Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Tis the season

There has been much going on lately, all good (mostly), but I have neither the time nor the energy right now to write it all down. So, these will have to do for now...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas meme

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!

We got this in our email from Steve's cousin, Tony... It's fun - give it a try!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags
2. REAL or FAKE TREE? would rather get real, but use a fake one
3. When do you put up your Christmas tree? the week after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take down your Christmas tree? The week after New Years' Day
5. Do you like eggnog? NOPE!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Don't know - most vivid is the ABBA album my grandfather got for me when I was in highschool... totally NOT what I wanted but loved that he tried!
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? 2 of them, actually.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My mother
9. Easiest to buy for? The kids
10. Worst Christmas present you ever received? Can't remember that one either
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail. To email is sacreligious in my opinion.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Its A Wonderful Life
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Right around Thanksgiving.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Do I really have to admit it?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Grasshopper mint brownies.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear
17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Come All Ye Faithful
18. Staying in town or going out of town? Staying in...
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Danser, Prancer and Vixin, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, and of course, Rudolph. (did I get them all? I always seem to forget one - do the same with the 7 dwarfs as well)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clothes make the man woman?

At school, we won a small victory. It did not appear small, given the whole heap of bantering and bickering and b*tching that has ensued for the last several months, but in the whole scheme of T-H-I-N-G-S, it was not all that important.

At issue was whether or not teachers could wear jeans in the classroom. See what I mean? Rather anti-climactic if you ask me. For all the posturing and pontificating, you would have thought the administration was taking away our prep periods or Christmas break or something. But any problem is a huge problem when it is YOUR problem, and our problem was being told that we were not allowed to wear jeans to work. This was on its way to becoming an all out mutiny! Most of our anger was geared at the idea that this dictate was coming not from the administration, but rather from the parents, and the campus took on the air of "when they start paying me to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe then they can tell me how to dress in my own classroom".

It could have gotten ugly. But, in a fortuitous change of events, the administration decided to rescind the edict regarding the jeans. And there was peace in the land once again!!

I was quick to jump on the renewed "I can wear JEANS" bandwagon and went to work on Monday in a new pair of jeans (quite stylish, I might add - from Tar-jay!!) a cute baby-doll tunic top (also from Tar-jay) and a pair of kick-ass boots! Little shiny black ones with about 3" heels... S-A-S-S-Y!!

And something interesting happened while I was wearing my sassy outfit, walking around in my sassy boots with my sassy new haircut (that is quickly going from "sassy" so "soccer mom", so note to self: make an appointment with Anthony!) I was ready to take on the world!! I got on the phone with lawyers regarding the accident, the body shop who has been sitting on their ass working on the Jetta, getting information and making plans to finally try to get something done in our favor with this whole mess. No one was about to pull the wool over my eyes or try to get anything by me... No Sirree!! Not today - not in my jeans and boots!!!

So this whole "no jeans" thing started because it was feared we would be too casual in jeans at work. "Real Teaching" would not happen if the teachers were in jeans. We would not be at our best if denim made public contact with our thighs.

Ahhh - ye foolish one, I beg to differ. See, sometimes clothes DO make the woman - and in this case, just gimme some jeans, some sassy boots, and back the hell away, boys!! I'm in charge now and I won't take crap from anyone!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Things that really chap my hide:

You are warned - I've got a need to RANT LIKE A BANSHEE!!

The absolute ineptitude of the people around me is astonishing. Now, I don't mean those close around me; family, children, coworkers. I mean those who are more on the periphery. The folks at the Dr's office. I swear - they are all dead from the neck up! Missing paperwork not filed with the insurance company, telling us we don't need this or that form when the insurance company requested it, loosing files... really?? I thought a basic high-school diploma was required for most jobs, but then I forget - I am living in Arizona where the basic high school requirement for graduation is whether or not you can walk and chew gum, or whether or not your new perfect boobs can jiggle on cue.

The adjuster for the insurance company; she's a piece of work. Is full of great promises, like "I will call you back by the end of the day", but I think she is actually living on Saturn where a given day is 116 years long because she never returns the call. N-E-V-E-R.

Her supervisor is not any better. Oh - and they are in Texas. Not that I am picking on Texas, but we live in ARIZONA. One would think that we would have a claims rep who lived, at least, in the same freakin' time zone.

The body shop that has had possession of the car since November 11th. "I'm sorry; we are down a couple of guys". You know what?? I don't flippin care!! It is NOT my problem that you are down workers. What IS my problem is that you sat on my car for nearly 2 weeks and stuck your thumb up your you-know-where for too long and now we will be stuck paying for a rental car because they don't think they can fix Steve's car until... wait for it.... F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y!!!!!

The response from Encompas??

Well, you should have taken it somewhere else. This body shop is not on our "preferred" list.

Excuse me - YOUR adjuster told US where to take the car... we didn't decide anything. Get your freakin' story straight! And its not like we have many options at this point - the car is not drivable!!

Please... those of you who might live elsewhere... restore my faith in humanity. Tell me it is not as bad where you are... please... lie if you must!!

2008 is right around the corner...

Here's a list of things I would like to see if I can do/get done/finish between now and then:

*Get Steve's car either REPLACED or fixed. Seriously - we are on week 5 and still have no answers. If anyone out there has ENCOMPAS for their insurance, SWITCH NOW!! In short, they suck.

*Blog more than once.

*Get my Christmas List off my old PC.

*Get my Christmas cards ordered.

*Get my Christmas cards mailed. (notice a theme there??)

*Get an estimate on the paint job this house so desperately needs. Have had 3 different guys out to "take a look-see", but NO ONE has given me an estimate. Must be nice to not NEED work!!

*Get the outside lights up before New Years Eve, because then we would just have to take them right back down again!
~~An aside on this one - the tree is up - the interior of the house is looking festive, but we look like non-believers from the outside!! And honestly, I am just not all that into the whole decorating thing this year... too much on my plate.

So much to do - only 20 shopping days left till Christmas.... meaning only about 26 days left of this year.

Better start moving quicker!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Too cute not to share!!

I could not resist this mug shot of my favorite chocolate bandit! Christopher has discovered the wonderful world of NUTELLA and tries to eat his English Muffins that have been coated with a generous layer of ambrosia not as a pizza, as most would, but rather as an apple. The following is the result!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

See? Two posts in a month! Aren't you happy??

If you can believe it, we still know nothing in regards to the car, the insurance or any pending litigation that will/could/may result from the accident from over two weeks ago! We did hear that the guy who rode the motorcycle was released from the hospital, so that part is good news. But the rest of story remains shrouded in mystery! Will the car be considered a total wreck? Will Steve be found 100% liable, or just 50% liable because the jackass other driver ran the red light? Will Steve ever be able to turn left again without a twinge of panic? Stay tuned folks...

Is anyone else in a quandary about how we went from Halloween to Thanksgiving in about a day and a half? Maybe I would get more in the mode for "Winter Holiday Season" if I were not still relegated to shorts and sandals because Mother Nature can't quite get it that it is FALL around here! I swear, it is in my DNA to want to wear long pants, wool sweaters and cozy shoes this time of year. But no - we are supposed to reach the mid-80's here today. Again. Which will make 26 days of "unusually warm" weather... meaning something with regards to Global Warming, but I am not sure what. Which is exactly what Arizona does not need; more warming! I know, I know - all of you who are holed up like moles because it is getting too cold to be outside are seething and sending me voodoo dolls telepathically... But keep in mind, we have not been "cool" or dare I say it "cold" for about 9 months now. Its time. We have 6 months of living like moles, too... THIS is supposed to be our cool season. I'm waiting patiently for that to begin.

On the housing front, it seems as though we have settled on a Realtor for this end, and have already procured Realtors for the two other possibilities of where we will/may put down roots. Since the meeting with Realtor #1, another house in our neighborhood has been listed. It's our same house - same footprint at least, and is priced so ridiculously high that it will make our house look like a steal in comparison, so that could bode well for us. As it stands now we will list our house in February most likely. Say a few prayers to the Housing Gods that things will begin to turn around. Our little part of Scottsdale has done a good job of holding value but our DOM (days on market) have gone up a lot.

