Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - a quick wrap up of some things I did,said, thought

Got in a fight with a 14 year old girl

Got in a fight with 14 year old girl's mother

Berated myself for being a hot head - spent a good portion of the year working on this. I made great strides, trust me, I did.

Cracked my front bumper on the tire of another car and left the scene in a panic ( I did a similar thing in the winter of '09 with the back bumper, except for that involved a mailbox. Oh, and children who did not belong to me were in the car -oops!)

Went back to the scene and waited for the driver of the other car (which was not damaged) to come out of store. Driver didn't care and didn't even feel bad for parking like a jerk, which is the whole reason I cracked my bumper in the first place (nothing is ever my fault, obviously) - left the scene in a furious rage but didn't yell at anyone

Promised Greg I would stop hitting things with my car and leaving the scene.

Made it through the rest of the year without hitting anything. I feel I may be due.

Lost and gained the same five pounds at least five or six time

Did not lose all of my baby weight

Laid in bed for several hours (over the course of 12 months) and wondered why God was punishing me by keeping me fat.

Painted my kitchen cabinets, but only once this year, which is an improvement over past years.

Rearranged my living room at least eight times - and after each time told Greg, "that's it, I finally like it, no really."

Read a lot. Some good, some bad. Highlight - rereading Pride and Prejudice after not reading it since I was pregnant with Jane. Lowlight - reading a dreadful book called How to Change your Husband in which I realized the book was really about how everything bad that ever happened in the history of the world (and my life) is the fault of women (and me) and I was the one who needed to change. I'm not a big fan of trick titles.

Told Greg only twice that we should move. This is the least amount of time I have spent on this topic in years. Decided I like it here - I like it a lot

Volunteered at a local food storage facility that sends the food to local food pantries. We did this so that we could get free tickets to Disney. We almost used the tickets a few weeks ago but had last minute change of plans and never ended up going. When my kids complained about this I reminded them that this made us better people than all the other people who volunteered just for free tickets. An older child was quick to point out that this was the exact reason we volunteered in the first place. The important thing is we sorted boxes upon boxes of unhealthy food and learned that all that junk food that doesn't get eaten in stores goes to poor people which ended up making us sad. Realized that we should only volunteer at places that made us feel happy.

Spent countless hours in Starbucks talking with good friends and laughing until it hurt and suddenly understood why my mother used to spend so much time doing the same thing with her friends.

Enjoyed every last minute of my trip to NY and Philly. I'll leave Vermont out of that equation. Still scarred by the filth - and some other things.

You may not be able to tell after reading this particular post, but I have had a fabulous year. Here's to hoping 2011 is just as swell - for me and for you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful, thank you, thanksgiving, just all arounds thanks

As many of you may already know, Thanksgiving is this week. I love Thanksgiving and in honor of that holiday I would like to say what I am thankful for.

First off, I am thankful that I just convinced my son not to make me homemade body lotion. I have no idea what it was going to entail, but I have a sneaking suspicion I would have broken out into hives if forced to wear it.

Honestly though, what I am really thankful for is everything. Really, all of it - for the good, the bad, the regrettable, the messy, the humorous, the ugly, the beautiful, the bitter and the sweet. I know you find this hard to believe because my blog consists mostly of tales in which I complain and lament and make sarcastic remarks about people and events and places, and where I don't seem to take anything seriously, but this blog is a only tiny little morsel of my life. I use it as an escape and a therapy, in lieu of smoking crack or drinking large quantities of booze and what I say here should never be taken as a pure and complete representation of the kind of person I am, unless of course this blog has left you with the notion that I am incredible. Then by all means, go ahead and continue believing that. Truly though, I am thankful for everything and I hope I remember to say that at least once a day, but preferably a little more.

"If thank you is the only prayer you ever say, it will have been enough." 13th century mystic, Meister Eckhart -

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WARNING - This post could be a waste of your time

There was a very interesting article in the New York Post last week. Honestly, all the articles in the New York Post are interesting, even the ones that are true. Anyway, a college professor somewhere out in the middle of the country conducted an experiment in which he ate nothing but things like chips and Twinkies and donuts for a full thirty days. He kept his calorie count to 1800 calories a day and lost twenty pounds. His good cholesterol improved, his bad went down, and he feels great. I don't think I really need to waste my time reading or researching anything more on the subject to persuade me that this diet regimen is tailor made for me.

I do think I need to print the article out and laminate it, so that I can pull it out when people start talking to me about health and nutrition. I get really bored when people discuss those things, so bored in fact that I usually become agitated, and the agitation leads to me wanting to locate the closest fast food restaurant and stuff my face with fatty foods and sugary beverages. Do you think this is a sign of immaturity?

It's not the topic of health that I find dull, it's the unsolicited relaying of it to me, as though I'm some sort of moron who can't find these things out on my own. I sound bitter, don't I? I know. I'm trying hard to work on this. The truth is, I am quite a pleasant person and hardly ever snap at anyone when I am annoyed with them (unless I can be absolutely sure of never seeing them again.) I usually just smile and nod my head and then call my trusted, loyal husband and tell him of my irritations. His sage advice is always the same - "Cut 'em outta your life, you don't need that nonsense." I don't follow this advice, of course, as it would lead to having no friends, but it is refreshing and makes me glad that I married a man and not a woman. Men are very to the point and direct. None of the nonsense of worrying and wondering about other's feelings and definitely no ruminating over whether people are mad at you. Just do what you have to do and move on.

