Monday, March 30, 2009

The Mawl

In NJ, we have malls. We pronounce them "mawls". We also have NO SALES TAX ON CLOTHING!!!! I was very sad to move away from that. Granted, the thousands of dollars we save each year in property and state taxes compensate nicely for it.

Still, it bugs me to pay tax on clothes because I never had to.

After my Uncle's funeral once all of the relatives dispersed and went their seperate ways, Elysa and I decided that we needed to be true to our inner Jersey girls and headed to the mall to take advantage of the tax free clothing.

I called my friend, Heather the Awesome, to check up on my boys who she was coralling after school. HTA is from Philadelphia, so she gets the whole Jersey thing.

Our conversation:

Me: Heather, like any self-respecting Jersey girl, I am currently at the mawl.
Heather: Oh good. Did you tease your bangs so they stand five straight inches off of your forehead.
Me: Um, no. But (as I glance in the mirror) now that you mention it, my hair is way bigger today than usual.

It's good to know that my hair remembers what to do when at the mawl.

And speaking of Caleb and creepiness...

While I was gone, Todd reported having this conversation with Caleb one night as he was laying down reading to him:

[Caleb gives Todd a hug and then begins to strangle him]

Todd: Caleb, please don't do that.
Caleb: Why not?
Todd: Because it hurts me.
Caleb: And it can kill you.
Todd: Yes. And it can kill me.

While disturbing, my one bright spot in all of this is that if we are ever in some post-apocalyptic world, I want Caleb on my team.

Musical Monday

I was at a funeral this weekend. 2:30am in the dark hours before the funeral I asked my sister, "Can you think of any songs with singing corpses?"

I do it for you, gentle readers.

Elysa suggested this:

While we're on the subject of creepy Tim Burton things, my favorites are this:

Hm. I may know now where Caleb gets it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yardwork Fairy Tale

It was a lovely day yesterday, so Caleb decided to pull everything out of the garage to play with all of the things he'd been missing. Like our lawn mower. I don't like things with motors. So we have a reel mower. I like it because I don't get nervous about my kids mowing the lawn and they think it's playing. Win win.
Yesterday as Caleb was pushing the lawnmower across the grass while wearing his stripey pajamas, mis-matched socks, and face paint he called out to me, "Mom, I'm making happy grass come true!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Musical Monday

I've decided to continue with Musical Monday until I get bored with it.

Today's selection is "Moses Supposes" from "Singin' in the Rain" which was a movie made about the transition from silent movies to talking pictures. (I do a fabulous impression of 'And I can't stand him.' You should ask me about it.)

This is one of my favorites from the movie. On Saturday afternoon when my two youngest boys were snapping and snarling at one another irritably, I had them climb up on to my bed and snuggle down to watch this with me. Everybody emerged far happier for the experience.

And now I give you the slightly absurd vehicle for a great tap dance routine "Moses Supposes".

That might be my most favorite last line of a song ever.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Deep Smit

More of our story:

The week after our "date", Todd took the train from work and came all the way down to Princeton where I picked up him up on my way home from work.

I love Princeton, NJ. It's why I live in the town I live now. It made me addicted to the idea of a thriving main street, town square, and sense of community with history. Whenever anybody came to visit me, I was very excited to take them all over my adopted town.

I picked him up at the train station and we headed back to my apartment so I could change out of my work clothes. I groaned upon arriving at my apartment because a young man was there whom I'd been dating for years. I had been "Off" for several months, but he was still in "On". Once he announced his decision to serve a mission, I was all for that but I had no intention of not dating anyone else for two years while he was away. I'd never been the kind of girl to wait around. He was just a month from leaving for his mission, and I figured it was as good a time as any to be done. Anyway, I found his presence very inconvenient since I had a friend to play with and this young man while wonderful in many, many ways, was not what one would describe as overly playful. Climbing trees and jumping in fountains were not his sort of thing. And though I respect law abiding citizens, I was not in the mood to hang out with one that night.