The kids: They rock! We met with Parker's teacher this week for the conference, and she had a glowing report. He even took part in leading part of the meeting, and he was so impressive, sitting there speaking to us about what he has learned and what he thinks he needs to continue to work on. I was very impressed, as was Steve! Matthew is getting fewer and fewer cubes pulled each week, meaning his behavior is getting better in class. (ok, its not behavior like he is putting little girls' pigtails into the inkwell, but more the not listening, not following directions sort of behavior. You know, just to clarify!) Christopher adds new words to his vocabulary daily! He is still my "Klingon" and hates being dropped off at the sitters in the morning, but they assure me his rants are only for my benefit and once I am fully out of sight, he is fine.

I know I should drop and run in the morning, but I have a small addiction I am trying to stop: STARBUCKS. It's bad, and if I have time in the morning, I just can't seem to drive past without stopping. If I wait at the sitters, I don't have enough time to stop. You see, 'tis the season of the PEPPERMINT MOCHA and that is just too much to ask for me to willingly pass by... and they are SO not good for my relationship with the Scale. SO SO SO not good. This time of year, my will power needs a bit of a boost!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A whole month again?? EEK!

Or, more specifically,


as Christopher has been saying lately.

On Halloween, I was going to dress up like a witch... You know, my normal attire with a broom?? Well, Steve was in a car accident on Halloween (and for the family reading, he's fine - car is not so fine, but Steve is fine other than a smooshed finger) and that sort of thwarted my plans to dress up. Instead, I took some little glittered-out words that I had purchased for the boys and affixed them to my cheek. One side said, oddly enough, BOO and the other side EEEK! Christopher found them to be utterly hysterical and will still poke at my cheeks where the stickers were and go BOO, EEEK! It is really way too adorable for words!

So, we've been traveling, mending broken cars and going on with our daily lives. I came home from CT on a Sunday, blogged, and then packed up to go to North Carolina by Saturday. We were going house hunting... or really more tire kicking, except we were test driving neighborhoods and houses rather than cars. (Test driving cars comes later in the month as we prepare for the possibility of needing to find a new car for Steve).

The long and the short of the trip: Great homes, friendly folks, way-cool beaches, great time had by all... but is it home? Yeah - not so much. Who knows... we are extremely ready to leave this God-forsaken-heat-island lovely desert landscape for literally greener pastures, but whether that is North Carolina or some other East-coast destination has yet to be determined. There is much to be said for lovely and affordable homes, but there is also quite a bit pulling me specifically back to a very familiar landscape where perhaps the homes are older and smaller, but there is just that intangible, undefinable "THING" pulling me back. Time will tell - there is much to do prior to thinking about WHERE to go. Small things, really... like selling this house in a awful, depressed, slumping slower market and finding jobs. Will keep y'all posted, I promise!

So, the car - it looks bad. I know I am a mere layman and have an understanding of where the gas goes, and where the washer fluid goes, and that's about it! But from my perspective, the car is a total loss. The front end met with a motorcycle going way the hell too fast, and trying to beat the red light. By truly some gentle hand of God reaching down, this man survived the accident - after taking the front of Steve's car off, practically, and then hitting another car and then being tossed 50 feet or so without a helmet! Steve walked away, the other driver walked away, and while the motorcycle rider did not walk away, he lived when all sense would have put him as a goner! So that is all very good, but now everything is in the hands of the insurance folks and let's just say that does not leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling!! We have a rental - Steve is driving my car and I am driving a Kia Rondo.

Can I just say - its a great little vehicle!! I'm actually hoping the insurance guys call the Jetta a total loss, because I would love to get one of these- more room that the Passat - drives well.... and its pretty cheap!

As for the rest of us - we're doing well. Quite thankful that it was only steel and engines that were hurt... and now life goes in its constant forward motion! I simply cannot believe that Thanksgiving is rounding the bend with such astonishing speed but it is and so we dive head first into the HOLIDAY SEASON...

Would it be too much to ask for Santa to bring us a new car?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've been poked again!!

It's a good thing Greta reminds me every now and then to update this thing... lately I've nearly forgotten all about it! I have been neglectful, and I know better than to let that happen because it irks me when someone who I enjoy reading does not post updates for a while.

Since we last saw our heroes, Mighty Mom and Champion of Cuteness left the the lair and took a trip of gargantuan proportions; we went back to New England for my high school reunion (the actual reunion number shall remain nameless because I flatly refuse to admit I have been out of school for t-h-a-t long!) We flew on a direct-non-stop flight from PHX to Providence via Southwest (who knew SWA flew anywhere direct-non-stop??) and he was perfect and adorable for the whole flight. In fact, he was perfect and charming the entire trip, save for one day in the middle there where he woke up heaving with a fever of about 102. Angie now knows there is an Urgent Care clinic in Lincoln, RI... and I now know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE her Honda Pilot with navigation system, without which I would probably still be driving around in circles trying to find my way home!!

Prior to this interjection into the trip, everything had been going swimmingly. The flight, while I tossed and turned into a stress-filled pretzel the night before we left, was easy as pie. My visit with Angie was lovely, as always! Chris and her son Evan got along like they had been friends for years! And, I had a totally delightful evening with this lovely lady pictured with me in the photo above. To tell it, it sounds strange - we have been friends since before Parker was born, but this was the first time we had met in person. Such is the world of cyber-groups now, and while it still may seem odd to many to have really great friends with folks you never actually SEE in person, the bonds are still strong and tight and allow for an evening of easy conversation and laughter, just like you get with folks you've known since way-back-when! Karyn is a rock-star, and meeting her in person was absolutely fantastic!!

Back to the incident that nearly ruined the trip... One Ear Infection diagnoses and scrip for Omicef later, and he was right as rain again! I have to give myself a shameless plug here... I don't, as a general rule, do vomiting children. If someone looks like they are going to blow like Vesuvius, I point them in the direction of their father and run for the hills. It's an agreement Steve and I have and it works well - he takes the barfing kids, I take everything else. I think I have the winning side of that deal....

Anyway - I was not able to throw hand Chris over to his dad because Dad was in Scottsdale, and while I probably could have improved on my performance during Chris's heave-fest, I think I did OK overall. Pat, pat, pat....

This little jaunt to the doctor stalled my drive to CT by several hours, but I did get down there on Friday. Stopped by Farmington to register for the reunion and then drove to Elizabeth's house.

All I can say is WOW... first of all, I had no idea that there was town where they live. Eons ago when I lived there it was nothing more than hills. Second, their home is absolutely lovely! Beautifully appointed, great yard, fantastic kids and a great big pooch named Max! Additionally, as evidenced by this picture, he really hated being flanked by two adorable young girls the whole time!

So, how was it to go back to my childhood home? Simply put, it was wonderful. I'll post more thoughts on that later... My fingers are pooped!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Free Style

Anyone besides me watch this show on TV? If not, let me give you a quick synopsis: These designers come into someone's home and give it a complete makeover using only the things they already have in the home - nothing new is purchased.

I like this idea... mostly because its FREE! I'm into FREE... FREE is good!! I like FREE! I also like the idea that most of what the designers do is de-clutter. Its amazing how clutter can creep into our lives. After 6 years of living in one place, its hard to see the clutter for all the clutter!! (Sort of the forest for the trees idea).

So, I called in the expert: Mom.

Her first request was that we remove everything from the family room. Literally - everything. We found dust in areas we didn't know existed, several toys we had given up for dead, some remnants of God Only Knows What, but finally were left with a couch and a rug.

The transformation of the Family Room is complete!! Everything is in a different place, and it looks fantastic.

But, (you knew there was a BUT coming...) these projects have a way of breeding in your head, and before you know it, you have not only redone the family room, but your husband's office, a major part of the Master Bedroom, the storage room and have developed plans to attack the boys' bedroom next weekend.

I can no longer fit my car in the garage (it's been ages since Steve has been able to get his car in) as it is full of cast-offs at the moment. But, the interior of our house has been given a lift. And we, other than arms that want to drag on the ground for lack of any upper body strength to carry them upright, have an uplifted spirit to go with our new rooms!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

He is SO NOT my kid...

Its Sunday. The national or even world-wide day of rest. What do I find Matthew doing? His homework.

That is due Friday.


He wants to turn it in early. Like, tomorrow!

Yeah, he may look a lot like me, but the resemblance ends there!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sea of Sameness? Not when you look closely.

We all know the way time seems to whiz right by our heads, and if we are not completely attuned to the goings on of that time, its hard to recall anything specific that has happened.

This is how I am feeling as of late. I know things happen - I rarely sit down from sun up to sons-down, but when I was gently nudged and reminded that I needed to BLOG EVERY NOW AND THEN (Thanks for the poke, Greta!), I became stymied as to what to write about.

