

Megan: Makes me want to wip it down.

Me: Megan, why? That spider worked hard on that web.

Megan: He did, he kweated it. 






Me: Then why do you want to rip it down?

Megan, with a horrified face: Because it’s kweepin’ me out. 

I gave up on trying not to laugh and just let loose with it. 

Then her bus came up the road from the usual direction and stopped in front of our house. As Megan climbed aboard, I heard a woman say hello to Megan and explain that the man driving was new and learning the route. 

And after buckling herself in, Megan and I did our wave: a hearty wave and then “I Love You” in sign language.








The spider spun a line of web going from the corner of the porch down to the bush. I’m pretty sure they use this as a zipline for fun when they’re bored with making webs. ;) 


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Tale of Burps and Farts



I know I write so much about Megan, but I want to emphasize that it doesn’t mean she’s my favorite or anything. They’re ALL my favorites! ;)

But the thing is, when Ryan and Timmy were younger, we spent a lot more time together because we were home schooling, and by then Megan and Caitlin were done with home schooling. So there was more to write about the boys.

Nowadays, Caitlin is 24, an EMT working twelve hour shifts along with volunteering with a rescue squad, and has a very busy social life. The little time we have together in any given week is usually spent chattering in the kitchen while I’m cooking and cleaning and she’s getting ready for work.

Ryan is fifteen….need I say more? ;) Really, though, Ryan is a much more low key kind of guy, quite the introvert like Caity.

And Timmy has a pretty active social life himself, as well as being in public school now  like Ryan is.

So it falls to Megan, who is home with me and spends the most time with me, to provide me with fodder to share with everyone. And does she ever live up to that awesome responsibility! She’s just so funny and fun, I can’t help but want to let y’all in on it. ;)

Last night, Caitlin stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things for us before she had to go in for her shift, so Megan and I were preparing Caity’s food for work. We were already making Tuna Pasta Salad for supper anyway so Megan got to work on the sandwich for her.

As I sliced some super sharp cheddar cheese for Caity’s snack, Megan wanted some but I said no. Then I spied a paper thin sliver on the knife I had used, so I offered it to Megan before resuming my Tuna Pasta Salad prep work. Megan kept trying to get me to throw it into her mouth but I wouldn’t, and made her take it with her hand.

So we started sticking our tongues out at each other, which morphed into curling our tongues and then trying to make them go sideways. Megan can actually do that, but I always give up and make my *head* go sideways, which in turn “technically” makes my tongue sideways. Go me! ;)

And of course all this had us both busting up laughing together.

Suddenly I burped an unexpected, very forceful burp. Believe me, I’m just as surprised as you are that something so crass erupted from delicate, refined, little ol’ me.

“Dalerie Heaver Jeanne!” Megan scolded, mocking shame at my odorous outburst. Jeanne is my middle name, and Heather is hers, and I have no clue why she puts them together, but it’s funny when she does it in that indignant manner of hers.

Her next move was to try to fart a retort, which was unsuccessful. Thankfully, for my sake. ;)

So instead she made a huge loud “fart” on her bare arm, which she is *very* proficient at. Many a time she has regaled us with her arm farts and grown in this valuable skill.

Which of course sent me and Megan into a fit of giggles.

And of course I had to write about it, which you know I’ve done several times already, similar pieces.

But lest you think our home is always filled with childish humor such as burps and farts, believe me when I tell you that that specific type of jocularity comprises a mere 10% of our entire panoply of banter and joking.

I mean, seriously, could someone who practices too much infantine whimsy come up with such a capable, sophisticated sentence as the above?

I think not. ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

He Wiww Come Home!



So, Phil has been in the hospital for a few days. He had a small stroke, but he’s doing very well right now. Various tests have been done to discover what caused the stroke; a CT scan, an MRI, an ultrasound of the carotid arteries. One of his carotid arteries has a blockage of plaque. 

A dye test was done yesterday to determine the extent of the blockage. If it was over 50%, the doctor would perform surgery, but if it were under fifty percent he’d treat it with medication. 

Megan and I have gone and visited with Phil each day. It’s so hard with him being gone, and especially hard to know this is a serious medical issue; a stroke is nothing to take lightly. We’re so very glad he is doing so well and that it wasn’t a major stroke. He’s still dealing with a little difficulty speaking, and his fine motor control in his right hand is not very good right now, but he’s alive and with us, thank the Lord.

