Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Birthday

This blog is celebrating its first anniversary.

A year ago today John made me laugh, and I took the time to contact blogger about the blog I had created years ago.

Many writers have attempted to analyze the old blogosphere.

I love Amy Wellborn's little snippet here. I love that Danielle Bean has a picture of one of her children looking at his tummy along with a caption about navel gazing. Yes, this blogging thing does feel like so much self-indulgent, navel gazing.

But it sure is fun.

One of my inspirations for this blog was my friend and fellow veteran yearbook advisor, Amy Parris. After a few children, Amy gave up on baby books and Creative Memories and embraced blogging to capture those special moments. I am one with Amy on this. I am not sure John even has a baby book. Kolbe's is filled poignant details such as "You are so cute!" and "We love you so much!" Lame, lame, mega lame.

My mother produced baby books that are true works of art. Every tooth that erupted, every shot given, the day my poor sister Karen had something horrible lanced on her rear-end - every detail is dutifully recorded in that flawless Catholic school girl penmanship. No can do around here. But I can blog.

I love looking back at faces and funny comments of this precious family God has given me.

I love to write! As a former English teacher and a lover of both grammar and punctuation, I have been sadly shocked at the number of errors I make. Twenty years ago I would have abandoned the whole project for just this reason. If I couldn't do something perfectly (in my estimation), I wouldn't do it all. In this small area, I am older and wiser. Why give up something you enjoy just because you tend to type "they" instead of "the"? Blogging has helped me grow in humility.

I love to see the bigger picture. John is potty trained and doesn't escape nearly as often as he did a year ago! The obsession with peanut butter has passed! We are all getting flu shots this year!

I love laughing at Kolbe's jokes all over again.

I love the encouraging women I have encountered in online world, women like Mary and Farmer's City Wife, to name just a few.

I love to share the tidbits of my day with family far away in Michigan. One of these days I'll convince one of my relatives to leave a comment!

Happy birthday to you, oh humble blog! Thanks for capturing my memories.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday

He's now nine years old, so I suppose I should stop calling him Sunshine. But the name just fits. Kolbe arrived after a long four year wait. He brought light, joy, humor, and spice to our family.

He brings them still.

We joined the YMCA when Kolbe was about four. Everyone lined up for I.D. photos. Click. There's Mom smiling nicely, hands folded. Click. There's Tim smiling nicely, hands folded. Click. There's Kolbe dancing, hands waving in the air. I still have his original I.D. because it still cracks me up.

I'll close with his latest joke: Why doesn't the cannibal eat clowns? They taste funny.

Bon Appetit!

With Kolbe’s two birthday celebrations, we’ve been keeping the new oven busy with chocolate confections and lots of them.

I am no great chef, but I can whip up a few snazzy desserts. The older boys, however, have recently come clean with me – they prefer box cakes to my chocolate torte.

“That frosting that comes in a can - it’s awesome,” they tell me. I’ve learned to swallow my pride and embrace a cheaper and quicker way to celebrate birthdays.

This morning cupcakes are on the menu. John is offering his assistance. Alone, this job is quick and clean. With assistance of the toddler variety, it is slow and sloppy. But one look into those gorgeous brown eyes, and who can say no? They are darker than Duncan Hines chocolate fudge frosting and just as irresistible.

So we begin. Step 1 – rip open the bag and promptly spill it all over.

“Look at this mess!” John says with dismay. “Cwean it up, Mama!”

Did I mention that my pint-sized sous-chef is also bossy? We dump and stir and taste until John’s entire face is the color of his eyes.

“Wooo whee!” he yells. “This is so much fun!”

And it was.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Successes


Join the women of Faith and Family as they encourage each other. We have survived two crazy weeks. Today is the first day I am able to draw a breath. A few highlights:

1. I have a new phone to replace the one pictured below! Thankfully it was a whole lot cheaper than the dishwasher, oven, or microwave all of which we have replaced in the last month. May nothing else die until the bank account recovers.

2. Ainsley walks!

3. The weather may dip below 90 by Sunday. Originally, Sunday was supposed to be 87 and Monday was looking like 82. Eighty two!!!! The revised forecast says 90 and 89. Augusta is nearing 120 consecutive days above 90 degrees. Today's heat index is 100. And that rain we enjoyed all Summer? Gone, gone, gone. We are so desperate for a break.

Did I mention we are going to Florida for vacation next week? What were we thinking?

What's happening with you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I thought the phone had survived the dip in the lemonade, but, alas, its dicey performance called for a full-scale take apart. The results were grim. The main ribbon that allowed the slide phone to slide was tacky and shredded.

No wonder I didn't get any of the eleven calls Tim placed Monday afternoon when John had, ahem, lower g.i. issues all over the house.

Life can be messy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Self-esteem Issues Here

We are reviewing the menu for tomorrow's birthday bash.

Kolbe: Hot dog and hamburgers. The hamburgers are for Tim.

Me: Kolbe, you are kind and considerate.