The boys are starting week #4 of school tomorrow. Parker seems to be struggling a bit with the concept of HOMEWORK, but is enjoying school and has been placed in the Advanced Math group. Not exactly sure what constitutes ADVANCED when one is 8, but he's pleased as punch, and I noticed Steve and I both stand a bit straighter when telling others of his turn of events!

Parker continues to love all things sports, and has decided to think about becoming a sportscaster when he grows up. Truly, I cannot think of a more fitting career!

We received a very nice call from Matthew's teacher on Friday. She, the first week of school, sent home a small inventory asking us to let her know all about our child. I took her at her word and sent back an epistle. Evidently, she appreciated my efforts, and called to say that the child I know is the same child she sees in her classroom. She sees him as a very bright, funny and "deep" young man. And, while I am sure that he makes for a challenge in a classroom, I am very pleased that she can see some of the same wonderful qualities that I see. It often times has kept me from strangling him when the "other side' of Matthew pokes forth!

Matthew's current passion, aside from tormenting Parker and his Webkinz, is SPACE and all things Universe-al. He has watched the series THE UNIVERSE from Discovery Channel countless times by now, and can recite by sheer comprehension rather than rote, some of the most amazing facts about planets, stars, galaxies and other celestial phenomenon. Wowza - this kid is bright!

Christopher. Oh, that boy. I know everyone thinks their child is adorable, and I know I did my fair share of gushing buckets over the older two, but there is something about this kid that I just cannot get enough of! He knows his numbers to 10, can recognize them all when he sees them, loves to sing with me when it is time for bed, and knows the majority of the alphabet in order. With my two older kids, staying home full time would have meant for me a very quick trip to the insane asylum. Not so with Chris - I am going back to CT for my high school reunion next month and am already uneasy about leaving him for that long.

Steve does continue to move through time more or less unchanged. The hair is getting more and more gray, he is working on the mid-life bulge, and he is having a very good year so far, sales wise.

I continue to fight as well with my waistline, and running seems to give me the upper hand. I am not taking nearly as many pictures as I'd like right now, but as soon as it cools off enough to actually HOLD my camera outside without burning my palms, I hope to change that. Life with 1 husband, 1 fish, 2 dogs, 2 birds and 3 boys keeps me moving all the time. I don't always stop long enough to look around and enjoy the view... but I do catch glimpses... and hopefully you have enjoyed sharing some of them with me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Got the message, loud and clear!

One week ago today, Christopher turned two. Unfortunately, it really sucks beans when you are the youngest in the family and your birthday falls during the first week back at school, and you come down with a fever-of-unknown-origin on your birthday and birthday cake is the last thing you want to eat.

We have officially entered the Terrifying-Twos. Really, I think the three's are more terrible, but I can certainly understand why the Two's cause so much panic. There's that whole getting-into-EVERYTHING stage, and the development of words, without the necessary oral muscle control to make them comprehensible. So, you get really good at playing a guessing game. Is it Water? Do you want a walk? What on earth are you asking for, child?? HELP MOMMA!!!

With Parker, it was quite comical. He'd babble for something, and I'd try to interpret and would often get a resounding NO, often followed by a look that I swear said "OK, you foolish woman, I am being as clear as possible and you are just dumb as a post!!" He would give up, grab my hand and take me to what he wanted. This second attempt was typically far more fruitful for his efforts!!

We took Chris to the doctor on Monday, 5 days into this low-grade fever and feeling icky stuff only to find that both his lungs and his ears are clear. Its just a random virus, nothing to do but keep him comfortable, it should go away on its own in 7-10 days.

There are most certainly times when you want the doctor to find something if only for the reason that the discovery often leads to something we can actually DO for the child. This was not the case for us and Chris is not any better, babbling through coughing fits, getting royally twerked at us because we can not only not understand him, but are clearly not doing enough to help him feel better!

Last night, he falls asleep on Steve's shoulder downstairs and we get him nestled into bed... where he stays for precisely 45 minutes before waking in a fit of screaming. OK... I go calm him down, and head back to my own bed, only for him to wake up about 30 minutes later. I go back into his room to find him standing in his crib, screaming. I approach, and he hands me his blanket. I pick him up from his crib, he squirms from my arms, toddles his little coughing and crying tuckus over to the door of his room, out to the hall-way, into the guest room, climbs onto the bed and asks for his puppy-bear. He then buries his head under the pillow and drifts back into a fitful sleep.

Yeah... no questions as to what he wanted from me.

It's not exactly what I'd say is my ideal night's sleep, it is pretty wonderful to know that just being next to mom can sometimes be the best medicine.

Monday, August 13, 2007

They are getting so big!

Today was the first day of school for 3/5 of the Jensen family. Parker really thinks that 3rd grade will be fantastic, and all of Matthew's nervousness about 1st grade disappeared, even though he has no one from his Kindy class with him this year. As for Mom, well - it would have gone better had the air conditioning been up to snuff... today reached about 113* and there was virtually no air at school. My class room thermometer read 87 and I was the coolest room on my wing!

But this year, other than the heat, I am getting a reprieve... Rather than have to deal with Middle Schoolers who drive me to want to drink heavily, I will be teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade LRC. This equates to a chance to actually TEACH, and that will be a very nice change!!!

These are some pictures from today - as I passed several busstops on my way to school and noticed tons of Moms and Dads with cameras of all makes and models, I am glad to know I am not the only goober who insists on taking photos of my kids on that first day of school!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Christopher, the caretaker...

I no longer need to worry myself about who will take care of Steve and me in our old age. Matthew has always said that he would be there to take care of us in our dotage, but if he is responsible for our care and feeding, and there's a TV show on he wants to see, we'd starve!!

Christopher is already the family caretaker. The things he does at such a young age just melt my heart... He brings Steve his glasses every morning, gets him a hairbrush after he gets out of the shower, he brings the dogs handfuls of food, in case they are hungry, and will find me my coffee or shoes. He seems to take complete delight in helping others.

At childcare, Nada reports that he is always the one to bring a toy to a crying child, or retrieve one that was tossed on the floor. She has commented more than once that he is such a loving and good-natured child, who seems to have no mean/angry/selfish bone in his body (OK, he's not quite 2, and that latter part might change...)

I wonder where these traits come from. Does he watch and learn from others, or are they innate within his being?? Do we have a future pediatrician or veterinarian on our hands?? It is amazing to watch them all grow and change and develop, and I have to say that I am both humbled and delighted with the path we are watching Christopher start to walk down!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Oh, Darling, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Oh, dear friend, Starbucks... has it come to this?? Why, oh why, after years of a faithful and loving relationship, must it come to this?? The pain, the sorrow.... the aching of my stomach after a grande carmel frappachino is more than I can bear...

I've come to the realization that I cannot enjoy Starbucks anymore. Oh, let me rephrase - I enjoy - I just pay for it twice. Once, at the counter and then for hours later. I came upon this realization with clarity yesterday, but if I am honest with myself and my 3 readers, I've been suspicious of this issue for a while.

In an effort to be a tad more frugal, I stopped going (daily) so frequently before school was out in June. I've walked into a Starbucks probably 5 times since then, most often deciding on a tea-based lemonaide. The two times that I decided to get "a little something with caffiene", I have majorily regretted it later.

At least I will save both time ane money by skipping my trip to Fourbucks before school. There IS something to be said for that, at least!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Its over, and I'm sad...

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows tonight. I'm rather proud of myself that I plowed through a nearly 800pg book in less than a week, but now I am left with this very empty feeling. I devoured the book, but now wish I had taken it slower -sort of like the Ice Cream Sundae you'd get as dessert as a kid and practically eat it in one gulp because it was SOOO GOOOD, but then be regretful when it was gone?

What to do with myself now??

I've been looking forward to this book all summer. Put my name in to the local bookstore to reserve a copy. Got it last Saturday, though I refused to wait in line for anything after sneaking out of Miss Porters with Hilary once to stand in line for U2 tickets (we go them, we went, it was worth it, but we were 17, not 38!!)

The story was great - I am satisfied with the ending, how everything wrapped up in the end, but I do feel a bit as though I've said goodbye to a friend. I'm not a huge PotterManiac or anything, but I've enjoyed watching (reading about) this trio of friends grow up, beating the bad guy despite some harrowingly near-misses... and I've enjoyed the fantasy of it all.

