Friday, August 29

Early Morning Ramblings

Adam swears this actually happened this morning. I'm a little dubious of it, but he insists:

Doodles and Pie were dancing when Doodles announced: "You can find more music on And you can order us online for birthday parties and shows."

Of course, while I was sitting in my office typing this, I heard a terrible moan and an "OH NO!" come from the kitchen.

"What's wrong?!" I asked,prepared to leap up to get bandages, call a plumber, or do whatever it is that warranted such an "OH NO!"

"We're out of coffee filters!!" A moment's pause. A big sigh of relief. "It's okay! It's okay! We have that gold one! Thank god. I just saw my life passing before me for a moment."

Too much coffee? Too much computer talk? Too much too much? Might be time for a cupcake. Yes, there are still some left.


Thursday, August 28

Why I Eat Cupcakes for Breakfast

This is what my office looks like:

This is what my living room looks like:

This is what the kids' playroom looks like:

So I've mentioned before there are things I don't blog about. But the biggest one consuming me must now come out of the closet. Because the closet is about to be demoed.

For over a year now, we've been planning a remodel. At first, it was to be a modest kitchen remodel, family room add-on. But then we discovered that we couldn't afford the family room add-on. So we decided to gain more space by working within the footprint of our existing house: our ceilings are incredibly dormered and by lifting them out, we can match the footprint of the first floor and therefore add a whole 'nother bedroom and bathroom upstairs. A little creative thought by our architect and I get an office attached to the (new) master bedroom, over our front porch. Everyone's happy, well, except Adam who really wanted that family room. Our plans were finished in December, and we were ready to go out to bid...

...when through an unfortunate event we inherited the EXACT amount it would take to add on a family room. So back to the drawing boards. Now, a zillion months later, we're ready to begin. Actually, we were ready to begin last week, but the permitting process is holding us up.

In a nutshell, we refurbished our modest plans into a full scale revamping. We'll be taking off the second floor to put on a new second floor. We'll be remodeling the bathroom on the main floor. We'll be redoing the kitchen. We'll be adding on a family room with a playroom underneath it. We'll be finishing off the basement. We'll be paying off a mortgage that our great-grandchildren will most likely inherit.

Of course, with all this work, we need to move out of our house. Earlier this week, movers came to put about 70% of our belongings into storage. About 10% is in a storage unit we'll have access to (things like winter clothes, Hanukkah necessities, and things we don't need now but may need as the seasons change). And the rest is coming with us into, as Pie can tell you, "A teeny apartment!" We're sleeping on mattresses as bed frames are in storage. We got a futon off of freecycle, as our normal sofa won't fit into the apartment. We're using an older TV that can't be hooked up to a DVD player because Adam's lovely, big-screen TV is not going to attempt the apartment move. Clothes are on the floor as dressers are in storage. The shelves in my office were given away so everything on them is on the desk and floor. You get the idea.

Work is going to be starting on the basement, so everything you see in that playroom used to be in our basement.

This is the basement before and after:

On Monday, we'll be moving into the apartment. We lucked out and found one just a mile from our house, so things like spontaneous playdates and after-school activities won't be interrupted.

The remodel is a good thing. Our heating system is horrible (baseboards downstairs and radiators upstairs so the downstairs broils while the upstairs is freezing), the floors are crooked, there are holes in my horsehair-plaster walls. Our kitchen is laid out so poorly that the fridge opens the wrong way but it can't be switched because it's too close to the wall. The kids are sharing a room (well, theoretically, as really they share with us), and they'll reach a point where they want their own rooms. So it's all a good thing.

But life has been in chaos, between birthdays and packing and freecycling (boy does that take a lot of work!) and getting ready for the start of school. I took the summer off of work (and it explains why blog posts have been light), but I'm going to resume work next week. And eating cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes. So many cupcakes. And, honestly, they're not really helping.


Tuesday, August 26

The Perfect Present!

My mom found these while looking for gifts for Doodles. They should be on everyone's "must have" lists:
a Lego set for Bush fans and a way to transport the folks at Guantanamo Bay.