Todd, bless his heart, was very nice to the young man who hung out with us for a while but eventually took the hint from my pouty and icy demeanor that he should go away. (The young man was so nice that he'd even brought me a cookie. He'd been waiting in my driveway for a little while to give me a cookie. And I was a total brat to him. I shudder at how mean I was then, and am glad that Todd was there to be nice...and that Todd didn't immediately decide that I was a heartless hag and turn heel.)

Once I changed clothes, we set off to explore my favorite town. We wandered all over the university campus and I showed Todd all of my favorite places. Like little tucked away gardens which can only be found by looking for them. You can hide back there while the movers and shakers of the world pass you by. I love it.

When we passed the U store, I insisted we go in. I was so excited when my eyes set upon some colored chalk. "Todd," I said grabbing his arm, "we need this chalk!" Inside I was begging him to understand why we would need colored chalk. When he responded with, "Yes, we do!", I wanted to pounce on him and give him a big hug for knowing how to play.

Really, so few people understand playing. It makes me sad.

So, we purchased our chalk and found a sidewalk just off campus by the train station. (We played snail for any purveyors of hopscotch like games out there.) Apparently chalk decorations are not encouraged upon the sidewalks of the Princeton University campus. From there, we wandered back across campus until we arrived at the fountain. It was dark by this time and the lights of the fountain were on. It wasn't a particularly warm night, so the fountain wasn't overly crowded, but it was pleasant.

So, pleasant that as Todd stood at the edge of the fountain, I pushed him in. And as he laughed and reached up his hand to have me help him out, he pulled me in as well. And as we sat in the water laughing, I fell in love with Todd Smith.

We laughed and squished all the way back to my apartment where we changed into dry clothes and I drove him home. We had been having some really great discussions and while stopped at a gas station he said very seriously, "Emilia?"

I kid you not when I say that I actually stopped breathing for a moment as I waited to hear what amazing and important thing he was going to so earnestly add to our discussion. At which point he held up his Snapple bottle and said, "Never settle for less than 15% juice."

I think I swatted him arm and laughed the laugh of the disappointed and slightly relieved.

While on the drive, apparently someone decided it was monsoon season in NJ and the heavens poured rain upon us the likes of which I have rarely seen. What should have taken and hour took closer to two and left me exhausted when we reached his parent's house. I ended up spending the night on a pull out sofa and borrowing some clothes from his sister so I could go to work the next day.
An unconventional end to the day, but I found myself smiling for my whole exhausting day with middle school kids, just thinking about Todd.
When I arrived home, I realized that he had left his wet clothes at my apartment the previous night. I hung them up to dry. And that evening, I crawled into bed with Todd's plaid shirt next to me like a favorite blanket. It smelled like him, so I wanted it.
In fact, I didn't wash it until a few days later when it no longer smelled like him.
And, of course, I had to see him one more time before I left for Wyoming, so I could return his clothes. Because why mail something, or just drop it by when you can use it as bait to get a boy to come back?
I am so sneaky.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Rainin' Men!!

Todd is the choir director at church. He is currently in the kitchen making a cake for my birthday and listening to a cd of choir music. After listening to a great song for men's chorus, he called into me, "I wish I had more men!"

I called back, "Don't we all, honey? Don't we all!?"

I could hear him rolling his eyes from two rooms away.

The Statue Speaks

Tonight at dinner, Caleb grabbed his fork in one hand, stood up on top of his chair and shouted, "I am the Statue of Liverbee!!!"
Turns out he really can't say "liberty". I should correct him, right? I shouldn't let him keep saying it like that for my own amusement and the fact that it makes me want to grab him up and give him lots of kisses on his cheeks.
The Statue of Liverbee will forever have a special place in my heart. Maybe we won't fix it until after we go to NYC next month. I will let his cuteness undo the hardened natives.


A few days ago, Benjamin and I were walking home from the playground. He was a bit ahead of me, and I was so happy to be out in the wonderful springtime sunshine, that I spread my arms and flapped them like wings while making goose sounds and crossing the road. When I caught up to Benjamin, he didn't even look at me, but said in the driest voice possible, "Well, THAT was uncalled for."