I've actually plowed through 9 books so far this summer. Some were great, some were fun, some were like sticking needles in my eye, but I was determined to finish them. This one was like a big, LONG roller coaster ride and now that its over, I am torn between standing in line for another ride, only to fear being disappointed, or just wait it out until the desire really strikes again to crack the binding of another new adventure.

I seriously doubt, however, that the thrill of this 7-series ride will be duplicated any time soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Same Old, Same Old...

There's not much happening in the land of Jensenville. The boys continue with swim practice daily, Chris is still making Napping an Olympic sport and I play both clean-up crew and referee with style, if not much grace lately.

There are 17 days until school begins. Where the time has gone is anybody's guess. We've had a nice repreive lately, weather-wise, as our Monsoonal patterns have actually developed this year. We have not seen temps over 100 for the last 5 days or so, which is a welcomed relief! What is odd, though, is that our humidity levels are higher than those in Minnesota!! Its been downright sticky lately... but I will gladly take that over searing heat. Yes - most of the time it may be a "dry heat" but then again, so is a forest fire...

I've been logging on average 20 activity points for the last several weeks... this means, approximately, 5 hours of physical activity, or 20 miles per week. I ran my personal best yesterday on the treadmill.... 4 miles in 48:04. My last PB was 40:40, so I shaved "36 off my time. Was pleased to be able to finish up the last .3 miles at a 6.0 pace. My friend Terri normally runs at that pace - and sprints at an 8.0. In my dreams, maybe... but she's good inspiration!!

Christopher has learned to "sing" lately. Its adorable, if not a bit hard on the ears. He is also beginning to recognize numbers, and has 3,4,5, and 6 down cold! Matthew lost his other front top tooth and really looks like a tooth-less wonder as the other top tooth has not really started coming in yet. No corn on the cob for Matt, for a while!! Parker continues to amaze us with his talents for both swimming and baseball. We've littered our neighbors back yards with fly-balls and need to wait until they return from vacation to retreive them.

It seems like things don't really change much around here. Perhaps that's a good thing...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Make that 4 large laundry baskets of clothes donated to the Church... I started on my closet as well!!!

I actually parted with a sweater circa 1989 that came 1/2 way down my thighs with this big ole cowel neck that I used to wear with leggings underneath. Watch - the fad will return in about 10 years, but the moths were the only ones having fun with that sweater, so it was time to say Adieu!!

Sole Purging

I used to LOVE watching Oprah when I found myself with nothing better to do at 3pm. The last several years of her show have been really great at times - fun interviews with celebs, helpful hints for making life better. I am, however, rarely free at 3pm. Thank heavens for TiVo!

Yesterdays' show, which I enjoyed this morning over coffee, was all about getting rid of the clutter. I quickly turned up the volume on this one!! It seems that a household with 5 humans, 2 canines and 2 avians can collect STUFF. Amazing, huh? Betcha have a hard time relating??

The guest is an author and a rather funny Aussie, and he takes delight in entering the domestic chaos of people's homes and transforming them into works of organizational genius. I am free to admit that I walk through the Container Store and drool, but alas have nay an organizational bone in my body. (Lucky for me, Steve has quite a few, but I've just about abliterated them in 10 years of marriage!) I would love to be clean, clutter free and organized, but was raised by a self-proclaimed pack rat (Dad) and one who espouses the "scorched earth" style of organization (Mom). I'm very confused as I am deeply embedded and stuck inbetween the two worlds.

Yesterdays' show gave me a start... I caught the last 10 minutes yesterday, and was inspired by just those mere moments to attack my makeup drawer. No small feat, I might say!! It took under an hour, but I cleaned out not only my cosmetics, but my under-the-sink-depository for all things that have no home.

I filled the garbage can, and felt 15 lbs lighter!

Today it was the boys' room. (EEEK!!) I have a complete dislike (loathing) for laundry. I don't mind the gather, sort, wash, dry, fold part. I detest the putting-it-away part!! Why? Well, it could be from having to jam clothes into drawers that are already bursting. Today, we found the solution!!

I employed the boys in the task of tossing out everything in their drawers (they loved this part) and going through each article of clothing, piece by piece. (The did not love this part) In the end, we filled (STUFFED) two laundry baskets with clothes they either can't wear or don't like anymore, and we filled another one with books they no longer want to read. We folded, labled and organized ourselves silly!

After my 3 mile run at the gym, we dropped off all our cast-aways at their repective donation-spots and can now enjoy drawers that not only have room for the clean clothes, but are now organized enough that we can SEE what we have.

Truly - I feel lighter!!

Next stop: The storage room!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Added to mention - for those who might be worried what ever happened to Christopher's finger, upon close inspection of previously posted photo, you can see that it has grown back in nicely.

Into the mouths of babes...

There is a wonderful blog for all you mommies out there - Sparx is the author and she is absolutely hysterical! Wonderful wit, teriffic use of words... and her son "spud" has many similarities to my little bubbah.

Today's antics into all-things-spud begins with his affinity for her coffee, and the occasional can of beer. We have the same strange delights in our house as well. Christopher becomes visably and audibly annoyed if I do not share my things with him... namely coffee, the phone and any alcoholic beverage that happens to be within reach (either his or mine). He tosses back an (empty) longneck with surprising grace for one so young... he also shows a preference for white wine over red, but in a pinch will gleefully sip a Cab right along with us.
(The age-old trick of letting them taste wine because they won't like it?? Yeah, that worked for Parker, but was worthless with Matthew and Chris!)

I've often wondered where they get the idea and then the desire to actually consume these "adult beverages". I've spent quite some time (nearly 6.5 years in fact) believing that is was some rogue gene in my offspring that led them to their atypical toddler tastes. Comforting is the fact that, evidently, this phenomenon is not unique to my children - even 'across the pond" they have issues that raise eyebrows...
Makes me wonder what parlor tricks they will come up with later in life.
*please note: this photo shows Chris with his two favorite things - my phone and my morning coffee!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mr. 8 turns EIGHT!

Happy Birthday to the boy who made me a Mom!!! 8 years ago today, after a greuling 18 hour labor, 2 epidurals and tons of swear words, you made your way into the world, just a bit after midnight and turned your Dad and I from just husband and wife into parents.

The last 8 years have been wonderful, filled with love and joy and frustrations and worry and angst and delight and pride.... often all at the same time! You paved the way for your brothers, and will most certainly bear the brunt of being "first" for everything. So far, you are blazing the trail marvelously.

I am delighted by what you can do, by who you are becoming and by what I see in your future. You have so much talent that you, thankfully, inhertied from your father (athletic prowess being one) and yet I also see much of myself in you.

Happy Birthday, dear Charles Parker... and many happy returns of the day! I love you more than there are words.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Invasion of the body swtichers

We have been witness to a strange and unusual occurrence around here lately. Being one who believes strongly in the whole "family systems" theories, I know that we each have "roles" in the family. All families have them - one's the "perfect child", one is the "black sheep", one may be the "peacemaker" while another is the "screw-up"... you can probably pick out each one in your own family of origin.

Where it becomes odd is when the roles begin to change. For the last 6.5 years, Parker has been the "never stray far from the line" kid, while Matthew is the "marches to his own beat" kind of kid. For years we suspected that Matthew may have a hearing problem - his name would need to be repeated in rapid-fire succession about 8 or 10 times for the sound to penetrate into his brain, and then it took a bit more time for the brain to alert the body that a reaction was required. Forsight is not his strongsuit. Honestly - neither is reacting.... he just moves at his own pace, when the mood strikes him and is generally a very happy if not frustrating kiddo.

Parker has been "analytical boy" since day 1. He follows the rules, imposes stiffer punishments that either Steve or I would dream of, and has been one to do exatly what was asked of him.

That is, until lately.

Something has happened to old Mr. Nearly Eight. He's acting more like "Mr. Nearly 14" or something. He's grouchy, disinterested, has actually been overheard muttering "Yeah... what-ever!".

And even more amazing? Matthew is now becoming Mr. Responsible, Mr. On-Top-of-Things, Mr. Reliable.

Family systems theory in practice!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Comfort in numbers

No - not the scale kind of numbers... that beast continues to torment me, showing me nothing other than my ability to maintain my overweightedness quite well. I am still exactly where I was before Thanksgiving.

