Thursday, September 29, 2011

Twelve + six days


Dear Chase,

Last Friday, you turned twelve. You have been pretty excited about it and all the milestones that come with turning twelve. I'm left wondering when exactly twelve years came and went. It doesn't seem to be slowing down, either.

You are shooting up right before our eyes, and I am often tempted to measure you at night before you go to sleep. I swear, you are taller every morning. It is killing your big brother that you are taller than him. But you don't make it an issue, you don't rub it in. When people comment on that fact, you just shrug your broad, lanky shoulders and smile. Like it's no big deal.

Would that everyone had a brother as good as you, Chase.

The big excitement of this year is that you are now old enough to get your own gun.

It should not surprise any of us that the gun you picked is a replica of an old gun -- a collector's item -- and not necessarily one we can pick up at the local sporting goods store. It had to be special ordered, purchased through a federally licensed firearms dealer, and brought across state lines with lots of red tape and paperwork. This is pretty typical of you, Chase, as you have always prided yourself on being anything but ordinary.

You are one of a kind.

And we thank god every day for that fact.


This year, you also entered another milestone - that of middle school. It nearly tore my heart in two to watch you saunter so easily to the bus stop with your brother. Watching the two of you walk, the happy banter between you going back and forth, brought back a flood of memories. Memories of the two of you in diapers, playing together - best friends, even then. I can't count the hours spent watching your two heads bent together over a set of legos or sitting exhausted on a park bench, wondering if you'd ever run out of energy.

Which you never did, by the way.

And here you are, taking more independent steps away from me with grace and ease, and growing into a very fine young man in the process.


You are still such a sensitive little soul, and I hope you never lose that. Your kindness for the underdog in every situation has drawn friends to you that others wouldn't have the patience for. You don't mind the quirky kids, the ones with the special needs. In fact, you are so good at looking beyond their limitations and only see the best in them.

Quite frankly, you see the best in everyone.


Your quest for knowledge is as alive as ever. Gone are the days where you need anyone's help to satisfy your thirst for information. Quite often, it's me asking you about something, and without fail, you are always spot on with the right answer. Your brain is a sponge, kid.

And I have no doubt that should we ever find ourselves in a survival situation, I will live through it because of you.


Chase, your heart is pure gold. You love unconditionally and without guile. You draw others in and love them wholly.

There is nothing I love more than your lone dimple in a big smile - it lights up my world. You are so special and you have taught me more about kindness than anyone else ever could. You make me a better mom. You make me want to be worthy of the trust god placed in me when he made you mine.


I love you, kid. Happy twelfth birthday.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Calling all Europhiles

Holy flip.

(Those are the closest things to swear words I'm allowed to say since I've been let in the Resistance. Did I tell you she finally let me in? Greatest day of my life. Tragically, I'll probably get a ticket for writing them here though. Totally worth it.)

I did not realize it has been almost two weeks since I posted here, with the exception of my complaints last Friday against the morons at Photobucket.

Sheesh. How is that possible? I was thinking maybe three days, five at most. I had no idea it has been almost FOURTEEN.

This should give you a little insight into my present state of mind right now. I am swimming. I have never been so busy in my entire life. My little business is booming, and it's something that makes me so very happy. Family sessions, newborns, senior portraits, and a wedding this week. But it leaves me very little free time for blog reading or blog writing. Or nap taking, for that matter.

I've got to remedy this. Somehow.

The other major time-suck right now is a little trip I'm getting ready to go on. Excuse me while I scream in excitement yet again.


There. All better. I'm getting ready in about five days to board a plane with one of my favorite people and take a little hop across the pond to London and Paris. Where we will indulge my fantasy of a night with Alfie Boe singing his heart out in this, and possibly convince Prince Harry to fall madly in love with me. Which will be tragic, as I will have to break his heart since I am married to a man wonderful enough to send me on this fantasy vacation in the first place. But I'll probably wait to break the news to Harry until after he's showered me with a few of the crown jewels. As he will be wont to do, I am sure.

But the point, dear internets, is that I am up to my elbows in cleaning, shopping, editing, mothering, and cleaning all in preparation for the trip of a lifetime. I've got a mother-in-law coming to stay, and ain't no way is she getting a peek at my cupboards in their current state.

