Friday, January 31, 2014


So, Stacy is pretty incredible. She has so many strengths, and one that especially stands out is how great a mother she is. We have two wonderful children and while we are fortunate that they have such great qualities, Stacy deserves the lion's share of the credit for how they are maturing and becoming more and more wonderful every day.

Recently I asked the kids a few questions about Stacy to see what they think of their mother. As always, these answers reflect their personalities 100 percent.


What is one word you would use to describe Mommy? Loving.

If Mommy were an animal, which animal would she be? Why? A squirrel, because she's easily distracted, but very hardworking.

What is your first memory of Mommy? My first memory of Mommy is when we lived in Arizona. I walked into a room, and she was holding Maxim because he was crying.

What is a thing you did recently with Mommy that you really enjoyed? I love watching TV shows with Mommy, such as "Friends," "Gilmore Girls," and "Freaks and Geeks." I also really love reading with her. :)

What is your favorite thing about Mommy? I have to pick just one thing?! One of my favorite things about Mommy is probably her thoughtfulness. She always looks out for stuff she thinks Maxim and I would be interested in.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Spend time with her, whatever we're doing.

What is one thing that you think everyone should know about Mommy? How much she does for others. She's always looking out for people.

Fill in the blank. When you are friends with Mommy, _____________. You'll always be cared for. :)

If you could tell Mommy one thing right now, what would it be? I love you! :)


What is one word you would use to describe Mommy? Loving

If Mommy were an animal, which animal would she be? Why? A Seagull. She is easily distracted by food.

What is your first memory of Mommy? Making train tracks with her.

What is a thing you did recently with Mommy that you really enjoyed? Reading Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library

What is your favorite thing about Mommy? I can't really pick one thing. But. . . I would say how she loves us a lot.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Playing games with her.

What is one thing that you think everyone should know about Mommy? That she is loving, and thoughtful.

Fill in the blank. When you are friends with Mommy, _____________. You will be in a different world.

If you could tell Mommy one thing right now, what would it be? I love you SO, SO, SO, SO, much!!

* * * * * * * * * *

So there you have it!

We love you, Stacy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Book Blogger TMI Tag

Well, pathetically, I wasn't tagged on this, but want to do it anyway. I love these. Plus, I think my lovely, talented, bookish daughter will have fun with this and I do intend to tag her, so . . .

I found this the same way I find most awesome things online - through twists and turns that start on The Magic Violinist's blog. For example, I was reading her blog and saw that she'd been tagged. I went to the blog of the person who tagged her and did some exploring (they have a terrific blog - super cute and very fun). While there, I read their original post - the one in which they tagged/awarded TMV. In those comments, I saw them squeal with delight that someone so awesome had commented on their blog. I then went to her blog and that's where I found this fun tag.

So I stole it. It's a compliment. Also? YA bloggers are the best.

How old are you?I'm turning 40 this year.

What book are you reading?
I'm reading Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham (love her). I'm also reading Everyone Sees the Ants by A.S. King, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.

What are you wearing?
After a week of wearing jammies and sweats from being laid up with severe neck pain, today I am dressed. Jeans, black cami, gray v-neck, long-sleeved shirt, hooded black cardigan sweater, and gray/black socks. Oh, and a hot yellow rice sock around my neck.

I had to look up what this means. According to the Urban Dictionary, it stands for "One True Pairing," meaning "it is your favorite relationship in a fandom."

Okay, then I'd have to say based on recent reads, Eleanor & Park (from the eponymous book) as well as Augustus & Hazel (The Fault in our Stars). The girl from whom I stole this meme mentioned one from a TV show, so I'll go with Luke and Laurelai from "Gilmore Girls."

Blogger or Wordpress?Blogger, hands down. I hate that Wordpress makes me go through a trillion steps just to subscribe to comments and if you don't do it right away, you miss follow-up comments. Also? Unlike Blogger, they don't send you your own comment via email. Yes, I've thought about this at length. Hmph.

Going outside being active or staying in and reading a book?While I love being outside in the sun and my preferred place to read is in our backyard or on the beach, I'm going to go with staying in and reading a book.

What is the last book you read?
Attachments by my current favorite author (the author I wish I were), Rainbow Rowell. And The Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein with the kids. We've met Mr. Grabenstein. We dream of meeting Ms. Rowell.

