Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween night....scarey!

well, we the parents, have actually made it through halloween festivities. we knew we's just that we never know what glitches (not witches)might occur. sometimes it is a drama based on parental, the husband won't be home in time, won't be home at all,... the kids want to be in three different places with three different groups of people,the parents want to be in three different places with three different groups of people.
HUGE in a kids mind...."he or she always tries to eat my candy"..."this neighborhood is better than that neighborhood"..... "i want to go with this friend and they want to go with those friends".....simple...halloween logistics, you say..."big deal"....i say, "BIG DEAL!"

to further complicate matters, an additional drama that can occur , brought on by parents who want to control ... "why can't our kids go together?"...the drama is exponentially related to how many parents and how many kids are involved!

and that's why we have stuck with the plain, old fashioned "K.I.S."(keep it simple) rule that suits us best....only because in our world, we need simple! when we live life in the simple lane...honest and true to ourselves and our kids, life seems to flow with our plain, old fashioned little mary mix up events....we don't need to mix with others' social agendas to have giant volcanic eruptions. the mix ups we're used to!

thankfully, our halloween, has always been kid driven. we have always tried to let our children choose their own friends....on halloween and in LIFE.
sounds simple, you say. NOT! it seems easiest if you can formulate friendships for your children that are "convenient" for you....based on your family friends, neighborhood friends, "playgroup" friends or "social climbing status (hopefully, the children are only concerned with climbing trees and climbing on furniture and it is ONLY the parents who are "d.s.s." ..desperately seeking status!

there is a whole social structure built right into the halloween trick or treat process. griff and i learned early on that "p.p.p." (parents pleasing parents)never works out to the kids' best advantage!

so many mixes to consider!
convenient just seems to the kids case, convenient may be the kids who are conveniently located, but the friendships can't withstand the test of time...even if for a couple of hours on halloween.
family friends is nice for everyone when the kids have their own level of comfort... BUT, geographically, a challenge.
neighborhood friends seem to fall together naturally, although the mix of ages or parenting styles may differ.
playgroup friends are great if they're STILL friends!
of all so the mixes, we have witnessed many a social dilemma, drama and debacle developed by either giving into or foaming at mouth for the elusive social status friending!there are some mild dramas based on the children's choices...but, given their own devices, kids usually sort it out very genuinely on their's the parents who upset the bobbing apple cart!

so having all of the figured out after 14 years of trick or treating with children, we picked our children up at school on friday, october 30th, and headed to boston! a town that shall remain nameless! yes, it was to visit our greatest friends for kids and parents, even parenting styles, ages and styles, mixing and sharing.....a regular mutual admiration society! basically, a lovefest for all! who can ask for more....even if it was a 250 mile drive. we were all happy from the moment the plans started to evolve....and we don't know yet whether the parents or the kids suggested the weekend, but we made it!

we left connecticut with smiles on our faces. AFTER the week of costume drama and swine flu.

oh, and did i mention the involvement of getting someone to watch our dogs and cats and fish. we love them all. never in my life did i intend to be like this, but i have a little separation anxiety when we leave the dogs. the cats think it's their house anyway. they have no concerns. they know the mortgage payments, the furniture, the appliances, the electronics and even the dogs, are there for them....just to accommodate them.
the dogs, however, want to come with us. they know that when our car doors open, they are supposed to run, jump and hang there heads out the windows, smiling and drooling and ready for there next adventure! preferably, at or near a beautiful beach where they can run with no leashes, recklessly tromp through the reeds and romp through the waves, joyously chasing seagulls and WAIT WAIT WAIT! that's there version...
...instead, it is quietly and gently explained to them, with tears in my eyes, that we will be back soon and we will have only THE most loving friends at home to stay with them. then, i begin to consider very limited options. i even called my niece to see if she wanted to plan a weekend with dogs, oops!, i mean, college friends in connecticut! "NO"...PLANS... i made her tell me specific plans so i knew that she wasn't just faking me out! o.k., she's 25 and maybe she had better options! i think NOT! next, i called a great neighbor, just out of college, job hunting, in the process of moving, needs extra cash....busy for halloween! i doubted her....oh come on, what could be better? i called lots of wonderful dog sitters....we called some wonderful neighbors famous for being our backup, chaos created, emergency dog visitors, lovers and savers.....i think they feel for the dogs and cats, living with our mix ups! i also called "Q.B."(quiet boy), a very nice college boy who has started a business walking dogs BUT, he is quiet! not just quiet...QUIET...we trust that he does a good job because the dogs always look "happy" when we return. but since he chooses to save energy by speaking less, we don't know what he does. so since "Q.B" is taking care of things, we also have our most wonderful neighbors also come just to give the dogs love....and,since they are dog lovers like us, they will.
o.k., i'll admit, that on account of our own confusion, we have actually had friends and neighbors bumping into each other in the driveway! better safe than sorry! hey, DON'T JUDGE! that's not fair!

