Category: Daily Life

Little Things

Last week was back to back insanity, just flat out nuts with a side order of completely off the deep end. It was like being at the beach at high tide in a hurricane. The waves were big and they just kept coming and coming. During those times, it is the little things that are life preservers helping you ride out the REALLY big waves. So, I bring you last week’s little things.

The Scarf – Wednesday night was by far the hottest and most humid day of the summer. It was also Cub Scout Family Fun night, the annual end-of-year celebration and recruitment night for the local Cub Scout Pack. While there I was gifted with a beautiful, hand made, scarf as recognition for work I did to raise funds to purchase t-shirts for the boys. We raised double the amount we needed, but that had more to do with the awesome generosity of the businesses in our town than it did with the letter I wrote. Still, I got teary. It was especially meaningful because the woman who made it for me is more involved than I am in local activities. She’s flat out too and she’s making a scarf for me!

'Valet Parking' photo (c) 2011, Britt Reints - license: Valet Parking – On Friday, I drove to Boston to take my mom to the hospital for a medical procedure. This promised to be a stressful day from start to finish. We were late arriving (not my fault). We opted to use the valet parking service to expedite thing but realized we forgot to grab my mom’s handicapped parking placard. When we pulled up, we were immediately assisted by 2 valet parking attendants and a greeter. When one of the attendants saw my mom’s wheelchair, he took back the regular valet parking ticket and gave me the discounted handicapped parking ticket even though we didn’t have the placard. As I got on the elevator to take my mom upstairs, I realized I was still clutching the man’s tip in my hands. Argh!! Eight hours later, post procedure my mom was resting relatively comfortably, and I facing an hour an a half drive.  It was time to search for my car. Valet parking was closed and I was directed to the parking garage across the street. I had visions of wandering the 12 floors with my key fob clicking the panic button looking for my car. But no, the kind valet parking attendant who didn’t get a tip, left my car right by the door.

Knowledge Sponge – When all was said and done, I grabbed some down time with my husband and daughter on Sunday afternoon. After some fun, we ended up visiting family, which resulted in an impromptu barbecue. Towards the end of the night I went in search of my daughter and found her inside watching Fox News. I pointed out that she could probably find The Disney Channel, but she said “No, this is interesting.” Closer investigation revealed she was watching “Millennials Speak Out”, a show where 20 somethings shared their concerns with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Man I love this kid.

A Low Vision Moment

Vertical photo of my perspective as I was walking down the sidewalk of the strip mall
Next time I was there, I took a picture, but of course the offending balloon was gone.

I do not see as well as most of the population. I am extremely light sensitive which has lead me to walk in to more than a few stationary objects as I’m blinded by the sun. I say “Excuse me.” only to realize I apologized to a parking meter or a trash can. I also have no depth perception. Most of the time, I do a pretty good job of faking it, but every once in a while, I have a coping mechanism failure of epic proportions. This is the story of one those moments.

Recently husband and I were having lunch at a local restaurant, nothing fancy, just the breakfast/sandwich joint in the only strip mall in town. This strip mall is home to a hair salon, a candy store, a gift shop, a contract postal station and the pizza place (small town living people). After we placed our order, I headed down the sidewalk to the post office. I could see the candy story had an a-frame sign out and beyond it, a woman was striding towards me carrying a yellow mylar balloon with a smiley face on it I could only see the balloon, no face. Being my chipper self, I said “My aren’t you smiley today”. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized she was NOT in fact carrying the balloon, it was attached to the a-frame and the wind was blowing in such away that it blocked her face.

With an annoyed smile on her face. She said, “Don’t even get me started.” in a way that let me know she wasn’t happy, but she wasn’t annoyed with me either. As she entered the hair salon, I tried to explain, but my words were a jumbled mess and she was on a mission.


Ah, life with low vision.


They’re HERE!!!

We picked up the chicks on Friday!

Their new home in a bed of wood shavings in a big plastic bin. Three pictures of kids holding chicks.

They were really cute balls of fluff. I say were because they are growing like mad and are beginning to enter that awkward teenager stage. They are eating/drinking/pooping machines! But they are super cute.

This is a cooperative project between four families. Almost everyone has met our feathered friends and some have even been initiated (ahem pooped on). I think the award for most excited for their arrival goes to Becky. We’re pretty sure that K, (Becky’s youngest girl) has handled each of the 24 chicks at LEAST once :). It is cute to watch the kids take to them. We are carefully handling them so that they will become very used to humans. Before you ask, we instituted strict hand washing policies!

