My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Saturday, December 21, 2013

thank you!

I am so grateful to those who helped me with the toy drive for those sweet children at the Children's Hospital branch of the Penn State Hershey Medical Hospital branch.  Because of all of you I was able to donate two full boxes of toys for those children.  Your caring nature is unmeasurable.

Thank you is the least I can say and do.

December 21st, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Children's Hospital

Stuffed yet ... I just had my turkey soup leftovers.

If you remember last year, I raised, or shall we say collected, 17 pairs of pajamas for the Scholastic "The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive."  I remember the director of my children's daycare center having to hold the door open for me as I lugged in my big box of all your donations.  They were all very impressed and even more so, grateful.

This year, the U-Gro Learning Center at Hershey has decided to team up with the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital to help gather toys for the children at the CHOP branch at the medical center along with their "ChildLife" program.  We all know the very popular name of Children's Hospital, yet many people are not aware of what "ChildLife" is.  Let me explain in a rather personal manner.

I say personal because I have had experiences with them twice now ... once when Max split his head and the other when Charlie split his head.  These are some of the most patient, loving, understanding, heartfelt, and gentle people I have ever met.  Don't get me wrong, I did think they were child services when I first met them as they arrived in my son's room declaring they worked with the medical center specifically when small children were brought in.  Eeks.  Yet they soon reassured us all as they distracted my bleeding children, calmed down a very freaked out Michael and myself, and proceeded to offer the boys toys and games to help them through their glue-ings and stitches.  They were there to sing, act silly, offer crayons and manipulatives all the while Michael and I could listen to the on-call doctors and plastic surgeons discuss what needed to be done for our boys.  They made it through and our associate moved on to the next room, but did not forget to give our boys each a parting gift for being so brave.  We still have our small "Lightning McQueen" and "Tow Mater" cars that are still played with weekly.  When we ask them where the toys came from, they tell us the hospital.  If anyone is interested in reading some more, please see the following link.

We were told specific things that are in high demand right now for our CHOP branch here in Hershey, yet I also included a list I found from the website.  If anyone would like to help me collect toys for this very special cause, please let me know.  I am very willing to come get it from you or feel free to drop it off at the center yourself Here is what we were specifically told to donate and all products must be new:

Crayola Model Magic - bold colors, Presto Dots Kits, Color Fillz Pop Art
Crayola Color Fillz Mosaic Kits
Fuzzy Posters
"Play-a-Sound" books
Small Lego Kits
Wooden Craft Kits
Snap Together model car kits
Chapstick/Lip gloss
Chutes and Ladders
Sorry Sliders
Arts and Crafts Kits
Apples to Apples
Connect 4
Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D)

Children's Wish List(from the website)

All Ages
  • Single packages of tissues (soft variety)
  • Children's board books - English and Spanish (must be brand new)
  • Thin coloring books
  • Crayons - 8, 16 or 24 count
  • Markers - washable - 8 or 16 count
  • New release Lullaby CDs
  • Fuzzy posters - various sizes
  • Sun-catchers (paint-able)
  • Individual perler bead kits
  • Play-doh - all sizes
  • 4 oz or 8 oz Miracle Bubbles (non-scented)
  • Small spill proof Bubbles
  • Socks (must be brand new)
  • Stickers
  • Small, easy craft kits
School Age
  • Small Lego kits
  • Craft kits - Individual
  • Latch hook kits
  • Games as listed...Sorry, Sorry Sliders, Trouble, Apple to Apples, Monopoly, Monopoly Jr., Battleship, Yahtze, Connect 4, Boggle, Upwords, Phase 10, various UNO games, Bob It, Creationary, Scrabble Jr, Boggle and Boggle Jr,, Clue, Clue Jr., Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders (NO Ants in the Pants, or Dominoes at this time)
  • Card Games (regular playing cards, UNO, Skip-Bo, Phase 10) (NO Go Fish, Old Maid & Memory at this time)
  • Arts and crafts kits (Alex brand name really enjoyed)
  • Sketch pads and sketch tools
  • Snap together model car kits
  • Current teen magazines
  • Chapstick / Lip Gloss
  • Lipsmackers Chapstick
  • Body Lotions and Body Sprays
  • AXE products (items for our older teens)
  • Nail Polish (NO Nail Polish Remover at this time)
  • Hair accessories - pony tail holders, barrettes, headbands
We are UNABLE to accept the following:
  • Blankets
  • Caps / Hats
  • Stuffed animals
  • Used books
  • VHS tapes
  • Homemade cards

THANK YOU  for anything you might be able to give!

November 29th, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

open your wallet ... and pantry

It was one of those market visits today where I spent over 80 dollars and wondered what I walked away?  A gallon of milk, cereal, some lunch meat and cheese, a few produce items, a few pieces of meat ... perhaps a candy bar for myself.  I get so annoyed with how much I spend and I know I'll be back in a few days.  Feeding my household of 3 men is a full time job.  I can't imagine more than that.  But I can say without hesitation that atleast I have the mean sto fed them.  How many parents are hungry because they worry about feeding their children first?  How many children go with only one meal a day - their free meal at school? 

