Saturday, October 13, 2007

What a crazy cool day...

Since our swimming lesson was tossed aside due to parade blockage of the road, we tossed all our plans for the day up in the air and winged it completely.

We went to The Spot for a delicious lunch, then drove out to Black Bear Winery and picked up some booze. On the way back from the Winery we stopped at Coldstone Creamery for some super-de-duper ice cream creations.

It was a super-expensive but incredibly fun afternoon.

Post-fun time, I mopped the kitchen and took a reading break. Then we loaded up the van full of kids and headed off to Wegmans for groceries. After spending even more money, we came home and absolutely crashed. The kids ate random bits and pieces of leftovers and filled in the corners with rotisserie chicken.

There has been some watching of DVR'ed television and some wishing for sleep to hit the kids.

Through all of this, there's been a tiny electrical spark of excitement because it's less than 24 hours till the Piseco Clan end up in Guatemala to pick up their baby girl.

Oh, what a wonderfully tiring day.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's the Creeping Crud, Dang It!

We're so stinking sick and miserable. The kids are dragging around, and trying to kill each other over absolutely nothing in particular. They're all just easily annoyed today because of their various aches and pains. Also, they're being incredibly loud at all times. There is a overkill of loud screaming and complaining. My personal observation is that my children get really loud when their heads are congested because their ears fill up with fluid.

The good news is that the grand-paternals are arriving tomorrow to give us some much needed backup in the parenting realm. This means there is a chance for some actual sleep in my future. I can use it, too. In retrospect, I should have known that we were heading toward a case of the sicklies when the three kids took turns having sleepless nights last week, complete with screaming night terrors and grinding teeth.

The bad news is that being sick means that we had to miss a whole lot of opportunities for fun today and probably for the rest of the week. In other bad news, Em's orthodontic work looks like it's going to run at least $1000 for extraction, spacers and a retainer. I'm sure the cost of services will rise as they determine what else she needs in the future. Did you know that being a mouth-breather (while awake or asleep, but especially asleep) causes alignment/orthodontia issues? I didn't really, until Dave told me today. Emily has always been a mouth-breather and a tooth-grinder, which is apparently a very bad combination....expensive, too.

We are officially entering the phase of parenting I like to call "the era of the leaking bank account". It's scary and depressing. I'm hoping we'll come through it well, but we don't feel at all prepared.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who Cut The Cheese?

Sorry, but I couldn't resist the impolite title opportunity.

The correct answer would be that JASON cut the cheese. He cut a 75+ pound of imported Parmigano Reggiano, specifically. Anna loves to be at Wegmans, our local grocery store, for their cheese wheel cracking ceremony. She's watched several of these big suckers get cracked, and she enjoys a little bit more each time it happens.

First the cheesemonger (or, as Anna calls him, the Cheese Mama)scored the top and sides with his hook-bladed knife.

Then he inserted almond knives into pressure points on the wheel and prepared to use leverage to crack it open.

With a lovely and satisfying crack, the wheel of deliciousness popped open.

Then we ate lovely cheese and continued on with our grocery shopping and the rest of our day.

The Parm was a lovely, creamy cheese with a melon overtone and a sharp finish. It was aged 28 months and tasted absolutely the way that a good Parmigano Reggiano should taste.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Comments are on again...

Thanks to Alexa for letting me know that the comments button wasn't available, even if it was only because she'd intended to heckle me publicly and was thwarted.

It's on again now, and I'm open to any and all insulting of my intelligence...~laugh~


Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy 12th Blog-iversary!

This is the 12th anniversary of the day I started my first blog. Only, at that time it was called an online journal and there were just a few of us hanging around in cyberspace together. My journal was located on Geocities, and I was one of the original homesteaders in the Paris suburb. It was hand-coded in HTML and included a handful of carefully designed graphics. It was full of angsty poetry, angsty journalling, and uhhhhh....angsty angst.

