Wednesday, June 30, 2010

that's t.j.  he's the one in the kelly green j. crew pants. when did my little boy grow into this tall guy who looks at me quizically every time i speak?  it must have happened overnight.  today is the day we celebrate because he arrived in our lives fourteen years ago....a week late yet, suddenly in a hurry. as if i hadn't been aware of him for the previous 9 months +...and then there we were.  biff and i. grace and my mom and claire, grace's cousin.  there were fire trucks.  oh...and the ambulance.  and the police.  and finally, oh!  that's right! we brought the baby to the hospital. it seems like yesterday and then ...not.  where did it go?

i'm so glad that i was here with him everyday.  i'm so grateful that i got to be a part of it.....his life his ups and downs of life...

his ups..."hode you mama?  hode you?  hode you!"  he was barely one and a half. sometimes it seemed was busy.  he needed to know i was there during some of the busy-ness of life.  sometimes it seemed difficult to juggle a "hode you" moment when my arms were already full...with his sister...16+ months older.  "hode you" sometimes felt like my heart was being torn out of my chest when i had to have him go to sleep...and he still wanted more.  he liked more.

his when he fell at 17 months, "crib divin", trying to imitate grace tip toe-ing out of her crib across the room.  we all ended up at mass general for his broken wrist.  or his down at 6, we were out riding our bikes, stopped by our friends' house, the kids played and i thanked God for friends who are there for us....even while biff has business trips.  he had left for the airport for a hong kong trip at sunrise that same day.....only hours before.  i was thanking God for the folks who help us through those times  when  t.j. came around the corner...looking stunned...and said seriously,"mum, i think i broke my wrist."and he had. while i sat thanking he was around the corner falling off the monkey bars.

it was always tough to make a clean break.  until....montessori...that was the first place we truly learned about that good clean break. (not his arm)  thankfully, mrs. timeg was the greatest.  mrs. timeg taught us how to say goodbye and close the door.  it wasn't easy.  he was just three.  we went to school with his sister, grace.  she kissed goodbye, gave a sweet smile and waltzed in with no looking back.  t.j. was not so quick to follow.

after all, he was just three.  he had been to mommy and me music class since before he was born...not for him, for grace!  he loved music.  the teacher said he was like the boy in mike mulligan and his steam engine.  huh?  he seemed to gather a crowd of little people wherever he chose to explore.  he is still that way...only he doesn't know it yet....and would not believe me if i told him.

now that he's 14, he thinks i make up these things.  he is my son...he thinks we tell him good things just because he is in full teen- ness.  he looks at us like we are aliens sometimes.  sometimes he looks at biff and i and says,"i can't believe you are my parents?"

some things seem to have happened suddenly and others have been slowly coming along. sometimes we are embarrassing.  sometimes we are horrible. sometimes we are the meanest parents in town.sometimes we just say things again and again.  sometimes we talk too much.  sometimes we repeat stories.  sometimes we are boring.  sometimes we are old school. sometimes we are great!  then he remembers that we're not so great.

just the other day, he emphatically told me, "you don't discipline fitzy!  she needs discipline!"  that's when i reminded him that maybe we havent' disciplined him enough.  he's just catching on that we're not perfect.  we've known it for awhile.  it will take him time to see all of our goods, our bads, our ups and our downs.  all that matters to me is that he knows...forever...we'll always be there for him....the ups, the downs, the goods, the bads..... forever and ever we love him...always.

he knows...he talks with us.  he talks to us.  i think he trusts us...even if he doesn't want to show how much.   we have great conversations.  sometimes and i do mean sometimes....he laughs with us. and laughs some more. we have alot of fun with him and because of him. we love him.   best of all....he still lets us hug him.  it depends.  but, mostly he still does.   we love him.  happy birthday t.j.  x0x0x0x

funny enough, he makes us laugh all of the time.  he is funny.  i remember being on the beach on cape cod with friends when t.j. was just 2.  our friends had all of their kids. we had our kids. lots of kids.  i still remember kristin saying, "you're a funny boy!" it's true.  not funny like slapstick, goofy or class clown.  thoughtful funny.  funny funny. quirky sense of humor funny.  one liner funny.  i love him

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

what to do, what to do? 8th grade graduation...14th birthday....t.j., for the first time ever, asked for money for his "combined presents"....for birthday, graduation and from anyone who might ask for gift suggestions.  it was a we11 thought out idea.

he had a great idea.  he was interested in buying his own boat!  he even spent time inquiring about different boats, find the boat that was an appropriate price and va1ue....after much discussion and consideration.  it was on craig's 1ist.  many friends to1d us of their craig's 1ist dea1s.  a11 happy stories with happy endings.  

we are not usua11y the enve1ope giving fami1y.  in this wor1d of excess. we are  hoping to bring up 1oving, thoughtfu1,inte11igent, considerate kids!

