Monday, August 31, 2009

Smooth talker

Zach makes me laugh so much. He is really a great kid.

Tonight I decided to go look at carpet for our living room. Zach eagerly announces he'll go with me. I am standing at the kitchen counter flipping through the phone book. Zach and I carry on the following conversation looking straight ahead - and not each other.

Me: Why do you want to go carpet shopping?

Zach: Because. I just want to go.


Me: You won't have fun.

Zach: Yes I will. Just let me come with you.


Me: I am not taking you anywhere.


Zach: You are beautiful. You know that?

Me: Zaach...

Zach: I'm just saying! I'm just throwing that out on the table.

Me: Zach. I am not taking you anywhere.


I feel a hand stroking my back.

Me: ZACH! I'm serious. I am going carpet shopping and nothing else.


Zach: I love you mom.

Me: (sigh)

Zach: I mean that. I don't tell you that enough.

Me: Zach!

Zach: I'm just saying!


Me: Where do you want to go.

Zach: Just to Cashwise. You don't even have to go in with me. I just don't want to ride my bike there.

Me: (sigh)

His hand goes to my back again.

Me: Knock it off!


Zach: I love you.


Me: Fine. I'll take you to Cashwise.

I'm such a pushover for a smooth talker.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The game continues

This posting is a continuation of the previous posting...

About 10 minutes after I went downstairs to prepare for someone to get hurt playing the "wagon game"...

Paul: Someone is on the ground

Me: Of course they are.

Paul: Evan is laying on the ground.

I look out the back window and see Evan face down on the ground, Zayd squatting next to him (but not too close), and Ethan just about laying on the ground with him - obviously the one attending to him. Ethan puts his head on the ground, then he comes up again, then he touches his head... actually it was kinda cute.

Then the warm fuzzy moment ended.

Zayd springs to his feet and runs for dear life towards the sunroom door with Evan chasing him. Zayd is screaming all the way, "Oh my God! He's going to kill meeeee!"

Zayd: (upon entering the house). Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Lock all the doors! Lock themmmm!

He slams the sliding door shut and locks it just as Evan gets to it.

They look at each other through the glass - Evan giving him a menacing look and Zayd continuing to scream at the top of his lungs.

Zayd: Lock all the dooorrrrrs!

He races for the front door. I see Evan disappear around the house.

I can hear Zayd lock the front door (all the while screaming, I'll have you know)... Then he shrieks, "Oh my God! The garage door! I forgot the garage door!!!!"

He runs to the mudroom door and just as he reaches it, Evan does too. Zayd tries to hold the door closed but Evan pushes through. Zayd (still screaming) runs towards me and uses me as his shield. Ethan follows Evan into the house.

I just want to unload the dishwasher.

Zayd: Moooooommmm!!! He's going to killll meeee! He said he's going to killll meeeee!

Me: (loud enough to be heard over Zayd's screams) Okayyy! Everyone! STOP! STOP!


Me: No one is going to kill anyone.

Evan begins to laugh.

Evan: I was just kidding him - I was just trying to scare him.

Me: Okay. Why?

Zayd: He TOLD ME to run over him with the wagon! So I did. And THEN he told me he was going to hurt meee!

Me: Okay, settle down. What? Evan? You TOLD him to run over you with the wagon? Was anyone in the wagon?

Evan: Oh no! I just told him to run over me.

Me: Why?

Evan: So I could pretend to get hurt and pretend to get mad at him and scare him.


Ethan: Oh my goodness. (sigh) I wish-ded I had a camera! I should'a got this on a movie. (sigh). Oh my goodness.

Finding fun

Evan, 11, Zayd, 9 and Ethan, 6, game up with a game that requires Ethan to wear a helmut.

This cannot be good.

They come in for dinner and I think to myself - These three are such little boys. They are absolutely filthy. Their heads are dripping sweat, their faces are flushed, their shirts and shorts are dirty and their feet - O.M.G. - Their FEET! They look like the dirt has been ground into them. Only their hands are clean.

After dinner, the three of them dashed outside again to resume their game leaving Paul and I at the table.

Me: What are they doing?

Paul: They are pulling each other around in the wagon like speed demons.

Me: They are all barefoot.

Paul: Yes they are.

Me: I should go and see what they are doing.

Paul: I don't think you should do that.

Me: Why not?

Paul: I don't think you really want to see it.


Paul: They are making Ethan wear a helmut.

I decide I really do need to see what they are doing.

Zayd is sitting in the wagon and Evan is pulling him (barefoot), across the yard and into the neighbors driveway. At which point he whips the wagon around and pulls Zayd down the sloped driveway as fast as he can, taking a sharp turn at the sidewalk and then starting all over again.

At one point Evan advises Zayd to keep his hands in the wagon while they go by the car in the driveway. He doesn't want Zayd's hand to get ripped off.
Ethan, who is not in the wagon yet, because it isn't his turn apparently, is on the sidewalk with his remote control motorcycle -- which he has aimed and moving at his brothers as they approach him on the sidewalk.

They stop when they see me standing on the front step.

Evan: Why are you looking at us like that?

Me: I'm just watching.

Evan: You think we are doing something wrong?

Me: No. I'm just watching what you are doing.

Evan: Oh.


Me: Why are you barefoot?

Zayd: (Lifts up him foot from the wagon). I'm barefoot too.

Evan: It's easier.


Evan: It's more reliable.

Zayd: (snort laugh - and nods in agreement).

Evan: Etthhhhaaan! It's your turn! Get your helmet!



As I am sitting here blogging, I look out the window into the back yard - Zayd is pulling Ethan in the wagon, and Evan is pushing the wagon.

Again at breakneck speed...

Again barefoot.

And this time Ethan is not wearing a helmut.


I think it's just best if I walk away from the window.

I'll get my first aid supplies ready and wait for the scream downstairs.


I'm cleaning the kitchen and Zach and Zayd are sitting at the breakfast bar.

Zach: Dad was in a great mood yesterday.

Me: Hummm... maybe because I was gone all day?

Zayd: (very seriously). No! That's not nice to say! We love having you around! All of us do!

Me: THAT was very nice to say, Zayd.


Still at the breakfast bar...

Zayd: I have a girlfriend.

Me: Oh! That was fast. Only three days of school and you already have a girlfriend.

Zayd: (snort laughs)

Me: Well... is she a friend that's a girl or a girlfriend?

Zayd: What's the difference?

Me: A friend that's a girl - you want to just hang out with. A girlfriend you want to hang out with AND kiss.

Zayd: (blushes). No and no.

Me: Zayyyyd.

Zayd: (snort laughs).

Me: Zayyyyyd! No wanting to kiss girls yet! You can't do that until your mom is ready. I need prep time for all this!

Zayd: (snort laughs)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mom's Mishaps

My husband thinks I spend far too much time blogging about the family's adventures - he wants to see my faux pas given equal time.


But they aren't that funny.

So here's a little snapshot of some of the stuff I have done recently.

A few weeks ago I was supposed to go to a Redhawks (AA baseball) game with our department to mingle with state legislators.

