About Me

My photo

I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Very Good And A Very Tough Day Today

A local homeschool group I belong to had an outing today.  We were not originally able to go, but our plans today got cancelled so we were able to go after all.  Another mom in the group and I were trying to get our sons together and she was going to be at this outing, too.  Evidently, the boys hit it off b/c they stuck together during their activities and when it was time to go they hugged each other goodbye.  Yeah!  This boy is a hugger like B!  The other mom and I were very happy the boys bonded and plan to get them together again, soon.  That was the "Very Good" of our day.

Here's the tough part...For the past 2 years, I have worked for an after-school care program in the afternoons and B is able to come with me for free (and we love it).  Our county started back to school this past Monday, so I started back to work, too.  Last week we were telling B that the public schools were starting up again and that I would be starting back to work and how fun for him to be back at the after-school care program.  But all he kept focussing on was, "Summer is over?!"  We have continuously reassured him that just b/c the public school system is back in session, his Summer is not over.  We are going away to the beach for a week in September and Summer does not end until September 22nd this year.  Plus, we have been teaching 3rd grade to him since July 11th, not even 1/3 of the way through Summer.

Ever since we got back from New England last week, B has been quick to tear up during our schooling.  Anytime I would correct something he did or I would ask him a question he didn't know the answer to, he dissolved into puddles!  Both the hubs and I asked him what was wrong and what was he worried about but he kept telling us he didn't know. Well, during today's lesson, the truth finally came out as he sobbed in my arms.  He is worried if he does not do everything right at homeschooling that we will send him back to the public school system and he does not want to go back there!  My heart broke when he sobbed that against my shoulder!

I reassured him that we would not sending him back to public school b/c of that, but he might go back to "traditional" school sometime.  I explained that students could go part-time to high school in our county and, if we were still HSing then, I would definitely send him to public school for Biology and Chemistry.   I am not going to dissect anything in my house and this straight-A, goody-goody is ashamed to say she flunked Chemistry.  <:-O  I also told him that at some point, he may want to go back to public school and give it another try and his daddy and I would support him.  Hearing me say these things and seeing the earnestness on my face finally reassured him.  Phew!

When the hubs came home from work this afternoon, we headed to the pool.  There was only one dad and 4 boys there when we arrived.  B played with them for an hour and they left.  After that, the hubs played with B and I took a snooze on a lounge.  ;o)  So glad the day ended on the "very good"!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some of My Trip to New England

One of my (many, many, many) cousins got married last Saturday and B and I went.  My parents were driving up and let us come along.  The 1st day of driving, B and I did school in the car.  I had intended to teach every day in the car, but that so did not work out.  One of his Language Arts lessons is teaching him how to write paragraphs.  The lessons give him a topic and he needs to come up with 3 things, in order of importance, and then a sentence that incorporates all 3.  That's all we've gotten up to so far. One of the topics on this particular day was "Mom Is Great" and he needed to write down his 3 favorite reasons I am great.  My musical son immediately starts singing the Bill Cosby song, "Dad is great!  He gives us chocolate cake!", and then proceeds to make up his own words to fit the melody: "Go, Na-na! She gives me Nu-tel-la!" and "She won't topple! She feeds me lots of waffles!"  I love that he has inherited my and my dad's gift of creating new words to songs on the spot.  He is hilarious!

One of the other topics he had to write about was "Homeschool Is Great" and his 3rd sentence caught me off guard, "I don't get bullied at homeschool."  I asked him if that happened a lot when he was in public school (he went for kindergarten and 1st grade) and he said, "Hmmm...about 3/4 of a lot."  He went on to tell me that a group of 2nd grader bullied him daily!  While he was in school, he only told us about 2 incidents, and neither one had to do with this group of 2nd graders.  When I asked him why he hadn't brought it up to us before, he just shrugged and said he told the teachers about it everyday and they told him to just ignore the kids.  But ignoring them did not stop the behavior.

We have talked to B about bullying several times over the last 4 years to let him know what is OK, what isn't, what he has our permission to do to a bully and what we will do to him if he bullies others.  And yet, we must have been telling him too much and not asking him enough.  So ask your kids about bullying.  Just because they don't come to you and tell you are getting bullied doesn't mean they're not.

When we got to the hotel in Albany, I took B to the hotel pool to burn off some energy.  He was so good in the car for a boy who needs to move all the time.  I cannot believe how excited he was to get in that pool!  And it was not your standard, "Olympic-sized" hotel pool.  That thing was 6' wide, 10' long and cloudy.  But it was the bomb as far as he was concerned.  I mean, he was last-day-of-school excited!  I love how the little things are all he needs.

