2013 Mother of The Year Winner: Missed School Events Edition

I don’t get to do that much at N’s school. Even though I have an amazing boss who works really hard to let us participate in events during the day, there are a lot of things I just can’t get to. Luckily, Nicholas understands that and has never been upset when neither William nor I can do something. Today was not one of those days. I could have made it to the end-of-year awards ceremony. It wouldn’t have been any problem. The teacher sent home a note, and she emailed us on Friday that it was going to be today. But, I got the dates mixed up. In my mind, it was supposed to be on Wednesday. So, my sweet boy, who is having a hard time at school right now, got two certificates and a medal with not a single person from his family there cheering.

I saw the certificates when we went through his backpack this evening, but I thought they were just given to him in class. And I saw him with the medal tonight, but thought it was last year’s medal. And then it struck me that it was today. I checked my email and sure enough, we had missed his assembly. And because his Grandpa, W’s parents, and N’s Aunt and Uncle depend on us to tell them this stuff, they all missed it too. Mother fucker.

He was still awake when I realized what had happened, and I asked him if he was upset. He said no, that he was okay. He even told me that we could go to the next one. Because he’s a sweet, sweet boy. But I still feel like a complete asshole. And I’m so sad.

Tomorrow I’ll brag about my boy after we take some pictures of him with his medal and certificates.

Fitness Friday: Redux

I’m back! In the whole healthy-eating, getting fit thing, I mean. Like so many other times, I stopped for a bit, and now I’m picking it back up. I’m okay with that.

The good news is that I’ve only gained back about 4 pounds of the 15 or so I lost starting last March. That’s pretty huge progress for me since I’m really good at re-gaining lost weight. I’ve also gained back about five inches total, but they are fairly spread out, so I’m good with that too.

I’m still working on getting the family to a mostly-meat free, plant-based, whole-foods menu. It’s slow going, but worth it. You can read about my other goals for 2013 in my last post, The Year of Taking Care. That is what I’ve dubbed 2013, The Year of Taking Care.

One big way I’m working on the healthier living thing is by taking Cathy Zielske’s Move More, Eat Well class through Big Picture Classes. It’s low-pressure, but still an accountability system. And it’s scrapbooking!

For the class, we needed to take a “before” picture. So I did (with a photo bomb from Lemmon). And then Tobin and Nicholas had to take one too. So here we are at the beginning of 2013, hoping to see much less of me this time next year!


Do you have fitness or health goals for 2013? I would love to hear what you’re doing!


Christmas 2012 In Pictures

Our Christmas season has been amazing. Here is just a snapshot of our December. I hope your holiday, whichever you celebrate, was full of love and laughter.

Beyond Thankful

For many years, November has been hard for me. This year, though, I made a huge effort to stay ahead of the sad and concentrate on being really thankful for what I have and who I am. For the most part, I succeeded. There were definitely hard parts to the month, and I’m still coming away from some of those feelings now; but, it was so much better than it’s been before. With that being said, I’m sharing some of the things my family was grateful for this year, and pictures of how we spent our month and Thanksgiving Day.

What are you grateful for today?

  • Sherry/Mommy,
  • Sunday lunches at Grandma’s,
  • Thanksgiving Day,
  • God,
  • Christmas,
  • Lemmon,
  • Craft time and a family that gets it,
  • William/Daddy,
  • Pizza,
  • Nicholas,
  • Tobin,
  • Mimi & PawPaw
  • Candy & ‘Jamas,
  • Technology letting us talk to Nana on her birthday,
  • Grandpa,
  • Nana and Grandpa,
  • Video games,
  • Teachers who love our kids,
  • Medicine,
  • To live in the time we live. Science and technology FTW!,
  • Being able to pay our bills,
  • Work colleagues who have become family,
  • Truth, and
  • Democratic elections

Needless to say, I am Beyond Thankful. How was your month and Thanksgiving Day?


When I Am Rich

When I am rich, I will…

  • have a housekeeper,
  • buy hardcover books,
  • volunteer at the kids’ schools,
  • get manicures and pedicures every two weeks,
  • go back to school,
  • own a house with a small yard,
  • go on vacation,
  • have a craft room,
  • have a swimming pool,
  • become a librarian,
  • have another baby,
  • get a big dog,
  • exercise every day,
  • sponsor an artist,
  • give money to PBS and NPR,
  • learn to paint,
  • take writing classes,
  • buy my Grandma whatever she wants,
  • take cooking classes,
  • put the boys in whatever lessons they want to try,
  • pay for the purchase of the people in line in front of me one day a week every week,
  • send flowers to patients in the hospital once a week,
  • buy books for hospice facilities,
  • go to whatever conferences I want,
  • build William a lab in which he can be a mad scientist,
  • have awesome giveaways on my blog of stuff I just love and want other people to have (I may or may not do the Oprah, “and you get an prize, and you get a prize” thing),
  • pay for the medical treatment of a friend without insurance,
  • give money to the hospital that cared for Mark and the hospice where he died,
  • buy a minivan, a really fancy one,
  • meet, in real life, the friends who live in my computer.

In no particular order…



Getting Our Halloween On!

