Monday, July 28, 2008


I am Mom to a budding chemist. One who may one day save the world and rid us from evil plagues. Right now the future Dr. Janey Lutz happens to be driving me CRAZY with her concoctions. This really is nothing new from her. It is not unheard of to pick up your drink only to realize some dish soap or salt has been added. Bath time often (if not closely, closely supervised) can often involve an entire bottle of shampoo, body wash, face cream, soap or bubbles. Pump hand soap is a dream come true for Janey. Lately her ingredient of choice is any of Julian's "make up". She has dumped an entire container of body glitter in her bed (the sheets were just changed, so she was shiny for a week!) Lip gloss has been scraped and scrubbed off every surface. In vain I have tried to remove body lotion from the floor. She is so stealth and knows just when the gate at the stairs has been left unlocked. I finally HID all of the things she could get her hands on. Or so I thought. In the 2 minutes it took me to put in a load of laundry yesterday, she snuck up and found some left over goodies. She nail POLISHED everything. Her hands, her face, her neck. The bathroom sink, the faucet handles, the front of the vanity. PLUS ( for your special spa refreshment) she poured nail polish, cough syrup, and squeezed a WHOLE TUBE of Blistex into my water bottle. And by the way, before you start the safety lecture, the cough syrup was in the medicine cabinet and had a SAFETY cap on it. Steve came home from work only to have to go right back out and get nail polish remover (and cough syrup. She has had a bad cough!) We had (another) talk about things we should not, and can not touch. Which obviously went IN one ear and OUT the other because today, not only did she lip gloss Julian's (now retired) American Girl doll Marisol (WHERE THE HECK IS SHE FINDING THIS STUFF???), she took an entire bottle of Tucker's cologne and doused a dozen Beanie Babies. My house smells like the cosmetic counter at Macy's. All of today's chemistry was done in about 10 seconds! Tomorrow I plan to look for a motion alarm to install at the top of the stairs. Although there is still the bath to contend with.....After washing the lip gloss and Polo cologne off her, I made the mistake of blinking. Advantage Jane. And an empty bottle of blueberry shampoo. I reminded her that she had JUST been punished for dumping things out. To which she replied, "I didn't dump it....I just squeezed it a little." Duh.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Field Trip

Today we went to Solomon's Island for a F.F.F.D (forced family fun day). Had to drag the boys out kicking and screaming. Plus it took forever because they had to download the annoying songs from the juke box, so they could annoy each other IN THE CAR. For the 15 minute trip. So anyway, we got to the Maritime Museum and much to their shock, not only was it fun, but they LEARNED something!!!! They had a room of skates, rays, and dogfish. The dogfish would swim right up to you! Hence the name, I guess. In one room was all of the stuff they found at Calvert Cliffs. This room was awesome! It had an alarm that went off anytime someone tried to touch something. Matt and Tucker were eventually banned from this room. You can dress them up, but you can't take them out! They also had the Drum Point lighthouse, which was moved in the 70's to the museum. With a huge barge. A major historical project. They were less than interested in the whole story of this. Beasts. Best of all they had two otters. I could have sat and watched them all day! They would swim, come right up to the glass, then go out and roll in the sand. What a life!! They really liked Matt! Try as we might, Teddy and I could see no way in to otter-nap theses guys! Oh well. Steve met up for lunch on the way home from work and we had a nice lunch on the water of the Patuxent River. It was a nice lunch because we made they boys sit at another table! We are right near the Patuxent Naval Air Station (we found this the other day when we got lost!!), so there are fly overs by fighter jets all the time. It is pretty cool! Still, it would have been much cooler to get my hands on an otter!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing in Action