I mean working with others brings you comfort, motivation, encouragement... The FF gals have started another summer challenge - how physically active you can be over a specific timeframe to increase one's overall health (and hey - if I shed either pounds or seconds off my 5K time, I will be thrilled!)

What is comforting is knowing that if I slack off, my team will suffer. It gives me that little push I need to get my sorry behind out of this desk-chair and to the gym, where it belongs!! For some reason, its just not enough to do it on my own...

The kicker will be if I can continue this pace once school starts again. It is my goal to get at least 20 points per week. (A point is earned through 15 minutes of activity, every mile walked or run, and/or reaching 10K steps in a day. My max so far was 6 points in a day) So far, I have met that goal 2 of the last 3 weeks. I'm on track to make it again this week.

At the end of this challenge, I sure do hope to be celebrating by wearing my happy size!! It's closer than its been in years.... I'm just not quite there yet...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What is old is new again!

We may have had the upper-most seats in the entire arena, but Steve and I were THERE last night . . . The Police!! I've been trying to remember if I saw them live back in high school, and I know I wanted to, but can't remember if we even got tickets. I remember seeing The Cars, U2, Journey, and Rush all "back in the day".

For a trio of grey-haired fellas pushing 60, Man, can they still ROCK!! The concert was wonderful. It was a fun visit with old friends, and the band played with some ad-libbing solos that are woefully lost at a concert with many of today's bands. (If I wanted to hear the music exactly as it appears on the album, I would simply play the album really loud)! Its funny to see Steward Copeland with a mass of grey hair, and age spots covering the hands of Andy Summer, but they sounded just as fantastic now as they did then.

What a great date night! While it was fun to relive my youth, my constant yawning at the late hour and the earplugs I brought to protect my hearing were proof that while Sting still looks hotter than ever and can glide around the stage with the age and stamina of a teenager, I am fiercely distant from my "stay up all night, loud as you can get it" youth.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Peaceable Kingdom

Today was the first full day of what will be about 8 weeks of summer vacation. I have had to break up three fights so far, although really, I could have probably stayed out of it. There was no blood, no broken bones, just lost of screaming and two very red faces. Had they not been making such a racket while Christopher was trying to sleep, I would have been more apt to just let them wear themselves out. I'm assuming today was a glimpse into the future for the remainder of our time off.

Last night was an exercise in both frustration and disgust. The original plan was for the whole family to go out to dinner to celebrate the end of the school year. Steve called around 5:45 and was still over 200 miles away, so we went for Plan B. My first mistake was asking the boys where they wanted to go. Hoping against hope they would choose something like Applebees, you can imagine the look on my face when they both sprang to life with "Chuck E Cheese!!!".

I did a quick mental inventory - games, safe place for Chris to run around, decent enough food - "Ok -sure! Let's Go!"

That was my first mistake. Under normal circumstances, CEC is not my favorite place to spend time, but the kids do like it so we parents just put up and shut up. In hindsight, however, my sensibilities should have gotten the better of me and put an end to the idea before it took root.

The first night of summer vacation? Really? I agreed to this?

It was crowded. Given. The service was horrible. Not surprising. The whole experience terrified Christopher to the point of him literally trying to climb inside my shirt and refusing to remove his face from its spot, firmly implanted into my neck.

And the bug that attacked us last weekend? Well, evidently it is making the rounds across the Valley, because there was "evidence" literally all over the floors.

I let the kids play out their tokens, get their prizes, we boxed up the cardboard pizza in a cardboard box and went home. Chris finally came up for air, the kids had fun and I guess in the end it was not so horrific. It was just not exactly how I had invisioned the first night of summer to be.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sing it with me....

"No More Homework...
No More Books...
No More Teacher's Dirty Looks...


Need I say more?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Road to Recovery

Wouldn't it figure that everyone but the Mom is doing just fine today? I went to work, and felt pretty good this morning, but by lunch time I was fading fast. I knew I put a small sofa in my classroom for a reason - it made for a nice napping spot after lunch.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I've been counting toward this day for the last 178 days of school. I honestly think the teachers need summer more than the kids at this point. I know I said it last year, but this has been a particularly tough year. Even our veteran teachers are looking peaked and haggard.

I have packed up my room with the hope that I find a better job over the summer. I won't move everything home, as that would ensure to the gods of fate that I would certainly return to my school.... but if I do "have" to move classrooms, at least its just a pick-up-and-go situation.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The ICKS have hit the family

It started with Chris on Thursday night (ok, and me too). Major gastrointestinal distress. Chris was visited by the lovely Puke Fairy. I stayed home with him Friday.

Weekend progressed well, till yesterday. The rest of us got hit with the bug Chris had Thursday. I've been doing laundry like a madwoman during those few times I've been able to drag my own sorry self out of bed.

I think this is the exact same bug we all had about a year and a half ago. Excpet then Matt did not get it then. He wasn't so lucky this time around.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Its Memorial Day weekend. 2 years ago, Dad was still with us, walking around, watching the Indy 500 with diligence.

Dad's been very much on my mind this weekend - we watched the Indy in his honor (and Parker loves all those cool cars... plus we have some 6th-degree of seperation thing going with Danika Patrick) I actually enjoyed the bits of the race that i saw...

Then, I spent most of the afternoon in the pool. Dad would have been proud... We had this barnacle-looking gunk building up along the waters edge. Its mostly calcuim and salt deposits from our lovely hard water. So, today I took a putty-knife to it and scraped it all off. It reminded me of the annual spring cleaning Dad would do of the pool in CT. Dad would have liked that I did it myself and did not ask the pool guy to do it for me.

The boys were even talking about Dad this weekend.... It makes me so glad they still remember him.

I hope your memorial day is spent reflecting on all we have and being thankful of those who have given all they have so that the Dream can live on...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Birthday Woe

Its getting to be that time again -

Birthday Party Planning for Parker.

How did birthday parties become Birthday Parties??

I had parties every year, but small ones, just a few friends (like, oh, 3 or 4) and it was at home. I think we have a unique (at least I hope its unique and not ubiquitous across the nation) "one-upping the Jones's" thing here in Scottsdale where the bigger and more extravagant the party, the better. I feel like a heel having a swim party with a barbeque in the back yard because the bar has been set to rent out this space or that space and invite 100 kids.

I refuse to participate. Parker does want his party at a place called "Line Drives" which has indoor batting cages. We will think about it, but he will be limited to 5 or 6 friends.

And while I am on the topic of things gone crazy, what's up with the favors?? Those are way out of control as well. I think its enough to invite a kid to a venue and feed them and babysit them for 2.5 hours. I know we apprecite the fact that our kid's friends actually come to the party, but must we GIVE them something as well?? Really??

I think this year our invitations will read "in lieu of gifts for the birthday boy, please bring unwrapped gifts for the children's wing of Scottsdale North Hospital" or something like that.

Perhaps I will get laughed out of town by all the ne'er-do-well moms. But then, perhaps I might just make them think.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yesterday, our school psychologist gave me an article from the Wall Street Journal that detailed out exactly why I am so unbelieably frustrated as a special ed teacher. We are powerless as teachers, administrators and schools, to do what is right, not only for the student in question, but for the community of students. What the following video fails to mention (and I find that interesting for many reasons) is that for years, the school, the psychologist and the district recommended alternative placements for this child, and the parent would have nothing to do with that. And, in the end, the parent won.

Its a rhetorical question, but I am forced to ask WHY?

Watch this - its about 3.5 minutes long.--->> Educating Eric

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

8 random things

I've been tagged now by Nancy and JennT. If you are not either Nancy or Jenn, then consider yourself tagged and add 8 random things to your own blog (and then send me a link!)

1) I just got new business cards for my photography biz. The baby's foot (Chris was my willing model) is adorable and I love it, but it does limit me to babies. Not that I mind, but if we go through a dry spell of pregnant women or wrinkly newborns, I'd rather not get left out in the cold. (or heat. Its officially HOT here now...)

2) There are many things I will not miss about GWB when he leaves office. Actually, there is nothing I will miss... but one thing I hope gets changed with lightening speed is our nation's thoughts about special education. This is coming from a special education teacher, to please don't flame me by telling me I have no idea what I am talking about... We've got to rethink this whole idea of including kids with regular kids when there is justifiable reason to keep them seperate. I could seriously care less about the spirit of the law on this one, but when one student who should be educated in a seperate environment is hindering the education of other students just because we don't want to "Exclude" anyone, I have a big problem with that. BIG. Its been my rant of late...