friday, just in time for a wonderful dinner, we arrived in boston! with about a half hour to spare, all of the parents had to get dressed for a halloween party. i never got around to mentioning THAT! our friends were dressed as a college mascot and a cheerleader...AWESOME and homemade, complete with paper mache head and feathers!(for the mascot, that is)...
my husband pulled out his hand made, sewing machine sewn(by HIM, in the early 1980's), uncle sam outfit complete with top hat, tails, striped pants, stars and striped bow tie (also handmade!) AND white gloves!
my idea was to wear my wedding dress...that's another story. hey WAIT! it fit! just that, it seemed like a fun idea to go dressed as "aunt samantha"!
i had all of the coordinating red, white and blue with sparkly silver shoes, sparkle red and sparkle blue material....only i had to sew by hand lots of the pieces and glue on the red white and blue sparkly stars! i called ahead, from 15 minutes away and asked to have the needle, thread and fabric glue at the ready! thank goodness our friends are dependable! with minutes to go, the sparkles were sewn on the blue tennis skirt, the red mesh stockings and sparkly shoes were on....had a few sewing stitches done with surgeons needle and thread, a shawl was created with sparkles and the american flag sunglasses...the glue...DRY!
and to the adams family house we went....with gomez and mortisha,a priest, a banana, awicked witch and her flying monkey, a helicopter mom, an eskimo, the swine flu couple and more. now, that it's all over....HALLOWEEN IS GREAT! til next year....
oh wait, the kids got dressed in totally different things than we planned and purchased, went trick or treating with friends and had a ball! and shared candy!

oops, in all of the confusion, i never mentioned the college football game, the painted t shirts, the face paint and wigs(school colors, of course)and the mascot dressed dad....after all, it's all about halloween! and then, night time trick or treating and lots of laughs!

keep it simple as we is good for all and it's the moments! and the memories!!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

festive fun and games

`the pressures of halloween festivities have been building for a few weeks. october is a beautiful month, with leaves at there peak, the sunny skies and crisp air.....bring out the sweaters! it is very hard for me to let go of the delightful days of summer...the beach, the family and friends, boogie boarding, sailing barbeques, toasting marshmallows and catching fireflies.
the angst of back to school and the excitement of a new school year has already mellowed. we're into football games and after school sports and home improvements.

in our house, the whole month of october is focused on halloween. my husband, biff has a birthday that calls for cake, candles, maybe a dinner out with the family. oh, wait....that didn't happen this year because, at the last moment, our children had better offers. they are truly formed adolescents who have only their own social lives to attend to. their birthday enthusiasm was not quite up to par. birthdays in our house call for cake baked by all and half of the icing eaten before it even touches the cake. sometimes the cake is eaten before the birthday boy/girl has even heard the tune of happy birthday. that' o.k. because we all like cake and we can whip up another and get out some used candles and sing the song during the week.
so here we are , halloween just two days away...we have been to halloween costume stores, walmart costume aisle, cvs costume aisle...we have traveled miles....and purchased a wide variety of wigs....

i have always liked halloween for the kids...i have always liked putting together creative costumes. over these 14 halloweens, we have probably lived through 60 different halloween costumes.......and worked pretty hard to put together some great witches, fireman, farmers, raggedy ann and andy, ballerinas and hippies. as the kids have gotten older, we have lived through political figures like john mccain and barach obama and many more.

i like to create our own, without those icky, smelly, cheap costumes...."store bought" has been frowned upon by many a m.s.m. mom....martha stewart mom.....i have never been one to break out a sewing machine ...but, i do recall a year that i was sewing a red feather boa to a red sparkly cape so that we could have a king before dark.....thankfully, the biggest harry potter craze was at the time that my son got his new glasses.....a first grader with new glasses! harry potter made the new horn rimmed circle glasses the greatest prop a 6 year old boy could dream of....and poof---- a star was born...glasses, a black cape and a few other props and life was good! of course, we have also had a witch who was able to act out the part perfectly after she looked in the mirror, and saw the green face paint was"ugly witch facepaint"....who would have thought. the best were the photos taken during the halloween parade in town.......the witch had a mad face all day......we've had clowns in the afternoon and after too much of the itchy fabric, the clown came home and turned himself into a karate kid with his own karate duds. the best halloween costumes have always been spontaneous. the dress up box and accessories have always made we have had halloween cider and donuts at the bus stop, cupcakes with halloween candy with school friends, pumpkin fairs,pumpkin parties with neighbors's a miracle that we've made it this far!

hosting thanksgiving dinner for twenty three is easier than pulling together the halloween costumes..... christmas is for all of the presents, trying to find the one gift that gets a gleam in a childs eyes is worth it all......getting the christmas tree and putting it up is a snap compared to the halloween costume. and do we have christmas tree stories....our first married christmas tree was magical. our apartment was so small, we could see it from every room in our cozy little niche....even the bathroom! biff's proudest moment was when he was able to turn the tree lights on and off on the wall switch. one christmas was so mild that our tree had ants crawling all over it....out on the deck of the condo it went...until a frost.....dead ant, dead ant.......dead ant, dead ant, dead ant.....2 years ago, the GIANT christmas tree made it in the house by opening both french doors and shoving it in.....ahhhhh, big and beautiful, it took up half of the family room. and that tree was our first married tree to come crashing down......although it crashed multiple times. griff had just left on a business trip, i was having a peaceful cup of coffee, looking at the lights and decorations on the tree, when the new kitten started to climb the interior branches......and CRASH...catching it mid-fall was the easy part....the real challenge was the contortions necessary to keep it standing.....the water was leaking out of the stand.....the tree would not steady....reaching a roll of red ribbon with my foot allowed me to unwind a few feet of that skinny balloon ribbon to tie to the tree and then, tie that to the curtain rod!.....that wasn't enough, besides ripping the ribbon with my teeth, i was able to tiptoe on the window ledge to the other side of the tree to tie up the other side. it was only nine o'clock in the morning! and people ask what i do all day long!