You know I have not watched TV all week. I do not miss it at all. I do miss my fast wireless connection, as I am leached onto someone else's and the signal is very, very low. Making the computer very, very slow. But...this way, with so much time on my hands at night, you will get much insight into my vacation it will be like you were really here. Without the smell of old bait, that is. I know from the other posts it may seem like I am only here with the girls, but I SWEAR Steve, Teddy, Tucker and Matt are here too!! The boys have their own cottage that you can see in the first picture . (I am starting construction on one as soon as we are home!). It has its own kitchen/eating area, bathroom, and a huge bedroom. It looks like a dorm room! Chips, cereal, cookies and sodas of every variety. A queen bed, and two air mattresses in the bedroom along with a TV and video game.....what more does one need?!? Plus they have a laundry fairy! They leave their dirty laundry in the basket, and it is delivered back to them clean. They have a trash fairy too!!! They do surface to fish. Most days are spent on the boat fishing. When they are home and it is light, they go up to the beach to fish for bait fish for the NEXT day. And they crab, and set the minnow trap (again...bait). They come in one door for lunch, and go out the other to eat in in peace. We do make them eat dinner with us. We are so mean. The house has a working juke box, and so far they delight in playing the songs that will annoy someone. So far Foreigner's "I wanna know what love is" wins the award for annoying ALL of us (except Teddy whose taste in music is atrocious lately!) "One Night in Bangkok" will make Tucker go berserk!! They have also taught Janey to sing and dance to Y.M.C.A, which is a valuable life skill! So... although it may not seem like it-they are here too!! The Laundry Fairy is off to work now.....

Cats and Dogs

My sister brought my niece and nephew down for a day of vacation fun. We are about two hours from home, but it really is an easy ride. This had the potential to be either a) great, or b) a disaster. No real in between. The kids are all so close in age and proximity, they may as well be brother and sisters. They either love each other, or are fighting like cats and dogs. Not to mention that of the little kids (Julian, Liam, Janey, and Eliza) they all think they know EVERYTHING! And they are all bossy as can be! It all went surprisingly well, thank goodness. After all the hissing, "I'm not talking to you anymore. Hmpf.' from the little girls, they decided it was MUCH more fun to play. The beach was a hit. For some reason the waves were huge. Most other days there are NO waves. Liam and Julian had an elaborate surfing/drowning-my-cousin game going on. Poor Eliza got stung by a jellyfish 17 seconds into her swim (She needed Auntie to save her!) Her and Janey were land-lubbers after that! They made a sand castle for Ariel, and Amanda and I didn't have to pull them off of each other at all!! We went on the kayak, and again poor Eliza was traumatized. A HUGE spider was on Tucker's seat. She immediately STOOD UP ( we are in a kayak- this is a big no-no!) . We didn't flip and I flicked the offending spider in the water. Whoops!!! Actually I flicked it onto Eliza's LEG. Repeat the screaming/standing up scenario again only times ten. Took her back to her mother. Luckily I managed not to scar Liam for life, and we saw some herons and osprey on our kayak ride. Although this time I was the only one paddling and I swear my rotator cuff is somewhere in that creek! The highlight of the day was when "Captain" Steve came back in from fishing with the boys (whom I have only seen at meals, or when we take the boat out!!!) and took them for the much coveted BOAT RIDE. And to elevate his status even more, and lower poor, sad Auntie to the lowest jellyfish stinging, spider throwing rung on the ladder...he let them DRIVE. He did also take them out when it was rough and they bounced all the hell around so maybe we will come out even!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


What do you treasure?? Your grandmother's pearls? Your photo albums? Your wedding china? Or maybe your friends, and family. Your health. Memories. All valid treasures. Treasure that by any means are worth their weight in gold. But take a child on a walk and you will be open to treasures greater than you can imagine. Too many of those treasures (as adults) we are quick to say "Ewww, gross. Put that DOWN!". BUT..... an intricate fish spine, a marsh snail, a horseshoe crab long dead (and no longer a threat). A bird's feather, a REAL crab, a tiny, tiny ladybug, a piece of driftwood. All treasure. All usually overlooked now that we are old and wise. These small treasures are incredible to the yet-unjaded. And look closely....they really are so cool. And after slowing down, and looking around, at the end of the day I found my own beach treasure; a piece of green sea glass for my collection. Having a great time with all my treasures.

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Worries!

