Friday, May 28, 2010


Yesterday was Dylan's last day of his first year of preschool.  We got a paper saying to come to a "Down On The Farm" party.  Since I'm pretty sure I've never been to a "Down On The Farm" party before, I wasn't sure what to expect, and I knew I had little hopes of getting more information out of the teachers.

Turns out the other parents, the kids, and even the teachers also didn't know what was going on (by the looks of it).  It was very unorganized, with everyone standing around, looking at each other for some kind of direction.  The "program" consisted of the kids sitting in a circle, with some of the parents, singing along to songs played on a very loud speaker.  We certainly couldn't hear any of the kids singing, and it was obvious that they weren't sure what to do.  During one entire song, Dylan was the only kid in his class standing to sing!  Ha!

As I was sitting with Dylan in the circle, I was getting uncomfortable.  "Why is this woman staring at me?!", I kept thinking.  Then, I would think, "You are so paranoid.  She isn't staring at you.  She's probably looking at someone behind you".  But, she really did seem to be staring at me.  I checked my fly, my shirt for stains, and my nose for boogers - nothing.

My favorite part of the "program" had to be my kid doing the chicken dance.  Where does he get that rhythm?

After the "program" we all got to eat picnic food in a big room with tables set up - hot dogs, watermelon, carrots, cookies, lemonade.  My parents were leading the way to a table, and who did they decide to sit by?  Did you guess staring lady?  Yep!  The first thing she said to me when I sat down was, "My daughter talks about Dylan all the time".  "Really?", I asked, quite perplexed.  Dylan never talked about any of the girls at school.  He didn't even seem to know most of their names.  "Oh, yea!", she answered, laughing.  "She told me he is her boyfriend!  I told one of the other moms here about it, and she started laughing, saying "Well, don't tell my daughter that, because she says he is her boyfriend!""  Who knew? Certainly not Dylan!  His main concern was "How many cookies can I eat?"  And for now, that is exactly the way I like it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paint With Me - Fences

This week's theme for Paint With Me was fences.  I took a picture, and played with Photoshop again.

Since I kept it so short and sweet this week, why don't you read another post?  Stay a while.  Let's catch up.  Pull up a chair, and I'll pour you a cold drink.  Let's talk... but not about politics, because I'm having a hard time teetering on top of this fence.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Man Show

Recently, we took Dylan to The International Children's Festival.  While there, we saw a show - The Zany Umbrella Circus.  Basically, it consists of one man, juggling, doing tricks, and walking on a tightrope.  I only thought it was "okay", but it certainly left an impression on Dylan.  Ever since then, you can hear, "Look at this!  Look what I can do!  Huh?  Huh?", echoing through the halls of our home.  It's the "Huh?  Huh?" that makes me laugh, as he "balances" a balloon on the end of a bat, "juggles" balls, or does his own, odd version of standing on his head.  It isn't helping that his daddy could probably start his own show.  Jim is a pretty good juggler, and he can balance stuff on his nose, head, finger, whatever.  I guess we are a family of clowns!  Dylan finds this fact delightful, of course.  Me, I'm just amused, watching the two of them practice their circus tricks.

A few weeks ago, I took Dylan to visit Doug's family.  Doug's brother is a drummer, and they just finished a music room in their basement, complete with several guitars and a drum set.  When Dylan saw the drum set his eyes got as big as saucers.  As he played, I really wasn't sure I would ever be able to get him out of that room!  Luckily, Marsha had waited until the end of our visit to show him the drums.

I wasn't extremely surprised when he told us, last week, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a SHOW!"  "Who will be in your show?", we asked.  "Just me!"  "And, what will you do for this one man show?"  "Play the drums... and sing!"

So, in the future, when the walls of my home are vibrating, and my neighbors are forming a group to complain about the loud drumming, I am blaming this guy...

and you, Marsha!  Remember, when Noah was little, and I'd buy  him things like that toy that made loud noises when you hit it off stuff, or the Spiderman glove that shot silly string all over your basement?  It's payback time, isn't it?