Speaking of marrying men, I was talking to someone last week and you know how people sometimes say they married their best friend? Well, I've never said that. My best friend happens to be a woman named Sue and since neither one of us is a lesbian I could not, in good conscience, marry her. By the way, I have nothing against lesbians. They really don't bother me unless they hit on me, but I wouldn't get anymore annoyed with that than I would if a man hit on me (unless the man was Jon Hamm - yum, hamm - Jon Hamm!)

Relax, I'm joking and merely trying to amuse myself. I'm sure writing a post wherein I spend time trying to amuse myself by talking about how I lust after a certain man constitutes some sort of sin, but I'm covered there as I plan on going to Reconciliation over the weekend. By the way, I much prefer calling it Confession, but that is another topic for another post.

I guess the best friend thing is just a matter of semantics for me. My husband is my husband and my best friend is my best friend and I never thought much about it until the matter was brought up. I do think Greg deserves the title of best friend as he is the person who has most patiently endured living with me and all of my little irritations, plus he happens to know when I've had enough of something/somebody and always comes to my rescue just when I need it most. By rescue I mean he starts making jokes about the matter that no one else but me would find amusing. Isn't that is how you know someone is your best friend?

Now onto two very important matters, because frankly this post is starting to bore me, so I can only imagine what it is doing to my readers. Happy Birthday to my non-spousal best friend, Sue. And also, Happy 45th Anniversary to my parents, who never referred to one another as best friends, but who definitely continue to patiently endure each other.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to have fun while talking about politics

Bill Clinton called me today. I was so excited. Well, it wasn't so much Bill Clinton as it was a recording of Bill Clinton in which he told me to vote for certain people. I am going to do just as he told me because if a former president of the US of A went out of his way to call me and tell me what to do, I am sure as heck going to do it. It's called respect people. I am nothing if not respectful. And try not to be too jealous of the fact that he didn't call you. I'm told he has a preference for girls with dark hair. And yes, I still think of myself as a girl.

The whole thing reminded of the time President Barack Obama called me, except for he wasn't the president yet and again it was just a recording, which was a real shame because I wanted to ask him if he truly was a socialist. I wasn't even sure what the word meant, but I knew a lot of people were telling me he was one and they seemed pretty upset about it and I was wondering if I should be upset about it too. I thought I could pin him down and have him tell me once and for all if this description of him was accurate, but he just rambled on and then he hung up on me. It almost made me not want to vote for him. Almost. But I thought he was cuter than the other guy so I really had no choice. Then I saw a picture of him with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth and I wanted to vote for him even more. I think the picture was meant to detract people from liking him, but it had the opposite effect on me. I've always been a sucker for a bad ass and he looked like one in that photo. I figured he was just the guy to keep us safe from all the evils of the world.

By the way, I'm still not completely sure what a socialist is, but I think it may it have something to do with being able to have fun at a party, like, "My best friend Sue is such a good socialist. Whenever we go out she is the life of the party!" If I am correct about this meaning, and I think I am, then I cannot figure out why people are having a problem with the whole thing. After all, we are constantly reading articles and hearing things on TV about how important it is to socialize and a have a big network of friends. People who are socialist live longer, happier lives, they are healthier than their unsocialist counterparts, and yet we have half the country upset about a socialist being in office and now they're going to send a message. Everyone who supported this socialist is going to be run out of office, so I guess we are going to have one miserable country on our hands. Well, if you are against having a good time, go ahead and vote for those fuddy duddies, but not me. I like socialistizing and having fun and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Now after clicking on spellcheck I realize that socialistizing is not a word (although it should be) and I fear I may be confused about this whole thing, but the elections are just two days away, certainly not enough time to figure things out on my own, so I am going to just go ahead and stick to my original plan of voting for who Bill Clinton told me to vote for. Fingers crossed people. If the country goes to hell in a hand basket, don't blame me. I voted for the fun people.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Know thyself

I decided to do a health and wellness experiment this week to see if sugar really is as bad for you as all the "experts" claim, and I only decided to call it an experiment after it was all over, because that made me feel better than just admitting I'm a pig with no self control, which is closer to the truth.

I bought seven boxes of Black Crows last week and proceeded to eat two entire boxes within a matter of about twenty minutes. After consuming somewhere close to 2000 calories of pure sugar, I mysteriously got a throbbing headache and crushing stomach pains. I ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon alternating between running to the bathroom, laying on my bed sweating, lamenting my gluttony, and figuring out ways to keep my husband from knowing why I was feeling so lousy. I must have done something right because he was convinced it was my "allergies." Before it was all over a good twelve hours of my life had been wasted due to my overindulgence.

By the way, if you're wondering why I only bought seven boxes of Black Crows, it's because that's all that was left in the store. They were in the sale bin and were marked down to sixty four cents and the sign on them said, "last chance." I wasn't really sure if "last chance" meant that they would never be sold for that low, low price again (as opposed to the normal and much higher price of one dollar and forty nine cents), or if "last chance" meant they were no longer going to be sold at all. I feared the later may have been the case, as I'm quite sure I'm the only person alive who eats these little licorice flavored gum drops, and so I felt compelled to buy every available box. Before you judge me too harshly I do have a perfectly valid reason for behaving like this and once you hear it you'll understand my predicament.

Years ago, my little brother, who had just turned 25 and was not so little, was extremely sick and in the hospital. It was early November and so of course all the Christmas candy was out on the store shelfs. There was a CVS right across the street from the hospital, so every time I went to see Christopher I first made my way to CVS to pick up treats for myself. I really felt I deserved it as there is nothing quite so boring as sitting in a hospital room waiting for someone who is deathly ill to get better. I kid. My brother's room was actually quite a happening spot.