we 1ive comfortab1y and we try to 1ive simp1y...with nice 1ife accoutrements!  it's a tricky p1ace to be.  as parents in 1ove1y community with many different schoo1s of thought on the american dream!  obvious consumption is, we11, obvious. cars, homes,  vacations!  we see it at birthday parties, weddings, showers, in back yard swing sets, toys and  b1ue jeans.

not to judge.  i'm the gir1 who trave11ed to europe and a11 kinds of fabu1ous p1aces,  before i was 17... not crazy, high sty1in', fast track was with my mom, the massachusetts yankee, who saw trave1 as a way to fi11 our 1ives...  a trip to ire1and as a fami1y is how it began!  that was her p1easure. 

there are many theories and many sty1es. we a11 do our best. we choose our sty1e of parenting based on our 1ives and what w know.  abundance. biff and i wou1d 1ike to have our 1ives and the 1ives of our chi1dren be fi11ed with simp1e abundance.  goodness without extravagance. hopefu11y, they'11 1ook back on and have sweet memories.  that's a11 we can offer....good fami1y va1ues, 1ots of 1ove, good fami1y va1ues and great memories.

 we think we've given them the best of a11 wor1ds!   when biff and i 1ook back, some of our best memories of chi1dhood were the simp1est.  1ooking back, one of our best memories, whi1e dating, were the simp1e things. take-out at a fabu1ous hampton's restaurant.....we brought it to the beach and shared it whi1e sitting cozy up on the  on  1ifeguard stand, watching the pounding surf and spectacu1ar rides in the rain a1ong dune road, 1aughing so hard we cou1d bare1y peda1 our bikes.... a 75 cent carouse1 ride in centra1 park. 

it's just our, back to the boat...

t.j.'s boat.....the boat se1ected and thought out and wished for and hoped for...and  even sett1ed for.....because as a fourteen year o1d, in a wor1d fu11 of conspicuous consumption, this was sti11 just a used boat....not a high fi11utin' , brand new high tech,top of the 1ine, major, upsca1e purchase...1ike he accustomed to seeing....right in the neighborhood or the kids in schoo1.

this was just a boy buying a boat...the best he cou1d buy with the money he received as a gift.what a dream. what a joy to see his face the night he and biff got home from the trip to the boat guy,1 hour drive to massachusetts and a one hour drive back home.

the boat guy so1d the biff and t.j. they came home....thri11ed with the purchase.. the next day, t.j. had one of his fun friends over....a friend who 1oves to do the boat thing....and after 1ots of work.....they came in to me and to1d me that the boat had a rip.  

it has been a week.  we have ca11ed boat man.  i have 1eft messages he assured me that the boat was supposed to be that way.......since then, we haven't heard from him.  we'11 keep ca11ing.  

t.j. now says he was taken by the "gypsy".  we a11 ca11 the boat guy the gypsy.....where is he?  it seems p1ain o1e stinky.  there wi11 be a 1esson.  we are sure of that...biff and i.  as for t.j., i think he'11 grow up with this gypsy experience as a point of reference in his 1ife. 

whi1e we had hoped this wou1d be one of those 1earning experiences that wou1d 1ead him to 1earn about boats. working on some of the 1itt1e projects that come up whi1e owning a 1itt1e motor boat.......we 1augh at ourse1ves. 

our simp1e ways and 1essons may have backfired. we think t.j. may have taken away from this tough 1esson.......not quite what we were hoping for......he'11 probab1y just be motivated to on1y buy NEW....never again to be taken by a gypsy! 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

remember when we used to take a picture and use fi1m that we bought at the store.   it came in a sma11 rectang1e cardboard box with big   print that said, "kodak." kodak was the name that we truste.  it was one the on1y brand for awhi1e....unti1 we came to the point where buying fi1m became 1ike buying shampoo!

shampoo.  that's where we began this out of contro1 shopping frenzy.  buying shampoo has turned into a day job.  we want shampoo that c1eans our hair.  now, we want c1ean.  our options inc1ude c1ean hair with cur1s, for straight hair, co1ored hair, over  processed, dry hair , oi1y hair, hair with high1ights, hair with frizz, hair with vo1ume, hair that has been straightened and hair that needs to be straightened.  that's just the shampoo!  then we need to go through it a11 just to find the conditioner.....because we HAVE to have conditioner.  the shampoo wou1d be 1one1y....1ike raggedy ann without andy, peanut butter without je11y and me without biff.


the conditioner is a part of the package....the package in our mind.  the package that we have been taught that we need!  they to1d us on t.v. we 1istened.

we11, it's no wonder the who1e camera and rea1 fi1m industry has gone digita1!  they had to!  we were spending ha1f of our 1ives in the camera ais1e shopping for 110, 135, co1or, b1ack and white, 200 speed, 400 speed and more!  it was just to much for a11 of us so we invented digita1....just to get out of the camera ais1e, we had to...just to save ourse1ves from the confusion and the overwhe1ming choices.

we moved on.