Megan, of course has been impacted by this. She’s had too many losses the past few years…the death of her favorite uncle, my brother Steven, and her paternal grandmother. A few years before it was her Great Grammie, her Uncle David, and her cousin David. 

For someone like Megan, who has Down syndrome and developmentally and emotionally  is a much younger age than her twenty-seven years, losses like this affect her greatly. Meaning she eats, sleeps, and breathes them each day until long after the initial event is over. 

So today as she was eating her oatmeal before going to Program and I was washing dishes, she started talking about Phil again.

Megan: Is Phiw coming home today?

Me: I don’t know.

Megan: If he stands up is he coming home today?

Me: I still don’t know. <chuckling>

Megan, decisively: If he have da suwgery, and he be good, he can come home today.

Me: Maybe, if he needs the surgery. But if he has surgery, he won’t come home today, I don’t think.

Megan, with conviction: He wiww (will), He’ww be good and stand up. He desewves it. 

Me: Oh….<trying not to laugh>

Megan: Yep. Day have nuwses and food dare. 

And finally, with much determination: He wiww. He’ww come home today! 

I hope you're right, my dear Megan. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

An Alarming Text



Dear Straight Talk,

Was it truly necessary to text me at 3:16 in the morning, aka the middle of the night, to alert me that you've updated your phone unlocking policy?

Did you somehow have an irrational fear that I might be trying to unlock my phone in my sleep and had an insatiable need to know the new policy regarding said phone?

Because if you did, let me assure you that at 3:16 a.m. I was, for once, actually deeply immersed in the slumber that so eludes me most nights, and had been for a mere hour and a half.

Thanks to you, I laid awake after being startlingly jarred awake and finally gave up at 4, knowing that by the time I could manage to get back to sleep, it’d be time to get my sons up for school.

It does indeed take me at least 2 hours to get to sleep, and that’s even with the help of  the lovely and beneficial Benedryl. Some people can fall asleep within mere minutes, but alas, that is not me and never has been me.

I need Mr. Sandman to sprinkle his special Sleepytime Fairy Dust on me extra early, extra hard, and extra long.

Then comes the hurdle of staying asleep. And this happens night after night, year after year, forever and ever amen so help me God.

Had I known you’d be struck with the inspiration to send out your electronic missive that was of such a paramount topic, I’d have turned the volume down on my phone.

But that would have chanced me not hearing the alarm on it that had been set for almost three hours later, to get my children up and at ‘em. And my children are just “slightly” ahead of you in order of importance in my life.

So, in closing, dear Straight Talk, I’d like to make a few suggestions to the task force who developed the new phone unlocking policy.

If you would just provide me with the name, phone number, and time zone of the supervisor in charge of said task force, I’m sure you’ll greatly appreciate my input. ;)

Love,
Me


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I See Funder!




“I see funder!”

Megan has uttered these words so many times over the years, but they never cease to make us laugh. Not only because of the childish mispronunciation, but because we all know if she's seeing thunder, there’s definitely a criss-cross of thunder’s properties or her  sensory skills.

Megan has always been fascinated by the weather. She’ll watch The Weather Channel for hours and then warn us of the dire conditions about to weave chaos and trauma in our little patch of earth.

Megan: Mummy! <eyes wide and stern look> Guess what’s happenin’???

Me: What? 

Megan: Dare’s a stowm comin’! 

Me: It’s just a little rain, it’s not bad. 

Megan: Day said dares a townado comin’.

Me: Well, it might be that someone is getting a tornado, but it’s not us.

Megan: No, weally, it’s a townado fret! 

That’s how it goes. And every day, she asks me at least 459 times to look at the clouds because it looks like rain. Even on a sunny, clear-blue-sky day. 

Today Megan went out on the porch for a few minutes, and while she was out there, it started raining. It really was raining quite hard. 

She came in and sat down in the kitchen while I made lunch, saying,” It’s poowin’ out. I got soaked!” 

I looked over at her and saw she had nary a drop on her, and went back to the grilled cheese.

Megan, looking seriously mournful: I almost got hit by lightnin’! 

Me: Meg, I don’t think so.

Megan: I weally did. If I got hit by lightnin’ and died, would you be sad?

Me: Oh Megan! Of course I would! I wouldn’t be able to go on! But that’s not going to happen. 