His response to my ridiculousness made me throw back my head and laugh, and then hug him to me quick before he grows up all the way.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I never waste time...

I don't think it's possible to play with this without smiling a little bit.

Economy got you down?

Cornify. Just click the button for smiles.


It's that easy.

Bad breakup? Rainbows and glittery unicorns will help. You need to cornify.


Live in a state like Wyoming that has more cows than people and winter for 10 months out of the year? It's time to cornify.


Why isn't there a Public Service Announcement about this?!! Spread the word and share the sparkles, people!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I would like to let you know that for a WASP*, I make a darn good matzo ball soup. (That's not a picture of mine, though. I was too busy eating mine to take pictures.)

A month after we moved to the midwest I went to the store one night because I was having a yen for rugelach. The local grocery store didn't have any. Not only did they not have any, they didn't even know what I was talking about. That's when I realized that not every region of the country had grown up with traditional Jewish comfort food, and unless I wanted to drive really far, I was going to have to learn to make it myself. (Whole Foods which opened a year later has it sometimes, and so does Trader Joe's very occasionally. But still.)

I have five pounds of matzoh in my car as I type this.

Around Passover here, I can usually stock up on lots of the foods of my youth enough to last me for the year. But there's something wonderful about that first fragrant bowl of soup for the year.

A conversation with Nathaniel last night:

N: What's for dinner?
Me: Matzo ball soup and potato pancakes with homemade applesauce
N: Potato what?
Me: Latkes
N: Oh! Latkes! Why didn't you say that in the first place?

I love that even though my kids will be Buckeyes through and through they still understand the traditions of my youth...even if I am a WASP and they're only my traditions by close association.

*White Anglo Saxon Protestant. This isn't strictly accurate since I'm Mormon and we weren't around to protest anything back when that was going on. But close enough.

In Caleb's World

Caleb is sweet and adorable. He really is. Except when he's being kinda creepy. I wasn't sure which category to put this in:

The other day we were driving along and Nathaniel was upset and crying over something. As if to have the final word and get Nathaniel to hush, an exasperated Caleb said, "Jesus never cried, Nathaniel. Well, except when he was getting on the cross. Because nails really hurt your skin."

I waited until the next day to talk to him about other times that Jesus cried, because I was pretty sure if I tried to do it then I would laugh.

Another evening we were driving home from dance class and took the right side of a "Y" in the road. Nathaniel was very concerned that we weren't taking the same arm of the "Y" that we'd come in on and kept asking me why we were going that way. I explained several times that we were going on the correct road for the direction we were travelling. Caleb finally got tired of all our talking on the subject and said, "Nathaniel, GOD wants us to go this way! So we are!"

I've always thought it was a cheap way out of an argument to invoke God, but it was pretty funny from the mouth of a four year old. And, frankly, it did make Nathaniel stop talking, so perhaps it's not all bad.

Although, this could be where the whole men/asking for directions thing begins...

Monday, March 16, 2009

June 5

After I graduated college in May, I stayed in NJ for another month to fill the permanant sub position for the job that I would be starting in the fall. It was a great chance to get to know the staff, building, and most of all the students that I would be working with the following Fall. My plan was to head out to Wyoming at the end of June and spend one last summer with my family.

I figured after that, I'd be doing grad school in the summer so there wouldn't ever be another chance. Also, to be honest, I wanted to hide in the mountains all by myself. Realistically, in order to make that no-relationship thing work, I needed to get away from everyone. Cowboys, drunks, and cousins are the only men available in my parents' small Wyoming town, so I knew it would be a safe place for me.

I received an email from Todd around this same time in which he indicated that his summer plans fell through and he would be back in NJ. So we decided to get together to "do lunch" one day. Which actually became more of a dinner thing. He was working at a law firm in Newark, but left work a little early and met me at my school where I had stayed a little late cleaning out "my" classroom.

I had giggled nervously to the band teacher that day, "Um, I think I have a date tonight. With the first boy I had a crush on. And then hated. I haven't seen him five years." The band teacher looked at me like I was a little bit crazy. We'd known one another for all of three weeks.

