Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Lights!

When I was a kid we had a sorta family tradition of riding around the island looking at Christmas lights.  It was never anything formal and not on any certain nights during the holiday season, it was just one of those "Can we go for a ride and see the Christmas lights, pleeeeeeeeeease???" things.  But I really enjoyed it.  Driving around and looking at the lights, counting how many houses we saw, marveling at the time and effort put into decorations.

After we moved off the island when I was in middle school, we didn't do much driving around to look at the lights. 

But now I've got Ben.  In Ben's opinion, Christmas lights are about the best thing on the planet.  Driving home from anywhere he's got his eyes out the window looking for Christmas lights.  And I get to hear things like "Mom, look at the purple lights!" and "Mom, look it's a 'nowman!" and "Mom, look at those pretty lights!" from the backseat.  It's pretty awesome.  I'm really glad he enjoys it, and I'm hoping we can make a few trips out this holiday season just to drive around a look at lights.  Perhaps we can have our own little sorta tradition.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

As always, I am thankful for my family.  Every last one of them! 

We made a lot of changes this year in our family and it seems things have really been working out for us!  I made the decision to go back to school, which prompted an amazing opportunity to start working part-time in the new career field I wanted to take classes in.  And while it's a bit overwhelming at times, and it means not spending as much time with Ben as I had been, I think having the extra income has really made a difference and I know I'm enjoying using my brain again both at work and at school.

We also made the decision to put Ben in daycare this year.  I hate that I can't spend every minute of every day with him, but the changes in him have been amazing to watch this year.  His vocabulary has just exploded and watching him play and communicate with other kids has been awesome.  It's also great to see him show concern and compassion for his friends at daycare.  I'm so glad that he's getting this experience a few days a week in addition to the days each week he stays home with me.

I'm thankful too that my husband was finally given some of the recognition and compensation he deserves at his job this year.  He's worked for a long time at his job and enjoys what he does, and while he struggled for a time over whether or not to find something new, I'm glad that things have worked out for him so he feels comfortable staying there.

We've also had some remarkable changes with the big boys this year too.  Marcus has made a huge turn around in his attitude towards school and life since last year and I am so happy!  His grade are better, his attitude is better and he's even challenging himself with college classes.  And while Jake is still taking his time figuring out this "grown-up" thing, he did make the decision to move out on his own and is learning how go about becoming an independent adult.

So yes, it's been a year of changes, and it seems all of them have been for the best.  And I am so thankful for that. 

And, of course, I am thankful to be a mommy.  Without question, the most amazing thing I have ever and will ever do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just Say No to Scurvy

Jake came home today for Thanksgiving Break.  What, exactly, he's taking a break from, I'm not really sure, but he's here, he's staying to eat turkey, and that sounds good to me.

He actually just came home the weekend before last for a quick hello.  He had a friend drop him off while we were grocery shopping and, being responsible parents, we offered to buy him some groceries to take home with him.

It was going fine, we picked up a pack of macaroni and cheese, some snacks and pasta, nothing elaborate.  Then we walked through the taco aisle. 

Me: "Would you like some taco stuff?"
Jake: "Ummm, yeah, I think we're out of taco stuff.  That's what we cook when we eat real food."

Oh dear. 

If he's living in a house where tacos equate home cooking we have a bit of a problem.  Don and I both shook our heads and beelined it to the fruits and veggies.  We sent him home with a bag of apples, fruit cups, baby carrots and salad mix.  We gave him a bag of potatoes (who knows if he will figure those out) and a box of minute rice.  It wasn't an amazing selection of food, but who knows when he last ate a vegetable.  Argh!!!

I swear I've tried to teach them both to cook!  I guess I've still got some work to do....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just Another Month

Every month I struggle with the fact that I'm not going to have another baby.  It's a struggle to watch friends and family happily expand their families while I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm not.  But as difficult as it is I have a bit of a confession:

As cute as this was:

I would take this any day:

 Ben was a hard baby, and I remember it vividly.  As much as I would love to feel more baby kicks, and smell more baby smell and snuggle a little mini-me, I adore the little kid that I have now so much more.  He's smart, and funny, and quick to learn.  He's polite and kind and loving, and I don't think I could ask for much more from a little kid.
So as much as I might struggle with the idea of not having another baby, I'm very, very content with my amazing little guy!
The black and white photo is by my cousin, Sierra Kristen Photography...the other is obviously by me.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Open Letter to a Customer

Dear Sir-or-Madam,

Might I start by saying, I'm a very positive person.  I'm very kind, and as I'm sure many people would tell you, I always seek out the best in people and believe that people are generally kind when given a chance.