I stood behind a woman at the checkout that had her WIC check ready to pay for her few meager items.  I don't know why I didn't think of it, but I should have paid for her items.  She didn't have her nails done.  She didn't have a fancy phone.  I didn't even see her with a phone.  I did see her nails bit to the quick, scruffy clothes, and a cold tired look on her face.

I remember sitting at my school desk this morning bitching how I did not have a spoon and my almond milk was in the fridge downstairs.  Aren't there too many people out there who do not have need for a spoon or almond milk because they have no cereal to put it on.  Every day people surround us who are hungry, who had no breakfast, but I'm complaining about my milk, which I already have.

As we enter the holiday season, I ask any of you readers to spend an extra minute in the can aisle at your grocery store and pick up a few more cans of Chef Boyardee or green beans to donate.  Turn in your turkey to a local food bank.  Go to the local shelter on Thanksgiving and help them out.

Too many people, specifically children, go hungry every day.  You can help.

November 12th, 2013  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maxed out Moms

I have a tendency to watch MSNBC ... a lot.  I do have a secret crush on Rachel Maddow, Willie Geist is just adorbs.  Joe is ... Joe.  Mika is ... Mika.

This afternoon as I drove to get the boys from daycare, The Cycle was on my XM radio.  On the show today was Katrina Alcorn, who after a nervous breakdown, quit her job, and began asking herself what it was all about ... wife, mom, working mom, keeping house, etc.

So she wrote a book ... and a blog.

Enjoy!  Because what mom doesn't feel this way atleast once a day.

October 30th, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

running errands with toddlers

Saturday mornings, oh ... how I loathe you.

I know what you are all thinking ... WTF?

Need I explain ... two toddlers.  Four (yes, in my "blogdom" absence ... Max turned four) and two.  Do they understand SATURDAY MORNING?  Ofcourse not.  They still want waffles or MickeyMouse Clubhouse at 5:42am whether mummy has to go to work or not.

I am a working mum, so Saturday is my day to get stuff done.  You know, cleaning, washing, magic eraser-ing crayon from walls, finding missing socks, bank, post office, groceries, mow the lawn, rake leaves, persuade a toddler to take a nap, read War and Peace ... all in a day's work.  Now I know I do not have to explain my next statement ...

I am heard before seen at the grocery store.

I am that cart that takes up the entire aisle with two scrambling "hanging out the side there are no limbs inside this vehicle" toddlers because the straps on the funky car cart are broken.  I am the cart with excessive amounts of frozen waffles, string cheese, mandarin oranges, apple juice, and coffee.  I am the cart that can be heard two aisles away as my children fight over the car cart's seats.  I am that mum who you might hear threatening their loud children that they will leave if they do not behave, yet I know I really won't because I NEED GROCERIES because dry pasta and one month old cereal in the pantry will not cut it.  I am the mum who hands her children each the largest bagel she can find in the coffee bar at Wegman's and hold her large coffee in hand as she tries to set a new record on shopping in the time it takes a toddler to eat a bagel.

DISCLAIMER - I have had to go back for more bagels before.  I'm just sayin'.

Errand running with children is my worst weekend nightmare.  It used to be so much easier when they were immobile, slept in the Moby, allowed me to enjoy my coffee instead of spill my coffee.  Now it is as though Dennis the Menace has left Mr. Wilson behind and found me to be easier prey.  I know it will get better.  They'll stay by my side someday instead of trying to take out the entire spaghetti sauce collection.

Today after school, before picking up the boys, I left at 3:11pm.  I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy a t-shirt for Spirit Day tomorrow, picked up a VENTI Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino from the 'bucks, went to Party City for a few door decorating supplies, filled the car up with gas, and sent a package at the post office.  By the time I was leaving the post office, it was 4:13pm.


Then I got my children.

October 4th, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

for the daddy's

When I was growing up, I always needed help with my math homework.  I always did better in math than anything else, until I got to high school.  Then it got really hard.  It surely helped to have a man in the house with a degree in mathematics.  That would be my dad.  He was an engineer by trade, but truly it's all math isn't it?  My dad could solve anything with the quadratic equation.  Anything.  I would tell him that we didn't learn what I was doing that way, but he did solve anything with the quadratic equation.

Last week these memories came rushing back to me.  When I needed math help, I always stood or sat on the floor next to my dad as he sat in his armchair doing his own work.  Even though my dad worked very long hours and traveled to all 6 "livable" continents, he always had work to do at home.  He would stop no matter what he was doing to help my sister or I with our math homework.  I can tell you I needed help much more often than my sister.  As my dad helped me with my work, he would often be watching old movies.  (So, maybe they weren't so old, but old to me.)  One of those favorites was "The Sting."  Always had a crush on Robert Redford after seeing it for the first time.  The other night I       re-watched "The Sting" as I stayed up late writing lesson plans, grading homework assignments, making PowerPoint presentations, etc.