I met Todd out in the school parking lot, where he arrived driving his parents' blue van that I'd ridden in when we were teenagers. I smiled at the familiarity of his sillouhette as he pulled in, and when he stepped out, my first thought was, "Todd got his grown up face!" He didn't look old, but he didn't look like a boy anymore, and somehow this made me a little shy.

We hugged and he hopped into my car so we could find a place to eat. As a poor, starving college student, I didn't know of any places to eat, so we somehow ended up at Friendly's for old time's sake. (We used to go to a Friendly's after Stake Youth Dances when we were teenagers.)

This was another weird moment that completely freaked me out. As we were driving, I looked over at Todd who had those little white flecks at the corners of his mouth that marked someone who hadn't had enough to drink that day. I hate that. I've always hated that. My friend's Mom always had that and I thought it was totally gross. Here I was with a guy I hadn't seen in five years and had been mean to for a solid 8 years and the thought that went through my head was, "Hm. Could I really live with that forever?"

I immediately turned back to look at the road and asked him a question or three to get the thought out of my head. I was NOT going to end up with anyone right then. Especially NOT Todd Smith.

Dinner at Friendly's was nice. But I made every dating mistake you could make. He asked about a mutual acquaintance of ours. I had had a rather long and protracted fling with this person. And I told him the whole story. Every single gorey detail. I was a solid 20 minutes into the story when I looked at him, realized what I'd done and said, "Oh. Sorry. That was probably more than you wanted to know."

And he replied with a chuckle, "Yeah. Actually, I really just wondered what he's up to these days."

Despite this faux pas, we finished our meal and went to play at a playground and talk some more.

For me, dates should involve as many hours as possible until one party or the other passes out from sheer exhaustion or has some other pressing engagement to attend. Like work. Around 8:30pm after only about three hours together, Todd and I were both too tired to continue.

So, we said good bye, made plans for him to come down to Princeton to visit the following week, and headed off in our seperate directions. I felt all sorts of calm and well, calm which was highly unusual for me. I'm rarely calm inwardly. I put up an okay front on the outside, but inside I'm usually shrieking! Especially after spending time with a boy.

It didn't even bother me that we were done after so little time together. I told myself at the time that it was because he didn't matter to me like that.

I didn't even begin to consider that it was because Todd Smith is the calm to my crazy and the reason to my reacting.

But I smiled the whole drive home.

Musical Monday

I had the most wonderful roommate ever my senior year of college. Her name was Pauline. When she found out that I was getting married to a boy she'd never met and that I'd barely dated AND that she was going to be my maid of honor, she asked me to learn this song and perform it.

One of my favorite things about Pauline is her wicked sense of humor.

I didn't perform it, but it's nice to know that Todd would have been thoroughly amused if I had.

This is from Sondheim's show "Company" and is performed by the very entertaining Madeline Kahn.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Story-Chapter 382

Let's see, where were we in the Emilia and Todd story?

I believe I was dating a couple of guys and had a dream about Todd. In fact, in a fit of extreme unpracticality, I threw all common sense out the window and flew out to BYU for a weekend to visit one of the boys I was dating. (He was not LDS. Leave it to me to find a boy who is not only 2500 miles away from me, but also one of the few non-LDS at BYU...while I'm technically dating somebody else.) One of the days that I was out there visiting, the boy was in class and I was looking for someone to play with. So, I looked up Todd Smith in the student directory, called his apartment and left a message on his machine. After all, we had been sending mostly friendly emails for months. I figured he'd be easy for amusement for a couple of hours.

He never called me back.

I should mention that at that point in life I was rather unaccustomed to boys not calling me back. So, I was rather put out that he didn't try at some point during the weekend to return my message.

He claimed several years later that he'd never received the message, but I wonder if it was a small triumph for him to not call back the girl who'd never written back...

Nah. He can't lie. He must really not have gotten the message.


About three months later, when I was on the verge of graduating and had managed to push away every guy who was interested in me (mostly through being mean and rotten to every one of them. I'm told there are nice ways to break up with someone, but I didn't know any of them.) I was running late at night on the streets of Princeton. As I was pushing myself to jog further than usual, I was pondering where I was in my life.