A particular candy company put out one of the best tasting treats ever that Christmas. They were a jellied candy with the perfect combination of vanilla and marshmallow flavoring and were softer and fresher than any other jellied candy I had ever tasted. Oh, and they didn't even get stuck in my teeth. During this particular holiday season, my sister (who appreciates sugar even more than me) and I snacked on this until we made ourselves sick, but back then my stomach was much stronger so even after making myself sick I could go back for more.

After several weeks, my brother got better, Christmas came and went, and so too did the marshmallow flavored jellied concoction. My sister and I had now gotten as attached to the candy as we would a person, so we were of course crushed about the season ending. We pined away and every once in awhile one of us would go to the store hoping to find a forgotten bag stuffed in back of the shelf. We finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to wait for several months before indulging in these tasty treats again.

This story has a sad ending. The following Christmas came and went with no sign of the candy. We were crushed. There was talk of writing the company to find out what happened and even now, fifteen years since we last tasted them, we still mention them affectionately when talking about candy, which we do quite a bit. I'm sure someone is reading this and thinking I am exaggerating our obsession with this particular treat and candy in general, but that would only serve to prove that you don't know me or my sister too well.

When I saw those last seven boxes of Black Crows this past week, with the words "last chance" written on them, I panicked and thought back to that other candy that never was heard from again. I knew I was obligated to buy every box I could, just in case. I'm not sure I needed to eat two full boxes in a matter of minutes, but I have been known to be powerless in the face of temptation. Plus, I admit that I never really was fully on board with the whole, "sugar is evil," bandwagon that's been going around for the past couple of years. That's just other people's say so and I've always been the sort of girl who needs to learn things on her own. Now I can say with certainty, through my own experience and no one else's, that sugar is definitely brought to you by the devil.

I threw away the other five boxes of Black Crows that were stashed under my car seat, because honestly, as lousy as they made me feel, I know myself and there was no way I wasn't going to repeat the whole episode again if given the chance. And thankfully the garbage men came and took away the bin so there is no way I will rummage through the garbage can to pick them out, which I also know am not above.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life lessons

In other disturbing news (I know that isn't a great way to begin a story in which there hasn't been any other news, disturbing or otherwise, but who cares - I got your attention, right?) Our neighbor, who is only eight, and her mother, who is more than eight but one year less than forty, asked Jack to buy a rooster, which he did. He immediately showed the rooster to Maggie and Maggie immediately loved the rooster. She named him Tom, although Lenny would have been more appropriate.

Maggie woke up the past couple of days and couldn't wait to go feed Tom some grass. She talked about Tom quite a bit and I think she may have even dreamed about him. Then Jack, after witnessing the sweetness of this relationship, got really nervous and confessed to me that he got himself into a jam and didn't know what to do. The jam was that our neighbor and her daughter only wanted Jack to get the rooster so he could kill it and fry it. They thought this would be "fun".

Now this posed  some problems. One was that Maggie had become attached to the rooster, even though Jack only had it for three days. Another was that I began to think my neighbors were sick freaks and I truly don't like thinking things like this (okay, I like it a little).  My thought was that it would have been somewhat simpler, and much less disgusting, to drive the two miles to the local Publix and buy a chicken that had already been properly slaughtered.

Another issue was that whenever my children kill lubbers, the little girl member of this disturbed family tells my children that they are horrible for killing one of God's creatures. So there was a bit of hypocrisy going on. Kate immediately picked up on this, said something about it to the girl, and the reply was, "well, God put us in charge of animals and chickens are for eating," and then Kate said to me, "this is why people can't stand Christians. They make no sense." To which I agreed. It should be noted that there are many people I can't stand. I don't stop at Christians.

Anyway, we went off to church on Sunday (that's what good Christians do)and while we were there, the other Christians stayed home, killed the chicken, and then hid all remnants of it so that Maggie wouldn't know what had happened. When we got home Maggie ran over to see Tom and they all lied and told her that they brought Tom back to the farm because he missed his mommy. Maggie cried for several minutes.

Things were getting ridiculous and the humor in all of this had reached a level that was crossing over into the insane. I wanted to say, "Oh so while I was receiving the body of Christ, you were all butchering an innocent chicken," but I have found that sometimes people really don't appreciate my sense of humor, especially when it concerns religious matters, so I let that one go, but I did say, "well, you wouldn't have to lie if you believed in what you did." And they all looked down shamefully and my mission was accomplished.

Then I decided to turn the whole thing into a life lesson, because if there is one thing I know for sure it is that my children love when I turn everything into a life lesson. Trust me - they adore me for this. Go ahead and try it on your own kids and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway - Life lesson? My life is somewhat boring and I'm glad I have sick freaks for neighbors or I would have nothing to write about. Maybe if I'm lucky one of them will want some fresh beef real soon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday thoughts

I've fallen back into my caffeine addiction. I did so well for months, and then a few weeks ago I went nuts and had a whole pot of iced coffee. I blame it on the weather. It was cool and crisp and I felt obligated to have a drink containing something with the flavor of pumpkin in it. Even though it left me feeling horrible and jittery I decided to do it again the next day, because that's the kind of person I am. If I'm going to do something unhealthy I'm going to do it big. What's the point of moderation? I mean you might as well not be doing it at all. I tried to make myself feel better by drinking a huge glass of water after each cup of iced coffee, but I was spending inordinate amounts of time in the bathroom so I cut some of the water out. Yesterday I only had two iced coffees and today I am hoping to cut it down to one and just be done with it.

