Thursday, July 31, 2008


Even though I'm home all summer, each year I sign Little up for some kind of camp.  We aren't going away this summer, we are, instead, "vacationing" in my new kitchen so camp gives him something to do to break up the summer a little bit.
I sent him to two different camps this year. The first is called S.N.A.K.E.S. I have no idea what the acronym SNAKES stands for, but it involves reptiles  and a pond. He had a great time except for the one day he came home and told me, "I don't really fit in." I chuckled. I know, I know, it sounds so sad, but it was really just Little being Little. He also told me that Moby Dick lives in the pond there. I told him that was impossible since Moby Dick is a whale and whales live in the ocean. Well little did I know that Moby Dick is actually a rather large snapping turtle. Who knew??
This week he's attending camp at a YMCA in a neighboring town. He loves this camp! 
I went to pick him up yesterday and a very tall and young camp counselor told me there was an "incident" involving Little and another boy. I instantly hoped that it was my child that was the victim. Now I know how awful that sounds, but he looked fine, so I really wasn't that concerned with his well being. But alas, Little WAS "the incident". Seems some kid "flicked  Little's hat off  so Little decided punching him would be a good idea. Weird because Little can be "quirky" at times but he's NEVER violent or hurtful. So he had to sit out for arts and crafts, which he informed me was "boring anyway." So much for sending a message.
The counselor told me the other boy was okay, but he didn't know what other consequences there would be. I'm thinking, so what does that mean? Questions were running rampant through my head! Is Little going to be expelled from Y camp? Would he be arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon...a closed fist? And what of the hat flicker? Did he have to miss boring arts and crafts?
We showed up at camp this morning, not knowing what check-in held for us. But phew, they let us in without a hitch. At least four counselors said hello to him as he walked in. I'm not sure that he being well known is such a good thing! I mean, what is he known FOR exactly????
I heard one counselor say to another, "he is the cutest little boy."
Yeah, he is...and it's a darn good thing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Totally Random Thoughts

I get that gas prices are high and people are looking for alternatives but as a driver, these things scare me. Are they a bike that belongs on the side of the road or a motorcycle that should go along with the flow of traffic? I saw a guy yesterday moving through cars like he was a stunt man. I'm sure if the Grand Canyon had magically appeared in down town Salem, "Evel Knievel"  would have tried to jump it. I almost hit him and it would have been my fault. 
I have entertained the thought of purchasing a scooter. A hot little red number. I could scoot to my job each morning but the thought of dealing with helmet head for the remainder of the day is keeping from taking the plunge. Vanity is a wonderful thing.

Isn't it so disappointing when you are really looking forward to that peach and it SUCKS? How about grainy watermelon? Tasteless cantaloupe? Dried up honeydew? It's infuriating!

I believe most people are honest, at least for the most part. The other day I was in Stop and Shop and in a hurry for some reason. Why? I don't know, because as  a teacher I am living the life of leisure right now, but anyway, because I was in a hurry I decided to use the self check out because, I am much faster than the average check out clerk, I can bag my groceries more efficiently and in some order and I can of enjoy it, I like the little beep beeps as I scan my stuff and the line was shorter.
So I run my debit card through to pay and select the "cash back" button because I have none. So my 30.00 spits out into the little tray, and my receipt prints from the little machine. As I'm bagging, the next person (young thing in short shorts) in line starts to scan her stuff. I hate that because her stuff gets mixed up with mine and I'm always really afraid of taking home the wrong groceries. Can you imagine my husbands face if I accidentally brought home a pregnancy test for example??
I hear the little voice say, "Please don't forget your receipt and cash below the scanner"
So I'm annoyed as I bag my stuff. I remember to grab my receipt, but totally forget to grab my "cash below the scanner". Partly because I'm annoyed, but mostly because she is standing there in front of it and I swear now it was on purpose. 
I go to put the groceries in the car then realize my mistake. It's been literally about 3 minutes. I run in and go to the check out. Girl is gone, cash is gone. I'm out thirty bucks. I checked with customer service just in case she did the right thing, but nope. 
I justify by saying, "I hope she has hungry kids to feed". 
I know this is all my fault, but seriously. How does that girl sleep at night?

