Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last day of kindergarten

For Joshua's last day of kindergarten, the awesome room moms in his class arranged to have the class party on the baseball field. They brought a giant inflatable water slide, water blasters, water guns, a snow-cone machine . . . everything a six year-old could possibly want for a last day of school party. The party was for their class only, so they had their run of the entire field.

It just kept getting better. The water balloons were fun;

The water blasters were even better.

Does this look like a kid having a good time or what?

The water SLIDE was best of all.

The picnic

Me and Joshua

The whole class

Josh and his loot

The party ended with Josh's amazing teacher letting the entire class cover her with silly string!

Sunday school fishing party

I've been out of town for the past two days, so I haven't had a chance to write about anything. Since I don't have much time today either, I thought I'd just do a little photo catch-up. These are from a party that Lauren's sweet Sunday school teachers held for her 2 and 3 year-old class several weeks ago. I know, who invites twenty 2 and 3 year olds (plus siblings!) to their house to fish?! Saints, I tell ya.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Small town living

1. Yesterday I made my second trip to Olean, NY, which is an hour away, to go to Walmart. One can buy a surprising number of things at the Dollar General here in town (including an ironing board and a grill), but not everything.

You know you live in a small town when you say to yourself, "Hmm, I really need a better quality rug than I can get at Dollar General, so I think I'll drive an hour to get a high-quality rug at . . . Walmart."

2. I filled out forms to register the boys for school this morning. On the application, it asks for the usual: name, date of birth, phone number, physical address. In my experience "physical address" means where you live versus a post office box, so I expected the next address section to be for P.O. boxes. It was not. It reads, and I quote, "Descriptive address: route # and/or road name and neighbor's name."

Yes, neighbor's name.

I learned when David and I were looking at houses here that addresses mean very little. No one knows what you mean if you say that you're looking at a house on Oak Street until someone helpfully adds, "the Miller house." In fact, if you look at real estate listings online, the address is listed in normal size font second to the larger, bolded, name of the person who lives there. Or who lived there previously. Perhaps 100 years ago.

3. Have I mentioned how nice it is for everything to be so close? We live about 75 feet from the library, a block from the park, and .5 miles from the grocery store. The longest it takes to get anywhere in town is about 4 minutes. For someone as famous as I am for forgetting the key ingredients to everything I cook, it's nice to be able to go to the store and back in six minutes. I went three times Monday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Twenty-two hours

That's how much actual driving time it took us to get from our former home in Georgia to our new home in northern Pennsylvania.

I brought new human beings into the world in less time than that.

Here's a partial breakdown:

Saturday: Pack until almost midnight and spend the day searching for our cat, knowing we won't be able to find him when we leave at 4 am.

Saturday, 11 pm: Decide to leave at 5 am instead of 4 am.

Sunday 6 am: leave . . . without our cat whom we were never able to find

8 am: stop for Lauren to throw up

9:30 am: stop for Ethan to throw up and PRAY it's not a stomach virus

11 am: stop because Ethan is nauseated and thinks he's about to throw up again. He doesn't.

12 pm: stop for lunch and feed cheeseburgers to my two children who just threw up. Yeah, I'm brilliant.

Surprisingly, they are both fine and have no more nausea/vomiting episodes. Apparently, they just both got carsick despite neither of them ever having been carsick before. This seems even more odd given that they got carsick in Georgia but not in West Virginia, which has more curves than Dolly Parton.

7 pm: decide to stop for the night when we get to Pittsburgh

8 pm: find out it's 3 more hours to Pittsburgh and decide to stop for the night in Flatwoods, West Virginia because we see a hotel. That was all the reason we needed at that point.

Monday 10:15 am: leave hotel two hours later than planned. There was a huge breakfast buffet; what more can I say?

It took us another EIGHT hours on Monday to finally reach our new home.

We new we were getting close when the mountain roads got steeper and the wildlife got stranger. Two hours out, we passed a HUGE truck full of pigs. About 90 minutes from town, an eagle almost flew into my car. It could have been a hawk, but until I find proof that they pump the mice full of steroids here, I'm sticking with my story that it was an eagle. Then about 45 minutes away from town, we passed a llama farm. We knew we must be getting close.

Finally, at 6:15 Monday evening, we arrived at our new home.