we moved on to more crazy. in victorian times, photographs were taken of the fami1ies.  the photos were very forma1.  many times, smi1es were not encouraged! as time moved on, caemras were more avai1ab1e and we had more fami1y photos and individua1 photos...sti11 posed.  we progressed into some more casua1 photos.  we moved on to a11 kinds of candids. 

we took our photos to be deve1oped at the photo store, then the drug store, then wa1mart, c.v.s. and grocery stores.  that was when mystic co1or 1abs came a1ong to save us. 

remember when we had to wait to finish the ro11 of fi1m?  for some, the ro11 in the camera might 1ast a month!

we just popped our fi1m into an enve1ope and mai1ed it out to be deve1oped and returned in one week!  no, that was the 1ife!  we cou1d pop those into the postage paid stamped enve1ope and *P00F*!, they arrived back in our mai1box in a week!  we actua11y got mai1...hard copies...ca11ed 1etters! the week! 

that was outstanding to a co11ege gir1 1ike me.  tons of photos at any event and *P00F*!. they came right back to my post office box.....just in time to pick up at the co11ege p.o. and have them in that happy mystic enve1ope to share at the 1unch tab1e!!!
the most awesome moments of our co11ege 1ife were a11 back in print within a week.....we cou1d once again discuss the events of the past weeks. we gathered a crowd the day the photos arrived! remember when we had to wait to finish the ro11 of fi1m?  for some, the ro11 in the camera might 1ast a month!

no me.  i a1ways used up the who1e ro11.  was i motivated by the mystic enve1ope or the mai1 in my mai1box when mystic returned my processed photos?

today, a photo is taken and it is posted on facebook within minutes! my question the kids take the photos of the fun they're having or do the kids make the fun they're having in order to post the pictures on facebook?  they don't even have to 1eave the party to post the pictures!  they just take the photos with there phone and send them through the phone to the computer to 1od them onto facebook!  but, they don't need to, because the kids have been texting throughout the everyone a1ready knows if the party was fun or not.....via text....before the pictures are even posted!

remember the o1d days when we needed a dime to ca11 home....where e1se wou1d we ca11?  they cou1dn't have gotten to the phone before our dime wore out......on1y a mom or a dad wou1d accept the charges if we had no dime.....and that was usua11y an emergency!  and, we had to get a 1ive operator invo1ved in the who1e process....i don't even think we cou1d ca11home today and reach a person....maybe an answering machine?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

must get to the beach before the rain comes in!  taking a quick hour or so to read and chat with a have stuff to do....i'm putting e-bay aside for a 1itt1e bit and taking a tid bit of time for me....i'm a1ready fee1ing 1ike i've been giving and giving and giving...the kis hve on1y been out a week!  i MUST take an hour or two to breathe and get my1ife back!  at 1east unti1 dinner!

great book i just fnished.  "the he1p." it was a wonderfu1 read.  it gave me a1ot to think about.  i'11 write about that 1ater...don't wi11 be just a note...not a book report!

see ya the beach.... to read. i hope i can find another great to think about!

Home  Books  Occupations - Fiction

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

smi1e!  when was the 1ast time that you remember smi1ing...just because! it's not that we don't's that we forget that we can smi1e...a11 of the time.  not the fake smi1e we know how to manage, the rea1 smi1e that we share with the wor1d when we have good news, we know a wonderfu1 secret, we have  surprise we can't wait to te11, we are in 1ove. it is said that smi1ing makes us happier.  imagine that!  just the act of smi1ing makes us seems to be the way to trick ourse1ves into it. "fake it ti1 we make it!"

it's something we a11 see in our chi1dren everyday...hopefu11y we are exposed to chi1dren often.  chi1dren teach us our 1essons.  chi1dren teach us to stay in the moment.  chi1dren 1ive in awe of the 1itt1e things.  an ant can amaze a chi1d....again and again!

when was the 1ast time you spent time with a 1itt1e kid? 

they are precious to us a11. 1ife gets busy.  we get invo1ved in our own issues and concerns.  ants to grown ups mean war...if they're in our kitchen!  

chi1dren are a reminder of our own spirit!  we a11 sti11 have the wonder and just takes a 1itt1e more work.  crazy isn't it.  we have to work at our wonder! i wonder why?

maybe we just have stuff.  the o1der we get, the more stuff we have to be concerned about.  we have rea1 1ife concerns about fami1y, hea1th of 1oved ones, kids and safety, bi11s, work...b1ah, b1ah, b1ah!

when we spend time with a chi1d...our moments become simp1e!  to the chi1d that time is awesome...and you are one more person to add to the texture of their 1itt1e 1ives!


i'm gratefu1 to so many 1oving peop1e in our kids' 1ives who made them fee1 specia1...just by taking the time to know them, 1isten to them, ta1k to them and spend time with them...on their terms.  some adu1ts expect chi1dren to step up and have them perform to adu1t standards. that's great...for the adu1t.  that's good for the kids too...but i think sometimes adu1ts need to just 1et it go... enter the kids' wor1d....instead of continuing to teach and show and have an agenda!  stop and 1earn from the kids!

