Monthly Archives: December 2008

Less Than 6 Hours to Go

There are less than six hours to go in 2008. We’re off visiting friends, and are putting 19 lobsters in the pot as I type this (I needed a little respite from the crowd) for our New Year’s Eve celebration. I’ll try to post pictures of the kids playing with the lobsters before cooking later.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy year ahead. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

One Mythical Gift Giver Debunked

Despite not having actually lost a tooth for some six months or so, Krystal has stepped up her questioning of the Tooth Fairy in earnest these last few days.

My mom was here for Christmas, and while I was busy making something in the kitchen I heard her ask my mom, “Did you know there’s no tooth fairy? That it’s just the moms who do it?” This was my first hearing of any questioning on her part. My mom said, very thoughtfully, “I think I used to know that – maybe I do remember that.”

Then tonight she asked me directly, “Are you the one who puts money under my pillow? Because that note looked like you trying to make your handwriting look funny”. (That would be the note she hasn’t seen in at least six months.)

“What do you think?” I asked

“I think it is you,” she answered, very excited.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, still excited, like she’d figured out a really challenging puzzle.

Since Belle was in the room with us, I suggested we talk about it privately in a few minutes.

And when Belle was distracted with something else, she cornered me and said, “Tell me the truth – is it you?”

I opened my arms for her to come closer, picked her up, and hugged her tightly and whispered in her ear, “Yes, it’s me.”

“I knew it!” she declared, thrilled to have figured it out.

“But let’s not tell Belle just yet, since it will be fun when it’s her turn – you can help me,” I said.

She was quite happy to be part of that. Although she did ask me if she’d still get money when she lost a tooth.

And so I wonder whether we’ll make it through next Christmas with two Santa believers, since it seems to me a very small step from no Tooth Fairy to no Santa (and c’mon, who really believes there is an Easter Bunny hopping around?).

Pugilists Unite!

Which is a play on Boxing Day, in case you didn’t quite get the reference.  And that concludes my knowledge on the subject.

So it’s the day after Christmas, and it occurs to me that we have been very busy here in these parts, but my blogging muscles feel limp at the moment. Probably because I have had no more than 3 hours of continuuous sleep in the last 3 nights, which is wearing on  me.

On Christmas Eve, on top of dealing with children too excited to sleep, a child battling asthma/coughing episodes throughout the night, a puppy who still needs to go in the middle of the night (I am so over this), our carbon monoxide detector apparently decided it was time to alert us to a “Low Battery” at 1:30 am. Merry Christmas indeed!

Upon seeing the pile of gifts under the tree Christmas morning, Belle declared “There’s too much presents!”


It’s amazing how it adds up, and how dramatic it looks when it all goes under the tree on Christmas Eve, after the kids are asleep.

I hope you enjoyed your day, however you chose to celebrate.

Kung Fu Mama

Krystal has been attending Kung Fu lessons for about the last 2 months. I originally contacted this school to sign Belle up, since I think she needs the physical outlet and discipline, but at the first orientation class she pretty much refused to participate. The instructor was absolutely fabulous with her and turned it into an OK experience for all, and they even agreed to doing a second class for her to see if maybe she just needed an extra week to warm up. Unfortunately, despite talking about it all week, she was even less participatory than the first class. Krystal, however, really impressed them, and she’s been going ever since. Last Saturday she even “double tested” and moved from white to orange, skipping over yellow.

When I enrolled Krystal after the first class they told me they thought she was good enough, and mature enough, to go into what they call the Basic class, for older kids and adults. But since at the time I was still hoping to get Belle involved, I elected to keep her in the kids class.

Over the course of the next few weeks, watching her with the other kids in the class, it became apparent to me that Krystal was far better than most of the other kids, despite their having higher shirt colors than her. So I started thinking about moving her to the Basic class, and then thought that might give me a chance to do it too. Of course, that still leaves my logistical challenge of finding someone to watch Belle, but I’d think about that later.

Tonight was my private orientation class, which they do for all new students. Now, I’ve watched Krystal do this every week for two months, so I had some idea what to expect. And there were no surprises as to what was covered. What was surprising was how good a workout it actually was. I even took a shower when I got home!

So, I signed up. I’m quite sure we can’t afford it, and I still don’t have a sitter lined up to watch Belle while Krystal and I train 1-2 times per week, but I think it will be good for me, good for Krystal, and good for the two of us to do this together. And I hope that sooner rather than later, Belle will be ready, willing and able to do it too.


Does anyone have a pen frindle I can borrow?

We just finished reading “Frindle” by Andrew Clements.

From Publishers Weekly
Trying to aggravate a tough language-arts teacher, a fifth-grade boy invents a new word for pen: “frindle.” Soon, the whole country is using it. “Dictionary lovers will cotton to this mild classroom fantasy,” said PW. Ages 8-12.

If you have a child, or know a child, in the suggested age range (8-12, though I would probably skew it more like 6-10), I highly recommend this book! It features Nick, a boy who turns a nuisance assignment into a learning experience, for himself, his teachers, his classmates, his town and eventually the country. Nick is a true leader and remains respectful to his teacher, parents and other adults in the story throughout. I got a lump in my throat reading the final chapters. Very well done. I didn’t realize it till the end, but there are literature questions at the back of the book (at least in our version) to facilitate a classroom discussion, and I had found myself talking through many of them with Krystal as we read, so I had a proud parenting moment when I saw that.

I just ordered two more copies for my nephews for Christmas, which probably won’t be here in time, but I don’t even care. They can wait!