The next day I drove, my mom navigated and B and my dad sat in the back, watching a movie.  They wore headphones so we could not hear the movie, but it was so funny to hear the two of them giggle or burst out laughing together.  My dad treated us to Bromley on the way to my Nana's house in Vermont.  We had a blast.  At Bromley last year, B successfully climbed his 1st rock wall.  This time, he did all 4 levels.  We also got to do the water slides this time.  B was his normal, outgoing self and talked to everyone (that boy's never met a stranger) but what really impressed me was how aware he was of others and moved carefully/accordingly.  For example, when he got to the bottom of an alpine slide, he got off, picked up his sled and proceeded to the sled drop-off area.  After a few steps, he realized a man was at the next sled with his camera up.  B stopped and waited and finally a child came down that slide, the man took a picture and thanked B for waiting.  B's never done that before, especially in an exciting place!  I was very proud.

When we got back in the car to head to my Nana's house, B went into the all-about-me's.  I want another movie; read me Harry Potter.  When we got to Nana's it was play a game with me.  Although most of the day had been about him and having fun, now he needed to back off and let us do what we needed and wanted to do - unpack, rest, visit with Nana.  He was frustrated, unhappy and tired.  Instead of whining or continue to pester us, he decided to run laps in the parking lot to burn off his frustration.  I have one smart cookie!

Due to limited room, my parents stayed at my Nana's house and B and I stayed with my dad's brother and his wife.  We had this wonderful carry-out pizza for dinner and my dad asked B if he wanted a knife and fork to eat his pizza.  My little smart-ass said, "No, thanks.  I don't eat like Donald Trump."  OMG, I about fell over laughing!  My dad, of course had no idea what B was talking about and I could not explain it to him.  B was talking about this story on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where Donald Trump disrespects New Yorkers with his pizza selection and way of eating it.  You have to watch it, it's so funny!

Day 3 of The Whole30

Today was wonderful compared to the past 2 days!  I woke up refreshed and wasn't tired all day long; I have stayed headache-free all day; the hubs did most of the cooking.  :oD  He woke up and made sausage from scratch and scrambled eggs.  I was worried how the eggs would taste, cooked in coconut oil; everything else cooked in it tasted sweet.  But I did not detect any taste of coconut.  Could my taste buds be changing already?  The sausage was good.  We have a ton of steak leftover from last night (I overestimated how much iron we could consume) so heated that up and sauteed some onions for lunch.  The hubs made mayo this afternoon and steamed North Carolina shrimp for dinner.  It was soooooo goooooood.  I made a salad to go along with it.

His pinched shoulder was just as bad today, but he wouldn't let me rub it nor put heat on it.  Instead, he felt he could cure himself by cleaning out every drawer and cabinet on the main floor.  Dude seriously acted like he was nesting today with all the cooking and cleaning.  I have plenty of kitchen gadgets to Freecycle as soon as the hurricane passes.  By dinner time, just the act of holding his head up was so painful.  I feel sorry for him.  He was asleep tonight before B.  Hopefully he can sleep pain-free.

Well, since I have had a good day, that's all I have to say about The Whole30.  And that makes me very happy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 2 of Whole30

I cannot believe the side effects of this detox!  I am miserable, the hubs is miserable, we're not getting enough food, I still have a headache and the hubs has stressed himself into a pinched shoulder nerve.  Remember in yesterday's post about day 1 when I said I ruined everything I cooked?  I thought that was a fluke b/c I know my way around a kitchen and have the degree to prove it.  But today I have burned myself, cut myself a few times and banged every finger in either a kitchen drawer, kitchen cabinet or in between pans!  On top of all of that, B's pouty, whiny attitude of yesterday turned into sulky this morning and then to downright anger.  So I gave up!

I talked to the hubs about it and he agreed.  Until he and I can get past the worst in the beginning and get into a food routine, we are taking B off the plan.  This was not me giving up the battle of wills with B.  This was just a sanity saver for everyone.  He was very happy when we told him tonight.  But we also informed him that when we get our Whole30 shit together he will go back on it and in the meantime, he will not be eating nothing but carbs.  I think he was so happy he would agree to anything!  ;o)

I decided to fix steak for dinner, hoping some iron would perk us up.  I cooked with olive oil some more today and still no allergic reaction from me.  :o)  With all the added veggies to my diet I have frequent gas.  And it smells sickeningly sweet!  I guess that's from the coconut oil?!