We knew we were in the right place because we saw a sign as we entered the county that said, "Potter County, God's Country." That was a real relief because we had passed Prosperity, Pa several hours back, and I was a bit concerned that we had driven right past it.

I figure God's country trumps prosperity, right?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is this the promised land?

Our new hometown is lacking several things that I will miss: Target, Veteran's Parkway Burger King, a movie theater with stadium seating (and more than one screen). But, there are some things I will not miss. Taking more than three minutes to get anywhere, having to dial the area code every time one makes a phone call, and fire ants.

There are no fire ants here.

Ethan had an ant on him in the yard yesterday, and he started to panic. I explained to him that the ants here are not fire ants and that they do not bite. Joshua apparently overheard this because later in the day Lauren was running from a bee, and Joshua called out, "Lauren, don't worry . . . the bees don't sting here!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We have arrived

I really want to write about our trip. About how it took us 22 hours and started with children throwing up before we even reached Atlanta. About how seven wonderful women from our new church came over and cleaned my new house from top to bottom before I arrived. About how I LOVE my new house. About what an amazingly fantastic job my husband did decorating our house and how he slept on the third floor until I got here because he knows how much I love fresh clean sheets, and he didn't want to spoil them. About how much the kids love, love, love their rooms and their yard.

But, I'm tired. So for now, just know that we made it here safely, and we miss those of you we left behind. We got the internet up and running today (well, in our house anyway . . . unlike Al Gore, we aren't really responsible for the rest of the world's web access), so I will blog about all the details soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It'll only feel like we died

Lauren has been asking about death a lot lately. Over the past few weeks, she has mentioned several times that she wished we weren't all going to die. I have, of course, assured her that I expect it to be a really long time before that happens and that it's nothing to be afraid of.

Well, on the way to church Sunday we were listening to some hymns, and I noticed that the last line to one of them was "living and dying to be Thine." As soon as that song ended, Lauren piped up again with, "I wish I wasn't going to die." I repeated my usual assurances but wasn't overly concerned since I knew that this question was clearly triggered by hearing the reference to dying in the song.

Then we had this conversation:

Lauren: Is Taco gonna die, too? (He's her Webkinz chihuahua.)
Me: No, Taco is not alive. Only things that are alive will die.
Lauren: Then I can't take him to Pennsylvania with me.
Me: Sure you can; you can take all of your animals to Pennsylvania.
Lauren: But, we're gonna die in Pennsylvania.
Me: WHAT?! No we're not, sweetie. Is that what you think?
Lauren: Yeah. I thought there was a dying place in Pennsylvania.

Of course, I assured her that we were going to live in our new house with Daddy and reminded her that she'd been to Pennsylvania before and survived.

In retrospect, I think what caused her to think this may have been her hearing me say things like, "This is the last time we will go to gymnastics." or "We only have two Sundays left here." I guess she read into them a level of finality I had not intended.

Poor kid. I feel so bad that she thought that. But, on the upside, she handled it remarkably well.

No, he's not an Iraq war vet

With Joshua gone to Kentucky for a few days, Lauren and Ethan have been sharing a room to keep each other company. These two being who they are, they don't tend to lie down and fall asleep like they are told. When Josh is home, he and Ethan don't cut up because Joshua does. not. break. rules. Ethan and Lauren, however, have no such compunction.

So, last night after sending them back upstairs twice, I told them, "Do not come downstairs again unless there is an emergency. If you come down again, you will get in big trouble." Five minutes later I see Ethan's head poking around the corner.

"Mommy?" he says as he rounds the corner with his hands bound together by a pair of Spiderman underwear that are cutting off his circulation like a pair of torturous handcuffs.

"Ethan, what did you do? Why were you twisting underwear on your arms?"
"I couldn't sleep because Lauren was talking."
"Well then, that makes perfect sense."

I was just thankful he had the sense to figure out that it was indeed an emergency and not be too frightened by my threat of trouble to come down and show me. It took me a full minute to get them off, and his hands were turning purple by the time I finally did.

Underwear. Seriously. I don't let them sleep with things that have strings on them because I worry about them cutting off circulation to their fingers in just such a fashion. But, I never thought to ban underwear.