What is the book you're going to read next?
My TBR (to be read) pile is starting to tower and splinter into several piles and doorstops. I am constantly hearing of new, great books (thank you, blogging world!), I'm in a book club, my entire family reads a ton, I find authors I like, I find covers that intrigue me . . . I very rarely find myself thinking, "I don't know what to read!" Up next after my current reads are Looking for Alaska by John Green and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (this one was left on my nightstand with a note from my daughter letting me know that she had read it and thought I'd like it - how great is my life?).

eBooks - yes or no?
I think I've read one, mostly because I was antsy to start it and our library didn't have it. I like the immediacy of it and I like that it has a "find in page" feature. But other than than, I prefer a real book all the way. I love covers and I love how a real book feels in my hands. Magical.

Where do you prefer to read?Wherever. I guess the couch. When I'm wrapped up in a book, it hardly matters where I am. Somewhere quiet is fine.

Who is the last person you tweeted?
I do not tweet, but I do follow my daughter on Twitter.

Whose blog did you look at last?
Technically, the ones I linked above, obviously, since I immediately got distracted from clearing out my inbox to do this meme. But aside from those, I read my kids' blogs.

Who is your favourite blogger?
Love the extra "u" in British words. The Magic Violinist and Thing 2 are my favorite bloggers.

Who is your favourite booktuber?I don't know what this is. And now I'm feeling my age . . .

What do you do when someone tells you reading is boring?
If I'm being honest, I probably start by quietly judging them in my mind ("How can they not like reading?!?") and feeling dismissive ("I'm not sure this is someone I would enjoy talking to much."). But being me, it would immediately be followed by reminding myself not to be critical ("Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and that's okay.") and that would be very quickly followed by wondering if that person had a sad childhood ("Poor thing - maybe no one ever read to them or taught them the magic of books."). But the reality is that, all judgment aside, I do enjoy talking to readers more than those who dislike reading.

Who is the last author you spoke to?
A.S. King. - we've now spoken to her several times and always enjoy our conversations with her. Seriously trying to get our families together to have dinner.

Who is the last person you texted?Sherri.

Who is your all-time favourite book character?
How can I choose just one? I love Scout and Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird. I love Neville and Luna from Harry Potter. I love the never-named main character who tells the story in Rebecca. I love Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I have recent favorites - August, Hazel, and Isaac in The Fault in our Stars, Eleanor and Park in the book of the same name. And then there are characters that have special meaning from beloved childhood books - Louis from Trumpet of the Swan, Ralph from the Beverly Cleary books, Jo from Little Women . . .

What an interesting question! There are gems from both - I mean, who can compete with Harry Potter? No one.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading?
I love the word "whilst." Um, chai tea or hot cooca.

If you hated reading, what would you be doing instead?I can't imagine that, but I guess I'd be watching television shows. I think the writing for many shows is to be appreciated and revered the same way books and movies are. It's a different art form. I'm not talking about stupid or cliche shows. I'm talking about EXCELLENT writing. Some shows that come to mind are Gilmore Girls (everything about it - setting, characters, character development, character flaws, character strengths, dialogue, etc.), Friends (humor and delivery and character development), Parenthood (family dynamics, the use of music and lyrics, relationships, tough issues - they have me annoyed with someone and then with ONE line, I learn something new and switch from annoyance to empathy - sure, I feel sort of manipulated, but how do they do that?!?), etc.

How many bookshelves/bookcases do you have?Oh gosh. Lots. And they're all full and overflowing to piles on the ground. We have four tall bookshelves and 2 smaller ones in our library/guest room. The kids both have one book shelf each, plus additional boxes, crates, and piles. We have a couple in our schoolroom (plus piles and crates). We have a crate in our living room specifically for library books. We have a couple in our clinic. We have books in all of our bathrooms. We have a shelf of cookbooks in our kitchen. Books, books, books! There are two things we don't mind having lots of - books and games.

If you had the choice to meet all of your favourite book bloggers or all of your favourite authors, which would you pick? You can only pick one.
I hate when questions like this add the caveat "you can only pick one." I'm not big on making decisions these days. Um, probably book bloggers. I say this for my daughter's benefit, because I would love for her to have all her blogger friends as in-person friends, too.

Insta-love: yes or no?
I'm a big fan of the best-friend-turning-into-a-relationship thing. "Some Kind of Wonderful."

Favourite author?J.K. Rowling, Harper Lee, and Rainbow Rowell all come to mind.

What is the number-one book on your wishlist?The upcoming Landline by Rainbow Rowell!

