Friday, August 29, 2008

We Shall See.... the gluten free chocolate cake, vanilla icing, 40 lbs. of M&M's actually TASTES tomorrow at Janey's party. But for now it LOOKS pretty darn good!!!!

Yippee...for ME!

Look what came in the mail.....lots o' Gluten Free goodies!! After much intense research ( I asked another mom with Celiac) I found a company that has good tasting stuff. Because, believe you me, A LOT of it tastes like mulch. So I stocked up a little, and now I can have a hamburger on a ROLL. Or a sandwich on BREAD. Plus I got some other stuff to try. And at Janey's birthday party this weekend she is having a gluten free cake (one of her friends has Celiac, too). So, I keep on trekking through this thing, but at least now I can have my cake and eat it too!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So proud to be Proficient!!

Well, my kids just got their MSA scores and they are at the very least getting a proficient education. My dream come true. If you have kids, you too have received your child's score. This test is nick named Maryland State Assessment because the creators, Many Stupid Asses, are very humble. This is a very important test for our budding young children. So important that this is basically the focus of, say, August through May. It is also the source of many nightmares, weekend homework, and stomach medicine. For the CHILDREN.

There are two parts: Math and Reading. Math is the tricky one. The importance of knowing your addition, subtraction, and multiplication tables is NO LONGER NEEDED!!! I know....unbelievable!! Say the problem is 1+1. In years past you would simply answer: 2. Well you are WRONG. You now have to EXPLAIN how you got the answer. "Uh, I memorized it" is also the wrong answer. I don't really even know how in the hell you are supposed to answer, but it involves a sentence. And punctuation. Because THAT is the key part of math.

Reading is even better! The children are taught to write a BCR on whatever material they have read. Someone said it BCR stood for Brief Constructed Response, but I looked it up and the correct definition is Buncho' Crap, Really. For your BCR you need three examples from the text to support your answer. Soooo....any other time when just one answer might do, you now have to come up with THREE. This is an example of some of Julian's finer work. Question: "Do you like ice cream?" Answer 1. I like it because it tastes good. 2. I like it because it is fun to eat 3. I like it because it is fun that it tastes good. Score: 0 out of 3.

The long winded point of this story is that these stupid tests are ruining the ability for our children to just ANSWER THE QUESTION. They are so used to having to add a million details (however small) to arrive at the right answer. Question:" How was your day at school?" (The correct answer is: Good, Ok, or Bad). NOT "Well, I ride blue bus. Enter through the doors.Walk up the stairs to my class. I have a new teacher. I hang up my backpack, and blah, blah blah." Ten hours later, and a boiling down results in "Really Good! I have a new homeroom teacher." Ahhh, the joys of standardized tests. Can't wait for another round!!

One of my favorite MSA sheets from Julian last year was titled "MSA Activity- Feelings and Self-Control". This was the question: " A third grade boy feels angry because someone knocked his lunch tray out of his hands, dumping food all over the floor. Explain how the boy could deal with this unpleasant emotion in a healthy way. Support your answer with information from the text."

This was Julian's answer......"He could tell a teacher, or get revenge." Whoops. Didn't do so good on THAT one!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Kid On The Block!!

I came home from field hockey today just as Teddy and his friends were coming up the stairs to leave for a pool party. I said hello to Teddy, his friend Toreno, and Zach, and I nodded hello to his other friend who I had never met. I AM A BAD MOM......It was TUCKER with his new haircut!!!! I didn't even recognise him. In my defense see the photos. He lost A LOT of hair!!! His choice. I STILL can't believe it is him. Although if I had those curls they'd never be cut!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gone Baby Gone....

Steve's Toad Fish
This is how lazy people fish:
Tucker's bluefish
Finally....Julian caught some fish!!!
Janey and the Fishing QUEEN!!
...Gone....Are the days of our (somewhat) easy schedule. The boys started high school football last Saturday, and have had practice every day (sometimes twice a day!!) since. Some mornings Teddy had to be at school at 5:15....A.M!!! Between football, field hockey, and back to school errands and shopping-our summer was over long before Monday morning rolls around!! We did however get one last FFD ( Family Fun Day) in last Sunday....and for ONCE it was not a FORCED Family Fun Day! We took the boat out for a day of fishing and swimming. It was a beautiful day....not too rough, not hot at all. Just right! We ended up fishing under the bay bridge. Our first fishing spot was BAD. But then someone with more luck suggested the bridge (sorry Honey...your spot stunk!!) Every now and then the fishing gods smile on me and when they do it is glorious. Tucker and Teddy caught about a dozen each. Steve caught..maybe six. Julian FINALLY caught three right before we left. I am sure all of her stomping and whining drew these fish to the surface to make her hush! Janey blissfully slept through most of this (she doesn't nap anywhere except on the boat!)....and Me, you ask?? I caught forty. 40. Four. Zero. It was kind of absurd. And it's not like I could HELP gloating!!! Just a little, since I am usually the one who can't do anything right, and knows nothing. Ha Ha, bad little fisher-kids. I won!! So there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

PS- kids too tired to talk back!!!

