Thursday, November 29

Wish List

Last year all RR wanted for Christmas was a flute, and I was able to make that happen for him thanks to Facebook, a friend from high school and my brother and sister-in-law.

So this year I should not have been surprised when he made yet another off-the-wall-holiday request.

No, he did not ask for a saxophone, or a trumpet, or the like.

While him and I were driving along last night he says to me "I really hope I get what I most want in the whole world for Christmas".

"What's that?" I ask him, bracing for an insanely expensive Lego kit or video game I would rather him not play.

"I want 5 pillows and 3 blankets".

"5 pillows and 3 blankets?", I question.

"Yes, and 2 stuffed animals."

"Ok, why?"

"Because I like being really snugly".

I've said it before and I will say it again; I should have named that kid Linus.

Tuesday, November 27

A Story to Tell

My Christmas tree has a story to tell.  If you are willing to look.

Tonight we decorated the tree before the boys went to bed.  Mind you, I am not that on the ball; we had spent a better part of the weekend just getting the tree up and the lights put on.

As we are unpacking the ornaments RR squeals in delight "Look, here are all the ornaments I made!"  After we peel through a layer of paper and glitter and glue and puzzle pieces we uncover our "family" ornaments.

You see we've been collecting new ornaments year after year.  Ornaments that mean something.

Ornaments that tell a story.  The story of us.

In 2004 I got RR his first ornaments - Baby's 1st Christmas.  I think he has 3 of them.

The following year he made some ornaments in day-care and I have a photo frame one of him.  This was my first Christmas as a single mom, and yet I kept my ex's family ornaments. As I didn't see them as items to be discarded and tossed out along with the relationship, but rather building blocks to the family we are now; which includes members of my ex's family (Nana).  These are items that will leave the house along with RR when he is grown and ready for them.

In the years that followed I gathered yearly ornaments for him. Ones he picked out; often in the image of his most current obsession (cats, trucks, trains and what have you); all marked with his name and date.

When Husband entered the picture we expanded our annual ornament collection; adding a couples ornament and a family ornament; many times getting multiples of a particular theme as gifts.

We have ornaments that mark our first Christmas together, one marking our engagement, one marking our pregnancy with TT, ones proclaiming our wedding and first anniversary.

With the birth of TT we added his First Christmas ornament and our family ornament expanded from 3 to 4 people.

But our tree is more than my recent past.  My tree includes ornaments of mine from my youth.  Ones friends gave me as gifts in college.  Ones passed on to me from my mom; from 1993 and 1986 to name a few... gifts made by friends of the family or bought by my parents; with my name and the year proudly displayed.

I have an ornament I bought to mark my brother's passing and another bought to commemorate the passing of my step-father.  Reminders of loved ones that are not with us, but are certainly not forgotten.

I have ornaments that were my Grandmothers.  Some of which are too fragile and delicate to display with a one year old around; others to bias to a bygone era that are also stowed away.  Yet, there are many still, from them, worth hanging.

That's my Christmas tree.  It's the story of me and of my family.  I do wish I had ones from Husband's youth to display on it as well, but regardless I am glad to work on this tradition with him creating memories of our times together to pass along to our children.

Sunday, November 25


You can never leave Nana's house empty handed.  It has always been this way.  You visit, you leave with something - anything.  Over the years her parting gifts have gotten bigger and bigger; err better yet it's gotten to be more and more stuff.  When we were there 2 months ago she sent us home with 3 or 4 area rugs.  Really it's sad when you think about it; it's like she wants to make sure you have certain things before she leaves this Earth.

And then some visits you just leave with stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff; treasures as my boys put it.  Today's visit was one of those days.

We left with -

* 5 grinder rolls (leaving with food is a big one with Nana... no matter what you take food from her house)

* a banana-coffee-cake ring

* a toothbrush (new, thankfully)

* a pacifier (also new in the package, not sure why she had it)

* 2 sponge back-washers (the boys have been sword fighting with them)

* a 24" long shoe horn (she insisted Husband needed this)

* 2 sweaters

* 5 candy bars packed in an inner-office mail envelope (I may claim to the Milky Way Dark)

* 2 ski-outfits - his and hers matching set complete with ski pants and jackets

* slippers and slipper socks for the whole family (I have been told I need to wrap these for Christmas, but Husband already put his on)

* 4 neon colored baseball hats - old school style with the plastic adjustable strap in the back

* a set of 3 small plastic bowls

* the rest of the Chinese food from lunch

It's a bit big.  OK, a lot big.


