About Me

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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?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I may not be his favorite parent, but he's my champion.

B's favorite parent is the hubs.  I know this, because I ask him.  I know it's wrong to put B on the spot  and ask such a question, but I have, I do, a couple of times a year, just to see what he would say.  And he tells me the truth, even though he's worried about how I'll feel, because we've created a safe environment for him to share and be honest with us.  That environment will get more and more vital as he enters the teen years...

I didn't always ask; he used to switch back and forth, each year.  The 1st year he was out of me, he was all about Mama.  Makes sense when Mama is your main source of food, right?  Year two, he was all about Daddy.  It went back and forth like that every year until B started 3rd grade, our 2nd year of homeschooling.  I guess he'd had plenty of me by then and the hubs has been his favorite ever since.

And that irked me.  I spend more time with B.  I have a much higher tolerance for his quirks than the hubs does.  I think I honor B's different way of doing things more than the hubs does.  But the hubs is B's hero, his playmate, his proof that no matter how old you get, potty talk and bodily outputs will always be funny to males.  @@

I finally got up the nerve to voice my juvenile, selfish and jealous feeling to the hubs recently.  I listed all the reasons from the previous paragraph of why I thought B should like me more than the hubs, yet no matter what the hubs does, he's still B's favorite!  "But he's your champion, Jessie," the hubs replied quietly.  "What are you talking about," I asked in frustration.

"You ran to the store one evening and I decided to pour myself a glass of wine," he replied.  "B got all up in my business, wagging his finger at me, and said, 'That's the wine Mama uses to make pot roast, Daddy.  I don't think you should be drinking it!'  And anytime he follows me to the basement while I'm doing laundry, he criticizes the amount of detergent I use.  'You only need a half a capful at most, Daddy!  You are wasting detergent and over-soaping your clothes!'  He sticks up for you, Jessie, when you're not around.  He's learning the proper way to treat a woman from you, as well as from me.  And not just when a woman is watching, but always.  That's a champion of women.  Your champion."

That made me happy, then I felt ashamed for being jealous.  But that little nugget of realization that the hubs provided has been invaluable to me since then.  It's a reminder that we're not raising him for us, we're raising a respectful, empathetic, loving, peaceful, productive member of society.  One who will be an example of love and respect for all and will touch everyone he meets, positively.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra's Christmas in Black & White

I entered a contest at Beltway Bargain Mom earlier this week and won tickets to see Christmas in Black & White, presented by The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.  Four silent Christmas movies, all in black & white and over 100 years old, were shown in the Angelika Film Center in Fairfax's Mosaic District.  The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra played during the movies and, in between each movie, members of The National Broadway Chorus sang Christmas carols.  Three of the films were created by Thomas Edison!

There were couples, groups of adults and families in the audience.  However, the conductor, Luke S. Frazier, mainly spoke to the children throughout the performance.  He really engaged B and the other children during his introduction as well as while describing each movie and its individual musical arrangement.

Mr. Frazier told the children that during one movie, A Winter Straw Ride, they were to have a snowball fight in the theater when they saw one start on the screen.  It was cute to see the children form imaginary snowballs and throw them at their siblings, parents or a complete stranger a few rows back!  B would bend over to the floor, "gather" snow into a ball, peek over the back of his seat and spy his target.  Then at the right moment, he popped up, threw his imaginary ball while whispering, "Wah-BAP!" and then duck back down quickly to avoid being hit with one himself.  LOL

B's favorite movie was The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus; he laughed and laughed during that one and the loved that the hero saved the day.  Even though these films had simple plots, were short and contained no dialog, the children knew what was going on.  They cringed, laughed and cheered, all at the appropriate moments.

Not only was B exposed to a movie genre he'd never seen before, we had a clear view of every member of the orchestra.  B and I were both impressed with one woman who made up the entire percussion section by herself!  The instruments she played that B and I could actually identify were multiple drums, triangle, xylophone, tambourine, chimes, sleigh bells and either a woodblock or a guiro.  However all the musicians were close and B could see their instruments, how they worked and pick each one out as they played.

I was surprised how easy it was to get in and out of the Mosaic District during rush hour traffic.  Parking was easy and plentiful and we grabbed dinner and browsed through Target before the performance started.  We kept saying that we can't wait to go back and show the hubs what a great center it is.