Monday, August 25

Interview with a Three Year Old

Me: What's today?
Pie: My birthday!
Me: How are you going to celebrate?
P: With Mommy. And Daddy.
Me: Actually, Daddy has to go to work.
P: Oh. Why? Why does he have to go to work?
Me: That's how he earns a living.
P: Did Daddy go to work on Doodles birthday?
Me: Doodles birthday was on a Saturday. Today is Monday. Monday is a work day.
P: Monday's a work day?
Me: Who else will you celebrate with?
P: I don't know. I need you to tell me. Can you tell me, Mommy?
Me: Do you think you'll celebrate with Doodles?
P: Yeah. With Doodles.
Me: Where are we going this morning?
P: We're going to the... what? what? Can you tell me where we're going? Oh! Can we take Jasmine's car to the museum? When I see Jasmine can she say Happy Birthday to me?
ME: I'm sure she'll say happy birthday to you.
P: Can Jasmine come to my actual birthday?
Me: So someone else is coming today?
P: So who is it?
Me: You just said!
P: Jasmine!!
Me: And where are we going?
P: To the museum. Can we go in Jasmine's car so we can go to the museum?
Me: I'm afraid not.
P: But I want to.
Me: Her car's not big enough. Plus, we might decide to take Jasmine with us even after her daddy has to go. Do you want to go out for lunch?
P: Yeah.
Me: How old are you?
P: Six and a half.
Me: Are you sure? If you're six and a half, are you going into first grade?
P: Yes, I'm going into first grade and I'm six and a half.
Me: So you're older than Doodles? 'Cause he's only five.
P: I'm older than Doodles.
Me: How old are you really?
P: Two and a half.
Me: But today's your birthday. Let me see your fingers. How many fingers are you? Whoop! One more finger! How did you get to be three?
P: I don't know.
Me: Where did you come from?
P: Mommy's belly.
Me: What's the best thing about three.
P: I like my ownself. And I like my presents. And I want kids to come to my actual birthday.
Me: You already had a big party. Today's for us and Jasmine. What do you like to do?
P: Move, doing movement. Play with Jasmine! I like dress-up shoes.
Me: Anything else you'd like to say as a big three year old?
P: No.
Me: All done?
P: [nods]
Me: Happy Birthday, Sweetie.

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Saturday, August 23

Interview with a Five Year Old

Me: So what's today?
Doodles: Thursday?
Me: No, is there something special about today.
D: It's my birthday?
Me: Is it?
D: Yes.
Me: How old are you, three?
D: No. Five.
Me: That's pretty old.
D: What?
Me: How did you get to be five?
D: I got all through four.
Me: What's different about five than four.
D: I can do different things.
Me: Like what?
D: I can do almost anything I want to.
Me: Can you cross the street by yourself?
D: Only our street.
Me: Can you drive a car?
D: No.
Me: Can you get a job?
D: No.
Me: So what can you do?
D: I already told you.
Me: What.
D: I can do almost anything I want to do! I can go to Starbucks whenever I want to. I can ride my bike whenever I want to.
Me: Anything else you can do?
D: I cannot drive a car. I can play sports.
Me: You're so big now. Where did you come from?
D: Mommy's belly.
Me: What's your favorite thing to do these days.
D: I like to go ride my bike. I like swimming, hockey, and Legos.
Me: If you were a dinosaur, what kind of dinosaur would you be?
D: T Rex. Because he's my favorite dinosaur.
Me: As a big five year old, is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
D: I like reading a little bit.
Me: And grand pronouncements for the world?
D: What?
Me: Big statements?
D: The world is starting to get new people.
Me: Is that it?
D: Yeah.
Me: Happy Birthday, Doodles.
D: Thanks for saying this interview!

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Friday, August 22

Balls, I Say!

We were invited to Ball Night at the kids former daycare. It's a fun night with food and lots of games. Unfortunately Doodles was sick. But the day started out looking like we could go, so we were chatting about it.

Me: We’re going to ball night.
Doodles: Yeah! I love ball night!
Pie: Cinderella went to a ball.
Me: Yes.
Pie: It’s like that?
Me: No, not quite like that.
Doodles: It’s games.
Pie: Oh. I like games, too.

About a half hour till we were to leave, Doodles spiked a fever. I plopped them in front of the TV and went to make dinner.

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Pie: Hot dogs at ball night!
Me: Sweetie, remember, we’re not going. Doodles's sick.
Pie: Well, you and I can go! Doodles can stay home.

Ah, empathy in action!

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Saturday, August 16

Take a Chance on Her

Last Wednesday, Adam took Doodles to Fenway for a Red Sox game (as you can see from the picture below from last Wednesday). Pie really wanted to go, but Fenway can be a bit of a madhouse and we knew she wouldn't last as long as Doodles could (he actually made it to the end of the sixth inning). So to do something special with her, I decided to take her to the movies. I know what you're thinking. A little Fly Me to the Moon, perhaps? Space Chimps, maybe? Oh, no! you're thinking. Not, not--gasp--Kit Kittredge: An American Girl!