Do you prefer books with female or male protagonists?
I love that we're getting more strong female protagonists, but I hope we don't do that to the exclusion or male ones. Both are important. I'm a mother of a son and daughter and while I'm a feminist who is thrilled to see more girl power, I'm also a feminist who doesn't believe it should be to the exclusion of boy power. In advancing the cause of women, we must not trample on our men. That would be doing to them what history has done to us. Not cool.

Which is your favourite book-to-film adaption?"Chocolat" and "The Help."

What is the last song you listened to?"Home" by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. There are GREAT songs in the movie "Stuck in Love." Great, great flick. Also? I love the music in Parenthood. And there should be more dancing in the world. I didn't need the Bravermans to teach me that, but they certainly reinforce it.

Which do you enjoy reading more - negative reviews or positive reviews?I honestly enjoy reading both. When I'm looking up a book, I like to read a few of each to get an idea of whether or not it's a good fit for me based on what the reviewers say about it. You can learn from both. When I absolutely love a book, I sometimes go read reviews afterward and get excited when I see people with similar thoughts, and I get somewhat dismayed initially when someone doesn't love a book the way I do (though I do get that there are different tastes for everyone).

Who are you going to tag?
The Magic Violinist, Thing 2, Nevillegirl, and anyone else who would like to participate! If you don't blog and wish to be tagged, feel free to answer in the comments - it's fun!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"I'm Bored"

These are words we never (and I mean never) hear around our house. Most of the time we don't even have the time to get to everything we would love to do, so I was sincerely shocked when I heard those words come out of Stacy's mouth.

Let me explain . . .

About a week ago the right side of her neck started hurting. Any of you who know Stacy well know that she has a neck that is very sensitive to stress--and by stress, I mean strain on the muscles. She has to sit in the middle of the theater so she doesn't have to twist to see the screen. Sitting next to someone at a restaurant can make her neck flare up because she isn't looking straight at them. This kind of stuff. So, her neck started hurting, bad enough to be troublesome but not so bad as to prevent her from going out to eat or seeing friends. Most of this was made possible by keeping a hot rice sock on her neck constantly.

Then on Monday, she was explaining something about Martin Luther King since we were about to watch his speech. She was mid-sentence and the left side of her neck went into total spasm. This is the kind of thing that brought tears to her eyes and made her immediately collapse on the sofa. For the past two days there have been lots of tears--because of both pain and frustration. By Monday night it was so bad she could hardly lay down without pain and spent the entire night laying on her back, but not really sleeping. She was so stiff from sleeping in one position that she was sore everywhere. Without going into a million details, here are some of the remedies we've been through:

Icy Hot patches
Kava kava
Direct heat
Osteopathic Manipulation
Hot showers

Here are some things she's been able to do since the pain got really severe:

Watch TV
Watch the snow come down
Eat, sort of

Here are things she'd rather be doing:

Walk around normally
Eat at the dinner table
Lay in whatever position she feels like
Read and respond to her emails
Read a book
(She missed a dental appointment because of this, but I don't think she's overly sad about that one.)

So, here's the $64,000 question:


She's bored, and that is so not like her.

TV is old already. We hardly watch it in the first place and she has nothing that she watches that I don't

Reading would be nice, but holding a book for that long in that position only makes things worse.

The computer is out for the same reason.

See the problem?

Can you imagine Stacy being bored? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Have I mentioned how frustrated she is? Do I really need to mention it? Yeah, you get it.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Random Thoughts - Little Things About Our Life Here

We don't go to our local Walmart much at all,
but when we do, we try to make sure a certain worker there helps us.
He's super nice and he talks to himself/us (can't tell)
 like a manic Woody Allen
as he leads us around the store.
We get a kick out of it.


When we're running low on clean clothes upstairs because we've washed,
but not yet folded the laundry and so it's sitting in baskets downstairs,
my husband, who generally gets up before I do,
always brings up clothes he knows I'll need that day
so that I don't have to go downstairs and get them.
I don't ask for this. He simply does it.


Our kids read before bed.
They both listen to audio books as well.
We've walked upstairs and heard Snape's voice
 coming from both bedrooms
at the same time (but different books).


Thing 1 reads a different book WHILE the Harry Potter audio is on.
I have no idea how she can do that.


Scout asks us for demands a treat
every time she goes outside to go potty.
She does the same thing every time we turn on the TV.
She is endearingly neurotic.