Kolbe: And gifted!

Me: And humble!

Kolbe: Humble. A humble genius.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010


While John's language is developing rapidly, we still get the occasional treat such as: Ah go a 'cool with Hendwy.

Translation: I go to school with Henry.

It's interesting that John says Tesame Tweet instead of Sesame Street, but also cwash cwuck rather than trash truck.

If there's some developmentally logical reason for all this, I don't really want to know what it is. Speech at this age is just plain sweet. I coaxed John into saying squirrel - he says 'quirrel - three times this morning.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Interesting Piece

Click here to read an interesting take on one small way the internet affects English usage.

A Prolific Writer . . .

I came home yesterday to see Kolbe's latest, Survival: A Novel About War, sitting on the desk:

A few of his past books sit nearby:

Kolbe rushed into the house after school today anxious to keep writing. Panic set in when he couldn't find his manuscript.

"All that hard work for nothing," he groaned.

A little shuffling of the papers, and there it was. Makes a mother's heart sing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

Rachel tagged me to list ten little known facts about yours truly. Thanks, Rachel! Here goes:

1. My husband and I met and married in Augusta, but grew up eight miles apart in suburban Detroit. We had the same French teacher in high school, attended the same university, and even worked in the same place one summer.

2. My childhood dream was to be a journalist.

3. I have a pathological fear of snakes. I don't even like typing the word snake. John just arrived home with an art project that had a rubber worm stapled to it. I jumped when I unfolded it.

4. I love reading children's and adolescent literature. When I'm exhausted or anxious I reread The Chronicles of Narnia or The Little House books. Tim and I fight over books all the time.

5. C.S. Lewis is my favorite writer.

6. My favorite household job is washing floors. My least favorite is ironing.

7. When I read the Sunday paper in the Fall, I grab the sports section, check on the Wolverine's last game, scan the top 25 to see how they're doing, and conclude my ritual with a groan.

8. When I read the paper the other six days of the week, I grab the sports section, check the forecast on the back page, and conclude my ritual with a groan.

9. My parents now live on an island in Canada.

10. Sixth grade was the worst year of my life for many reasons. The bright spot was going fishing with my Dad almost every Saturday of the Fall of 1976.

I tag: Amy, Karen, and Michelle.

Girly Girls

No one would ever accuse me of being a girly-girl.

Yes, I have a large collection of tea pots and tea accessories. True, I have watched nearly every episode of Little House on the Prairie, some many times over. But beyond these two facts, my girly-girl resume is sparse indeed.

Ainsley’s birth may change all that.

Her arrival brought an avalanche of pink that has just barely begun to ebb. Let me put her birth in proper context. My oldest three children are boys. My husband is one of four boys, and one of six male cousins in that branch of the family. As of Summer 2009, these six cousins had produced twelve grandsons. Ainsley was lucky number thirteen - the first girl in over 70 years.

Minutes after her birth – I’m not sure she was even bathed yet – we had the cell phones humming, calling relatives and friends with the particulars. I rang my friend Kathy and got her son on the phone.

“She’s out buying something pink,“ Tony informed me. Ainsley wasn’t ten minutes old. Apparently good news does indeed travel fast.

Of course my friends insisted on a shower, even though this was my first fourth baby. Oh the fluff! Ainsley owns two tutus. When Rachel Balducci shared that Isabel’s birth brought so much girly stuff that even the dryer lint turned pink, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Still, I didn’t think I myself had changed. Sorting through clothes one afternoon, I pulled out a tiny pair of overalls that had survived the infancy of all three boys. I’ll put them on Ainsley, I thought. Jeans are unisex, right?

Ummm, no. One glance at Ainsley in boys’ pants convinced me that this was just plain wrong. Something clearly was lacking. A grosgrain ribbon on the cuff, a ruffle on the backside, a flower here or a strawberry there. Back to storage they went.

My recent attempt at mass consigning brought me up into the attic once again. All infant items are headed across the street to a pregnant friend or across town to the consignment sale. As I climbed out of the attic, I grabbed John’s potty chair.

“Ummm, don’t you have one more kid to potty train,“ a curious friend asked.

Why yes, yes, I do. But as I carried the potty chair down the stairs, I instinctively knew that Ainsley will have a pink potty. Will it sport Dora or – big cringe here – Barbie? I can’t say for sure, but it will be pink.

An odd but unmistakable metamorphosis has occurred around here and in me.

Most of the time, the boys take the fluff in stride. They flat adore their baby sister, so they’re willing to tolerate the rush of girly-girl stuff. I did find her doll trussed hand and foot and lying on our prayer table as though ready for a fake human sacrifice. Another doll was rescued after being stuffed head first into a bongo drum. When Venus and Mars collide, there’s bound to be some collateral damage.

No matter how you slice it, Ainsey-girl and I are still in the minority. Planes, trains, and automobiles outnumber dolls a thousand to one. Ainsley continues to teeth on Legos and match box cars.