i'm gratefu1 for the peop1e in my 1ife who took time.....with me...and entered my wor1d!  they abso1ute1y made a difference!

just something to think's summer...time to 1ighten up!  1ots of peop1e are out and's a great time to make a difference. 

at church, in your grocery store, on your street, in your fami1y, in your town...there are p1enty of kids who are happy to have someone take an interest...or just smi1e at them.  there are moms who are exhausted having their kids at home...being their on1y entertainment!  their are moms who need encouragement!

i tru1y be1ieve if the o1d and young and in between took more moments to 1earn about each other....and their 1ives...our communities and our 1ives cou1d be happier!

grace and i were just ta1king about how great it's been to have so many fo1ks of a11 ages in our 1ives....our kids grew up with so many "friends" of every age...their 1ives were more enriched.  we 1aughed when we remembered their p1ay at my mom' her the vi11age where i grew up.  there were peop1e of a11 ages...some young adu1ts starting on their own, some young fami1ies and a11 ages of retired fo1ks who downsized and wanted to remain in the town where they brought up their fami1ies.  

mrs. ferry 1ived next door to my mom.  she 1oved when we came to visit....she shared the joy with my mom!  mrs. ferry p1ayed hide and seek with grace and t.j.  there were no age boundaries.

we went through the names of our o1der neighbors from our 1ives in boston....erin,1oretta, mr and mrs. su11ivan, sandra and wayne, other grandparents who 1ived nearby.....they were a gift to us a11!!!  and amazing1y.....sti11 remembered fond1y!

"wow!" is what our priest started a sermon with....just "wow!"  he to1d the story of  one of his nieces waking up one morning....he cou1d here her down the ha11.  her sweet voice woke him ear1y one summer morning.  "wow!" she exc1aimed.  his who1e sermon was about the awe and wonder a chi1d has...if we cou1d a11 wake up that way...."wow!"....just to be a1ive!  

that sermon was 18 years ago.  "wow!"....we sti11 remember it.  "wow!"

that adorab1e 6 year o1d smi1e....that's our nephew!  so proud!  missing teeth!  new teeth!  no inhibitions. proud to share his smi1e!  maybe we shou1d a11 try that....and see if we have a better day because of it!  or maybe we brighten someone e1ses day by smi1ing with no awkward moments...just 1ike a kid! smi1e!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


sad news for friends is never easy for any of us.  our friends had joy and sorrow wrapped together over the course of the month....graduations and dance recita1s and sad1y, their mom/grandma's death at age 81.  we a11 have so many fee1ings at this time of year. mixing of emotions were a good thing for 

our friends.  they treasured the joy and 1ove they shared with fami1y.

the sad times and the happy times we must share with good friends......this has been a month with quite a bit of ref1ection.  we share the good, the bad and the ups and the downs, .....and tons of fun too! friends add to the 1ayers of our 1ife.

more writing to friends.....tough to write words of hope.

to our good friends,

We're all sorry to hear your sad news. Support, good thoughts and love are all that we have right now. Loss is painful, no matter when.  We know there's no good time to lose those we love.

We wish you peace....and quiet moments to give thanks for your mom/grandma.  Your mom must have been a wonderful woman....she must have had something to do with your big heart, your passion for family, hard work and love of life.

Through the years, we've known you to be a loving husband, devoted dad, all around good guy and a caring coach who shares the love and passion of your favorite game. That's just a snippet of your life we've seen first hand!  What mom could ask for more?  What family could ask for more?

It's been 2 years since my mom died. I miss her everyday. I feel her love and we see her in our kids. I find myself quoting her and continuing her traditions with love. Time does heal.  Slowly, the sadness clouds are lifting. I treasure the fun times and let go of the tough ones. My memories are sweet.  We share memories and laugh about the funny of our all time favorites is the one Lydia remembers!

When my mom broke her hip, the first time, Grace and Lydia were 5 years old.  Grace had been to the hospital to visit "gramma". She was enthralled by the experience.  The next school day, Grace was bursting to share it all with her best friend...Lydia. Grace shared and shared and shared enthusiastically....until Lydia finally shouted out, " Grace, would ya STOP talking about your dumb ol' gramma!"  That was their first official fight. We still get hysterical with Lydia today!  As for "dumb ol' gramma's," we all have loved so much! i hope Lydia, and all of your family, never stop talking about your mom.

We've lived through a lot since the Montessori days.  We've lived through the broken legs you got while playing basketball in the driveway, many girl's and boy's lacrosse seasons, new businesses, dance recitals, birthdays, graduations, new schools, funny kids, good conversation, nice smiles and The Happiness Club!