I had it in my calendar for the week after. So I just didn't go. Even though everyone left the office early that afternoon - which only normally happens when we have to go to a Redhawks game.


So then we had two more Redhawks games to go to in a week's timeframe. I managed to get to the first one - on the right day. The second one I thought was a different day - but I managed to learn about that before I didn't show up.

When I DID show up, however, I came with the wrong tickets - the tickets to the previous game. We don't live near the stadium and it was super busy on campus... so I was thinking - ARGH. Paul suggested we simply try to get in with our old tickets. AND get into the NDSU suite with the old suite passes.

Me: This isn't going to work.

Paul: It might.

Me: What are we going to do if it doesn't.

Paul: Just call Char (our administrative assistant and office guru)

Me: I will do anything but I won't call Char! (She already thinks I'm an idiot for missing one of the games).

Paul: Well, you don't want to go back home do you?

Me: I would rather go home than call Char and have her come down and let us in.

Paul: Well - let's just try.

We go up to the ticket taker and I hand over my wrong tickets - she scans them and on the scanner pops up a big stop sign and an alarm sounds.


Ticket Taker: Oh! You must have JUST bought these!

She lets us in.

The person who monitors the suite doors wasn't there. We walk right on up.

I'm going to hang onto the tickets - I think they'll get us into all the games.


Wednesday this week as I was driving to work, I got a call from my boss asking me to do something before I got to campus. I had a meeting scheduled for 8 am. So - I called the guy I had a meeting with to say I would be late.

Me: Ray? It's Najla. I'm going to be late for our 8 am meeting today.


Ray: Okay. That's okay. 


Ray: But you aren't going to be late.

Me: Huh?

Ray: Our meeting is next week at 8 am.

long pause

Me: Ray. I am so glad you knew that, because I knew that and I was just checking to make sure you knew that.


Me: Because Ray... I've been a little worried about you - people have been talking that you just don't seem to be the same.


Me: So - I feel a lot better now that you knew our meeting wasn't until next week.


Ray: (laughs) Okay Najla. Whatever I can do to help you.

Me: Great. Yes. Thanks. See you next Wednesday.


That same morning after I hung up with Ray - I stopped by a convenience store to pick up a copy of our local newspaper. I had no money so I had to buy a 75 cent paper with my credit card.

On the way out of the store, I was reading the paper rather than looking where I was going - and I decided to try to get in the first car I saw out of the corner of my eye. Which happened to be nowhere near my own car... Thank goodness no one saw me.


Sometime along the ride to work, I spilled coffee on my light colored skirt - something I wasn't aware of until a co-worker walked by and said, "You have a big coffee stain on your skirt."


I went to the bathroom and tried to get it out... leaving the biggest wet spot ever. In fact the entire side of my skirt was stuck to me.

I got into my office. The president (of the university) was coming over to do a phone interview in about 20 minutes. My skirt looked like hell... so I did what any woman would do.

I locked the door to my office, took off my skirt, draped it over my wastepaper basket, and put it in front of the space heater to dry it.

All the while praying "Please God let the lock hold, please let the lock hold."


One more thing - this one Paul asked me specifically to mention - although I don't know why.

I had a little bit of a meltdown the other day. I had come home from a long day and was looking forward to some ice cream with chocolate syrup after dinner. Paul had bought a gallon of ice cream the night before.

After dinner I open up the freezer and... no ice cream.

Fine - okay. It must be in the deep freeze in the basement. I go down and look - no. Not there.

My brain cannot comprehend - or maybe I just wasn't in the frame of mind to accept the fact that one gallon of ice cream had been eaten between last night at 8 pm and today at 6 pm.

I open the freezer upstairs again. I look carefully. Maybe I missed it.

Slowly I come to the realization that it has been eaten.

This makes me very unhappy. Actually - I went ballistic.

I take the spoon I was holding to scoop out my well-deserved ice cream and begin pounding it as fast and as hard as I can on the kitchen counter.


I punctuated each word with a smack of the spoon. It was very effective because all the men in the house stopped what they were doing and looked at me.

Followed by:

"I didn't eat any..." "I didn't eat any..." "I only had one scoop last night..." "I don't know who ate it."

That led me to smack my spoon several more times and end it with an "ARGH!" And heavy breathing.

After I caught my breath I yelled...

Me: THAT IS IT! I am going to have my ice cream tonight and the rest of you are not! 


Me: PAUL! You are taking me to Culver's! Now! Zach - you watch your brothers!

Interesting enough - no one argued with me.

I stomped out to the car. We went through the drive through and I inhaled a lovely hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

I felt much better.

So there.


This morning was something else. I started getting phone calls for work on my cell at 7 am. Good thing I was already showered and dressed. That coupled with "the boys" made for some interesting multi-tasking.

So - I'm on my cell listening to someone from work. I have a hard time understanding people over the cell phone as it is when I am NOT distracted... let alone when I have kids walking around my bedroom asking me questions.

As I'm on the phone, one of Zach's friends calls my cell. Zach still doesn't have his cell, so now I am the conduit.

Zach walks into the bedroom.

Zach: Mom, when are you leaving?

Me: (mouthing) I am on the phone.

Zach: Okay.

Me: (mouthing) Carter called.

Zach: What? Where is my cell.

Me: (mouthing) I don't know. He called my cell - call him back.

Zach: But I don't have my cell.

Oh my God. 

Me: (mouthing) Call him back. (I point to our regular land line).

Zach: But do you know where my cell phone is? 

Me: (I give him my angry face - like ask me one more time and you'll NEVER see your damn cell phone again).

He leaves.

Ethan walks in, in his underwear - of course.

Ethan: Hi mom!

I point to the phone.

Ethan: Can you help me get dressed?

I nod yes.

Ethan then wanders into my bathroom - never a good thing.

A few moments later he is in the doorway and says...

Ethan: Uhmm... mom? I sneezed. 


I look at him like - okay. And? I am still trying to understand what the person on the cell is saying to me.

Ethan: I got boogers all over your shower.

I give him a "you've got to be kidding me look."

I cover the cell with my hand.

Me: Clean it up.

Ethan: Okay!

About 10 second later...

Ethan: (holding up a piece of toilet paper with the biggest, grossest looking booger I've seen in a long time) I cleaned it up Mom!


He admires it.

Ethan: It's weewy big - and it's got red in it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stories from day two of school... continue

It's a bumper crop of stories at our house today. The boys were too stunned on day one of school to say too much... but day two -- they are back in the groove.

At the dinner table tonight:

Evan: Mom and Dad. I have something to tell you - but I'll wait until my brothers aren't here.

Oh - THAT is REALLY going to work now that he's said it in front of everyone.

Zach gives him an annoyed look. Zayd smirks. Ethan looks interested, but continues to shovel food in him mouth.

Zach: You might as well tell us. You already started.

Evan: No. I don't want you guys to know.

Zayd: You like a girl.

Evan: Yes - I like a new girl now.

Did I mention this is the second day of school.

Me: A girl you knew from elementary school?

Evan: No. This is someone who went to Clara Barton (elementary school).

Me: Okay.

Paul: What do you like about her?

