Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jane McGonigal on Gaming

I think this is fascinating:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thank You, Captain Awesome

I have mentioned before that my husband and I have been watching "Chuck" and recently on one of the season 3 dvds Morgan was interviewing Devon (Awesome) about his life with his wife Ellie. Morgan thought perhaps Ellie was cheating... any way... Awesome lists his day starting with whipping up an omelet and ending with "after drawing a lavender bath"

Yesterday my husband hit the kitchen before I was out of the shower.  The coffee was hot & poured with milk like I like it, the omelet was on the stove and the kitchen was cleaned up (I'd gone to bed with it less than perfect).  Last night he fetched Dragon from baseball practice (excuse me - WHO schedules a baseball practice for 9 year olds from 7:30 - 8:30 on a Monday night? Don't they know they need sleep?) and disappears for a minute.  He reappears and shoos me off to the bedroom where he had lit a candle and drawn a lavender bubble bath.


So, to the writers of "Chuck" and to Ryan McPartlin for playing Awesome, thank you.  I have no idea how long this behavior will last but it is *awesome*

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ready for a Birthday!

The Birthday Boy said, "Mom my friends want to know if I'm bringing Monkey Cupcakes to school again tomorrow" - but of course you are darling.  Those have been his signature cupcakes since kindergarten!

I'm linking up to Beverly's Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound where you can find a selection of posts having to do with pink!

Smiling Sally

and check Smiling Sally's blog for more Blue Monday posts!
Pin It

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on baseball; sketches

My soccer players get dropped off.  They are good with that.  My baseball player doesn't do as well with separation and I've learned it is better for everybody if I hang around.  Which can be 2 hours.
So M-Lyons and Bitsy played on the playground and I brought along some sketch materials:

acrylic on a 4x6 pad of paper
I was just trying to play with these paint colors, new ones to me, and block in the basics; trees behind the baseball diamond, the baseball diamond, and positions of people - and then one of the girls interrupted...

a little later I tried again

pen & ink "M-Lyons"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Showing off

My oldest
Kathleen Yates
is in 7th grade
and she is amazing

On March 18th (last Friday) she took the National Latin Exam with some classmates in her Latin 1 class. Today she learned she scored 33 out of 40, enough to earn "silver medal" status. YAY!
She is applying to be part of the Junior Honor Society after scoring A's on her last report card.
She is training with the U-13 travel soccer team.
She spent her winter skiing with the Wintergreen ski racing team.
She spent her fall playing field hockey for her junior high school.

She is an amazingly sweet and caring young lady.

I'm so proud of her!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Man Delivers...

Too funny.

(see previous post)

Joys of Motherhood

I sent the following email to my husband today:


poops her damn pants,
goes into the bathroom
tries to sit on the toilet smearing it everyplace
uses an entire roll of toilet paper

bring alcohol
and cleaning gloves

motherhood is always interesting!

Strong words on the budget- Joe Manchin

seen on this morning:

"I have never put together a budget – be it my family's or as governor – that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had," Manchin will add, according to excerpts provided to CNN. "That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess. We cannot make budgets based on the next election; they must be based on the next generation."

from the article:
Dem senator breaks with his party and Obama, again

I linked the title to the article so you can go read it on
I know all sorts of people are going to loose, I know lots of programs are going to be cut, but I do not see how it is at all responsible to continue to spend money we don't have.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Pink Saturday for Aunt Eleanore

My husband's Aunt Eleanore died last weekend and the family put her to rest in New Jersey this week beside her husband Uncle Luis.  Her obituary says she was 97.  She was his grand-aunt, his grandmother's sister.  My husband comes from hardy stock, his grandparents are all in their 90's and living and he has two grand-aunts yet.

I remember Eleanore as gracious and gentle.
She was the person in the family who gently let me be myself, not expecting me to fit into any preexisting ideas, during my engagement to her grand-nephew.  She always was quick to defend a child being scolded,  took the time to sit with her sister's husband as he succumbed to dementia, and positive, always so positive.
And she was a wonderful cook.  Nearly every time I commented on something at a family dinner I was told that either Eleanore had made it or it was her recipe first.