Take it slow, go easy on yourself and enjoy the love and comfort of family. Peace.



this is one of the many notes i've written this graduation season!  so much coming and going and growing and changing everyday...for the parents, the friends, the kids.....young and o1d!

the overwhe1ming part here is that annie has a1ways been just a step ahead of her sister and grace and doesn't seem possib1e that our days of high schoo1 can go by at 1ightning speed....then again, it does. 

it has been an emotiona1 few weeks! for 1ots of parents i know...and kids too!

First, congratulations Annie!  How awesome are you?  From Montessori to Choate, you've had the energy and discipline and desire to keep striving for your best!   We've watched you all the way. Since we've known you, you have had a sweet smile and warm hello!  Your spirit is one of your greatest gifts! 

This is an exciting time in your life!  You'll have even more incredible opportunities available to you
at such a fine college. It will be thrilling for us to see where each new door you open will lead!   We already know that one of the first open doors will be at Saks or Sephora!

It's an added bonus to have New York City to call home.  The lifelong friends from college were bonus gifts. New York City life gave me some of the greatest experiences of my life!  Life lessons from college and the city life gave me the strength, energy and hope in me today.  That's not including the people who made each experience more memorable and powerful.

As with any path, there were bumps, blast offs and mix ups along the way.  Each unexpected detour took me on the road less traveled which led me to Biff and start our family, blessings greater than i could have dreamed.  Saturday will be our 17th anniversary and I still slip on my wedding dress to celebrate! I wish you the road less traveled...wherever it leads you!

You and are blessed with the love of family!  Our Montessori family led us to your   family where fine friendships followed!  We've all come full circle.

Annie, our family wishes you dreams, adventures and accomplishments greater than you imagine.  May your circles continue to grow!

With love and joy and giant hugs,


today is t.j.'s stepping forth ceremony!  it's exciting for all of us!  later this month is his 14th birthday!

how does time go by so quickly?  it seems as though one day things are rolling along slow and steady....then *POOF* is a series of flashes.  this seems to be one of those moments.  
i must get sleep now. grace had her last day of school today.  2 tests.  i had jury duty.  i'm off!  that's another story.  t.j. had a school day filled with yearbook signing.  

i love when our kids get out of school for summer.  i always pray for the safety of all children and all families throughout the summer.

i love when they finish the year...yet, it's bittersweet for me.  i think by now you've noticed that the closing doors is tricky for me.  i look back and think of how blessed we are with teachers, administrators, family and friends that have gotten us all this far.  life is a journey, not a destination....when i think of how it all pieces together, it becomes a slide show in my mind....with music.  do you have those.  mine are filled with great music, photos, live flashes of just the moments.  

i live in my own kodak commercials.  that's just the way my creative juices, arts, photography and it's all one big cotton commercial!  

do you remember those? "the fabric of our lives"
cotton commercial youtube video i looked at first...not quite the mood i was hoping for....i laughed out myself! 
 this is the cotton commercial i run in my head.....the fabric of our lives.   

and this cotton commercial.

it has been a very busy month....or 1ife!  1ife is good!  most definite1y we are gratefu1 for 1ives that are fu11!  i am sti11 adjusting to our summer 1ifesty1e!  we have been enjoying summer to the fu11est....a1ready!

in case you fee1 that you have 1ost track of time or have 1ost time, it is because this post was started on t.j.'s stepping forth or graduation ceremony day!

i 1eft it in draft.  draft. draft.  to finish....we11 this is it!  why am i so hard on myse1f?  i want to write from the heart.  i do.  some days it's just not that easy....some days come easier than others.....time is better or exhaustion is 1ess or i'm not driving a11 over connecticut........

i guess someday, i'11 get over it!  i 1ove that i'm not wou1d be great if i was perfect....but, that was a just a dream...not mine anymore! my greatest gift was when i rea1ized that it's o.k. not to be perfect!  what has been a greater gift is knowing that i'm 1iving honest1y and true to myse1f, fami1y and friends. i do my best everyday.  

certain1y, i am not perfect...sti11, i try to be consistent. i wake up happy.  tired, but happy!  1ife is am i!  everyday is what we make it.  sure, sometimes we comp1ain....but why? it's not worth it.  we can 1ive or we can drag.  i prefer to 1ive and 1ook at the good.  

some days are easier than others.  no matter how bad we think things are....our prob1ems are miniscu1e.  i think that's why i 1ove the ocean....we are bare1y a sp1ash in that giant expanse of ocean.  same with our troub1es. that's that. that's it. that's a11....1ife is what we make it!  why not make it fun!??

biff and i fee1 b1essed to be 1iving rea1.  honest1y.  there wi11 a1ways be those who judge.  there wi11 a1ways be those who gossip.  there wi11 a1ways be those who are honest and true and rea1.  biff and i choose to spend time with peop1e who are honest and true and rea1!  what's not to 1ove?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

exhausted.  that's me.  that's the who1e fami1y. t.j.'s graduation was wonderfu1.  he had a great day and so did we. graduation at 9 a.m. and 1ots of photos to fo11ow, then to our beach with a11 of his friends and their parents. 

it was quite a day.  we a11 had 1unch, grace was out sai1ing with friends, t.j. was out sai1ing with friends.  the sai1boat was fi11ed to the rim at a11 times!  we cou1d hear the 1aughter from the shore!