After complaining about homeschooling yesterday I feel obliged to say that we are having good day so far. I'm always torn about whether or not I should even express any negative feelings I am having about homeschooling, or anything at all for that matter. Sometimes I think if you go through life pretending everything is perfect you actual start believing it, so I may try that for a while. And honestly, my life is pretty cushy. I mean here I am sitting in front of a computer being completely self-absorbed. Does it get any better?

Greg took Jane bathing suit shopping last night. I'm happy that my husband releases me from this horrendous experience. I hate shopping. I especially hate shopping with 14 year old girls. I bond with Jane over many things, but shopping is not one of them. Shopping brings out the worst in me, so not only do we not bond, but I am pretty sure that I have damaged her beyond repair during some of our shopping experiences. Anyway, they were gone for two hours, but couldn't find anything. This would have sent me into a rage, but Greg just came home and said something about going out again some other time. He wasn't the least bit annoyed about wasting two hours of his life. Are you waiting for me to tell you my guy is the best? I'm not going. I hate when people say their hubby is the best. I always want to say, "You mean the best for YOU, make sure you say he's the best for YOU, not for every other woman." I actually stopped reading Pioneer Woman because she was always writing in a way that made me think she almost wants everyone to covet her husband and his butt, which really is not that hot. Sometimes all the ways you adore your husband should just be kept to yourself, especially if it includes the way you think he has such a great butt. I'm sorry, but I speak the truth. Women should not want other women lusting after their hubby. It's gross.

Wow. That second cup of iced coffee I wasn't going to have, but just finished, is really working it's charms on me! I bet you all just love my previous rant. Whatever - I'm not taking it out. I'm sick of worrying that someone may be offended by something I say, or that someone may think I'm insane for making such observations.

There must be a bad accident somewhere because I've been hearing sirens for awhile. Every time Maggie hears sirens she says, "Oh no, someone hit a bag of puppies!" I have no idea where this is coming from. We reassure her that's not what just happened, but she keeps saying it.

My girls are done with their assignments so I need to go finish up the rest of our work. I want to be done early today because this is the best weather day ever and who wants to be wasting it inside? And tonight is going to be even better. I love a nice cool evening - there's something so romantic about it. Maybe me and my fab and luscious hubby will take a midnight stroll!! And I'll tell you all about how wonderfully romantic it was in my next post.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I read this book over the summer called Bird by Bird, written by Anne Lemott. I'm not a big fan of her, which is why as soon as I saw the book sitting on my sister's table I picked it up and decided to read it. I figured it would give me something to complain about. The last time I read something by her I spent most of my time trying hard not to throw the book across my bedroom. But alas, Anne surprised me this time because once I started reading Bird by Bird I realized I loved it. In fact, I couldn't put it down and went about ignoring everyone for a full day just so I could get through it.

The book was about writing and all the reasons we should write as much as we can. I was inspired to come home and write everyday, but obviously not that inspired because I've barely managed to get out one blog post a week since I read that book.

Since the truth is that there is no chance of me writing everyday, or even once a week, I decided to write a really long post about everything that has been going on over here. Back when I was writing daily I would have taken each one of these things and stretched them out into their own little post, thereby boring you on a daily basis (and really, who is "you"? Does anyone read blogs anymore? They seem so passe, don't they?), but now I have done you the favor of reducing it all down into one long post. This saves everyone time. Here goes.

I finally bought some bookcases. They were cheap and not at all easy to put together. I had been wanting to get some for quite a while, as our books were just stacked precariously all over the place. Maggie spent everyday kicking and throwing them around and I spent everyday picking them up, until finally one day a couple of weeks ago I just decided not to pick them up and they were left all over the living room floor for everyone to trip over, and there they sat, not seeming to bother anyone. I kept telling my children that we should apply for a spot on Hoarders, that's how bad it looked in here. If my Nana Devito was reading this right now she would be shaking her head disapprovingly and yelling out, "she's a Loatman." (Loatman is my dad's surname.)

When I opened the bookcase boxes I found that there were close to one million screws and nails and other things that need to be put into the bookcases in order for them to stand upright. It was very disappointing. The first one took over two hours to put together. I wisely sent the kids over to a neighbor's house because I sensed I may drop one or two f bombs in the whole process. I was dripping with sweat and maybe even some tears, but when I finally saw the first one put together I was so proud of myself that I forgot all the bad stuff that transpired beforehand. It was just like childbirth. Caught in the emotion of it all I wanted to rush into opening that second box.

And then I looked at the one I had just put together and realized that part of it was put on backwards. It's hard to describe but the unfinished parts of the wood were facing out. I was reminded of the motto I made up for myself months and months ago - "Ann Marie - doing things half-assed since 1969." Thankfully I buy paint on an almost daily basis, due to my love of painting and repainting everything in my house every other week, perhaps in an effort to get high off of paint fumes. I found some black paint and hurried up and painted the area that needed it and hoped Greg wouldn't notice, which he didn't.

