Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Candy: the real meaning of the advent calendar....

The kids have been eyeing this hand painted concoction of mine since I brought it out on Saturday.  They even went so far as to sneak a peak, to find.... nothing in the numbered doors.

"Mom, where's the candy?"

Well, guys, the candy doesn't arrive until December 1st.  Then we can count down the days till Christmas.

Since then, they have been counting down till the official candy countdown for the Santa Advent Calendar can begin.

I bought this thing 3 years ago from A.C. Moore and painted it.  Nothing special by any means. In fact the top is broken.  And Kyle makes fun of me for the sequence I wrote the numbers in, joking with me that I did it in the Hebrew fashion- backwards.  Hey, I just followed the example.  Regardless, the boys know what it is for.  They know what it contains.  And the anticipation is killing them.

So now as the boys fall into a welcomed sleep, I am filling up the little celebratory boxes with Kisses and mini hershey bars. Because the moment they wake up tomorrow, they will descend on me like vultures to a fresh kill, pecking at me until I let them open the treasured door of bliss in honor of the official countdown to Christmas.

God, I love the holidays.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

better than average

As I was reading my second installment of the Spirited Child series, I came across a startling number: parents spend an average of 22 minutes interacting with their kids.  22!  That seems horribly low, especially if you drive in the car with them.  "Mom, he's touching me..."  "Mom, I'm thirsty..."  "Mom, I have to pee..."  Right there is at least 5 minutes of interacting, telling them to knock it off, wait till we get home, and you have to hold it, unless you want to pee on the side of the road.
But seriously, 22 minutes.  As half of a pair of working parents, I know how difficult it can be to make sure all are accounted for, fed, bathed, and nurtured.   I have to remind myself, stop and smell the dirt (because roses just aren't a boy's cup of tea).  But I know I am lucky too.  I work school hours.  I get to bring them to school and pick them up.  I get to help them earn their "getting ready for school on time" star.  Mudge's "eating your supper" star, and their "can  you guys stop it with the Nuh uh and Yah huh" star.  Ok, the last one not so much. But you get my drift.  I can't imagine only spending 22 minutes with my kids on a daily basis.  I do that just trying to get the two of them ready in the morning.
Plus, I can't imagine all of the odd things I would miss out on like how Boog has created a list of names for his soon-to-be-discovered dinosaurs, or how Mudge insists on playing chess like the big boys.  Though there may be those days where the oomph isn't available in its caffeinated form, on most days, I hope to be better than average. I want to be an over achiever.  I'm shooting for 23!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Forgive me, blog, for I have sinned. I have not written anything in almost a week.

OK.  Now that is over.
Along with Thanksgiving, almost.

Black Friday is upon us, and there are crazy people out there attempting to purchase the ultimate items for the lowest prices known to man kind.  I am NOT one of them.  I did that one year, and vowed no way in hell would I do that again.  It was insane.  It reminded me of a flash mob (before they became a thing) where everyone meets at Walmart, screams, pushes, and uses the antithesis of natural human kindness, to get to that $2 Elmo doll.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I much rather go at my leisure or do Cyber Monday.

With exactly one month till Christmas, and even less till Hanukkah, it is time to puke the holidays. And love every minute of it.  So pull back your hair, and good luck!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I am really thankful for my eReader....

I struggle with parenting.  I do.  

"I had this fantasy that my child and I would walk hand in hand across the park. Little did i know that when he got mad he would spit on me...." - a parent.

I try to be a good parent.  I try to be active with them.  But when I have days that I have been kicked, spat, hit, and screamed at.  I wonder what the hell has possessed my child? What the hell am I doing wrong? Just, What the Hell?????  And when those days happen, I tend to retreat and spend less time since so much energy was used to stay sane.

So after a day like that, instead of running to Barnes and Noble in tears like last time, I picked up my iPad and ordered another book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Kids, Parents and Power Struggles.  I needed to.  With the "success" of reading Raising the Spirited Child, providing me insight on temperament, mood, and other fine qualities of a spirited child, I hoped maybe she could help me.