I went to her at the table and hugged her tight. The thought of  any of my children dying, even if it’s not even remotely plausible, makes powerfully desperate emotions surge through me like a tidal wave. 

So I held on tight, hugging Megan extra long. 

And then her head popped up.

“OOOOOP!! I see funder!” 



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Of Sickness, School, and New Opportunities



Things have been pretty busy here in our home, as they always are. My writing for Home & School Mosaics has ended, as the two lovely ladies who founded the website several years ago needed to move on to other pursuits in their lives. I’m grateful for the opportunity to write for them the past one and a half years. I feel I’ve grown so much through that wonderful experience.

But new adventures await me, as I’ve been given another gracious opportunity to write for my friend Meg’s blog, This Big Happy! I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. Hopefully I’ll be worthy to read. ;) You can read my first article there, The Battle of the Fruit Flies, Part Deux

Meanwhile, I’ll still be here with ECDS and the sister site, The Magic Meal Fairy. Hopefully someday I’ll also realize my dream of writing children’s picture books for the whimsical poems I write. <dreamy sigh>

So anyhoo, I started this week with a summer cold and then added an intestinal virus that was two obnoxious days long. And for good measure, I woke up today with sciatica that is so painful, I’m about ready to rip that dang nerve out of my body and…and…well I don’t know what I’d do with it, but it would be noteworthy! Grrrrrr….

The big news here at our house is that Ryan and Timmy started school yesterday. We had gotten their haircuts last week, thankfully with a coupon from Walmart that saved us $12. We were able to purchase school clothes and sneakers for them thanks to a program our local clothing bank, Walmart, and several churches and organizations sponsor. We are so appreciative of that.

And because of getting their new digs, I decided we needed to go through all their clothing and thin the herd. You just *know* I got a lot of eye rolls about that from Ryan and Timmy. But a big incentive for them to help was that I refused to let them have their new clothes and shoes until we did that. Yep, score one for Mean Mommy. ;)

School supply lists were on the city school website for Timmy, but not for Ryan. The open house for all schools was Monday, which is when I became overly attached to my bathroom, developing an extra special affection for the toilet in particular. On Tuesday, even though I was still battling with my innards, I had  no choice but to go to the schools and get paperwork, as their first day was yesterday.

And after traipsing all over that high school, which seems like a mini-city all its own, we managed to get a list of supplies that Ryan needed, just in the nick of time. Caitlin, my lovely daughter, sweetly and thoughtfully bought the boys’ school supplies. Another blessing for which I am so thankful! 

So yesterday I got The Three up, Megan, Ryan, and Timotheus, at 6 a.m. and we started another year of Ryan off at 7, Timmy off at 7:45, and Megan off to “Pwogwam” at 7 on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Another year of Phil and I having much of the day alone two days a week, up until Megan gets home around 1:00 or so. Whatever will we do with ourselves???

I’ll never tell. ;) 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kids Are So Weird



Kids are SO weird.

Timmy had been begging for xbox live for months, and we said no over and over. Until one day, after he had once again shown his willingness to help out around the house, and had at times gone above and beyond what was asked of him, we felt he deserved something to show him that we appreciate his attitude and willingness.

So yes, we bought him a year long card for it, though I went on Amazon and got it for 25% less than the regular price. 

Yes we know about the dangers out there of communicating with strangers, and no it’s not up for discussion with anyone; we’ve been parenting for 64 years between us so I think we’re able to decide about and handle this. We had talks with Timmy and he hasn’t broken any of our cardinal rules for using it.

So anyhoo, he’s been happily playing with his friends and sister Caity for months now. She tells me the funny things he does, like singing on and on while he plays. She and I have discussed how he’s very bossy on it; I’ve always said he’s a leader, not a follower. Sometimes we wonder why anyone plays with him, as bossy as he is, but they do. I guess someone has to be in charge on the missions they carry out in the games.

One night, it was rather late and I wanted something from the kitchen. Everyone else was asleep, but Timmy was in a chair in front of the TV, the room dark but for the glow of the television. 

The kitchen was also dark with only the small light above the sink. As I stepped through the doorway and was opposite the living room doorway where Timmy was visible, I hear him say, “Someone’s behind you.”

I almost jumped out of my skin! I just about peed myself in fright! 