None of the guys I'd dated or had flings with were who I wanted to end up with. In theory, I could have married any of them and I would have made it work because they were all very good men who loved me. But none of them was quite right. So, I ran. It was a beautiful starry night. I remember thinking about how I was really blessed to have been offered my dream teaching position before I'd even graduated and how I was really okay with not dating anyone for awhile. In fact, I thought, perhaps I'd see how long I could go without falling into any dating or even fling-type relationships. (This was major for me. I am a serial kisser. In fact, I am a big proponant of kissing first to see if you actually want to go out with a person. A terrible kisser could be gently headed off at the relationship pass. Ahem. I should probably never be put in charge of the Young Women with this attitude.)

Almost as soon as I thought the non-relationship thought, as clear as day I heard in my head, "Yeah. But what about Todd Smith?"

I had not thought about Todd in any romantic sense since I was a young teenaged girl, so this was totally out of the blue! It was so ridiculous that I could feel myself blushing at the very thought! So, I laughed out loud, shook off the ridiculous notion, and walked home feeling slightly silly at thinking such a thing. AND I hadn't even seen Todd Smith since I was 17 years old!

That was May.

Todd and I were married the following December.

Happy Pi Day!!

I hope you all had a wonderful and celebratory Pi Day! We sure did. We had our friends, the Gibby family, over for lunch which consisted of quiche, pizza, cucumbers, and pot pies. Followed by wonderful apple pie, strawberry rubharb pie, and Boson Cream Pie. Also, several of our children now have memorized 3.14159, and Nathaniel has 3.1415926. J thinks we're all a bunch of weirdos and was very happy to go get ready for a Stake Youth Dance instead of memorizing Pi.
I can deal with that kind of rebellion.
And how did you celebrate?

Blowing Out the Candle-Take 2

I'll get you this time, Candle!
Ha! I did it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Reason to Love Spring!!!

I confess that I become more than slightly twitterpated in the Spring.  Don't bother telling me that it is only 38 degrees out there today, folks.  I am done with my coat and have started wearing flip flops again.  All of my bulbs are sprouting up and making me so happy with their greenness, I could just about bust!

Also, my birthday is in the Spring.  I like my birthday.  I'm especially excited to turn 33 in few more days.  There's something very cool about being an age that is divisible by 11.  

But most of all I am excited about THESE!!!!!  It's that time of year, folks!  (Heather, these should be included in all April rabbiting activities.)

Hooray for Spring!!


I began Musical Monday as an antidote to winter.  Now that life is springing up again, should I stop until next winter or make it something that goes on year round?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I know that there is no possible excuse I can come up with for how this would be at all necessary in my life. But I want it.

A lot.

C'mon!!!  Doctor Who finger puppets?!?!?!

They might help me be quieter during Sacrament Meeting. 

Except for the Dalek one.  But all the rest would be fine!!  I even promise not to make the Tardis sound during church.   

Birthday Party

Benjamin asked to have an "Arctic" theme for his birthday party. I will admit, that his request took me a little off-guard. But he suggested a couple of games, Todd came up with another, and I managed to get Heather the Awesome to do a cake for us. Behold, the igloo cake:

Other than the adventure of procuring the nasty Sno-balls in the poorly lit, un-hygenic, gas station convenience stores, it was a pretty stress free birthday party. 

When the kids arrived, they ran around like wild animals with weapons. Really. It was complete and total mayhem. I don't know why it still surprises me when this happens. But it does.

After a few minutes I made everyone drop their weapons and head upstairs to make a fish out of construction paper for our first game of "Pin the fish in the Polar Bear's mouth or fiercly clawed hand.". That was Benjamin's idea. Todd drew the polar bear. Because he's good like that. I mentioned to him last night that while I hadn't put it on my list of qualities to seek in a spouse, that clearly "Must know how to draw a life size polar bear for children's game" should have been on the list and, boy-howdy, did I luck out!

That delightful game was followed by "seal" races. The kids seperated into teams and we tied their arms and legs up. Then they had to lay on their bellies and flop across the floor, touch their noses to the wall, and turn around and come back so the next person could go.