The second one was put together much quicker and with much less sweat and tears. Jane was even allowed inside to help me, but three minutes into it she claimed to be very ill and ran in her room, only to come out when the phone rang and saw it was a friend of hers. I reminded her that she probably shouldn't talk on the phone, what with her feeling so ill, but she told me it just turned out to be gas. I know I shouldn't tell everyone that embarrassing tidbit about her, but in this case I think she deserves it. I'm vindictive and proudly so. If my Nana Devito was reading this right now she would smile and say, "She's a Michele." (her maiden name)

Now my house is lovely and organized and I just know it will stay that way forever, because if there is one thing I know about my family it's that when I work hard at doing something around here they completely respect me and do their best to keep things tidy. Well, maybe not their best, but they will talk about how nice the house looked for that one week when we decided to be organized.

My plan to recap all the events of my recent days into one post has proved futile. No matter how you slice it, I have a knack for taking what could have been a two sentence remark and turning into a long winded, pointless post so now I am forced to finish this post and not relay any of the other things I was going to tell you about.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Please endure the picture post.

Pedro say, "Please stop." How could I resist taking a picture of the South of the Border theme park. I don't know what the theme is - something like "Hi, our mascot is a short, fat, buck toothed Mexican, but hopefully no one will notice that it's slightly offensive, what with our awesome fireworks store."
Greg's brother, Paul, and Maggie in Philadelphia. This was our first stop. Paul doesn't have children, but he was mighty impressed that we do. He thinks we deserve medals for raising children (actually he thinks mostly I do, forget about Greg). Try to surround yourself with people like this. It does wonders for the self esteem.

Greg and Jane eating at some restaurant in Philadelphia. Could you just die over her happy expression? She was nervous because she wanted a Po' Boy sandwich but couldn't pronounce it and was worried we were going to make her try and tell the waiter what she wanted.

St. Bridget Roman Catholic Church in Philly. I should have taken a picture of the inside. It was gorgeous and my kids were in awe. We don't really have anything like that here where we are now.

Greg's mom. She scored points when I heard her tell Paul ,"I didn't realize that was Greg's wife, she looks like one of the kids." Come on, like I could let that one go untold. But really, don't I look divine in that dress?

New York State now. Route 23, on the way up to the Catskills for the day. According to some people you can see five states from this view. I'm really bad at geography, so I am not sure what those states would be, but I'm pretty sure one of them is New York.

Windham, New York - a lovely little town.

The Post Office next to the house where we lived when I was pregnant with Jane*. I used to go in everyday and talked with the woman working there. She stills works there. We went in to say hi and told her we lived next door 14 years ago and she said, "Oh, I remember you, you were really pregnant." I really was huge. People would routinely ask ,"Are you having twins?" It never bothered me because I'm not at all concerned about what people think of me. Totally secure.
The view when you stepped out our front door of the house we lived in, the one where I was obesely pregnant.
Another view, just down the street from where we lived. Talk about life in the boonies. Is there any wonder I got pregnant? And obese?

Again, about a mile down our street. Gorgeous. We were blessed to have lived there. Seriously - although at the time I thought it was awful.

Another blessing - my Nana who is 100. The girls are laughing because she had just asked them, "So, are you girls married?" And when they said no she said, "GOOD!" She was happy that day.

In Burlington now, Anthony with huge fish he caught.

I know, she really belongs in a magazine. I mean look at that hair! Trust me, she blended in Burlington where people are so concerned about the environment they've taken to not showering so as to conserve water. Sorry Burlington, you deserve that. Please, go take a collective bath. Please?

Sunset over Lake Champlain. Nope, as pretty as it is, I still haven't recovered from the general lack of cleanliness we saw there. We lived there for four years. I have no idea how I got used to it.

Token shot of Vermont and cows. This is what we saw when we woke everyday.

Back to see my family one last time. My sister's kids and mine.
Eighteen days of fun and I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of my sister, brothers, mother, father, best friend. That's a good thing. I was too busy laughing, eating, having fun, not cooking a single meal, not washing a single dish,not shopping for single ounce of food, not driving a single child to a single activity.What more could a mom ask for? It was good times, trust me.
* I had to go back and edit this. I originally wrote that I was pregnant with Maggie, but had to correct and say I was pregnant with Jane. What can I say, I've lost my mind. It happens.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anthony and the grasshopper - and the window

I know, I'm always writing about Anthony. It's obnoxious, isn't it? It's just that he's so darn full of material and I know if I don't jot it all down it will get lost in my mind, and someday I won't be able to regale Anthony's own kids with stories about what a nice mom I was for putting up with him. Here is a close approximation of the events that took place on one recent spring afternoon.

Nurse Gail : "Hi Ann Marie, it's Gail. I have your son in here. He just ate a grasshopper."

Me: "Nope, that doesn't sound anything like Anthony. Are you sure it's him?"

Gail : "Yes, it looks like Anthony."

Me : waiting for her to tell me why she called me over this, I finally decide to say -"So, what's the deal, why are you calling?"

Gail : " We think you should pick him up. He may get sick."

Me: (What I wanted to say, but elected not to )- "Are you kidding me? It's noon. Me and the girls are eating lunch and then we're going to finish our math work and then we're going to relax and read, and if I have to pick up Anthony none of those things will happen. And I mean really, it was a grasshopper. He'll live, trust me. Have you ever seen Man vs. Wild, because Anthony has, he watches every chance he gets and I'm pretty sure this is where he got the idea from. That guy eats grasshoppers all the time and he's still alive. "

Me: what I really said - "Okay, that's probably a good idea, I'll be over in a minute."

Then I called Greg and told him Anthony ate a grasshopper and I had to go pick him up. He asked why and I told him they thought he would get sick and Greg said " You gotta be kidding me? I guess they never saw Man vs. Wild." I tell you, that show is a big hit in this house.

