In Dog Years

At just 8 weeks old, Sean brought you home for the first time. You cried, and cried, until he let you curl up in his lap for the 45-minute car ride. You had him wrapped around your finger. Just 1 … in dog-years.

Guinness and Sean on Day 1

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Later that summer, you were the life of the party at the bonfire before my sister’s wedding. Just 2 … in dog-years.

On New Years Eve, you ate a Christmas ornament, and we called the Vet in a panic, Just 5 … in dog years.

You rested your head on my pregnant belly, and kept me warm. Just 7 … in dog-years.

Then, you peed on our bed because we brought THAT baby home. Still 7 … in dog- years.

You gently played with that baby, and shared your squeaky-toys with no complaints. Just 10 … in dog-years.

You rested your head on my pregnant belly and kept me warm. Again. Now 17 … in dog-years.

That time, 3-yr old Michael let you outside for the very first time. He was so proud. A lively 28 … in dog-years.

You let the kids dress you in Mickey Mouse ears. A stately 59 … in dog-years.

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Really?

You chased me in circles around the house, and the kids laughed ‘til their bellies hurt. Feeling pretty good for 66 … in dog-years.

When we moved, and you weren’t pleased. You left several “presents” to remind us. Still the boss at 73 … in dog-years.

You managed to climb onto the dining room table, and couldn’t get down. A spry 77 … in dog-years.

12 human-years; 84 dog-years … You chased whiffle balls in the yard, over and over and over. You rested your head at Sean’s feet while he worked. You ate every scrap that fell from the kids’ plates. You playfully jumped on every new person who walked through the door. When Sean was away, you slept on his side of the bed, and made me feel safe.

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Today, we laid next to you, and rubbed your belly until you fell asleep. And we said good-bye. Thank you for sharing your years with us, dear Guinness.

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My Kids Love Me Because I Let Them Have Bubble Gum

My kids, with the help of their pretty awesome Dad, shared all the reasons they love me in this video. Apparently “Double-Bubble” was high on my son’s list.

A Tribute To Mom

To My Daughter- For Her First Day of Kindergarten

I am NOT a Poet – but what the heck …

You’re off to Kindergarten, and you’re quite well prepared.
Your Tinkerbell backpack is fully packed
With classroom donations of paper and paste,
And a shiny new lunchbox to hold every snack.
The princess’ new clothes are laid out with lace socks,
New shoes and a polka-dot frock
A headband with a bow is the final touch.
Kiss your dolly goodbye; you’re out the door with no muss.

Off to Kindergarten

She’s off and running!

Kindergarten is a doorway, beyond its threshold your classroom awaits
With chunky pencils, glue sticks, safety scissors, and crayons of every shade.
You will write, your will draw, you will cut and you will paste.
There will be learning centers to explore how things work,
From lego-built forts to clock hands to shoelaces and boots.

Just a few words of advice before you bolt through that door,

Stand neatly in line; don’t push and don’t shove.
Try something new, each day
Don’t give up, ‘til you’ve mastered the task.
Share your pencils and snacks
Ask questions – your friends might just be glad that you asked.
Be daring and bold, and unafraid to fail.
Stand up for yourself, and for your friends too.
You know right from wrong, remember that too.
Solve problems; don’t start them.
Be patient. Don’t whine, some things just take time.

Don’t forget – your teacher will teach, but the learning is up to you.

The School Bus

Kindergarten – Watch Out!

Why Parents Must Speak of Unspeakable Things

My 7-year old started summer day camp this week. With the recent verdict in Pennsylvania as an unfriendly reminder of the small number of real-life monsters out there, ready to prey on children, I made sure I revisited an uncomfortable discussion with my little boy. When it was done, I felt only a little relief, and a lot of sadness at having to peel away at yet another layer of his innocence.
This blogger captured my feelings exactly. Read her post about uncomfortable but necessary discussions with our kids.