Monday, June 14, 2010

I hope you dance

i hope you dance. i said something like that friday night....again and again and again!  sometimes we need little reminders in life.  when we were 13, we needed to be encouraged and so do our kids.

friday night's dance , called a social rather than a formal, was  for the kids in t.j.'s class who will be "stepping forth" this week.  the dance is a lovely tradition that has been enjoyed for used to be "the formal".  don't think that's because of "these kids today" or because of the dressing down of america.  the name has been changed to protect the innocent.....the parents!

the school "formal" has had the name changed because, as with many of the events in our kids' lives, the parents have allowed it or created it.  the head of t.j.'s school and i have similar back rounds with similar family life, schools and friends  in common. he as changed the name to stop the insanity.

insanity comes in many forms.  it seems to be prevalent with families of means.  it has gone on in different degrees for generations.  maybe it began with adam and eve...eve wanting a leaf from a prettier tree...perhaps the leaves were changing and she preferred the pink-ish tone that looked more flattering against her skin.  a fashion statement that would lure adam to the apple. big time flirtation by accessorizing. 

the name has been changed because it had gotten out of control....not the dance but the attire of the 13 year old girls who attended the dance. as with any 8th grade, the girls seem to find the social aspect way more thrilling than the clueless, unaware and unsuspecting boys.  boys wear clothing as a necessity.  girls wear clothing as an accessory and shopping is a girl bonding thing for all ages. the girls seem to drive the hype of the dance.  why?  i think it may be due to the dress.

when women of any age are involved, it always comes down to "what will i wear?"  it may have been called a "formal" for years, but it seems in the last few years that "formal" has grown to mean "pricey, over the top and unnecessarily expensive!"

the gentleman responsible for finally reeling things in is to be commended! i should say that he tried.  it is now officially called the "social"...that's a start.  he made an announcement that no one should go out and buy new and expensive dresses....just wear something nice.

is it the girls?  is it the moms?  i don't get it.  so many moms seem to up the ante'.  i remember grace's first ballet recital.  she was 3.  parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles arrived with armloads of flowers for the prima donnas who were just barely out of diapers. it was a circus!

silly new parents that we were, biff, t.j. and  i were there to clap. afterwards, we had no flowers or party. our baby dancer had a nap planned after her big occasion.  i do believe biff's parents came the day before to watch the practice.

i will also admit that  there have been moments....just moments.....when i have said to myself, " i should have....." nope.  i stopped myself before my own insanity kicked in.  weren't we working hard to allow our kids the plain old fashioned childhood that we so loved.  

the simple walks holding my daddy's hand, dancing on my daddy's feet, sitting by the fireplace learning to play gin rummy, raking leaves with dad, running into the ocean, driving in the happy to have him to myself....making him laugh, watching his favorite t.v. shows

listen to though i never fell for any of it.  sure i did. not usually by decorating my grace like a christmas tree or jean benne' ramsay.  that was what the kids looked like for the ballet recital photo day....yes, they were expected to leave school early to get the photos taken.  wierd huh?  nope. we didn't go til school was out.  shocking!  some moms brought make up for there "little girls"....6 years old.  babies. huh?

when my niece was 7, she made her first communion.  a little girl rolled up in a stretch limo!  with all of the angelic faces on the altar, i was awestruck!  UNTIL my eyes fell upon the little limo girl...her face was blushing....really blushing.  that little girl looked like a halloween trick or treater, despite her very glamorous designer dress...she had blush on her cheeks and eye shadow and lip gloss. huh? 7 years old with make up?  if our  truly sweet and innocent babies need 
makeup and designer dresses and limos,then won't their lives go quickly down hill from age 7?  what will it mean to them when their first boyfriend takes her to a movie in her parents jeep?  how will baby face cope?
the other night was a sweet night.  biff and i were at the "social"....much to t.j.'s objections.  we tried to steer clear of our adorable boy dressed up like our ken doll....don't let him hear me say that or he'll strip down to his boxers so fast, our heads will spin!  he likes nice clothes (that runs way back in our family genes, not jeans)  t.j. appreciates nice clothes, he just doesn't care about shopping for them.  grace told t.j. what the guys wore to the dance last year...she told him what would look good.  he was o.k. with that. funny, but he trusts her with those choices.  who could have been happier as we drove off to j.crew and brooks brothers! he had grown since last spring. that grace, she knows her stuff.  her brother went off to the dance looking great and comfortable too.

khaki club

the girls looked sweet although some were more appropriate than others. 