Eleanore Muehlheuser 

  |   Visit Guest Book

MUEHLHEUSER Eleanore C (Thiele), age 97, of Richmond, VA formerly of Wayne and Irvington on Saturday, March 12, 2011. She retired from Rose & David's Restaurant in Newark as a Waitress in 1965. She was a former member of Calvary Baptist Church, Wayne. Beloved wife of the late Louis Frederick Muehlheuser. Loving mother of Louis and his wife Elizabeth Muehlheuser, Dear Sister of Adalyne French and Gladys Reed, Devoted grandmother of Lynne Bouden, John and Karl Muehlheuser and eight great-grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral service on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 10 AM at Moore's Home For Funerals, 1591 Alps Rd, Wayne.Visiting on Wednesday from 3-5 and 7-9

In 2009 we got together to celebrate birthdays.  Tim's Grandmother is in the pink, Aunt Eleanore is seated in the blue dress and Aunt Gladys is in the black and white top with the white slacks right there next to Eleanore.  (I think Aunt Gladys is so snazzy!)

It was a fun get together.
My mother-in-law set up badmiton in the back yard.

isn't that the sweetest dress? My sister had been married earlier that summer and this one was in the wedding. So we used the dress for this lovely summer party and yes, we were "dressed-up!" but is was fun and the pictures are so wonderful!

I am linking up with the other pink ladies at Beverly's How Sweet the Sound Pink Saturday

More Spring Photos

fun with photos in spring

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Binns, Williamsburg

Yesterday the dog and I took a lovely walk through Colonial Williamsburg. On one end of the street is the Colonial Capital Building and on the other end is the College of William and Mary. Just across from the college is Merchant Square with a wonderful variety of shops. Binns is in Merchants square. It is completely out of my league but the windows are so much fun!

Check these out!

for more on Binns check their website

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Williamsburg Garden

K missed the bus this morning - school starts at 8:05
but the other three kids catch the bus at 7:55 (officially. school buses can be a little fuzzy regarding time)
on the way home from dropping off K to school I was behind this car and I started laughing:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mr. T on parenting *giggle*

I receive emails from the Post Institute
and this was in the last one
Mr. T made me giggle

it launched a conversation with my two older kids "who is Mr. T?"
so we looked him up on YouTube
and then found episodes of the A-Team on the apple tv

and in the middle of all this the 4 yr old stole the 6 yr olds M&Ms (that the 6 yr old received from the 'treasure box' at school.  I think the teacher is conspiring against me & the dentist- but that is another story) and yes, I sent her (the 4 yr old) to time out. I was in the driveway talking to the mom who is carpooling my 10 yr old to soccer practice
I'm not going to pick her up... I had dinner to make!
I'll give her a hug and chat with her later.
But honestly,
I was snack mom in preschool today
and then we made chocolate/oatmeal chip cookies, just her and me
it isn't like she hasn't had "time in" today!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


it is a hard thing to define
there is a specialist who saw a video of my youngest and said she wasn't attached to her parents.  That comment cracked me up.  She does indeed feel safe and secure and so much so that if she can't have what she wants from her parents she simply goes and asks her siblings.  Pretty much what attached kids with grandparents do right?

and then there is my son.
who sneaks things onto the bus to hurt other kids with.  So now I am running a detention center and it is my job to look through his backpack and his pockets every morning before school...
and check...
what is in there today?

two books that are not his.

did he borrow them with permission or lift them without permission?
both are entirely possible
and I have to choose- should we have this confrontation?  will I believe him?  no, no matter what he says I won't totally believe him because at 9 years old he is an accomplished liar.
so I ask him to make sure they get back to the people they belong to.

there is also 10 dollars.
the school tells the kids not to bring money to school.
we tell the kids not to bring money to school.

why is there money in his backpack?
whose money is it?

do I ask him?
I just take it out.

I run upstairs to get the kindergartener's hair up into a ponytail and the bus arrives.

As I am watching them get on the bus I realize, darn it, he's got something in his hand.

How am I supposed to do it?  How am I supposed to get him to stop and still keep my house feeling like a happy loving home?  How is that a decent way to send 4 other kids off to school in the morning?