This year is the first that N really wanted to do decorations for Halloween, and T got in on the act too. We don’t have much room for doing anything inside, but we did a few things on our little apartment porch. We didn’t do a lot, but we had fun doing the few things we did! Happy Halloween!



Welcoming Lemmon

William and I are dog people and we want the boys to grow up with a dog. We each lost our previous dogs around the same time. William had had Walter for several years, and even though she wasn’t living with him at the  time she had to be put down, it was very hard for him when she died. She was supposed to be the ring bearer in our wedding. Walter (a Mastiff) got her name because when William brought her home, there was a Walter Matthau movie on, and they had the same jowls. I had had Brittany for 15 years, and we had to put her down after a series of strokes. It was especially hard to lose her because she had been Mark’s dog and it was a little like saying goodbye to him again.

So, William and I had been talking about wanting a dog for ourselves and the boys. We had done research on breeds, taken our living arrangements into consideration (no Mastiff in an apartment), and temperaments of breeds and their actions around kids. And that all, basically, went out the window when William and Nicholas saw some puppies being sold in the parking lot of a chicken restaurant last weekend. I drove over to see the puppies and was suckered in the second I saw the little fluff balls bouncing around the grass.

That’s how we got Lemmon (for Jack Lemmon, naturally). She’s a peeka poo, and the tiniest little thing ever. She’s so sweet and cuddly and sort-of housebroken. There have been accidents. Nicholas loves her and Tobin is warming up slowly (she likes to nip ankles, which is not T’s favorite thing). She’s so tiny she doesn’t even trigger the scale, so I’m not sure how much she weighs. Hopefully Lemmon will be with us a long, long time!

Lemmon Love!

Raising Boys With Respect, Honor and Love

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about raising boys with respect, both mine toward them and theirs toward everyone else and themselves. I’ve been thinking about it, partly, because I know someone who is coming to terms with having a boy instead of the girl she really wanted. I will admit that I fully expected to have daughters, and was surprised when I didn’t. With Nicholas, I was surprised because all the kids that my generation were having were girls, so I expected him to be a girl. With Tobin, William and I had just completely convinced ourselves that we were having a girl. I mean, who needs science when you have conviction?

I wanted to raise girls who were  self sufficient, who had male friends, who had female friends, and who didn’t “need” to be attached romantically to feel complete. I wanted to raise girls who knew their self worth but weren’t conceited, who knew how to have fun without being dumb, who knew how to help other people be comfortable. I wanted to raise girls with a good body image, or at least make it through their teen lives without being completely convinced they were whales even if they were fit. I wanted to raise girls who were kind without being doormats. I wanted to raise girls who knew their own minds, but never stopped learning.

And then the sonographer said my baby had a penis. And I went, “Huh.” And then, sometime during the pregnancy, it happened! I had the most obvious “a-ha” moment ever. All those things I wanted to help my girls learn? I should teach those exact things to my boy. Because they are just as likely to need those lessons as girls are. Sometimes, I think I need to teach them those qualities so that they will be good boyfriends, husbands and fathers. While that is true, I think if I can manage to teach them those qualities, and they are happy men, then they will be good to women by default. And they will be good to other men, and to themselves.

The hard part is raising them in a way that helps to do all those things.

What do you do to teach your kids the big things like honor, integrity, and empathy? What did your parents do to teach you?

Conversations With Nicholas: Whataburger Edition

Nicholas got to choose dinner last night. He asked William for Whataburger, but he said he didn’t want the burger ordered the way we usually do…

Nicholas: I want the burger wet this time.
William: Wet? What do you mean?
Nicholas: I don’t want you to order it like you always do. I want it wet this time. The opposite of the way you usually order it.
William: So…you don’t want it plain and dry? {holding back laughter} Buddy, that means you want it with lettuce, tomato, and mustard.
Nicholas: Oh. Plain and dry is okay then.

Swimming Olympic Gold in 2024

Nicholas will be swimming for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in 2024. Because he had his first swim lessons this summer and is now not afraid to get his face wet. This might not sound like the Road To Gold, but when the boy was convinced that he was going to drown every time he got near water, this is a huge first step. Seriously, though? I just don’t want Nicholas to be terrified of the water and I want him to be safe around water. I waited this long to get lessons for Nicholas for a lot of reasons; but, everything finally came together for lessons this summer.

Because of N’s fear of the water, I thought the distraction of other kids in a group and the divided attention of a teacher wouldn’t help as much, so we went with private lessons. I’m so glad we did, because his awesome teacher, Heather, spent the first two lessons just trying to get N to get his face wet. I don’t think that would have been possible with four other kids in a group. Well, I’m sure his face would have gotten wet, but not because *he* got it wet.

Even with the one-on-one attention, Nicholas was pretty resistant the first few lessons. The breakthrough came when William took N to our apartment complex pool and dunked him a few times while they were playing. After they got back to the apartment, N told William, “I’m glad you make me do things I’m scared of doing. That wasn’t so bad.” And then my heart melted.

After the Dad-enforced dunking, Nicholas did so much better during the lessons. After 12 lessons, the boy who was completely freaked out to have a drop of water touch his face was kicking off the wall with his face down in the water. He could even doggie paddle about four feet out to Heather. I’m guessing all Olympic greats start with the doggie paddle. USA! USA!

Swim Lessons Rock!