Sunday, September 30, 2012


Molly has been with us a week now.  We've had our puppy visit to the Vet where all the technicians wanted to hold her and play with her. The doctor was laughing at them and said to me, "you'll never get her out of here!"  At this veterinarian when you bring in a puppy for their first shots the doctor gives the shots while you hold a jar of baby food our for your dog - she never noticed the shots.

Molly is a smart little girl and very persistant.  She doesn't like to be separated from the rest of the household so she puts up a racket and has found her way around every gate I've used to try to keep her in the kitchen.  We are going to have to get more serious about the crate if this keeps up!  She loves people, and keeps trying to get my big dog to play with her.  She can be a little rough with her puppy teeth and I find it harder to train the younger kids not to excite her than to train her not to bite them... we are all working on it together.

no dogs on the bed, so my husband says, no dogs on the bed, and I come in my room while my husband is watching a movie and find the puppy crashed out in my spot? What's up? He says "she was barking"
My husband says, no dogs in bed.
He was watching a movie and I came into the room and found this.
He shrugs "she was barking"
photo5, snoozing on her water bowl, September 2012
Sleeping with her water bowl

photo7, playing in her water bowl
Splashing! Look at her feet! They are soaked!
Molly in the dishwasher
What is a dishwasher? Puppy is curious!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Big Boy

Today I am going to the veterinarian at 3 pm with "Big Boy" he was inherited from school when a teacher retired.  We think he is 11 or 12 years old.
He saw the vet this summer.  He is loosing weight, lethargic, not eating.
We tried some interventions, changing lights, deworming, some antibiotics, some puppy food for the weight, aggressive soaking.  He still isn't eating on his own.  And even though my daughter optimistically hopes that his stools show he is improving, actually they are the puppy food coming back out pretty much the way it went in.
So today, I expect to discuss options with the vet.  Come home, get my 14 yr old from field hockey, and discuss options with her.  And then tomorrow, take him in to say goodbye.  I thought the hardest thing I'd ever done was take my tail wagging oh so happy labrador in when he couldn't get himself outside to use the bathroom anymore.  But helping my daughter make the best decision for her lizard may be even harder.  It is going to be a very hard day.

about a year ago, modeling for a contest

This lizard convinced me that animals didn't have to have fur for me to like them.  In the morning when I came into the kitchen and turned on the lights, he would come to the side of his terrarium and "wave" at me and say hello.  He also knew how to get my attention if he was hungry, or simply wanted to get out and about and go hang out on the back porch.  He was easy to carry on our shoulders and if he was cold he'd bring his head up next to your neck and absorb your warmth.  I would never have described a reptile as snuggly but he almost was.  He was a wonderful animal.  I'm going to miss him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Puppy love


yesterday I drove to West Chester PA to fetch "Molly" this darling yellow lab puppy. She is a gift for a friend of mine who recently left Air Force life for civilian life. He always loved my Malachi who we called Mali, and when I offered to train a puppy for him he didn't hesitate. I tracked down Mali's blood line to Toynton Labs. Mali's dad Jake was featured in the book: Jake a Labrador Puppy at work and play and it is dedicated to Grace Morris of Toynton Labs.

Unfortunately, yesterday there was a Redskins Game and a Nationals Game so that extended my drive a little... and then coming home there was a Ravens game to get around... but worse was the construction on 95S and so Molly and I arrived at 12:30 at night. Whew! I had a long day driving back and forth to PA but Molly's was longer.  On Saturday she drove from Michigan to Pittsburgh.  Sunday morning she drove from Pittsburg to West Chester, and then from West Chester to here in the afternoon.

Today we are taking it easy and every time I sit down Molly sits on my feet, which I find completely endearing!

Linking to Sally's Blue Monday Sally, I hope you can find a little blue in the young lads shorts there!

And I'm linking to A Southern Day Dreamer's Outdoor Wednesday

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pink Ballet Cookies!