We went for a drive this evening with the windows down and by the time we were heading back home, I was feeling better.  I don't know if the steak kicked in or if it was the fresh air.  But I am grateful.  What I find interesting is that no matter how bad the hubs and I feel, we haven't cheated nor quit.  We are committed and I'm proud of us.  We need to make these changes for our health, our attitudes, our energy and our son.  We are not giving in or giving up.  Actually, for me I think giving up is not an option b/c that means at some point I'd have to start over again.  And I am not starting the caffeine withdrawal over again!  ;o)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day One on The Whole30

Today can be summed up with one word - LABORIOUS.  I have never washed this many dishes on a holiday!  Washing, peeling, chopping, rinsing, crockpotting (I made up a new word - yeah me!), baking, sauteing.  Phew!  I needed to plan more before starting this thing.  Plan out what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least the 1st week.  The Success Guide actually gives you enough recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks your first week.  However, I could not find canned tomatoes without additional ingredients nor approved sausage, among other ingredients, the hubs won't eat this and B won't eat that...  Aye, ye, ye!

I thought my biggest challenge would be finding something for B to eat at breakfast.  Turns out, my worries were completely unfounded.  Breakfast was a breeze; he ate donuts.  The hubs tried to go into work yesterday but was sent home b/c his office building had sustained damage in Tuesday's earthquake.  On his way back home he stopped at our favorite bagel shop for him and me and at Dunkin Donuts for B.  This morning B says to me, "Last night, when we were cleaning out the fridge and pantry of foods we can't eat for the next 30 days, I asked Daddy if I should throw out the rest of the donuts.  He told me not to.  Why would he tell me not to throw them out if no one could eat them for 30 days?  They'd go bad and we could not eat them in 30 days.  I think he wanted them kept so that someone could eat them now.  Who do you think he wanted to eat them, Mama, who?"  @@  Whatever.  He ate the donuts.

For some reason, God must have thought I needed a humbling day because just about everything I cooked today turned out wrong.  Too spicy, overdone, dry, etc.  Oh, and obviously I needed to practice my knife skills with all the chopping and cutting.  ;o)

Here's what we ate today (please note that not all of us ate everything on this list):

  • Donuts
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cantaloupe
  • Salad
  • Pork Marsala (minus the Marsala)
  • Crockpotted and then roasted (don't ask!) chicken
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
I also made soup and 2 kinds of flavored waters today.  The hubs likes to drink Fruit 2O b/c plain water is too, well, plain for him.  He cannot drink store bought flavored waters b/c they have artificial ingredients.  He was really bummed by that.  So, today I made him some raspberry-flavored and lemon-flavored water and both passed his taste test.  :o)  Tomorrow I'm going to make watermelon water and honeydew water.   When he came home from work today I asked him how it went with drinking his coffee black.  "I didn't have any coffee today," he replied.  "Is drinking no coffee better than drinking coffee black?"  "Yes," he replied.  hehehe  He actually drank unsweetened, uncreamed (another new word, courtesy of yours truly) tea at work b/c they have flavored ones there.  *thumbs up*  I cooked with coconut oil for the 1st time.  I'll have to get used to the sweet taste it gives food.

In reflecting on the day, not only do I realize I need to plan and find a way to make things easier on myself, but I don't think any of us ate enough food.  We are supposed to have 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks.  Not only did we not eat all those meals, the portion sizes that those meals are supposed to be are way more than got in us today.  However, at least the donuts made up for lost calories in B's diet.  ;o)  I was tired today; really missed the caffeine.

Oh, I almost forgot!  You are not going to believe this but I cooked with olive oil today and ate it!  No. Reaction.  Why did my allergy to olive oil suddenly disappear?!  I don't know if it is b/c I used an olive oil that was not extra-virgin or if my allergic reactions in the past have not necessarily been the olive oil itself but maybe a combo of the oil and some other ingredient?  I don't know what gave me the wild hair to decide to eat olive oil today, knowing I was allergic to it, but I'm glad I gave it a try!

OK, I gotta go to bed!  Here's hoping tomorrow is less laborious!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, For Tomorrow, We Diet!

Tomorrow, the three of us are going on The Whole30.  It is a healthy way of eating for 30 days to sort of detox your body from unhealthy foods and the bad effects from that food.  We will eat real food in it's natural state - meats, fruits and vegetables - and no processed food.  We can cook it however we want to as long as we use simple ingredients in their natural state.  It's only a 30 day commitment and it's worth it to us to see what changes occur in our health, our bodies and our energy levels.  At the end of that 30 days, we'll see if we want to continue eating this way.  I certainly hope we will.

A friend from school started The Whole30 on July 1st with two of her girlfriends and posted to Facebook what they were doing.  I was curious, so I followed the link and read about it.  I really liked what I read and began talking to the hubs about it.  He liked the benefits that the creators of the program listed, but was skeptical about all that needed to be given up.  No processed foods; no grains; no legumes; no dairy; no beverages other than water (plain or self-flavored), black coffee and tea; no alcohol; no sugars (natural or artificial); no corn; no white potatoes.  The hardest for me is going to be no soda.  The hardest for the hubs will be no Equal and no creamer in his coffee.  The hardest for B will be no grains and no dairy!  If he had his druthers, those would be the only two food groups he would ever eat.

