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Showing posts from 2005
Larry and I are so glad to be home, in our own house. We're both sounding like George Bailey at the end of It's A Wonderful Life - Hello, drafty old house! Hello, falling down apple tree! All the kitchen chairs are breaking - isn't that terrific! You'd think we'd been away a year instead of a week. It just felt like a year. But we're back. We survived. Some highlights:Rachel's potty-training progress has gone right down the toilet. I knew we were doomed the first day of our trip when I took her into a rest stop bathroom to go pee. She said, "It smells funny here. I'll pee at home." Good thing I brought some diapers.We had to caravan, as we can't fit everyone into one vehicle. Even so, both cars were packed full of stuff. Unfortunately, I don't like doing the driving on long trips. My back starts hurting, my knees start hurting, my hips start hurting (no, I'm not done complaining). To top it off, I harbor the convicti…

Christmas is Coming...

It's been a while since my last letter, but not much has happened around here of note. I have decided that perhaps it would be best if I took a little time to clean my oven more often than, say, once every few years. Nothing like a minor grease fire to make me reevaluate my housekeeping methods. The fire was a great learning opportunity, however - the kids got to see how effective baking soda really is on a kitchen conflagration. And I think the flames actually burnt off a lot of the greasy buildup. So it wasn't a total loss. After faithfully exercising for the past 3 1/2 months at the Y, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that exercise makes me fat. Apparently, I am not the only one to think so. The other day, as I was bending over to wipe out the tub, Rachel happily said, "Mommy, you have a big bottom." That kid used to be cute; I don't know what happened. When I shared my scientific findings on exercise with Larry, he muttered something about…

Halloween, Etc.

Well, Halloween passed uneventfully. We had 2 pirates, 1 damsel, a dalmatian, a bat, and a pumpkin this year. Rachel (the dalmatian - and a very cute one, at that) almost backed out at the last minute, as the first trick-or-treater to show up at our door was a 9-year-old Grim Reaper. We had to unmask him in order to persuade Rachel to stop screaming and come out of the hall closet. Larry took all my candy and brought it to his office. When I asked him to bring back some of my chocolate, he said that two really fat women in his office had eaten all of it. I think he's trying to tell me something.Anna is perennially annoyed at me now. This morning she was annoyed because I asked her to come back down and throw out the potato peels from the potatoes she had just peeled for me. Then she got more annoyed because I told her to change the garbage bag, since she had left the peels mounded so high the lid on the can wouldn't even close. I am so mean. Today is her day to do th…

Another Fall Weekend - October 2005

Well, I've bowed to the inevitable -- the only way to teach Rachel to use the potty is to not put those diapers on her. Though maybe that's not correct - after all, can you learn to fly by going skydiving without a parachute? Whatever. Rachel's wearing those undies, so the past two days have been rather wet around here, and I seem to be doing 4 loads of laundry a day rather than the usual 3, and I don't think the nice people working at our local Barnes and Noble really want to see us again, ever. Otherwise, potty training is going just fine.I think we've finally cleaned up the last of the apples from the apple tree. We sort of neglected the apple situation last week because of all the rain; but today our front porch was smelling strongly of fermenting apples and the bee population seemed to be multiplying, so I did what any responsible adult would do in that situation - I sent the kids out there to clean it all up. Yeah, they cried a little; but in the end, i…

Of Costumes and Commodes

Relatives are visiting (ain't we got fun?). Larry's sister Kate is here, which means all the little ones are sitting around wielding crochet hooks and other implements of destruction. She brought Grandma with her. Grandma is prefacing everything she says with "I may be repeating myself, but..." Yes. Indeed, yes. Most emphatically, yes. Anna's Halloween costume (a damsel dress) is progressing well, thanks to Auntie. If she hadn't showed up to help, Anna would have been stuck with wrapping herself in old newspapers and going trick-or-treating as the Goddess of Recycling. Or perhaps as an order of fish-and-chips. Or the floor of a bird cage, even. The possibilities are endless, if you simply use your imagination.I have officially given up - I do not know how to potty-train a child. I am open to any and all suggestions that may help Rachel to kick her diaper habit. (And, no, the suggestions may not involve the use of duct tape.) I just read an arti…

Apple Trees and Centipedes

Well, Larry has finally returned from his San Diego sojourn. He's at the office now, but we did get to see him for a full 24 hours or so. At one point yesterday, Rachel asked him, "Why aren't you at work?" Kids say the darndest things.He did manage to injure himself while - ahem - sailing last weekend. Nothing major, his rib just feels "poke-y" at certain times, like when he breathes or moves or lies on his side. He could visit the doctor, I suppose; but he doesn't seem to want to do that. Maybe because I suggested it. Or perhaps he's making a political statement by demonstrating his solidarity with the millions of working Americans who don't have health insurance. Most likely, he's just being a typical guy and believes he can fix anything with Motrin and a roll of duct tape. He doesn't need no stinking X-ray.Anyway, he is feeling well enough to tackle the apple tree. Not to cut it down, mind you. Sure it's getting lower e…

Fall?!? - Sept 2005

The weather here has been hot and humid or just plain humid since July. So
much for a cool, crisp September. I have been whining all week. We still
have the air conditioning on. When the humidity eases up a teeny bit, we
all venture outside only to be attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I think
the humidity makes them cranky, too.