growing up, my family had a christmas tree that's desperate....there were many words used that were never heard in any christmas carols i knew......the knife, by the way, was a creative way to hack at the tree to make it fit in the little red and green metal stand. one year, my brother was supposed to bring a great tree down from vermont.....oh, and the hallmark expectations i had! WRONG! he had travelled all of the way from vermont to buy a pathetic, partially naked tree at a roadside tree sale at a gas station en route to mom's house.....the bonus was that he also worked some extra branches into his wheeling and dealing!

with a history of family tree disasters, it seemed to be the greatest solution of all to buy the tree myself and bring it, while with a boyfriend, out in the poconos(yup,that's where i was! it really makes the story), we picked up trees to bring home to our respective families. when boyfriend brought his tree in to his parents, the whole family oohed and ahhhhed. when we got to my mom's, i couldn't wait to see the look on her face when the tree was absolute HORROR! apparently, she was freaked out that it was only december 8th and she had not yet "prepared" for the tree's arrival! it was one of those moments where you think you might be in alternate universe....but, that was my "normal".

although the tree was not welcomed with open arms, i was able to stuff it out on the balcony of my mom's 2nd floor condo....through the bathroom window. at the time, there were no questions asked. that was my "normal". by about december 14th, the preparations apparently were acceptable enough to "receive" the tree. so, out i climbed onto the balcony to retrieve the tree...that had been sitting in a pail of water to keep it "fresh"......oh, it was fresh! it was FROZEN! all of my plans were foiled... the tree with the frozen bucket of water had to be JAMMED back through the bathroom window. THAT WAS THE EASY PART! once the tree was inside, it was time to "defrost" it in the bathtub, and alternately try to blow it dry. it took days. the tree was decorated beautifully, but did not stand the test of was out of the house before new years!

that is just a tidbit of my family christmas tree karma! thankfully, all of that changed when biff became our christmas elf! he loves the challenge of putting a tree up! we go to the local tree farm with the kids and pick out the "BEST" of the lot, tie it to the roof of our car, drive home, put it in the stand, let it sit and bring in all before dinner! lights, camera, action! life is good.

the only karma that has changed is our children's joy in the world of adolescence! "WHY" DO WE HAVE TO GO TODAY AND "HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?" AND "JAKE GETS PAID MONEY TO GO GET THEIR TREE!".......AH THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS...and although there is a bit of resistance from the opposing team, we select the tree, bring it home and by the time we're decorating, everyone is enthused as they find their most special ornaments to hang on the tree. i'm no m.s.m., but we do have some wonderful traditions that just can't be created without love and laughter!

so, we make it through the holidays and it's birthday planning for our daughter.....the days of dressup birthdays and unpoppable pinatas are much time and so many special creations made each one so special. now as a teen, the celebration goes on, with just a bit less frenzy.....i'm glad i was able to enjoy the fun while it was happening...those days are precious to me.

then, valentines day,,,our days of cards for the class and valentines boxes are long gone but never forgotten. it has always been the little things that have been the most memorable....again, it comes down to moments!

st.patricks day is not the green streamers and shamrocks like it used to be.....but we still have friends in for music, soda bread and green cupcakes for the kids

easter egg hunts are over...but, we may be coloring eggs into our 80's! and that's fun for us all......the easter bunny still comes.....we have jelly bean hunts throughout the fancy dresses or hats or new sweaters and shoes! so thankful for the moments!

so, we have many more crazed birthdays throughout the year....they will always create a frenzy cuz we all share the birthday spirit!

and memorial day and 4th of july and we love parades!

oh and did i mention the pressure of grown up halloween parties? griff will be "uncle sam" tomorrow night and i will be "aunt samantha". we will have our own sparkles ......just moments!

oh and did i mention that we're going to a college football game on halloween day,,,,,,the kids and the adults are all wearing body and face paint and t-shirts and one dad will be dressed up like the mascot........maybe we'll never grow up....our kids will see to that!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

daydream believer

sniff, sniff...cough....ooh, i have a bit of a headache. today, we had my boy home sleeping, my girl home sleeping and, i spent a good deal of the day sleeping and sneezing. my headache lingers. my, hero...kept marching onward and upward. he got up early he made the coffee, he woke me for a consult on whether or not our 14 year old should join her brother at home today.....I thought for about a second and said,"yes".....and fell back asleep while he walked the dogs, fed the dogs and sat down at his computer to get some early morning work started.

is this the swine flu? you know what? i'm just a bit too tired to care... the fact that the news has been filled with school closings, flu vaccine medical advice, hospital happenings and warnings. is it just "scare t.v." as biff and i call it? even "doctor OZ" of oprah fame has had a show educating viewers about the H1N1 virus today.

so, the mom who once was the mom who doubted anything but a fever and tossing cookies was a sickness worthy of a school absence, has now put the car in reverse! anything goes! stay home! why risk it? for years, we have been subjected to other peoples cooties (another word that my children ask me not to use, especially in public).....i know that it shouldn't be a big deal. but, to me, once you have kids, you are a cootie's true.