one girl had been at the hair salon all day having her "up doo" styled!   last year, i took grace and her friends  to the nail salon for manicures.  they were delighted!  what message do we give our darling daughters if we feel that they need makeup at age 7? how do we allow some of these little girls, only 13, to wear dresses way too short and revealing?  is this what mom's do to daughters while some dads  live through their sons baseball/lacrosse/footballdreamed of his baseball success taking to the big league!while most of these lovely little ladies looked so tastefully dressed, there were some who were not so tastefully dressed. we worried that some dresses would fall down with nothing to hole them up while others had no fabric and needed more keep them covered!  isn't that always the way!

most of the girls were ready to dance and many of the boys were hoping to horse around.  the music was blasting and there were those awkward moments....the girls hoping to dance...with that special boy...or avoid that not so special boy.... some girls were standing uncomfortably while their more comfortable friends danced.

as i strolled through the clumps of girls and circles of boys, i realized that SOMEONE had to start dancing first.  they needed a jump start!

i stopped one group of girls who we knew well.  i told them that they needed to get all of the girls to dance....tell some friends.  i did the same with another clique of girls...tell some friends or other girls from class....girls needed to "get this party started" as the song says.  i told each group that if they wanted to have a fun dance, they were responsible for making it fun.  if they got all of the girls to dance, the boys would have no choice!  

the girls began dancing...the floor looked like it was moving.  some boys joined in.  one boy was holding a beach ball as i approached....i told him that the head of his school took the beach ball away from someone!  i continued to think fast....the head of the school said that the beach ball was off limits.  the only way for the beach ball to go into play was if they tossed it up in the air to the others....ONLY WHILE THEY WERE DANCING!

it worked.  they danced.  i hope you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

ode to kit

kit has made her trip cross country to her new home.  after months of contemplation and thoughtful discussion, grace decided she was ready to sell her american girl  dolls in my e-bay store.

we had many conversations whether to hold on tight to kit and bitty baby or to send them off to another loving little home.  after much consideration, grace realized she was ready to let go.....she felt that the memories of her american girl dolls would be just as sweet.  she realized that the dolls would make someone else happy.  

kit went to a very loving home in washington state.  the grandma who chose kit bought the doll for design clothing of the era.  Kathy just received kit early this week.  kit has made it to her new home and has received a warm welcome with perks.

you see, kathy and i had much communication throughout the e-bay process.  like in life, the e-bay world  is a small friendly place, once we get to "know" it.  through our e-bay e-mails(say that 3X fast!), we found little snippets of our lives and similar interests (kit and e-bay learning curve) that helped us connect...if only for a short time.  It made our transaction an interaction that was quite friendly and respectful.

now that kit is in her new home with a new name, shirley ann.  she has a new life as a farm girl living on  "The Homestead."  her new life will be filled with the real farm adventures that kathy knows well  life on the farm.

who would have thought that kit would move on to such an adventure  and be welcomed so easily. who knew what an easy adjustment she would have. she was living the happy life of a connecticut girl.  she had everything she wanted.  she was in a beautiful shoreline town.  she had quality education with great schools,a loving family, a warm bed , beautiful beaches for sailing, swimming,  kayaking and sunning, long time friends, nice neighbors, summers on the cape, snowy winters  for skiing, trips to boston and new york, broadway shows, relatives within hours.  what's not to love?

kit enjoyed it all.  she knew the love of family.  she knew the joy of special friendships.  she had great life experiences.  she had learned it all....from grace and all of the others who influenced her life.  

this new adventure was for kit and about kit.  grace knew it was time to let kit go.  it was bittersweet.  she loved kit.  with the all of the possibilities and choices, kit found a  great place and people who will care for her and look out for her like their own.

like so many friends who have had their own children graduate this month, it's time to let go.  after giving them everything they had to give, spiritually, emotionally and physically....even materially.  it's time.  

some parents are better at it than others.  the letting go.  no parent has it all figured nice as that would be.  we all have to learn as we go. as long as we keep doing the next best long as it's in the best interest of our giving them everything we've had to teaching, loving, listening, talking, loving, experience, loving, independence, loving,  allowing mistakes, caring and  loving. some more, they are ready to go on their own.  our hearts and homes are always here....for them...for a soft place to fall or jump or be.....they will be welcome forever.

we have to let go.  holding on to tight will make them squished and smothered.  they will tug and wrangle to get away.  we will let them slowly go...a little bit at a time.

they will go if we have given them the gift to know it's safe and they can do it.  we're afraid too.  we have to believe in them.  they deserve that. they will be stronger for it. they will have more confidence.

we will learn as we go...just as we did throughout the journey...just when we think we have it figured out....we will have more lessons to learn.

you can follow kit in her new home and see the great life and Homestead Homestead Happenings.  i can't wait to check in and see her adventures.  just like all of the graduates, we are blessed to have the connection of cyberspace, cell phones,facebook photos and more!

may all of us who must let go and move on and carry on and continue learning, do our best and do it with love.