Evan: She's nice. She's funny. She likes me.

Me: But you don't JUST like her because she likes you, right?

Evan: No!

Zayd: (sigh) This is when it all starts happening. Sixth grade.

Zach looks at him and bursts out laughing.

Zach: Yeah Zayd. You know alllll about it, don't you? You and your raging hormones.

Zayd gives his little snort laugh.

Zach: So what's her name?

Evan: Katie

Zach: Katie what. Did you manage to get a last name?

Evan: Yes. Katie Johnson.

Zach: Wasn't the other girl you liked a Johnson?


Evan: Yeah - I guess so.

Zach: Interesting...

Paul: Why don't we just take it easy on liking girls, okay.

Me: Right. No liking girls. You are not allowed. Tell the girls your mom said so. No girl-liking until you are in 8th grade.

Evan: Zach had a girlfriend in 7th grade!

Zach: NOW I'm in high school. It's totally appropriate and acceptable for me to have a girlfriend.

Me: Zach did not have a girlfriend in 7th grade. He had a friend that was a girl.

Actually - almost all his friends were girls. The girls love him. But there was one girl... yeah... kinda like a girlfriend I guess. Oh my God.

Zach: By the way - I LOVE being a 9th grader. The power is awesome. Today, when I got on the bus I saw this kid Devon picking on Evan. All I had to do was look at him. I have him this serious parental look - like, "What do you think you are doing." And I am NOT even kidding you! His lowered his eyes and head, and sank into his seat. It was just AWESOME.

Me: Well... I'm glad you stood up for your brother. I suppose it is like if anyone is going to pick on him, it's going to be you.

Zach: Yeah! Exactly! How did you know?

Me: 'Cause that's how I treated my younger sister.

Zach: Yeah! Well. Carter and I made a deal with Evan. We get to pick on him as much as we want, but we will protect him from all others. I mean - what a deal! When he is a freshman, we'll be seniors. He will have senior protection. I don't think it gets any better than that.

Me: I wonder if Evan will do the same for Zayd.

Evan and Zayd do not get along.


Zach: That should be interesting.

Zayd: Ethan will protect me!

Clearly (see previous post), Ethan feels responsible for protecting his older brother. Now we just have to channel that response to the appropriate people. Ethan will not be an effective protector if he continues to punch and pinch kids that sit next to the kids that pick on Zayd.

School: Day two

I picked up the two little boys from the after school program. We get a few feet from the car when Ethan announces:

Ethan: Uh... mom? I kinda pinched a girl today.

Me: Huh?

Ethan: It wasn't bad! I didn't punch her or anything. I could have punched her - but I just pinched her.

Me: What do you mean you didn't punch her?

Ethan: She said it was okay! She saided it didn't hurted her! She didn't cry!

Me: When did you pinch a girl?

Ethan: On the bus.

Me: Ethan. (sigh)

Ethan: She just bleeded a little bit.


Ethan: But promise its okay, right? Promise you are okay?

Me: No. No. I am not okay with this. It is not okay to pinch people - OR punch people.

Ethan: NO!!! Promise you are okay!

Me: I said no. I am not okay. This is not okay Ethan.


Me: ETHAN. Ethan. No. The answer is no. This is NOT okay. Listen. Stop. Quiet.

Ethan: (whines)

Me: Ethan. Did you get in trouble?


Me: Ethan? Did you get in trouble with the bus driver?


Ethan: Welll... I guess - I know I was in trouble. The bus driver wrote me up.


Me: It is the second day of school and you have already been written up on the bus.

Ethan: You are okay. Promise!

Me: (sigh) Just sit down and let's get home.

After a few minutes I ask him:

Me: Why would you pinch a girl?

Ethan: Someone was bod-ering Zayd.

Me: What does this have to do with Zayd?

Zayd snort laughs

Ethan: Someone was spitting on Zayd!

Me: Someone was spitting on Zayd so you pinched a girl.

Ethan: Yes!


Me: Zayd? Can you explain please?

Zayd: Welll... (pause followed by long sigh). A girl spit at me. But not the girl he pinched. The girl sitting next to her.


Me: So he pinched the wrong girl.


Zayd: (loooong sigh followed by deep breath) Yes.


Me: Ethan. If you are going to protect your brother and go through the trouble of pinching someone - at least pinch the right person.

Zayd: (another snort laugh)

About five minutes BEFORE I picked up the two little boys, I got a call on my cell from boy number 2 - Evan.

Evan: Uh... mom? I really need to talk to you. Are you busy?

Me: Kinda. Can it wait about 15 minutes. I am on my way home.

Evan: Oh. Yeah. Okay. But as soon as you get home I need to talk to you.

After my "pinching conversation" I get home and am cornered by Evan.

Evan: I need to tell you something. (pause) It isn't bad!

Me: It's okay. Tell me.

Evan: Well... the bus was really hot today so I decided to get off at a different stop and walk home. Just at the entrance of Prairiewood (about a 1/2 mile walk)

Me: Okay.

Evan: So... Zach rode the bus the whole way home and he didn't have the garage door opener and he had to sit and wait for me.

Me: Oookayyy.


Evan: So... he was mad that he had to wait for me.

Me: Okay. (pause). So?

Evan: So... I think he is going to hurt me.

Me: (sigh) He is not going to hurt you.


Me: Well... maybe he will try to hurt you. But don't worry.

Evan: Should I not have done it?

Me: Well - you should probably stick together on the way home, okay? So if he doesn't get off the bus, you shouldn't either.

Evan: Okay. Sorry.

Me: That's okay. Don't worry about it.

No more than 30 seconds after Evan walks away, ZACH corners me.

Zach: Do you know what Evan did? (He is obviously NOT happy).

Me: Yes. I heard.

Zach: Oh. Yeah. Right. You heard. You heard what HE said he did.

Me: (sigh) Okay. Tell me what he did.

Zach: He wanted to get off the bus. I told him I didn't think it was a good idea. He kept asking and I finally said, "No. You can't get off the bus." He did anyways. Because his friend Mason and Skyler and this one girl were getting off.

Me: Which girl?

Zach: I don't know. Some girl.

Me: (sigh) Okay.

Zach: So I get home and he's not there. I can't get into the house, I don't have my cell (it was taken away from him - that's another story for another day) and I have NO idea where he is.

Me: Well he was walking home.

Zach: No. No. He didn't walk right home. He went to Mason's house to hang out. I sat on the step for 25 minutes before he showed up.

Me: (sigh) Okay. Thanks for telling me. We'll talk to him tonight.

Zach: Good. By the way. We got our planners today for school.

Me: Yes?

Zach: They are very small. Just itty bitty little things.

Me: Okay.

Zach: They are kinda weird.


Zach: I'm just saying.


Me: Okayyy. Sooo... how do you feel about that.

pause - Zach stares at me for a moment

Zach: What's going on here?

Me: Huh?

Zach: What are you doing? Are you like being Dr. Phil or something?

Me: What?

Zach: "Soooo... How do you feeeel about that?"