We are dancing, we are dancing, we are dancing 5 hours a week!
How long can we maintain this?  I don't know!
But M-Lyons is so excited to be part of a big show.

On Sunday the Virginia Regional Ballet held their annual Pot Luck supper and cast announcements.
And M-Lyons will be one of Mother Gigogne's children in The Nutcracker this winter.  She is so excited!

these are cookies! I asked who made them, and the answer was "Desiree's Grandmother" well, now I need to track down Desiree's Grandmother.  These are gorgeous!

M-Lyons tried one.  She said they taste even better than they look!

and I looked up Mother Gigogne for spelling and I found this youtube, which is too fabulous so I must share it!


I am linking this post to Beverly's Pink Saturday
Pink Saturday celebrates all things pink. You'll find crafts, gardens, art, collectibles and treasures

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Martha, on adoption

via Rainbow Kids:
I get their newsletter and today my eye fell on this piece

Six Happy Adoptees: Martha & Her Girls
How many of you wonder if adopting a child might be a catastrophic mistake? What if...your child hates you? What if...your child resents being adopted? I mean, where are all the HAPPY adoptees? All you ever read is the angry, hostile, negative stuff written by adoptees.

I'm going to tell you where all the happy adoptees are. They are living next door to you. They are in the office down the hall. Serving you your sub sandwich and selling you your home. They, or should I say, WE are everywhere. We are white, black, Hispanic, Asian. We are Atheists, Christians, Jewish, Democrats and Republicans. We are busy moms and dads, coaches of child's football and gymnastic teams. We are here, living our lives, just like you. Adoption was how we entered our families. It's part of us, but so are so many other things. For most of us, adoption isn't something we think about very often. 

I am an adoptee. I only became involved with adoption advocacy because my husband and I adopted 5 of our children, all labeled "special needs". Angry adoptees become furious when they are labeled "angry". Okay....but there's no dialogue for those of us that were adopted and are fine with it. No way for us to get a word in above the screaming and say, "Uh...hey. You know, there are a whole bunch of us who think that our personal issues might come from other places, beyond adoption."

So this is my place, my moment to say to YOU: It's going to be okay. Your child is not going to hate you. It's not a mistake to adopt. Kids who really want to be in a family are waiting and hoping that you will be the answer to their hope and prayer. They shouldn't have to suffer (and YES, they are suffering) because someone else is unhappy with their life. These waiting kids? They have no one to love them. You could be their someone.

   -- Martha

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

looking forward to fall

water view ford's colony 2010, pastel on paper, water view in ford's colony, williamsburg va, soldplease respect the artist's rights, this image belongs to the artist and should only be used with permission
Water view in Ford's Colony VA, in the collection of Mr & Mrs Stelljes,
CailinMarie, pastel on paper 2010
this image is the property of the artist
I am ready for fall! Changing colors, crisp mornings, blue sky, bright foliage, apples, cider, Atkins donuts, sharp cheddar cheese (I think I'm going to have to tell the husband that I cannot be vegan during the fall) what is your favorite part of the season?

sharing with others at Outdoor Wednesday


of bullies and cyber-bullies

Yesterday one of my college classmates posted on her Facebook Page:

5773 -- How did your year begin? Mine began with cyber-bullying. I returned home from Rosh Hashanah services to find an article posted to my Facebook page, with a long litany of comments from "friends" and congregants alike, all laughing at my expense. This was from an event that occurred when I was 16. These people are all in their 40s and 60s now, and I find it sad that they thought it was appropriate to publicly gossip as they did. No matter our age, words hurt. I hope your 5773 is off to a better start than mine.

I am not including her name.

I spent all day thinking about her, about her hurt and disappointment and frustration.  I keep going back to it, adults in their 40s participating in behaviors that I would not want my children participating in.

Everyone brings up concerns about bullying in schools, about teens misusing the public forums of social media, the potential for one hurtful comment to multiply exponentially in cyberspace- but how are we to expect our children to behave when their parents cannot?