It. Was. Fabulous.

Seriously, you should all do this with your kids at home some time just for fun! Or your spouse, siblings, or your co-workers. Nothing says "morale boost" like flailing across a room on your belly. You can't not laugh. I promise.

The last game was a dogsled race. No dogs were harmed because we used kids instead. Two kids grabbed the front of a sleeping bag, another one jumped on top of the sleeping bag to hold on and the teams raced one another across the basement. Also, impossible to do without much mayhem.

Todd and I were thoroughly exhuasted at that point and ready to sit down and put our feet up. But alas, we'd only used up one of the two hours. So, we had cake and ice cream, and then headed over to the school playground and then back for presents opening.

It was so windy outside for cake that Benjamin never actually got to blow out his candle.  The wind did it for him eight times.  (We redid it the next day in the dining room.)
I love presents. Presents mean that my kids get the things they actually want except I don't have to pay for them, so instead I can give Benjamin the gift of a two day dinosaur dig in Wyoming this summer. Let's be honest, if he'd only gotten that, he would have regarded this birthday with certain amounts of disappointment. Instead his friends showered him with small and large plastic things that made him squeal with joy and delight. Aren't friends great?


11 years ago I performed my senior recital. For a music major the senior recital is a HUGE deal and basically shows off if you were really cut out for this type of thing all along. (There are plenty of other opportunities for that along the way, but for some reason there is still that ridiculous amount of pressure.) I was responsible for 20 or 30 minutes worth of music and performance of at least three languages.

My dress was awesome. My recital mate was fabulous. And I was incredibly relieved when the night was over. I made a few mistakes, but nothing that anyone besides my voice teacher caught. Still, while I was on a huge high from the relief of being done with the thing that had been looming over my head for four years of college, and people said amazingly nice things, I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't all that great. That somehow, I wasn't up to par and I should have done better. I performed my recital with an ear and sinus infection, but I couldn't make excuses for why my voice didn't have it's full everything that night. I just had to perform and make it as good as it could possibly be under the circumstances.

My teacher met me at the stage door before all my family and friends could get to me and counseled me to wait at least a month before I listened to the recording of the evening. Even two months later, it made me wince. I heard every single thing that didn't go quite right. My diction wasn't good on that French word. My vibrato was a bit wobbly there. My sound wasn't light or free enough there. I listened to it once more about five years ago with a similar reaction.

Well, I listened to my recital just the other day for only the third time since that evening. I don't know if it's all the years of teaching voice lessons, or just the fact that I'm more comfortable in my own skin (and vocal chords) now, but I actually liked what I heard. It amazed me. I've spent all these years thinking that night was "eh", when really it was pretty darn good for a 21 year old.

It was like a revelation. I could still hear the mistakes, but I could also this time hear all the good things. The night of my recital I felt like I had pulled an elaborate hoax on everyone in the audience. "They don't know what I know, that's why they compliment me."

But really, it was a decent performance. The compliments weren't just out of niceness or ignorance. They were legit. (Well, I'm sure there were one or two divas who didn't mean them, but there are always a few of those.)

It's sort of weird to have to shift my thinking all these years later. Could it be that I should maybe go a little easier on myself when I am being super critical? I don't know. Honestly, I'm not very hard on myself about most things. But, wow, do I feel relieved letting something that happened all those years ago go.

I feel lighter somehow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Musical Monday

Today's selection for Musical Monday is actually a commercial. A Public Service Announcement, to be precise, from the Long Island Regional Poison Control Center.

In NJ, we don't have our own TV stations. All the people who work at them live in Jersey, but that's a seperate issue. We get stations from NY or Philly, depending where in Jersey you live. (In Princeton, I got both.) I was fortunate enough to grow up with this delightful gem of a PSA from the NY stations.

I'm not sure I realized at the time that they were pills singing. But the jingle was so catchy, who cared? I didn't ever take anyone else's medicine, and frankly, to this day I have issues with child proof caps, which were still a new-fangled notion at the time. So, I guess it worked.