Me: I guess I just wasn't sure how to respond to the fact that your planner is small.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to school in review

The boys went back to school today. Zach is a 9th grader now, Evan is in 6th, Zayd is in 4th and Ethan is in 1st. I can't believe I have one in high school and one just starting first grade. God, I was pregnant for a lot of years...

Here is what I managed to learn about their days.

Me: So tell me how was school?!

Ethan: Guuuud.

Me: Who sits next to you?

Ethan: I don't remember.

Me: What is your teacher's name?

Ethan: Teacher.

Me: Your teacher's name is teacher?

Ethan: Uh-huh.

I look at him and raise one eyebrow.

Ethan: Wewwy! It's teacher. You can call her another name too!

Me: Okay. What else can you call her?

Ethan: Another name.

Me: Yes - so what's the other name?

Ethan: Just another name.

Whatever - I know his teacher's name, I was just hoping he at least learned it. But I have to give him some slack - it is Mrs. Hrjlicka.

I'd call her teacher too.

Me: So do you think you are going to like 1st grade?

Ethan: Wellll.. There's a LOT-ed stuff to do!

Me: What kind of stuff?

Ethan: A LOT-ed stuff. In Mrs. Heggedahl's we didn't have so much stuff to do. But this teacher has a lot-ed stuff.

Me: Well that is what school is about - learning a lot of stuff.


Me: So what do you think you will like best about first grade.

Ethan: Uhm... I like that we get to go to after school part.

The best part of school is the after school program? Fabulous.

Me: What about during school. After school program is AFTER school.


Ethan: Uhm... lunch is kinda fun.



I am looking through Zayd's take home folder and I find a sheet entitled "Who are you?" He was assigned to ask "Jenna" the predetermined questions on the sheet.

Me: Hummm... If you could be any animal, what kind would you be? She said dog. Favorite type of music... huh - rap and pop. Interesting... Oh! She wants to be an artist! Just like you! And art is her favorite subject in school like you!

Zayd: (grunts)

Me: What is your favorite book?... um... American... American... (then there is a scribble on the sheet). American Girl? Probably?

Zayd: Yeah.

Me: Why didn't you write it all out?

Zayd: Because.

Me: Because?

Zayd: Because. I didn't want to.

Me: You didn't want to write "American Girl?"

Zayd: No.

Me: Why?

Zayd: Because.

(pause) I am now confused and intrigued. But Zayd does that to me a lot.

Me: There must be a reason.

Zayd: The reason is because.

Me: Did you just not want to write the word "girl?"

Zayd: (sigh)

Me: Did you not know how to spell it?

Zayd: Noooo!

Me: I don't get it.

Zayd: There is nothing to get. It's just because.

We have stare-down that lasts about 20 seconds. My face is scrunched up as if it is going to help me figure this kid out. Zayd looks at me with total blankness. He isn't going to give me any clue.

Me: Okay then.


Around 4 pm I called home to talk to the older two boys to find out how their day went. Evan sounded like he had downed a couple of Mountain Dew.

Me: Evan! How was middle school!?

Evan: Great!

Me: Everything went well?

Evan: Yup!

Me: Liked all your teachers?

Evan: Yup!

Me: Anything you want to tell me?

Evan: Nope! It's all good! I really like it!


I decide not to mess with a good thing.

Me: Okay then! Let me talk to Zach please.


Zach: (In a completely unenthused voice -- sounding like he just rolled out of bed). Yeaah?

Me: How was it?

Zach: Okay.

Me: Did you have any trouble finding your classrooms.

Zach: No.

Me: What do you think of your teachers?

Zach: Okay.

Me: Is there one you think you are really going to like?

Zach: My English teacher

Me: Why?

Zach: I don't know.


Me: Any teacher's you don't think you'll like?

Zach: Yeah.

Me: Which one?

Zach: My algebra teacher.

Me: Why?

Zach: I don't know. I just don't like her.


Me: Well give her a chance at least.

Zach: Maybe.

Me: Maybe she doesn't like you either.

Zach: Thanks.

Me: No problem.

Advice to a 1st grader

This morning, Paul had a man-to-man talk with Ethan, our 1st grader, before he went off to his first day of school. I couldn't believe that Paul was able to keep a straight-face during the talk. Paul has a very deep voice - coupled with his 6'6 stature -- he makes for an authoritative figure.

Paul: Ethan. Come here. I need to talk to you.

Ethan walks over to Paul who is sitting in our sunroom reading the paper. (very "Leave it to Beaver-ish - but no pipe).

Paul: Ethan. You are now in first grade and there are things you just can't do anymore.

Ethan: Okay.

Paul: You cannot be holding your penis all the time in front of people and you cannot have your hand in your pants. 

Ethan: Daaad! (sigh)

Paul: It's impolite. You shouldn't do it in front of your teacher or your friends. You are not a kindergartener anymore. You are a big boy.

Ethan: (looong sigh)

Paul: And you can't lick stuff all the time either. No more licking tables and chairs. Understand?

Ethan: (longer sigh).

Paul: Seriously Ethan. You are going to get very sick if you keep doing that. So you need to stop.

I actually mentioned to Ethan's doctor last week that I thought he might have some kind of oral fixation  -- especially after he wrote on the chalkboard in the doc's office then proceeded to taste the chalk, and lick his fingers.

He also picks his nose and eats it. 

The doctor assured me this is a safe practice.

Paul: Do you understand Ethan? 

Ethan: I know! I know! Okay! Okay!

So sad. My little boy is growing up. Can't touch anything, can't lick anything... the age of innocence over.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Evening Banter

Some interesting quotes from the kids tonight. Zach was particularly "on"

1. Zach: Ethan has to drop the kids off at the pool
-- apparently this means that Ethan has to poop. I had not heard this one before.

2. Zach: Is it true that a man purrs when you shave his back?
--Clearly Zach is watching too much late-night television. We're going to have to monitor that more closely.

3. Zayd: (Belches loudly in the car - followed by groans from the rest of us). Hey! It's not at the dinner table. You only said no burping at the dinner table.

4. At Applebee's tonight, Ethan had to use the bathroom, so Zach took him.

Zach: Well, you're right dad. He dropped trou right away. But I grabbed the back of his pants and yanked 'em back up.

Me: So did he do it right? (please see previous post about Ethan's insistence in dropping his trousers while using public urinals, rather than just lowering the front of his pants slightly)

Zach: He wasn't going to do it right.

Ethan: But I did do it right then! I just took out my penis and peed.

Zach: After I pulled up the back of his pants. But he also has to use both of his hands to hold his shirt up. And he wants his shirt no where near his area... So it is WAY up to his neck.

Me: So how does he do it if his hands are holding his shirt up?

Zach: He aims.

Me: With his hips?

Zach: Yeah.

Ethan: Can we please not talk about my penis right now?

I concurred that talking about his penis was not appropriate dinner conversation.

5. This was in the car

Me: Zach. Come here.

Zach leans forward

Me: Closer.

Zach gets up so I can talk in his ear.

Me: (I whisper) Zach. I think your brother is kinda nervous about middle school. Will you talk to him tonight?

Zach: (In a loud whisper) Uhh... Mom. No offense, but even with me leaning forward like this so you can talk to me in private... I'm pretty sure Evan can hear everything you say.