At first, he took it pretty well that he was not going to eat cereal for 30 days.  I was suspicious.  So I let him know that meant oatmeal, too.  "What?!  What am I supposed to eat for breakfast, than?!"  Eggs.  Sausage.  Veggies.  "I'm not eating eggs," he laughed.  "Then you'll go hungry," I replied.  "I am not eating eggs," he laughed again.  "Then, you'll go hungry," I said, again.  "I am not eating eggs," he said. "Go brush your teeth," I replied.  We could've gone back and forth all day like that b/c we are both cut from the same stubborn cloth and are determined to win the battle of wills.  I was not fighting it.  I've dealt with his picky eating before.  He's not wasting away to nothing and can afford to miss a few meals.  Eventually, when he's hungry enough, he always eats what I make available to him.

B and I went to New England for a week for my cousin's wedding.  I did not want to deal with the hassle of a new, restrictive diet on the road, staying in hotels and traveling with my parents.  Regardless of what I say or what is best for B, my mom feeds him whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  One time he spent the night at my parents' house and had nothing to eat the whole time except 12 bowls of cereal.  She says that's called "grandparents' prerogative".  Yeah, was not fighting that fight on the road with my parents.

This afternoon I was reading from  The Success Guide to go over everything we can and cannot eat with my guys as well as the why we are eating this way.  The reality of it hit the hubs.  No sweetened or creamed coffee.  "We are drinking our asses off tonight!" he said.  LOL!  So we all had our own "last supper".  I had pizza, B had a gigantic cinnamon-sugar soft pretzel, the hubs had leftover Chinese food and chips and dip.  We also broke out the root beer, sarsaparilla, vanilla cream soda and Sixlets we brought back from The Vermont Country Store.  I feel sick; I ate way too much.

You are not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days.  You can weigh before and after only.  Although most people do experience some weight loss, everyone is different and they don't want you to be discouraged or base your success on the scale alone.  The goal is to feel and be better.  All three of us weighed ourselves and had our blood pressure measured today and we will compare those to our numbers on September 24th.  We are going to the beach for a week sometime during the next 30 days so that will be a good test.  We stay in a house with a kitchen so we can prepare our own meals.  The hubs asked, "What about eating out?  I'll be on vacation, after all."  I don't see the problem.  We go out for seafood and there are plenty of entrees we like that just get steamed.  Add some veggies on the side and we're good to go!

We went to the store this afternoon to stock up on approved foods and I made the hubs breakfast and lunch to take with him to work tomorrow.  I thought a salad would be nice and easy to send him with until I remembered he can't use a bottled salad dressing.  I calmed down and made one.  B declared in the store that he only likes to eat carrots with dip so he won't be eating any carrots.  I informed him I could make some mayonnaise and then create a dip for him from that.  I could see he was impressed.

Now I just need to get through an I-am-not-eating-eggs breakfast with him tomorrow!  Wish me luck!  I'll keep you updated on our progress!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boxers and Grocery Bags

B and I are heading out to a wedding in New England tonight; the hubs is not going.  :o(  Last night I was getting together all the clothes that needed to be washed for the trip and, of course, I gathered my underwear.  I only have 9 pairs (note to self - add Hanes cotton underwear to the My Favorite Things page) so that should be plenty for the trip in addition to the pair I was wearing and one I would wear today.  Unfortunately, I could only find 7 pairs, including the ones I had on, and none were clean.  So all  pairs had to go in the wash to get me through the one week trip.  But what to wear in the mean time...  I can wear my 8 year old's socks, but there is no way I can wear his underwear (I know this b/c curiosity killed the cat and I just had to go in his room and try them on. Fail.)

I decided to dig through the hubs' drawer.  Past the boxers I found a pair of boxer-briefs and pulled them on.  The Heavens parted, light streamed through the bedroom window and angels sang, "Ahhhh!"  I have not worn a pair of men's underwear since college and now, for the life of me, I can't imagine why I haven't!  They are so comfortable to lounge around in.  I wore them to bed last night with one of the hubs' t-shirts and I am still wearing them now, as I type to you.  (Don't worry, I am going to get dressed once I post this and I will put on a clean pair of my own underwear.)

So, my message to you all is this: if you have not been wearing your partner's underwear, give it a try.  You may like it.  And if you have been wearing their underwear all along, why have you not shared the benefits with me?!