Mark has a really sweet older German patient who,
every time she comes into the clinic for an appointment,
absolutely insists on giving him extra cash for "the kiddies,"
whom she has not ever met.
Super sweet!


This past Christmas,
I took Thing 2 shopping to help pick out stocking stuffers for his sister.
He looked around and really thought about his gift giving.
I teared up when he held out his hands to me showing me the items he selected
and saying, "I think Kate will like these."
There was such evident thought behind each choice,
and it was abundantly clear how well he knows and loves his sister.


Poor Mark.
It's like living with an 80 year old,
 the way I crank space heaters by my feet in the winter!


This past month, 
Thing 2, after playfully kicking Mark in the leg and, er, well, missing,
said, "Well, now I know I can take down a big person!"


I was reading some comments on my daughter's blog the other day
and saw her tell her friend that she thinks of me like a sister.
That brought a smile to my face.


Sweets in our house almost always go bad, stale, or moldy.
We eat some (brownies, cobblers, etc.) the first night,
and then no one is interested again.
People are often amazed to hear this, but it's true.


Sometimes watching things on our Tivo feels like doing homework.


Thing 1 is clumsy and delights in owning that fact.
She loves to think of herself as being like Sookie from Gilmore Girls.
As a little kid, she used to drop things and declare,
"I've got butter hands!"
That's like butter fingers on speed.


Thing 1 got her braces off a few days ago.
We celebrated with bubble gum
and had wings for dinner!
She has missed eating meat off the bone.
I had braces as a kid, 
and to this day cut meat off the bone with fork and knife.


We generally all do house chores together around here.
We recently, at the kids' request
and in the pursuit of greater efficiency and organization,
 wrote down chores for them to do on a chart.
In addition to things like dishes and laundry
and vacuuming and things like that,
each kid is in charge one lunch and one dinner every week.
We are LOVING it.
This past week, Thing 2 made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and
tomato-basil soup for lunch, and very good chilli for dinner.
Thing 1 made quesadillas for lunch
and amazing slow-cooked French dip sandwiches for dinner,
along with a beautiful spinach salad filled with strawberries,
blueberries, and mandarin oranges.
We are LOVING this!


I love the smile on Thing 1's face
when her American Girl magazine comes in the mail.
Little things make both kids very happy.


Scout likes to sleep in a basket of clean laundry.
When she sees it, she acts like it's just for her.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Before and After

Can you spot the difference?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex. What a term! It is FREAKING cold. If I knew how to take a screenshot of my phone, I would post a picture of my weather app saying, "Current Temp: -1/Feels Like: -20," but since I am technologically challenged that way, you're just going to have to picture it:

Done? Good. It's FREEZING. Our heaters are cranked non-stop to keep it feeling normal in here. The funny thing about that weather app? It posted a "special weather statement" (which sounds like a good thing, but really isn't) warning us that "wind chill may cause temperatures to go as low as -15" while simultaneously telling me that it felt like "-25." -25! What are we, in freaking North Dakota? Who the HELL lives in North Dakota?!? Why? Why would anyone voluntarily live in North Dakota?

And if our "special weather statements" warn us that it's so cold out that there is a very real risk of hypothermia and frostbite, what do they tell people in North Dakota when that's their normal? "Sunny/-25?" WHO LIVES THERE?!?

And poor doggies! People, bring your pets inside!! If you're cold, they're cold. Scout is utterly unamused by this weather. As am I. Lucky for me, though, I don't have to pee outside on snow and ice. I feel so bad for her, that I'd almost rather she pee in the house than have to go out there. She's smart, though - she runs out, does her business, and runs back at such full speed, all 10 pounds of her actually makes a THUD sound when she hits the door to come in. And if we don't open the door in 3 seconds or less, she barks. Stupid she is not (demanding she is). At least she gets treats for peeing outside. I don't get treats for going potty. Then again, I don't relieve myself outdoors. Though even if I could get treats for peeing outside, I wouldn't do it. I have limits. Plus, I can get my own treats anytime I want, whether I use the facilities (indoor or out) or not.

It's SO cold. I feel bad for postal carriers. Stupid creed. Are we allowed to invite them in for something hot to drink? Postal Carriers. That is a career I think of often. Not for myself particularly, but being somewhat fickle by nature I tend to see them and think, on warm days, "What a great job!" and then on days like today, "Boy, that must suck." But you know what? At least I'm consistent. Do you ever hear me complain about heat? Hardly EVER. It has to be really miserably hot for me to gripe. Cold, on the other hand, is always miserable, and simply ranges from "brrrr this is so cold" to "who the hell lives in North Dakota cold." And anywhere on that range stinks, in my humble opinion. Scratch that. I don't think it's exactly humble to call oneself "humble." THUS SAITH STACY.  