Evan: What are you saying about me?!

6. Later this evening...Paul got the younger boys the Hannah Montana movie. Since Zach is grounded from time with friends (another story), he eventually succumbed and sat and watched a bit of it with them.

I was on the computer downstairs when "Hannah" and her dad were singing a sad song.

Evan: Oh my God. ANOTHER song! Ahhhh...

Zayd: AHHHHH! HOW many songs do they have to sing!

Ethan: Shhhhhhh!

Zach: Way to go. Way to go guys.

Evan: What?!

Zach: I was almost going to cry. The tears were coming....

Evan: You were going to cry? Really?

Zach: Yes. Yes I was.

Zayd: What the!

Zach: Thanks guys. Thanks for ruining the moment for me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Substitute Sitter

Today Saint Sitter was not available, so the boys had Substitute Sitter -- an equally able, strong, and patient woman.

I got home late this evening -- and was informed immediately by Evan (11), Zayd (9) and Paul (age not available), that Ethan (6) was not nice to Substitute Sitter. Ethan had actually become quite sassy and bossy to Saint Sitter in the last several weeks as well, but I had hoped that a new person would have deterred him. Apparently not.

While I am not sure of the specifics surrounding his naughty behavior - He was quite sheepish when I got home. He knew he was in trouble. Later, while I was painting my artwork (my forged painting of Joseph Albers work -- a story for another day)... he sat next to me and watched.

Me: So, can you tell me why you were naughty today to the sitter?

Ethan: (sigh) Ohhhh... Dad already talked to me. I already talked. He told me.

Me: That's fine, but you didn't tell me why you were naughty.

Ethan: (bigger sigh) Oh! Do we have to talk about it again. I already knowed I was in trouble. I already knowed. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Me: Okay. Fine.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while I painted.

Ethan: Can you read me a book and put me to bed?

Me: I can put you to bed, but I don't know if you should get a book tonight.

Ethan: Why?!

Me: Because you were not a good listener today and you were mean to the sitter.

Ethan: But I want you to read me a book!

Me: I know you do. But I don't think you deserve a book tonight. Naughty boys who are mean to people shouldn't get what they want.


Ethan: Well... I was only a little mean to her.

Me: Mean is mean. There is no little mean.

Ethan: Yes there is little mean! I was only a little mean to her... (pause) so you should read me half a book. Cause I was only kinda mean to her.

He can't read yet, but he clearly he is not stupid.

Me: A half a book.

Ethan: Yes. Only a half a book.


Ethan: Or a really short book. Not a long book.

Me: Ethan - I'm not going to read you a half a book. You need a consequence for the way you acted today. If I read you a book, then there is no consequence.

Ethan: But a half a book is a con-quence.

Me: No. It's not.


Ethan: I was nice to her when she gotted here! I promise.


Ethan: I show-ed her the whole house. I show-ed her where everything is. I took her upstairs and downstairs. That is nice! I should get a half a book... can I? Please?

I caved. I read him a book. I know I shouldn't have - but I did. He WAS nice to her when she gotted there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scissors and such

Zayd, my 9-year-old, is an interesting character. I think I've referred to him in past entries as "strong-willed." Yes. He is that. He is also just... interesting.

After weeks of begging me to take him shopping for school supplies, I took him after work today. We were in the car (14-year-old Zachary was with us - I was taking him to a sleepover)... when Zayd asked:

Zayd: Mom. This time can you make sure to buy me some high-quality scissors?

Zach does a double take and looks at me like - how DARE you not buy high-quality scissors? He mocks Zayd:

Zach: Yes mother. Pleeezze! Can you at least purchase some high-quality scissors this time.

Then in a normal Zach voice he says:

Zach: What the?

Me: Zayd, I didn't realize we had not purchased high-quality scissors for you.

We pulled up to Zach's friends house and dropped him off. I turned on the radio.

Zayd: Mom. Can you please turn that off?

Me: Why? I like listening to the radio when I'm driving.

Zayd: Don't you like listening to me?

Touche. I turned it off.

Me: Yes, of course I like listening to you. What would you like to talk about.

Zayd: High-quality scissors.


Zayd: Can we PLEASE buy high-quality scissors for school for me this time.

Me: I told you Zayd, I didn't realize the last ones we bought were NOT high quality.

Zayd: They weren't.

Me: Oookkaayyyy. Can you tell me why?

Zayd: Well....

And now begins Zayd talk - which is deliberate, includes lots of pauses and sighs, and takes a very, very, long time. He chooses his words carefully.

Zayd: Well (sigh). Well. Last year (sigh) in third grade (pause) I was cutting my Valentine's Day box...(pause).... (pause)... (pause)...

Me: Yessssss?

Zayd: And the scissors broke apart. They BROKE right APART! Right there! BROKE!

Me: Okay. Wow. That's too bad. Maybe it was because you were cutting cardboard.

Zayd: No. They should NOT have broken. High quality scissors would not have broken apart like that. (sigh). So (pause & sigh) I didn't have any scissors for the rest of the year. (sigh)


Me: Okkaaayyyy. Zayd. If your scissors broke around Valentines, why didn't you just tell me and I could have bought you a new pair of scissors?




Zayd: Well. (sigh)... uhm... (pause). Hummm. Well. (pause & sigh) I forgot.

He shrugs his shoulders. I know this because we were at a stop light so I turned to watch his response.

Me: Wow. That's too bad. How did you make it through the rest of the year without scissors?


Zayd: It was VERY HARD.

Me: I guess so.

He smiles, and does his little snort laugh.


About 10 seconds after this conversation, we passed a gas station called Loaf n' Jug.

Zayd: Loaf n' Jug. (pause) LOAF n' JUG. (pause). Think about that mom. Think about that.

Me: Okay. What?

Zayd: LOAF n' JUG. (pause) Think about that name Mom. Loaf n' Jug.

Me: I'm thinking... what?

Zayd: Keep thinking

Now, Zayd is obviously a thinker. He likes to think a lot and he takes his time thinking. I do not have that kind of patience. So I try really hard not to lose my mind when he does this to me. He won't tell me what his point is -- but he expects me to take all the time in the world to figure out what his point is. And even if I did spend all the time in the world, I would never be able to figure it out.

Me: I don't know Zayd. WHAT.

Zayd: Loaf n' Jug. (pause) I hate that name. (pause) That is such a stupid name. It really bothers me.

Me: Why does it bother you?

Zayd: Because. Think about it! (pause) LOAF. N'. JUG!

Me: I'm sorry, Zayd. I don't get it.

Zayd: (sigh). I would never shop there.

Me: Okay then.

Zayd then snorts and laughs.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Nipple or pimple?

My kids do this new annoying thing. But they wait long enough in between doing it - that I forget, and they get me again with it.

Zach started it. Now they all do it to me at random times.

Zach: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.

He'll keep going like that until I say...

Me: What?!

The he takes his right hand, and lifts up the corner of his t-shirt super fast to show his nipple and says:

Zach: Nipple.

And then quickly pulls the shirt back down and walks away.