I've previously talked about my love of reading obits in the local paper here.  Reading the June 30th paper made me very happy. It contained that rare gem of an obit that honored the entire life of one of our residents. I loved hearing about his professional baseball career, his uniformed and clandestine services to our country and his love of animals. Thank you, family, for writing that one. I know it was hard but it was a gift to so many. 

I also learned a new word from the local paper's crime report, "burglarious". I know, I was skeptical at first, too, thinking the officer who wrote that police report was getting creative. But I looked it up at Dictionary.com and there it was! So it must be a real word, right?

Teenage cashiers at my Wegmans are too cocky for my taste (yet another sign that I am getting old - chastising the young whipper-snappers at the grocery store).  They critique my purchases!  Who the heck are they?  I shop with reusable bags.  In addition to the carrying handles, they have little loops on the tops for the cashiers to place over a hook to hold the bag in place as they fill it in front of them.  Some of my loops are no longer there b/c the cats have chewed them off.  However, the cashiers has a big, flat surface behind them on which to place such bags and load there.  But I have had several teenagers tell me that I need to replace my bags b/c they cannot hook them on.  Whatever.  Last week when I went in, one teeny-bopper was bagging for the teeny-bopper ringing and out of my bag of reusable bags she pulls one from another grocery store.  She actually said to me, "Seriously?  I can't believe you brought a Giant grocery bag in here."  A Harris Teeter cashier, very jokingly, had said the same thing me once before and we laughed about it.  This little girl, however, was serious.  "Would you rather I shop at Giant with my Wegmans bags instead?  B/c if you do, I'd be happy to tell your manager how you feel."  That girl straightened up faster than B does when the hubs gives him "The Look".  "I see your point," she said. "Besides, it's just one bag, right?" I chose not to respond.  @@

Friday, August 12, 2011

The New Look

Last night I got a wild hair and decided to change the look of my blog.  There were not a whole lot of colors and backgrounds that I liked when I started it, so I picked a plain navy and orange and forgot about it.  But I want to grow my readership and my blog and and I want to add more things to it.  I started poking around and found all this stuff that wasn't there before!  I changed the theme and the colors, added pages (Recipes, Movies, Books, Favorite Things), figured out how to jump break and added some gadgets.  Some of the pages are still empty, but bear with me.  I'll work on filling them up!

Not My Mother's Turkey Broccoli Casserole

When the hubs called me this morning for my daily "Good Morning" call, he said he'd seen a commercial for pancakes on the TV at work and he was now in the mood for pancakes.  I asked if he wanted a breakfast-dinner (breakfast food for dinner) so he could get his pancake fix and he heartily said yes.  As I set out some bacon to thaw, I realized that, although I enjoy me some pancakes, I was not in the mood for them today.  I know B will want the breakfast-dinner, too, so.....what to make for me....

Chicken Broccoli Casserole!

I LOVE Chicken Broccoli Casserole but the hubs and B would be fine and dandy if they never had it again.  The hubs is prejudiced against casseroles.  He thinks of casseroles as all being the same from his childhood -  weeks worth of leftovers thrown together in a dish and covered with some kind of salty, gross-looking sauce the masks what's in there.  He's come a long way in the last 16 years with me.  I finally got him to let me make a Chicken Pot Pie earlier this year and he loves it.  But he is NOT budging on my Chicken Broccoli Casserole!  LOL!  That's fine; I let this one slide because then I get to eat it all myself.

It's a dish that my mom made, but she called it Turkey Broccoli Casserole because she only made it a couple of times a year with the leftovers from a holiday turkey.  I didn't like it as a child.  Part of that was because I was a picky eater and my mom catered to that in her kids and part of it was the way she made her casserole.  As the name suggests, there is broccoli in it.  My mom would by the cardboard box of frozen broccoli spears, set them out to thaw, boil them once they were thawed and then they baked for another hour inside the casserole.  By the time her casserole came out of the over, the broccoli was not recognizable (it wasn't even green anymore) and it smelled awful!  This was surprising, since my mom is an excellent cook and pasted her love of pleasing others through food to me.  But we all are allowed an Achilles' heel.  Until 2 year ago, I could not make simple boiled rice or mashed potatoes!

I call my version Chicken Broccoli Casserole, because I make it several times a year and mostly with chicken.  I use frozen broccoli flowerets and add them to the casserole frozen.  They will thaw and cook enough while baking in the oven.  I've posted my recipe, here, if you're interested.

Gotta go!  The timer just went off!  (I could not wait until dinner time to cook it!)