Fish is super excited and has requested that caring for the chickens become a permanent chore of hers. Mim hasn’t shown a ton of interest, but he’s held a few chicks and that’s good enough for me. A-man keeps asking them when he’ll get some eggs.

Last weekend we went away for one overnight and Becky and her husband stepped up to care for them. It really is pretty straightforward but they do require regular attention, so the only way this would work for us is if it is a group effort. We’re lucky to have such awesome neighbors!

This will not become exclusively a chicken blog, but watch for more chicken posts in the near future.


Dear Squishy Fish,

You are twelve.

You are at that stage where you are balancing maturity with childhood and you are doing it fantastically well. Me? Meh, not so much. Your transition from elementary school to middle school was very smooth. You are finding out what friendship is really about and choosing friends with good character.

In the fall, you texted me asking if you could join the math team. Has a parent (especially one as math impaired as I am) EVER refused to let a child join the math team? I texted back saying we’d talk when you got home. One of my funnier memories is our exchange about this.

You: Mom can I join the math team?

Me: Hmm, I don’t know, it sounds kind of dangerous to me.

You: Huh?

Me: I mean what if someone messes up their quadric equation and it explodes? Ugh, what a mess. Variables everywhere. You could get hurt.

You: Mommmmmm!

Fish as a yellow belt demonstrating a kickI held you off a few months, but you followed your brother’s footsteps, and took up karate. Your poise and precision is amazing. Your instructors all comment positively and frequently cite you as an example. Skiing continues to be one of your favorite activities and you enjoy skiing with the Hs and helping them heard their cats as the seven of you traverse the slopes. You’ve worn contact lenses for about a year and handled the responsibility with ease.

As mature as you are, you don’t hesitate to grab my hand and make me skip through a parking lot with you. Nicki, Jess and Emily are frequent companions as you while away the hours in your room, figuring out how this world works and what exactly you want your place in it to be. Thankfully you still seek me out for some snuggle time before bed

Your little brother can drive you absolutely mad, but you make time to play the Wii with him or the two of you venture into the land of make believe. He still worships the ground you walk on and you are one of his biggest fans.

Mim & Fish at the Pinewood Derby District competitionThe year hasn’t been without conflict. You made mistakes, but so have I. I’m not sure that will ever change. I want the best for you. I joke that you, must, stop, growing, and some days, I wish it was true. I feel like I need another twelve years just to catch up with you. Yet, I know that’s not how it works. It is your job to grow and move into your own life. It is mine to remember you are not me and support you as you find out who you are and what you want.

Happy Last-year-before-being-a-teenager. Make it a good one!




Auntie bought sticky bubbles for your birthday


Right after Christmas, I put a white board wall decal up at the top of the stairs. I mostly intended it to be a place to jot quick notes. Nothing of any substance per say, but just a fun place for all of us to doodle.

After I got everyone off to school this morning, I hurried to get ready for an appointment. As I was getting ready to head out, this stopped me in my tracks. It made me smile and get a little teary.

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1693" title="3 u Dad" src="" alt="A white board with I  The kids went to Disney with their Grandparents and we went to New Orleans. We had a little over 24 hours together as a family of four and then A-man was off to a conference in Las Vegas for a week. The kids and I had a good week, but this says it all :).

International Baccalaureate

'CCDHS Classroom, Miles City' photo (c) 2005, David Schott - license: the words of Billy Joel, “There’s a storm front comin’ “

Our school district has been introducing the International Baccalaureate (IB) program through the elementary schools with the intention of seeking full certification for the middle school and high school as the children currently in the elementary schools progress through the grades.

IB was introduced three years ago and the majority of the costs associated with it were absorbed by a grant. I heard some conversations about it, but it was discussed as if it was a done deal. I’ve seen some of the changes implemented with both kids, but Mim will be the one primarily impacted. I think.

There in lies the rub. I don’t know what I don’t know. I know that emotions are running high. I have heard bits and pieces of information some of which, if true, are down right scary. Now it is time to buckle down and do my research.

My greatest fear is that our community will suffer. We have a tight community. There is a group of people who work together to provide information and activities that enrich us all. I would hate it if the IB debate in some way harmed the camaraderie that brings us all together. It is my sincere hope that information can be shared and views exchanged in a civilized manner. I can hope.

Have you heard if IB? Has your district implemented it? Do you have a resource I should see about IB? Please, share.

Got Milk? Get Cookies!