I looked over at Timmy to finally see the microphone ear set on his head, and then he directed someone to go somewhere. 

He was playing xbox live….calm as could be, while I just had ten years shaved off my life. 

This xbox live came with no warnings about these kinds of dangerous shenanigans. They should. They’re like very bad side effects on a medication!

So today I walked past the living room and down the hallway to the kitchen and Timotheus was playing on the game again, head set in place.

Timmy: Jeremy, you have to *tell* me when you die.

Me: Timothy…<in that authoritative voice, eyebrows raised>

He looks up at me expectantly, waiting for a rebuke for being bossy.

Me: Dead men tell no tales.

He looks at me quizzically, eyebrows furrowed, as if I just sprouted another set of eyes on my head (wouldn’t that come in handy?) and goes back to his game without responding. 

I know what he’s thinking inside that small curly-haired head of his… 

Parents are SO weird. 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Of Laptops, Phones, and Cameras



So, I’ve had a fun two weeks. I was just writing up a post for The Magic Meal Fairy, my sister site for food and cooking, and so glad to be able to do so.

You see, I’ve had a teensy bit of trouble lately….the techno-gods have been looking down on me unfavorably and working overtime in my life. 

It all started on a Tuesday morning when I woke up, fired up my laptop, and discovered that I couldn’t get internet. All day I explored what could be the problem, trying everything in my nonexistent geek arsenal to fix this. 

Since it happened after a Windows “critical update,” I did a system restore to before that point. No luck. 

To make a long story short, I did so many system restores and then undo’s that I’m not sure they all evened out (the undo’s to the restores). I restarted my computer countless times. I was pretty sure all I needed was a Wi-fi adapter, but no one else was sure, so we kept up with trying things for over a week, to no avail.

So, while going without internet, which meant I couldn’t put up any blog posts because my photos and docs are on my laptop…Phil’s cell phone broke. Or died. Or….I have no idea, it was working one day and not working the next. 

I got on the horn and called the company to deal with it, and after going through several things, the woman with the heavy foreign accent said she’d send out a new SID card for it. It would take 7 to 10 days. Oy. 

And then, after the new SID card came for the phone, and before my laptop was fixed for internet, it happened….

My camera, my measly little Canon Powershot that I’ve had for 5 years and has served me well and that I rely on so much for my blogs, slid off the bedside table and right into a cup of grape drink. <sigh>

Months and months ago, while driving somewhere, my phone dove off the seat and took a swim in a cup of grape drink. It was in a bed of rice for months and never recovered. 

I’m thinking the moral of this story is don’t buy grape drink ever again. At least that’s what I wish I could do to keep these things from happening. ;) 

So anyhoo, I took out the battery and memory card from my camera and laid them all to rest in a coffin of rice. I said some prayers over it and laid a rose on top, then changed out of my mourning clothes. 

Three days later I tried out the camera, but alas, it’s still not working. Hoping, praying the memory card was okay because it had new photos I hadn’t yet loaded onto my laptop, I took it and inserted it into that skinny little opening I didn’t even know I had on my laptop, and it worked. 

It loaded the 7 new photos onto my laptop. Along with 1,806 old ones that were still on the card from the past three years. I wish I were kidding, but I'm not. There is now a folder with 1,813 photos in it for the date of 8/1/2015. 

I guess we’ll see what happens with the camera; it might be that I have to get a new one somehow. 

But on the bright side, after almost 2 weeks of  trying to fix my laptop’s internet problems, including spending a day plugged into a cable for internet so I could do a live chat with someone from Asus, it was finally determined that my internal network driver was *not* even the problem; the Wi-fi card was dead, and all I had to do was get a new card or a wireless network adapter thingy. 

Which I did, and I plugged it into one of the USB ports and voilá! I was online again! 

And here I am again, so thankful to have the cell phone working again and be able to get online. I’m not sure what will become of my poor camera, if it will recover from its grape drink overdose or not.

In the meantime, I may go ask a priest to toss some holy water my way. But with my luck, it'll probably bounce off and my car will break down or something. ;) 




Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ten Most Sanctimommy Posts

When I hopped online this morning to take a quick (yeah right!) peek at Facebook, I came across a post by friend Andrea, sharing an article about The Ten Most Sanctimommy Posts Ever. http://www.momsbelike.com/4267528-11781133

And then the laughter began. ;)

I started out reading on my cell phone; I was only taking a quick peek at Facebook, remember? But by the sixth Sanctimommy post, I knew I had to switch over. 