considering i was the mom who, with my first baby, used to put all of the toys in the dishwasher after the playgroup babies headed out the door, i have come a long way. since the second kid arrived, oh, whats a little dog hair! drop a cookie on the floor when there is only one cookie with 2 kids.......a little cootie off the floor is way worth the risk to my children than the screaming and fighting that can take over our lives if they don't have "even steven",

who started "even steven" anyway, it must have been adam and eve....and it just continued through ages right on through ben and jerry. i wonder how jon and kate plus eight manage with "even steven"? oh, never mind....i'm sick of them anyway...the bad part of being cooped up at home, so tired and achy, is that's the kind of t.v. we are subjected to when we're too tired to lift an arm to find the remote to turn the yapping t.v. off.

anyway, back to "even steven".....the only reason that having a few more than 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 fish etc. would be that at a certain point, "even steven" flies out the window. the family of ten, who lived down the street when i was growing up, had no such thing as "even steven" was catch as catch can. one sleeve of oreos pretty much took care of that....i used to use them as an example for my kids when they were very little. i would say, "wwmbd?"....what would mrs. breenan do? oh, yeah, you think that's pathetic....i used the breenans for all kinds of sharing examples....."do you think mrs. breenan would cook different meals for all of her children?"...."do you think that the breenan kids could just leave their dishes in the sink?"...."''''socks on the floor...''''shoes at the door" get the picture. my kids literally got the picture. much of our time together over the years has been spent at a table with crayons....i love crayons and they helped me to chill out, sitting a drawing with the kids...i'm a life long sitting and doodling the breenan's piles of shoes or oreo distribution was a part of my "teachable moments".

did our parents have "teachable moments"...i think not. i don't think my mother ever thought of a "teachable moment"....although i do recall her saying that she would "TEACH ME A LESSON"...and her teeth were a bit clenched at the time.

i don't recall anyone in my family "doodling" with crayons and talking about life lessons either.....i was a big doodler.....especially in school. those fresh new notebooks that started the school year so pristine and hopeful, with perfect catholic school handwriting on the front, with the subject, homeroom and teachers name.....after about the 2nd week of school, when i had already fallen behind, my enthusiasm waned and it became "doodle time"! the sides of my notebook were filled with beautiful swirly letters and drawings...pencils and pens were not good enough....markers of every color rocked my world! "mr. sketch" was my king...the mr. sketch markers were wide with bold colors and matching was cherry, blue was blueberry, purple was grape....on and on. doodling went hand in hand (quite literally!) with daydreaming.

my daydreams had only just begun. they were my ticket to freedom in sister cecilia marie's third grade class. she was a young nun....but, even in third grade, i knew she was not a happy nun like sister maria nicholas, my first grade teacher. sister maria nicholas was about as warm and fuzzy and groovy as a nun could be in the mid 1960's. not to sound too cliche' but, she even played the guitar.....outside on the front lawn of the church!....we had a sing along! i liked that as much as show and tell.

props always made me happy. i also liked the "little nun pitchpipe" she would pull out of her pocket. let the games begin and the good times school was rockin' after all. even though the nun in the long dark navy blue garb, with the white bib,and white "hat" (otherwise known in catholic circles as a wimple),accessorized with a matching navy blue waistband, sterling silver cross, black stockings and black shoes, a gold ring on the left hand because she was "married" to GOD, a black pitch pipe in her pocket and a tissue up her sleeve(mandatory, i believe)....and on special days...the guitar!

sister cecilia marie of third grade fame was young and she was mean. she was short, chunky with barely a smile. thinking back, i wonder if that was because she didn't want to call attention to her mustache....that was the only warm and particularly fuzzy thing that i can remember about her. she used to say,"patience is a blessing, possess it if you can, seldom held by woman, never held by men". i guess that should have tipped me off on her anger....that and the mustache, and the fact that she brought a t.v. into class to watch the '69 mets in the world series of baseball! she was tough. she is the reason that doodling was so big in my daydreaming world. some people are "saved by JESUS", i was saved by daydreams and doodling in third grade.

all of this came to me while writing about our sensitive, new age "teachable moments". my daydreaming could have been used as a teachable moment....perhaps? one of the few things i remember of the third grade was that the teacher was mean and not well accessorized, had a crabby face with a mustache and a tightly wrapped habit(the kind on her head....but, who knows, maybe she had some money on those amazing mets!) i remember that the classroom was in the basement of our church and the windows were so high that it wasn't possible to look outside, we had to line up to go to the "washroom" and line up for the bus, i hated practising cursive because of sister saint mustache. and did i mention that sometimes she would come out to the cement parking lot/playground to play baseball with the boys. not that there's anything wrong with just seems ironic that people use the expression, "maybe she was batting for the wrong team" never crossed my mind until just this minute....swear on a stack of bibles with my left hand and make a sign of the cross with my right!

back to my daydream issues. i didn't know that there was any issue with them until one fall day in third grade. it was the day of the parent-teacher conference. my irish catholic mother, president of the rosary society,was terrified of NUNS. she came to school to meet with sr. cecilia marie.

my mom was a bit anxious. after all she had two rowdy boys years ahead of me and she was terrified of nuns! i'm not even going to question why she sent me to a school filled with the scariest beings in her "world". i sat in the car for quite awhile waiting for my mom to come out smiling like my precious experience in the education "world". well, it seemed to take a long time as i peered out the window of our 1965 ford country mother finally was freed by the nun and ready to go. as she started the car, my mom said, with teeth clenched (notice a pattern here?),"WHAT DOES SHE MEAN ...YOU DAYDREAM?!!!!!".....startled, i responded, "huh?". and that was just the beginning of may wonderful daydreaming years to follow.