A “Challenging” Morning – Who am I Kidding? A “Craptastic” Morning!

Today, I had “just one of those mornings”, and really I have no one to blame but myself. Here’s how it went down.

  1. “Thud!” That would be the sound of my feet hitting the floor 30 minutes later than they should have, also the sound of the first domino in the chain-reaction-disaster that was my morning.

  2. I beg and plead with my almost-7-year-old son, and my almost-5-year-old daughter to pretty-please hop out of bed and get themselves dressed in a flash. (The background here – my husband has been away for 2 weeks on an overseas trip, and I am playing the role of single-parent. This means dragging the kids out of bed at 5:30 a.m. during the week to shuffle them off to Grandma’s and school, so I can start my 90-minute commute to work. Fun times.)
  3. I hop in the shower. Just as I lather up my hair, my daughter walks in to argue with me about what she’s wearing. The weather forecast is for 84 degrees and she wants to wear her fleece pants, rather than the “weather-appropriate” outfit we picked out the night before. I am in no mood to argue, and a tantrum ensues.
  4. Still washing my hair, I give her some other clothing options just to get her out of the bathroom. The tantrum lingers, and I “sternly” tell her to go get dressed, and remind her that she is letting all of the steam out of the bathroom.
  5. BIG MISTAKE. My son hears the comment about the steam. NOT good. (More background – the kid has legitimate, real anxiety about fire drills, and steam from our shower has, on occasion set off our smoke alarm.) So now, my son is standing in his underwear, in my bathroom in a full-blown panic, sobbing and hyperventilating. He won’t leave because he thinks the smoke alarm will go off is he opens the door. I BEG him to leave the bathroom – promising him up and down that the smoke alarm will not go off. I won’t get out of the shower with him there, either. (I figure a smoke alarm going off would be much less traumatic than having him see is Mom in her birthday suit.)
  6. In the meantime, my daughter’s tantrum continues on. The next thing I hear is her little voice, through tears saying, “Mommy, I peed.” Of course she peed! She just woke up, has a full bladder, and is having a tantrum.  So now I have both children in the bathroom with me, one with pee running down her leg. Me, I’m stuck in the shower trying to think of an escape plan.
  7. So I use the only tools I have: My Lungs. I stick my head out of the shower and YELL!  (Thank goodness we don’t currently have tenants living in our upstairs apartment.) I order my son OUT of the bathroom! I manage to grab a towel, and begin to clean up my pee-coated daughter.
  8. I regain my composure, and ask my daughter if there are any pee-puddles I need to address. Just “a little bit in the hall” she tells me. So, once I’ve thrown on my clothes, I go to inspect. Yep, there’s a little one in the hallway by her bedroom, and six more little puddles running down the hallway to the bathroom.

So, my over-sleeping managed to turn a normal morning of getting the kids up, dressed, teeth brushed, attending to the dog, and out the door, into a thoroughly CRAPTASTIC morning – full of tantrums, panic attacks,  and unexpected janitorial duties.

Thankfully my kids, for the most part, are rock stars. After all the stress of the morning, this evening could not have been better: not a single balk at doing homework; they cleaned their rooms without asking, and were just plain delightful. I also rewarded myself for getting through this day with a big ol’ dish of ice cream and chocolate sauce. (Yes, for those of you who follow this blog, the giving up chocolate for Lent thing went right out the window today!)

empty ice cream dish

Glad that my day is like this bowl of ice cream - DONE!

A Shameless Plug for a Brand New Blog: Bad Parenting Moments

A couple of very smart, funny, witty and creative Moms (who just happen to be related to me) just started a great new blog.

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Bad Parenting Moments is a blog full of refreshing stories from parents who try their best 100% of the time, and who, like me, sometimes fail miserably.

You should check it out … Really!

Keeping Dinner Easy With “Happy Turkey Taco-Pizzas”

Dinner just isn’t the same when Daddy’s away. It’s hard to muster up the motivation to make a big “family dinner” for just me and the kids (especially when one of them takes the prize as a picky-eater).