The hats.  Good thing TT loves them.

Storage bowls for scout stuff I think.

That is the deadliest shoe horn I have ever seen.
She kept trying to send us home with a naked Barbie.  And I suppose I should have taken it to make her happy, but really... she was naked.

Wednesday, November 21

So Cute

I must say RR is not the most patient child, and with the territory comes the need to rush through things.  Everything is a race for him.  That being said, his craft projects usually are not his best effort.

And just when I have the kid pegged, he turns around and brings home these stunning soda can recycled craft pilgrims; totally blowing me out of the water.

Aren't they just the cutest?

Monday, November 19

So... you want a job?

It's been a long time since I've had to look for a job.  Nearly 13 years.  That is not to say I haven't toyed around with other offers during that time; but I haven't had to put myself out there.  That being said, I would like to think that my expectations of job candidates are not that far fetched... correct me if I am wrong.

My exceptions  -

1) Send a cover letter with your resume.  Make it look like you care.

2) Do NOT address that cover letter to "Dear Sir".  Do not assume that the person reading your resume is a man.  Believe it or not, but women actually get to hire people in this day and age.  Can you believe it?

3) Take the time to read  who the contact is on the job posting and address the cover letter to that person.

4) Grammar.  Enough said.  OK, sure my grammar on this blog is terrible sometimes (most times).  But you know what? I'm not using this blog to get a job.  Besides I prefer to think of my grammar or lack thereof as "stress of conscience"  writing.

5) Spelling.

6) MS Word, which 99.9% of the resumes I get are submitted in, has functions to check grammar and spelling.  USE them.  Have I made my point yet?

7) And if you are going to use MS Word to write your resume; make it your own.  Do not reuse the qualifications and objectives that MS Word suggests.

8) Do NOT copy and paste qualifications and objectives from another document, and if you insist on doing this at least get rid of the format (font color, font type, text color, text background color) that makes it obvious you copied and pasted.

9) Do NOT say you are "proficient with MS Word" or  have "excellent written communication skills" if any of items 1 through 8 apply to you.  Any of items 1 through 8.

10) Wear a clean tie, dress socks, pressed pants, etc when you go to the interview.

11) Arrive on-time.  Not too early and not too late.  If you are late, call*.

12) Shake hands and look people in the eye.

13) Take off your winter jacket.

14) Bring a copy of your resume with you.  I know you know I have a copy; but what if someone else was to come to the meeting?

15) Research the company you are going to interview at.  Have questions.  Be prepared.

16) Do not mention your new marriage, deceased father, or other emotional baggage more than once.  I understand the need to mention these items when explaining gaps in your work history, but this is not a therapy session.

17) Send a thank you note when the interview is over.  Snail mail is great, but e-mail works too.  That is unless you don't want the job.

18) When you send that thank-you note, but not send it only to the men that interviewed you.  Remember that women that held the phone interview with you and called you in.  She is your future boss.  She will not call you back for a second interview if you offend her on this level.

I really thought I had been off my rocker by expecting these things.  I was starting to wonder if I was a little dated and not-in-the-now by expecting certain things.  But after talking with my boss, who has been hiring people for a lot longer than I have AND talking with our newest employee I realize I am not expecting too much.  This hiring process has been an eye opener for me.  It has taught my a lot about myself and what I expect of myself, and thus in turn I have learned to better "read between the lines".  Sigh... I honestly didn't think hiring someone would be so tough.

* In regards to #10 I was late for my first interview with my company.  I was really late.  I got so lost.  Keep in mind this was before everyone and their grandmother had a cell phone, before GPS, and all that fun jazz and the directions I had gotten where from a German, and his first language was clearly not English.  So I can appreciate being late, but you need to call.  If I was able to find a pay phone back in.... you do the math, then you can pick up your cell and give me a ring.

Saturday, November 17


While cleaning, better yet organizing, TT's room today it occurred to me that I never shared pictures of his "nursery" completed.  Although I am not even really sure it was ever a nursery; he slept in our room until he was a little over 6 months old.

That being said, we will be turning into a "big boy" room sooner rather than later as it is time to convert his crib into a toddler bed.  This means we need to do some re-arranging and toddler-proofing (toddlers can get into way more stuff than babies, I never understood why they call it baby-proofing) before the big change over.

Sleepy baby place.
The rainbow blanket was my brothers.
The ABC chart was RR's handed down from Nana.

TT's giant T above his bed.
I made this with extra material I had from making my cousin's baby a blanket.