My 14 year-old informed me that he plans to get his too long, drive mom nuts, hair cut today. Yeah! Victory! 
In the same moment, my 16 year-old informs me he's not cutting his hair until the Jr. prom, which is in May. 
My 7 year-old wants a mohawk. Yeah right. There are some battles I choose not to fight, I'm going for the knock out with this one.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fun in the Summer Time

I have the good fortune of living in a tourist town. This is a new revelation of mine. Mostly I just think of Salem as home and never really had any feelings about it one way or another, but lately I've been trying to see my city in a new light...with a tourist's eye.
Yeah, it gets really crowded sometimes, and I find myself cursing the traffic and the out of towners who had no idea how to navigate our weird traffic patterns and tiny streets. When I'm trying to deliver my sons to soccer practice and I get stuck behind The Trolley, The Pedi-Cab or the Horse Drawn Carriage, I am not a happy camper!
One day last week I was looking for something to do with Little while Medium and Big were at practice. Little suggested Salem Willows. I am not a big fan of The Willows, in fact I pretty much hate it, but he has been asking to go for awhile and since I was in that end of town I said, "Okay, why not?" Almost instantly regretting it the second those words were out of my mouth. 
Let me explain a little about The Willows. It has it's share of cheesy arcades, slush stands, greasy fast food joints and hole in the wall Chinese Food Emporiums (Rumor has it, the Chop Suey sandwiches are "to die for", but I've never been brave enough). It does have THE BEST popcorn on the planet at Hobb's. Unfortunately, it's also a place to suck up your hard earned cash in a relatively short amount of time. So as I cruised around the parking lot a few times trying to find a spot, I was really dreading my decision to give in to Little's request.
However, since I have a "once a year" philosophy about The Willows I figured I was getting it over early.
So I opened up my "tourist eye" and off we went. I was really going to try to see this place in a new light. I splurged for $15.00 in tokens for the machines and told Little that when they were gone, that was it. There are two different arcades, one with awful video games and the other more kid friendly one with older arcade games like Skee-ball. (Who doesn't love skee-ball??) These machines have the tickets that come out that can be traded in for cheapo-prizes when you're finished. 
Little was having a blast and I was having a blast watching him have a blast! So we played our games, yeah, I played too, I can't stay away from Skee-ball, we collected our tickets and made our way to the dreaded prize counter. I hate this part because inevitably there is going to be major disappointment when Little realizes all he has enough tickets for are plastic spider rings (very cool) and midget tootsie rolls. (My personal favorite). 
Surprisingly enough, he did quite well for himself, scoring a whiffle ball and bat, goofy Groucho Marx glasses and a whole bunch of Tootsie Rolls! (Yah Baby!!!)

Off we went for some lunch which consisted of some really (surprisingly) good fries and a foot long dog. We picked a spot on a wall and while he ate, I enjoyed the view. The Willows' saving grace is that it is a seaside park. This alone made the day worth it. 
We took the scenic view back to the car, taking the time to sit on a bench and watch a sea gull continuously drop a clam down on to the rocks so he could get at his lunch. "That's pretty smart of them, don't you think Little?" "We should have saved him some fries Mom, it would have been easier." This kids makes me laugh every freakin' day. 
You know, as annoying as those gulls can be, I have to admit that's pretty smart. I mean seriously, one seagull, seagull generations ago figured out that little trick and passed it down to her (because you know it HAD to be a woman seagull) children who passed it along to their children...etc, etc, etc. 
So, as we left the bench and made our way to the car, Little said, "Mom, this was the best day ever!" He says that a lot, but today it really was! Score one for mom!

Friday, July 25, 2008

21 years ago today...

I was walking down the aisle. Happy Anniversary to me and Mr!
 It really has been a pretty great 21 years. We've had our up and downs, but so far the ups far out weigh the downs. We've been through a miscarriage, 3 babies boys, graduations, birthdays, deaths, family issues, etc, but we always come out the other side having learned something about ourselves and each other.

We've been as far away from each other as 3000 miles and as close as...well, you know.
It may be cliche, but we really are each other's best friend. I can't imagine knowing anyone as well as I know him. He makes me laugh everyday, even when I'm so mad at him I could spit nails. And I know despite how moody I can be sometimes he still loves me. 
We are usually on the same page when it comes to the kids even though they may not agree. Sure, we have our issues, what married couple likes each other 100% of the time? But, disagreements are usually short lived, we get over it and move on. We're nicely balanced.
We managed to spend the whole day together...alone, sans kids. We dropped Little off at S.N.A.K.E. camp today and off we went. Large and Medium decided not to "hang" with  us today..."gee, are ya sure????" 
We had a lovely day lounging on the beach. We people watched, had lunch, went for leisurely walk and talked. I mean REAL conversations that didn't revolve around soccer or bills or school or work. It was kinda nice.
So 21 years went by pretty darn just occurred to me that 21 years is half my age! 
I'm hoping for many more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