My plan is to get him so focused on these tricks...

he'll forget all about the drums.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Little Help?

One thing I've learned about this world of mommy bloggers, is that there is a wealth of information out there!  If I have a question, chances are that at least one of you has the answer.  Here are the three I'm throwing out into the blogosphere today...

Jim and I are hooked on way too many TV shows.  But, most of them will be ending very soon.  There are only two that I know of that we will want to watch in the summer months, so I told Jim that my goal this summer is to READ.  Books, oh, how I have missed you!  Okay, I have managed to read a few this year, but now I mean business.  I was wondering how to go about my plan.  We didn't really have the money for me to buy a stack of new books at the bookstore.  I could check out books at the library, but that meant probably reading older books, and having to remember to return them on time.  I could also borrow books from friends, but I am a defiler.  I like to have the freedom to mark up my books.  I underline things I want to remember.  I highlight great lines.  Don't even get me started on Kindle because ACK! RIDICULOUS!

Then, I hit the jackpot!  The library was having a used book sale.  I scored this pile for $9.50!  (Squeal!)

Oh, I did say something about a question, didn't I?  The question is...

1.  Has anyone read any of these?  Please NO SPOILERS or I will have to hurt you, but could you just tell me, a. Awesome book - read that one first, or b. Don't bother unless you enjoy wasting hours of your life.
If you can't see those, here's the list...

-Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
-All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Janelle Brown
-Breath, Eyes, Memory, Danticat
-Every Last Cuckoo, Kate Maloy
-Can You Keep A Secret?, Sophie Kinsella
-Firefly Lane, Kristin Hannah
-Swapping Lives, Jane Green
-The Ten-Year Nap, Meg Wolitzer
-The Year Of Fog, Michelle Richmond
-Remember Me?, Sophie Kinsella

2.  We went to the birthday party of Dylan's best buddy yesterday.  He turned three.  There were five other three year olds there.  Here's the thing, none of them really played with each other that much.  They were all in the same space, but playing separately, for the most part.  Those of you with kids three or older, do they suddenly hit four and become more social, because I taught four year olds and I remember them playing together more?

3.  I went to get my hair done last weekend.  Five minutes before I left, I realized I had only shaved ONE leg.  I could grate cheese with the other one.  I'm not the only person who has done this, right?  RIGHT?!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paint With Me - Dandelions

I have to multi-task everything lately, so last week and this week, I took photos for the Paint With Me challenge, on a walk.  I've been trying to get more exercise AND be more creative, so it works.

Jim gave me a quick refresher course in Photoshop, and these were the result...

I wrote this post about my mom a while back, which is what the "See Flowers, Not Weeds" refers to.

I have to thank Nicole for introducing me to the font.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An Anniversary Date

Jim and I celebrated our 8th anniversary recently.  My parents were going to watch Dylan for the whole day on Saturday, and it had been quite a while since we had a "date".  I might have gone a bit overboard in my planning.  I tried to cram way too much into one day!

I still say my plan would have gone perfectly, if we hadn't tried to stuff a few "errands" into our day.  Somehow, that always happens, right?  First, we went to order 30 trees for our backyard (more on that another day).  Then, since we were right by a store I've been needing to stop at for vitamins, we made a "quick" stop there, which ended up not so quick, since we ended up talking to someone about the children's medicine recall.  Then, we stopped at Panera Bread for lunch, (no, not THAT ONE.  We aren't brave enough to show our faces there yet).  Then, we went to Phipps Conservatory to see the flower show.