I have some very fond memories with my dad.  I can remember him mowing the grass as I grew up and he would ask me to run to the fridge to get him a beer.  I often took a sip without him knowing!  There is a photo that sticks out in my mind; he is riding behind me on the Carousel at Disneyland when I was likely only 4 years old.  Saturday mornings we would go to Hechinger's together to get supplies for his DIY projects.  My dad to this day does amazing woodwork.  I would tell him my throat hurt and I needed a hot chocolate or ice cream sundae from the McDonald's.  He saw me be a silly teenage girl and put up with my long late phone calls and crushes on the New Kids on the Block.  When he won his Saturday golf match, my sister and I got part of the cut.  He won often!  My dad was often a man of few words, but he would do anything for me.

I know Michael followed his dad around like a puppy as he grew up.  He was his dad's shadow.  That's why he had his father as his best man in our wedding.  Because my father-in-law is my husband's best friend.  John Walizer taught my husband how to golf, how to hold the door for a woman, how to be grateful.  Michael would tell me that he and his brother's would work outside with their dad as the radio played.  John would ask what a song was called or who sang it and it was a contest of who could get it first.  John taught his boys to work hard.  He taught them to manage their money.  He raised them on Penn State Football and summer golf leagues.

Now I am beginning to see these same relationships build between Michael and Max and Charlie.  When Michael is home on a weekend day, Max is his shadow.  They cut the grass, wash the cars, do projects, watch football, everything together.  It is an inseparable moment.  You can often hear Max telling Michael, "You're my best friend."  It's heart melting.

I am not quite sure where this very "Father's Day"entry is coming from?  It might simply be that I now work with older students who are already Daddy's themselves.  I have a health class in my room each morning where they are learning about being parents.  The scary part is that some of them will be parents before they ever imagined or planned.  I hope they have as memorable or as impressionable relationships as fathers that I had with mine, that my husband had with his, that my children have with their's.

September 17th, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Let's call this one "A Teachable Moment"

School began again this past week.  I only have 21 more first days of school until I can retire.  Actually I can retire whenever I want, yet after this past week and the occurrence of a specific event, I do not see myself retiring for quite some time.

It was hectic.  I did not have near as much coffee as I needed.  Students showed up.  Students skipped class.  Students spoke when I spoke.  They didn't raise their hands.  I got frustrated.  I missed my children.  My alarm clock still works.  Girls wore their shirts too low.  Boys wore their pants too low.  I handed out textbooks.  I reviewed French numbers.  I had my first taste of a week at high school ... as a teacher.  All in a day's work.  Nothing new.

However something new did happen this week that I am not used to at all.  I heard a "thank you."  A true honest heart felt thank you, from a parent.

As I pulled into a gas station after school, I noticed a previous student in a car with a parent.  I drove in, not really noticing much else.  Before I knew it, as I pumped gas, this parent had turned round, pulled back into the gas station, got out of his car, came over to me, and introduced himself as a student's parent.  This student, we'll call him T, I have known since he was in 6th grade.  Supposedly, T talked about me all the time last year and now that I got moved to the high school with all the freshmen, the talk continues.  T's father stood there, telling me this, and I just wanted to cry.  This was one of the moments I had heard of before.  The moment when you hear that what you did on a daily basis mattered to someone.  T listened to me and still listens to me.  He valued me.  He valued what I was trying to do for these kids, for him and all his friends.

T has three older siblings.  Unfortunately they have all taken Spanish instead of French, but I still know them all.  This family of brothers and sisters are a few of the best I have had.  They are some of the most polite, dedicated, respectful, and just nice kids I have known in my 9 years of teaching at Susquehanna Township School District.  I can truly say I love them all dearly.  As I said to T's father, I hope my boys end up like his boys, and I truly mean that.

This very short few minutes of conversation I had with T's father, with his sister there, made my year.  I felt so appreciated.  I felt so loved.  I felt so accepted.  T's father thanked me for what I did.  He said I must be doing something right.  I had made an impression.

I was the student that moment.  I listened and I learned that I was doing something right.

September 1, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

10 years later ...

Ten years ago today, I married my love.  The day began with rain, tears of joy from heaven.  The day ended with lots of laughs, a few tears, the wrong cake, many drinks, family and friends, and a future to build.

Why do I love Michael:

10.  He has this very canny way of turning tantrum children into happy children.

9.  He knows that I like my coffee black and he saves all the folded over potato chips or Doritos for me.

8.  He appreciates my profession.  He thinks I am amazing for what I do every day in a classroom.

7.  He tells me I am beautiful.

6.  He just brought me these:

5.  He says thank you for dinner.  He'll remember to start the dishwasher at night.  He washes my car.  

4.  When I am stressed, he'll bring me wine.

3.  He works hard.  He works really hard.  And do you know who he works really hard for?  His children and me.

2.  When we disagree we still love each other.

1.  Because God meant me to love him.

August 30th, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Go to your room ...

Do not pass go.

Do not collect 200 dollars or a juice box from the fridge.

Do you need to go potty?  Don't lie to me.  Do you need to go.  Go potty, then go in your room.  Do not come out of your room until I come get you.

Do you need a diaper?  Are you wet?  Did you poop?  Go to your room.  (F&$%, this is when I realize that Charlie still sleeps in a crib and I have to lift him into this crib.)  Here's a book.  I'm not happy with you, Charlie.