I can just see us explaining that to people.

"How did your son lose his hands? Lawnmower accident? Shark attack? Iraqi insurgents?"

"Spiderman underwear."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The two littles

Missing Joshua (and Gaga and Lesey) this Mother's Day but Pops and I having a great time with these two.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Genetics for 4 year-olds

Me: Ethan, I love your freckles. Know what I love most about them? You got them from me.
Ethan: I didn't take them from you.
Me: No, you didn't take them from me, but kids inherit traits from their parents. That means certain things about you look like me or daddy or other people you're related to.
Ethan: Oh.
Me: You got my freckles and daddy's mouth and Pops' dimples.
Ethan: Why didn't I get daddy's mustache?

Friday, May 8, 2009

If that's my real name

Yeah, so those of you who know me in real life, I have news for you. You didn't really know me at. all. Not even my real name.

I finally went to the social security office yesterday and officially took my husband's name. That's right, after nine years, I'm starting to think this whole marriage thing may last, so I took the final step.

I know what you're thinking . . . "Becky, you don't look old enough to have been married nine years! That must be a typo!" And then after that, you'll probably think, "Wait. I thought you and David had the same last name already?" Alas, you are mistaken.

When we got married in 2000, I immediately went to the DMV and got a new driver's license with my alleged new name. They handed it right over. Well, actually, they took quite a bit of my hard-earned law clerk wage for it and made me sit for an hour and a half next to some woman with awful B.O. and approximately 63 tattoos on her neck, whom I'm pretty sure is now busy making license plates for the vehicle I'm driving with said license, THEN they handed it over.

But, for some reason, that was as far as I got. So, for nine years I've had a driver's license with David's last name, a checking account with said name, a couple of bar cards (which enable me to practice law, not evade a cover charge) with said name, and even a few children with said name. But, according to the Internal Revenue Service - and since when could they be wrong? - that is not my name.

At least it wasn't until yesterday. Yesterday I went to the social security office, waited 30 minutes for my number to be called, and then handed the lady at the window a copy of my marriage certificate. It took at least four whole minutes. Seriously.

Now you know why it took me nine years.

A proud post

In lieu of Quick Takes today - since, let's face it, I don't really have seven things worth writing about - I thought I'd take a moment and indulge in a little bragging today. I apologize if you are not related to me or my children. (And by that, I mean I apologize that you won't find this interesting, but I suppose I could also apologize that we're not related. Yeah, you're really missing out.)

Here are a few things I'm proud of today:

1. Ethan

First, his math skills. Here's what he's been working on lately. He can look at this:

and write this:

(The bottom number is the answer to this one, by the way.)

Here's another math sheet he did the other day.

And, lastly, a reading/writing worksheet.

Not bad for a 4 year-old, I think.

2. Joshua.

When I went into his school to pick him up yesterday, his teacher came over to talk to me. She said, "I just wanted to tell you that Joshua is so good. He is the most obedient child in the class; he obeys me the first time every time."

I took him to Red Lobster for lunch yesterday to use the gift card Grandma sent him for his kindergarten graduation. I think he deserved those crab legs, don't you?

3. My fruit creation. I made my own edible arrangement for our small group party this week.

See, all that time spent watching the Food Network has its benefits.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

America's Most Wanted

That is one place I'm pretty sure you'll never see my picture turn up.

I was driving behind a Loomis truck this morning, and I began to wonder about the kind of person who could pull off robbing such a target.  As I pondered, I became firmly convinced that were I ever to attempt such a feat, my mug would most assuredly turn up on America's Dumbest Criminals rather than America's Most Wanted.

I so lack the energy and focus to plan an armed robbery.  It was with no small effort that I decided on - and executed - a plan to have cereal and toast for dinner tonight.  The idea of studying truck design and security and driver routes - not to mention coming up with a good stick 'em up line - just flat out exhausts me.  

Also, I'm pretty easily deterred, so those little details that can't be anticipated would mostly likely derail my exhaustingly laid plans.  

Like rain.  I don't like to be out in the rain.  Maybe it's because I don't enjoy being wet, or maybe it's because I'm afraid of lightning (which makes me unable to bring myself to hold a giant metal lightning rod, aka an umbrella, over my head during a storm), but I will seriously reconfigure my day if it rains. Library books overdue?  They can wait till tomorrow.  Grocery run?  We can eat cereal again.  Take Joshua to school?  Aw, he can read at home.  Suffice it to say, the odds are pretty high that if it rained, my larceny plans would be out the window.