This is Tucker after the first day of footballl practice!!!

The sweet smell of summer close I can smell it! The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, new shoes, pink erasers, hundreds of dollars in cash (well I can't smell THAT anymore because it is now in the hands of WalMart, Target, and Dick's Sporting goods!!) The smell of the dark mornings driving to football practice, and the smelly, sweaty boys home in the evening. That my friends is the SWEET SMELL OF FREEDOM!!! To all my sad, sorrowful friends lamenting that summer is almost over: to all my friends tearful at the sight of a school bus: to you I say....grab a tissue and hush up. And, by the way, I don't know if I quite believe you!! Grocery shopping alone, a trip to the grown-up section of the book store, trying on clothes without someone pointing out your spare tire(s), or commenting on your "big boobies". Driving in the car in silence. Eating at least one meal a day from start to finish uninterrupted. Finally cleaning out rooms and playrooms and THROWING ALL THE CRAPPY TOYS AWAY. Going to the bathroom ALONE. Dry your tears. There are about 500 four day weekends even before Christmas break. Live a little!! To all my teacher friends: thank you for making our world a better, brighter place. Sorry your summer is over. Don't worry.....I bought my 3 pack of tissues. You can have one!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Sorta Fairy Tale...

Once upon a time there was a kind, beautiful, and skinny (it's MY story and I'll lie if I want to!) girl. She lived in a tiny house with all her kids and wildlife. It was a cozy life. Luckily enough for the girl, one day a kind, beautiful fairy moved in next door. She was wonderful. The little fairies were wonderful. They painted the old ugly fairy house beautiful colors, put in an amazing garden, and filled it with happy little gnomes. The Beautiful Fairy didn't even mind when Bob-the-cat-with-fur knocked said gnomies on their butts. Ahhh...a peaceful life.
Until, that is, the mean old witch moved in on the other side of the girl. A more evil witch can not be found. This witch has been known to BEAT people up. (Really) She was very mean to the girl, and even threatened her children. (Again, really.) Ask the B.F (Beautiful Fairy) if you don't believe me. Although this IS a fictional story (for my own safety). One day the girl hears a ton of commotion out front. People yelling and dogs gone crazy. When she looks out her window she sees a million police cars INCLUDING the K-9 unit (yes, with the dog OUT!!) in her driveway!!! They are all out there to pay a visit to the mean witch. (Who of course denied her son had stolen $20,000 from the guy who had shown up at her house with a gun demanding it back.) even evil witches are apt to do, she had one kind act up her sleeve. Long ago she planted a beautiful butterfly bush. It grew and grew, and so many butterflies flock to it. The girl wanted to show all her friends these butterflies, so she risked life and limb climbing up her fence to shoot these photos in the witches yard. Do NOT think for a second that the fear of actually BEING shot was far from her mind!!! are some. As well as the ruckus pics....keep in mind, there were many other police cars on the street IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE as well as IN MY DRIVEWAY. It only took the girl a few hours to return all the calls she got!!!! And, yes...the girl is so smart to always have her camera handy!!
The End

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

Blah. Today we had to put our dog, Leo, to sleep. To say it was awful is such an understatement. We have had Leo for ten years. Steve and I always told the boys they could get a dog "when we got a house"....kind of like you would say "Yes, you can ride a motorcycle when you are older." The first minute of the first morning in our new house, Tucker rolled over, opened his eyes, and said, "Can we get a dog now??" So we did. He was a Lab/English Setter mix with a love of sleeping on the sofa, and eating anything with fiber-fill. Stuffed animals, pillows, you name it! He was a huge spaz, and loved to chase AIRPLANES. He wore a path through our yard trying in vain to get one! He was always good with the kids, even when they were not so gentle. "Let's ride Leo" is something they all have uttered, and attempted at on time or another. He was a big goof-ball, and fit right in with this crazy house.

He had had some seizures a few months ago, and the medication didn't seem to do anything but make him into a zombie. If you know Leo, a zombie he is not. I took him off the meds, and against all things told to us, he was fine. Until yesterday. He started up with the seizures again, and they just didn't stop. When he wasn't seizing he was pacing, getting more and more disoriented. Whenever he would lay down, bam, another one. It was heartbreaking to watch, and he became more and more impaired with each hour. He was catatonic by the time we carried him into the vet. Of course, as SOON as Teddy and I got him there he STOOD up and WALKED into the vet. We were both freaked out by reincarnated dog. As the vet was examining him he had another huge seizure, and the small amount of sedative she gave him to get him out of it nearly killed him (as Steve and the others we on there way TO the vet). We were all able to say goodbye, and it was just so sad. Janey was the the saddest part, and the part that got us through. As I was explaining to her that Leo was very sick and was going to die she said,"But he CAN'T die. I LOVE him." Sob. I then explained he had to go to heaven to get better, to which she replied, "Can't we just take him home in a bag?" Uh..... Later tonight as I was giving her a bath the house just feels empty. Not quite right. Like someone came in and stole something. She looked up at me and said, ' I miss Leo and I am very sad, Mama. Are you? Is Julian?" I told her we were all sad, but that Leo was happy now in heaven. She pondered this and said," I think there's hair in my butt." I guess laughter is the best medicine. It has helped get through this day. We shall see what tomorrow brings. Goodbye to our Leo. may Heaven be full of throw pillows, stuffed animals, and low flying aircraft.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