Max go to your room.  Do not come out.  Here's a book.  Take a rest.  I'm not happy with you, Max.

Now, that I am in my basement, let me tell you what has happened.  I have discovered my children's monster identities.  The Tazmanian Devil, Chip and Dale, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and Veruca Salt, Nellie Olsen, and Randy from "A Christmas Story" all rolled up together in two magnificent packages. I was going to pull my hair out ... before they actually did.

Max whines.
Max stands at the top of the staircase whining and pleading to be picked up BECAUSE he doesn't want to walk down the stairs.
Max will push Charlie out of the way so he can get to me and be closer to me.  Physically closer.
Max believes the answer to everything is NO.  Just ... NO.

Charlie screams ... whenever he wants.  6:13am as we wake up ... he screams.
He hits.  "nice touches Charlie."  Hits.
He wants the car keys.
He wants to turn the car on.
He doesn't want to get in his car seat.
He will kick, push, scream, thrash about, holler, cry, bend, twist, launch himself across the car to get out of his car seat.

So ... today I had it and they knew it.  And I blessedly had almost an hour to myself.  And for the rest of the day, all I had to say was "room" and they stopped.

They are slowly growing up, hopefully sooner than later when it comes to their maturity(for their age ofcourse).  But my little men are still my little men.  If I ever want to snuggle up to Max in bed, he won't kick me out.  If Charlie wants to wrestle on the floor, I'll always let him win.  I still struggle to be the tough mum, yet laying down the the law today felt pretty damn good.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

get to know your surroundings

I have lived in Hershey, Pennsylvania for just over a month now.  I am slowly learning the back roads, where the closest Starbucks is, NOT to even venture down HersheyPark Drive during a weekend or concert night (unless I want the kids to nap in the car), and that it can smell like chocolate one day and sewage the next.  
It is fun to say I live in Hershey.  My husband works for Hershey.  My kids attend the U-Gro center in Hershey and we now live in Hershey.  Our church is right here.  I am starting to recognize people when  I go out.  
My new house gives me such joy.  The boys love the back yard and I love walking our little streets, searching for cicadas.
So today I got to know something else nearby.  Max, Charlie, and I ventured out to the nearest farm for some fruit picking.  It was blackberry day and we had a blast.   

on our way out ...

we picked the black ones

caught in the act of taste-testing ... the evidence was all over his shirt

"Charlie ... chickens."

on our way in ... 

2.2 lbs. of blackberries

Strites Orchard was fantastic - we'll be going back soon!

August 10th, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

so ... we moved.

I think we need a bigger pool.

finally ... a hydrangea bush

So, you know how moving goes, right?  Boxes everywhere.  Numerous runs to the hardware store (or dumpsters out back of the liquor stores) to get more boxes, packing tape, stuffing.  Your life evolves by what is packed and what isn't yet packed.  Two pairs of CLEAN underpants left and three towels.

The food choices become that long lost box of Cream of Wheat, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, and dry cereal.  I say dry cereal because you have not had milk for three days and refuse to buy any.  It's one less thing you will have to move.  Your kids become very familiar with take out or fast food or macaroni and cheese or your favorite restaurant that serves alcohol because we all know that is needed.

Your kids DO NOT understand the concept of packed, or being packed, or going to be packed, or will be packed tomorrow.  They do not understand where everything went.  For some reason your almost four year old remembers that Halloween book, "Room on the Broom," and they want it for story time RIGHT NOW.  Can I tell you how many times I repacked the trains ... THREE.

You and your husband HATE EACH OTHER.  Then you love each other.  THEN you HATE EACH OTHER EVEN MORE.  Then you love each other ... eternally.

Movers ... our movers came at 2pm.  They were supposed to be there at 9am.  I am NOT going to get into this but this was one part I was not in charge of.

Unpacking ... lots more fun than packing.

Cleaning a house ... much more fun than cleaning an apartment.

Backyard.  First of all, after 5 years our lawn mower started up on the first try.  Score.  The boys are in heaven - they can dash where they want and we don't have to worry about any tenants below us.  We have the toys out, balls everywhere, toy trucks, and my husband is in his glory with a garage (At least I have a place to send him.)

All in all, we're surviving our move and the kids are being ... CRAY CRAY.  They love it which is the most important thing.  And so do we.  We're not doing this for a very long time.

And Michael and I leave for our 10th anniversary trip WITHOUT kids in two days to Florida.  I hear a pool, Minnie Mouse, and many adult beverages calling my name.  Not necessarily in that order.

July 21st, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

sleep training ... the saga continues

My boys are early risers.  Normally this is fine with me as when I work I get up at about zero 5 hundred.  However, now that I am off for the summer and Michael does not get up until about 6:30am, my early morning boys are driving me a little nuts.  An extra half hour let alone an hour would be amazing.

I want to try this ...


Does anyone have any thoughts on this or something of the like?  A few friends have said they have worked like magic, yet my concern is that I have waited to long.

