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29 Jan

Does your child climb the walls in the winter? Anytime?

This is an activity that invariably returns when they’ve been stuck indoors for too long.

Take, for example, Jack. He is a child who is constantly on the go. He, however, did not come up with this idea. It was Evan. And whatever the older brother does, the younger must follow.

This activity is not conducive for the downtime that may or may not have been mentioned by a certain parent. A certain parent who “escaped” upstairs to retreat from boys. And wouldn’t you know that a) children are like heat-seeking missiles – they’ll always find their MOTHERS and 2) the only hallway to scale happens to be upstairs.

{mind of child}: So, let’s see. We want to be by Mommy – even though we haven’t seen Daddy all day and he happens to be downstairs with the t.v. and has access to all the bad snacks – but she banished us from coming near her. How can I get as near to her without actually sitting on her?

{mind of mom}: Seriously?

At least they came up with this new sport and it did not include me. Until Jack scaled the wall and fell back down on the chair that he used to begin the process.

Now why do you need to sign your kids up for all those extracurricular activities? Just look within…sensei.


halloween is coming…ha, ha, ha…

2 Oct

With the entrance of fall in Michigan comes the acceptance that I will be retreating indoors more often than I would like. Gone are the warm breezy days with the sun shining and the windows open. In a matter of hours, the sun disappears with the geese and the heater creeks on unsuspectingly {Oh, did I do that?}. But the arrival of cider-mill weather also encourages me to bake, craft and decorate for the future succession of “fun” holidays. I look forward to pulling out my faux cobwebs, mini plastic spiders and random plug-in, light-up jack o’ lanterns (whose plug or light is intervally missing).

When January arrives and I realize that I am truly in the throes of a Michigan winter, I lose all desire to prep for the “other” holidays – Valentine’s Day, Groundhog’s Day, President’s Day {really?}. I must take advantage of any motivation I am feeling right now before it quickly gets buried in a pile of bitter cold snow/sleet/ice.

So, with Halloween upon us, I’m very excited to share the first craft I have created for the holiday season. Ok, so I may have googled, researched and Martha-Stewart-ed this project, but it was fun and extremely easy to make.


  • Modge Podge (or Elmer’s Glue)
  • Water
  • Shallow bowl
  • Cheesecloth
  • Scissors
  • Toilet paper roll, empty
  • Small balloon, blown up


  1. Cut a small, single layer of cheesecloth. I varied the sizes to represent the different members of the Petrie family.
  2. Combine a small amount of water and Modge Podge to create a liquidy paste mixture.
  3. Set balloon on top of toilet paper roll.
  4. Put the cheesecloth into the glue/water mixture and wring out excess. Stretch out cheesecloth and lay over the balloon. Allow to dry overnight.

Optional: I saw some website that included small felt or googly eyes glued on to the cheesecloth, but really? Must I keep making trips to the Dollar Tree? There’s only so many plastic weapons I can take in the toy collection!



18 Jul

What are the stages of grief, I do not know. I do know that I am in the stage where eyes are wells that hold tears that pool over. My heart is so sad for Daphne. Even saying those words feels stiff and unsuited for what’s really going on in my heart. This is the moment I have dreaded since the day I brought her home, tucked neatly in a box that I put down in the front passenger floorboard. She tried to wiggle out but I tried to contain her as I drove swiftly home to present the newest member of our family to her brother, Scooby. Boy was he in for a rude awakening. He was 5, the big brother and didn’t want to be disturbed by the frolicking {want to play? want to play? want to play?}. But even though he professed (by growling) his dislike for her antics, they always played together. Life without a big, fat, fur ball sister doesn’t even feel real.

It’s hard to believe that my heart can feel any tighter in my chest, but I know tomorrow will be awash with new sentiments as we leave our home with our precious cargo but return alone. She will only return to us in a state that is non-Daphne. How can that be? How can our family be complete without Piggy trotting into the kitchen having heard the tear of an American cheese wrapper? Who is going to walk with me each morning as she has done through all these years? The feeling of loss seems inexhaustible despite the fact that she is laying the bathroom trying to breathe through each painful inhale. She is so utterly engrained into the fabric of our family that even others who love their own pets who have experienced their own loss cannot experience what I am feeling. No one has loved Daphne the way we have. No one has cared for her, combed her clumps of matted hair, smoothed her silky ears during booms of thunder, snuck her bits of countertop food despite her weight.

Her obvious love for this family is unmistakable. The protection she has afforded us with each person that has passed by our sidewalk or driven up to our door. The desire to beat out her big brother for the front seat so she can stick her nose out the window and feel the wind rushing against her beautiful face. She will never again lift that face out the window. She can only lay as a shell on the floor as we plan to relieve her of all her pain.

I wish so much for time to stop. Who doesn’t who has experienced grief? I can hardly see the writing on the screen as flashes of Daphne memories accost me and fill my eyes as leaky faucets. So much loss. Such a great dog.

To Infinity and Beyond…oh wait…

18 Jun

As a child, I remember my mom hosting many different girl-themed birthday parties for me. And I also remember gobs of neighborhood kids who attended en masse these parties. Maybe my memory is creating a larger-than-life experience (as I don’t remember my siblings having huge blow-out bashes), but I certainly like reveling in the fact that I had fabulous birthday parties.