3) Same goes for this "Open Enrollment" crap that our district embraces. If we accept a thug into our school (who reason would say has not been successful in his/her home school) and we loose a good kid because of that thug, well, we are at net-zero as far as dollars go. Only, we are now left with a school of thugs because the good kids have all left for other schools.

4) I don't have enough to do, so I am joining the Board of the USC Alumni Association/Phoenix chapter.

5) Parker has only 2 baseball games left this season. Baseball has been a resounding success here!

6) Can I just mention once again that Grammar Girl is my hero??

7) Matthew has now lost 3 teeth. He looks crooked because his teeth make a right-triangle in his mouth.

8) If there is Karma in this world, can it just say I've paid my dues to society and find me a teaching gig with some "regular" kids next year??

Monday, May 14, 2007


I sent the following email to my dear friend, Nancy; a woman who has the most wonderful way with words and is an editor/writer in her free time. I decided to open it up to the hordes of folks who hang on my every word as well...

Two things...

1) Have you come across "grammar girl" in iTunes? I'm addicted. She is my hero. The frustrated Engligh-teacher inside of me has scads of lessons all worked out in my head using Ms. GG. Sadly, in my head they shal remain because I am pigeon-holed into the job of trying to teach a group of hoodlums who do not want to learn. That discovery, however (GG) leads me to question #2...

2) Do you have the difinitive explaintion for why people should use "finished" rather than "done"? My friend in college put it in terms I simply cannot use with my students, namely, "Turkeys and whores are done; people are finished". I try to use "batch of cookies" to replace the more colorful terms, but would love to find the actual reasoning behind this rule.

Any thoughts??

The latter quirk in the English language is really a sticking point for me. In the same manner as "can I go to the bathroom" leads to "I don't know - it sounds like a personal question to me", I am forced by some unseen entity to rephrase my students, and even waitstaff, when I hear "I'm/Are you done". Its nails on a chalkboard to me. And while I can explain pet peeve #1 (can/may) I am stimied at done/finished. I'd love some ideas on that.

Speaking of words, I do have something to be quite thankful for. (and yes, reader, I intentionally ended a sentence with a preposition. So shoot me already... there are times to sound proper and stuffy and there are times to just write, and this is no time for stuffiness) Christopher is gathering words into his little vocabulary with amazing speed right now. He loves to name off body parts (head, ear, toe, shoe) and is trying to name his toys as well.

My thankfullness comes in the form of the word "TRUCK". I am thankful that at this tender age he is not even going to attempt the /tr/ phoneme, which is far too advanced for him in an articulation sense. His brothers all tried it way too early in life, meaning I held my breath in fear every time they played with a truck. God forbid someone, such as an orderly, should ASK my dear sons what they were playing with, such as a truck, in a public place, such as a hospital waiting room. Because, the Jensen boys are more than willing to answer questions when asked, and they answer with gusto - and you can imagine the looks I got from those answers...

No - Christopher veers away from his brothers in may ways. Not the least of which is the fact that a "truck" to Chris is simply a "tuck".

Thank god for small favors. Or phonemes...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

5 weeks - coming out of hiding now...

Its been about 5 weeks since Easter - I try to be better at this than I turn out to be. Good intentions, and all that...

I've decided the last quarter of school each year is basically a wash of insanity, exhaustion and frustration. It started 3 years ago - it's the same now. To go into detail would just exhaust me again, but let's say that being a "tenured" teacher ain't all its cracked up to be. I've been pigeon-holed into a job I want to get out of, and it appears I am stuck.

In these 5 weeks, we fostered a BMD pup for a family going through a very rough patch. Bentley made fast friends with Schooner and we were all pleased to see that she actually grew up when she was no longer the baby in the house. Keep your fingers crossed that it's a one way street!!

To top off my somewhat foul mood, we have had temps over 100* for the last 3 days. Eventually, we will get used to it and 104 will be a welcomed relief from 118, but in the interim we are all hot, sweaty and cranky. Me, probably most of all.

I was sidelined with a foot injury about a month ago - I developed Plantar Faciitis in my right foot. I am now seeing signs that I may actually HEAL someday, but I've been unable to run and that has really not done good things for either my overall demeanor or my waistline. I am both pleased and somewhat amazed that I am still comfortably in my "one size bigger than I want to be" shorts so no too much damage has been done. I started back this last week on the treadmill and so far so good. I've said a million times that I will let my head, not my ego, determine how hard I run. One day I might just remember to do that!

While not running, I have gotten back on my bike lately, and that's been good. As a Mothers Day treat for myself, I explored a new land - the famous Scottsdale Greenbelt. It's roughly a 2.5 mile ride TO the Greenbelt and then I rode probably another 4 miles or so down the belt. Its lovely - makes you forget you are in the desert - grass, lakes, trees, shade... I thought at first I went about 11 or 12 miles, but I generally keep a 15mph pace on flat roads, and this was flat. I'm thinking it was closer to 13 or 14 miles. Now that I finally got my little GPS gadget to work, I will be able to actually TELL you just how far, how fast and how hard my heart worked in the process...

I love numbers!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter Everyone

Just loved the picture from Easter and wanted to share with my 3 readers... I hope each of you had a blessed Easter or Passover.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Date!!!

Steve and I went out, by ourselves, to dinner on Thursday. In most parts of the world, I think they call that a date. Its been so long since the last time we were out together, sans enfants, that I could be rusty on my terminology.

I feel compelled to confess my food-choice sins, as Nancy is being so open and honest about her poor choices, and confession is good for the soul, and misery loves company, so I hope that, at least, Nancy feels better after reading this...

Now, before I go into full-blown confession mode, let me please, for the record, state that: I have been running regularly of late, except for the last 4 days while I am waiting for my shin to stop hurting. Additionally, with Steve's parents here and my going back to work, I have been leaving all meal preperation to my mother in law, who, God bless her, has been making sure the family gets fed at night. Beggars cannot be choosers - all thought about "light and fit" meals have been tossed out the window lately and I am revelling in "midwestern fare". This negates all good things I have done while running. Or, not running...

Back to my date. We went to The Keg, and had a most delightful time. I threw caution and calorie counting to the wind. My meal consisted of: 2 large shrimp with cocktail sauce, Ahi-tuna appetizer, 5oz of my 9oz filet that was smoothered with scallops, more shrimp, asparagus spears and the most amazing Bernaise sauce, a twice-baked potato and topped off with something lucious and smothered in chocolate.

The waitress was delightful, and even asked if we were "finished", rather than the all-too-often used "DONE", which just chaps my Grammar Girl hide to no end.. and the ambiance was lovely.

I'm sure I will need to run a marathon to undo all the damage from that one meal, but every now and then its SO worth it to live large and enjoy. Life is short. It flies by in an instant... to quote Steve's hero "If you don't stop to look around every now and then, you might miss it."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sleep well, sweet girl...

Sad day today. It was a day I knew was coming, and yet still was harder to face than I had imagined.

We had to say goodbye to Maddy today. She lived for 9 years and 3 months. Old by Berner standards, but not nearly long enough.

Touted by all who knew her as the worlds' greatest dog, she was kind to everyone, well mannered, sweet and loving, protective and fiercely loyal. I have no doubt that, if the need had ever arisen, she would have laid down her life for any one of us. She gave us everything she had to give, and asked only for a cozy spot next to us to sleep.

But in the end, we had to do what was best for her, regardless of how painful it is for us. She was suffering, and clearly in pain. Wasting away literally before our eyes, she was no longer able to wag her tail - pain or exhaustion, or a combination of both prevented that. She was not able to be the dog she had been, and looked at us as if to ask us to make it all stop. This morning, I could take it no more. The vet agreed with my take, and she will be burried in Mom's yard, next to her brother, Spencer.
We will miss you, Maddy... There will never be another dog as amazing as you.
Swiss Star's Great Expectations, aka Madison.
January 9th, 1998 - April 2, 2007.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Update on Franken-Finger boy

Day 2 of mummy-hand is going OK. He slept well during the night, for which I am eternally thankful. He woke cranky at first but when I went to get him out of his crib, I noticed the poor bloke had his leg caught in the bars of his crib.

I think he needs to get back to childcare so that he does no further damage to himself while under my care....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Warning: Not for the faint of heart...

We've had a rough couple of days around here. More accurately, Christopher has had a rough couple of days. Matthew is running a close second. We need to go back to school to make sure we don't kill ourselves!!