For the love of Lipgloss

Okay....many of you may already know this, but some may not (this is also assuming that more than 3 people read this blog!!) but I am not a girl-y girl. And I am pretty modest too. It is a miracle I gave birth not once but four times because you have to be kind of naked in front of strangers for that. Or it helps. Unless you WANT to be that urban legend woman who gave birth in her pants leg. So, somehow I have manage to give birth to some lip gloss loving, high heel wearing, MULTIPLE purse owning, accessorizing divas. Julian loves lip gloss sooooo much it has once driven her to steal some from her best friend. Oh, and then when she was caught, she said the tooth fairy brought it for her!! She must have thought THAT was a solid argument. Needless to say, the tooth fairy and I go way back. I don't even own ONE lipstick (unless Blistex counts) and these gals can start a make-over business!! As for high heels: Me: none. Julian and Janey: so, so, many. I have two dresses. One for Spring and Summer, one for Fall and Winter. They have three dressers and a full size closet. I don't get it! The best part of it all is Janey new affinity for....well.....playboy posing is what first comes to mind. Or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. I can't even take a picture without the hands-on-hips-shake-your-booty pose. She must be sneaking down in the night to watch some Hugh Hefner how-to documentary, cuz I am just not seeing how she is getting it from Little Bear and Max and Ruby. I guess i should go now. I need to start building my locked tower room.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I think I have the post-vacation blahs. I just realized we have only been back for a week. It feels like ten, so I am glad I am not as unproductive as I feel. I was trying to figure out what to write about because I know you are all waiting with on pins and needles to hear my words of wit and wisdom! I know you probably don't want to hear about my insane pile of laundry, mostly sheets, (note to self: college aged house-sitter is a BAD idea.) The boys would swear everyone wants to hear about our road trip to Virginia to see Poison in concert (I am so embarrassed just to type that!). I didn't actually go in...I saw Mama Mia instead (moving to Greece, by the way). I know you don't want to hear that I had to go to a funeral for an old friend who was killed in a car accident this week. That is just another sad story. So, as I sit and ponder a wet, wet thing keeps stepping on the keys. And, I thought, in the absence of anything insightful, I will introduce you to one of our (many) pets. I am saving the rest for other days my life is soooo boring!! We really do have a lot of animals. Sometimes they all end up in the same place at the same time, and it is like being at the petting zoo. About eight years ago our cat Anna had kittens. Out of the litter Tucker kept A.j and Teddy kept Pumpkin (later to be shortened by one of the girls to Mumpa). Teddy and Pumpkin had an unnatural connection. The cat would come when he called, slept with him every night, and really, to be honest, barely tolerated the rest of us. Steve and I used to prepare for when the cat would die.We knew it would be BAD. We were thankful that cats live long lives because surely Teddy would be in college and it might be easier. THIS is how attached they were. Last Thanksgiving I found a tumor on Mumpa, and right after New Years he died. Teddy was beyond devastated. After a month or so I secretly called our vet to see if she knew of any babies because Teddy was just so, so , so sad. She had one kitty she had raised since he was abandoned at 2 weeks of age. He had a sister, but she died. Dr. Siegel was very firm, and would not let ME get the cat. TEDDY had to approve. It was a match made in heaven. This cat needed Teddy as much as he needed a kitty. We brought him home and he named him Slash after the guitarist from Guns N Roses (who is half black, half white, half Christian, and half Jewish. We figure our vet was his "birth' Mom!) He is as different from Mumpa as can be...and he is so STRANGE!!! He loves water! He climbs in the sink, the toilet, the bathtub. He runs through the hose as I am watering. He is always wet! He also loves Steve. He follows him around like a dog, and as soon as Steve sits...plop! Slash is in his lap. Steve does not really even like animals. The cat is the strangest when it comes to food. He LOVES asparagus ( see the picture if you don't believe me!!) and broccoli!! He will also shamelessly steal ANYTHING from your plate. I finally put a bell collar on him so the humans will know when he is around! He is a tolerant kitty, and I will often see Janey running through the house, and it takes me a minute to realize she is lugging Slash around!! Slash will also go on the trampoline with the kids. This is probably where he learned his favorite trick....he stands on the top of the sofa, and LEAPS on you when you least expect it. Always a good way to wake up from a nap! So, that is Slash. Who as we speak is laying in the sink!!!!