So, indulge me while I'm scouring sinks and drawers and tell me your favorite things to do in London and Paris. Must-eats, must-sees, and everything in between. I've never been and need to know all the best spots. What would you recommend?

And in the meantime, I'll try and carve out a little time and share some of the less-exciting, but still worthwhile, things that have been happening around here.

Friday, September 23, 2011



Apparently, I have exceeded my bandwidth so my account is suspended. When I went to upgrade to pro which gives you unlimited bandwidth? They told me I cannot until I cancel my previous subscription. Which they won't let me do for reasons unknown to me.

These are things that might have been nice to be told, I don't know, YESTERDAY.


I have emails into their customer service. They best be fixing it soon. Or I might be killing them.

Doing my best to fix the look of this hideousness soon. Hang in there.

In the meantime: Send chocolate and diet coke immediately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Testing my patience

Today's lesson in the culinary arts comes from Chase.

When you want to make a shake after a long, hard day at school, it is wise to remember one thing before starting:


Make sure the bottom is put on the blender BEFORE you pour the #!@$ milk and it runs all over the counter and floor.


Also of note: The blender is hereby off-limits to sixth grade boys pending further notice.

Adorable new smiles notwithstanding.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Telephones and toilets don't mix

Last week, I was on the phone with a teacher from Hannah's school.

See, Hannah has recently started going one day a week to a creative learning campus* and the adjustment has been a bit of a struggle. She feels lost, is frequently in tears, and is begging to return to her home school.

I have worried and wrung my hands about how to help her. I feel that to let her quit something after such a short time goes against everything I am trying to teach her about commitment and endurance.

When she faked sick last Friday to try and get out of going, and my tears mirrored her own, I decided it was time to ask for help. I made calls and sent emails to the school counselor, as well as her morning and afternoon teachers.

One of the teachers eventually found a few minutes in her busy day to return my call. As we chatted, I shared with her the struggles that Hannah has been having. I found myself pouring out my anxiety and worries quite tearfully over the phone. I begged and pleaded for her wisdom as an educator to help me help my child.

And then, over the phone I heard --

-- the distinct and disgusting sound of a flush.

Followed shortly thereafter by the sound of running water.

And the unmistakable crank of a paper towel dispenser.

Her 'mmm-hmmms' suddenly seemed a little less attentive than I thought they were.

I was horrified and repulsed. She could not take two minutes to go to the bathroom BEFORE calling me back? She couldn't mute her phone? The fact that I was crying and pouring out my soul to her while she sat on a toilet did nothing to reassure me that my daughter was in good hands.

Albeit, very clean post-toileting hands.

I must beg the question of you, dear internets -- have you ever made a call whilst on the pearly white throne? Do you flush and dial? Are you a pee talker?

I. am. not.

And I'll try not to judge those of you who are.

*Hannah begged and begged all last year to be tested for admittance into our district's Center for Creative Learning. I finally acquiesced, she was admitted this year, and absolutely hates it. In spite of the phone/toilet interaction, we have come up with some good strategies to help her and she is feeling better about it. I, however, will likely be scarred for life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This morning, my husband will pack a suitcase and get on a plane.

I am more than a bit mindful of the irony.

You see, ten years ago today, he innocently boarded a similar flight. It was a crisp, fall day then. It is a crisp, fall day now. His mind that day was undoubtedly on the meetings ahead; not on the horror that would follow.

Today, as he looks around the terminal at his fellow passengers, I can't help but wonder if the thoughts are running through his head. Who among them has a heart full of hate? Who has children? Who is all alone? Who will never get to mend fences with loved ones or say goodbye? Who will not live to make it back home?

My fervent prayer is that those questions will not be answered. Today or any day in the future.

The days following the terror attacks ten years ago were surreal. Where we lived, normally reserved and crusty New Englanders stopped and hugged strangers on the street. Petty troubles were forgotten, crime virtually disappeared.