I read an analysis of the mass attraction to The Hunger Games some time ago.  The author of the article   suggested that perhaps young people were drawn to the story because they can relate to a world in which the adults cannot be depended upon to act like adults.  According to the article young people today appreciate Katniss's self reliance and her inner sense of justice, her ability to move in the world with absent parents.

I am still thinking about this today (and in my world of interruptions and incomplete actions and kids zooming to and fro that is a long time!).  I think because it threatens to punch a hole in my theory that we are all growing up together.  That the things I did when I was 16 (some of them made me cringe then, some make me cringe now, a few I'm proud of) can be put into the context of "growing up" and seen 20 years later with some grace.  I like to think that when I run back into people that I extend them some grace regarding the things they did 20 years ago and look at who they are now and put it all into some context. (Okay, honestly I am better at that with some people than others.  But I am intentionally trying.)

I look at my 16 year old self and I see her as smart, immature, passionate, outspoken, artsy, confused.  And frankly I kind of miss her.  That passion got her into trouble, but it was energizing.  That artsy-ness  left her off doing her own thing but she created some wonderful pieces.  The confusion led to all sorts of conflicting ideas and beliefs and I still have many conflicting ideas and beliefs that I'm still trying to sort out.  And I've kind of come to terms with the fact that my beliefs are conflicting.  But I think my point is-

We all have to grow up.  And it is messy business.  I tell that to my kids.  Your story will have highs and lows, proud moments and embarrassing moments, bruises and scrapes.  But it is your story, and through it you become who you are.  I really hope my children find the ability to extend to themselves grace, and extend it to others.  Better than I am able to.  I wish I could teach that to all those people posting hurtful things on my friend's Facebook page but I'm still learning it myself.  I cling to the idea that by teaching my kids to live in grace, they will be able to impact those around them.  And I find reassurance in knowing that while my friend was hurt by this incident, she too is a grown up.  And she has others in her community to turn to offer support and love to counter all this negativity.

So E, I'll sign off by offering you thoughts of Peace and Grace this day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

High School-Parenting

I don't know if I can handle being the mom of a 14 year old girl in high school.
Really I don't.

It isn't because she has an attitude problem or she's turned into some teenage monster.
It is because it is so painful to watch her try to navigate the waters.

I don't think I realized how lucky I had it to have my brother.  Sure he was younger, so when we moved to our high school I was a sophomore and he was a lowly freshman.  But I had someone to show up with.  We went to the Friday night football game together, and then split up to find our friends.  But I didn't have to that long walk of shame in front of the bleachers by myself.  And in hindsight, he was very protective.  He never left me on my own, he made sure I'd found my friends first. (He found his faster, he had more friends than I did.)

My daughter has spent some time the last day or so trying to figure out who she can "show up" with.  At the football game, at the amusement park next door.  Just so she doesn't walk in by herself.  So she asks, "do you need a ride?" and gets the answer, "no thanks, I've got one."  And nobody thinks to ask if she wants to ride with them.

It isn't something I can fix.  It isn't something she wants to me to fix.  I am trying so damn hard to leave it alone.  It is killing me.  The tears just at the edge of her eyes are killing me.  The fact that she refuses to give up is killing me.  The fact that I was pretty close to the house, didn't date, had no real social life in high school and so I can't offer her any advice at all, is killing me.

Worse, her family isn't exactly helping her status.  We show up at her field hockey games with a complete side show.  The 5 year old is tired and just out of control after a day of Kindergarten, the 7 yr old is a little easier, the 2 year old is wild, and the 10 yr old is just awkward.

And then at the last game, her grandparents came to cheer her on.  Very sweet.  But after the game, the team stretches and the coach talks and they are in the far corner AWAY from the spectators and her grandparents walked all around the field to tell her "you did great!" in front of her team, during the coaches talk.  You could tell when she told her dad about it later she wanted to just shrink into the floor.