B and I had a great dinner-and-a-show date last night and I'm so glad we won the tickets!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

B Made a Christmas Memory Journal Ornament This Morning from The Library Adventure


The Library Adventure has this great free printable ornament for kids, a Christmas Memory Journal.  B completed the ornament this morning and we really like it.  It was simple to put together, thanks to the instructions.

I just wanted to share these two pages with y'all.  B is thankful for NERF, Apple, Family, Food and Friends.  And I just love what he wrote and drew on the What I Want to be When I Grow Up page - a movie maker.  His drawing of a director is so adorable!  But I am kind of prejudice…  ;o)

Everything Works Out For The Best In The End

I haven't said anything online to y'all about something that happened last week.  I've said it to a couple of friends in person and one in an email, but that's it.  I wanted to blog about it, to explain how at peace the three of us are with it and how we are honoring it, but no matter how many times I sat down to blog to y'all, nothing came out.  Then I got some good news this morning I really want to share.  However, in order for you to understand just how good this news is, I need to share the bad news with you, too.

I told y'all that we went to the Boston area for Thanksgiving this year.  My dad's mom (my Nana and B's GG - short for great gramma) is 96 yrs old and one of my aunts planned for us to get together and share Thanksgiving with Nana because who knows how much longer she'll be around.  Because I'm currently dealing with a health issue, I went back and forth on whether to go or not.  But I decided B and I should go and have a wonderful time with family.  Due to the government shutdown in October, the hubs is negative in his PTO (paid time off) and he was unable to go with us.

It was so wonderful to see aunts, uncles and cousins that I hadn't seen in years, but seeing my Nana was the best!  She' so small, yet full of energy.  And although her face has been wrinkled and her hands spotted for as long as I can remember, she has always had the softest skin I've ever touched.  Not even B's skin as a baby was as soft as Nana's.  Her sight, hearing and short-term memory are going, so it was quite overwhelming for her to be in a room of 60+ people (just a fraction of her family. BTW) all talking and coming at her for hugs.  We all wore name tags to help her out.  :o)  One of my uncles read a poem he'd written for Nana.  A cousin read a short story she'd written about Nana and Papa years ago.  A cousin's wife and daughter sang a song and that daughter also sang a solo while "dancing" a cup on a table (it was amazing).  B and my dad performed a rap about Nana's life that my dad, my brother and B had written.  It was a beautiful day!

I hugged her, told her I missed her and loved her very much.  I didn't want to let her go because I loved the softness of her cheek against mine, the smell of her shampoo.  She remembered who I was and who B was.  I will always treasure the memory of that day, that gift we all gave and received.

Five days later, on what would have been my Papa's 103rd birthday, Nana had stomach pains and was taken to the hospital in the evening.  At her age, if by some miracle she survived surgery, the doctors said recovery would kill her.  So she was made comfortable with pain meds and she passed away early the next morning.

She went quickly, she was living independently in her own apartment at the time and she had just been honored and loved on by her family.  I think it was a perfect time to go and I'm glad she did not slowly deteriorate over time.  I wonder if Papa finally called her home as a birthday present to himself.  :o)

Since returning from Thanksgiving, symptoms of other medical issues have arisen in me, possibly complicating the surgery I need.  I need another specialist and further testing to get a diagnosis and make sure my surgeon has the whole state of me before he starts drilling into my head.  And time is of the essence.  Therefore, the three of us decided not to go back up to Boston for Nana's funeral.  I have no regrets.

Tonight is the hubs' company Christmas party.  We have not been to an office Christmas party since before I got pregnant with B and were looking forward to going.  However, since my parents and my brother have gone up to the funeral, we no longer have a babysitter for tonight.  And that's OK!  The hubs is still going and he's driving a couple of his co-workers whose significant others cannot attend, as well.  B and I were going to have a holiday movie/popcorn/snugglefest tonight.