P is for Pediatrician part 2

So here I was at the pedi's office with my two biggest boys. I used to love bringing them for their annual physicals when they were little. I got to hear good things about how big they're getting, how smart they are etc. It just always made me feel good and took away all those doubts about being a good parent. That was still the case in a lot of ways, but it's different now that they are older. 
At 16 and 14 they do NOT want Mommy in the office with them and frankly I don't REALLY want to be in there with them. Thankfully I still have the little one who does want and need me in there! So off they go one at a time. They get weighed, measured, probably told to "turn your head and cough" and all the other rituals they go through each year. 
As I'm sitting there waiting for them, completely engrossed in "Parent" magazine, which I, as a parent have long outgrown, and in walks a very flustered looking dad with a baby carrier. I sneak a peak at the baby who is brand spanking new. New Daddy checks in at the window and new baby starts to wail! To me, a seasoned mom, that sound was beautiful and even though it's been nearly 8 years since I had one of those little ones there was something that made me want to pick that baby up and rock him for I knew I have what it takes to help, but I stayed glued to my seat and watched events unfold. New Daddy starts frantically digging for a binky, finally finds it then tries his best to get new baby to take it. No way pops, not happening. 
The nurse obviously felt bad for New Daddy and ushered him right in. No waiting. A few minutes later in comes  New Mommy. She still had that little "I just gave birth and I rock!" baby belly and in her hand a baby bottle...poor little thing is starving. She scanned the waiting room and not finding New Daddy looks a little worried. I smiled and pointed her in the right direction, "congratulations, I say, they went thataway."
 Okay, back to "Parents" and the review on the latest and greatest car seat. Enthralling literature! A few minutes later the two boys come back followed by the doctor. She tells me that they are both doing fine, growing like weeds, tells me Big needed two shots but he's good now until he's 21. He tells me, "I was brave, they didn't hurt."  She actually gives me their percentile numbers. I laugh. How old does a kid have to be before they stop telling you what percentile they fall in? 
The doctor hands me a lab slip because apparently Big also needs blood drawn to check his cholesterol levels and blood sugar. She thinks this is unnecessary but 16 is the age the American Academy of Pediatrics says to. I can eyeball this kid and tell that he most likely has a negative cholesterol count. He's a bean pole, not an ounce of body fat on him. Cholesterol? Perhaps they should do a ketchup count instead that might tell them something.
So down we go to the lab, he gets called in and Medium and I wait which seems like  a little too long for two little vials of the red stuff. Just as I say to Medium, "he probably passed out or something" the phlebotomist comes out and calls my name. 
"I have your son lying down in here, he's feeling a little woozy." (Hello, mom's intuition!!!)
I walked in and there he is all 6'2", 149 lbs and 96%ile of him, lying down on a stretcher. Ice pack on his head, sucking on a Juicy Juice box of apple juice. 
I actually laughed. What kind of mother laughs when her kid feels "woozy?"
"It was the blood going up the tube mom." I laugh again.
So I let him finish his juice box and took my little bundle of joy home. 

P is for Pediatrician

Big and Medium had appointments this week for their annual physicals. I had to beg and plead for these appointments because both boys needed them to play soccer at the high school in the fall. Now normally, they both would have had their appointments by now, but I procrastinated in making them. It's usually not how I operate but I was in denial.
You see last September I got a very sad letter in the mail. Our beloved Pediatrician, was retiring. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I loved this man. Not in a lusty love kind of way, but a love, I depend on you, you have a great bedside manner, my kids are not afraid of you, you remember to tell me how great my kids are kind of way. 
He first met our family when I delivered Big almost 17 years ago. Big had to spend some time in the Special Care Nursery because of some fluid in his lungs. We were scared first time parents and Dr. Mak was so instrumental in letting us know that our new little baby would be just fine. He was right of course. Dr. Mak always listened to me when I knew my kids were sick. He always took the time to give them their shots and not give up those duties to his nurse. 
When I was a new mom and brought Big in for his 2 week check up, scared and nervous, and leaking breast milk all over my blouse and he pretended not to notice. He gave me a squeeze around the shoulders and told me I was doing a good job. I will never forget that!
Last Halloween was his last day at work. Little was scheduled for his appointment that day at 5:00. Dr. Mak's very last appointment on his last day.  I know, because of that reason, he will always remember our family. He followed us out of the office, Gave my husband a handshake, and me a hug and told me how much he has enjoyed watching my boys grow up. He told me he was extremely proud of them and of us for being such good parents. 
  So, it was with reservations that I brought my two biggest boys to the doctor's office this week. We saw a very nice doctor who we've seen before, but it just wasn't the same. I hope he's enjoying his retirement because if anyone deserves it, it's Dr. Mak.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