When I walked into the nurse's office to get Anthony I noticed he had been crying. I asked him what was wrong. That was when Nurse Gail informed me she told him how bad it was to eat a grasshopper, it could have been poisonous, and it was so wrong to kill an innocent animal. I have no idea when grasshoppers turned into animals, but anyway, it was at this point that I realized the school actually thought this was pretty serious and if I wanted to get out of there alive I was going to have to put on my fake face and pretend I thought it was serious, too. Many times I have a hard time being fake and I sensed this was going to be one of those times, so I said a quick prayer and tried to be as compliant as I could. And guess who walked in just after I said my prayer? His teacher and then the vice principle.

They were also flabbergasted over the fact that a nine year old boy ate a grasshopper and let's be fair, the kid didn't eat it, he bit it's head off and spit it out because it didn't taste very good. They asked him what was next, they told him killing innocent grasshoppers was wrong and mean, and then they asked my most favorite question of all - "why did you do this, what is going on in your life that would make you do something like this?" I think they were hoping this is when Anthony would turn on me and finally tell them all about the ritualistic killing we do on various insects in our backyard, but I train my kids well and he just looked at them with his gigantic, brown, tear filled eyes and said, "I did it because I'm a boy and boys do stuff like this."

I wanted to go over and do that whole fist pump thing and give him a big hug, but instead I stepped in and said, "well, I think it's time to go home, we don't want him getting sick right here in the office, that wouldn't be good", even though I was secretly thinking it would be a little good, considering they were making him feel like a sh*t heel over biting the head off a grasshopper.

We got in the car and Anthony was quite nervous. He thought he was in big trouble. He asked what his punishment was going to be. This is where parenting can sometimes be tricky. I teach my kids to respect authority, to do what adults tell them, to not answer back. I didn't want Anthony to know that I thought the school handled this wrong. Yes, it was foolish to eat a grasshopper, but some of the things they said to Anthony were even more foolish than what he did. I knew if I let him know I disagreed with the school it would lead down a slippery slope, one he would promptly tell his teacher about the next day. So I looked at him and asked him what he thought his punishment should be. He thought about it and said, "No computer for the week?" which I thought was perfect. Really, they did me a favor and I should have run back in and thanked them.

I wrote this post last night but never posted it. I got busy and forgot to hit publish. I turned the computer off and went into the kitchen to get Maggie something. I heard a smash, a sound like glass breaking. I turned around and looked out my kitchen window and there was Anthony, peering inside, looking at me with an expression that led me to believe he may have been the person responsible for that noise. And then I saw a golf club on the front lawn. Yes, he hit a golf ball through his bedroom window and he must have hit it pretty hard judging from the size of the hole that is now there. Well, there isn't a hole there now, there is a large amount of packing tape covering the hole, a lovely reminder that Anthony does always provide us with excitement and laughs galore.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day before the trip

We're leaving tomorrow for our big summer adventure. As you can tell from this picture, Maggie started her big summer adventure a few weeks ago. Despite spending the entire week getting ready, nothing seems to have gotten done. In an effort to keep the house clean I thought about forcing my kids to eat over the kitchen sink, free of utensils, and dishes, and glasses. It's the way I eat on many days and it really does reduce the mess, but I wasn't sure they would go for it, so in the end I've just been trying to convince them they really don't need to eat more than once a day. I really want to come home to clean house and am willing to do just about anything to make it happen.

Yesterday the kids and I drove to Lakeland to drop our beloved dog, Buster, at our friend's house. I typically don't call Buster my "beloved" dog, but he did get hit by a car last week and so I feel the need to at least pretend I care about him. The car that hit him was going about 25 and slammed right into him. It was not the driver's fault. It was Buster's fault. Well, honestly it was Buster's owner's fault, and by Buster's owner I mean Greg. He's the one who agreed to get this dog one week after I gave birth to my last child. Have I ever mentioned that? Probably just once or twice.

Buster is a runner. That's the reason his old owners pawned him off on us, but we didn't know it at the time. He runs whenever he gets the chance and last week he got yet another chance. It was Anthony's last day of school and there was some chaos going on at the front door and Buster took advantage of it by plowing through Maggie and running like the wind. Then a car hit him and pretty much ended that fun. It was horrible to witness and unfortunately Anthony was with me and saw the whole thing. He cried pretty hard. I don't have any desire to ever hear one of my kids cry that cry again.

But immediately he calmed himself down and asked St. Francis to intercede and lo and behold, Buster was out of the vet's office by 4 pm that afternoon. It should be noted that the vet told us he sees this happen all the time; a dog comes in after being hit, looks okay and then dies within hours. But not Buster. He lives on, so all's well that ends well.

On top of dropping the dog off yesterday, my beloved husband,Greg, gave me a list of other tasks he wanted completed before we leave town. I typically don't call Greg my "beloved husband," but I enjoyed running around doing last minute things all week, so now I am feeling the love for him like never before.

We're headed to North Carolina tomorrow, to spend the night, and then on to Philly for two days to see Greg's brother and mother, then to Albany to see my family for a week, then on to Vermont to see some close friends and then we head back here. It should be fun. We have some big expectations and they better all be met, or I'll have to resort to writing all about it right here on the blog.

See you when we get back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

end of the school year

Anthony finished school last week. He had an awards ceremony on Tuesday, which he forgot to tell me about until the night before. That sums up Anthony's life. He forgets things. He forgets where he put his shoes, his backpack, his lunchbox, his meter, his pump, his clothes, his homework, his library books. He forgets what he did yesterday, or this morning, or ten minutes ago. Most delightfully of all, he forgets everything his dad and me tell him. He takes the phrase "live in the moment" quite literally.