Every year on this day I recommit myself to journalling/blogging. The urge to post usually lasts for a few weeks or months before I disappear into the walls again until the next blogiversary.


Edited to keep my stupidity from showing: So, yeah, for anyone who saw this BEFORE the edit, I'm well aware that 1995-2007 is 12 years and not 22 years...really, honestly, I PROMISE that I didn't really think I started using the internet 22 years ago. I AM NOT AL GORE! Did I mention that I am not best of friends with the maths?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Go to Church and Climb a Tree...

That's what my kids did today. And did they enjoy it? Yep, you betcha! Well, the tree climbing part, at least. The churchiness was a mixed bag, with some thumbs up and some thumbs decidedly down.

Here's a pic of my three monkeys with their pal Campbell in the tree outside of UUCB.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Message for Paula

More to come in the near future, but Em declared that this couldn't wait.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I have done it! I've finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There's so much that I want to talk about, but I'm going to be very carefully monitoring my words for the next few days/weeks until those around me have had a chance to catch up.

Emily's not trustworthy when it comes to keeping spoilers to herself, so I've not even let her know that I finished reading. She'd be all over me, then spreading the details as fast as she could get her mouth open.

All in all, I want to say that I was very pleased with almost all of the major plot points in the book, thought the ending was a little fan-fic(ish) for my personal preference.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Fine, Fine Festival

We had the priviledge of spending the majority of our day today celebrating the 5th birthday of Nate's best friend JediBoy. JediBoy has recently become a very big fan of the Middle Ages, most especially Arthurian tales, and his brilliant and creative mother devised an awesome Knights and Castles festival at a local park with a wading pool and carousel.

There was wonderful food, awesome conversation, and plenty of blow-up plastic weapons. We are still having a great time tonight with our inflatable morning-star.

Of course, my children had th greatest time on the ponies and in the pool. Anna rode the carousel till all the adults under her command were too dizzy to spin.

After the carousel, there was some splashing in the pool. I'm not sure how those crazy kids could stand swimming on such a chilly day. When the wind was blowing, it was downright cold, and yet they still ran in and out of the water.

Every now and then, you'd see a kid lounging beside the pool like a lizard basking on a rock in the sun.

Of course, Emily and Ben both found bugs to rescue during their swim. This came as no surprise to anyone who knows those two bug-loving nuts.

Ben was very proud of the bug on his hand, and immediately sent his mom off for an empty bottle to hold his new pet/exhibit.

The two littles had a great time just splashing around in the water. I was thrilled by how brave Nate was in this pool, and how confident Anna was in the water without any adults.

By the time the party was winding down, all of the kids were starting to hit their point of exhaustion. There were kids laying on benches, resting under trees, and quite a few were stretching out in the sandbox. I got quite a kick out of seeing JediBoy stretched out in the sand with his chainmail glimmering in the sunlight. He looked like some treasure dropped in the sand.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and we felt priviledged to be allowed to spend such a special day with our friends.

Now all of the kids are sleeping that totally drop-down tired kind of sleep and I'm getting ready to join them and see if I can actually get a night off from the crazy insomnia I've been having recently.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Let Freedom Ring!

I'm days behind in posting to the blog again. I'm pretty much internally reconciled to the idea that I'll never manage being a daily blogger, but I do want to post when something cool and/or different happens in our family.

Our Freedom party with Paul, Ben and that other Dave was such a great time that I definately want to keep it down in written posterity.

On Tuesday night, Ben and his folks came over for a night of food and fun to celebrate the end of Emily's public school career. I cooked upsome quick and easy Mexi-American food and Ben helped his mom out with dessert. They baked an awesome vanilla cake and Ben decorated it with all the style and panache that a 7 year old boy harbors in his wonderfully creative mind.

Ohhhhh, and they brought vanilla ice cream, too. Of course, Dave still made some yummy ice cream for us older folks (banana with pound cake, candied walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate swirls)to enjoy, just because he loves to show off his ice cream making talents.

