Thursday, October 18, 2007


I just wanted to apologize for my lack of blogging of late. We are in the process of moving and life is unbelievably hectic right now. We are currently staying with my parents while we work on painting, redoing wood floors, etc. in our new home. Hopefully I will be able to return to the blog in a few weeks.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Aleita started at a new daycare today. Because of our move, we have put her in a daycare on the opposite end of town. It is actually the same company that owns both daycares, so it is nice because the structure is basically the same. Still, I worried a little bit about how her first day would go. Most transitions are not easy, but I figured that being three and going to a new school would be an especially difficult one. Apparently, I was wrong.

I expected some trepidation on her part and I completely expected full-on mom clinginess when I dropped her off this morning. Chris and I had really worked on talking up the new school this weekend, yet I still figured that the moment I got ready to say goodbye this morning, she would run for me and adhere herself to me and tell me to stay. Aleita is not a particularly clingy kid, but in unfamiliar situations, she does seek the comfort of dear ol’ mom and dad.

Well, I was apparently wearing Teflon this morning because there was no sticking involved. I had carved out a large block of time this morning so that I would be able to stay around if she decided she wanted me to spend some time there with her while she got accustomed to her new surroundings. I kid you not, I was in and out of that daycare in about four minutes, tops.

I walked Aleita in and we were met by the director who was expecting us. She showed us to her room, and Aleita found her cubby and hung up her bag. She washed her hands (they have to wash hands every morning when they first arrive) and then the director showed us to the playground where Aleita’s class was playing. Aleita’s new teacher greeted her cheerily, but she was hardly listening. She was taking in the new playground equipment and the new kids. Her eyes totally lit up when she saw two kids riding on tricycles, and a third trike waiting, as if it knew she was coming and was reserved just for her. She turned quickly to me, gave me a quick hug and kiss and said, “bye Mommy – love you.” And she was off.

I waited a few moments to make sure she would be fine, but she never gave me so much as a backwards glance. Within moments, she was on the tricycle and headed off toward the other two kids on their trikes. I smiled as I walked to the car, and breathed a deep sigh of relief. What a great start to a Monday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


We are almost completely packed up - - - we are going to be finishing tomorrow. We only have a few things left to pack up - - mostly clothes and kitchen stuff. For the next few weeks, we are going to be staying at my parents' house while we do a little work on our new home before we move in.

The kids are going to have to contend with Amish TV at my folks' house for the next few weeks. When we go visit my parents, the kids often ask us to "pause" the TV while they go use the bathroom or to rewind something because they missed a part while they left the room. They look at us blankly when we try to explain that Grandma and Papa don't have Tivo. It is foreign enough for them to deal with the fact that they don't get the Disney channel or Noggin, let alone that there isn't a storehouse of The Backyardigans, Dora, and Hannah Montana awaiting them when they wish to watch them. They only get five channels? Whoever heard of such a thing?

I have to admit that I too, will miss my Tivo. Sitting down to a marathon session of my Thursday night shows (Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy, ER, and CSI Las Vegas) is my Friday night guilty pleasure after the kids go to bed. I could actually probably get used to only getting a few channels - - for the most part, I don't really watch a lot of stuff on the few hundred channels we get on our Directv. The kids, of course, love Disney and Noggin, but I could handle having the local basics if I could also get HBO because I love the Sunday night original programming. They show good new release movies on there frequently as well (several of which are stored on my Tivo for that probably-never-will-happen but I would like to watch these if I actually had time time.)

So au revoir for now, my dear Tivo. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I know it will only be a matter of weeks until we are together again, but I know my Friday nights just won't be the same without you until then.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I worked on packing up the kitchen stuff last night. This morning, Maggie asked me to make her oatmeal, but regretfully, the oatmeal container was packed in one of the 20-some odd boxes of “kitchen stuff.” She settled for scrambled eggs. I find it amazing that so far, I have packed up about 20 or so boxes of stuff out of my tiny little kitchen - - and still have a few to go. Grandma Dot would definitely be proud of the amount of stuff I managed to shove into one space.

Speaking of that, when I cleaned out one of the cabinets, way in the back I found something that I haven’t seen since we moved into that house six years ago and had forgotten we had. It made me laugh out loud to see it, in fact. Ten years ago, when Chris and I got married, one of the gifts we were given was an expandable trivet. That was the only gift that was in the package - - a small, metal frame with hinges in the middle to allow it to expand so a hot dish could be set on it. It had to cost all of about $3.99 - - the wrapping itself probably cost more than the present. I can still remember being baffled when I opened it because I couldn’t figure out what it was, or why someone would just give us a trivet. Harder still was trying to write an acceptable thank you note for such an odd and let’s face it, really cheap gift. Rather than having someone say, “you guys are worth less than $5 to me,” I would just as soon have gotten a card with nothing from them. If it really is the thought that counts, then we were apparently not very highly thought of.