As for me, I am enjoying all the pink and looking forward to the day I add Little House on the Prairie to our Netflix queue.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Small Successes


What a week! Life has been fast paced around here, and we're just getting warmed up. A few points of light:

1. I found great bargains on cute clothes that don't leave me looking like an extra on Baywatch (minus the flat stomach, the firm thighs, and the cute hair). Okay, so maybe there's just one aspect of my appearance that is reminiscent of Baywatch. When you've endured a scorching summer and wanted nothing more than to don a cotton tank top but then caught a glimpse of yourself in the tank top and immediately threw on a two piece layered outfit that made the sweltering heat far worse but at least wouldn't scandalize the neighbors . . . Sorry. Let me find the mute button.

I am excited to find cute clothes that fit well.

2. I am in the middle of a massive overhaul of the attic, the closets, the dressers. To the consignment sale it all goes!

3. We have a shiny new oven to match the dishwasher!

How was your week?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

John Hands Me Two Cookies . . .

And then says, "I want to go pee pee some more. Don't eat this. It's mine."

I'm Not Consigning My Memories

A church up the road has a massive consignment sale twice a year. I've found high quality items for all ages. The prices, however, tend to run from cheap! to You've got to be kidding me!

"I'm not spending $12.00 on a used dress for a one-year-old," I commented to a friend as we were shopping.

She's convinced that baby clothes are over-priced because mothers are really ambivalent about parting with them. We shared a laugh over that thought.

This year I am consigning, rather than just buying. This is my second foray into the wide world of resale. My first attempt netted precisely nuthin'. Not a dime. All I had for my troubles was a run-in with a rather snooty store owner.

The mean part of me was dying to point out that she was running a second hand shop in Augusta, Georgia, not Giorgio Armani on Rodeo Drive. I managed to stifle my oh-so-charitable thoughts and leave my sorry items that clearly never sold.

Up to the attic I went this morning. With John in front of Sesame Street and Ainsley playing in box (she's part Siamese), I had a half hour to pillage through tub after tub of little boys' attire.

I bawled my eyes out.

Forgive me, dear women with over-priced baby items. I understand your ambivalence. I held it together until I spied John's jammies with the baseball bats. Then there were the jammies with the little frogs. And the ones with the space ships.

Tim's microscopic onesie about did me in. This belonging to the kid who now mows the lawn?

Oh, the cliches that run through my head! Where does the time go? Where does it go? In heaven will we be able to instantly and clearly recall the sights, smells, and sounds of those fleeting baby years?

The good ones, I mean.

I hope so. In the meantime, excuse me while I grab some Kleenex and my baby.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Hundred and Four Days of Summer Vacation . . .

School has come along just to end it.

Bags? Packed
Uniforms? Spiffy
Boys? Resigned
Mom? Ready

All systems are go. We are short one flexible ruler and a bunch of book covers.

I informed Tim that this year we will forego the snazzy, nylon books covers and instead embrace old school tactics, i.e. brown paper grocery bags.

"You're kidding, right" he asked, giving me a look that was equal parts disbelief and panic.

No, I am not kidding. These new-fangled devices fail on two counts:

1. They are ridiculously over-priced.
2. They fall off.

The nice lady at Kroger handed me a thick stack of grocery bags free of charge. We will cut and tape this afternoon. Time for a trip down memory lane when algebra books sported not a shiny bunch of Nascar racers but a plain grocery bag perfect for scribbling dreamy comments about Shawn Cassidy and sketches of Nadia Comanici on a balance beam.

In the meantime, the house is quiet except for the soft thump of Ainsley's knees as she makes her way through the house. My girl and I are enjoying the serenity.

One Awesome 'Piderman Shirt

Dave: Where did you get that cool Spiderman shirt?

John: In the washing machine.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Small Successes


Join the women at Faith and Family Live! as we encourage each other in the great and arduous task of motherhood. Here are the highlights from our week:

1. I have made a huge dent in sifting through closets and drawers to make room for Scout and school uniforms. The great clothing upheaval is one of my least favorite jobs. I'm happy to be nearly done. (Maybe that's why I don't like it. I'm always nearly done, never actually done.)

2. In a similar vein, I've been doing a deep excavation of the hampers and the pile 'o shame that is our laundry basket. There stagnate shorts missing a button, baby clothes that I don't feel like hauling to the attic, pants I really will fit into once again one day really soon, etc..

(Do you use two periods when you end a sentence with etc.? I have always wondered.)

Dave had been wondering where all his dressy slacks had run off to. Lo and behold, I uncovered the mother lode. I swear he hasn't been going off to work in sweats or his bathing suit, so there must be one tired pair of khakis that's been working triple overtime. Problem solved.

3. I have spent hours hammering away at our schedule for the fall. It looks like I will have an expanded role in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd this year. I am soliciting prayers for more catechists, more adult volunteers, and a committed babysitter for Ainsley and John while I teach.

What have you been doing?