of course, as parents of 8th and 9th graders, we have had our share of teachers nuns involved. no shame based fact, it is so politically correct these days, that a daydreamer is considered "creative"...that puts a much more positive spin on things. little hellions are called "busy and active children", loud, disruptive children are called, "vocal", stutterers are called "repetitive speakers", smart kids are "gifted", not so smart have "learning challenges", in my day, i would have been covered by so much "teach speech" that my parents would have never known what was going on.

there are no bad students, "mediocre bound". actually, i think, once my mom put the car in drive, she never thought about my student credentials again....til the next conference. not that she didn't care, just that she had done her parent duty by simply showing up. she didn't obsess about my future or send me to a creativity enlightenment based school. all that mattered was that she was done with the nun! thank GOD. and as sister cecilia marie with the mustache used to say, my mom had "the patience of JOB".

so, anyway, what's a few days off with the swine flu. will it make my children "cootie challenged"? i'll have to take that chance.

thank goodness for laptops, i never had to leave my bed.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009


having my thirteen year old home with a possibility of swine flu, like the many others in our town. i actually had to pause and enjoy the moments while he was asleep.....not to say i was enjoying just plain stinks to be sick with a fever, exhausted, achy .... and feverish...with a scratchy throat....and snuffly nose.

i looked in on him while he was sleeping peacefully, seeing my sweet, loving boy....cozy and warm, under the covers with a kitty at his feet. i had the same grateful feelings that i have every night when i kiss our children goodnight and say a prayer while they sleep. i treasure those moments.

my mother in law told me, during the toddler years, that she felt God gave us those moments while they're sleeping so that we can handle all of the challenges with them during the day! i think of that every night. no matter what life we live with our kids during the day, at night we can trust that the tough times are only moments.

i know, some moments are longer than others. a family friend told us that when her kids were acting up, while they were with the grandparents, she would tell them that the kids were teething. even in their teens. hey! ya gotta do what ya gotta do. some moments are longer than others!

sitting in my peaceful world, i wondered if i too, had some of the same flu symptoms as my son. i'm exhausted, achy with a headache and scratchy throat. i have felt that way most of the time during this new adolescent period. oh...WAIT.... it's motherhood, not the swine flu. a few pigs don;t scare me!

i remember when we were expecting our babies...friends and strangers would tell us to "enjoy the sleep NOW", before the baby arrived. as though we could store it up, like nursing mothers doing marathon pumping and storing multiple bottles in the fridge!

i remember sitting with friends, weeks before our first baby was born. we had just had a nice dinner with friends, their babies asleep in packnplays and cribs in the adjoining room, and the women began sharing their stories of motherhood. they told little snippets of their new babies...the sleepless nights, the confusion...but mostly, they told the sweet kodak moments.
you know, the stories, pre "club" days...... no other woman alive will break the code to the new and unsuspecting mother to be!

you have to have the baby before you're in the "club" and you know the code. no woman EVER tells the real story of childbirth to another woman...... sometimes, unknowingly, men break the code with other men......but the men haven't birthed the baby....they have only been bystanders during the event. and, i might add, THEY ARE NOT INNOCENT! they had a great deal to do with the childbirth. they just don't live it like we do. it is the unexpecting, expecting mothers that we protect. the code is only broken after someone says, "it's a......".

once you're in the "club", women will tell descriptive stories of the hellish labor they lived through. usually, way more than anyone cares to hear after the fact. no matter how painful the stories get, some woman will always have one know, the husband fainted, he ate the ice chips....someone screamed, husband or wife or one of the 15 family members in the room videotaping the joyous event. and of course, "club" storytime is never complete until i wait patiently for just the right opening for me to announce that i had our 2nd baby at home with the fire department..... oooooohhhhhhs and aaahhhhhhhhs follow.......some even gasp!

i share one of our best "little mary mix up" stories of our lives together.......i slept through labor....dreaming of my discomfort. i top the story off with the fire engine and the stork with my son's initials and birth date.....

and, just as a little mary mix up tidbit....i did keep asking my doctor if i would really know when i was in labor.....after all, i had back labor with my first baby....she seemed just a bit condescending when she smiled and said,"liz, of course you'll know!"........thank you very much, my wonderful, sweet, harvard educated, medical doctor......if only she had mentioned earlier that she wasn't even in the"CLUB".....i only found that out when she called me in the hospital (not her hospital, as "planned").....she called me in the other hospital after seeing our photo op in the boston globe. i guess i should have mentioned my "little mary mix up" nickname!

depending on the audience, i tell the story in the"club" version or in the sunday night hallmark story style. either way, i, "little mary mix up", love to tell stories. miss murphy, at munsey park kindergarten, was one of the first to point that out. my dad was the first to point out that i was a "chatterbox". any of this ring true? i hope so.....

oh, and i should mention, the "club" keeps changing too.....just cuz you've had the baby, you now think you're an insider in the club. and you are....until the second day of your hospital know, when the nurses make you walk down the hall to get your own ginger ale.....since they're too busy with the"new moms". and there you are with your "new" baby who has already worn out his stay in the hospital nursery....