But you sir-or-madam, are a douchebag.  (And no, this is not a term I use often or lightly!)

When you failed to leave me a tip last week after pouring you a beer, I chose to overlook it.  Sure I was annoyed, offended, and when I saw you coming to one of my tables tonight, I grimaced; but I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps you'd had a bad day?  Perhaps you are merely showing your age and had moment of forgetfulness last week.

After tonight I am fairly certain that you are just an ass.

After occupying one of my tables with your "buddies" for FOUR hours, during my dinner rush, my ONLY rush, might I add, it was really all I could do not to come back and stuff the $2.50 "tip" you so generously left me, down your shirt. 

Yes, $2.50.

A bit of advice sir-or-madam, should you find yourself in a similar situation in a restaurant with a server not as pleasant as myself, when your bill comes to $47.50, and you hand him or her $50.00 and say "Keep the change," you might want to be prepared for a pitcher of ice dumped on top of your head, or perhaps a fist fight in the parking lot.

I would have liked to take your change back to you, tell you that you obviously need the money more than I do, just to see what you would say, but I'm fairly certain you would have just pocketed it, not getting my point, not learning a lesson.  I would have liked to have explained to you that while yes, I am a waitress in a bar, I am NOT actually desperate for your $2.50.  I'm married.  We have two incomes.  I have a college degree.  I am working on a second college degree.  I am waitressing so I can be home during the day with my amazing son, and because I enjoy it.

Except waiting on you.  I do not enjoy that.

Someday, sir-or-madam, I hope you have that server that dumps a pitcher of ice on your head when you leave a 5% tip on a busy Friday night.  Because despite wanting to do that to you, the next time you come in I will most likely greet you with a smile, bring you your food and drinks and be equally as attentive a server to you as I am to all my other customers.  Why?  Because you don't actually matter to me.  And neither does your $2.50.



**I actually wrote this a few months ago.  I don't think any of the customers from the bar read my blog, but just in case, I thought I would give it some time for anonymity's sake.**

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Despite being an overall productive day, yesterday was also one of "those" days where it seemed every time I turned around disaster was striking!

I got up and made a batch of ricotta scones for breakfast.  I was almost out of cinnamon so I ended up making them "chai spiced" with a little ginger, cardamom and vanilla.  They were very yummy.  Unfortunately, I left them on the stove to cool and completely forgot about them until I was about half way through my shower.  Which, coincidentally, was roughly the same time that the dog remembered I made a batch of scones and left them on the stove.  When I finally ran downstairs to check, Max was mid-bite and there was only one left on the pan.  Bummer.

Later in the morning I sat down to work on homework.  I was able to get all of my assignments finished for next week and even wrote my speech due next Saturday.  Success!  Until I walked away from the computer for a minute to fold laundry and the cat took a flying leap onto the computer table knocking my tea all across the laptop keyboard.

I quickly grabbed the laptop and shut it down and dumped all the tea off the keyboard (it's never a fun sight to see water pouring out of your computer).  I dried it with a towel as best I could and then went straight to the bathroom where I gently used my hair dryer to dry the keys.  (FYI: After I did this Don googled what to do when you get water on your're not supposed to blow dry it...oops.)  We let it sit overnight to finish air drying and (fortunately) it appears to be working fine today.  The keys are a bit sticky (good thing it was tea not soda!) but it seems to be functioning fine, which is both a blessing and a curse.  It's good that we don't have to shell out money for a new laptop right now...but I HATE this laptop with a passion and would have loved the excuse to buy a new one!

Needless to say, I'm glad today was a bit of an improvement.  No major catastrophes...aside from a two year old that keeps "forgetting" to pee on the potty.  Unfortunately I'm back to work tomorrow, long weekends I guess aren't in the cards for me anytime soon.  Oh well, at least at work I won't have to deal with pee!  Hopefully...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Fun!