Why should their (the other kids) childhood be about him?

I read Bryan Post.
I do.  But his perspective seems to think I have all the time in the world, that this kid is my only kid, that I can center my day around the child who needs and needs and needs.  What about everybody else's needs?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Important: a share on war and sacrifice

Lt. Gen. John Kelly, who lost son to war, says U.S. largely unaware of sacrifice

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2011; 12:00 AM

My college roommate shared the above link on her facebook page and I stumbled across it.  She is a doctor in the U.S. Army.  Probably an LC by now but frankly she doesn't make a big deal about rank in the civilian world and I haven't asked her lately.
Both of her parents served as career military.  So does her brother and her brother-in-law served for years.  Her husband recently retired.
She rarely makes a big deal about what it takes to be in the military- rarely- like never- even when she is separate from her children and in combat.  So I thought it was important to stop and read this article.  And I think it is important to share it.  Because if you haven't seen it, you should.  Here are excerpts:

Without once referring to his son's death, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military's sacrifices and its troops' growing sense of isolation from society.
"Their struggle is your struggle," he told the ballroom crowd of former Marines and local business people. "If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight - our country - these people are lying to themselves. . . . More important, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation."

Kelly is the most senior U.S. military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan. He was giving voice to a growing concern among soldiers and Marines: The American public is largely unaware of the price its military pays to fight the United States' distant conflicts. Less than 1 percent of the population serves in uniform at a time when the country is engaged in one of the longest periods of sustained combat in its history.

President Obama devoted only six sentences to the war in Afghanistan in his State of the Union address in January. The 25-second standing ovation that lawmakers lavished on the troops lasted almost as long as the president's war remarks.

Kelly has largely shunned public attention since his speech and his son's death. He discussed his speech and his son to provide insight into the lives and the burdens of military families.

"We are only one of 5,500 American families who have suffered the loss of a child in this war," he said in an e-mail. "The death of my boy simply cannot be made to seem any more tragic than the others."

Kelly's concerns have been echoed of late by generals, lawmakers and top Pentagon civilians. "I worry that we could wake up one day and that the American people will no longer know us, and we won't know them" Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in January.

Former congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) recently lamented to Foreign Policy magazine that "those who protect us are psychologically divorced from those who are being protected."

Again- please- go read the whole story

Monday, March 7, 2011

win an iPod Touch

As an employee of DataXstream I invite you to participate in our facebook contest.
It is easy and it is fun.
Find us on Facebook
"like" us and then go to notes where you will see the following directions:

Flat Stanley is back!
And you could win an IPod Touch for playing!

To play print out the DataXstream "X" and take a picture with it at your favorite destination. Pictures should be posted on Facebook.

Point System:
1 point - "Liking" something posted on DataXstream's Facebook page
3 points- Submitting a photo with DataXstream X
5 points - Submitting a photo with DataXstream Swag (t-shirt, key chain, x sticker, etc)


• The contest will begin on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 and run through April 13, 2011.
• Points will be calculated on a weekly basis (Fridays).
• You will receive points for the activities of that week only.
• Running point totals will be posted weekly.
• For every point you earn, your name will be entered into the prize drawing (which will be drawn on April 14, 2011).
• Prize notification will be sent via Facebook and/or e-mail.


• 1 Grand Prize winner will receive an 8GB IPod Touch
• 5 additional winners will receive a DataXstream goody bag with assorted merchandise.

DataXstream reserves the right to remove any pictures or comments for any reason or disqualify players at any time. All submitted photos become the property of DataXstream and may be used in future marketing or advertising campaigns.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Bake Cakes - Giveaway

so I was blog hopping one day recently and found "I Bake Cakes"
I Bake Cakes

cutest cake blog! ever. and she is having an amazing giveaway.
and so- I must blog about it- and I must advise that you skip on over and check it out:

You'll get Peggy Porschen's Simply Spectacular Cakes, everyone knows who she is and how fabulous her books are!!
(okay... I don't but I don't want to argue the point)
....Cakes for Romantic Occasions by May Clee-Cadman, who has a fresh and contemporary collection of irresistible cakes to suit every romantic occasion, from traditional wedding cakes to quirky Valentines treats and cupcakes to share with your loved ones.
 Another favourite book is Chocolate which features over 100 recipes essential recipes in ....chocolate!! A must have for any die hard fan!!
Then there is this cute cupcake stand by Gracie Sweet Cake. How cute is that cupcake on the top?? :)
My all time gift giving requirements a Papyrus card!!! Love these beautiful hand crafted cards! Wish I could make these, but I'll settle on buying it for special friends and family :)
How adorable is this shaker from Paula Deen, which I can not live without!!! Love it:) 
Last but not least is what I consider the most cutest trinket box I've seen!! shaped in a cupcake, its done in enamel with small rhinestones along the top swirls. 

and it is open internationally so anyone can enter

have I convinced you yet?
I really need to win this.  I love to bake but have you seen my cakes?  I wrote about one of them in January of last year: here

Saturday, March 5, 2011

mommy is tired

It has been "one of those days"
you know what I mean

more accurate would be to say that for several days now we've been accumilating "those days"

I was to be helping mom at preschool. I'd sent the older kids off on the bus and had gone to change and pull myself together, just a bit, nothing monumental. I certainly wasn't gone long. And as I'm zipping my four year old into her jacket I notice the little plastic cap on the floor, the one used for measuring out children's medicines in the US. It has traces of something pink in it.
Oh my. and my heart rate accelerates- Bitsy! Did you have medicine? Big black eyes are looking at me. Bitsy has reached that age when they become less likely to tell the truth immediately because they can hear it in mommy's voice. Mommy doesn't sound happy. Okay, I have to ask without any sense of freaking out.
"Um Bitsy. It looks like there is medicine in here honey. Can you tell me what kind?"
ah yes. that did the trick. She smiles proudly and points - oh, Tylenol. And here I am holding the cup up to the light trying to determine where the line of sticky residue is...looks about 1.5 tsp which is a little over the actual dosage for Bitsy but not by much.

Today is Saturday:
Bitsy helped herself to Cheerios and milk at snack. Certainly a better choice than the tylenol. There are Cheerios in my silverware drawer, there are milk and cheerios glued to my kitchen counter...
Dragon and Lyons decided to start some wonderful creative game that involved legos and the marble tower and an old box and I don't really know what else. I stayed out of it. For 2 hours. Bitsy played off and on but I hear her- not so much arguing over a piece but whining without words and yelling and finally biting the toy. No this will not do. So I go to pick her up and help redirect but she is wet- covered and going upstairs to change we see that she has broken into Bear's school back pack and there are now nuts and raisins all over the floor. In the room that Bitsy shares with Dragon. Dragon is allergic to nuts. Not go into shock and can't breath allergic - otherwise they wouldn't be in the house - but still itchy and uncomfortable and they're in his room. They aren't supposed to leave the kitchen. Grrrrr...
An hour later she is filling the baby doll cups and bottles with water and has it all over the coffee table and the clean laundry.
I'm asking kids to get ready to leave and notice a smell.  Bitsy has soiled her pants again.  Ummm she's 4.  She knows the drill here.
4-ish PM in the car driving Dragon to baseball tryouts she finds a bottle of water and a box (?) and is pouring water into the box as I drive. Ummmm no.
After practice we go for a walk.  Bitsy finds a discarded toy on the walking path, picks it up and puts it in her mouth.  Gross.  I take it away.  She finds two more with same results.
She opts to skip dinner this evening as she is busy helping herself to her dad's stash of Lays potato chips-
and I am so darn glad she is in bed now.

Do you know the children's book "Olivia" ?  At the end the mommy says, "You wear me out but I love you anyway" and Olivia says back "I love you anyway too."


Watercolor Pencil on Pink Saturday

color studies, watercolor pencil on paper, 2004
Cailin Marie

check out more Pink Saturday Posts at How Sweet the Sound

Friday, March 4, 2011

The hen, the ants, and the rainbow fish

JJ has a post on his blog that speaks to me a bit about work ethic.  It is a topic I've touched on before.  And I think it is particularly interesting to look at the books we read to our preschoolers and the books we read as parents, with the idea of work ethic in mind.