Nevertheless, we still have to eat but the kids still must eat right? So, I try to keep it simple, easy, and kid-friendly. Tonight’s dinner was the perfect blend of their favorite foods –  I call it Happy Turkey Taco-Pizza.

Happy Turkey Taco Pizzas

Smile - It's Pizza Time

Here’s the super-simple recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 jar of salsa
  • small can of corn
  • 8-10 flour tortillas (fajita size)
  • 1 package of shredded Mexican cheese
  • 12 grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • Salt & Pepper (a pinch of each)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brown the ground turkey with a bit of salt and pepper, and drain off any fat.
  3. Stir in the salsa and corn, and simmer until liquid evaporates. (No one wants a soupy pizza!)
  4. On a foil-lined cookie sheet, lay out 4-5 tortillas.
  5. Spoon a bit of the turkey salsa mixture onto each tortilla.
  6. Cover the mixture with cheese, and then top with tomato-halves (in the shape of smiley faces, of course!)
  7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes in the oven, or until cheese is thoroughly melted.

Voila! A happy dinner with the kids.

 

What Would the Tooth Fairy Think?

Why is it that my kids can’t brush their teeth without turning the bathroom into a toothpaste crime scene?

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! How are Celebrating?

This week and month (and especially TODAY!), preschools and elementary schools everywhere are celebrating Dr. Seuss.

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How many of us mastered our reading skills to cheerful cadence of The Cat in the Hat? Or learned important life lessons from Horton Hears a Who? — “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

How are you celebrating this day with your kids, or students?

In my house, Thing One checked out The Lorax from the school library, and drew a little tribute to his favorite characters.

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Thing Two is reading Green Eggs and Ham with her preschool class, and her monthly “family project” is to recreate the cover of her favorite Dr. Seuss book using a cereal box and construction paper.

I might even make Green Eggs and Ham for our weekend family breakfast on Sunday.

What about you? Any creative ideas to celebrate this creative author?

12 Days of Christmas Countdown – Day 6 – The Christmas Pageant and the Reluctant Shepherd

My first grader participated in his first Christmas Pageant yesterday at our church.

I was a little surprised that he volunteered for this gig. As of late, he’s been pretty vocal about how shy he is. (That actually seems like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it?) He announced that he wanted no part of Christmas caroling with his Cub Scout Pack over the weekend, as it meant singing in public and no six-year old in their right mind would want any part of that. When I take him to Mass, at the Sign of Peace, he refuses to greet anyone he considers a stranger. I’ve seen him stare down one or two senior citizens who have offered their hands. One afternoon, as he and his sister were belting out “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in the back seat of the car, I suggested that they sing it for Grandma and Grandpa on Christmas. “No way Jose!” He promptly announced that he would not sing, if his sister sang, he would hide in his room until her little concert was over.

So when on Sunday morning, he got up bright and early and was ready for Church on time (and was even pretty chipper about going off to meet his Religious Ed. Class), I was pretty proud, but a little surprised.

Alas, his sunny attitude was short-lived. As he was lining up with the other shepherds to make their way into the church, I saw him start to get a little antsy. He was even more edgy when I told him I needed to leave to sit in the audience. I crossed my fingers.

Mary and Joseph reached the altar first, followed by the cows, the shepherds, the angels and the Magi. About 20 children assembled in front of the altar, sweetly singing Christmas carols. My little boy sang too, or at least I saw him mouth the words. That is, until I pulled out the camera.  Once he saw me, I had no chance of getting a photo of a smiling little cherub this year. Instead, I got this:

Reluctant Shepherd 1

"Mom, do you HAVE to take a picture?"

The Reluctant Shepherd 2

Maybe if I just move behind Joseph over here...

Reluctant Shepherd 3

The Full Disappearing Act

Oh well, I’m sure there’ll be more photo-ops next year.

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