Even though I am not into scary stuff (movies, haunted houses, etc), when I heard they were going to have gargoyles at Phipps, I was excited.  What a perfect contrast, the "ugly" gargoyles amidst the "pretty" flowers.  A perfect Ugly/Pretty photo shoot.  If you watch America's Next Top Model, you know they had an Ugly/Pretty shoot a couple weeks ago.  I don't really think gargoyles are ugly.  Some are creepy, but some are cute... to me, anyway.  I took tons of pictures, but here are some of my favorite

Isn't that last little guy cute?  After the flower show, we went to Ikea, where SOMEONE has the tendency to go a little bit crazy and run around like a kid in a candy store, going "Ooooh! And I want that!  And that, too!"  We had told my parents we would be home by 7:00, and midway through our shopping trip, I was horrified to look at my watch and see that it was already 5:45, and we still hadn't eaten dinner!  (That was supposed to be a part of the date).  We only had time to buy cups for Dylan, a jewelry hook for me, and a rope for Jim.  He said, "Don't worry, it's not to hang myself!", which for some reason, made me crack up.  I love that guy!  Eight years later.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My First Negative Comment

If you think a bragging mom is obnoxious, you might want to skip this post.  No?  Still here?  Okay, I warned you.

I like to think that I am a fairly confident person.  I doubt my abilities in many areas, (cooking, sewing, fashion, art, etc), but there is one thing I don't doubt.  While I sometimes doubt my decisions, I don't doubt that I am a good mother.  Maybe it's obnoxious to say that.  The trend these days seems to be for everyone to moan and groan about what a horrible job they are doing as a mom, to talk about all the mistakes they are making.  I know I have already made mistakes, and I know I will make many more, but I feel good about the choices I make, because I know they are all made with love, and in Dylan's best interest.

So, this past week, when I got a negative comment on this blog, saying I'm not cut out to be a mother, it didn't phase me.  Truth be told, I was a little excited.  See, I've been blogging a long time, and until then, I NEVER got a negative comment.  All the popular bloggers at some point had talked about negative commenters, and I felt a little left out.  (Now my inbox is going to be inundated with hate mail, isn't it?!)

Some would say that I am a pretty strict mom.  I don't allow Dylan to eat a lot of treats, and I don't let him watch a lot of TV.  Each day, he gets to watch one DVD that is an hour or less or one show on PBS.  Why PBS?  No commercials.  I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do.  I am just explaining what I do.  I have worked with a lot of kids who watched a lot of TV and I saw how materialistic it made them.  They had a long list of "wants" and I didn't want my kid to be like that.  I put up with comments and teasing from certain family members about this rule, believe me.

One day this week we took Dylan to Kohl's, because we are trying to decide whether or not to buy a gazebo on sale.  While walking around, Jim suddenly saw a stuffed animal he wanted to buy for Dylan.  It was the dinosaur in Toy Story.  Jim liked it, and he thought Dylan would like it.  Dylan held it the whole time we were in the store, but when we got in line to buy it, he said, "I don't want to BUY it!"  Jim said, "You don't want it?", and Dylan replied, "No, I don't NEED it.  I already have a dinosaur at home".

I am telling you, I think I emitted a blinding ray of light as we walked out of that store, because I was just beaming with pride.  A three year old who turns down a toy?!  Send all the negative comments you like. I must be doing SOMETHING right.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


When I saw what the theme was for Paint With Me Thursday this week, Circles, I was reminded of something I've been wanting to do with Dylan for a while now.  When I told him we were going on a "Circle Walk" after his nap, he ran upstairs and jumped in bed!  You would have thought chocolate chip cookies were involved.

The idea was for both of us to take pictures on the walk, but his camera battery needed recharged, and telling my kid to "Wait", or "Be patient", is like telling the sun not to shine.   So, I took the pictures.  He ran ahead of me, shouting loud enough for all the neighbors to hear, "I FOUND ONE!!"  He insisted on me taking a shot of every.stinkin'  After getting a few odd neighborly looks, as I took pictures of people's tires, or wreaths on doors, a few rules had to be established.  I couldn't believe how many circles there were in our little neck of the woods!

The circle theme also reminded me of something I've been wanting to do with the little girl at work.  There is no way I would attempt this particular craft with Dylan at this age, but I figured at almost 5, she could handle it.  

We made Bubble Prints.  Have you ever tried it?  Basically all you need is a small bowl, some dishwashing detergent, some food coloring, a few straws, and some white paper.  If you are doing it in another person's house, like I was, you'll want to make sure you put down lots of newspaper, or towels, or SOMETHING before you get started.  