For instance:
My grandfather.  He worked is way through college with a variety of jobs; The Merchant Marine, as a beach policeman, as a garbage man.  He went to either Boston College or Boston University, I can't remember which, and one semester he was $100.00 short in his tuition (I guess you paid upfront in those days) and they wouldn't let him start class.  He studied accounting, because his dad told him to.  Grandpa said that when he asked his dad what he should study his dad answered "I've never heard of an accountant out of work."  My Grandpa did okay for himself, and between hard work and some luck he has lived a very nice life, and he's been able to help out his kids and even his grandkids.
When I was little and we would stay over, they used to make a cot in their room for us.  Grandma had a Mr. Sandman pillow case she would use.  Grandpa would tell me a story before bed.  Guess what his two favorite stories were-

"The Little Red Hen" and "The Ants and the Grasshopper."

I rarely hear those stories anymore and I didn't really think about it until 5 years ago when my second child was in a preschool class with Miss Judy.  Miss Judy's kids read the "The Little Red Hen" and I thought.  "Wow its been a long time since I heard that story."  And that was when I started thinking about the changes in children's books.

Today one of the popular books is "Rainbow Fish."  Rainbow fish is a beautiful fish with shiny scales.  The other fish feel sad because they don't have beautiful scales like the Rainbow fish, so the Octopus tells Rainbow fish to give away all his scales.  Now everybody has one shiny scale and everybody is happy.

Compare that to the "Little Red Hen."  The Hen finds a grain of wheat.  She asks who will help her plant it.  The barnyard animals all answer, "not me!" This happens for every step in the story from planting wheat to baking the bread.  Finally the bread is done.  "Who will help me eat it?" asks the hen.  All the animals answer, "I will."  But the Hen says, "you did not help me plant it, water it, reap it, take it to the mill, or bake it.  So I will eat it myself."

Sure, I want my kids to share.  But I also want them to know that life isn't fair and nobody owes them anything.  It takes work.  I know there are a lot of people right now struggling to find work.  Another small business in my town closed down last week and I know the family that owned it.  But I also know plenty of people who have entitlement issues and that is unfortunate.  Really unfortunate.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Cardinal

Earlier this week Bitsy and I took the dog into Colonial Williamsburg to have a walk.  We didn't get too far as the clouds were rolling in fast and it suddenly was quite breezy.

After our walk, on the way back to the car, a cardinal started calling to us.  I would guess that it had a nest close by and was trying to distract us away from the nest.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


For Christmas my mother-in-law gave my husband the DVD series "Chuck" which I guess is a T.V. show.  I don't know.  I am clueless about T.V.  My parents didn't own one and I never really got in the habit.  Every now and then I'll pick up on a show to watch but mostly I have other things to do.

One night we had put kids to bed and were in need of some mental down time and we decided to give this Chuck thing a try.

Well, Chuck cracks us up.  As it is about a computer nerd of the "Nerd Herd" (clever play on the Geek Squad) my computer nerd husband seems to relate to the main character a bit.  So much so that every now and then when Chuck is foiled my husband might react with an angry retort at the T.V. or pout or simply insist that we need to watch the next episode because we just can't leave Chuck in this bad place.  It has gotten in the way of my morning routine once or twice- staying up late to watch the next episode.

And Monday night the husband's company took the Canadian sector of their client "live" and he worked until 3 AM, crashed at the office for a few hours, came home to shower and change and go back and... frankly... I'm in T.V. withdrawl.  I know when he does stagger in 20 minutes he is going to be dead on his feet and need to sleep.  I could watch it without him but it is more fun together-

Yesterday I met up with one of the neighbors while walking the dog.  When I told her about our recent addiction she mentioned that we should check out something called "Big Bang."

Anyway - if you don't know Chuck, its a great laugh.  I love Yvonne Strahovski's character and I recently watched the best interview with her:

although if I'm going to be completely honest, I want her to work on her punches.  She doesn't throw from her shoulder, she sort of pushes them out there- but she's cool.

And Adam Baldwin plays John Casey and for me he makes the show.  There is a Chuck store on Amazon and there is a video that is all Casey on how to be a deadly spy.  Hilarious.