I took Ben to the Peek-a-Boo Center in Westbrook today.  Which was pretty kind of me since he decided to wake me up at 5:30 this morning because he "took two napses" and was "done napping."  Which makes even less sense at 5:30 in the morning than it does right now, trust me.  I had been planning on taking him all week since the rest of his daycare was going there today for a field trip, so it worked out well.  We got there at 9:30, his friends showed up around 10 and he played with them, with me, and by himself until about 12:30.

If you have little kids and haven't been there, you really should consider checking it out for a few hours.  It's clean, it's big, and there are TONS of toys, none of which resemble a Chuck E Cheese game.

We spent a lot of time at the train table (shocking, right?) but also played a couple games of memory, did a puzzle, painted, drew some pictures and bounced (and bounced, and bounced) on a mini trampoline.

It was fun, it was different, and I got to spend some quality time doing what my kid likes best...playing!

And now I'm looking forward to a weekend at home with the little goober.  Weather looks nice so it looks like we're going to be playing outside!  Nice!  He can help me put up the Christmas lights.  And I'm sure it will go nothing like last year.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I'm tired.  That kind of tired that had me almost asleep on the couch while Ben was still playing.  I'm even questioning whether or not I want to have a piece of cake, or just go crash in bed. 

(Obviously I'm going to eat the cake.  I don't think it's possible to be too tired for cake.)

Since I'm so tired, I'm just going to leave you with a pretty adorable Ben moment:

We picked out mittens to wear to daycare.

"Mom, can you put my muffins on?"

"Your what??"

"My muffins.  Can you put them on my hands?"

He's just about the cutest thing ever.

Ok.  Cake.  Bed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted!

Well, I voted today.  To do my civic duty I had to get up at 5am to make it to the polls and then work.  Yikes!  But I'm glad I went.  I'm not a political person.  Not at all.  But voting for the president, and other issues that I feel strongly about, will get me out to vote.

Despite not being political, I will say this: I do feel very strongly that Question One should pass.  The last time this was up for vote I was pregnant.  It was a bit of an eye opener for me that the child I was carrying could be born into a society that might deny him rights for being who he is.  With raging Mommy hormones, I voted to keep gay marriage legal.  It was heart breaking when the law was overturned.  As a result, my son WAS born into a society that would deny him rights should he be gay. 

I wasn't very happy about that and am very glad to see it back on the ballot once again.  I voted Yes on One today.  And if it doesn't pass this year, I will go back and vote the next time it is on the ballot, and the next, and the next, until it passes.

Gay or straight, I want my son, my stepsons, my family, my friends and complete strangers to be able to marry whomever they love.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 29th birthday.  The last year of my twenties has begun.  I'm not really upset about turning 30 next year, it just seems a little unreal.  How on earth did I get this old?  I swear High School was just a few years ago.  But then I think about it...and it seems like college was just a few years ago...and wasn't IVF a few years ago....and I'm pretty sure I gave birth a few years ago too.  I guess some time has passed since High School, some very busy time.

It's been a quiet birthday and because of my hard work over the weekend, I don't have any homework to do tonight.  So I think I'm going to curl up with a big ol' piece of homemade applesauce cake (with cream cheese frosting) and the book I'm reading on my Kindle (The Gunseller by Hugh Laurie) and just relax. 

I'm going to enjoy being 29, because once I turn thirty I think I'm going to have start exercising.  And buying wrinkle cream.  And taking more vitamins.

Thank goodness I've got one more year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A 180

Marcus brought home a progress report this weekend and it was practically jaw dropping.  Is it straight A's.  Nope.  Honor Roll.  Nope.  But he is passing all his classes.  And he's doing really well in almost all of them.

This may not seem like a great achievement.  Lots of kids do pretty well in their classes.  Lots do really well in their classes.  But we're not talking about any kid.  We're talking about Marcus.

Nearly a year ago we were hitting a wall with Marcus.  He had zero interest in school.  None.  His grades were miserable.  His teachers couldn't get him to take things seriously.  He really just didn't care.

Have you ever tried to tell a teenager to take school seriously?  It's a bit like talking to a wall.  A wall that can roll its eyes.

Last winter, when we were at our wits end, we caught Marcus making some very foolish decisions.  As a result, we grounded him.  From everything.  For a long time.  And we lectured him.  About everything.  For a long time.