No, of course not, people. What kind of a mother do you think I am? I took her to a much more sensible, appropriate film. We went to see Mamma Mia!. I'm not sure who checks into my diversions blog, but if you did you'll see that Pie's first movie experience a couple of months ago was a complete disaster. For the first 15 minutes of WALL-E she cried. For the next 20 minutes she sat with her head buried in my chest. For the rest of the movie, she slept. So it was with trepidation that we returned to the movies. I've already seen Mamma Mia! and while I wasn't enthralled with it, I did think Pie would really enjoy the singing and dancing. Pie is at the perfect age for it--old enough to be able to sit through a whole movie, but young enough not to ask questions like "Why does she have three daddies? Why doesn't she know which one her daddy is?"

I bought us a popcorn to share, stuck a booster seat next to me, and plopped Pie down. One of the previews looked a little scary, so I said to her, "I think you might not like this preview so I'm going to cover your eyes." She absolutely let me and when I did it one more time later on, she had no complaints.

During the commercials in the beginning, this ad for Sprite came on. Pie was glued to the screen, and I don't know what this means, but 14 seconds into the ad when the guy takes his shirt off, Pie whispered to me, "Mommy! I like this movie!" Maybe I should have covered her eyes for the ad.

Anyway, Pie, it turns out, is a big ABBA fan. She sat through the entire film. At one point, she began yawning, and I said, "Pie, when can leave whenever you want!" "NO!" she whispered back to me. She did move to sit on my lap, but other than that, her eyes never left the screen. I did a lot of check-ins. "Do you like it?" Vigorous nodding. "Are you ready to go?" Vigorous head shakes. At the end of the film, they have two more songs and Pie sat through both of them and was reluctant to leave when it was done. But she did and she's been asking for "movie music" since then.

She doesn't know the name of the movie ("I saw the dancing music movie!") nor does she know what it's about ("It had a wedding! That was my favorite part.) but she definitely she gave it a resounding thumbs up. What else would you expect from Pie! She's a super trooper dancing queen if ever there was one.


Wednesday, August 13

Too Cool for You


Praise Lord!

Our cable company went digital and we got about a zillion new channels, most of them completely worthless. There has never been so much nothing on TV. But... we've had the return of one channel that I'm in enthralled with and that Adam is completely horrified by. This is saying a lot. That man has watched Bridezilla. He's sat through The L Word. He's even been known to put up with Tori and Dean. But I've found his limits. And it's going to cause problems. Because I can't seem to avert my eyes from...

TBN. I don't know what it is! TBN got me through grad school. I'd procrastinate for hours on end by watching it. Something about Evangelical Christians just sucks me in. The other night there was a show hosted by Kirk Cameron (of my beloved Growing Pains), and he was teaching us how we should be witnessing to complete strangers. He had this great analogy: If you saw an elevator plunging, and you noticed that at the bottom there was a gap, and in that gap children were playing, wouldn't you run and save the kids? You wouldn't stop and say, "Wait! They look like they're having fun. And I don't know them! Who am I to ruin their fun?" No, you'd save those kids! So why would you not save the world? Because you don't know them? Because they're having fun? According to Kirk, friends don't let friends go to hell.

They get me! I'm hooked! I'll witness! I'll send in my five dollars! But then it hits me. Oh right. I'm Jewish. Jesus does nothing for me. Damn! (Which, apparently, I am!)

Anyway, I find it fascinating. And Adam? Not so much. He's trying to figure out how to disable the channel. But there's no way to do that without also disabling NESN. And that's not going to happen. Ah. What can I say? The lord works in mysterious ways.

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Why on This Night Do We Dip Our Herbs Twice?

Speaking of food group... Apparently last week, when they were making Thai chicken, the woman who runs the program explained that they'd be putting basil into the pot, and that basil is an herb. She later told me that Doodles responded by saying, "That's good because Jewish people eat herbs."

Of course he was referring to the bitter herbs of Passover. He was a little nonplussed to discover that gentiles eat herbs, too.

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Here We Go 'Round the Mulsweetie Bush

Today was Doodles's last day at food group. He graduates! While his eating isn't completely where I'd like it, the fact is he eats as well as if not better than probably 75 percent of the other five-year-olds out there. He eats: eggs (fried and hardboiled), grilled cheese, pasta with sauce, mac & cheese, red peppers, apples (with skin!), guacamole, hummus, falafel, homemade smoothies, hamburgers, Campbell's chicken soup...

