The Stream

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beautiful Mind and MaYbE a BeAuTiFuL tRiP

We'll make our drive across country in a handful of days. We wouldn't purposely create this hellish nightmare with our three kids, but with airlines being the way they are, it made sense.

I love to plan WAY in advance for trips so that I'm not overcome with stress at the last minute (I will not reveal what month I started cleaning out my van for this trip because it might get me launched into the asylum). I physically get stress nauseated not to mention my history with nausea with carsickness. It's a bad combo with an extra side of Dramamine.

I want to make sure we have covered everything from bike gear, to swim gear, to climbing gear, to family reunion gear. Plus, I don't want to hear "why did you not bring____?" There is a lot of responsibility placed on a mom when a family of 5 decides to take adventures like this, not to mention, packing just the necessities into one little compartmental bag. I'm a moody dresser too, so it's hard to fit my items into a LITTLE bag.

Also, when I plan to go on a trip I don't like to waste time figuring out where to eat and what to do. I like to see it, enjoy it, and then I'm out. In preparation, I researched, tagged, cut, stapled, and taped on things we could possibly do. Since I didn't know where we were going to stop, I decided to plot out the entire road trip, just in case. If a kid needs to go to the bathroom, I wanted to make my stop worth it.

One afternoon, I started to chuckle amongst my maps because it reminded me of Mr. John Nash from the movie A Beautiful Mind. Planning all this stuff that might not go anywhere. My house wrapped in colorful, tagged maps.

Luckily it cleans up nicely, and luckily this process wrapped up late one night (again, if I told you how long I worked on this, it would land me into that same asylum).

Sad to say, I already have the snacks packed for the trip. I've had them packed since the beginning of this week. I might have gone too far, but if we had to leave tomorrow, I wanted to make sure my lamp is full.

The journey starts next week, come tour the United States with us as we hit the road. We're stopping in Lexington, Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis, Topeka, Denver, Aspen,and then on to our hometowns. Also, let me know if I need to stop anywhere amazing along the way. I can easily insert tags on my handy, visual map.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Officially Appalachia

give him some moonshine and we'll call him good.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

All You Need For a Weekend Getaway

1. Cable TV


2. Cable TV while wearing your swimsuit


3. Swimming


That's all they wanted to do. Gretchen crying words when we were packing up to leave: "I just love hotels, I just want to live here. Why do we have to go home?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Buy the $40 Box of Diapers!

When you buy the $40 dollar box of diapers, this girl, whose name shall remain nameless


Decides she is ready to potty train. She is so ready that she magically can hold it until she gets to the bathroom. Where was that miracle button 6 mths ago? Has she been able to do this for a while now and just didn't want to let on that she was smarter than we thought she was? In fact, she is so confident that she refuses a diaper at night. I should have never bought that super size box of $40 diapers.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dear Abby

Dear Abby-
Since when do kids start making demands on the tooth fairy? The other night my husband pulled my kid's tooth out and then we proceeded with the normal tooth routine. We squealed, told him "Good job," "How does it feel?" "Way to be tough!" and then we got a plastic baggie and placed the tooth under his pillow. Well, after he had fallen asleep, we went to place our coins under his pillow, to our surprise, we found this letter:

Dear Tooth fairy,
Please give me a present.

Tooth Fairy bubble says "He has a name."

Then there is the letter Z coming from his head to assume that he is sleeping.

? Que'? Demanding presents from the Tooth Fairy? Is that crossing the line? Abby, how would you teach this wayward child how to show good manners?

Mrs. Harris

(I may have given into his request by placing a small kite under his pillow. I had it stuffed under my bed for a special occasion and he is a nice boy and thought he deserved it.)

I also thought I would share a letter from his sister:

She left this for him in his room the other night. I liked the way Gretchen is signing everything with "G" and now, "B" for Becket. I guess having eight letters in a name creates a writer's cramp when you have to do it once every two days. I should have considered that one when we gave her a name.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

'Member this dark period in my life?


This period in my life was very treacherous and dark. It lasted for three grueling months. Now that he has taken his test, we were in what I like to call the "honeymoon period." Everything is happy until the day you get THE TEST SCORES in the mail, then the anxiety all comes flashing back to you.

Doo, doo, doo (I always sing that on my way to the mailbox), I noticed Mat's board scores in the mail yesterday so I shot off a text to him telling him that they were here.
Mat text: "Oh crap!"
Mic Text: "When are you coming home?"
Mat text: "I have some presentations to finish up."
Mic Text: "Do you want me to open it? " (Translation for: I want to open them NOW!)
Mat Text: "I'll wait until I get home. If they are bad, I won't be able to concentrate on getting this done."

In these situations where I'm waiting for the news, I do my USUALS. I'm obviously hoping for something that has clearly already been decided, but I know my faith and sudden dedication will all of a sudden change the outcome, so I continued to pray and I read my scriptures.

Oh crap nothing, he PASSED! We don't have to pay another $1600 dollars more to take it again nor do we have to go through another three month rigorous study schedule. He'll take his orals in the spring which unfortunately are just as much, but a lot easier to pass and less study time required. And, guess what brother Brian, they are in Cambridge, MA!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Must Have Done Something Good (Sound of Music song 'member)

Maria singing to Captain Von Trapp from the musical Sound of Music: "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something goooood."