And now into the third chapter, I laugh.  God, she gets it.   There are others out there who do the same thing.  But more importantly, it is NOT about the kid, it is about how I am reacting.  I need(ed) to start reflecting on how my sensitive child is picking up on my stresses and body language. 

I will let you know how it goes.  Thank god for instant gratification of a Nook program.

Friday, November 18, 2011

7, 6, 5

So as I curled up on the couch with my sick little Mudget, I thought to myself... what a wonderful world.....

Kidding. I actually thought to myself how much I love the sick kid snuggles.  Wrapping yourself up with a blanket.  Watching a movie, or two. or three....  Letting them drink whatever they want as long as they stay happy and hydrated.

And once his fever came down a little and his energy went up a little in comparison, we colored and practiced writing (I am so proud he is getting his diagonals).  Then he scrubbed up, finished a snacky supper, and read stories.

And as I lay with him in his bed, helping him get all tucked in and cozy, I thought about how grateful I am for the ability to do this.  I have my (relatively) healthy children, a safe and warm home, and food to put on the table.  I know too many who struggle with all of these three.

In hopes to pay it forward in a Karmic way, we have donated to food drives, even if it is just a few non perishable things.  We've cleaned out the coat closets in hopes to help keep someone warm this winter.  And soon the Pennies for Wishes campaign will be in full swing again (in memory of my spunky little student).

So during this holiday season, I hope in some way to inspire at least one other person to give a little of themselves to brighten the day of someone else.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

10, 9, 8....

I am a little behind on my thankfuls this week, so I figured I could lump them together in a buy one get two free method.

#10 I am incredibly thankful for my husband.  He is a wonderful father and a supportive partner in crime when it comes to parenting.  And though he can be as thick headed as me, sometimes more, it is as much a blessing as it is a fault :)  I am very luckily to have had him in my life for almost 14 years.

#9 Speaking of people in my life, I am thankful for my family.  I am pretty lucky to have parents, in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents still in the picture.  At my age, I am fortunate to have a relatively (pun intended) full table at Thanksgiving.

#8 Random thanks to Good coffee.  If it were for the nectar of the gods, I would be way more dysfunctional on a daily basis.  So thank you, coffee bean harvesters and roasters.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#11 Boog Date Night

We were blessed last night with a mini Boog date night.  My mother had her own special night with the Mudge and we took advantage of that.

It was a Daddy, Mommy and Boog night.  He emphatically chose bowling.  But first, dinner at Applebee's where he was able to imbibe in a little Sprite at supper.  And that always makes a meal that much cooler.  Then off to Town Hall Lanes in Johnston, RI for a round of bowling, they really have a pretty family friendly atmosphere.

I loved the way Boog's head tilted as the bowling ball rolled towards the pins as if it were to will it in the direction he leaned. Every time.  It was so cute.  He would get so excited to knock them down, run (sometimes fall) and hit me up with a double high five.   Daddy didn't get them, since he was flat out too good at bowling.  It was a more of a competition for 2nd place between Boogie and me.  Thank god for bumpers, not just for him, but for me.  I really do suck at bowling.  But when I actually tried to suck so he could win, I knocked down more pins.  Go figure.

For us, when you have more than one child, we don't always get to spend that special time with them, without the sibling. It makes it worth while to see their joy and silliness without the interference of sibling rivalry.  Though they are the best of friends, they can be the worst of enemies.  And for the rare instance to have a little fun with just one at a time, I am grateful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

#12 Bubbacillan

Today I am thankful for basic home remedies, and some store bought ones as well.

Puffs Plus. Oh thank god for the lotion or my nose would have fallen off my face.  My poor niece and my boys kept asking me why I had a tissue shoved up my nostril all day.