Ahhh...finally on vacation! The first day here was a jumble of unpacking, keeping Janey from falling off the pier, getting the boat in the water, swimming, crabbing, exploring, and keeping Janey from falling off the pier. All in the 4 hours we had before it was dark!!!

Sunday was much more laid back, although I almost said relaxing! We packed in all the activities of the day before, plus kayaking, and we all went out in the boat to fish in the Potomac. We saw a nest of Ospreys at the channel marker that still had 2 big babies in it. The kids caught a ton of fish, and Steve caught ONE!! Keep in mind the ever present pier, so no relaxing for Mom!! Granted if Janey DID fall off it would be into 3 feet of creek water, or a bunch of mud, depending on the tide. It is, however, home to blue and fiddler crabs, snails, and snakes so the endless nightmares would REALLY be the issue!!!

The house we are in is right on the water. There is a creek that runs out front and the pier takes you over it and to a boardwalk right to the Potomac. It is a nice quiet spot. For all of you stuck at home, do not is not ALL fun and games! It is still about 200 degrees here, there are jelly fish, and last but not least I seem to have made a grave error in judgement. For those of you who may be tempted...DO NOT LET YOUR NINE YEAR OLD APPLY SUNSCREEN FOR YOU. Trust me. The ending is bad. I look like some new exotic striped red and white species.

Enjoy the pictures. (that by the way DO NOT include the sunscreen fiasco!) I am going to have to show some restraint...I took 150 yesterday. Whoops.

PS-The extra blond boy is not an illusion! Tucker brought his friend Matt down with us, and yes Lynn, he is wearing his contacts AND sunscreen. Not applied by Julian!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leaving Lucille

We left for vacation yesterday. It was all the lovely fun getting ready ALWAYS is. Finding and packing every single thing, cleaning the house, finding the animal sitter, etc. The boys were asked to please pack their things.I figure at 16 and 14 this should be a no brainer. They packed the Playstation 2, 4 games, and 7 movies. Maybe I wasn't quite clear that we were leaving our house and going to another one far, far away in the middle of nowhere (Leonardstown in St.Mary's county, near Solomon's Island.)
The Friday before we left Tucker's Corgi pup, Lucy, had to make a trip to the vet. She needed her shots, but she had lost alot of weight last week, and we were worried. When we got there our vet told us she was, "Very, very sick, and would likely need surgery that afternoon." ?!? Apparently all of the slugs, and bees, and birds (yes, really. It was so gross...she got a bird somehow, and as I was chasing her around to GET IT from her, she was chewing it UP and ATE it! Blech.) I took the kids to see her before we left, and boy was she PISSED we were not taking her home!! When we left she was not out of the woods, and it felt wrong to abandon her. Luckily, as of today she did not need surgery, the inflammation is going down, and she does NOT have Lyme's. Needless to say she will be closely supervised outside. This is ALWAYS the way vacation seems to start. A sick dog, a broken car, you name it! We always aspire to VERY expensive vacations!!

Anyway, we are here. I will get pics up tomorrow of our day of fishing. The best part of the whole vacation is that the boys are in their own SEPARATE CABIN!!!!! They have been fishing, swimming, and crabbing since yesterday afternoon. They stink PRETTY bad!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunshine and Rain

I had to look in the paper today to see what time the funeral is for Teddy's friend Andrew, who died in his sleep earlier this week. Isn't that just wrong? In the past few months this is the THIRD time we have had to do this for a CHILD. Like I is wrong.

On a regular day in April I got an email from my friend Amy. I had babysat for her oldest son, Trevor, for 2 years before I had Janey, and until she had her second child. After that Amy's family grew by 2 more, and we both settled into the hectic life of 4 kids. Really, most of our contact had been through email and Christmas cards. A month before Christmas last year I got a great email from her. It was a picture of their family and their brand new baby (#4) Jeremy. The whole family looked joyous. The latest email was as far from that as you can imagine. Amy and Scott were sending out a desperate plea for prayers for Jeremy. He had been in the ER for dehydration and went into cardiac arrest. I can't do Jeremy's story justice in a few sentence, so for those of you who have not been, please visit Jeremy's site @