It's awesome to share a meal with good friends, since it makes eating and talking a comfortable social experience instead of an evening full of tension and worries about whether or not your children's terrible table manners are going to be the talk of the town after the night is over.

After dinner, while the kids got on with their maniacal destruction of our downstairs, Paula and I gabbed and gabbed about random topics from the sublime to the insane and the Daves messed about with their instruments.

My Dave is very, very new to the guitar but began playing violin when he was a child and "other Dave" (his official title in this house) plays guitar very well and collects all kinds of awesome guitars as a side hobby.

Sometime in the late evening hours, we realized that Emily had hit her fun limit and crashed out like a college freshman during Sorority Rush week. Poor girl, I put her to bed mostly naked after I realized that she'd sat in her dessert at some point and had a lovely collection of light pink frosting spots all across the back of her skort.

By the end of the playdate, which started breaking up a bit after midnight, the only kids left awake were our two night-owls, Ben and Anna. There was lots of thank you'ing and goodbye'ing and a smattering of gloriously inappropriate inuendo and a few late-night, too tired tears from Ben at the door when he discovered his father's misspent youth as a murderer who sentenced caterpillars to death by water fountain drowning.

Finally, when the house was quiet and everybody was in their appropriate sleeping place, I sat down with a cup of hot tea and a good story and read till I could feel my eyes drifting shut.

It was, all in all, a most wonderful celebration of the end of a era in our house. An era that was, thankfully, short and not too incredibly disasterous. Now we're on to the next great adventure...Homeschooling TWO kids at the same time.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sometimes He Leaves Me Speechless...

Nathaniel has always been part enigma to me. He has flashes of a near-brilliant understanding of the world, just drifting around in that haze that is his particular brand of autism spectrum disorder. He sees this "big picture" of the world sometimes that I can't see, even though he has trouble understanding interpersonal relations on his own small-world daily basis.

We had one of those moments today, when we were cleaning the living room before Dave got home from work. While we were working, we were listening to a mix of some of my favorite songs and he got very quiet and contemplative while listening to our .mp3 of Josh Groban and Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing 'Weeping'. When the song was over, the Boy had tears in his eyes and he said, "This song is too scary. I think we live like this in America. Maybe it's like this in every country that has a war. Our boss people, like George Bush, tells us it's ok because they are guarding the evil, but maybe they ARE part of the evil. Maybe EVERYBODY who fights in war and kills people are wrong...and maybe we're being tricked into believing it's right because it makes us feel safer than knowing we're just fighting against other scared people who want to believe the same thing."

I'm still reeling. He does this to me frequently, but I never get used to it.

Friday, June 08, 2007


There's really no excuse for not blogging with more regularity. Sometimes, when I think back to those years (decades, really) when I churned out 2000-10,000 words EVERY day, I'm floored by the realization that I just don't have the energy or enthusiasm required to write a few hundred words about our very "regular" lives.

Last week was like the ocean, periods of quiet and calm broken up by waves of activity and fun. We had a great play-day with Piseco and JediBoy and Paula and Ben on Tuesday. There was a pool about calf deep of toys and blankets in Nate's floor that they were "swimming" through during their visit. I had a great time watching Paula and Piseco play face hurt from smiling so much, seriously! Emily became an adoring Ben-fan, and is plotting any excuses she can conjure to get out of these last few (under 10 now) days of public school so she can spend some of those days with him.

Wednesday and Thursday were recovery days for Nate, whose allergies had gone out of control on Tuesday night. He's finally feeling better, though the addition of a second rescue medication on top of his daily allergy meds has left him feeling a bit more groggy than usual.

Today, Dave came home from work at about 10:45am and played some Legend of Zelda with Nate, then went up to practice some new music on his violin before taking a nap. The kids played outside for while with neighbor K., but the heat was taking their breath so they ended up back inside challenging each other to Tennis in the living room.