12 Palettes of Girl Scout Cookies at the National Guard Armory

3, 103 cases of Girl Scout Cookies

12 boxes per case

37, 236 boxes

2 trucks

20 volunteers

4 hours

That’s a LOT of cookies!

The 2012 Girl Scout Cookie Sale is in progress.  With the annual cookie sale, girls have an opportunity to improve their financial literacy while raising funds for troop activities and community service projects.




Parenting in A Social Media World Part 1

This video was making the rounds on Facebook last week. I shared it to my wall without comment.  I wasn’t really sure what to say. Watch it, then we’ll talk more.

So I have mixed feelings. First off, I suspect as with any story, there is more to this than meets the eye. I’m not going to pass judgement on this guy one way or the other. When I see examples of how others parent typically I try and learn from their experiences. Would I do this? Probably not.  Are there days when my kids frustrate me beyond a breaking point? Um, yeah welcome to parenthood.  Have I done or said things that I’ve later thought better of? Most definitely.  Would I have wasted a perfectly good laptop? No.  I would have wiped it clean and donated it to a charity.

The father’s name is Tommy Jordan and his Facebook wall is public. It is worth going to see the follow up and fall out from the video going viral.   He’s been visited by the police and Child Protective Services, major news outlets have contacted him and he’s being impersonated on Facebook and across the Internet.

This update is taken from his Facebook page, but I was unable to find it. Stupid timeline!

His take

I’m NOT a hero… of ANY kind… at all.

I’m not a super-dad, or awesome parent.

I’m a normal guy with reasonable a moral compass that I try very hard to keep pointed north. I make a LOT of mistakes. Did I say a LOT? I mean a WHOLE lot! Daily… sometimes hourly!

and later

You guys caught me on eight and a half minutes of ONE day in my life, probably the worst day in my life as a father.

To me, that is the rub.  We caught nothing but a snippet of his life, an eight and half minute glimpse. A commentator on my wall suggested he might be in it for the publicity.  We’ll never know for sure, but that’s not the vibe I get.  He does have a book on cloud computing, but there is only minimal mention of it in his most recent posts.  He does however raise funds for the local Muscular Dystrophy of America Chapter and since the video going viral he’s raised close to $5,000.

I love this comment:

“PS: CBS just called and offered us our own show. The ceiling of absurdity has just been reached.”

What has our society come to? Let’s review shall we? We have a 15 year old girl who pushes her boundaries. We have a father at his wits end who in a moment of frustration takes extreme action against an inanimate object (albeit an expensive one), video tapes the violence video tapes the violence and posts it YouTube.

Suddenly, the video is everywhere and this event is “news”. The man is at turns vilified and called a hero.  He is, by many, raised up on a pedestal. He refuses the promotion to deity and calls bullshit on all the attention and uses the spotlight to raise money for a good cause. There are worse ways to use your fifteen minutes of fame.

When the dust settles they go on with their lives (since he declined the whole T.V. show thing). The ultimate question is did his daughter learn anything from the experience? Someone with a far more analytical mind than mind will have a ball with this once the dust settles.

What do you think of the whole thing? Have you ever done anything like this?  Would you?


Mim looking adorable as he tries to sneak out of a shopping cart
What? You mean You don't want me to get out?

True story. Mim clamped his gums on the surgeon’s finger as he was emerging from my womb. I knew at when the doctor said “Ow!” I was in trouble.

When Mim was a toddler, we’d put Fish on the bus and then head to the grocery store just about every Wednesday morning.

He’s always been a sociable child (I have no idea where he gets this from). We started calling him The Mayor because he would (and still does) engage anyone in conversation. Early on a weekday morning, my shopping companions were other mothers with young kids and what Dr. Fishman one of my college professors referred to as LOLITS, Little Old Ladies In Tennis Shoes.

Mim on his ride on toy and the stuffed bear his sister gave him for his 2nd birthdayAs we made our way through the store, he’d wave and say “Hi.” “Hi, I Mim.” “Hi!”. Most people would smile and wave back or at least acknowledge him in some way. Lord help the poor LOLIT so busy trying to calculate the unit price of a box of oatmeal that she didn’t hear The Mayor’s ovations. He’d be persistent. “HI!”, “I MIM!!”, and finally “HEY! I TALKIN’ YOU.” wouldn’t you know it the poor LOLIT would hear him THAT time. With blonde hair and blue eyes that match mine, it’s not like I could say “Sorry, I’m just the nanny.” Talk about wanting to crawl under a rock!

That one keeps me on my toes I tell ya!