During this time it was time to get the garden ready, and I really didn't have the usual motivation. Jeremy was in the hospital, my oldest friend's mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was having a lot of health issues myself. I was so mad this stuff was happening, and it really got the weeds out and the soil turned!! But at the thought of putting my vegetables in....I hit a wall. The same thing would happen as always...we would get 4 or 5 cucumbers, the tomatoes would get worms, the eggplant NEVER grow, and the peppers are always bitter. It gets overgrown, and full of pests, Bugs, worms, blight. So silly, but I just could not do it. I wanted to see something hopeful. I decided to fill the whole darn thing with flowers. Each day Janey and I went to flower stores in the area. We went to the Home Depot to buy plants and drove through Catonsville to see the blue ribbons that were hung everywhere in support of Jeremy and the Morse's. I let Jane pick whatever her heart desired. All colors, all kinds. And then we came home and planted. And with each plant I prayed. Please heal Jeremy.Please help Amy. Please give Scott strength. Please let the kids be ok. Please FIX things. And on and on. On a hot Sunday afternoon, June 8, Julian's 9th birthday, Jeremy lost his fight.

The day of Jeremy's viewing our caterpillar cocoon hatched and we let our brand new butterfly free into this crazy garden. A garden of hope. It didn't feel so hopeful. The girls didn't understand why watching him fly away would make me cry. In the hospital Jeremy had a banner in his room saying "Rays of Sunshine, Jeremy, Rays of Sunshine." In his time on earth he had become a ray of sunshine to many. It was so sad.

The next couple of weeks I neglected the garden. Finally, I needed to weed and water, and I was amazed at how much had changed. It was in full bloom, and even though Steve said it would end up being the craziest looking thing ever, it was beautiful. And right in the middle something was growing that I did not plant. I didn't even buy seeds for. The biggest, tallest, strongest sunflower I have ever seen. It kept getting taller, but no heads were even close to opening. I took a picture of Janey next to it on July 6, so I know this to be true. On July 8 Amy and Scott and the kids were in my thoughts even more than normal. One month since Jeremy had been gone. The first "anniversary" of many.

I could not believe what I saw when I went out to water. There opened at the very top ( of a plant I did not plant ) was a beautiful sunflower.
Sometimes it is inconceivable how to get through the day. One foot in front of the other, minute by minute, sometimes, many times, only by the grace of God. And sometimes you find a little ray of sunshine. It may be small, but it is something. And sometimes all you can ask for is a little something. I have been so sad for my friends. I can't imagine their pain, but I know what it is like to have to function through grief. I think of them every single day. I hope.... so many things. But mostly that they know how much Jeremy touched my life, and how I wish things were different. This is a quote from the eulogy Scott read at the funeral: "Our time here, whether 6 months or 100 years, is just a speck of time. Let us not waste it being frustrated by earthly things. Live well, laugh often, love much, and give thanks to God - life goes by too fast." Hug Your kids. Appreciate your life. We all forget, but it can change in a moment. And always, always be on the lookout for those rays of sunshine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hershey Park happy!