"Me and Her"

The hubs and I received a small photo album as a wedding gift and it has 4x6 wedding proofs in it and some candid shots we took the weekend of our wedding. In one of the pages of the album is a poem. It looks like it has been cut out of a newspaper. I have no memory of where it came from but I love it. It says this:

Me and Her

She is compulsive.
I am impulsive.
She likes it hot.
I like it cold.
She is neat.
I'm a slob.
Andy Rooney says, "A's marry Z's."
But we are different alphabets.
I push.
She pulls.
She says, "Up."
I say, "Down."
She is night.
I am day.
Living together is hard.
Living without her would be impossible.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Polygamy

This conversation took place between B and me in the dark of his bedroom on December 23, 2009 (he was 7 yrs old), before he fell asleep:

B: I think it would be so cool if Nana was Mrs. Claus.
J: Why?
B: Because then she could take me to the North Pole and introduce me to Santa and show me the workshop anytime I wanted.
J: Well, if Nana was Mrs. Claus, then you wouldn't need to be introduced to Santa. You'd already know him - Poppop.
B: No, Poppop isn't Santa.
J: Mrs. Claus is married to Santa Claus. So, if Nana is Mrs. Claus than Poppop is Santa because Nana is married to Santa.
B: You can be married to more than 1 person at a time, you know. Nana can be married to Poppop and Santa at the same time.
J: No, she can't. It's against the law to be married to more than 1 person at a time.
B: Why? I don't like that law. It shouldn't be a law. You should be able to marry more than 1 person.
J: How would you feel if I was married to someone else besides daddy? You already complain that I am not here enough since I work 2 jobs. If I married someone else, too, than you'd see me even less because I'd have to spend half my time with the other husband and half my time here with you and daddy.
B: Why couldn't we all just live in the same house together?
J: Ben, I could not be in love with more than 1 man at a time and I would not marry a man I was not in love with. So, I am not going to marry another man. Besides, men do not want to share their wives with other men.
B: (He sat up and stared at me for a full minute before saying) That sounds like you don't love me if you love daddy and you can't love more than 1 man at a time.
J: That's not true, baby. I love you very much! I love you and daddy the same amount, but I love you each differently. I am in love with your daddy and I love you. It is a different kind of love between you and me than it is between a husband and a wife.
B: Oh! I didn't know that! But why don't mans want to share their wives? I'm a man and I can share so why can't mans share?
J: It's "men", not "mans". And you are not a grown man, yet. When you become a man, and you find your other half and you fall in love with that person, you'll understand why we do not want to share our spouses with others. I would not share daddy with another wife, either. And daddy does not want another wife. He's got his hands full with this one!
B: (He was quiet for a while so I thought he'd fallen asleep. Then I heard him say, quietly) Well, I still think Nana should be allowed to marry 2 different people so I could keep my Poppop and she could be Mrs. Claus.

I am so happy with Sonlight!

As you know, I bought the Sonlight curriculum and we started 3rd grade for B on July 11th. I am so happy with this curriculum! BTW, I am so happy I can FINALLY spell curriculum without the spellcheck, squiggly red line under it! YEAH, ME!

Going with a literature-based curriculum was the BEST decision the hubs and I made.

B loves reading! Every day we have the standard reading from textbooks and the standard writing that he is SO not fond of (STILL!). But the only way he is going to get better at anything is by actually doing it over and over again. Everyday I read to him and he reads to me. He hates that, according to our Sonlight lesson plan, I am to only read to him one chapter a day. The reading that he is to do aloud is only 1-3 chapters a day. He wants me and him to read more, so he can find out what happens next! THAT is excitement, anticipation, and that is the incentive that gets him through his least favorite part (STILL, to my frustration, but I know it is typical of a boy his age), the writing that he needs to do during his spelling, creative writing and science lessons. He loves Science, but he does not like the fact that he needs to write the answers to questions that test his comprehension of his Science learning. This week, we are finally moving on from book learning of Science to experiments. We have learned all kinds of things about many animals so far. The difference between monkeys and apes (monkeys have tails); bats are the only flying animal with fur; sloths NEVER clean themselves, are green in color b/c of the algae that grows on them and they have moths living in their fur!

And can I just say, I just LOVE homeschooling my son?! When he was in public school for kindergarten and 1st grade, I could not wait to ask him every day, "So, what did you learn TODAY?" But, like most parents, I received the answers of, "Nothing" or "I don't know". Then, a few times a week B would pipe up with a, "Did you know that..." something that he had learned at school that week. But that's all I got, bits and pieces. And that's about all I remember from MY education - bits and pieces. But now B and I are learning everything TOGETHER. I love learning about something and then learning what each of us got out of it as we talk about it. Because something different jumps out at each of us and each of us processes that something and then explains it to the other. I feel so blessed to be this involved with my child's education right now!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Summons

The three of us were spending a long weekend at my sister-in-law's on the Eastern shore, 7/29 - 8/1, when I received an email from my dad. The hubs and I climbed into bed around 10pm on 7/29 and I decided to check my emails before turning out the light. I received this VERY formal email from my dad:

"(Your mother) and I tentatively are considering having a brunch for a dozen individuals next Saturday, August 6th. The purpose of this email is to inquire as to whether you would be available to attend such a brunch at our house around 11 a.m. on that date. I know this is very short notice but if it is feasible for you to reply this weekend as to your availability on August 6th (your mother) and I would appreciate you doing so.