One evening, when his friend Carter was over - he kept doing this to me.

Finally I said...

Me: Do it one more time Zach... and I'm going to do it back to you.

Carter: Do it Zach! She won't do it!

Zach: Uhh... you don't know my mom very well.

Me: Watch me.


Zach: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.

to which I responded...

Me: Zach. Zach. Zach. Zach. Zach. Zach.

while holding the corner of my t-shirt... waiting for him to say "what."

I think it was the holding of the t-shirt that scared the two of them. They ran away.

Ethan does this to me too.

But for some reason, instead of saying "nipple," he lifts up his shirt and says "pimple."

Break in

After dinner, Zach, Zayd, Paul and I were sitting around the table when Paul said:

Paul: Zach? Why did you tell Evan that someone was trying to break into the house last night?

Oh yeah! I remember this middle-of-the-night conversation vaguely now. Evan came into our room convinced someone was trying to break into the house. Evan is a worrier. To tell Evan something like this is a clear attempt to torment him.

Zach: What?

Zach's standard answer when he has been caught doing something he shouldn't have done.

Evan walks in and buys Zach some time to figure out how he will answer.

Evan: My knee is killing me! I banged it against a tree today at the park.

Me: Well, go and put it up on the recliner.

Paul: Go...go! Yah-la (Arabic for - "go... go!")

Then Ethan walks in from outside. Holding his action pack.. as usual.

Paul: You'd BETTER have to go to the bathroom.

Ethan: I don't!

Zach: Do you have swimmer's itch or something?

Paul: Yeah - you need to take off your swimsuit. And wash your hands too.

Ethan starts touching Zach instead.

Zach: Get away from me!

Ethan now holds his hands over his mouth.

Me: Ethan! Seriously - wash your hands. Don't be gross.

He hops away...

Me: Okay... let's get back to our conversation...

Zach: What?

Me: Why did you tell Evan last night that someone was breaking into the house?

Zach: I saw someone.

Paul: You saw someone trying to break in.

Zach: Well... I saw someone run from the area of our front door.

Me: And Evan said you heard someone loudly jiggling our lock. You heard that?

Zach: Well... I heard something from downstairs.

Me: So, you heard someone jiggling our lock, and you saw someone run away from the area of our front door... and you didn't come to tell us? So we can assume if someone is breaking into our house, and you know about it, you aren't going to let us know.

Zayd: (snorts and laughs) Wow. Wow Zach.

Me: Yeah - no kidding. Wow.

Zach: Well, I'm afraid to wake you guys up - it's kinda spooky. If I come close you jump up.

Me: Because you are waking me up from a sleep - of course I'll get startled sometimes.

Zach: Yeah, but it's scary. You're scary.

Me: Okay, so tonight, I'll wait until you are asleep and I'll quietly walk to your bed and tap you on the shoulder and put my face in front of your face... and we'll see how you react.

Zach: No! Why are you saying that?

Me: Because you are teasing me.

Paul: Don't Zach. Don't tease your mom today. That is a really bad idea. Really bad. He smirks at me.

Me: What?!

Paul: So, let's not be tormenting your brother anymore - okay?

Zach: Fine. But I did see something.

Me: And let's try to think about letting your parents know if something is going wrong. What did you think Evan was going to do about it?

Zach: Tell you.

Yeah. I guess he did.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Trip to the Cities

We took a long weekend and went to the Cities - Valley Fair and Mall of America.

On Sunday, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for brunch. While we were waiting to be seated:

Ethan: Why are we coming to a Chinese place?

Me: This isn't a Chinese place.

Ethan: Yes. Yes it is a Chinese place.

Me: No, Ethan. This is called the Cheesecake Factory. It is not a Chinese place.

Ethan: Yes. It is a Chinese place. It looks like a Chinese place.


Me: Okay. Fine. It's a Chinese place.

A little later on while we are waiting for our food, Paul takes a trip to the bathroom. When he returns and sits down:

Paul: We have to teach Ethan not to drop trou...

Zach: Well THAT is kinda random. Ethan wasn't even with you in the bathroom.

Me: What are you talking about?

Paul: When he goes to the urinal, he just drops his pants to his ankles.

Me: Oookaaay? But he doesn't have a little fly thingy on a lot of his pants.

Paul: It doesn't matter. He shouldn't drop trou to pee. He can pull it out just a bit and pee.


Me: Do YOU drop trou at the urinal?

Paul: NO!

Me: Well, then where did he learn it?

Paul: I don't know. I suppose it is just easier and faster for him.

Me: Whose job is it to teach him these things? I think this one falls under the "Dad" category.

Zach: What made you think of it now?

Paul: I just thought of it. When we were at Valley Fair, he just went to the wall of urinals and dropped his pants.

Me: Is that bad?

Paul: Noooo.. but, he probably shouldn't do that anymore. He wasn't bothered by it at all. He could care less.

Ethan must have heard the word bathroom because...

Ethan: I have to go to the bathroom!

Paul: Okay I'll take you.

Me: Are you going to teach him how to do it the right way?

Paul: Yes.

They come back

Me: So? How did it go?

Paul: It went okay. He wanted to drop his trousers again... but I told him he didn't have to do that.

Me: So did he do it right?

Paul: Yeeeaaahhhh.... kinda. We'll have to work up to it.

As we got in the car one last time to head home:

Ethan: We're going home boys... we're going home.


During the car ride home, there was a awful smell.

Me: Do you smell that?

Paul: Yeah.

Me: What IS that?

Paul: No clue.


Me: Zach! Did you take your shoes off?

Zach: Yes. But they've been off for ten minutes.

Me: Hummm...

I see Evan's bare feet pressed against the window by Ethan's head. He's sitting behind Ethan in the back of the van.

Me: Evan! Get your shoes back on -- and off the window!

A few minutes later

Me: I still smell it.

Paul: Me too.

Me: It smells SO gross.

Paul: I know.

I turn around again.

Me: Zach: Is that your feet I smell?

Zach: I don't think so. I know they usually smell. But I just smelled them and they don't smell like the smell we are all smelling. I mean, they smell... but not like that smell.

I pick up his brand new tennis shoes I bought him in the Cities and smell them. They don't smell yet. Thank goodness.

Me: Ethan. Give me your foot. (I smell it). Hummm... no. Not Ethan.

Zach: Here! Smell mine! (He is sitting behind me and puts his bare foot up to by face)

Me: Oh my God! Get your foot away from me!

Zach: Smell it! Smell it!

Me: Zach! I'm not kidding. That's totally gross. Get it away from me!

I turn around. I feel a foot on my hair.

Me: ZACH! Paullll!!!

Zach: Oh my God! My foot is stuck!

Me: Knock it off! Get your foot away from my head!

Paul: Zach.

Zach: I'm not kidding - it's stuck!

He had put his foot through the opening of the headrest. It was stuck.

Me: Point your toes and pull it out.

A few minutes later I smell something new. I think, "God. Is that me?" I start smelling myself - I sniff my shirt, my pits. Huh. No, not me.

Me: Paul. What is THAT smell now?