So we're all done with the sad stuff and now we're moving onto the good news!  Before going to bed last night, I entered a contest.  I saw a Facebook post announcing only 2 hours left to enter and I took a chance.  This morning, I received an email that I won the contest - 2 tickets to a family-friendly holiday event tonight.  So, now B and I will be going out on a date tonight!  We are both very excited!  We are all very blessed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

B's Letter to Santa


Two nights ago, B couldn't get to sleep.  He said right before he falls asleep, all kinds of ideas and thoughts come into his head but he never remembers them in the morning.  He wouldn't go to sleep that night because he didn't want to forget something.  He felt compelled to write Santa a letter and asked the hubs to bring him paper and pencil so he could do so.

He finally read the letter to me this afternoon before mailing it off.  I asked him to let me scan it first.


In case the picture is not clear, here is what he wrote:

"Dear Santa,

           Thank you.  Just plain old thank you.  I thank you for all you've done & not just for me but for what you've done for others & being a true symbol of Christmas spirit & joy.  Kids depend on you & believe in you with all their hearts.  Do you know what some people would give to have that?  But Christmas isn't about giving or getting.  It's love, joy & peace & the hope we give & the love we share. So have a Marry Christmas!!

Love,
B

B's Favorite Winter Drink: Cupcake Tea

Earlier this year I started drinking coffee after a friend made me the most perfect brew ever.  It was a breakfast blend with sugar and French Vanilla creamer and I now make it at home.  Occasionally, when B's asthma flairs up I let him have half a cup of coffee, but he can't have it regularly.  I also don't want him drinking hot chocolate daily.  He used to drink tea with just a little sugar or honey, but since he tasted my coffee, he hasn't been interested in tea.  Until I created a beverage just for him.

I fill a mug ¾ with water, plop in a tea bag (I use Sleepytime or plain green tea because it's that we have on hand, but you can use any flavor you like) and microwave it on the "Beverage" setting.  This way, most of the tea steeping happens while the water heats.  I'm all about saving time where I can.  And if I walk away from the tea for a few minutes while it steeps, I'll completely forget about it!

Next, I remove the tea bag, add a splash of honey and a splash of French Vanilla creamer, approx a tsp of each, and stir.  That's it!  I usually keep local honey in the house, but haven't had a chance to get any in a month.   My mom gave us this big bottle from BJ's, so we're using it up.  Slooowly.  ;o)

If B is impatient and just can't wait for his tea to cool a smidge before diving in, he'll throw an ice cube or two in there.


The first time I plopped this in front of B, he exclaimed, "You made me the perfect brew coffee?!"

"No.  I made you your own special drink."

"What is it," he asked, skeptically.

"Just try it."

He took a sip and smiles.  "It's tea?"  I nodded.  "It tastes just like a cupcake, Mom!"

And the name "Cupcake Tea" has stuck ever since.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Sounds of Authors

I've told you before, here, that I am not a fan of British authors and why.  My mom recently gave me a book that she enjoyed and thought I might like reading it to myself or to B - The Puppy That Came for Christmas: How a Dog Brought One Family the Gift of Joy.  I'd never heard of it, but since I was out of library books, I took it with me on our recent Thanksgiving trip to Boston.

I picked it up Thanksgiving night when I had some time alone and started reading it.  By the end of the 1st paragraph, I realized the author, Megan Rix, was British.  @@ Yes, I actually rolled my eyes when I realized she was British.  But it was the only thing I had to read so I plowed on.  I'm on chapter 2 and we have some things in common - infertility issues, in our 40s, never considered ourselves dog people - so I'm going to continue to read.

Once I realized she was British (BTW, it is PC to call them British?  Do they prefer English?  Do I, as an American, only call them British b/c that's what they are called in all of our American History books and movies?  Any thoughts?), I started "hearing" the words in my head with a British accent.  Does that happen to you?  It does to me every time.  I don't mean I read every book in my head with a British accent; I just do if the author is British.  Or English…  And if I actually know what an author's voice sounds like, I hear their voice in my head as I read.

I also read aloud to others with the same cadence and accent as an author, if I've heard them speak.  The first book I ever read aloud to the hubs was in 1996 on a car trip.  It was Couplehood by Paul Reiser and, since I was a fan of the TV show Mad About You, I knew how Mr. Reiser would sound if he was reading it.  It makes reading more interesting, don't you think?  When you read about the Hundred Acre Woods, don't you hear Pooh's voice in your head?  I would love to get a job recording audio books!

OK, that last statement was random.  I better quit while I'm ahead.  ;o)