Also, we're moving.  CAN I SAY IT LOUD AND EXCITED ... we're finally moving.  Just bought a lovely home in the borough of Hershey, PA.  How "sweet" is that!  Anyhoo, the boy's rooms will be upstairs from us, so besides gating the top of the steps, I need a way to keep Max in his bed.

Please give me some thoughts!

sleep deprived Natasha

June 29th, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

dumpster diving

I am not talking about McDonald's at the end of a night when you were broke ass in college and hungry.  Come on, admit it, you atleast considered it ...

Max, Charlie, and I were walking Annie - our four-legged little lady, before a morning full of errands until she decided to make a deposit around the neighborhood.  So I dutifully bagged it up to dispose of in the proper receptacle.  Let me rephrase myself.  I first of all fended off two little boys who wanted to pick up the poop themselves.  THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.  Then it was a fight over who would carry it, throw it away, try to untie the bag, etc. etc. etc.  Seriously, this is what they fight over.  DOG SHIT.  Max won after a bird distracted Charlie and off he went to the dumpster to throw it away.  Now our apartment dumpsters are encased by lovely wooden sheds to hide the unsightliness of them with doors that can be opened and shut by the rubbish men.  Max goes around and launches the bag into the dumpster while holding my keys - do I need to tell you what happened next?!  Poor little guy - he IMMEDIATELY knew something was not right.  His face was so scared.  Threw clenched teeth I told him all was fine.  After biting my tongue, I had to figure out how to get out my keys.  I am only 5"3" - there was no launching myself into the dumpster, especially with Max, Charlie, and a freaking out Annie at this point - she is scared of the dumpsters.  So ... I took the tall rusty pole that the doors of the shed open and close with and fish out my keys.  Thank goodness the dumpsters had been emptied out that morning, or I could have been fishing through coffee grounds, dirty diapers, and yesterday's mail.  I came out a little sweaty, hands covered in rusty grease, and with keys.  And we went on with our day.

Now I did do some actual dumpster rummaging a few hours later while trying to find boxes to accommodate packing - liquor stores are great for this.  Unfortunately, the boxes had been broken down and placed in the dumpsters already.  Don't mind the girl with her SUV back door open nonchalantly parked behind a strip mall fishing through a dumpster for boxes with emblems of Cupcake Vineyards, Captain Morgan, and Yellowtail.

I have no shame.

It's a good thing I did get some boxes yesterday.  Quiet time, my ass.

Note to self - do not let child carry keys on walk and quiet time is very rarely going to happen.

June 25th, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Goodbye Room 203

Last Monday, I closed the door to my middle school classroom one last time.  My boxes and file cabinet sat neatly taped, labeled, and stacked by the door.  They were labeled with my name, my school's initials, and my new room assignment; room 214.

Now this room 214 is not simply down the hallway.  Oh no, this room is in the high school.  That's right folks.  This teacher is moving on up!

I am excited for the new challenge of teaching high school French and very excited to have my same students, yet it is so bittersweet to leave my middle school family.  These are the people that helped me through two pregnancies, numerous ups and downs in my teaching career, I have laughed with them and cried with them.  We've exchanged educational theories and nasty jokes.  Some have left.  Some remain.

As two of the funniest guys I know would say, "stay classy STMS."

June 22nd, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Toddler Antics ... part?

As I tried to get a few more minutes of blessed sleep this morning since he was awake before 5AM. 

That was a brand new roll ...  


"Charlie, what are the animals doing?"

All strapped in and ready to go; Dory, Squirt, Nemo, and .... Jingle.

No, they are not twins ... one didn't grow and one did.  I swear.

Max is too big for naps.  Did you know this?  I was not made aware.  Yet, his animals needed to sleep. All the little bumps underneath all the blankets are animals.  When I wanted to vacuum he said they had to sleep.  I told him we would be very quiet, move them to his bed, and then Mummy could vacuum.  He was fine with that.

Yep, he's too big for naps.

This is what happens when you put stickers all over the door.  You have to unstick them. 

Is it bedtime yet?

June 8th, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The intervention, when and when?

So ..........

Let's dish.

No, seriously, for reals.  My question is this:

When is it right to stand over your children and make sure they are playing nicely and calmly and not hurting each other?  It is all I ever feel like I do.  When can I trust that they are calmly playing with trucks or reading books or building blocks and I can actually sit and have a HOT cup of coffee?

Today at a school picnic held at the school due to threatening rain, majority of the other mothers or fathers could sit, enjoy a meal, listen to the retirees speak ... while I chased my children up and down the hallways and tried to shove food down their throats.

When do you know if your children are ready to play on their own?  I know it is much easier shut in our apartment than at a school picnic, but I want to able to say I have let them be, let them build their imaginations, let them share ... without pummeling each other!

June 2nd, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My 2 year old

There he is ... 2 years old.  He rushed into this world 2 years ago after a very quick but never forgetful painful 2 1/2 hours for mum.  He is a whirlwind.  A cuddle bug.  Our big little boy.

Now, I know you are wondering about the rather obvious bandage on Charlie's head.  As I picked him up from U-Gro yesterday, Charlie heard the Life Lion.  Life Lion is the helicopter that flies to save lives for the literally adjoining Penn State Hershey Medical Hospital next door to U-Gro.  [Got to love the fact the ER is right there.]  Ok, back to the story.  Charlie heard LifeLion, so he ran to the window to see it pass and in doing so, slipped and hit his head into the door frame.