See? The world is better when it's done as a musical.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Benjamin turned NINE years old yesterday!!  Unbelievable.

Here are nine of my most favorite things about Benjamin at the moment:

1.  Benjamin is extremely affectionate.  He's all arms and legs and elbows and knees, so the effect is sort of like a greyhound who thinks it's a lapdog, but I love that Benjamin is never too cool to give me hugs and kisses.

2.  Benjamin is so tender hearted.  He usually considers the needs and desires of his friends, classmates, and brothers as he is making decisions.

3.  Benjamin is cautious, but willing to try new things for the sake of experience.  He recently decided to audition for a professional show, knowing that the odds were against him getting in.  But he wanted to know what it was like, so he endured hours of audition time.

4.  Benjamin loves to read.  I love love love finding him in bed late at night wrapped up in a story!  (I don't love his grouchiness the next day, but that's okay.  I totally get the need to stay up late and read.)

5.  Benjamin is wildly creative.  The schemes and plans and stories and inventions, and plays that kid comes up with are AMAZING.

6.  I love him for this story.  And this one.  And especially this one.

7.  I love that he's excited by learning.  Especially about science and history and reading.

8.  I love that Benjamin is the worst liar in the history of forever.  With the possible exception of Todd.  Benjamin hasn't even tried telling a lie in years because he thinks I have magical powers to see through his stories.  Really, he's just physically incapable of being dishonest.

9.  I love that Benjamin is ours.  That he lets our family love him and help him grow.  I love that he is a good friend, brother, and son to all those around him.

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

The Sixth Challenge

Abby challenged me to participate in the "sixth" challenge ages ago.  I'm finally getting around to it, because I am bad like that.  Anyway.  The Rules. 

1. Go the the photo folder in your computer
2. Go to the 6th folder.
3. Go to the sixth picture.
4. Put the picture on your blog and the description.
5. Invite 6 friends to join the challenge.

This picture is of Caleb "mowing the lawn" three springs ago!  And now he's going to Kindergarten.  [sniffle]

I tag Jenny-boo-boo, Beth, Heath-O, Joan, Dena, and Denise.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Party Favors

Help! Where does one find those nasty marshmallow and coconut things known as "snowballs" in the Columbus, Ohio area? I can't seem to find them, and I have seen enough other evidence to know that it's not because the people of Columbus, Ohio have far better taste in empty calories than the rest of the country.
I would like to mention that the mere sight of these has made it so I've never actually tasted one. There is nothing appealing about them to me. But when my weirdo kid says, "Mom, I'd really love to have an arctic themed birthday party!", I am powerless before him and stoop myself to all sorts of party favor lows in keeping with his theme.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I would like to share a moment of joy with you all which will probably doom me to auto ruin.
We have been paying for this van since just before Caleb arrived in our family. When we bought it, I patted my pregnant belly and said, "When you turn 5, I will throw you a HUGE birthday party, baby! I'll be so excited to be done paying for a car, you can have whatever you want!"
My enthusiasm has waned. Especially since I just wrote a check for this month's preschool payment.
But besides all of the mundane to and froms this van does, it's also gone:
- between Columbus, OH and New Jersey so many times I've lost track.
- from NJ to Boston
- from Ohio to NC
- from Ohio to FL. Twice. In six months.
- from Ohio to WY and UT. Three times.
- from Ohio to Chicago
- from Ohio to South Dakota
Who knows where it will go next? (Well, actually, it's going back to NJ in April. But after that, I'm not sure.)
Now I'm going to go knock on as many wooden things as I can to keep the van from breaking down now that we officially own it. Do me a favor and knock after you read this, too. One can't be too careful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kindergarten Registration

Tomorrow I go to sign MY BABY up for Kindergarten!

Where has the time gone? This is actually monumental for the entire neighborhood, because Caleb was five months old when we moved here. They, too, are dumbfounded that it could possibly be time for this.

And while it's difficult to imagine such a thing, I have a ginormous list of projects to do next year when I have a few hours of house to myself every day. I'm also thinking about actually taking the GREs that I keep meaning to take, so eventually I can do grad school. I don't have a time line in mind, yet. But it's about that time.