I liked it better when she was in preschool.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby Snapper

Baby Snapping Turtle, Tidewater Region, Virginia
found Labor Day Weekend, 2012

My son found a baby snapper in the erosion mesh in my backyard.  It was stuck.  So he freed it.  And then of course he wanted to keep it.  We talked about its care, its life in an aquarium vs outside and he agreed it might be happier if he let it go.  So he set it down in the woods that lead to the swamp, towards predators of course, but also towards food and the habitat the big snappers come out of at egg laying time.  Good luck little turtle!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to School Angst

I've hemmed a bit about trying to hash this out in writing because of friend of mine tried to hash something similar out on her blog, and got called out. (which was insane, her blog is anonymous, she didn't name her child, her school, the teacher or even the district, and she still got called out)

But here goes

I am always a mess at when the "back to school" time frame rolls around.  My kids now see a teacher for more hours a week than they see me.  Will their teacher like them?  Will they work well together?  Will they "get" my kid?

Take my 5th grader.  He fits the "gifted" profile well - very smart, very fast, a little immature, questions adults and authority, sensitive.  I remember those kids from school.  I know mothers of those kids today.  Add to that - I made plenty of mistakes along the way.  Was hard when maybe I should have been soft, was soft when I should have been hard, and plenty of times I checked out because he was too hard to deal with.  Add to that allergies and medical issues.  You've got yourself a nice little pot of soup now, and yet he isn't a bad kid, and by today's standards he isn't that hard in the classroom.  He doesn't yell, he doesn't fight, he doesn't need to be on medication, he isn't going to be on the news for doing something really crazy- he just fidgets, and laughs when he shouldn't and acts kind of like a 10 yr old boy.  He recently read Tom Sawyer, I think he related a lot.

So- his teacher assignment this year came and it was a teacher I've heard a lot about.  Rigid. Nit-picky. Sarcastic.  Those are the words the moms used.  Mean is what the older kids said.

I told him, "go in with an open mind.  don't judge her before you know her."

First day of school someone brings in cupcakes for a birthday.  Mrs. 5th grade teacher tells my son, "I know you have allergies and I don't think you should have a cupcake."  My son replies, "I'm allergic to shrimp."  She didn't let him have a cupcake.  She could have called the school nurse to ask what his allergies are.  We fill out reams of paper every year with all this info on it.  It has to be on file somewhere.

3rd day of school.  They fill out a "reading log" every night.  Date, title of the book, time the student began reading, time the student ended, number of pages read, did they finish the book, did they like it, parent initials.  My son is a reader.  He walks around with books in his hand.  He doesn't know how long he was reading, he was reading all afternoon - so he guesses.  He said on Wednesday that he had read 50 pages in 45 minutes.  On Thursday he claimed to have read 300 pages in 60 minutes.  Possibly an exaggeration, I'll give you that, but she called him out on it by saying "I don't believe you read that book in an hour." I don't know what else they said and then according to my son she said "I don't believe you could read that book in an afternoon."
She has known the kid 3 days.  She doesn't know what he can read nor how fast and to say "I don't believe..." is calling him a liar.  It seems to me that is unprofessional.

So I talked to my husband about it.  He said that he deals with problems with record keeping all the time and it drives him nuts because one item that is out of line makes him question every item and he has to double check and it is a waste of his time.  My husband feels my son needs to learn to record better.  Okay - I will try to work with that but I still think her response was nit-picky and unprofessional.  Besides, I reason, he gets pulled out for language arts enrichment and math enrichment anyway so he really only has to deal with this teacher for a few hours.

Last night I learned that this teacher is the language arts enrichment teacher.  Hold on!  Like I said before, it is not uncommon for bright children to be overly sensitive and immature.  And the school is giving a group of them to a woman that is described as "rigid and sarcastic" and who I think is unprofessional.