It felt as though we had a unified purpose. We became one people, with one heart. We were a nation under attack, and we refused to let the terror win. We rallied around political leaders, regardless of our preferred party. We took the time to call family and make sure they were okay. For once, we didn't mind waiting in line at the store or the traffic light. We found patience for our children. We clasped hands with strangers and prayed together. We felt our hearts ache for those less fortunate.

In short, we were exactly as we should be.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see my country at its best. My children have never seen this firsthand, and I pray it doesn't take another horrific act of violence to bring it about again. Please take today, and remember what it felt like in those few weeks following 9-11. Remember the pride you felt for your country and your people. Remember the love you had for your fellow man and forgive those who have hurt you. Be kind to strangers and refrain from judging others. Be patient and thoughtful. Help those in need.

Live just a little bit better.

BE just a little bit better.

And, please, don't ever forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A five-thousand dollar smile

Today was a very big day in the Chase world. Probably the biggest he's known so far. I'll let his note do the talking:


It says:
Dear Siblings:
I am down stairs with my bran-new smile. Mom got me a cake and this. Please come see me.


P.S. Eat my goody bag*
P.P.S. MP are 40 tokens**
In case the full-sugar soda and "bran-new smile" don't clue you in, he got his braces off today. He about broke the dentist chair with happy feet when they told him the good news.

I doubt his brace-face brother will feel the same joy.

Here's hoping the cake at least cheers him up.

* The orthodontist handed him a gigantic goody bag full of all the treats he has been unable to eat for the last 18 months. Seemed contrary to good oral hygiene practices, but seeing as I ate a few things out of it myself, who am I to complain?

** The orthodontist also has been giving them tokens every visit and he and McKay have their eye on something Xbox related that is called MP. I have no clue.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What I really meant to say was...

This morning, both my boys got up with their alarm clocks.

And by alarm clocks, I mean me tramping down the hall and telling them to get up.

They proceeded to cheerfully shower and get ready for school.

And by cheerfully, I mean fight about who had to take a shower first.

After much negotiation, they finally both had showers, and headed downstairs to quietly make themselves some breakfast.

And by quietly, I mean wake-the-dead-loud.

McKay is in a smoothie phase right now, and there's nothing I love more than hearing the blender crunch up ice at six in the morning.

And by love, I mean hate.

I hugged them both, handed out lunches, and waved as they went out the door. Then I promptly began to exercise.

And by exercise, I mean crawl back into bed and fall asleep.

An hour later, it was time to rouse the little Hannah. She woke up in her usual cheerful way.

And by cheerful, I mean hate-the-world-grumpy.

She quietly ate her breakfast while I made her lunch. She then calmly styled her hair and got dressed.

And by calmly, I mean with many tears. Her hair was "too fuzzy" (her words) to do anything with today. There might have been some silent cursing on her part.

And by silent, I mean slamming of doors and loud sighing.

I dried her tears, fixed her hair, and dropped her off at school with a bit of melancholy in my heart for the loss of her company.

And by melancholy, I mean joy.

I then plotted out my day and began my work ahead.

And by work, I do mean climbing back into bed yet again and ignoring it all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Having the want to serve

This afternoon, my boys came begging to have a lemonade stand. Seeing as how we had zero lemons in the house, and I had zero desire to drive and buy the aforementioned lemons, that business idea fell flat on its lemony face.

Next they wanted to have a bakery.

Tragically, it was a half hour before dinner time. And since I am a complete OCD freak an organized household coordinator, I nipped that one in the bud, too.

You know.

Seeing as how treats take at least a half hour to bake, another half to cool, and a third half for me to stop eating them long enough for the kids to sell them to the maybe one person who would be wandering our street at that hour. Our neighborhood? Del Boca Vista. Everyone is sound asleep in bed around here by five o'clock.

Hearts heavy, and all the business acumen nearly drained from their souls, they thought of a third potential business venture.

Internet, I give you the Fall & Leaves Co. Which is apparently very strong in religious acts.


Interesting question to ponder (aside from how one goes about becoming very strong in religious acts) is exactly where the business plans to acquire two leaf blowers, a dozen rakes, and hundreds of leaf bags. Because I'm pretty sure that I own none of those things.

Seeing as how our neighborhood does most of our lawn care for us and all.

Details. Getting in the way of budding entrepreneurs every day.