Also, Heather-the-Awesome called today, because she is signing her youngest up tomorrow as well. Heaven help the poor kindergarten teachers for having to deal with the Dynamic Duo that is Caleb and Adam! As sad as it will be to send our babies off into the world, we are already planning a Breakfast with the Broads for the first day of school. We may sniffle through, but we will sniffle together.

Or we may not sniffle at all. We'll see.

Happy Square Root Day!

Happy Square Root Day everybody!!

I hope you all have your square root decorations ready to go for this joyous day!

Square Root Day only happens about nine times a century, so it's important to be ready for it.

We Smiths will be celebrating by playing multiplication games and discussing square roots, eating root vegetables cut into squares, and personally I will be reading "The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa because one of the main characters is a boy nicknamed root for the fact that his hair tends to resemble a square root sign.

(We also celebrate Pi day on March 14, but we skip Euler's Day, because it falls too close to our celebrations of Groundhog's Day and President's Day. A person can only have so many parties. We're finicky like that.)

This morning I said "Happy Square Root Day" to Nathaniel. When he asked what square root day was, I foolishly forgot the blooming math geek I was talking to and said, "Well, you need to know multiplication to understand it, but..." and then I proceeded to use the examples of 4, and 9, and 16. I figured he would happily trot off then, but instead he offered up 100 as his own example of understanding, leaving me slack jawed and Todd beaming with pride, one math geek to another.

I know they haven't covered that in Kindergarten yet.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Musical Monday

Okay, the play "The Producers" is so amazingly politically incorrect there just aren't words to adequately apologize to everyone.

That being said, Todd and I saw this play when it was still in previews on Broadway. We went home and told everyone we knew to buy tickets immediately, since as soon as it opened it was going to be sold out for a year at least. And the following week that is exactly what happened.

The best part about this show was that (besides getting Nathan Lane to sign my program and seeing Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Sarah Jessica Parker, who were all very nice, at the Stage Door after the show) was that EVERYONE in the entire theater laughed through the whole show! I'd never been to a show like that, nor have I been to one since.

So here is the play within a play, "Springtime for Hitler": (for all you Doctor Who and Torchwood fans, that's a blond Capt. Jack Harkness as the soloist Nazi)

Sunday, March 1, 2009


"Benjamin!  Watch out for guys in white vans.  'Cause guys in white vans with mustaches and sunglasses are kidnappers!" 

This is what Nathaniel said yesterday.  And when I asked him where he had learned such a thing, he said, "Church".

Um.  I must have missed that lesson.

Shaving Accident

Caleb has been crying a lot lately.  Over every little thing.  When he got sick last week, I figured that would be it.  He'd be done.  But apparently, he was sort of a fan of his regression and has kept up the constant crying over everything and nothing.

So, it's possible that when I heard him crying last night when  he was supposed to be upstairs brushing his teeth, that I wasn't quite as sympathetic as I should have been.  I did not jump as soon as he started crying, anyway.

But when I heard the word "blood" I started moving FAST!  He was standing at the sink, with a bloody tissue over his upper lip.  He was crying too hard to explain, but then I realized what had happened.

Caleb had spotted J's razor and decided to try shaving.  I didn't really have to say anything other than "Have you learned a lesson?" 

Caleb responded with a weepy, "YES!!" and then a wimpery "Can I have a band-aid?"

I will admit that the band-aid placement was exceedingly cute, and I was a little sad when he took it off this morning.
I know this picture is all sorts of over exposed and difficult to see, but it is a picture of my Dad and Nathaniel up in the attic trying to fix the attic fan.  (It needed a new belt.  And I know just the feeling!  Something with glitter this time maybe, to go with that little black dress...)

Nathaniel was SO excited to go up to the attic, to the point that he wouldn't let his Grandpa up there without him.  He told his brothers that they could peek up in, but that they didn't know the secret of how to walk without falling through the ceiling.

Nathaniel was the holder of the flashlight. 

It was a happy adventure for him with his Grandpa.