Tea. 17 cups and counting.  I love a warm cup of tea with honey to help soothe the sinuses.  Though Kyle says a shot of whiskey would do they same thing, and clear them out more effectively.

Homemade Chicken Soup.  The bubbacillan.  The cure all.  Well, not completely, but it does make me feel better.

Mucinex D.  When all else fails, and the Neti pot has caused an ear and sinus infection, then the OTC Mucinex usually does the trick.  Hopefully, it will tonight so we can get some sleep.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#13 A Friend is someone who knows you, and loves you anyway

So I am definitely thankful for my friends.  I have just a handful that have been there forever and a day.  They have been there for so long, they are considered family.  

My friends have seen me at my worst and still look me in the eyes the next day.

My friends have seen me at my best and backed me the whole time.

My friends have held my hair when puking my brains out (on that very RARE occasion)

My friends have held my hands through the saddest of times.

My friends have sat and listened and not said a judgmental word.

My friends have given it to me straight when needed. 

My friends were there for the birth of my marriage.

My friends were there for the birth of my children. (Hell, Liz was in the delivery room)

If it were not for my friends, my life would surely not be as entertaining and fulfilling as it has been.

Besides,  A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.— Bernard Meltzer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#14 I've got at least 30 reasons to go to work

Today, on this beautiful day off, I am in fact thankful for my job. I am grateful that in this economy I have a job. Not only to have a job, but to have one that I actually enjoy.

I have the honor of working with some of the most amazing children. Little ones who challenge me in ways that make me a better person, therapist and mother. They inspire me and help me remember how big the little things are. First steps. First words. Firsts.

These children go through more on a daily basis than I have gone through in my first thirty some odd years of life. They smile when I am goofy. They smile when we play. They smile when we connect. And I am glad to be able to do that with them.

So as much as I may bitch and moan some days about some of the things that come along with any job, I am so grateful and thankful for these kids helping me love what I do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#15 Book Worms

I am incredibly thankful my kids like to read.  They take books in the car, in bed and in the bathroom.

It's pretty funny to watch Mudge say he has to go to the bathroom, bypass it completely, go to the book shelf in Boog's room, and choose a story...then head to the head.  And he will spend many minutes perusing the words and pictures.  Sometimes I can hear him reading versions of the stories to himself, and giggle to myself.

And even this morning, Boog woke up extra early to read three books to get stars for his chart.  At 5 am, he read each book joyfully and purposefully.  I can picture him when he is older drinking a cup of coffee, doing crosswords and reading the headlines, at 430 in the morning....

Reading for them is Fun Da Mental.  They have a sense of pride and accomplishment when they identify new words and sounds (or in Mudge's case letters and pictures).  They get a kick out of the simplest stories.    And overall just have found a love for the written word.  I am truly thankful they do.

Monday, November 7, 2011



I am thankful for bedtime.  Not the fact that the boys are in their beds, all tidy and cozy in their jammies and I am free to decompress.

Actually, I love the bedtime ritual.  It is usually the one time of the day I get to spend a few quiet one on one moments with each of the them.  We snuggle up in their beds, read stories, and talk about random things that happened during the day.   It is often the time I hear Mudge's voice sing the songs he learned at school.  Or when Boog tells me about what he wants to earn after he achieves his thirty stars.  I love it when Mudge tells me to lay with him just a few more minutes, which I indulge a little.  It is just a sweet short time that I learn a little more about them, besides their spazzy crazy selves I see during the lighted hours.

I am incredibly thankful that I have those few moments to share with them, happily.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankfully Thankful

After being inspired by a fellow Playmaker talking about what she is thankful for until Turkey Day, I felt this to be a good forum for me to do the same.  So over the next 17 days I feel like I have to share some of the things for which I am thankful.  And I will start with this:

#17. Smart Wool Socks.