This song popped into my head because, before bed I just gave my oldest child a hug and a kiss and as I started to descend down the stairs when I heard his soft little voice say, "I am so glad I have a mother like you, Mom." It melted me or he could be playing me, but either or--- it STILL melted me. He's a pretty literal and sincere kid, so I'm going with the latter. What an early unexpected Mother's Day present.

Also, thank you Gretchen for all of your chalk written "I love you Mom. Love, Gretchen" dedications plastered all over my driveway complete with butterflies and flowers. My driveway IS thee most colorful in the neighborhood until it rains in 0100 hours.

In case you are still humming the song (it's quite catchy), here are the words:

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should

So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

[Maria and the Captain:]
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could

So somewhere in my youth
Or childhood
I must have done something . . .
[Maria and the Captain:]
Something good

Mom, thanks for giving me a lovely childhood and Andrea thanks for giving me a lovely husband. Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kindergarteners Hit the Road!


They went to the farm. Nothin' special, just a lot of rotted smells and dirty, flying hay particles seeping into my nostrils and lungs.


Once I realized I wasn't going to die, I had a good time at the farm by taking notice of the secondary things. I'll call them side shows.


Side Show #1

Witnessing the teachers freeze, then exhale, then begin their 4th head count of 36 students. Their faces give off an intense, concentrated look because they have to block out persistent, unrelated questions from their kindergartners, while trying to remember what number they were on. I watched one teacher recount three times because she kept coming up short 1. They looked so exhausted.

Side Show #2
Witnessing two kindergartners trying to hold hands very sneakily. A riot and a NO, NO all at the same time! The couple are below in the center--the boyfriend is holding up the peace sign. What a dream to have your boyfriend hope for world peace!


Side show #3

Grandma taking the position of head teacher. I watched her try to keep several kids in a uniform line without even knowing the kids names. Impressive, but unnecessary at a farm. She looked exhausted too.


Side Show #4

Watching Micah find several new places to fall asleep. I wonder, if in her world, she just walks around all day thinking of odd places to fall asleep? I really do. This is the 3rd spot she tried out while on the field trip and I'm not fibbing.I never fib.


Side Show #5

Witnessing my daughter take a peek at the INSIDE of a school bus. We watch Becket go in and out of the bus twice a day, but Gretchen is always on the out. She got special permission from the bus driver to check out the interior. She was satisfied. Oh! Just thinking about her leaving for kindergarten next year makes my throat swell up to the size of a cantaloupe and my eyes blur. I'll be down to one child which scares me. LITERALLY SCARES ME. Not because that child is a weird, eccentric sleeper, but I'll just have one more and I'm not ready for these kids to grow up. They get awkward, pimply, and have bad timing on their humor. It's just like seeing the cute, little ducklings at the farm, don't you wish your kids could stay cute and furry all the time?

Now I feel like I have swallowed that cantaloupe in my throat and it hurts.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Dawg!


That's right, happy birthday to a dog. Ivan's his name and spoiled like a child is his game.


This is a time where I REALLY wish I could speak the tongue of dog. If I could, I would tell that dog how he went from rags (the pound) to riches (MJ's House) and that he's got it made for the rest of his life. In fact, I would tell him he is no longer a dog, he's a child and he won't have to lift a paw unless he's getting a dogicure.

I got assigned to make his cake. Once I overcame the smell of ground up chicken parts, I could finally get to work on this doggone masterpiece.


Mary Jo has a variety of friends that I have come to adore and so have my kids. This is our Mormon Godmother I used to teach Kindergarten with in Harrisburg. The story? When my kids were born she asked who the godmother was going to be and gasped when I said "No godmother here!" So, that is when I pronounced her my "Mormon Godmother."


Here are some of Mary Jo's nun friends from the time she worked in convent in Brooklyn. Also in the picture is 80yr old Reseigne from France. She speaks so romantically and precise. Reseigne tells me how special Becket is every time I see her and that always makes a mother feel good.


Gretchen was made Party Manager when we started to plan the party. When she talked to Mary Jo on the phone, she would often pace the rug waving her hands in the air telling MJ exactly what needed to take place at a dog party. Thus, giving her the title "PM." A girl walking in the footsteps of her mother, not for party planning, but for giving herself titles. This also makes a mother proud.


What did the Mat Mouse do while the McCat was away?
McCat: "Do you want to go with us to the dog party?"
Mouse gets his whiskers in a bunch.
McCat: "I didn't think so. What do you have to do?"
Mouse: "Catch up on a few research papers and build a book scanner.
McCat: "Say what?"
Mouse: "A book scanner." Squeak.
McCat: "But don't we already have a scanner by the computer?"
Mouse: "This is a scanner that let's you scan an entire book in a matter of minutes. I mount two cameras onto an adjustable platform, then I create a movable track, and two halogen bulbs, and...."

Front with lights

Kind of looks like guillotine for Henry the 8th, but it's a bonafide working scanner. Last year, it was a surgical headlamp, this year an elite scanner, next year a..... well, whatever it is, it makes a WIFE proud.