Susie is incredible. I just plopped her down on the family-room rug so that
I could check my e-mail, and she has decided to suck her fingers and fall
asleep. What's not to love?

Larry is still hiding, I mean working, in San Diego. Tough life. Last
night on the phone he was trying to decide what to do with his free weekend
there. Tactless. A few days ago (again, on the phone) he mentioned that he
was offered an opportunity to go to Korea for 2 weeks for a military
exercise at the end of October. The only problem that he saw with that plan
was that he would miss Halloween. I'm beginning to think he doesn't like
me.

I signed up the 4 oldest kids for Tae…

Beach Trip - Sept 2005

Boy, did it feel good to get out of town for a couple of days! And the kids didn't even notice we were gone (ba-da-dum). But seriously, folks, just a short(?) 3-hour drive and we left those blood-sucking mosquitoes (whoops, redundant) behind. It was worth the $100 in gasoline (2 vans, remember?). We were relieved to find that our accommodations were decent. We had reserved, sight unseen, a 3-bedroom, 2-bath trailer on a National Guard base for only $60 a night (your tax dollars at work - thanks!); so we were a tad apprehensive as to what we were going to find when we got there. Good beds, clean bathrooms, complete kitchen - well, almost complete. As we were sitting around the table eating our lunch, one of the children asked, "Hey, where's the dishwasher?" Larry didn't miss a beat - "You're looking at them," he replied.The beach was great. The surf on Monday was so high that none of the children could get beyond the first set of breakers, w…

Finally Fall

I don't think I have ever been this glad to turn the calendar page to September. August was a slow month. There are only so many popsicles one can eat (and feed to the kids - I do share sometimes) before the novelty wears off. Although we did have a bit of excitement with this last box - the wrappers were blank, so we didn't know what flavor we were getting until we had unwrapped each one. Quite suspenseful.Rachel (3) is still squeezing Susie (3 months) a lot, but Susie doesn't seem to mind. Susie doesn't seem to mind anything, actually. Not even the fact that she is slowly going bald. Or that she has very fat knees. She is very pleasant about everything. And she never, ever complains about her food. Unlike everyone else in this house. David refuses all meat and eggs and assiduously inspects the remainder of his meal for bugs. (Let's not talk about the morning Theo slipped a plastic spider into David's oatmeal.) Brian eats only meat (with an occasi…

Late July - 2005

It's hot here. I know, it's hot everywhere. My friend in Utah had the nerve to complain about the 100-degree temperatures there. They're also suffering(?) from 18% humidity. Please. I'm practically wading out my front door every morning into what must be a humidity level of 548%. And beating back vicious, blood-sucking insects every step of the way. Otherwise, our summer is going along swimmingly (sorry, couldn't resist). Afternoons at the pool, mornings spent forcing recalcitrant children to do math ("but it's summer!" they whine - I told them they could enjoy summer when they are grown-ups and gainfully employed - yeah, I lied). You know, not much really going on around here. I labor under the delusion that if I step outside when the temperature is above 100 degrees, I may spontaneously combust; so we have mostly been hunkering down inside (aside from the above-mentioned forays to the local swimming hole). It's almost lik…

2 Weeks Later - July 2005

It's been a while, I know. But it's rather hard to type with one hand, and I'm actually expected to prepare dinners for my own family now, and Larry had the nerve to return to work. So...I'm a little busy. I must be putting up a good front of having my ducks in a row (ducklings, actually), as Larry is still planning to accompany Theo on a Boy Scout backpacking trip the first week of August. He calls it good exercise - I call it running away from home. Rachel seems to have bonded with the baby somewhat. David attempted to pat Susie a week or so ago while Rachel was crooning over her in her infant seat; she (Rachel) smacked David's hand away and shouted, "Don't touch! This is Rachel's baby!" There is no font or punctuation with which I might adequately convey the peremptory way in which she said this. We don't call her the Empress for nothing, you know.
Brian and Rachel are still spending most of their spare time perfecting thei…

The Beginning, June 2005

Well! It's been a month since Susie was born, so things are fairly back to normal here. I mean, if normal is no time to make dinner and laundry baskets full of clean clothes everywhere (at least they're clean) and a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who are whining an awful lot. Let's just call it the new normal, shall we? Anyway, we didn't have enough to do around here; so we decided to take a jaunt to NJ to see my parents last week. We had to convoy, since a 7-passenger minivan simply won't seat 8 (those darn seatbelt laws, wouldn't you know); personally, I really didn't mind riding separately from the above-mentioned whining children. Susie slept three solid hours on the way up - I definitely had the better end of the deal. The way down was another story, but it can actually be rather interesting comparing all the different turnpike reststops on I-95.

Our stay at my parents' house in NJ was bearable; though Larry did seem to develop some…