Thanks.

Dad

P.S. I know that you are away at the beach this weekend, but I was hoping that you would be checking your emails and be able to reply."

OK, first of all, the editor wannabe in me CRINGED at the words, "...tentatively are considering..." Either you are tentatively having a brunch or considering having a brunch, but "tentatively are considering" is SO WRONG. I was disappointed that it was so late and I was unable to call my dad about this email; it worried me. I read it to the hubs and he had the same reaction as me: "What's with the formal wording?" We knew something out of the ordinary was up. My dad has been retired from the government for over 9 years, but this email sounded like it was written in "governmentese". The hubs and I started joking around about why my dad was having this brunch and who the other "...dozen individuals..." could be.

"Maybe your folks won the lottery. Maybe they FINALLY decided to where they are going to retire," said the hubs. Maybe someone is sick...., I thought. "Maybe someone has died!" I said. I know what you are thinking. Why would someone organize a BRUNCH over a WEEK in advance to announce a DEATH? Well, readers, let me explain my family to you! I am 39 years old, married and a mother with a brother who is a very responsible 42 year old. However, our parents still think we are incapable of handling "news". Let me give you a couple of examples.

My grandmother (my mom's mother) died while I was in college and I did not find out about it until after I graduated. And my parents did not VOLUNTEER it after I graduated; some time after graduation I brought up my grandmother and my mom said, WITHOUT looking me in the eye, that she had passed away. "WHAT?! WHEN?!" I exclaimed. My mother informed me that grandma's death, funeral and burial had occurred during my final year of college and my mother did not feel it was necessary to inform me since I did not have the "ideal" relationship with my grandma. OK, I'll give you that she was the "B" grandmother and not the "A" grandmother, but she WAS my grandmother, I was an adult when she died and I should have had the decision to go to her funeral or not taken away from me.

Flash forward 17 years and me, the hubs, my brother and my parents are having a lovely Christmas holiday dinner at my mom's sister's house. My aunt's two children are there with one spouse and one finacee. I don't recall the specifics to led to my conversation halter, but I brought up my mom's brother who lived in Branson, MO. The entire table went silent. Everyone stopped in mid-rise of a fork to their mouth or just stared at me, open-mouthed. Everyone, that is, except for my mom, who continued to eat while staring directly at her plate. I looked around the table at everyone, wondering what I had said that was so wrong. Finally, one of my cousins said to me, incredulously, "Uncle Gordon died two years ago." My jaw dropped and my eyes bugged. I turned to look at my mother, but she was still staring straight into her plate, and continued to move the fork from plate to mouth. "Why didn't you tell me?!" I whispered. She said nothing. I looked at my brother, "Did you know?!" "No," he said, quietly. I became furious. Furious at the belittling that I was still receiving from my parents as well as the embarrassment I had just suffered in front of family. So, you can understand why I would suspect that a family member might have died and my parents think it OK to invite us over to brunch more than a week later to inform us.

I told the hubs that I would call my mom (an early riser) as soon as we woke up the next day to find out WHAT this email from my dad meant. Then I rolled over, turned out the light and closed my eyes. I was about to nod off when the hubs exclaimed, "I bet your dad finally got his book published!" and scared the bejesus out of me. I thought for a moment and said, "Yes. That is quite possible," and finally fell asleep.

The hubs was right. At the brunch, my dad announced that the book he had written about his and my mom's first trip to Alaska had been published! And this isn't just a travel book about the sights and sounds they experienced in a beautiful state. My parents almost died on this trip, when the state road they were traveling on gave way and their van plummeted down an embankment, rolling over. Of course, they did not tell us what happened and the first time I found out about the details of this accident was when my dad asked me to edit an early version of his book. *rolling my eyes*

It's so interesting as a child to watch your parents get frustrated and angry at the stubbornness of THEIR parents and then watch your parents repeat this stubborn behavior to us, their own children. I am very proud of my dad for publishing a book. It is a dream of my own, actually, and one that the hubs has been encouraging me to do for quite some time. But my brother and I are in for the fight of our lives when the time comes for the parents to relinquish the reigns to their children...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm an International Read!