After his nap, Dave went out to his classes (tonight is Wu TaiChi and and Shaolin Kung Fu, I think) and I decided to make some Wings and corn on the cob for dinner. While I was doing that, Emily made a lovely mess in the clay while working on the concept of "cave painting". After that was cleaned up, she sat down and made a list of her top five activity choices for the summer.

The list read (non-edited)

1. Crafs.
2. Go to Popos house.
3. Go to see Omo and Ogon at home.
4. See my frenis.
5. Roller skate place.

Translated it reads:

1. Crafts
2. Go to Papaw's house. - That is visiting my father in Kentucky.
3. Go to see Ah-mah (Grandmother) and Ah-gong (Grandfather) at home. - That is visiting
Dave's parents in Rochester.
4. See my friends. - Self-explanatory, I think.
5. Roller skate place. - Also fairly self-explanatory.

Nate added his list verbally:

1. Make a video like Jeff Corwin.
2. Swim somewhere outside.
3. Collect bugs, maybe an ant farm.
4. Watch a movie at the Drive-in.
5. Go to someplace in a hotel.

Ahhh, the drive-in. We've been trying to get to Elmira to watch Pirates of the Carribean 3 for several weeks now and are constantly thwarted by either the weather or the health of our children. We were going tonight, but this crazy severe storm warning just won't go away...of course, it's not RAINING either. Blah. If it's going to keep us home, the least it could do is rain and cool everything off.

Tomorrow is groceries and maybe a restaurant for lunch. We're still debating having a friend over tomorrow evening for some visiting and dinner. Sunday will be back to our routine of chores in the morning and bowling in the evening. Next week, beyond Sunday, is still a total mystery. We'll see what life brings our way.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Just Another Weekly Roundup, Folks!

Oh, what an incredibly busy (and yet, relaxing) week it has been. Last Friday, the Chen grandpeeps came down for a long visit. We spent Friday night catching up with them and teaching Grandpa Chen how to play games on the Wii.

Saturday morning was swimming, and Saturday afternoon we went with Dave to his martial arts studio so that his parents could watch video of some famous, now-deceased, Kung Fu masters. After Kung Fu time, we treated the grandparents to our new favorite dessert from Joey's Italian Ice. We're big Gelati fans!

Sunday began casually, with some reading about snails and contemplating where we were going to plant the flowers and trees Grandpa brought down from his house. The kids helped with the planting while I did some internal cleanup and knocked the top off of Laundry Mountain. Sunday evening was our normal bowling night, minus JediBoy who was off at camp. The grandpeeps were very amused by the bowlers.

The week was filled with a great deal of playing out in the yard, watering the plants (and Grandpa) with the hose, taking walks to the grocery and the park, and reading lots of game F.A.Q.'s and walkthroughs online.

On Wednesday, Daddy surprised the kids with the newly-released Mario Party 8 for Wii. We've had a total blast playing the party games. Tonight we had Kelly and Davy over for a grill-up and dessert along with lots of Mario Party. The kids love having K and D over to play with them...we can't thank them enough for their generous gift of the Wii to our family.

Tomorrow MAY be kite day with the homeschoolers, or it may be a rainy indoor playdate with one or two friends. It's a toss-up to me which I'd prefer at this point. I'm a bit fried from all the fun this week, but we could really use some time out in the park with friends.

Ok, I'm going to take this opportunity to post and then get to bed. Emily fell asleep at 7:30pm on Wednesday night and woke up FOR GOOD at 2:30am. And, of course, I'd just gotten Anna down for the night at 12:30am, so I got a grand total of 2 hours of sleep. Thank goodness Grandma let me come up for a 2 hour nap today!

Goodnight and good weekend to all...


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wrapping Up the Week

Yeah, it's a day early for most people to be wrapping up their week, but we seem to have managed to drag Fridays into our traditional weekend.

Pictures will follow at some unknown future moment.