And here comes the “then/now” statement. That was then…now I have 2 boys of my own. There are no princess parties with magic wands, tutus and braided hair. I’m subjected to bounce house parties where we must exhaust our children at all costs (then liquor them up with sugar – not liquor).  I’ve been to Chuck e Cheese where “a kid can be a kid” but a mom is still a mom {“Don’t touch that knob; that little boy over there just licked it.”, “Did you just pee in the elevated tunnel?”}

Another now statement: Now I have two boys who share a passion of Star Wars. And so I have a couple requests for intricate Death-Star-fighting-matches-with-1o-characters birthday cakes. So thankful that their birthdays are 2 weeks apart…

But alas! Jack no longer wants to be the add-on to Evan’s parties even though they share the same friends. So now I have embarked on a mission to create two awesome, amazing, stupendously fun birthday parties that won’t be compared by brothers but in a small-ish sort of way. And short of hiring Duff Goldman to create a lifelike image of General Grievous (you can google him) or “Dark Grayvous” as the boys call him, I may be slapping together some boxed cupcakes topped with prepackaged sugar-molded characters (remember those?). Now do you think I would go ahead and do something like that? I guess you’ll just have to check back to “something sweet” before the summer is over.

So, what to do? Where to begin? I began with the design of Evan’s invitation which you can see above. {Jack, by way of when he came into this world, is having his invitations emailed to his two friends.} Not very enticing and will end up in every friend’s garbage can. But yet I’m still compelled to add depth and “an-invitation-like-no-other” to it. But…this is a start.

twitching eye

10 Jun

No, this post has nothing to do with my own personal eye twitching. It’s a sarcastic reaction to my beloved Scooby who uses his vocal chords (since his own twitching eyes have pretty much ceased working, as well as a large amount of his hearing) to get what he wants. Right now I want to sit in front of the computer to surf and type mindlessly while my children feed each other Captain Crunch (for dinner) and cold chicken nuggets. Hey, at least they can fend for themselves – why can’t he? So here is a sample of what I’m listening to in lieu of tranquilité.

(p.s. – notice how his tail only wags when he barks…)

Thus, “He who barks the loudest…wins.”

A synopsis of Scooby

After 13 years I {deal, deAl, DEaL} with a dog who a) lost one eye due to his interference with a cat, b) lost partial use of his tail-wagging abilities due to his “run-in” with a gang of coyotes, c) lost a large majority of his hearing due to age.

For the weak-hearted and weak-stomach(ed), please turn away now because I shall tell you that in addition to his infirmities, he’s managed to:

  1. drag a dead fawn up the 1000 ft driveway, through the doggy door and onto the carpeted living room floor.
  2. drag a dead fawn {in addition to the former} up the 1000 ft driveway, placing it in next to the main door but conspicuously à gauche de “company” car {knowing full well that there was human owner’s company as his audience}.
  3. snap the neck of a baby kitten while his {Scooby’s} female owner howled, wailed and screamed at him to stop which he promptly did upon death {not Scooby’s-which seemed desperately imminent at the time}.
  4. drag assorted squirrels, chipmunks, field mice, bunnies, birds, possums, SKUNKS {whole, not whole, alive, half alive} through the doggy door, sometimes to the aforementioned carpeted living room floor, sometimes into our bed.

Shall I continue?

Should I write about something sweet next?

Ode to Daphne

8 Jun

Dear Daphne,

You are lovely. You are kind. You are patient. You are obedient.

You have rightfully earned the nickname “Piggy”, but let me defend you. You are also fluffy and fluff goes a long way to a girl, am I right?

You peered out to me from the litter with your big, soft, timid eyes. I got to choose you – how lucky!

You like:

  • human food (obviously)
  • car rides (front only, please, even though the driver can’t see past the “fluff” to look out the passenger window)
  • laying on the bathroom floor (right in front of the tub which makes it hard to actually get in and out of since you don’t move)
  • did I mention human food?
  • sleeping
  • food?

You dislike:

  • being groomed (which makes the shedding-of-the-fluff part overwhelming)
  • diets
  • loud noises

You and me are the girls of the house.

conversations with the young

7 Jun

How can you resist such cuteness and charm?

For some reason, Jack’s cogs started turning wondering about burglars and if they were to break into our house how they would do it. But I eased his mind telling him that God put a shield around our house to protect us. Little did I know (duh) that the cogs would spin out of control at this comment. And this is how our conversation turned…

Jack: So, there’s a force around our house that bumps them off?

Me: Well, um, sure, yes.

Jack: But it doesn’t bump us off?


Jack: What if they shot at us, would the force bump the bullet off?

{pause, pause}

Jack: Can the robbers break in our windows? Would the force around the robber’s house…do robbers have forces around them…around their houses?

Me: Only if we believe in God (are forces put around us).

Jack [sudden change in subject-ish]: Why does God know all the words I’m going to say?

Me: Because he created you and knows all about you.

Jack: That’s why he knows all the words I’m going to say?


Then a conversation begins between brothers as they debate how loud they can talk {pause} then think {pause} for God to be able to hear them.

Evan: How can he hear everyone at the same time if he doesn’t have 150 eyes?

Jack: How can he carry the whole world if he only has 2 hands?

No really, this is all in a 10 minute car ride to church. Things turned slightly doctrinal at this point.

Jack: If someone put a nail in him would he die?

Me: He did die.

Jack: That scares me.

Me: He already did it so you wouldn’t have to go to hell.

Jack: Is Jesus in hell?

Me: No, he’s in heaven with God.

Jack: When Jesus was down here did he have any pets?

{A side conversation ensues between Tom and Jack about the types of animals Jesus would own.}

Evan [to me]: So Satan was an angel and wanted to be God and then got kicked out?