Besides, the photo advertisements directly beneath the article were driving me nuts. I kept seeing someone pinching the side of their bare stomach, and thinking how I can’t “pinch and inch” at all. Heck, I can’t even gather all my flab in one handful, never mind between 2 fingers.

So I fired up the laptop, got onto that article again, and commenced with the jocularity. 

You really have to read the whole article to see them all; I’m just going to comment on a few that really made me laugh here. Not giggle, not chuckle, but huge uproarious guffaws. Well, okay, not out loud, since everyone else was sleeping. But I did on the inside. 




Obviously this mom never had a child with special needs. And I’m not even talking about Megan, who with Down syndrome was toilet trained at 4 ½ during the day, and 10 ½ for nighttime. Yes, she wore the biggest diapers they had at the time, then we had to move on to adult diapers delivered by a medical supply company. But that’s not even where I’m going with this.

Try having a boy who refuses to go on the toilet. Yes, refuses, R-E-F-U-S-E-S. It’s not that Timmy couldn’t, not that he didn’t recognize the urge or that he couldn’t control it. No, he was just plain stubborn, and it’s anyone’s guess as to why.





This child went so far as this: when he was four I went to Walmart and checked out the potties they had, some coming with gadgets like music for the tyke’s listening pleasure, barely short of a disco ball as reward for the piddling of the pee. 

Timmy was not impressed. As a matter of fact, he was so underwhelmed by even the grandest of child thrones, that he said to me in his four year old voice, ”Even if you buy one of those I won’t use it.” 

No promise of training pants or big boy undergotchies swayed this little diapered tyrant. Not even from Granny (my mom).

Timmy finally gave in exactly a month before his 5th birthday. I’ll tell you how I managed to change his mind about it: I told him that if he went in his diapers anymore, I’d spank his butt. And that’s what I did, twice that day, and he never wore a diaper again.
I know there are people who don’t believe in spanking, and I’m not one of them. This isn’t even up for discussion, because you (hopefully!) haven’t dealt with a child almost five years old absolutely refusing to use the toilet. If I’d known that two spanks would cure him of that vexing tenacity to have his diaper and pee in it too, then I’d have done it when he was three and saved myself 2 more years of that. Sheesh.

Oh, and by the way, on Timmy's fifth birthday, I took away his bottle. Yes, you heard me: bottle. Hey, no hatin' on a momma who was desperate for sleep; you don't know his history from before we got him at 5 weeks old and you have no clue what it was like raising a baby born cocaine addicted. 











“Mom the right way”???? I’m not even going to make a peep about this because there are not enough hours in the day to delve into this one without writing a book. And I’d have a contract for the sequel, too. ‘Nuff said. 


















Um….but my children are raving lunatics! And at the end of a busy day, I actually look forward to a glass of fortification, I mean wine. 












Obviously the woman who said this never had a child like Timmy. Who not only did all those things, but more. Oh yes, sooooooo much more. 

Like pee in the cat’s litter box to see it clump, open a can of refrigerated orange cinnamon rolls to eat the little can of icing, or dig out the almost dry plaster patching the hole he dug in the horse hair wall. 

Hey, as hard as it is to believe, even I melted crayons on the floor heating vent in the winter and ate dirt on saltines in the summer. I hate to shatter your image of me, but alas, it is true.



I never felt the need to be away from the girls when they were little, no joke, but with Ryan and Timmy….whole ‘nother story. I admit very willingly that I have gotten someone to watch my children and fairly ran to the car as fast as my fat arthritic legs could take me, disregarded the door and flew in through the window, and started the car, whooping vociferously, “I’m FREE!!!!! I’m FREE!!!! I’m FREEEEEEEEEE!” Yehaw. 



(Okay, so I did use the door, but in my mind I was going in through the window.) 

You know, I could have said so much more, and about each of the ten posts, but like I said, not enough hours in the day. I hope you got as good a laugh about those as I did. I know for myself, I just improved my health by several notches; you know, a merry heart and all. (Proverbs 17:22) 

Go forth and laugh, people. It’s good for you. ;) 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Of Nails, Clippers, and Danger


So, Megan came to me and asked me to clip her toenails. This is one of those personal care skills that she can’t do herself, lest she cut herself. Some of her toenails are thick, so regular nail clippers don’t work. I use those heavy duty ones that look kind of like pliers. They are made with thick metal and have rubber “sleeves” on the handles so you can get a good grip. 