So last night, I rediscovered the expandable trivet and had a good laugh remembering our bewilderment when we unwrapped it in August 1997. As I have not used it in the last six years and haven’t even given it a second thought, I figured we could probably live without it from here on out. After ten years, the sad little expandable trivet that never got used finally ended up in the pile destined for garbage collection.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


This past Sunday, we went to the Cracker Barrel to have lunch after church. All was well, with the exception of Aleita continually dropping the little pegs on the floor from that triangular-shaped game they have at every table, but that is to be expected. We ordered and received our lunch and were about halfway finished when Aleita suddenly cried out and covered her eyes. Chris and I tried to ascertain the cause of her sudden outburst. Thinking that she had somehow managed to get something in her eye (a wayward peg, perhaps?), we tried to get her to lower her hands so we could see why she was so upset.

She warily look over her hands and scowled over the top of them at a picture in a convex glass frame a little ways down from us. "I don't like that man," she said. Ahhh. . . a picture. Though most people would still be puzzled at this point, I knew exactly what was going on. A few months back, I had taken Maggie and Aleita to the Cracker Barrel to have dinner on a Friday night while Chris was working at a football game (it isn't necessarily my favorite place in the world, but the kids absolutely love the pancakes.) While we were seated at our table, which was in the same section we were sitting in on Sunday, Aleita spotted a picture of a man on the wall in a curved glass frame that she did not like. It was a man with a stern face and dour expression, as most of those pictures in the antique curved glass frames tend to be, and looking at it made her uncomfortable.

I can't say that I blame her. Most of the portraits of people in those antique bubble glass frames tend to freak me out a little bit too. Growing up, my grandparents had a few of those pictures tucked away upstairs in a closet. I tried to make it a point to never go in there because - distantly related to me or not - those portraits of the men and women and their harsh, unyielding expressions always gave me the creeps.

Aleita's discomfort is not limited to just stern-looking people in antique frames though. She actually does have a weird thing about certain people's faces in pictures that really makes her uncomfortable. There are certain restaurants that when we go to them, we always have to remember to request to sit in a certain section, or Aleita gets all worked up and won't eat. At Applebee's, she can't be seated anywhere near the large Marilyn Monroe picture. At Texas Roadhouse, there is a mural of a large Native American Chief in full headress that she refers to as the "scary turkey" that had better not be visible, or we have to put up with a fussy three-year old who won't eat her meal.

On Sunday, once she had spotted her nemesis in the curved glass picture, she was done with her meal of pancakes and sausage that she had fully been enjoying up to that point. No amount of coaxing was going to get her to finish. Usually Aleita is the last one done eating - - she is even slower to finish than my mom in most cases, and that is a hard contest to win. But once Aleita spots a picture she doesn't like, you had better cover it up or take it off the wall, because otherwise, mealtime is over. Once she spotted the guy this Sunday, she was ready to head on out (even though we weren't through eating.) She spent the rest of our time there with her milk cup held in front of her face so she wouldn't have to look at his portrait.

Perhaps I could get one made in wallet size, so when we are at the park or at McDonald's and I am ready to go home and she starts to fuss, all I have to do is pull the picture out and tell her that it will only be put away once she gets in the car. Hmm. . .I may be onto something here!

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Happy Monday off work. . . better known as Columbus Day. I am actually writing this on Sunday night because I am off tomorrow and plan on spending the day packing for our move this coming Saturday.

One of my teachers brought in a very interesting article written by an anthropologist that he found on Columbus to share with our students this past Thursday. What do you remember about Columbus from your elementary school days? 1492? Something about sailing an ocean blue? Wasn't there something about a Nina?

This article really provides an eye-opening account of a very non-romanticized version of Christopher Columbus. Among other things, it details how Columbus didn't actually get all the money necessary for his voyage from the monarchy in Spain. . . .it seems he actually became a slave trader of Indians in order to finance his journey. It also asserts that he and his men hunted the Indians, among other savage acts, simply for sport.

It makes for interesting reading and is only a few pages long. You can find it online at:

Friday, October 5, 2007

THOU SHALT NOT. . . .(take two)

Maggie's Bible verse today, as I mentioned a few days ago, was "You shall not commit adultery." That was fun to try to explain. I am not sure she quite grasped it, but that is ok.

Anyway, Aleita will often listen in as we are working on memorizing Bible verses and try to learn them as well. She usually jumbles it a bit, but today's was a real winner. Aleita's version? "You shall not admit a dolphin."

God couldn't have said it any better himself.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What's on YOUR list this year?

Tonight, Maggie and Aleita and I went to Lowe's to look for a light fixture for our new home. (It seems I am spending a lot of time in home improvement stores lately, doesn't it?) As you enter the store, they have a large Christmas display, particularly of the variety of the ostentatious yard displays that feature such things as an eight-foot waving snowman or a Santa Claus stuck in the chimney showing his britches.