Sunday was a rest day, and then bowling with JediBoy and his dad. That's always fun for the kids, and I enjoy watching, but it seems to be a lesson in patience for the Daddys involved.

Monday and Tuesday were spent cleaning up around the house, doing lots of reading and playing outside on a regular basis. Dave had his regularly scheduled activities and we had neighborhood kids over in the afterschool hours to play with Em and Nate.

Wednesday was spent with JediBoy and his PisecoMom. There was some seriously funny Wii action, and lots of bad-guy slayage outside in the back yard when our two sons suddenly became "Links" a la Legend of Zelda.

PisecoMom and I spent a few minutes digging through my boxes of curriculum for Summer-Fall '07 homeschooling and ooohhing and ahhhhing over a few of our favorite things. I think we've decided we'll do Noeo Biology 1 cooperatively this fall, and maybe even invite a couple of others with like-aged kids to join us. More hands = more FUN!

Today we're cleaning again, though not much seems to be getting done. I've got a truly intimidating mountain of laundry in Nate's room to fold and put away tonight. We've got to make a Wegmans trip that was put off yesterday due to a generalized case of BLAH that went through the whole family. After groceries, Kelly and Davy will be coming over for dinner and then we may all go out for gelato and Italian ice...or we may stay in and play Wii till bedtime.

Tomorrow morning a plumber comes out to work on the leak in our hot water heater, and then Grandma and Grandpa Chen will arrive for their long visit. Let's stop here to say a little prayer to whatever deity is listening that there will be peace and grace during this visit!

Ok, that laundry is refusing to fold itself so I'd better get back to it.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Such a strange Saturday

We are, as a family, a little bit attached to the security of our routines. We like knowing when our activities are planned, and how our lives will play out (in the broadest sense) on a regular basis.

Emily messed with the routine. She got a double ear-infection and a lovely fever on Friday, and that means no swimming for a while. Since she couldn't swim, the others decided to take the day off from swimming. Well, Dave and I decided for them since we'd had a rather cramped Saturday morning planned and we thought it would work out nicer without the trip to the YMCA.

So, we slept in a bit this morning instead of racing around for swimsuits and towels. D made pancakes for a late brunch and then we headed out with him toward his Kung Fu studio where he had made plans to watch some classic movies of brilliant fighters who are no longer living.

He dropped us off at Made In Japan to do some drifting and shopping since we really couldn't sit through the movies. Em bought a pack of Pokemon Legends cards, Nate grabbed a couple of Nintendo Classic toys and Anna grabbed a brand new Bento Box with plasticware in the lid. Oh, and all three kids bought Sanrio NOISEMAKERS. The little japanese taiko drum thingies with the two balls on the ends that you roll between your hands.

After they'd done their shopping, we spent sometime watching the serious 'Advanced' Yu-gi-oh players starting their tournament in the back part of the store. Emily commented, "Some day I will be just as good as all those big people."....yeah, and just as geeky too, sister!

When Daddy came back for us, we decided to blow off our Sam's Club trip in favor of lunch at Los Tapitos and then Italian Ice for dessert. We all came home with electric blue mouths from the Blue Raspberry ice.

The rest of the evening is looking like rest, goofing off, and some catching up on backlogged DVR'ed (is that a word?) television episodes for the adults.

We just don't know what to do with this strange, unplanned day that landed in our laps. And yet, we've had no trouble filling most of it up already.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

So many thngs to update on...

That, for the moment, I'll just say it's been a long, hard Winter and Spring but it looks to be a better year now that the weather is clearing up. We have new friends, new plans, and a wonderful homeschooling year ahead for ALL of the kids. I'll be posting a lot in the next few days to fill in the backstory for several major events in our recent past.

Since we use this blog as a record of our adventures, I'll be adding photos and summaries of things we've done in the past few months that I did not have time to get down during the crazy family stress that occured after my mother passed away in February.

Here's looking at a bright future!