So, for his last day and in honor of his upcoming birthday, I brought cupcakes to food group. Normally Pie goes to Jasmine's house for a drop-off playdate while Doodles is at food group. But today, she was torn:

Me: Pie, do you want to go to Jasmine's house for a drop-off playdate or do you want to come to Doodles's feeding group for cupcakes?
Pie: Um...
Me: Whatever you want! Jasmine's house for a drop-off playdate or do you want to come to Doodles's feeding group for cupcakes?
Pie: Um, I'll have a drop-off playdate after the wedding
Me: The wedding?
Pie: Yeah. Drop-off playdate after the wedding.
Me: When is the wedding?
Pie: After my birthday.
Me: And who are you marrying?
Pie: Jasmine.
Me: And who is your playdate with?
Pie: Jasmine.
Me: Well, that will be convenient. But what do you want to do today? Playdate or cupcakes?
Pie: Playdate after wedding!
Me: But what about today?!?!?
Pie: Um. I want to have a playdate after the wedding.

Finally, I have a brainstorm.
Me: Pie, would you like me to send cupcakes over to Jasmine's house? That way you can have a drop-off playdate and cupcakes.
Pie, visibly relieved: Yes!

Problem solved. And the wedding? Look for invitations sometime after her birthday.


Monday, August 11

Let the Birthday Baking Begin!


The M&M Loop

I just had one of those bizarre circular conversations with my daughter. As I mentioned previously, I bought a bag of M&Ms to keep handy for when Jasmine comes over. However, her mother mentioned to me that they're phasing out the M&Ms at home, and I had a rough weekend, so I figured, What the hell? and I ate Jasmine's M&Ms.

Fast forward to today. Jasmine is over for a playdate.

Pie: Mommy, I want to go potty so I can get an M&M.
Me: You don't get an M&M when you go potty!
Pie: I do! When I have a guest over, I get an M&M.
Me: No, no, no. That was only when Jasmine was training. She's potty trained! No more M&Ms!
Pie: I want an M&M!
Me: We don't have any M&Ms!
Pie: Yes we do!
Me: No, we don't. There are no M&Ms anywhere in this house [and believe me, I've looked in my weaker moments].
Pie: I need an M&M!!
Me: We don't have any M&Ms! When you get off the potty, I can show you.
Pie: No. Show me now. Bring them here and show me.
Me: But we don't have any for me to bring. There's nothing for me to bring.
Pie: Yes there is! Bring me the M&Ms to show me that we don't have any!

After a few more rounds of this, I take her to the kitchen and open the cabinet.
Me: See?
Pie, shocked: Mommy! There are no M&Ms!

Riiiight. There are no M&Ms. Although come to think of it, I could really use some myself right about now.


Thursday, August 7

The Wail Heard 'Round the World

Our cable company went all digital and in the process they screwed up a bunch of things on our system. Adam called them to try and get it all fixed.

Pie: Who’s on the phone
Adam: The TV People
Pie: What’s their name?
Adam: I don’t know, Sweetie.
Pie: What’d they say?
Adam: They said they think you guys watch too much TV and we should stop letting you watch TV.
Doodles: NOOOOOO! We need TV!

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Tuesday, August 5

Mini-Environmental Rant

On Mondays, Jasmine comes over after camp. Jasmine is just at the end of her toilet training, and I realized I was all out of M&Ms, the universal potty treat. So I ran to CVS to buy a pack. I opted for the small pack, as I've been known to reward myself a little too liberally for bodily functions that I myself mastered a few decades ago. Doesn't everyone have to say to her kids at some point or another, "What are you looking? I peed! Seventy-two times. Yes it is possible and no you can't do it. Go away!"

But back to my point. First of all, who knew a normal-sized package of M&Ms is 79 cents (and where's my cents symbol? Hello, cents symbol! I don't see you!). But what really killed me is the ratio of paper to purchase. I paid in cash. No credit card receipts. No debit nonsense. Yet the sheer act of handing over one dollar bill and receiving back 21 cents (again, symbol?) required the amount of paper you see here. How many trees died for my--I mean Jasmine's--potty treat? Gads.


From the Mouths of Babes

I'm not even sure how to respond when my son announces as I'm trying to hussle him along in his bedtime routine, "Mom! You're really starting to test me!"

Hmmm... wonder where he learned that line?


Sunday, August 3

What Would Descartes Think?

[as reported by Adam]
On the way to rock climbing

Adam: What do you think about when you’re rock climbing?
Doodles: I don’t know
Adam: You don’t know? What do you think about when you’re going up the wall?
Doodles: I don’t know. I don’t think about anything.
Adam: What? You don’t think about anything?
Doodles: I’m not good at thinking. My body doesn’t know how to think when I’m climbing. I just climb.
Adam: Really?
Doodles: I don’t think I think. I have to remember to think.