Maggie and Aleita immediately spotted the Christmas stuff and insisted we take a closer look. This somewhat surprised me because up until now, Aleita has been absolutely terrified of Santa Claus. She insisted last year that Grandma, rather than Santa, had brought her gifts. She seemed pretty ok with the idea of Santa while we were at Lowe's today. . . .though keep in mind that this Santa was a blowup one perched on top of the shelving. Last year, when encountered with the "real thing" in Central Park, she would shriek everytime he would look her way and bury her head in Chris's shoulder. She insisted that Chris stay as far away from him in the corner of the room while Maggie sat on his lap and talked to him.

Maggie - apparently in the Christmas spirit from her brush with this holiday cheeriness - began talking about Christmas, and in particular, what she wanted Santa to bring her this year. She listed off some obvious things, like Barbies and Polly Pockets. She then asked Aleita what she wanted for Christmas. Aleita's answer? Hot dogs and Little People. Now I think that is one little girl's wish list that Santa will have no trouble fulfilling.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


As I have mentioned before, Maggie has a new Bible verse to memorize every night. Each day at school, her teacher calls the kids up to her desk and has them recite the verse they learned for her. Toward the end of last week, they began working on the Ten Commandments.

Today’s verse to learn was this: The Fifth Commandment – You shall not murder. We started working on it last night after supper. Immediately after hearing the word “murder,” Maggie of course asked, “what’s murder?” I explained to her that it was when you kill someone. She responded, “why would anyone want to do that??” (from the mouths of babes!) We practiced it a few more times, but I could tell she was having difficulty remembering the word “murder.” Just not a part of a six-year old’s everyday vocabulary.

This morning, I asked Maggie if she remembered the verse she had to say for today. She said, “The Fifth Commandment - You shall not. . . . brag?”

Tomorrow’s verse? The Sixth Commandment – You shall not commit adultery. Can’t wait to explain that one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


As soon as I picked Aleita up from school yesterday, the first thing she told me is that she needed to wash her shoes. She said she had got them dirty while playing outside that day. I glanced at them and thought to myself that they really looked no worse than when I had sent her in them that morning, but getting into a debate with a three year old wasn’t at the top of my list at that given moment. Besides, I thought that maybe she was just meaning that she had wood chips or sand in her shoes from playing outside, which often happens (unfortunately, I almost always seem to forget to sit her down OUTSIDE and dump out her shoes, and then I end up with it all over the kitchen floor when she pulls them off.)

Thinking no more of it, we proceeded home. As soon as we were out of the car, Aleita again started in with the needing to wash her shoes thing. I was actually glad she reminded me, so that for one day, I wouldn’t have sand and/or wood chips all over the floor. I sat her down on the steps in the garage that lead into the house to pull her shoes off, and that is when I realized that she was quite accurate that her shoes, indeed, needed to be washed. I was also reminded that sometimes being a mom is quite literally, a crappy job. As soon as I pulled off her right shoe, it only took a glance at my hand to understand why she felt her shoes needed to be washed. You see, at some point during her day of playing at pre-school, Aleita had apparently stepped in dog poop.

Cleaning dog poop off the bottom of your kids’ shoes is one of those “mom” jobs that ranks right up there with cleaning up vomit or having to put your hand in the toilet to retrieve a dropped object. You go through most of your days, not even really thinking about “being an adult.” For me, the fact that I really am an adult doesn’t hit home when I am working at my job, parenting my kids, or in thinking about the ten years my husband and I have been married. No, adulthood tends to smack me in the face at those moments when I realize that I am the one who has to clean the dog poop off the shoe because that is what a mom does. As kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up so we could be adults and do the exciting things that adults do. If we had only known. . . .

Monday, October 1, 2007


My house has become an obstacle course. Everyone continually asks us how the packing is going, and I tell them my home has become a maze of boxes. I think they think I am joking, but if you were to come to my house, you would see that clearly, I am not. Boxes are stacked three and four high and several rows deep in most rooms, including the hallways. I have so many bruises on my legs from running into boxes that I could be a poster child for abuse. I think of these box-packed rooms often as something of a gauntlet.

My panic has mostly subsided over the fear of not getting done in time to move. We have a good portion of our things packed, save for the kitchen and our clothes. I also have not packed many of the kids’ toys yet. I actually had tried to pack some of them, but suddenly, toys that they seldom play with became prized possessions. Since those were the toys that they couldn’t have, then those were the ones that they wanted, and they kept coming along and opening the box and taking them out. I decided it was somewhat of a futile effort and just gave up until closer to moving day.

I must say that Chris has made great strides in our downsizing efforts. He has willingly parted with many boxes of things that I never thought I would see go out the door. As we were sitting in the living room last night, we were sorting through some boxes and talking, and I was drinking a glass of very good pinot noir wine out of a Garfield mug because my mom packed all my wine glasses when she came to help me on Wednesday afternoon. I told him that I was proud of him for getting rid of so much stuff. He told me that, for the record, he was done getting rid of his things, and the stuff that was left wasn’t going anywhere. I told him that ten years ago, he never would have imagined parting with all the stuff he is now, so who knows what will happen in another ten? A girl can hope, can’t she?