Also? I just felt sorry for Scout and then our mailmen consecutively. Which is weird, because Scout hates our mailman. Hates. So I don't think inviting him in is such a great idea. Scout would go positively rabid.

I'm dressed in warm clothes. I'm inside our house. I'm drinking hot cocoa. What else keeps us warm? Running! Nope, not happening. I don't even run when the weather is perfectly pleasant, thank you very much. I don't understand the running phenomenon. Why do people do it voluntarily when it's not a fight-or-flight thing? People all around me run things called 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, full marathons, triathlons. They run in mud. They run with zombies. Me? I have NO desire to run marathons. Not even in clean, zombie-free lands. Like none, zip, zilch, nada, none. It has no appeal to me whatsoever. I read that fitness is today's mid-life crisis. So either I'm not having a mid-life crisis or I am and I'm in utter denial. Running? Blech. 

Okay, I just looked up symptoms of hypothermia on WebMD:
Normally, the activity of the heart and liver produce most of your body heat. But as core body temperature cools, these organs produce less heat, in essence causing a protective "shut down" to preserve heat and protect the brain. Low body temperature can slow brain activity, breathing, and heart rate.
Confusion and fatigue can set in, hampering a person's ability to understand what's happening and make intelligent choices to get to safety.
I wonder if that's happening to me. I'm feeling cold and kind of weird and my brain . . . stop typing . . . but I have more to say! Duck Dynasty. Milkshakes. John Green. Gone with the Wind. Scrambled Eggs. Roomba! Gordon Ramsey. SNL. Puzzles. Socks. Brittany Spears. My email. Polar Vortex. STAY INSIDE.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Baby is 11!

Not such a baby, is he?

Thing 2 makes friends everywhere we go - doesn't matter what gender, what age, where they're from. He has a natural ability to get to know those around him.

He makes friends easily and he is well-liked by kids and adults.

He is sensitive and empathic. He is quick to help others feel better.

He gives me lots of "just because" hugs.

He is straightforward and honest. He speaks his mind.

He is creative and has great attention to detail.

He naturally thinks outside the box.

He is hilarious and makes us laugh quite a bit.

He often gets remarks from flirtatious waitresses about how handsome he is. He blushes.

He is SO smart.

He is a VERY thoughtful and sweet brother.

He is crazy good at logic games. Watching him and seeing how his mind works . . . it floors me.

And that's all off the top of my head.

So, this is the kid we've happily been celebrating - I'm so lucky to be his mom! We had a great day, starting with breakfast in bed (it was freezing and the kids' rooms felt colder than ours, so we had them come to our room).

By request, Chocolate Pop Tarts and Chocolate Soy Milk

We hung out, played games all day, and ate good food. Our tradition is breakfast in bed, one meal out at the birthday person's place of choice, one homemade meal of the birthday person's choosing (we're all about the food!).

Due to this . . .

and this (and it only got colder) . . .
We opted to order in - Subway for lunch!
Thing 2 enjoyed calls from family and friends all over the country, including 5 different states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Arkansas, and Utah). Every time the phone rang, we knew it was for the birthday boy - thoughtfulness is so appreciated! 

He even got a surprise visitor that morning from one of his local friends, a grandma herself, who is also one of Max's thoughtful friends. She brought him a Subway gift card (and she didn't even know that that was what he had already requested!). She didn't even let the snow stop her! Love her!

Present time!

Playing a very cool ThinkGeek Logic Laser Game - he is a WIZ at these!

Requested homemade dinner - white sausage pizza and grilled chicken Caesar salad with frosted glasses of root beer and birch beer

The birthday boy!
Thing 2 wanted to Nerf battle, so we did. It was epic. Having two sets of staircases makes it especially fun!

Look at all those Nerf bullets!

Here's a video of us battling - apparently I scream a lot. You might want to adjust your volume. :P

We also played Dungeon Dice, Wii,  D&D Clue, and more. Another tradition we have is to eat whatever "cake" the birthday person wants (none of us are big cake fans). So, Thing 2's cake this year? Mint Oreos!

Happy Birthday, Thing 2! I LOVE YOU!