Spring break began with a call from the school nurse to come get "your son" because he had thrown up all over the science room. "Which son" was asked, but the messenger had no idea. Call to find out it was Matthew. Grandpa and Grandma were arriving this day - what a grand welcome - say a quick HI from afar as not to get sprayed... Luckily, it worked its way through his system by Saturday night.

Sunday, with me no more than 10" from him, Christopher fell into the pool. I knew it would happen... but your heart still stops for a second when it does. I took two steps and was able to yank him to the surface by his shirt. He was angry and scared and very wet and cold, but survived OK.

Today, again with me just thismuchtoofar away, he was sitting in one of our patio chairs. Hangin' out, chatting with Grandma, watching the birds fly.... then he decided to stand. The chair had other ideas and he went toppling head first off the back of the chair.

More specifically, he went hand-first. His left hand broke the fall, and in the meantime the fall broke the finger. And - warning, here's the be ready for it or skip this part - tore off his middle fingernail. I have to stop and shake my hands just reliving it... Whole thing - gone - OUCH TO HOLY HELL.....

He screamed, there was blood everywhere, we tried valiantly for what felt like days to get it bandaged and stop the bleeding. The big boys were really amazing, calm, called both their father and dialed the doctors office...

4 hours later, the hand was still bleeding. Not really badly, but enough to warrant a call to the doctors office again and a visit, which lead to the emergency room to make sure he did not do more damage. He didn't - just what we had originally thought... got all cleaned up and bandaged to look like mummy-hand and off we went.

Poor kiddo - franken-finger and mummy-hand... luckily he will never remember. Unfortunately, I will never forget....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Things don't always turn out as planned...

It has become a weekly ritual. Saturdays I threaten the boys to within an inch of their lives that they need to get their rooms cleaned by a certain hour or I will be up with an enormous trash bag and toss everything that is not in its rightful place. It usually takes tremendous cajoling, more than one vailed threat and lots of yelling, but the room gets cleaned.

This was not the day for them to try my patience. I woke with the general demeanor of an orgre this morning and it was NOT a day to mess with me. They were well warned. If the tone of my voice was not sufficient, the dagger-stares that shot from my eyes all morning should have tipped them off. I was trying my best to be patient while seething over inside. At the appointed hour, rather than hearing the frantic attempts at beating the clock, they boys were in the yard "helping" their dad with cleaning out all the dead remnants of our hard freeze back in January.

Remember, folks, today mom was truly an ogre.

Remember, they had been warned.

Remember, they knew they were up against the clock.

Today, the clock expired on them. It took 2 large, drum liner, 50-gallon sized bags, and I was ruthless and tossed nearly everything that was not nailed down. I was devoid of any emotional attachment that either the boys or I would have to any particular thing. It all went, with satisfying crashes, into the bag of doom.

I expected tantrums.

I expected cries and pleas and tears.

I got...

"gosh, mom, I think I like it better this way".

I saw that all playing out very differently in my head....

Friday, March 02, 2007

Definitive Reasoning behind Teacher Shortage

Robert Frost is my absolute favorite poet, ever! I could read about mending fences or swinging on birch trees or yellow woods for days on end. I should have followed his advice and taken the road less travelled by, because the one that is well trodden has led to nothing but dead ends, red tape and frustrations.

4 years ago, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I had thoughts about it earlier in my life, applying to only 2 colleges with specific majors in mind (USC as psych and BC as education, for those keeping score at home), and after a lifetime of other roads taken, I found myself back where I started.

So, how, exactly, do you go about being a teacher after a lifetime of other roads taken? Certainly at my age, going back for a BA in ED is out of the question. Too costly in both time and money for a degree that would, in essense, make me repeat the same classes I took at SC. I was not entering into this phase of my life empty handed - I had my BA plus my MA in Counseling. 7 years of schooling. Certainly, someone would find me qualified to teach, right?


Ok, fine - I get this - play along... I go back for a second Masters. I hear my father cringing from many zipcodes away... will this child EVER get out of school??? My program promises me, before I attend my first class by the way, that at the end of it all, I will be able to be certified in both Special Ed as well as Regular Ed. Cool. Kill two birds with one stone. Great!

The classes are boring, mundane and make me long for the ivy covered walls of some wonderful Jesuit institution (I've attended two, and loved both) but I go through it. Jumping through hoops. Get it.. playing along...

I graduate. Yipee!! I get my first job as a special education teacher. Yipee. That was 3 years ago. In that time, I have had to prove myself qualified 4 times, been observed 8 times, been asked to submit transcripts 2 times, and had to deal with the most frustrating population of students on the planet. If I am lucky, I teach the same thing only 5 times, in 5 different ways, until they get it.

Now, I would like to see how the other half lives. I'm not exactly burned out in special ed, but definately smouldering.

Again, let's review - (1) 4-years degree, (2) 3-year masters' degrees and now (3) years in the classroom. With me so far? Now, in order to prove myself "qualified" to teach regular ed kids, because evidently they require more than special ed kids do (????), I have to take another state test, to the tune of $135 (remember folks, we are still paying off the Masters that started it all, and I've already paid to take 2 of these tests, as well as 3 additional classes).

I pass. Yippee!!! (truly, it was not hard. If I had not passed, I'd have crawled under a rock)

I take my new test score sheet, my contracts showing hire date, my additional $120 to pay the state for the certificate and march down to Dept. of Ed.

Do I walk out with my certificate??


I now need additional original transcripts as well as letters from the Superintendant or his designee, stating exactly when and where and to whom I have been teaching for the last 3 years. Maybe then, MAYBE, I will get my certificate to teach regular ed.

And we wonder why we can't hire competent teachers. Seriously.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I put little faith in the "Fill out these questions and we will tell you all about YOU" sites. They can be entertaining and yet often just fall flat.

Imagine my surprise when I went to "Which Birth Order Are You", thinking myself oh, so clever and trying to fool them because I'm an only child...and instead I saw this...

You Are Likely an Only Child
At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

Ok - the organizing bit is really deep in there - in my "inner" me, its just that the inner me is burried under piles and piles of junk, trying desperately to push through. On the surface, it looks like she's loosing the war. Not sure my mark will have anything to do with organization - but then - maybe the computer-psychic sites know me better than I know myself...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Poll by numbers

Stolen from a message board, which was stolen from a Blog...

10 Favorites:
Favorite Color: Moss green
Favorite Food: Really good Pizza
Favorite Month: October
Favorite Song: Breathe (2am)
Favorite Movie: The Breakfast Club
Favorite Sport: College Football
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Day of the week: Saturday
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip
Favorite Time of Day: That sort of twilight time between the sun setting and darkness.

9 Currents:
Current Mood: Sleepy
Current Taste: Old Navy Style
Current Clothes: PJ's
Current Desktop: Kids and I with Mickey
Current Toenail Color: Au Natural
Current Time: 8:05am
Current Surroundings: My Office
Current Thoughts: Worrying about Taxes and a little girl fighting cancer named Lily.

8 Firsts
First Best Friend: Liz Lattimer
First Kiss: Alan Potter
First Screen Name: CAJensens
First Pet: Mini Schnauzer named Topper
First Piercing: Ears - 8th grade
First Crush: a 5th grader named Heath when I was in 4th grade.
First CD: Synchronicity - by the Police

7 Lasts:
Last Cigarette: Never
Last (alcoholic) Drink: Sam Adams beer, last night
Last Car Ride: Yesterday, running errands
Last Kiss: Last Night - Steve
Last Movie Seen: in a theatre?? Flushed Away
Last Phone Call: Mom
Last CD Played: Jimmy Buffet

6 Have You Evers:
Have you ever broken the law: Yes
Have you ever been arrested: No
Have you ever dated a good friend: Yes
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: Yes
Have You Ever Been on TV: Yes
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: No

5 Things:
Thing You're Wearing: PJ's from Target
Thing You've Done Today: Gotten out of bed (its still early)
Thing You Can Hear Right Now: Dog, sniffing the carpet
Thing You Can't Live Without: Family
Thing You Do When You're Bored: I'm doing it right now...

4 Places You've Been Today:
  • Bathroom
  • Computer
  • Kid's room
  • Bed

3 People You Can Tell Anything To:

  • Angie
  • Steve
  • God

2 Choices:
Black or White: White
Hot or Cold: Cold

1 Thing You Want to Do Before You Die:

Take a cruise to the Mediterranian that lasts at least 3 weeks!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Small Request

This is for anyone out there who belongs to a gym, and sorry to be sexist, but mostly aimed at the MEN who might actually read this. Do us all a favor, would you?