So - I called the vice principal and asked to make an appointment for a phone call.  I don't know what I'm going to ask for.  I can't ask for him to have a different teacher because she is the only enrichment teacher in 5th grade.  But I can at least tell the vice principal why I think it is a bad choice on their part, and why I call this woman unprofessional.

My husband says we all have teachers we don't like, bosses that we don't enjoy working for, but we have to buck up and make the best of it.  This is true.  But I think it is one thing for a mature adult to deal with and something entirely different for an immature kid to take on.  It is going to be a hard year.  And some how I have to prove to my son that while I expect him to work hard at school, I'm on his side.

Today is the 7th day of school.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why aren't we talking about it? Questions about Obama's America

On Saturday my husband and I went to the movies.  After a full summer of children, particularly my smaller children, I wanted to go see "something that would make me think."
So I choose "Obama's 2016"
My husband was not terribly enthusiastic, he would have preferred to see "Lawless" (and I hope to see it soon) but I countered with:  There is a documentary in theaters about a current president of the United States, in an election year, and nobody is talking about it.  You don't think that is weird?  I think that is weird and I want to see it.

So we went.

Like many of my friends I do not talk about politics much.  Politics, religion and in some circles money, are all taboo subjects.  They aren't polite, people get offended, so we avoid them.  Personally, I would prefer to talk about them if we could, particularly if we could get past the given emotional issues and actually have a discussion where we exchange ideas and either strengthen our own stance or find a loophole that makes us question our previous assumption.

Back to the movie, I thought it was a very well done documentary.  I have read "Dreams from My Father," by Barack Obama.  I read it four years ago so it is not fresh in my mind.  This book is the starting point for D'Souza and his question "what is Obama's dream?"  D'Souza is the president of King's College in NY, and he wrote "The Roots of Obama's Rage" (one Amazon page says it was published in 2010 and another in 2011 so - he wrote it recently) and "Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream" published in 2012.  I have not read D'Souza's books.

No one I now is talking about this movie and four years ago no one I knew had read "Dreams from My Father."  I am more frustrated because I think that the people I know are letting themselves be "played."  Its all "gay rights" "abortion rights" "education" in the stump speeches and that is what people are talking about.
{I am not anti-gay.  I personally do not support pro-choice politics but for the most part I'm happy to stay out of it.  But I do feel, that fundamentally, our country is on the brink of change and lifestyle issues are simply not as big a deal. (Yes - you could point out that this is because I am married to a man, and have a nice life, I am aware of this.)}

I thought that D'Souza did a good job explaining his own bias so that in viewing the documentary you would know the lens you are looking through.  I always like to know the source of the information.
D'Souza asks:  Who is this man Obama?  What does he stand for?  Where will America be in 4 years?

I felt that D'Souza is asking valid questions based on having read Obama's book and on the shifts in the policy of the United States.  D'Souza brings up changes in the policy of the United States towards Israel.  He brings up changes in our relationship with England.  He brings up our relationships with various Arab nations.  Discrepencies in the energy policy.  I read an article last spring that stated this election will not be about domestic policy, or international policy, or gay rights, or Iran, but it will be about how our country works.  Fundamentally, who are Americans?  I think the questions D'Souza asks point in that direction.

I am not interested in recapping the movie.  I am more interested in why no one is talking about it. I posted on my Facebook page that I'd gone to see it, and that I was hoping to discuss it.  Over 48 hours, 2 people out of some 200 friends said anything about that.  Sure, maybe they didn't see it - but I posted that I beat my husband at Fantasy Football and I got 6 responses to that in an hour.  Which one matters more?

So I'm going to put it out there in the blog-o-sphere.  Why is it that you think we don't talk politics in polite conversation?  Why do you think no one is talking about a movie, about a current president, in an election year? (really, am I the only person that thinks that is crazy?)

If you have seen the movie, I'd love to know what you thought.  If you don't want to see it I'd love to know why.  If you have a theory on why no one is talking about it I'd love to hear that too.

an interesting review I found by Melvyn Fein