Even though I had many things going on that day, I made sure to squeeze in the awards ceremony, because honestly, there are some things Anthony won't forget, and me missing that would be on the top of the list.The ceremony was interesting. There was a slide show, which was cute, and then the children read poems, which was not as cute as you would expect, because it turns out that 3rd graders do a lot of mumbling and much of what was said couldn't be heard. Anthony's poem was about bacon. If the slide show didn't stir up emotion in everyone then surely Anthony's tribute to the fattiest food on the planet did the trick. I'm sure I saw people wiping tears away when he was done.

What was most interesting about the ceremony was when the teacher, microphone in hand, announced that she would be singing a song to the children. I immediately grew uncomfortable and wanted to shout out, "wait, I didn't bring a blanket, what am I going to hide under when I cringe uncontrollably?" No offense to the teacher, but I can't help it, I'm a cringer. And the classroom was small and crowded and there was just nowhere to turn if things went bad. The one blessing was that my husband wasn't there to witness any of this. The teacher said she would be singing a song called, "I hope you Dance," by Leann Womack. I've heard this song many times. It is sappy in all the right places and perfect for an end of the year celebration.

She turned on the music and started singing and I decided to do the best thing possible, which was to stare at my son, who was sitting in front of me , so all I could really see was his profile, and what appeared to be much blinking. Excessive blinking is what Anthony does when he is either trying to fend off tears, or make someone disappear. I could tell the blinking was of the first kind. I thought to myself , oh my goodness, how is it possible that two of the most emotionally immature people have managed to raise a young man who is touched by his teacher's singing. Case closed, nature takes it over nurture everyday of the week.

After the singing, which I admit was not that bad, we moved onto the awards ceremony. Because this is 3rd grade they have to pretend life is fair, so all the children received one. Anthony got an award for creative writing because of his exceptionally good writing skills. In an attempt to kiss my butt, the teacher prefaced all of this by saying he got his writing skills from his mother. Remember that note I wrote to her way back about the beer cap? Turns out she must have liked it! Anyhow, the butt kissing worked. Who doesn't like to be bragged on in front of a bunch of other parents?

The ceremony ended, I checked Anthony out of school, and when we got in the car I asked him if he was bit choked up at the singing. He said he was, and that his teacher did an awesome job, and he was really proud of her because that must have been hard for her to do. Sometimes Anthony brings me to the brink of madness. This wasn't one of those times. This was one of those times when I just wanted to stop the clock and enjoy him in all his cuteness.

But alas, life does not stop, and since that perfect moment over a week ago, there have been hundreds of others that have left me near the brink. But thankfully blogging is here and helps me remember all the good stuff.

Monday, June 7, 2010

it's over - finally

Kate's baseball season is over. Finally. Truly. It's over.

Thursday's game was set to be played in Orange City, which is about forty minutes away. Greg came home after work and we all left and were about as cranky as you can expect after getting little sleep. Anthony was especially lovely. He begged not to go to Thursday's game. He ranted on about hoping that Kate's team would lose. He told Kate that softball was the most boring sport ever and he didn't even watch her play while he was at the games, so why should he even bother going. He seemed to take an inordinate amount of pleasure in telling her all of this. It's time like these that my heart melts and I know I'm doing a fabulous job of raising my kids. The one thing he had going for him was that I was too exhausted to make empty threats about all the ways I was going to punish him.

We got to Orange City and it was thundering and lightening. By the time it stopped, the field was soaked, so we sat there and waited and waited and around 7:30 it was determined that since it hadn't rained in Mount Dora we should move the game there. So we got in the car and drove forty minutes back to where we started. I was so tired that none of this seemed insane. The game got under way around 8:30. Kate's team won by a landslide. I wanted to cry great big tears of sorrow over the fact that we had another day of this, but twenty years from now, when I'm gathered around my kitchen table having Thanksgiving dinner with my kids and their kids, I didn't want to have to listen to Kate tell the story of me being hysterically angry over her winning her playoff game, so I decided to go right along pretending that this was all extremely exciting.

Friday night we drove to DeBary and shockingly enough, it rained. And the field was soak and we sat there and waited and waited and I tried not to have a meltdown. Greg looked at me at one point and said, "we're going to feel like idiots in six months when Kate decides she hates softball and never wants to play again." And I said to him, "really, is it really going to take you six months to feel like an idiot over this, because I kind of felt that way on Tuesday when I was driving home at mid-night."

The game finally started at 8:30. And we didn't even have to drive all the way back home to play. The umpire, or as Anthony calls him, the empire, made some atrocious calls which brought a certain amount of excitement to the game.There was absolutely no telling what he was going to call a strike. This fact made Kate actually swing at a ball after it had already landed in the catcher's mitt. If you aren't familiar with the rules of softball, I'll just say that you should swing while the ball is still in the air. Once it's in the mitt, there is pretty much no way you're going to hit it. Greg and I looked at each other in disbelief and then I realized I just needed to be thankful that we were one out closer to a full night's sleep. The girls tried their best but ended up losing 11 to 6, which wasn't bad considering that they were running on fumes and the officiating was the worst I've ever seen. I admit it, for all the insanity of this week, and for all my near breakdowns, I was sad they lost. Kate loves playing and loves being on a team and since I love her, I enjoy watching her do something she takes such pleasure in.