Cozy nursing and reading nook.
The purple blanket is from the hospital.
The white blanket my aunt made.
The sun is another hand-me-down from RR, from my aunt.

It took me way too long to pick out these curtains.

Toys - glorious toys.
The Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, stolen from RR, is one of his favorite toys.
RR had the same monkey piano  until our dog ate it.  

Wall hangings - the blanket I made him that he doesn't like
and the monkey blanket Husband picked out for him that he also doesn't like.
Rosary beads courtesy of Nana, according to her you can never have enough.

And the cow jumped over the moon.  RR made him these candles.

So many stuffed animals, most of which are from RR.
(stuffed in the Moses basket TT slept in for about a week)
The hanging monkey was a first birthday gift (from yet another aunt).

Changing area (clearly I need to wash diapers).

Wednesday, November 14

35 vs. 25

I've seen this theme posted over on a few of my friend's blogs (thanks Ella and Alyssa) and I thought in light of my milestone birthday coming up I would post a list of my own.  Here's a list of 10 things I care about now at (almost) 35 that I didn't care about when I was 25.

1) Breastfeeding

2) Asperger's Syndrome

3) The education rights of twice exceptional children

4) The price of gas and miles per gallon my car gets

5) Getting enough sleep

6) Quality coffee

6) The health benefits of tea

7) Safety standards for car-seats, cribs, strollers, etc

8) Bread making

9) Warm hats, coats, gloves, scarves

10) Documenting family history

Monday, November 12

Pen Marks

Years ago RR and I lived in a 2-family house with my mom and youngest brother.  We lived downstairs and they lived above us.  At the time my mother didn't have a clothes dryer so they would use mine.  It was new. I had bought the washer dryer set in cash, along with my other major appliances and they were something I was proud of.  They were installed in the kitchen and vented out the window to the drive-way.

One day I came home from work, and while using the dryer my brother exploded a blue pen in it.  The inside drum was no longer sparkling white and clean; instead it was smeared with pen marks.  I was mad.  Livid, is probably a better word for it.  My brother and poor mother heard more than their fair share about how upset I was with the situation.  How could my brother be so irresponsible with my things I thought?

Then my brother passed away, March 23, 2009.

I had certainly gotten over the pen marks in my dryer at that point.  But did I need to be so upset at the time?  Clearly I can't erase the past; and I am sure my brother knows how much we all loved him, despite the stupid things he would do from time to time; after all he was just a kid of 23 when he died.  Every single time I open the dryer I think of my brother.  Those pen marks are still there.

Fast-forward to about a month ago, I am taking RR's clothes out of the dryer and I notice a new substance also coating the inside walls of my dryer.  It looks like dryer lint, but it's sticky.  Turns out I washed and dried gum in RR's pants pocket.

You know I never said anything to him about it.  I cleaned up the mess, the best I could, and rewashed his clothes.  I've learned somethings in life just aren't worth loosing you're cool over.  Dryers and other appliances can be cleaned and replaced; but you can't say the same for people.

Saturday, November 10

What it Takes

On a mother to mother board earlier this week I commented that breastfeeding success was 50% education and 50% support.

The more I thought about this statement the more I began to realize that other factors play a roll as well and words like: tenacity, dedication, and conviction came to mind.  However, now that I have had a few days to think about this I believe all of these secondary words and just that; and would be nothing without education and support.

There are a lot of obstacles that can arise when initiating breastfeeding, sure for some women it just happens naturally; but for the vast majority of us we encounter a trap or a trip-up or two.  However with breastfeeding education and support we can over come those hurdles.

And this brings me to breastfeeding booby traps.  Really, breastfeeding booby trap.  That's a real phrase, a real buzz word in the lactation community.  It stems from the fact that women are pressured to breastfeed and are then set-up for failure based on a number of cultural and institutional misgivings.  This has to do with everything from the barge of advertising from the formula companies, to off handed remarks from family members, to misinformed health care professionals.  See why education and support are so important?  Without them you are left to fight weaponless against these booby traps.

Want more information:

This Is MY Rifle

"This is my rifle.  There are many like it, but this one is mine."

Ok, it's not actually his gun.  It's his big brother's; he got it on vacation with my mom this summer at Hampton Beach.  Thankfully it doesn't make noise anymore.  

Either way TT loves it.  He runs around the house, carrying it.  He has no idea what a rifle is for, but he knows his brother loves all sorts of cap guns, water pistols, bug vacuum guns, Nerf rifles and the like; and therefore TT must love the same.  He idolizes his older brother.  