I had been working on my laptop at the time, so when she asked me, I got up and started walking out, quoting a line from TV show Hannah Montana: “Let me go get my goggles.” ;) 

“Don’t forget the hedge clippers!” Megan chirped to me, laughing. I turned back for them and we proceeded to the kitchen. She happily, and me as if I were headed to the gallows.

I  always have her sit in one kitchen chair, while I sit on another kind of next to her, and she props her leg up on my knee. So we assumed the positions.

Then the fun began.

Megan propped her left foot on my knee and I dug in with relish to the exciting task at hand. Okay, so really, I took a deep breath to fortify myself and decided it wouldn’t get done if I didn’t start the frightening deed.

I started with the littlest toe and worked my way to the biggie, the biggest of digits, the Big Kahuna of Phalanges. 

And as I was working hard, getting the hedge clippers, I mean nail clippers, in place and squeezing with Herculean might, slivers of hard, sharp protein flew off and into the air, pinging as they hit the ceiling or wall. I felt like maybe I should give a warning signal to others so they could take cover. “Fore!!!!!” 

As it was, I got hit several times on my cheek, wrist, and thigh. Megan laughed uproariously, great belly laughs,  as we heard the distant pings of nails hitting ceiling and wall. 

“Don’t shoot your eye out!” she said, laughing, quoting a line from the movie A Christmas Story. All I have are my flimsy wire frame glasses for protection. Oh my. 

When Megan hefted her right foot onto my knee for the next round, I clipped the baby toenail, rounding it off so it wouldn’t be so sharp and slice up anything it came into contact with. It was so cute, even as she’s 27, that I twiddled it a little and said, “What a cute baby piggy!!”

Megan said in her serious-but-still-joking voice, “Leave it alone. Get back to work!” Then she busted up laughing, those great big belly laughs that can’t help but make everyone around her laugh too.

I finished up clipping, squeezing with all my strength on the big toenail, vowing to do those ones first next time. 

And then I was done, for another month at least. 

And I made it through without losing an eye. ;) 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Of Teeth and Oranges and Megan




I reheated some noodles and stew for lunch, and Megan chattered away.

Megan: Can I have a owange too-ooo?

Me: yes, go ahead.

The kids have been wicked into oranges lately.

Megan, passing the orange from hand to hand, starts singing: Hot orange, hot orange! (like hot potato)

The microwave beeps, signaling her food is ready. I pull the bowl out and place it in front of her.

Me: Okay, yours is done.

Megan: Meat.....what for dinner! <giggling, imitating that old commercial>

Me: You silly. :)

Megan: You want my beef?

Me: No, honey, I'm having some.

Megan: Okay, I eat it. I have canine teef back dare to chew wiv. <points at her molars>

Me, laughing: Nope, those are your molars. Your canines are closer to the front. 

Megan: Den I’ll use dem to whip (rip) apart my owange! <giggling more>

Me: Okay….<laughing>…okay. Eat your food. 

It all comes back around to the orange. Did you see what I did there? Around to the orange….aROUND to the orange…..oranges are round….oh well, Megan’s funnier than I am. ;) 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Breaking Wind ;)



Are farts okay to talk about? If not, why not? They’re a natural part of our bodies and everyday life, and let’s face it, setting aside the smell factor, farts can make you laugh. 

Even the names for farts are funny, and there are quite a few: gas, air biscuit, toot, booty belch, panty burp, just to name a few.

So, this afternoon I’ve been inundated with someone’s “fire in the hole!”

Except for the storm, it's been pretty quiet, as only Phil, Megan, and I are home. I’m trying to write, and Megan comes into my room because she doesn’t like the “funder,” as she calls it. 

A long loud fart erupts. Megan giggles. 

I'm trying not to breathe, hiding my face in my top. Man, that stinks!

It’s soon followed by what sounds like a motor cycle peeling out of a parking lot. Megan’s busting up laughing, and I am too. I mean, yeah it smells awful, but the sound is so funny I can’t help it.

“Megan, what in the world did you eat??”

A minute goes by and I can see her straining, giggling softly. 

"Megan, you'd better be careful, you'll poop in your undies!" I warn her.