just when you think you're in the club, the club members are on to their next special event. your baby is getting a molar and your friend is all worked up over barney at her two year olds birthday party. your baby started walking and their baby left for pre school......your baby is talking or singing the alphabet and your friends baby won the first grade spelling bee.

clubs change and no one ever tells you what you're in for during the next phase of club membership. one thing stays the is all about the moments.....moments....moments. live in the moments. don't waist a moment. enjoy the moments. savor the moments.......they are truly delicious if we take the time to taste them!

i don't like having anyone sick in the house, husband, kids, dogs, cats or fish. by the way, there is not much you can do when a fish is looking a little fishy....we are experts on that.....recently, we were a little concerned about a goldfish named splash, but the cat took care of that. i didn't know that cats believed in euthanasia!

anyway, someone feeling under the weather under our roof, makes me feel a bit germophobic. even now that the kids are older. first, i must take into consideration whether or not they have homework or a test the next day. i know, your children are perfect and would never even dream of missing a day of school. yeah, right. dream on. my kids used to be like that, too.

until middle school. whenever the opportunity arose, i would proudly boast of my stellar students who never even had sick days until 6th think, i had to grasp at straws like that... as though it was my mothering skills that had them dodging the bug bullet! they had been sick, just on weekends. i never have been the mom who is the loudest and the proudest.

i love my kids...every little pecadillo...i love the ups and downs of them...not always in the moment of the ups and downs...i also have to admit that i'm the mom who believes the teacher's version of the story first...i know we're all imperfect. after all, that's my claim to fame!.....

when we have a moment to sit back and review what we are doing as parents, how we're doing as parents and why we're doing what we're doing as parents.... that's when biff and i realize the humor in our parenting or our kid dramas....we laugh at ourselves....only because we never could have expected some of the moments of parenthood. NEVER! and, as the kids grow, we grow, they change, we change and we do our best and well, hopefully, they do there best. we have no rule book.....just when we think we have the rules, the game changes.

i wish you peace in the moments...a sense of humor....and sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Monday, October 26, 2009

well, i now am able to sit down to add some little id mix ups i've encountered since we last met. first, i must tell you that my name is not's liz! throughout my life, i've been called many mom is the one who knew me best and somewhere along the way, she put the name with the girl.
i also am comfortable with "becky home ecky". not because i am, but because it's just not something i can achieve. i really believed that once i was married and had children, i would have worked out all of my "kinks" and live the life of my daydreams. NOT! reality kicked in very soon.

my husband was more perfect for me than i could have dreamed. stories abound of "life with liz" as biff calls it. from the very start of our relationship, "little mary mixup" reared her pretty little self. many with my reputation may have been daunted by the moniker. thankfully, our liznbiff dating season allowed the honest to goodness me!
actually, mix ups took place from the first date! oh wait, mix ups began the first time biff asked me out! we stood at christopher morley park where we met ice skating. we talked about our work in sales......and selling styles and working our own style into the sale. biff put his hand on my elbow and said, "like if i were going to ask you out on a date, i'd touch your arm like this and say, how would you like to go on a date?" i totally missed the invitation, thinking it was his selling style. i never imagined that this great skating guy was asking me out. "chatterbox", a name my dad called me, from the time i could talk. biff was onto that from our first conversation.

when he pointed out that i had missed his cue, i questioned his sales technique since it hadn't really worked out selling me! although, we did plan to go out on the weekend....only i thought it was friday night....and he thought it was saturday night. on that friday night, i thought i had been stood up by my charming "skate date". here i am and there we were....apparently we've learned to communicate a little bit better than our first "mix ups". although, you might say the "mix ups" have kept our marriage fresh. a sense of humor is a very good thing!

okay. by now, you may have noticed that i have a touch of "a.c.a.d.d." or "after children attention deficit disorder". orderly is the furthest thing from my mind. having a track record like mine, i worked double time so that our children would live a full and blessed lives without mix ups...mix ups due to me, that is. and don't forget, it IS all about ME. actually, my "little mary mix up" reared up just the afternoon before my first baby arrived. i stopped to have a manicure and pedicure ("applesauce" pink was the color!...important detail!).....thank goodness my childhood friend called the night before and informed me that i was in labor! to find out the next morning, when we called the doctor to let him know labor had begun! thank goodness my childhood friend called the night before and informed me that i was in labor! "late bloomers" ring a bell? "late bloomers" ring a bell? while on the phone with the doctor, biff was notified that i had missed an appointment.....and where was i ......getting my manicure and pedicure! and how happy was i! my nails looked great during childbirth! AND the mid wife loved the pedicure and the color....enter "applesauce" pink!

all that, to explain "little mary mix up".

today was a quiet day. not at school bus time. our ninth grader was hysterical before 7:00a.m.
for the 3rd day in a row, the bus driver rolled by without even stopping. even my little girl, who was born running and arrived equipped with a wristwatch and a date book.....(pre laptop)...and lots of plans, could not catapult herself onto the moving bus! "epic fail!", as our kids say. and don't quote me because they feel that we are too "old school" to use that term.

after the bus drama, i walked daisy and posey......a speed walk. and off to the Y to swim laps. i must stay on the move....i must keep this routine going.....i drive off to the Y, with bathing suit, towel and goggles......but, wait! what did i forget? the bathing cap. the olympic style, not the smelly plastic one with the colorful flower petals and chin strap. i'm an o.k. swimmer, but i'm no esther williams.