I am thankful for Smartwools.  Magnificent merino wool heaven in a foot tube.  I have pairs with holes in the toes that I cannot bear to toss even though I am trying to slowly transform my sock drawer into an SW only zone.  Their cozy goodness is an air cushioned ride for my feet.  I have tried the look a likes and not-so-smartwools, but none are "Like a cozy friend named Joycie Terrific."(Yes, P and F reference).  On cold days, they keep my tootsies warm, and on hot days, amazingly they cool them down.  And yes, even the boys have a few pairs that I found on clearance at REI.

No, they are not in my top 10 of really important things in my life, but they have their place.  On my feet.  And I spend a lot of time on my feet, so they are noted.

Gobble Gobble

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ice Cream for Supper

You wouldn't know it, but my husband is a big mush pot. 

Last year, at this time, a child that he knew suddenly passed away.  And in that moment, he went into his calendar and set a repeat event: Ice Cream for Supper.

I didn't think of it until he told me the other day that Thursday night was his night to make supper.  And later on he came home with ice cream and whipped cream.  He filled me in and told me not to tell the boys.  

Tonight, after he came home, he made ice cream sundaes for supper.  The boys of course thought it was the best night ever, and Mudge even ate most of his supper without fuss.

But ice cream for supper was not for nothing.  It is something he created to remind us to let the kids be kids, hold them tighter, and smile a little more often since you never know what may happen.  

We both know too many little ones who are no longer here, and we are thankful everyday we have our boys, as crazy as they make life sometimes.   I don't always remember to do what Brad Paisley says, "Live for the little moments".  So on days like these, I am thankful my husband does.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If only I had thought of this.....

I love the internet for connecting, but more so for finding new ideas to try with my kids.  I came across a couple of really visit-worthy websites with cool ideas to try:

Pintrest is a share site or pin board.  I found these that I soooo want to make
 Jello Straw Worms as posted from....

The Idea Room is a great resource for DIY paints and doughs of all sorts, marshmallow blow guns, and other keepsakes.

Author, Valerie helps you remember what it is like to be playful for the cheap with activities like cardboard box forts, photo puppet, and straw beading.

The Author of Make and Takes is after the hearts of my family with simple crafts including Angry Birds pom poms.  Love it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween with my Spirited Child.... And I don't mean ghost

So our expectations of this year's Halloween were like the many before.  Our close friends would come over and we would trick or treat around the block, happily, with minimal issues.  But....

When you have a spirited child who is incredibly sensitive emotionally, what you think is the smallest and innocent detail will throw him into a friggin tizzy.  So last night when a family friend arrived with a child in a Captain America suit, Boog thought it was his little best friend.  In that moment, he was ecstatically happy.  But the following moment was met with despair and confusion as he learned it was not his dearest best buddy.  The disappointment overwhelmed his as he stomped away in tears, ripping off his mantis arms and wings.  He huddled himself in the corner of the door sobbing.

At this point, we urged the rest of the Halloween crew to go ahead.  I took Mudge while Kyle waited with UB and Boog to settle down.  My heart sank.  It reminded me of preschool graduation, his emotional up and downs.  So Mudge and I trotted off (reluctantly) and did two houses before calling Kyle to find out if they were on their way.

Mudge and I waited for Boog and Dad at that second house.  And that was as far as we got.  Boog, in all of his green buggy glory could not "get it into his head" that the other boy in the costume was not his friend.  His "mind just won't let it go."  Again sobbing, he "just wanted to go home".  So I passed the Bull Ant Mudge to Kyle, and walked back to the house with my sad little insect.  We spent the rest of the evening chilling out, watching a show, and reading books till he was able to "make [his] brain feel better."

So as excited he was up until that point of the night, it only takes one switch to change a spirited child's mood.  Sometimes you can prevent or decrease the length of time, and sometimes not.  Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.  As intensely as he loves and plays and learns, he also intensely responds.  I just fear when he eventually has his first girlfriend that breaks up with him.... Until then, we'll just keep supporting him as best we can.