She giggles, and soon another big drawn out toot emerges from her back end. 

She laughs hysterically as I protest and hide in my shirt again. 

“Megan! Your rump roast stinks!!”

Megan bursts out with belly laughs, and then quiets down.

Within seconds I hear, "Pull my finger!" 

No, Megan. Just no. I choose life.

Friday, May 1, 2015

"It's a *Pwogwam*!"



So today is one of Megan’s Program days. She goes on Wednesdays and Fridays. I get her up at 6:00 in the morning, and she needs to get dressed, use the bathroom, and eat. I do her hair for her and make sure her glasses are sparkling clean while she’s eating, see that she takes her morning medications, and make sure she has a dollar and change to buy a soda when they go out into the community.

Well, this morning Caitlin had gotten off at 6 a.m. from running her shift with the rescue squad. And she made chocolate chip pancakes and sausage for everyone, so she was in the kitchen with Megan whilst I was trying to locate a certain book I wanted to read. 

Aware that it was now 6:59 and Megan’s bus comes at 7:00, I abandoned my search to go check at the door and see if Megan’s bus was here. It came within a minute or so, and Megan was duly hugged and sent sauntering off down the old cement walkway to get on and head off to Program. Caity and I waved to her as the bus pulled out.

And then Caitlin related to me the exchange between her and Megan in the kitchen just minutes before she came rushing down the hallway for her bus. 

Caitlin was at the kitchen counter, making coffee, and Megan had stood up and gotten her coat and 50 lb backpack on. 

Megan: Oooo, oooo! I need a hug!

Caity: Okay. <patting Megan on the back>

She knew I needed Megan to get going, so Caity was trying to hurry Megan along.

Caity: I think I hear the bus…

Megan dramatically grasps the edge of the counter, looking out the windows above the sink, her head bobbing up and down, trying to see the bus. Caity’s trying not to laugh.

Megan: Oh my gosh, I think it’s here!

Caity: Megan!

Megan: What?

Caity: Bye.

Megan: Oh, stop, stop!

Caity: Megan!

Megan: What?

Caity: Have fun at your class.

Megan: Um, it’s not a kwass, it’s a *Pwogwam*!

And so she came down the hall, where I had just looked out the front door, and the bus came. 
In relating all this to me, Caitlin and I just busted up laughing. Caity’s parting thoughts on it:

“She kwacks me up! ;) ”




Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Demise of a Potato Peeler



I am sorry to report the demise of Mr. Potato Peeler. He lived a long and useful life, almost 10 years. According to his live-in companion, Ms. Cheese Slicer, with whom he resided in the Silverware Drawer for 6 years, Potato Peeler was still as sharp the day he passed as he was when he came out of his package.




“If only he could have just held himself together!” she tearfully lamented.








Friends of Potato Peeler, Mrs. Pastry Knife and Mr. Potato Masher, of Second Drawer Down, also attested to the sharpness of Potato Peeler, recalling a day recently when he won a race peeling a rather large Russett potato. He “moved like a flash of lightning!” according to Mr. Masher.









“He had an appealing way about him,” reminisced Mrs. Pastry Knife. 








Potato Peeler’s aunt, Mrs. Julia Ricer, who coincidentally is related by marriage to friend Mr. Potato Masher, remembers Potato Peeler’s younger days as a strapping young lad, who always seemed to be chomping at the bit to peel vegetables. He didn’t just work on potatoes. He was an Equal Opportunity Peeler, who “peeled everything from potatoes, apples, and carrots, to cucumbers, parsnips, and even a few eggplants!” she said. 








Longtime neighbor and friend Mr. Food Grater, who resided in the adjacent Left-Hand Cupboard, had this to say about Potato Peeler: “In all my years grating cheese, carrots, and zucchini side by side with him, I never knew him to shirk his duties in the Kitchen. He was a grate friend, pun intended. He will be grately missed.”












Potato Peeler was the son and only child of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jack Peeler. 












He leaves behind his live-in companion, Ms. Cheese Slicer, along with their love child, little Spud Peeler. 







Viewing will be held Saturday, April 18th, from 1-2 p.m. on the Counter to the Left of the Sink. Burial will follow directly afterward, in the Kitchen Wastebasket. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations of vegetable peelings be made to the Compost Pile of your choice, in Potato Peeler’s name.