Also, if I was having a bad hair day.  I mean, the chances of my having a mug shot taken go up astronomically if I decide to commit a felony, right?  Who wants an ugly mug shot?  Just ask Nick Nolte.

I suppose there are a lot of downsides to being a motivationally-challenged individual.  If I weren't so lazy, I'd list them.  There is, however, an upside.  Who knows what kind of havoc I might wreak on the world if I had more energy?  Which just led me to a brilliant idea.  Give all of the criminals children to adopt.  Clearly, they have too much time and energy on their hands, and who can suck that right out of a person better than a few little miniature people?  I know.  I boggle the mind.

Friday, May 1, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

A little late on my Quick Takes today, but here they are:


My parents had their carpet cleaned today, which seemed like as good a reason as any to keep my kids out of the house.  So, after picking up Josh from school at noon, I took everyone to Chik-fil-A for lunch (thanks, Grandma, for the gift card) and a little playground time.  Then my mom got Lauren from me, and I took the boys to see the movie Earth.

It was nothing you couldn't see on the Discovery Channel, but we all enjoyed it.  The boys liked the part where the great white shark jumped completely out of the water, and I liked the part where they completely left out mating.  Yeah, that was a relief.


I consider myself a pretty honest person.  If someone gives me more change than I'm due, I always give it back.  I won't put soda in a cup if I purchased water.   

However, when I go to the movies, I become a completely different person.  I sneak in bottled soda along with M&M's and plastic bags to divy them up.  Today, as I was pulling all my contraband out of my purse, Joshua said, "Mom, isn't it against the rules to sneak food into the movie?"  As if God Himself was answering the question, when I opened the coke bottle, coke spewed everywhere.  Then, I somehow tore open bag #1 of M&M's upside down so that half of them fell straight onto the floor.  So, I opened bag #2 and began to pour some into a baggie for Ethan, but I accidentally poured them into the little fold part (of the cheap sandwich bags) instead of into the actual bag, thereby losing half of bag #2 as well.

Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here.  Like distribute the M&M's ahead of time.


I let my kids  watch The Princess Bride recently, so the boys now run around saying, "My name is Indigo Montoya; you killed my father; prepare to die" all the time.  What's funny, though, is Lauren (who didn't watch the movie), because she doesn't know the entire line, so she just runs around pretending to swing a sword and saying, "Prepare to die!"  Yes, this girl has brothers.


We attended a piano recital tonight for all four of my nieces as well as my nephew.  As piano recitals go, it was not too unbearably long, but when the penultimate song started, Joshua leaned over and said, "Mom, haven't we hear this song already?"  I understood the question.


I think I'm a pretty nice person.  I let people pull out in front of me when an intersection is busy, and from time to time, I even let someone else have the front row seat at a red light.  But, I'm always surprised by people who flash their lights to let others know that there is a police car ahead.

This happened to me the other day, and it took a minute for it to register what the car was telling me . . . well, those around me; I was not even speeding because I can't afford it anymore.  Who goes out of their way to warn speeders about a cop?  Honestly, I usually think to myself something supremely charitable like, "Ooh, I hope he gets a ticket!"  

This anonymous light flasher has revealed depths of my depravity of which I was hitherto unaware.  Who knew a 10 minute drove could be so "enlightening?"


At dinner tonight Joshua informed me that he was pretending he was eating a "dinosaur's insistence." 


He repeated it, and then it took me just a minute of his colorful description to figure out that he meant "intestines."  

Yeah, I know.  Boys.


Two weeks until we leave.  On the way home from the piano recital tonight, Lauren asked me, "Mommy, is Pennsylvania a palace?"

Wouldn't that be nice.  She, of course, has no concept of what a state is, and I've noticed lately that she always refers to our being "at Pennsylvania" rather than "in" it.  For instance, she'll say, "When we're at Pennsylvania, can we get a dog?" or "When we're at Pennsylvania, it's going to snow."

Makes me wonder if she thinks it's sort of like Walmart.