Put some detergent in the bowl.  Add some food coloring, then fill the bowl about half way with water.  Put your straw in and blow gently, until some bubbles form on the top of the bowl.  Then lay your paper on top to make the prints.  It is the BLOW GENTLY part that she had issues with, causing me to regret not putting down the newspaper initially.  Trust me, this is just fun!  Or, as she said, looking up at me adoringly, "This is one of your best crafts ever!"

Here's one more craft with circles.  This is what Dylan made his grandmas for Mother's Day, 
(with Mommy's help)...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Story


In March of 2000, I stumbled onto a black and white photo of a cute, confident looking artist online.  "Is your name really Raphael?", I asked, along with two other questions that had you intrigued.  You emailed back, answering my questions, and as I read what you had written, I smiled.  "I read your profile, and I must say, it was good reading.  Very endearing.  We have similar hopes and dreams, plans and schemes... only you're much cuter".  That is how our love story began.

On May 10, 2002, we stood in a gazebo, overlooking the ocean, as the adorable Jamaican minister pronounced us husband and wife.  "James and Jen-EE-fer"...Forever.  We had no idea what the future held, but we were ready to start the next chapter.

Yes, the past eight years have brought hardships.  A house with loser renters, the deaths of our grandmothers and Jack, a failed business, trying to get pregnant for two long years, infertility tests and procedures, financial struggles and a burgulary.

But, the past eight years have brought so much joy.  Vacations, parties, times spent with family and friends, a new house, and the birth of Dylan.  The hardships are big, and they seem so significant at the time, but really, it's the little everyday joyful moments that make this love story what it is.  The jokes, the laughs, the stories.  The homemade cards, the ten minute back massage swaps, holding hands while we watch TV, laughing at something funny Dylan said, arguing about the dishes or who's going to pack the bag, telling each other our best and hardest things.  That's what makes our love story special.  That's what makes it... ours.  I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds.

Happy Anniversary!
I Love You Big Time,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!

Dear Lord,  It's such a hectic day, 
With little time to stop and pray 
For life's been anything but calm 
Since You called on me to be a mom  
Running errands, matching socks 
Building dreams with building blocks 
Cooking, cleaning, and finding shoes 
And other stuff that children lose 
Fitting lids on bottled bugs 
Wiping tears and giving hugs 
A stack of last weeks mail to read 
So where's the quiet time I need? 
Yet when I steal a minute, Lord 
Just at the sink or ironing board 
To ask the blessings of Your grace 
I see then, in my small one's face 
That you have blessed me 
All the while 
And I stop to kiss 
That precious smile.  
To All the Mother's reading this,  
may you enjoy this very special day.

(I got this in an email, and thought I would share it with all of you).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Black And White Photos

This week's Paint With Me Thursday theme, over at Simply Feather's blog, was Black and White.  With Mother's Day and my Anniversary coming up, along with a busy, busy week, I didn't have much time to experiment.  I used my camera at the playground.

(The first shot is what he looked like while playing at the playground.  This shot is what he looked like when I said we had to go home!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Basically, I'm A Clown

Ever since Dylan was born (okay, I've worked with kids before that, so it might have been longer), I have found that I'll do just about anything to make him smile or laugh.  What can I say?  I just love that sound!  Ever since he could laugh, he's been doing it loudly and often.  I wish everyone thought I was as funny as Dylan seems to.

One thing I do to make him laugh is to make up silly words to songs.  Here's a few examples...
(Yankee Doodle)
Dylan Doodle went to town, riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni...
(It's just fun to say "Dylan Doodle", and it always made him smile).

(This is his favorite lately).
Old McMommy had a house, E-I-E-I-O,
And in that house, she had a Dylan EIEIO
With a talk talk here, and a talk, talk there,
Here a talk, there a talk, everywhere a talk talk...