I don't know if that worked, or if it was something else, but I'm telling you, it's been a complete 180 with this kid.  And it's pretty damn amazing.

By the end of last year he just missed honor roll by one class by a few points.  We were flabbergasted.  He signed up for a college course at York County Community College.  We were speechless.  He found a job and has been actively helping out around the house more and watching his younger siblings more.

I'm not going to say that we're parents of the year or anything, but apparently something finally got through to him, and it's been pretty amazing.

So with a progress report with above average grades, positive teacher comments and even a report from his professor at YCCC of a B average, we couldn't be more proud!

And who wouldn't be happy to overhear this little conversation between two brothers:

"Marcus.  Marcus.  Will you play with me?"

"Sure Bud."

"ALRIGHT!  Let's GO!!"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Going For It!

Well, I'm going to make an honest attempt at NaBloPoMo.

(That's National Blog Posting Month for those of you not in the know.  Which I assume is anyone reading my blog.)

The goal is to post a blog every day for the month of November.  Why the hell anyone decided on November is beyond me.  Aside from December, it has to be the busiest month of the year.  But, I managed to do it last year, and I know I felt really proud of myself at the end of the month, and much more confident in my ability to write.  So, here I go again.

I'm not really sure this is going to be possible, so I'm not going to beat myself up if I miss a day here or there, but I am going to try to make an honest effort to at least blog more, even if it's not everyday.

At the moment I have a lot on my plate.  I'm working Monday through Wednesday at my 9-5 job in Portland.  It's not really 9-5.  I don't actually know anyone that works 9-5.  But I'm there 8-4:30, which is close, but not so catchy sounding.  But you get my point.  On Tuesday nights I have class in Wells from 5:30-8.  Thursdays I stay home with Ben and cram in homework for one of my two online classes, then I head to work at the Bar from 5-11ish.  Fridays I generally have off, though occasionally my schedule gets switched up and I end up working at one place or the other.  If I'm not "working" then I'm trying to squish in more homework, more housework, and bookkeeping for my "other" part time job.  Ben's here too, so I'm definitely not relaxing.  Saturdays are usually spent either cleaning or shopping until I head into work at the Bar at 5.  Sundays are usually hit or miss.  Some days I have an extra Bar shift, other Sundays I'm home for the day trying to soak up some family time.  That's usually followed either way with an evening trying to get things ready for the upcoming week.  Menu planning, laundry, baking, cleaning, homework, whatever.

So when I say I'm kinda busy, I'm not kidding.  Hopefully I can force myself to take a few minutes each day to write something, even if it's just a little recap, or something cute my kid did.  I guess we'll see what comes up this month.

Happy NaBloPoMo!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Scary Pumpkin!

Halloween was Wednesday and Ben did a little trick-or-treating!  For the last month he had decided that he was going to be a Scary Pumpkin for Halloween.  I was sure he'd want to be a train or a race car, but nope, pumpkin it was.  No complaints, a pumpkin costume is waaaay easier to assemble than a train!

I decided once again to take a stab at making his costume instead of buying one.  Until he reaches the age where he has to have a certain costume to look like his friends, I'm going to try to make his costumes.  It's way more fun, and I get to pretend I'm super mom.

So, for Scary Pumpkin I bought an orange t-shirt a few sizes too large.  I opened up the hem at the bottom and threaded a string through so it would have a drawstring to tighten.  I bought black iron on patch material and cut out "scary" eyes, nose and mouth.  Because I'm a slacker, I actually ironed it all together Tuesday night at 9:00 after accounting class with my iron plugged into the generator.  Ooops.  I picked him up black leggings (FYI-no one makes green leggings) and a little pumpkin flashlight and treat bag.  His grandmother had knit him a pumpkin hat when he was an infant and fortunately his big old noggin still fit in it.  I also scored some pretty adorable jack-o-lantern galoshes at TJ Maxx on clearance to complete the ensemble.

The end result was pretty damn adorable!


We got our power back about 10 minutes before we left to go trick-or-treating so I was able to snap a picture in the light! 

The nice thing about taking an almost-three-year-old trick-or-treating is that he has no idea what to expect.  As a result, we were able to walk to the six houses right next to us and he thought he made an amazing candy haul.  He had such a good time and said "trick-or-treat" at every house we visited and "thank you" which is pretty awesome for a two year old!  After we had been to two houses he was marching down the road holding my hand and said "Mom, I love you!"  What a goober!  He had such a good time!