"The sweetest place on Earth!" Are you singing the song now?? A few years ago Microsoft lured my brother in law to Seattle :( along with my step-sister Dana, and my nephews & neice Patrick, Connor, and Natalie. Luckily for us they make the long commute back to our neck of the woods at least once a year. And for the past 3 summers we have all made the pilgramage to Hershey Park. Between all the cousins we now have 11 kids to entertain!! Although this is a "family" day, we realized after our first trip that there was NO way the 'big' kids were going to sit around watching the little ones on the kiddie rides!! We now have a foolproof system. Little kids stay with the Moms, and big kids go with Uncle Brad to the REAL rides. Off Brad goes like the Pied Piper of Fun with 7 of the kids (to one adult, unless you count Teddy.) leaving Me, Dana and Amanda with a total of 4!! So, for a brief time it is something close to calm and relaxing! This year Janey was trying on her new brave self...she decided she wanted to go on lots of rollercoasters! And Hershey Park has deemed her ABLE!!! Even on the Super-Dooper-Looper (to end your suspense now-NO. I did not let her go on that!) She did go on the Comet and was equal parts thrilled and terrified (isn't that true at any age?). As soon as we stopped she caught her breath and said, "Can we go again, Mama?". Since I think I fractured my ribcage holding her in on the off chance her seat belt AND safety bar failed, I opted out! Teddy also braved some roller coasters this year (trust me, there was a monetary bribe involved!!) for only the second time ever! This was also a banner year for Connor (who is almost 8). Not only did he FINALLY make the height requirement to ride all the pee-in-your-pants roller coasters, but this is the FIRST year he has been to Hershey WITHOUT any broken bones in casts!! The first year he had TWO broken wrists, and last year he had one! Speaking of pee (sort of) if you go to Hershey and like roller coasters you have to ride the Wild Cat. It is a replica of an old wooden coaster, and even though the speed says 50 mph, I swear it is about 700 mph!! It is clackety and bumpy, and you don't know if you should scream or laugh after the first hill!! It is great fun. This year I rode with Julian. After the first hill she starts yelling "I THINK I AM GOING TO PEE IN MY PANTS!!". Knowing her, this could actually happen! Luckily she managed to hold it, and we escaped unscathed and pee-free! I made her ride with my sister the next time! Tucker rode on the new coaster called Fahrenheit..look it will barf. All in all it was a great day. Janey fell asleep on the way out of the park with a huge lollipop in her mouth! Looking forward to next years trip!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pity Party

Tucker seemed to have a good birthday (even minus the new Les Paul guitar and Rolex!). He got a new amplifier for his (already perfectly nice) guitar. Little do I know because I was naive enough to think his old amp was fine. Apparently, that is a beginners amp. So shame on me, but it means Steve got to do some birthday shopping. For once. Whoops!! Did I say that out loud?? So, it is a Fender deluxe. I know, I know. Wow. (Really....I have no idea what it means either!) All I know is that it is LOUD!! Really, really, really loud. We also indulged for the first time in some Gluten Free chocolate chip brownies. (Here is the pity-party-part...) Some of may or may not know that after more that a year of horrible stomach issues, after blood work, and barium swallows, and endoscopy, and colonoscopy I was diagnosed in June with Celiac Disease. For those of you who do not know what this is, I would love to still be able to say "Join the club." No such luck. Here is the quick and easy version: Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease. Celiac (also called Sprue in adults) is a malabsorption syndrome ... the gluten in wheat, rye, oats and barley cause the lining of the small intestine to become smooth, decreasing the surface area for absorption to take place, and decreasing the body's ability to absorb fats. (The normal lining has fingerlike projections called villa along which absorption takes place.) So you are dealing with something like malnutrition as long as the irritant -- gluten --- continues to be introduced into the body, and your body has difficulty absorbing nutrients. gluten. No breads, no pasta, no pretzels, nothing with soy sauce (made with wheat), and about 5000 million more NOTHINGS. We have to read every label, and believe me there is gluten in ALOT. Even my shampoo had to go. Then there is the issue of CROSS CONTAMINATION. Well... since you asked I will enlighten you. If my gluten free lunchmeat (have to buy it special) is on bread, and I take it OFF, it is now contaminated since gluten is an invisible (satanic) protein. You stir the pasta then stir the you have poison sauce. Get it?? Pretty much like learning to walk. Luckily it has gotten a little easier. It is a really healthy way to eat, and as my (kick- in- the -butt-stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself) friend pointed out. It is most definitely a disease that is HARD to do with a full schedule. No more fast food places, only a few restaurants are GF, and tons of chopping fruits and veggies (yes, Dawn, I get your point!!!) I have been soooo glad my stomach does not feel like it is manufacturing glass and razor blades that I have really not missed things too much. It has not, however, stopped me from making my"mourning" list of all the things I can no longer eat! Wonton soup, tuna sandwiches cut into triangles, Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches,subs, pizza, Amish market hot pretzels, Chinese food, creamed chipped beef on toast, fresh bread, McDonald's fries,Christmas cookies, cram of crab soup, and cannolis just to name a few. A very, very few. BUT. It could be much, much worse, and I am thankful my GI doctor is VERY proactive. And, for those of you who were wondering...the brownies were AWESOME. You would NEVER know the difference. So, I plod on. Oh yeah. Here is the big cosmic joke: Because I have not had proper absorbtion of nutrients in so long, my body is under the impression that I am starving myself. It is in anorexia mode. So until it figures out what is what, and I start healing I have not lost an ounce. Even with eating 200%more healthy for weeks. So for those of you who are expecting the skinny, healthy, svelte new me..........maybe someday!!!! Until then, a girl can always dream!