Zach: Uhmm... mom? I think we'd better roll down the windows.

Me: What did you do?

Zach: I released gas.

Then the gases move towards the back.

Everyone: Ohhhh!!!!!! Ewwwww!!!!

Paul and I roll down the front windows. Next thing I know, Zach's foot is on my shoulder.

Me: Zachary Alan Amundson! That is enough!

Zach: WHAT?! I'm airing out my feet too!

Paul: Maybe we need a convertible.

About five minutes later


Zach: How do you know I farted?!

Me: Because I can smell it!

The windows go down again.

This happened at least two more times and then.... apparently he did it another time.

Zach: That one passed under your radar.


In the car, we listened to the iPod through the car radio. We got to AC/DC's Thunderstruck:

Paul: Change it.

Me: Why?

Zach: He doesn't like it because they say thunder too many times at the beginning.

Paul: Yeah - it takes to long to get to the song.

We get to Stevie Wonder's Superstitious:

Zach: Can we please change it?

Me: Why?

Paul: Bad memories


Me: Really?


Paul: Yeah - bad breakup for him.

Billy Joel's She's Got a Way comes on...

Zach: Can we listen to something more upbeat please?

Me: Okay.

I go to the next song, The Stroke, also Billy Joel - which happens to be about phone sex.

Me: This is upbeat...


Me: Not terribly appropriate... but still, upbeat.

Then, Heart of Glass by Blondie. I hear Zach humming along... After about a minute he leans forward:

Zach: Does anyone know what she's saying?

As I was typing my entires tonight, Evan walks in to chat with me. Then... I smell THE smell again. The smell we couldn't find in the car.

Me: Evan? Is that you I smell.

Evan: Shy smirk... Yeah.

Me: What is that?

Evan: My feet.

Me: Oh...(sigh) Please go and do something about that. Please.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chatter in 3 minutes

We headed out this morning to the Twin Cities for two days of amusement park rides and swimming at the Mall of America's Nickelodeon Universe and Valley Fair. The boys have been super excited all week.

I brought a notebook along so I could write down the funny things my kids say - I figured there would be lots of good material, and I didn't want to miss anything.

About two miles from the Mall, we hit major traffic. The boys hit a hyper-high and started chattering up a storm. I pulled out my notebook and wrote (in shorthand to keep up) exactly what they said. Here is the conversation that occurred in the car -- in chronological order - within a three minute time frame:

Zayd: I saw you pick your nose.

Evan: Is that the mall?

Zayd: Oh God I have the worst itch!

Ethan: When will we be there?

Zach: What's L-T-D?

Zayd: sighs and yawns loudly

Evan: Right dad? You can't even see the mall yet?

Zayd: Are we in Minneapolis?

Ethan: A mall has a rollercoaster.

Zayd: (singing) Noooooo, nooooooo, nooooooo!

Ethan: I wished we lived here in this city cause we could go to the Mall of America every day.

Zayd: Hey! Touch the window! It's toasty warm.


Zayd: If you touch the window, all your dreams will come true.

Ethan: (singing) E-I-E-I-Ohhhhhhh! Fantastic!

Zach: Do you see the window Ethan? Do you see the window over there? If you touch me again I'm going to have to throw you out of that window.

Zayd: Is THAT the Mall of America?

Ethan: WHY is there so much traffic?

Zayd: (singing again) It always feels like, somebody's watching meeeee....

Zayd: (talking) Wouldn't it be cool if we lived next to the mall?

Evan: No one lives right next to the mall.

Ethan: I wished we lived IN the mall

Zach: THAT would be cool.

Zayd: HOLY MOLEY! That's a big truck!

Evan: We could get out and walk from here.

Zach: (to Paul and I) Have you ever been to New York?

Paul: No.

Me: That's our next family trip.

Zayd: Nooooooo!!!!! I think New York sounds robbery. (pause) And I think of James and the Giant Peach.

Ethan: Sqqquuueeeezzzzzze.

Zach: No. No! No. There will be no squeezing. NO squeezing in this car.

Zayd: Evan are you going to be a robber when you grow up?

Evan: Yes. And I'm going to rob your house.

Zach: ETHAN! No touching. Don't touch me. (pause). We are right by the Tria Orthopedic Center. That's comforting... in case anyone puts out a...

Ethan: EVAN! Your foot smells BAD!

Zach: Yeah - it smells really bad.

Evan: Eeeeeewwwww. It DOES smell bad. (pause) It smells like fruit.

Zach: Rotten fruit.

Zayd: (singing) There's only one way, two say, three words....

Ethan: (begins to sing the following using the same melody) There's only one day, Tues-day...

Paul: There's the Best Buy headquarters.

Ethan: Where?

Zach: Right there.

Zayd: Didn't we already pass it?

Zach: Yes, three times.

Zayd: (Bursts out laughing then begins to say:) hum-in-ah, hum-in-ah, hum-in-ah....

Evan: Dick's Sporting Goods


Evan: And there is a meatball by the sign.

Zayd: Huh?


Zach: That's a basketball.

Everyone laughs

Evan: It's brown and bumpy. It looks like a meatball.

(Actually, I thought it looked like a meatball too)

Zayd: (singing, again) Hom Furniture (It is supposed to be pronounced HOME - but the boys insist that because it isn't spelled right, it should be called "H-ah-mmmm") Hom furniture really wants your money! Hom furniture really wants your money.

Finally, I turned to Paul with my mouth open. He begins to shake his head from side to side.

Me: Oh. My. God.

Paul: I know.

Me: How in the hell have we managed to survive raising these kids so far? How is it that we haven't lost our minds?

Paul: Maybe we have.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What is a marriage?

We are redoing our living room and ajoining dining room - all of it. Carpet, trim, furniture, fixtures... Four boys and two dogs (may they rest in peace), was all that space could take. It really didn't stand a chance.

So, we all went to the carpet store after dinner.

The three younger boys found a play area and entertained themselves while Paul roamed in one direction, and I roamed in another -- followed by Zach, our 14-year-old.

After about 10 minutes, I found what I wanted. And Paul found me.

Paul: So did you find what you like?

Me: Yup. Here it is. I show him a solid-colored patterned carpet.

Paul: Hum.

He flips the boards and shows me another one.

Paul: What about this?

Me: No... not that. No.

Paul: Is it different?

Me: Of course it is different. Can't you tell?

Zach interprets for me.

Zach: No, mom. He means is it THAT much different.


Me: Oh! Well. Yes. It is much different. Thanks Zach. I don't understand man-talk.

Zach: No problem.

Paul has now found the store manager and brings him over to my selection. He gives the manager the dimensions of our space and asks for an estimate.

After punching in numbers in his calculator for a few minutes...

Manager: Well... this carpet is $x.xx a square foot installed.

Hum. I thought that sounded reasonable.

Manager: So we are talking about $X,xxx.

Hum. Way under what I expected to hear. I wander away to keep looking at carpet to see if there is another one that I like even better.

Zach is right on my heels.

Zach: Uhm mom? Why does dad look so angry?

I turn around and look at Paul standing and talking to the manager.

Me: He doesn't look angry. That's how he always looks.