Old McMommy had a house, EIEIO,
And in that house, she had a "Daddy", EIEIO
With a drill drill here, and a hammer hammer there,
and a

Old McMommy had a "Puppy",
With a "Where's Puppy?" here, and a "Where's Puppy?" there..

Old McMommy had some toys,
Toys here and Toys there, Toys here there and everywhere...

(This is probably my favorite... sung to the Oscar Mayer song...)
My buddy has a first name, it's D-Y-L-A-N
My buddy has a second name it's (Blah, blah, blah, never you mind)
I love to hug him every day, and if you ask me why I'll say,
Cuz Dylan (Blah, Blah) has a way of bringing joy to every day.

Like I said, I just enjoy being silly and making him laugh.  One night at dinner, Jim was running late, and I sat in the chair he usually sits in.  Dylan said, "You're Daddy!"  I chanted...
"Hi!  I'm Daddy!  I work and work and work all day!  I never get to play!
And this is what I have to say - BOOOOO!"  When "Daddy" got home, the chant made him laugh, too.

Having kids is such a great excuse to be silly.  They love it, and laughter is infectious after all.  What do you do to be silly with your kids?  Please share.

Monday, May 3, 2010


On Saturday's Jim gets up with Dylan and I sleep in.  Sundays we switch.  When I finally came down on Saturday, I could tell within about five minutes that something was wrong with Dylan.  I don't know how Jim missed it.  There was one very big tip-off - he wasn't talking.  My kid talks from the second he wakes up, pretty much until the second he falls asleep at night.  But, Saturday, my motor mouth was just sitting there, staring into space, silent.  He told me his belly and his throat hurt.

He asked to take a nap at 10:30, and then I was sure he was sick.  He slept for three hours!  Even though he had a temperature of 100.9, he seemed okay after the nap.  He was playing catch with Jim and had more energy, so after a dose of Tylenol, we decided to go ahead with our plan to go out to eat for dinner.

We went to Applebees first, but the line was ridiculous.  Panera Bread was right next door, so even though Jim never wants to go there, he gave in.  I was holding Dylan's hand, giving my order, when I felt something on my shoes.  Dylan threw up, right on the counter and floor, where everyone stands to give their order.  Boy, there is nothing like puke to make a room come to a complete stand still.  All the teenage girl workers stood frozen, their noses scrunched up in disgust, looking around as if some magical puke fairy would appear and clean it all up, leaving their freshly manicured nails unscathed.  One girl went to get a rag, looked at it, looked at me, and asked if I would clean it up.  "Just give it to me!", I snarled.  Suddenly one of the teenage girls came around the corner with a bucket and mop, smiling at me.  Smiling!  "I'll take care of it!", she told me, still smiling in her sweet way.  The magical puke fairy!  I loved her.

Jim and Dylan came out of the bathroom, and we left, the looks of disgust and pity following us out.  Luckily for Jim, we won't be gracing Panera Bread with our prescence for a while.  Dylan said, "But, where are we gonna eat?", and then fell asleep five minutes later, as we drove down the road.  That evening, he had a temperature of 102.9.  Even though the whole day, he barely spoke, while we were getting him ready for bed, he suddenly said, "But, we didn't do our best things and hardest things!"

Of course, Jim and I had matching hardest things - Dylan being sick.  Is there anything worse than your child being sick?  You feel so helpless, powerless to make the pain go away.  When it was Dylan's turn and he said, "I don't know if I have a best thing today", I almost cried.  A few seconds later when he said his best thing was,  "When Mommy rubbed my belly and my back", I almost cried again.

On Sunday he was back to his normal self.  No temperature, his appetite back (more or less), and his happy, talkative personality returned.  I couldn't stop smiling at him, pulling him close for a hug, and kissing his cheek.  I was loving the never ending stream of chatter, that just days before was grating on my last nerve.  I was so relieved he wasn't sick anymore.  Every time he is sick, I think of the parents whose children are Sick, with a capital S.  I think of how helpless they must feel.  How powerless to make the pain go away.
I think of how sad it is that it often takes a bad day to truly appreciate the good ones.