In Which I Donate to a Charity

Last week I posted about doing a blog give away to a charity. I invited readers to leave a comment telling about their favorite charity, and that after a week I’d close comments and donate a dollar for every comment, up to $50, to one of the charities.

Well, that week is now up. I didn’t get 50 comments, not even close, but I’ll be giving $50 anyway, since that just feels like the right thing to do. Here are the charities that were proposed:

  • MS Society – works to support those with Multiple Sclerosis in living their lives and finding a cure
  • Half the Sky – assists orphaned children in China by improving their quality of life (both my kids were adopted from China)
  • Critter Corral – a guinea pig rescue group
  • ASPCA – works to prevent cruelty to animals

I think any one of these would be fantastic charities to donate your money to, and I’d like to encourage you to choose one of these, or any other that has meaning to you, and donate this holiday season. No amount is too small.

I thought about splitting up my $50 and giving to all four, but I’m going with my original intention, which was that one charity receive the entire amount. So finally, using a device of my own making, I’ve decided that the Ragtop Day charity donation of $50 will go to Half the Sky.

Thanks to all who commented, or even read this – and please consider a donation of your own to any organization of your choosing.

Me and My Big Mouth

Short version: I have a fat lip.

Long version:

I had a dental cleaning one Friday in mid-October. They did X-rays but were unable to read them that day due to an equipment issue, but said they would call me the following week if they found any cavities between my teeth that needed to be addressed. I went home, had a weekend, and promptly forgot all about it.

A week and a half ago, I got a call from the dentist that indeed something came up on the X-rays and I needed to come get it filled. Yes, some six weeks passed between my cleaning and that call. Whatever.

Today was the appointment for the filling. It was at 11:15,  just before lunch, and my tummy was being rumbly during the whole procedure. When the dentist finished he even said, “It’s lunch time, be careful not to bite your lip.” And I dutifully laughed.

I ran an errand on the way back to work/home and was fairly famished when I got back. I quick zapped some lunch and hungrily dug in. My lip was still a little  numb from the Novocaine, but I was doing OK. Or so I thought. My sandwich seemed a bit, well, chewier, than it ought to have been. I realized that I was quite literally chomping on my lip. A quick mirror check confirmed that I will be sporting the effects of this little filling for awhile to come in the form of a very mangled lip.

So here I sit, hungry, and afraid to eat. I’ll be sure not to dutifully laugh when someone gives me excellent advice in the future.

A Three-Legged Stool

I’ve mentioned my unusual family make-up once or twice. Last year my step-sister Stella hosted Christmas at her house, and the year before my step-mother’s ex-husband and his wife hosted it. At all these events my mother, my step-mother, her ex-husband, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren attend. It’s odd, but it’s what we do.

This year it seemed to fall to me to host, but I was not taking the bait. Not that anyone was dangling any bait, mind you. I just felt the eyes looking at me as it being “my turn”. But I often feel like I am hanging on by a thread. I do the very best I can just to get through most days, and adding hosting dinner for 20 people just does not compute for me.

And so 2009 has got to be better for me. I think first I need to take care of myself better. Since we got Tessie, our sweet and adorable dog, I have not exercised due to juggling my work schedule to be home at least half of each day. She’s getting older now. I must return to a regular exercise schedule. I just feel better. If I don’t take care of my body, where will I live?

Next, I need to find more time for myself. During my brief foray into the dating world, I discovered a young teen in the neighborhood who my girls both love, and who is not outrageously expensive as a sitter. I need to make better, more regular use of her in order to give myself a break to look forward to. Even just a few hours once a week where I can shop, or read, or run would go so far into making me feel refreshed for the marathon I run everyday in my life that is parenting.

My act is a three-legged stool: myself, my children, my job. If any of those don’t get the attention they deserve, the other two suffer. In 2009 I am going to find a way to give all three the attention they need, and I must start with myself.

This post was inspired by Parent Bloggers Network, in conjunction with a promotion by BigTent. For any group leaders who start a group on or move to BigTent by December 31, Compass will provide a free one month membership ($19 value) to Compass Coaching Network, and all new group leaders will be entered in a grand prize drawing for a “Life Makeover” private coaching series ($1500 value). Groups must be of at least ten members.

Trees and Houses

If I didn’t have kids, I would probably not get a Christmas tree. I find the work involved in decorating to be far more than the enjoyment of said decorations, and that’s not even counting the dismantling of it all, which is (for me) simultaneously cleansing (by the time they come down I am so done with it), and depressing.

Today was the day I had promised the kids we would get our tree. And yesterday while we were stuck at home because both kids’ schools were closed due to ice storm related power outages, we assembled the gingerbread houses, so today was earmarked for decorating them.

Here my three girls decorate the tree (It was $20, which I thought was a pretty good deal! The place we got it from is a flower shop, and offered a dozen roses for $5.99 with any tree purchase, so of course we had to get them too.)


Belle gets started on decorating her house:


Krystal hard at work at hers:


And here they show off their finished houses:

100_1841 100_1844


I’m not a crier, but I cried tonight. It has been a long day – we had an ice storm overnight which caused massive power outages in our area, though thankfully we were spared. However it meant I had both kids with me all day since both their schools were closed, while I also tried to work, and I didn’t want them there and I resented the hell out of them being around. I put them to bed early to give myself a break, poured a glass of wine and put in “P.S. I Love You”. And cried and cried through the last five minutes. Cried for the love I’ve never felt and can’t imagine is ever in my future, for not feeling happy about the life I do have, for everything that is missing and not knowing how to get it or treat myself or my children right.

P.S. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is perhaps the most beautiful man alive.