The "Big" Haul

Yeah, that's a full size Hershey's bar.  And Yeah, Mom's going to eat it.

His Halloween Treat: Nerds.
Yup, I have the cutest kid ever.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oh Sandy Baaaaby

If you did not just read the title of this blog as though you were John Travolta singing to Olivia Newton-John please stop reading and start over.  Thank you.

So we had a hurricane.  And as I hinted at in my last blog post, I went above and beyond preparing for it in hopes that it would end up being less of an ordeal.  Well, it didn't end up being a very severe storm, but that didn't make it any easier.

We lost our power (as expected) around 11:00 on Monday night.  That was actually much later than I anticipated us losing power.  We are usually out as soon as a stiff breeze picks up.  Unfortunately, my little community in Waterboro tends to be last on the CMP priority list.

So imagine my surprise when I got word that the neighbors down the street had their power back early Tuesday evening!  I thought sure that we would be next.   So I went to bed Tuesday night fairly confident that our power would be back before I had to get up Wednesday morning and get ready for work.


Despite the fact that the house on the corner of my road FIVE houses down had power Tuesday evening, we waited until shortly before seven on WEDNESDAY before we got ours back.  (Um, thanks to Bangor Hydro, by the way, for actually making that happen.)

We've lost our power for much longer, and at much colder times of the year, but I can't tell you how annoying it was to see lights at the end of the road but still have to get up in the morning and take a damn sponge bath.

So yeah, that sucked.  But it wasn't the suckiest part.

Monday night, during the storm, I was sitting on the couch doing homework.  And by homework I mean I had an open text book on my lap and I was asleep.  At about 10:00 an extremely loud crack and thud occurred DIRECTLY outside the widow behind the couch where I was sitting.

I know that as a mom I've always been curious about how I would react to an emergency involving my son.  Would I instinctively put him first like I'm supposed to, or would that fight or flight instinct kick in and I would act instinctively to save myself?  Well, I can safely say, I would be all over my son.  I jumped off the couch and ran towards his room so fast I actually fell before I got to the stairs.  My husband picked me up and told me to slow down, that Ben was fine.  I think I garbled something out at him about not being awake and not caring and I hauled it up the stairs.

He was stretched out on his bed and snoring.

I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  At the time, we thought the tree had just come down right next to the house, narrowly missing our pellet stove vent.  Nope.  In the morning we discovered that it had fallen on the roof, broken apart, slid down the wall, cracked up our siding and then landed just a few feet away from our pellet stove vent.  Awesome.

The damage is relatively minor and should be inexpensive to repair.  We were pretty lucky and will probably be doing some dead tree removal later this fall or in the spring. 

So that sucked.  Now do you want to hear the suckiest part?

Waking up Wednesday morning without power knowing that the neighbors all had power was pretty damn frustrating.  Having the generator not start was REALLY frustrating.  Discovering that your cars had been broken into, well, that was just miserable.

We live in a pretty quiet country neighborhood.  We don't keep much in our cars, and we don't lock them at night.  We've never had a problem.  But, apparently someone decided they needed to take advantage of us unfortunate folks without electricity and steal from us.  Fortunately we really don't keep anything in our cars, so nothing was taken from mine.  Don had his GPS in his car that was taken, it was rather old and not really worth anything, but it is something he uses often.  He felt pretty violated.  The thieves were also poking around our shed, so we were actually very fortunate that they didn't try to run away with our generator, snow blower or lawn mower.

We did call the police and I guess it had happened to several cars on our road during the course of the night.  Needless to say, our house has become Fort Knox.  Don has instituted a locked door policy at all times, the car doors are locked, the shed is locked, and he's on a mission this weekend for security lights and new door knobs.  We're also going to look at getting the generator wired into the fuse box so we can keep outside lights on when the power is out.  (It will also give us hot water when the power is I'm totally ok with that!)

So, while Hurricane Sandy may not have been the strongest storm up here in Maine, and we may not have been without power for that long a period of time, it was still one of our worst storm experiences.

And it also left me with that damn song Sandy from Grease stuck in my head.  It's not even one of the cool songs.  Uggggh.