Something has been puzzling me when I am a couple or several cars back at a red light. The light turns green and the 1st car does not go b/c they are looking down at their phone. I don't get why the cars immediately behind the lead car don't toot to wake the person up. I do it. It's bothered me for several months and it just dawned on me yesterday - everyone behind the lead car is on their phone, too, and has no idea the light has changed either! It is such a burden being the only perfect driver on the road. *SIGH*

It's quite interesting to see the people who are coming out with daytime talk shows in the Fall, all hoping to fill the void Oprah has left. Trust me, you can't do it. Not even you, Anderson Cooper. Not. Even. You. *sniff*

As I side note, I just found out Anderson Cooper was gay last year and I was crushed. I had no idea. But I'm not taking him off my list! It's my list and I'll have a gay if I want to... (sung a la Lesley Gore, 1965) And I am not the only woman who laments over Anderson. The hubs was telling me about a focus group of women discussing the different perceptions of men and women as they get older. The leader of the group went around the table asking the ladies to name a celebrity with grey hair they though was sexy. The 1st woman said, "George Clooney." The 2nd woman said, "Sean Connery." The 3rd woman said, "Anderson Cooper," and the whole table erupted into a bunch of, "Ooo, yeah, ANDERSON..." LOL!

So, I'm looking at the stats of hits on my blog and they are broken down by where viewers live and what they were searching for to bring up my blog in the results list. The majority of peeps get to my blog b/c I link posts on my Facebook page. But people have found me through Google and other sites that I have never heard of! And the funniest web searches that have pulled me into the result list have been people who searched the web for "wore a poise pad" (from my post The Morning After) and "beef stir-fry with broccoli and cauliflower rocco dispirito" (from Obviously, Rocco Dispirito and I have two TOTALLY different palates). LOL! I have been viewed by peeps not only in the US, but also in Canada, the UK, Germany, Denmark, China, Singapore, Slovenia, India and New Zealand! I'm an international read!!! :D My most viewed post ever was the one titled, "Am I gay?" with a close 2nd being "Divorce and The Superbowl". It even tells me how people are viewing my blog. The Operating system used most often is Windows, but it also tells me that people have viewed my blog from their iPads, iPods, Androids, Blackberrys and others. That is so cool! Hi, everyone! Thanks for reading! I really appreciate you stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Spandex, Balls, Scrunchiis and Shea Butter

I am so thankful for pants that are now made with a scoonch of spandex. I've been enjoying them of late, and just had to share that.

B came up to the hubs and me recently. He had a rubber ball with spikes sticking out of it and he had taped a piece of string to it. So, B is holding one end of the string and the ball is dangling off the other end of this 6" piece of string. "Guess what THIS is," B asked.

"A mace," answered the hubs immediately.
"A disco ball. The New Year's Eve's ball that drops during the countdown. Mistletoe. A pinata," I said.
The hubs started laughing.
"What," I asked.
"This is so US! I immediately think mace and you think disco ball and mistletoe. I love how we are!"

He's right. We have complemented each other from the beginning. And the best part is that B has both of us in him. It WAS a mace, by the way, but B wants a disco ball for his room and he begged me not to put the kissing crystal (our mistletoe) away at the beginning of the year, so that is why I thought he was going in that direction.

I want to tell you 2 things about the hubs that will sum up men, in general:

1)He was cooking chicken wings on the grill for dinner one night and I reminded him that B does not like the black marks on his wings and the hubs should grab a piece of foil to put under B's wings. He stopped at the back door, holding a plate of wings and a pair of tongs. He stared at me, looked over at the pantry door on the other side of the kitchen where the foil is, looked back at me and sighed. "You're right," he said. I went downstairs to change the laundry and when I came back up, the hubs was outside. When he came back inside with the wings, they ALL have black marks on them.
"You didn't get the foil," I said.
"Nope."
"You'd have used the foil if I had gotten it for you, but you just didn't want to go back into the kitchen and get it yourself."
"Yup."

2)We're at the grocery store and the hubs wants a new scrunchii for the shower. But not just any scrunchii; he said he has seen ones that are the fluffy ball kind on one half and a loofah on the other. I tell him I think he is thinking about what I use in the shower that is flat with terry cloth on one side and loofah on the other but he insists there is a scrunchhi ball with a loofah attached and it is sold at this store. So he looks through all the ones hanging on the wall but none are the one he is looking for.
"Come on; let's go," he said.
"Well, wait. What about the bins on the bottom shelf? What you're looking for might be in one of those. Aren't you going to dig through those, too?"
"No. There will be no digging." And he walked away.

If you ever get a free sample of shea butter shampoo and conditioner, Don't use it. Just throw it away. Trust me on this.