Friday, July 11, 2008

How time does fly

Fourteen years ago today I was vastly and uncomfortably pregnant. It was about 115 degrees each day, and there was NO maternity bathing suit that was going to come close to working!! I also had the crazy 2 1/2 year old on speed. Teddy NEVER napped, NEVER slept in late, and NEVER fell asleep in the car. From the minute his eyes popped open he was on the go. I tried to keep up with him as best as my sloth like self could, but he was often found motherless riding his bike around the neighborhood (usually naked), in the back yard, or knocking on Karen and Dennis' door.
Around midnight I SWEAR my contractions started right on my due date. I did fall asleep, and woke up dreaming I was riding a horse with no saddle. Since they don't sell home epidural kits I rushed to get Steve before he left for work (remember-this was way before we all had cell phones!) During really bad contractions there is NO rushing, so I tip-toed in agony till I found him. Six hours later at 12:35 pm on July 12, 1994 Tucker came flying into the world!! Teddy was so excited, and kept saying "I HAVE A TUCKER!!". Now 14 years later it is hard to believe how fast time flies. So, an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tucker!
PS- You are still not getting a new guitar OR a Rolex, bud. Sorry.
Love, Mom

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sweet Summer

A friend's answering machine asks all who call to recall what summer means to them.....Long lazy days with no scheduling, sleeping in, and wearing nothing but pj's or a bathing suit. Rarely shoes, and NEVER socks. Hanging out at the pool, and watching the fireflies. Hide and seek, and playing in the yard for hours. Endless games with made up roles, games of kick ball, and picnics. Ahhh....summer. Is there anything better? As I watch my kids playing in the back yard it is a great sight. Of course I am mowing the lawn and have my Ipod in and turned up so high my eardrums are bleeding. They are scared to death to come near the lawn mower because I have retold them all the heartwarming tales (passed down from my mother to me) involving kids, lawn mowers, and missing body parts. So....they DARE not approach to tattle (AGAIN). My music is thankfully drowning out the fact that Julian is crying, Tucker is teasing her over and over (hence the tears), and Janey is on the top of the swing set shamelessly, and loudly spying on my neighbors. As I watch Janey try to bite Julian for daring to take a turn on the coveted green swing I can see their mouths flapping open and shut, like big baby cowbirds, but alas.... THESE sounds of summer are lost to me. (Many thanks to Apple, and Toro for their help!!) I forgot to mention is is 1pm and Teddy is still in bed. Sooooo...I have now started with some FFFD's. Family Fun Days. ACTUALLY Forced Family Fun Days!!! The first one was to Patapsaco State Park.It is beautiful (even in 105 degree weather) and you can park and walk to the water. There is a huge waterfall, rocks to climb, fish to be caught, and best of all woods to pee in (Jane). We lasted many hours, and only left after realizing we were sharing our fun with ALOT of copperheads. See, the FORCED part isn't so bad....every now and then you need a kick in the (teenage) butt to have fun!!! Stay tuned for more FFFD's.

A Brand New Day!

My best neighbor and friend always tells me..."You should write a book!" Ha. The men with white coats would definitly show up at my door! So I thought I would join this new era of blogging, and share the madness that comes with 4 kids, 5 cats, 4 dogs, a hampster, and an out of control colony of ants!!! Anyway...more later as I figure my way around this! Plus I have to take the smallest them all on a walk that "I PROMISED, AND PROMISED" her. We'll see how far she gets in those glass slippers she is insisting on wearing!