BATHE before you go running on a treadmill in a gym with poor ventillation!!! Its just monumentally unfair to the rest of us to put of with the aura of stench that engulfs you....

And, seriously, don't folks who are that odeifferous offend themselves?? I know its a pain to bathe both before and after a workout, but heck - take one for the team, would you???

Sunday, February 04, 2007

This struck me:

I rarely forward on emails that are forwarded on to me. Sometimes, and only to a very select few, will I send on things that really strike me as either poignant, funny or hear-wrenching.

This was one of them.

Thought of the Day

In case we find ourselves starting to believe all the anti-American sentiment and negativity, we should remember the words of Tony Blair, England's Prime Minister, during a recent interview. When asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes so much in America , he said: "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in and how many want out."

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American Soldier

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tubes are in!!

We took Chris to the out-patient surgery center this morning at 7am. He was cranky and hungry, but seemed OK once we got settled in. The doctor came in, as did the anesthesiologist, and explained everything - the procedure would be quick and he'd be cranky as all get-out after he wakes up because he'd be very disoriented.

The surgery took 9 minutes. NINE!!! WOW - talk about fast!! It took longer to get him under and back awake than it did to insert tubes!! He was supremely cranky for about 2 hours after, but fell asleep and woke up as my good ole' happy boy again!!

A boy who can now hear and will hopefully never have the pain of an ear infection again!!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

3 is OK, 4 is better, 2 won't work at all...

I'm talking legs, if you are a dog.

Poor Maddy - this canine just can't seem to catch a break! Last week, she and Steve were going in opposite directions around a corner. She stepped on his shoe and her back leg slipped off, causing her to fall down on her only front elbow.

She could not get up. She was clearly distressed, panting and shaking.... I gave her a Rimadyl and decided we'd take her to the ver in the morning... Diagnosis, nothing broken, no signs of cancer in that leg, just probably a really bruised elbow.

Well, that was on Wednesday of last week. She is just now starting to have confidence moving around, poor girl... But she's still a tail-wagging, smiling-from-ear-to-ear, happy pup.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Never Invite a Vampire Into your House

It renders you powerless...

Good advice, if you are a fan of the cult classic The Lost Boys. I am - love that movie - and remember very clearly that line.

I should know better. Terri can attest to the fact that I should know better!!! She and I were having a discussion the other day regarding weight, gains/losses and how all it would take is just one or two days of a tummy-thing to get me back where I'd like to be. She, smartly so, replied back quickly "Oh don't wish for that!!"

Its not that I actually wished for it, but heck, I put it "out there" for the forces of nature to take and run with!! Except they hit a target not of my intention - Christopher!!! I knew something was wrong last night when he did not want to eat and was fussy as all get-out. I'm now up to my elbows in laundry, my house smells like vomit, and I am, indeed, powerless.

I didn't necessarily invite in a vapire, but I think the Puke Fairy works off very similar rules of engagement.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The tubes, they are a'commin

Took Chris to see an ENT today. Missed 1/2 a day of work (sheepish grin goes here) to learn that he needs ear tubes. Not only has he had way too many ear infections for my comfort level, his hearing is now being effected by the constant fluid in his ears, and this being the prime language acquisition age, the kids' gotta hear!!

We will schedule the surgery tomorrow. Hopefully by the end of next week, he will be the proud owner of 2 tiny little tubes that will bring enormous relief!

One word meme

1. Where is your cell phone?
2. boyfriend/girlfriend?
3. Your hair?
4. Your mother?
5. Your father?:
6. your favorite item?
7. Your dream last night?:
8. Your favorite drink?
9. Your dream car?
10. The room you are in?
11. Your ex?
12. Your fear?
13. What do you want to be in 10 years?
14. Who did you hang out with last night?:
15. What you're NOT?:
16. Muffins?:
17. The last thing you did?:
18. What are you wearing?:
19. The last thing you ate?:
20. Your life?:
21. Your mood?
22. Your friends:
23. What are you thinking about right now?
24. Your car?
25. What are you doing at the moment?:
26. Your summer?:
27. What is on your tv?
28. Yesterday?:
29 Last time you cried?:
30: School?
31. Tag?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An ABC meme

Available or Taken ..... Taken. I'm sure you're all crushed. Apology to Nancy for outright stealing this one from her.

Best friend ..... I have several, including Angie, Liz, Vicki, Steve, Nicole, Shelley, Nancy, Terri and too many others to mention.

Cake or pie ..... Hands down - Cake.

Drink of choice ..... Fresca, or a good draft beer.

Essential item I use everyday ..... computer or cell phone - both essential.

Favorite Color ..... moss green

Gummy bears or worms ..... Yuck, neither

Hometown ..... Avon, CT

Indulgence ..... Wow... too many to mention! Chocolate, earings, handbags....

January or February ..... January. Month of new beginnings, my birthday, Matthew's birthday...

Kid's names ..... Charles Parker (called Parker, I'm from CT not the south) Matthew, Christopher. If I had girls not boys, Taylor, Elizabeth, Ashely.

Life is incomplete without ..... Sleep or coffee!

Marriage ..... Yes

Number of siblings ..... none

Oranges or apples ..... Apples

Phobias or fears ..... snakes, cancer, falling from a height of more than a foot, my children being hurt.

Quote ..... "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt" Abraham Lincoln

Reason to smile ..... hearing my kids laughter.

Season ..... Fall, followed closely by spring. Summer and winter are too extreme for me.

Tagging .... Terri, Bren, Angie, Vicki,

Unknown fact about me ..... Little known fact?? I'm distantly related to William Faulkner and James Buchanan.

Veggie I don't like ..... Cauliflower

Worst Habit ..... Procrastination

Xrays ..... lately? Of teeth. Specifically one I managed to crack straight through.

Your favorite food ..... Chinese

Zodiak ..... Capricorn


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Things 3 sons will bring....

When you are the mother of 3 boys, some things you will never enjoy. You will never get to put ribbons in your little girl's hair, or watch her dance with her daddy in Mary Janes over the holidays. There will be no dolls, no castles, no makeup, no one who understands the beauty of retail therapy.

Yet, from the mouth of my babe came a glimmer of hope. A small utterance that gives me cause to smile. Perhaps, just maybe, there will be someone in this house who really understands me. Someone who won't laugh at "another bag" or marvel at how it can take me 14 wardrobe changes to find something to wear. I'm still hoping all my sons will bring home wives, so don't go there, but I had to smile at Christopher's first word. Ok - well the first one was DADDY. So this would be his second word. It was a tune to my ears...

With clarity and determination... Christopher looked over at his closet and said "SHOE". He's not yet 17 months, and he understands the delight and value of a SHOE. Finally - something I can relate to!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

7 Resoultions for '07

Today is not only the first day of a new year, it is the first day of MY new year. I'm a New Years' baby, so today is my birthday. I am pushing every so quickly toward 40, and there's a lot I want to do before I get there. In an effort to not let myself down, I hereby decree the following goals for myself this year...

  1. To run in (3) 5K's between now and the time school is out in June. By then it will be too hot anyway to run outside without dying. I've looked up the ones I want to do - 1 in Feb, 2 in March and 1 in April.
  2. To get in at least 210 minutes per week of exercise. This equates to 30 minutes a day. If my runs take me about 30 minutes, I'm golden. Admittedly, this may be a bit far reaching, but heck... nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or, actually, lost in this case... I'm thinking inches here...
  3. Which brings me to this one - be back in a size I'm happy with by summer. IF I can do #1 and 2, then this should be a breeze.
  4. Focus a bit more on my photography. I have had a good run lately with clients, so now I need to keep it going!! I may actually TAKE the photography courses I've been looking into for the last 3 years now.
  5. Get certified to teach regular ed and get my Counselors certificate. May as well keep as many doors open for myself in the "teaching" realm as possible.
  6. Read more. I have a shelf full of books that are begging to be read. Some trashy, some more erudite, all gathering dust.
  7. Play more. I mean the "get down on the floor and giggle till I practically pee myself'" play. I don't do nearly enough of that. Christopher LOVES it - the bigger boys do too, but are just too cool to tell me so!!

So, tag - what are your resolutions for this year? Come on - put them down - OWN THEM... then we can hold each other accountable...

Happy New Year everyone!!