I'll not go into "Psycho" like details of what happened and ensued next, but I'll just show you this.  Poor Max was quite upset that little brother Charlie was hurt and thank goodness for Miss Terri who was there to help me.

So we finally got home just after 9pm after a good four hours of waiting, numbing, sedating, stitching, etc.  Max was quite a gem after the earlier tears and mum and dad had no idea what it was like to contain a 2 year old coming out of sedation.  We have a few bruises to say the least.

I understand boys are boys.  A lot more rough and tough is in my future, I know.  Yet I was not prepared for the amount of blood yesterday, the tears from Max, the shock on Michael's face when he got to the ER.  No one is ready for their little ones to get hurt.  The fact that I did this not much more than a month earlier did not make it easier.  Just calm breaths, patience, and hide your own tears.

Thankfully, Charlie seems right as rain as he ran all over the apartment with his new teddy bear, had a bite of cake, and played Pooh sticks with Max today.

And I'm fine too.

May 25th, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mummy's Little Helper


Max is his daddy's son.  On those days when Michael actually gets to be home with us all, Max follows him around like a shadow.  You just can't shake him.

However, today he was mine.  Max wanted to be mummy.

As I ironed my husband's work shirts ... yes, I iron his work shirts ... Max decided he wanted to iron as well.  So he took my mixer, pushed buttons for steam and spray, and ironed and folded all his clothes.

I just had to chuckle!

May 18th, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

There are two reasons why this blog exists: 

This one is Max.
That one is Charlie.

These two pictures show my few moments of stolen peace and quiet on Mother's Day after a rousing visit to the Hershey Gardens in the wind.  They wiped out.  I went through the Starbuck's          Drive-Thru.  

There were still tantrums today, time-outs, promises of time in their rooms, and raised voices, but it was my time with my boys.

Now I'm enjoying a much appreciated glass or two or maybe three of wine, my feet are up, and I'm listening to Max talk himself to sleep.

Mother's Day is every day.  Every day I am blessed with my two little precious angels from heaven.

May 13th, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What is a teacher?

A teacher is the one who listens to the “strange” boy talk about his fascination with dragons or guns and not judge.  He listens intently to the very animated child and might not understand what he is speaking of, but he listens.

A teacher is the one who listens to the 7th grade girl complain about her over protective mother and how she wishes she could wear what clothes she wants.  She calmly tells the child that her mother is just being a good mom and taking care of her.  She watches the teenager roll her eyes and inside cries because she worries about what trouble that girl could get into one day.

A teacher sits next to the small boy, even though his clothes and he smells.  She wonders of the last time he bathed or his clothes were washed for him, but he can’t add two digit numbers so she sits by his side and helps him.

A teacher will call home even though she gets a message machine over and over again trying to get through to the parent of the child who has been missing from school for days at a time without any reason.

A teacher will take her lunch time to call home and speak to the parent of a gifted child who again has done brilliantly on a class project.  She wants to recognize the hard work each child has done even though it is expected and understood from them.  She makes phone calls for the “good” kids as well.

A teacher believes there are no bad students, just challenging ones.

A teacher stands in the cafeteria and watches certain children waste food, throwing away what they don’t eat while others have been given a free lunch and ask for people’s extras because they know there is nothing at home.  He thinks of his own lunch in his classroom and knows he could go with less.  He looks at the students who do not have that choice.

A teacher pulls apart two girls bigger than herself while they try to rip out each other’s hair for no better reason than one supposedly said something about the other.  Even though she might get hurt. she doesn't want them to hurt each other.

A teacher puts extra pencils and notebooks in her cart at the back-to-school sales because she knows there will always be someone who needs them.

A teacher gets angry.  He gets angry when a child has such potential and wastes it.  He looks at the children who want nothing more than to be able to “get it” but they do not have that gift. 

A teacher wipes the nose of the little kindergartner who fell on the playground and everyone laughed at him.  She cleans him up and lets him sit in her room while recess finishes.  He’s too embarrassed to go back outside.

A teacher will question why those students who cannot sit still must sit still through hours of state testing.  She knows a better way of assessing this child’s knowledge, but she must do what the state says.  And have a positive attitude about it. 

A teacher will stay up late grading papers and projects, writing comments and giving suggestions.

A teacher will step in front of the intruder to protect her students or his students.

A teacher will accommodate for a child’s needs so that child can be successful in the way he or she needs to be successful.

A teacher will be patient and remind himself that the student is only 9 or 13 or 17.

A teacher will be a mom or dad if the need is there.

A teacher will put a child against a wall and put him or her in their place if need be.

A teacher educates every student to her best ability and if someone or something impedes that process of learning, she will make it go away.
A teacher often comes to work when it is still dark outside.
A teacher goes to graduation and hugs the student who called her names, wrote bad things on the internet about her, lied to her face, and disrespected her.  She whispers in her ear, “I am so proud of you.  I knew you could do it.”
A teacher thanks the parents for their support.
A teacher doesn’t get exasperated with a learning support student.  He doesn’t tell the student to “try harder” he simply says “try again.”  The student is already trying hard.
A teacher can never leave their work at the office.
A teacher’s day does not end when the busses pull out.
A teacher is a gift.