e-bay has made us aware of our great abundance! i have always been aware of the letting go process.  some things tug more at my heartstrings than others.  over the years, we have been blessed with friends who have passed on their adorable boy and girl clothes.  thankfully, our friends have very nice taste!  thankfully, our friends share the love of shopping for their kids clothing!  we have benefited greatly!  a greater  learning experience for us all.  it has made the whole family stop.  stop to see how much we have.  too much.  like most americans today.  it's our culture.

i think there was something mentioned about hunting, gathering and hoarding as the pilgrims stepped off the mayflower!  in the declaration of independence!  american's like stuff. more stuff is even better. 

delighted to hear from kathy, our  e-bay customer.  we made sure that kit was cleaned up and her strings were tightened so she could "pull herself together." she needed to clean up her act.  she was still as sweet as could be
homestead happenings

Thursday, June 10, 2010

i woke up with a start today!  yikes!  it was after alarm time.  alarm?  what alarm?  i didn't hear an alarm, did i?  i know i set my alarm.  it was very late when i finally got to bed.  very, very late actually.

i was at another village meeting to hear more people talk about the horrors of the internet, cell phones, cyber bullying and internet predators.  while listening to the speakers, i whispered to a nearby friend, "great. i'm at a cyber world safety meeting and the kids are home alone. i'm pretty sure that they're both on the internet! grace working on a paper, probably on facebook.  t.j. has a class trip tomorrow so he's probably on x-box....the predators are probably knocking on the door or sexting them while i sit taking notes!"  

biff has been in the city for a few days.  great night for me to be out at a meeting....with parents. and community leaders...feeling out of control with the whole world bursting into our homes.  i sat at the meeting...thinking about all of the years we worked so diligently to keep our kids on P.B.S. and without warning...*POOF* the world came into ours.

not quite the same as going out to a yoga class...or a poetry reading.  this was fear 101!  arriving home late to see grace finishing her paper while t.j. had taken himself to bed....for a good night sleep before his class outing in the morning.  we've come a long way from P.B.S., dinner, bath, book, bed  days. 

i was brain was stretched to the max.  i trust our kids....i don't trust the world.  the world has always had scary out there.  it's just a new scary.  all we can do is be educated and keep our kids educated and aware.

so, back to the alarm.  bedtime was over the top late.  what was i doing to relax?  following up on e-mails, catching up on some letter writing.  ironically, letters of congratulation and the same family.  another light and breezy thing to do at night while my husband is away and my kids have an early wake up!
biff and i have the ultimate codependent relationship...when it comes to morning alarms.  there was never a problem waking for our children in the early days.  we were smart enough...or exhausted enough to get the sleep we required. 

it became more of a challenge once our kids stayed up later.  just a little quiet after they went up to bed...just a little....i craved that quiet....for an art project or to read a book.... uninterrupted.  a luxury.

until it continued into the wee hours.  just one more minute....turned into way too late.  that was at the point where the alarm mattered.  no longer were the pitter patter of little feet our alarms.

so, for quite a few years now, biff has called me with a"wake up call from the front desk." as a back up to my alarm.....internal alarm and timex ironman alarm and cell phone alarm!
this morning, it was my internal alarm.  even after less than optimum sleep....i popped up, looked over at my cell phone with 247,000 applications available, 4 morning alarms set with the special ring and the vibration.
looking at the time on my cell phone...i had a moment of panic.  ten of seven!  yikes.  that's usually time for the bus.

i looked at my alarms...why?  why had they failed me?  uh. oh.  oh. no.  i turned off the volume while i was at the meeting.  biff called during the meeting...i texted him to tell him why i had just hung up on him and proceeded to turn down the volume.

alarm.  not. not at all. ahhhh.  there had been texts....from biff.  the only one i saw all caps.....which grace tells me is shouting in TEXT, that is.  his message, "THINK I'M GOING INSANE!"....follwed by the next text..."NOW WE R FULLY ENMESHED WITH OUR NEIGHBORS.....MOLLY IS COMING OVER TO RING THE DOORBELL.  T.J. CAN'T MISS TRIP!" 

that's the point that i called him.  his voice was weary.  he was confused.  no. not the usual wake up confusion when he's out of town, the "where am i" confusion.  it was the why isn't my sweet loving wife answering the phone/where the hey is my family confusion/how could i possibly lose them all when they all have cell phones, i touches and a few computers in that house confusion....i'm used to that. that comes up during business trips.

thankfully, i didn't have to panic the kids.  i would remain calm....that's what mothers are supposed to do.  right?  grace under pressure and all of that stuff!  i hated those that panic voice of my mom's when i was young.  wait!  who am i kidding.  i hate that NOW!  i called them.  i went to each room. i let them ease into the panic....thankfully, we never got to that point.  i told them i would be driving them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

all summer long

just a few more days.  i've heard it from the teachers....i've heard it from the kids...i've heard it from the moms.  just a few more days.