so, to many, a forgotten bathing cap is not a real problem. however, i just had my blonde highlights/ lowlights/ toner/ and "especially developed shampoo for colored , dry, damaged hair. not a big deal to most. however, to me, it's"happy hair"! and it has taken months to get the color and cut back to normal. did i forget to mention that i had a little "mix up" last february with a "temporary" color fix from a box purchased without reading the details. and the part about testing a strip of hair was conveniently overlooked.........NEVER AGAIN.....and my hairdresser made me swear on a stack of styling magazines that NEVER AGAIN would i attempt this at home. and that's not even including the mullet of a haircut i had from one of my "instant gratification" hair appointments with a random hair stylist that had availability at the time of my we know why she was available!

wait...i was talking about swimming and exercise routines....i digress. i'm not even going to ramble on about my thought balloons over my head while hopping around on the cold, puddled floor in between lockers, matronly bodies, modest moms and marathon swimmers. going by the rules, i tip toe over to the showers only to find that there is a large green tarp dividing the shower area in two halves.......plumber sounds, deep voices and clunky tools banging on one side and wet seal like bodies of all ages waddling across the wet tiled floor. after tiptoeing through the janitors closet, it was only steps to the pool.

my swim was wonderful. such an achievement, just to get into that water. i could leave proud just knowing i had accomplished the biggest hurdle.....jumping in my lane. i swam lap after lap day dreaming about my kids, my husband, my great, healthy start to the day.
i had guilt that the dogs only had a short walk, but realized it would all work out because i would walk them at the beach later in the glorious sunshine......a puppy kid playdate days are over. that means MY whole playdate social life is over. HOORAY!! that's another story. now, i can plan puppy playdates with people and puppies who know how to play nice and don't feel the need to impress me with puppy over achievements and filled up schedules...........and no one ever tries to impress me with overdecorated dog houses and educational dog toys.

while gliding through the cool, clean, chlorinated water, my trance like state allowed me to feel the joy of swimming while counting my blessings to have this sparkling clear, clean water at my tippy toes. only months old, this pool was a gift. life was good. life was great! and it was only after eight. filled with pride from my tippy toes to my dripping yellow (green) hair! and i strutted back to the locker room. after the same dripping drill, i was warm and fuzzy in my weathered sweats and could begin the day!

dog thirty at the beach in the warm sunshine with our frolicking four footed friends.
ahhhhhhh......peace and friendship for all! free, pressures of schedules, sports or complaining kids! as we walk with our three joyful pups, we come upon a woman with two miniscule dogs....(our cats are bigger)......we all walk and talk and walk .....with dogs all around! ahhhh nature. life is good. life is a gift.

WAIT, there's more! friendly conversation leads to a common concern.....H1n1 VIRUS..... our newfound friend tells us of her middle school daughter at home with the flu....she tells us of the school closings...she tells of her kids' swim meet with hundreds of kids at the indoor pool, steamy and stuffy.....i ask where the kids' was at my pristine pool where i had probably taken in gallons of water just hours before!

QUESTIONS, WORRIES, SCAREY STORIES AS WE STUMBLE, INSECURE AND HORRIFIED back to our cars with our pets...wet and sandy...and smelly too! we part ways with our new found, alarmist friend. my friend and i sit on a rock basking in the sun and sighing at the realities of this "PANDEMIC" scare when the phone rings and it is my son. he is home. he has not gone to cross country practice. his voice is weak. he is tired. he has been hot since friend checks in with her son. same age, same school. he is still a little horse. he reports of a scratchy throat. before we leave the beach, my nose is running....maybe even draining. i am now preoccupied. what do we we need shots....will we all get sick....did my daughter look pale yesterday........

i got home to find my son half asleep. my daughter called to get a ride home after her sport. she was tired too. students were out sick....teachers too. the next town over had closed the schools. i remembered the girl, with her team shirt, in starbucks, coughing over the milk and sugar.................

before dinner, i was on the couch with a quilt.....the news was on....more schools in connecticut were closed. there was no need to one was to worry....shots would be people with compromised immune systems....story after story reported on this flu.....the flu that was premature in the throat was scratchy.....i turned off the news since i already had a headache.............

and now, i sit. thinking. still grateful....a little uneasy, exhausted.....prepared to dream.

and my name is liz, little mary mix up, becky home ecky, chatterbox and mom.

and more.............................


Sunday, October 25, 2009


it is only now i can try this blog again.....only after i have created havoc by trying to sit quietly at the computer and think about the fact that i have included nothing on my first attempt to blog about the name "little mary mix up".
and maybe it needs no explanation. just read my blogs and it will come to you,
just as i was seated comfortably at this desk in the family room with my daughter on her itouch, the t.v. on, the two golden retrievers laying peacefully at my feet, my great husband came home from a "speed shop" at stop and shop to get milk and other much needed staples to get us through the week. milk became a necessity when grace, the queen of milk drinking and taste drama deemed our rather new gallon of farm bought milk unacceptable to her palate. that's all i need to hear...a question about milk....oh, dear God, just don't make me smell it....and now, there goes my coffee, milk.
biff deserves an award. my mom used to say,"you're so lucky you have him!" oh, SO of my many blessings! and that's a whole 'nother'll love some of the little mary mixup stories that brought us together forever!