May 7th, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Triple Meltdown

It all started when Max had my pedometer on the way to U-Gro this morning.  He loves to "have" stuff.  It's simply the case of having something or holding something or putting something in a pocket.  I'm chalking this up to boys.  One time my blush made it to school in his pocket which was returned to me at the end of the day by his teacher declaring it really wasn't her color!

He wanted it clipped on him so it was, but then he pulled it off.  Then he wanted to open it to see what was inside.  The rattling noise.  He wanted to know what it was.  I told him we couldn't open it.  It would break.  Not good enough.  So then he started his ever so knowing phrase" Mummy I need something."  This then begins the process of me trying to figure out what he wants.  Guess what?  He doesn't know what he wants.  He just wants something else at this point.  I can normally subdue him with an empty CD case or my car phone charger because this is what I have in reach in the car.  This didn't work.  So then by the time we got to U-Gro at 6:41am he is in a full out ball.  The tears are streaming.  He keeps going on about the pedometer.  I keep trying to explain.  Not working.  So I ignore as I entice my "spazzing out" three year old and skipping about 2 year old down the hall.  As I try to hand over cleaned bed linens, Charlie now gets in on the game.  He starts balling.  I'm ready to fall over at this point due to the vice grip they have on my legs.  It takes two teachers to pull my sons off of me so I can escape to drop off other bags and get out. 

It's not over.

What did this dumbass mum do?  Forgot her car keys in the room where her two sons are still balling. 

Crown me Queen dumbass!

I bolt in, grab my keys, holler "SORRY" as I try to fly down the hallway without being seen.  At this point I'm crying.

There is no worse way to start your day than to leave two very upset children; your children none the less.  It tugs at my heart.  It pulls.  It snaps.  I just wanted to grab them, run, make pancakes, and watch Thomas the Tank Engine in our pajamas.  But I couldn't.

These are the hard times.  I don't want to be a grown-up. 

I know they were better within 5 minutes.  I know they will run up to me at the end of the day, tell me what they did, forget all about their early meltdown.  It's just hard at the time.

May 6th, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This is a milestone, folks. Brace yourselves!

Max stayed "dry all day." 

What do you mean "dry all day?"

Well any parent who has, who is, or who will go through the process of potty training might understand this as "going in the potty all day."  And that is just what he did, folks.  Went in the potty all day.  When I had to tell him to wear a pull-up for night, he looked at me strange as though I was talking nonsense.

"How dost thee say such a horrid word in my presence?" (My attempt at Shakespeare.)

Yesterday morning he refused to put on a pull-up.  Ok.  So he went in the potty and then very proudly went through three pairs of underpants (Mr. Incredible, Lightning McQueen, and finally Mater Rater) before he was happy and off we went to U-Gro.

And dry he stayed all day ...

And into the evening ... after pooping not once but twice in the potty on his own before bathtime.

He is so proud.  It's awesome.  It was such an amazing feat for him that off he went again this morning wearing his Rex Dinosaur underpants very proudly.  Hopefully we will get another awesome report!

Truthfully, it has been much harder for Michael and I than him.  Let's face it, he wasn't caring where he shit.  It was Michael and I who did.  Never thought I would get so crazy over piss and shit, but all PC'ness aside, that's what this is about.  Piss and Shit.  I knew "it" would all happen sometime and I was more about "letting it happen" than Michael.  Michael wanted it to happen most specifically because he was the one lugging the boxes of Pull-Ups from Costco. 

I had such high aspirations.  I'm British.  I was out of "nappies" before I was 2.  But I was also a girl.  I had a strict mum who sat me on the pot whenevr during the day and an older sister to watch.  I thought, I can do this.  Can't be so hard.  Yep, look up gullible and there I would be.  Max's teacher has been such a lifesaver, Miss "T."  Three cheers for Miss "T." 

Funny part is Max's developing language through all this.  His favorite part in all of this, besides marshmallow or M n M treats, is yelling wherever we may be what he just did.  And sometimes the language is quite funny.  My favorites so far are "crap your pants" or "I'm going to take a big dump."  Feel free to giggle ... I do.  Then reprimand.

I hope this is a turning point for Max and us.  Right now, I'll just glorify in our hard work AND patience. 

May 2nd, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013


Charlie is starting to talk.  It is all still quite muffled, but we can make out certain words.

1.  Wah thah's?
[What's that?]
He will get louder and louder with asking this question until you give him sort of answers even if it is something as simple as a wall.

2.  Puuuhhhs
[Puffs ... as in Reese's Puffs cereal.]
Before you all start lecturing me about giving my kids sugary cereal ... a little bit, say 1/3 cup with milk to satisfy a nightly snack I think is far better than cookies, brownies, ice cream, or candy.  It is whole grain you know.