Before RR was born I was THE perfect parent.  Weren't we all?  My kids were going to have very few plastic toys (oh, the evil of plastics) and they certainly were not going to play with toy guns.  

And then I had a child and I became more realistic.  

Thursday, November 8

So Easy

About a month ago I was at a Tupperware party and the consultant was showing off the shaker.

I own two of these.  They are (were) my least used piece of Tupperware.  I had bought them with the intent to use them to make pudding, but they just weren't big enough for that.  So under the pantry they sat, and sat some more.

But then that evening the consultant suggested making salad dressing in them.  I had never thought of this before.

Nor had I ever made salad dressing before.  But it was on my "to do some day list".

Fast forward a week or so and Husband and I are making dinner and he realizes he doesn't have any Italian salad dressing.  For most people this wouldn't be a big deal, but Husband eats two types of salad dressing - Italian and Cream Italian.

So I seize the moment and decide to break out the shaker and my computer - to look up a recipe silly - and proceed to whip up my first batch of Italian salad dressing.  Husband and I play with the recipe until we get it just as we like it.  Yum.  And incredibly easy.  So easy I am almost ashamed it took me so long to make this.

Tonight we expanded our culinary skills and whipped up the Creamy Italian dressing; again playing with it to make it our own.  And again it was super easy.  Why have I been spending money on salad dressing all these years?  Seriously, these are no brainer things to make.

Creamy Italian by Us

1/2 cup mayo
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
and a really big grind of pepper

Shake and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 7

You Win

That's right Old Man Winter you win.

I understand you want to show up.  I am not happy about; but I have come to accept the fact that you are knocking; err snowing on my front door.

That's right folks I went and braved the attic tonight - the cold, dark attic - complete with mice (hey it's an old house and we live in New England) and got the winter gear out.

As usual we are all set except RR.  He grows too fast sometimes.  New snow pants and snow boots in his future; and I am sure he'll need a new jacket by his birthday in January.

Speaking of birthdays mine is on a Monday this year.  How stinky is that?

(Ha-ha I bet you thought this was going to be a political post based on the title and the timing.)

Tuesday, November 6

Old Man Winter

I'm not sure who invited Old Man Winter, but really they should have consulted with me first.

I swear I woke up this morning, at 5:15am - thank you day light savings time (can you hear the sarcasm in that remark) and it was a chilly 17F at the house this morning.


I can remember many a high school football games on cold wet November days, when the field was frozen and the skies were grey.  But I swear it wasn't this cold this early in November back then.

Granted last year we were digging out feet and feet of snow at this time.  But still.  I swear it wasn't this cold.

Am I whining enough already?

Sure, in the grand scheme of things it being cold in New England in November is pretty typical and not worthy of complaining about.  But I would have liked a warning.

You know a big sign, pulled on the back of a plane that says "Kate - get the winter stuff out of the attic".

Or maybe some flashing neon warning me.

I swear I just put away the boys winter clothes from last year.

Oh well.  End rant... and back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Sunday, November 4

Getting Ready

I'm having a Tupperware Party on Friday.  TT decided to help me take inventory of my current Tupperware stock this afternoon.

Friday, November 2

It's a Bird... It's Plane

.... It's a super awesome deal.

I love getting a deal.  Ok, really who doesn't?

At lunch today I went to one of my favorite consignment shop looking to score some fall/winter items for the boys.  And boy oh boy did I ever score.

For $33.50 I got TT a new light weight raincoat, 2 pairs of pants (Gymbore and Ralph Lauren - sweetness), and 3 pairs of PJs; and I got RR 2 long-sleeve shirts.  So that's 8 items for $33.50; that's around $4 per item.  And we're talking good quality, nearly new stuff here.  Ok, sometimes you can score new with tags.

Now if only I could score clothes for Husband and I at such a bargain   Oh, wait, I can sort of.

You see there are two consignment shops by my work; one that caters only to children and one that serves the whole family.  Personally I prefer the kid centered one for my wee-ones, I like the selection and service better.  It's run by this old lady who loves to gab.  I know more about her family and grandkids than some of the people I work with.  But really either is great.  I have no idea what it is about the area but we do not have consignment shops like this by me.  Really that should be my retirement plan, to open a shop similar to these in my community.

Consigment shops rock; especially for your kids - the way I see it why pay retail for something they are going to either outgrown or destroy wearing in 6 months time.  By the way; how do the people that sell their clothes to consignment shops get them to last so long?  Maybe my boys are just rougher on their stuff than most.

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