after a brief interruption to get grace.14 and t.j.,13 and i to help bring in the groceries....with dogs included in the trek out to the car....we all come back in carrying heavy loads. everything is deposited in the kitchen and kids flee.
biff and i continue unpacking, being sure to immediately put away the food that will most intrigue "posey" the 3 year old golden with little restraint(read none). the "trickle down" theory will occur within seconds. "trickle down" is a bit like "world". it is a description of one act that causes multiple acts of chaos to ensue. i'm familiar with this...intimately...on a daily basis. sooooo, if "posey" lives her dream clenching any edible item from the groceries, then "daisy", the 7 year old, sweet, loving, gentle, obedient dog will bark ferociously to notify us of the infraction.... of course, only if she is not included in the feast! i'm on to her!

o.k., the groceries are put away.

soooo, with coffee delivered to me by my husband, i sit rereading my very first blogpost. i am a bit tentative since i want to start writing but, as always, do not have my thoughts together. nevertheless, i have begun...there is no going back. i ask biff to take a look and see if it is o.k.....if he thinks it sounds like me....and my great guy says, of course it's o.k.....leave's a start.....he goes back to the kitchen to finish up unpacking and plans on checking the blog out in a minute......

i sit with my starbucks coffee and bit of milk(which was the reason biff went out to the grocery store) reading my free association, rambling blog and...

YIKES! i spilled the coffee (hot) onto the keyboard and the desk...but it is flowing back towards the new screen and brand new mac computer! SCREAMS AND SHRIEKS from my grace....screaming at the potential loss of connection to her "world". biff arrivedd on the scene calm and armed with "Bounty, the quicker picker upper"...thankfully, he just bought the 16 pack on sale. we require lots! i quietly, holding my breath, keep mopping bounties on the surface, our "sweet grace" commentates during the whole cleanup about how this will affect her life since i have been so irresponsible with the new computer.........i run to get the blow dryer to hopefully dry out the keyboard so it won't skip letters like the last keyboard covered with perrier.
grace leaves the room, realizing that her comments have backfired and only lead back to her cleanup skills.
ted, by the way, is oblivious to the whole crisis since he is fighting an Xbox war in the playroom downstairs....only to hear a faint adolescent changing voice calling out for pancakes. oh, wait...biff asks, "do we have eggs?" .....i cringe waiting to hear the answer. we have just spent 10 minutes looking for the plug to my "christmas gift griddle" of the best gifts ever, besides the "first married christmas gift" can opener. both were received with squeals of joy! i'm a very high maintenence wife and yet, a very cheap date! i guess that'll need some splainin' lucy!

world= places in which our family members orbit.
trickle down= the origin of a mix-up of potentially great proportions.
high maintenence wife= WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS?
lots of mixups that require some fixups

here i am. i started trying to write a blog just about a year or so ago. on this beautiful sunday morning in october, i finally have my fingers on the home computer. having a 13 and 14 year old, my time on it seems a bit limited!
it seems as though the computer is the only communication that my teens use to connect with their world! i always use the word "world" for the little pieces of our lives. my children wince at the word!
a "world" could be a school, a team, a class.....just different places our lives seem to orbit. and isn't that what we do? orbit?
in the fall, our lives are thrown into a new school year, with new schools, new teachers, new friends and new frenzies for us all.

our children are consumed with the new notebooks, markers, highlighters and always the prerequisite crayola box of 64. as parents, we are consumed with seeing to it that our children's lives are organized with bus schedules, teacher orientations and back to school intentions for the best year ever.
oh! and don't forget the new clothes! that is the greatest back to school pleasure!
who could be happier than waking up to all of this newness! everyday is christmas! new books, new backpacks, new crayons and new clothes....clean rooms, long showers, sleep and excited wake ups, a nice breakfast, bagged lunches a loving send off.....and the year begins!

all so hopeful! parents have myriad feelings as they send their, little one, big ones and in between ones off to start their new, promising year.
and don't forget the new friends! so exciting to start the year, seeing old friends and catching up....and making new friends!
is it all magical or what?
and that is all on the first day!

then the second day! still excited!

the third, well, it is a bit of a stretch since everyone is exhausted and starting to feel the switch from the freedom of summer, beach days, less structure and late nights!

let the games begin!

ahhhhh! it's my turn now.....summer ending is just the saddest letting go i know. after all of the prep and shopping fun, that's it! it's over! some parents dream of sending the kids back to school in july. many compensate by sending them off to camp! not me! i love summer and share the joy with friends and their kids. ahhhh! sailing, swimming, sandy toes, sizzling barbeques, showers outdoors, sun,sun, sun!
oh, wait, i was daydreaming! that's how it's supposed to be! and it is! it's just that it's mixed up with bickering, burned hot dogs, bad baseball games and barely time to keep up with all of the plans made by me, the kids and friends!
summer and the daydreams are over before we can blink an eye.

lots of moms can't wait for the school bus! i just want more summer!

here i october....sitting at the computer while my children sit mute in front of t.v., ipods in hand, texting with the other! not quite what was in the plans! oh...wait....was any of this in the plans?

NOT! dare i say, it's never like the daydream....the kodak moments are less and less as we meander into adolescence. oh wasn't it me that was going to be the sensitive new age mom, doing all of the right things, saying all of the right things, modeling all the right behaviors! are we having fun yet?

wait! what is right? the rules keep changing...the kids keep changing...the world keeps changing.....if i want to be in touch with my kids, i guess it will have to be on facebook...maybe they'll see me or hear me there.....