Zach: No. No mom. You're wrong. That is an angry look.


Me: I suppose he is coming to the realization that we will be buying that carpet I like.

Zach: We will?

Me: Yes. He knows he has to.


Zach stares at me with his mouth gaping open like I had said a bad word.

Me: What?!

Zach: So everything you ever told me about marriage, and it being all equal, and making sure that you and your spouse talk things through... that was all a lie?


I turn to him slowly and look him in the eye with the most serious expression I can muster.

Me: Yes Zach. It was a lie. When your wife decides that she likes a certain kind of carpet, you will buy or you will choose to live a life of hell.


Zach: Wow mom. Wow. Way to shatter my world.


I did go around the store and I picked out another carpet, just so Paul wouldn't feel like there were no other options for him. The manager joked, "Well I'm sure it won't be more expensive. I think she picked out the most expensive one we have."

Apparently - the second one I picked was more expensive.

Manager: I could have sworn she picked out the most expensive carpet we have.

So I picked a third - with the manager's help. I said, "Please show me a carpet that is of good quality, but not as much as the first one I picked. One that will make my husband happy."

He showed me another one that was acceptable.

As we got in the car with our two samples (the one I want and the one I picked for Paul)... Paul turns to me laughing and says:

Paul: How is it that within minutes of entering the carpet store you are like a bloodhound and you manage find the two MOST expensive carpets in the entire place! Oh my God! I can't believe you!

Me: Well... come on. It doesn't take a genius to see or feel what is a good carpet and what isn't.


from the backseat...

Zach: But it DOES take someone of outstanding taste.

The Funeral

I called home just a minute ago to ask Saint Sitter for something.

The commotion in the background was loud - even over the phone.

Me: What is going on? 

S.S.: Oh, we've just had an active morning.

She says this with her usual patient, unalarming tone. This is one of the many reasons I love her.

Me: Are you okay?

I do worry about her safety regularly.

SS: Oh yes. I'm fine. They're fine. We've just had a busy morning.

Me: What did you do?

SS: Well, we just finished having a funeral for Evan.

Me: What?

SS: Zayd and I carried Evan up from the basement, because Evan said he was dead. We put Evan in the sandbox.


SS: And Zayd sang "Amazing Grace."

double pause

SS: And Ethan put sand in Evan's pants to "make it soft."

Me: A funeral? How long did this thing last?

SS: It was a pretty good funeral - about 15 minutes.


Me: Okay. Well. Then. I'm glad everyone's having a good time.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I made my boys fall in love with me all over again.

I went grocery shopping.

Seriously. That's what did it.

Paul and I pretty much grocery shop every day - on the way home from work, one of us stops by the store to get stuff for dinner that night and a few other items we might need. The boys go through food so fast, we can't keep up unless we do it nightly.

But today, I dropped about $150 at the store - this MAY last us three days. MAY. Ethan went with me to help.

He was very helpful in spotting "Dippin' Dots" on sale for 2 for $1. Oh - and the pickles.

So we arrived home with our load and I called the boys out to help me carry stuff into the kitchen.

Evan: Holy! Mom! You were gone so long! What were you doing?

Me: Grocery shopping - I told you that is what we were doing.

Evan: But for so long?

Me: I was gone a half hour.

Ethan: We got DIPPIN' DOTS!

Evan: Really? Where did you find Dippin' Dots?

Ethan: She founded them in the store and I picked out eight of them. But you can only have two.

Zayd comes out

Zayd: Did someone say DIPPIN' DOTS?

Ethan insisted on holding the plastic bag with the Dippin' Dots in his lap during the car ride, rather than packing it in the trunk. So he was holding on to the bag as if he manufactured the Dippin' Dots on his own.

Ethan: Yes! We got Dippin' Dots at Cashwise! I gotted them! You get two. Only two.

Zayd: Let me see!

Ethan opens up the plastic bag and shows off the purchase with pride. Zayd pretty much puts his face inside the bag to look.

Zayd: HOLY!

I popped open the trunk and the love fest hit a new level.

Zayd: Oh MY GOD MOM! What did you BUY!?

Evan: Sheez Mom!

Me: Food.


Evan: I'm going to see what else she's got! He runs inside with a couple of bags.

Zachary comes out.

Zachary: You were gone a while.

Good God.

Me: Just help me Zach, please?

Zach: I'm just saying.

All the bags and boys go inside ahead of me, while I close the trunk and grab my purse. I walk into the kitchen and they are unpacking grocery bags like it is Christmas.


Me: Zayd! It's not like we've never had asparagus before.

Zayd: I know! But I love it so much and it's here now. Right here on the counter!

This is getting ridiculous.

I pull out a couple of boxes of Little Debbie's. I don't buy these often, because the boys will plow through one box in five minutes. If I buy two boxes, they are gone in 10. You simply can't stockpile food at our house. I even have to hide food if I want something for later.

The oooo's and aaaaaah's begin.

Zach: Oh my God mom. Seriously. Seriously? I love you. I love you.


Zach: I love you.


Me: Okay. Now listen to me. I want these Debbies to last three days. I think you can live on two Little Debbies a day. If you guys go through these any faster - I will not buy them again. Understand?

They are all gathered around the kitchen island listening to me. Zayd is listening with the most serious look on his face.

Me: So everyone understands?

Everyone nods.

Zach: So what are we having for dinner tonight?

Me: Well, I was craving steak - so I thought we'd grill steak, have roasted asparagus, melon and tossed salad.


Me: Ooookaaayyyy. Thank you Zayd. I'm glad you are happy.

Ethan: Can I have my Dippin' Dots for dessert?

Me: Yes, as long as you eat your dinner, you can have Dippin' Dots.


Zayd can be quite expressive.

Me: Yes.

Ethan: Yyyyes!

Zayd: Whooooo hooooo!

Zayd and Ethan bound out of the kitchen hooting and hollering.

Evan comes up to me and hugs me.

Evan: Thank you mom for buying all this stuff we like.

Me: Don't we always buy you guys stuff you like?


Evan: Well yeah. But not all at once.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ethan's workout

Zach, Ethan and I were in the car today, when Ethan announced from the backseat:

Ethan: My pee pee is exercising.

I bit my bottom lip and Zach turned to the window to keep from laughing.

Finally Zach spoke.

Zach: What's going on back there, Ethan?

Ethan: I said my pee pee is exercising.

Zach: How do you know it is exercising?

Ethan: Because it is sticking straight up.


Me: Does it hurt?

Zach turns to me with a "What the ?? are you talking about" look...

Zach: (whispering) Why would it hurt?

Me: I don't KNOW? How would I know? Maybe it hurts!

Can't it just hurt? I mean, he's only 6...

Ethan: No.

Zach: Ethan - why do you say if it is sticking out it is exercising?

Me: Because way back when he told me it was sticking straight out, he asked me what it was doing and I told him it was exercising.

Zach looks at me again with this "What the?" look. Actually, I thought my response was genius.

Me: What was I supposed to say!?


Ethan makes another announcement from the backseat:

Ethan: Okay. It's breathing now. It's done exercising.