3.  Mommah, mommah
[duh ... just not funny when he calls daddy this as well.]

4.  Tocks
[Socks, to be used as golf balls with plastic golf clubs.  I know there are socks behind things right now.]

5.  Juh
[Not Lochte's catch phrase, Jeah, but juice.]

6.  bah, bah
[any guesses?  No.  None?  Give up?  Bread.]

7.  boo, boo

8.  No
[That's easy.]

9.  Mehmo
[Your's and my favorite furry red monster.]

Please stay posted for future conversations with this almost two year old.

April 22nd, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's a damn infirmary around here.

Hi there.  My name is Charlie.  I have tubes in my ears.  I also had my adenoids removed.  When they woke me up, I decided to rip out my IV and get blood and saline all over my daddy.  He didn't mind too much.  Since then I have been a bit moody.  Last night I kept mummy up all night.  I also have bad breath.  Mummy says this is from the adenoid removal.  I am drooling like it's my job.  

Just to catch up with me, my big brother decided to run into a big wall at school.  Mummy freaked out on the phone just a bit, but went to get him and took him to the ER.  Luckily, Max only had to have glue put on his head and not stitches.

Just to get a one-up on the situation, Max puked all over Daddy this morning. 

Mummy and Daddy are ready to go back to work tomorrow.

April 14th, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Max has a little friend.

Why when our children have a playmate do we call them, "their little friend?"

Guilty as charged.

Max has a blast at U-Gro on a daily basis that he even asks to go on Saturdays.  Hopefully this trend continues through high school.  Part of the reason he loves it so much is his "little friend."  We'll call him "J."

"J" has a hole in a pair of jeans, therefore when Max puts on his pair with the hole, he declares to me that they are just like "J's."

When we arrive, Max immediately starts asking for "J."

Recently we bought new sneakers.  Max wanted "Cars" sneakers, because "J" had "Cars" sneakers.

Max knows "J's" daddy's truck.

The other morning as I left, "J" walked in with an AWESOME new helicopter toy.  "I want to show Max," he said.

Today at the grocery store, Max declared he wanted chocolate milk and he wanted to drink it like "J."  I have never given Max chocolate milk.  I have known his Mimi to give it to him once who then said he did not like it.  Today, he took down a whole small bottle of the stuff.

If I could just get Max to go in the potty all the time, he could be in the same room as "J."  We're working on it, but they are somewhat inseparable.

April 6th, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

And they're one ...

A year ago this past weekend, march 30th, I was out having a relaxing day on my own.  A little bible study, some coffee, some lunch, a little Hunger Games.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law and his lovely wife were laid up at Lehigh Hospital awaiting the birth of their GORGEOUS little ladies.  And she did it without a c-section folks.  And this past Saturday, our "little ladies" turned one!

How blessed we are with their faces.

April 1st, 2013



Monday, March 25, 2013

Night time is calm time.

Yeah right.

It is as though there little internal alarm clocks go off for the evening.  They run around screaming.  They play catch.  They play with books and dump out legos.  They say they want to sit and watch Abby Dabby but then they try to fly off the couch like Abby Dabby.  Did I mention Michael is wrestling on the floor with them at this point.


Books.  I want this book.  I want that book.  One more book.

"What book do you want to read?"

"This one and this one and this one and this one."


"This one and this one and this one."

"Just one."

"This one and this one."

"I know you can count to one."  (Grimace.)

My whole idea is a nice bath, lotion and jammies, a quick snack, maybe a little bit of the "Street" and then a COUPLE books, as in 2-3, and lights out.  The routine we have designed with the boys is key, yet we sometimes sway, as in the exhibition WWE match that was happening in our living room tonight.  I believe highly in routine and schedules, but ... they were having a great time with Daddy.

So sue me.

March 25th, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Please stop growing.

I remember snuggling with you each evening around 6pm.  I could watch reruns of NCIS or Law and Order and you would catch 20 winks.  Now, you're rip-roaring around the apartment with a vacuum hose or fire truck.
I remember when picking you up under one arm was no big feat. Now I groan as I pick up your thirty and then some pounds of solid boy.
I remember when you were bald.  I remember when you started losing your very dark hair.  Hair cuts are expensive.
I remember night feedings while watching the Kardashians.  Now please just sleep through the night.
I remember making baby food and when my shopping bills were half what they are now.
I remember when you could not talk.
I remember when I had to carry or push you everywhere, now I am trying to keep up.
I am thinking you will both match up in clothing size really soon.
It amuses me when so many people call you twins.
I want you to slow down.
I want you to take a nap in my arms again.
Right now I just want you to nap.

I know you will always be my little boys, but kindergarten is right around the corner.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Snow Day" fun

By 5:41am, my district called off school for the day.  Let me mention not a flake was in sight.   But they swore ... it was coming.

So a fun "snow day" ensued.

Morning snack at 7:45am, since breakfast was at 5:02am.  Trail mix, because what toddler doesn't ask for trail mix?

Some light cleaning.

Lego mess!

Max asks, "Where did the snow go?'
It never came.

In the beach tent

Look at the gorgeous winter wonderland.

We had such a fun day nonetheless!

March 6th, 2013