O is for Obsession

This is going to be one of those post that make you say "This chick is a whack job" but I'm going to go ahead with this anyway.
I admit it, I'm a Survivor junkie. You know Survivor, That CBS reality show that started the reality show craze. It was the original and I think the best. I know one thing for certain, I could never in a gazillion years be a contestant on that show. I could probably hold my own nature wise. I could help build a shelter, start a fire, fish, and all that other outdoorsy stuff. I might even do well in those physical challenges. I'm a decent swimmer, I've even run a half marathon...and finished! I'm a trivia buff and I have a pretty good memory and can solve puzzles with the best of them. What I don't have is a thick enough skin. How do I know this? Well you see, during every season of Survivor I play a little on-line game called Survivor Out Pick'em. 
Basically you join a tribe, make alliances, strategize and vote people off all while trying to become the sole survivor. Piece o' cake you say? Wrong.
This game is intense. 
I spent last season playing the part of Katie Holmes-Cruise, partying with Burt Reynolds, Will Smith, Cameron Diaz, Willem Defoe and Will Farrell, not to mention Meryl Streep, Ron Howard and Sean Connery and a whole host of others and at the same time have an island "affair" with Kiefer Sutherland. Well, who wouldn't? Tom has nothing on Keifer. At the end of the game there is a big reveal where everyone tells who they are in real life.("Kiefer" by the way, turned out to be a very nice woman named Ann.) Questioning my sanity yet? 
Let me explain. Some of the games have themes. This particular one had a Hollywood theme. "Hollywood Heat". As Katie, I got to be Fun, Flirty, Sexy and Fashionable, but also a sucker for a handsome face. Long story short...I was booted and not too gracefully either.
It's so hard for the non-player to really appreciate the intensity that is this game, but trust me,there is so much lying and back stabbing that goes on a person needs a pretty thick skin to not let it get to her. I just don't have that, I'm too honest, too trusting and I let things get to me. I know I'll never win "the million" but I do have fun trying. 
I swear every season when I'm in the thick of it, that I will never play again. That it's just not worth the time, effort and thinking I put into it, but when the season and the game end I actually have withdrawals.  It's a sickness I tell you. 
If you care to join me in September you can find me at...
If you're wondering who I'll be this season, 

I'll be the whack job.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I is for Internet

Ah Summer. As much as I love my job as a kindergarten teacher I appreciate the break. I put my heart and soul into educating those young minds and by the time June rolls around I'm spent! It always takes me a few days to switch gears and allow myself to just be! With summer comes time for me to do the things I enjoy doing. Going to the beach, just hanging with my family, reading a good book, or two or three and...surfing "The Net". 
What is God's name did we do without the internet? Need the answer to a burning question? Google it. Need a zip code? Google it? Weather? Want to watch the Red Sox beat the yankees again? Youtube. It's all there. 
I was thinking yesterday of my life on the internet. It's the first thing I do in the morning after I "use the facilities" and brush my teeth. I sit down and check my email. I have met wonderful people on the net. Some I've met through old AOL message boards that I've been emailing with for about 8 years now. Some of those I've met in person, some I only know from their words on the screen but they are still some of my best friends. We share everything with each other. Happy times, sad times, worrying times, the death of family members and the birth of babies. 
After email it's on to myspace to check my messages, the emotional state of my friends and the latest photos of their kids.
When I need a quick trivia quiz fix I log on to Trivia for the trivia fan. Not only can you take trivia quizzes here on just about any topic you choose, you can create trivia quizzes for other trivia freaks! Trivia heaven people..trivia heaven!
Sometime during the day I visit for the daily crossword puzzle. If there's nothing on t.v. worth watching at night I log on to the internet scrabble club for a game of Scrabble. This is the best. You can play a game with people from all over the world. I recently played a match against a guy named Juan stationed over in Iraq. 
As if that weren't enough there are message boards, bookmarks I use for my job, shopping sites and this blog and you can see why I need summer vacation. So much internet, so little time! Now, off to check email!

Coming other on-line addiction. Survivor Out Pick'em.

Y is for You can't make this stuff up! Part 2

The best part of my job is just sitting and talking to kids. Have you ever sat and talked, really talked to a 5-year-old? There are really very funny. I had a very long (3 minute) conversation with a kindergartener about food. We had indoor recess due to the weather and the kids were being a little noisy during the recess movie, so I sat among them to keep them quiet. Andy (name changed to protect the innocent) isn't even in my class, and has not said more than two words to me all year...until now. This is our conversation:
Him: I eat bacon at my house.
Me: Really, bacon is good isn't it? So yummy!
Him: Yeah, I used to like macaroni and cheese but my mom makes it too cheesy so I don't like it anymore.
Me: Well I can see how that could be a problem. What else do you like?
Him: Hot dogs.
Me: Do you like any vegetables?
Him: Carrots and ketchup.
Me: Hey! Ketchup is my favorite vegetable too! Do you ever go to McDonald's?
Him: Pfft, all the time. I like cheeseburgers there, just ketchup, no cheese.
Me: So, you mean you like hamburgers.
Him: No! I hate ham!

They kill me!