She was ready for it to be over though. On Saturday morning when she woke up, Greg was watching a college softball series and she said "ugh, get it off, I don't want to see another softball game until the fall." And Anthony, who was in the bathroom, but never misses an opportunity to be obnoxious yelled out, "I don't want to see another softball game, ever! And I'm not kidding!" Like any of us thought he was kidding.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Kate's team won their first game on Tuesday, but lost last night and boy did they lose big. The game was in Debary, but due to a potential storm there was a delay 3 innings in, so we all sat around the parking lot and waited for hours and hours for something to happen. Okay, it wasn't hours, but it was a long time. Maggie rolled around in the dirt and yelled, "I'm a whittle piggy, come on mama, you be a whittle piggy, too," over and over, and Anthony begged and pleaded for candy and I tried to pretend I didn't know either of them, but no luck, everyone knows those two belong to me.

Finally at around 9:30, just when I thought I was going to pass out, the officials decided it would be a terrific idea to move the game to Orange City, which is "just down the street" from Debary. There weren't any storms in Orange City and if we got at least 4 innings in, the game would count as an official game and blah,blah, blah, and I could not believe that I was the only person who thought this was a pathetic idea, but apparently I was, so I kept my mouth shut and pretended like I was cool with the idea. I hate to cause a scene.

Greg is working down at Cape Canaveral now and so he met us at the game, which meant that I had driven to the game in my car and unless I wanted to sleep in it, I was going to have to drive my car home. This was making me very nervous. I've been known to nap at stop lights when I'm tired. I go to bed at 9 every night. I no longer drink caffeine. I was so confused and tired that I started to think that rolling around in the dirt with Maggie may not be such a bad idea. At least the dirt in my underwear would keep me awake.

I followed everyone over to Orange City and tried to keep myself from crying. When we got to the field, we sat for another thirty minutes, waiting for lights to come on, at which point the officials gave us the happy and exciting news that the rule book states that the girls could play until 11:30 pm. YEAH! By this point delusion set in and everything anyone said was making me laugh uncontrollably and Jane kept saying, "My mom is really tired, that's why she's laughing like that, she goes to bed at 8 every night," which is a huge lie. I go in my room at 8 every night, I don't fall asleep until 9.

The girls were all visibly tired, dropping balls left and right and swinging at balls that never should have been swung at and they fell apart. Plus, the other team looked like they may have been born at least ten years before our girls. I'm pretty sure some of them had children they needed to get home and tuck into bed. They were hitting everything that got pitched to them and killing the ball. Our girls didn't stand a chance. I knew it was bad when one of the parents said, in a very honest and sincere way, "oh, it's only 14 to 1?"

We got in my car to leave around 11:45 and didn't make it back here until round 12:20. The ride home made my evening complete though. Kate sat up front with me so she could talk about the game. I love talking to Kate because it's like talking to an adult. She is rational and calm and cuts to the chase, but about 5 minutes from home I remembered that she is still only 11. She looked at me and said in the most serious way, "If I'm in the shower for more than six minutes, please come and check on me because I think there's a chance I might fall asleep in there." It's 9 am and she's still sound asleep (in her bed- not the shower).

Tonight we do it all over again, in Orange City. If they lose they are done, if they win they go on. Still not sure which one I want more.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a few things

I had a lovely birthday weekend. Someone on Kate's softball team invited us to an end of the year softball party at their home. I said we would go but as soon as I said that I started to panic and try and back out of it because I really don't know anyone on the team and I do horrible at parties where I don't know people. I do horrible at parties where I do know people. I'm mostly a homebody, antisocial misfit who likes to talk to as few people as possible, so the whole party scene doesn't always work well. Unless I am getting drunk and causing a scene and then things work out fantastically.

I really didn't want to spend an afternoon picking my lips in front of a bunch of strangers, but Kate wanted to go and so I pretended I wanted to go, too , because I'm kind like that, and as it turns out, it was a lively, eclectic group of people and we ended up staying for several hours and I didn't even get drunk, but I did drink 3 diet cokes, which made me feel drunk, seeing as I never have caffeine anymore. Boy is diet coke just not any good, but even as sickening as it tastes I could not resist going back for more, because once I start doing something, no matter how bad it is for me, I can't stop. I would make a terrific meth head. Anyway, the kids had a blast, I chatted it up with a bunch of very entertaining and pleasant people and the food was terrific (and free). Not a bad way to spend the day.

Sunday was Greg's birthday so we went to the beach and had another fun day. I mentioned to someone that we had gone to the beach and the person said "enjoy it while you can." Now are people really believing we won't be able to enjoy the beach soon? Please. Things are never as bad as they seem. Or maybe they are, but I'm a master of denial, so in my mind, I'm not too worried about an oil slick heading to Ormond Beach. Feel free to laugh at me if Florida is soon declared a hazard, but until then, I'm going to the beach and enjoying myself. I'm not downplaying the sadness of the situation, but I truly can do nothing about it. The people who are supposed to be doing something about it can't seem to do anything about it, so why add to the negativity?

I rode my bike yesterday afternoon and foolishly didn't bring enough water and at one point I was tempted to just go knock on someones door and ask if I could fill up my water bottle. I may have been able to get away with it, because I think I was starting to hallucinate and foam at the mouth and I am sure someone would have felt sorry for me. I rode for two hours and the last 30 minutes were spent with me trying to fend off tears and mumbling things to myself about my sore ass and my lack of water. It was a sorry, sad, pathetic scene. I've fully recovered, so don't be too worried about me. I hope to get another ride in today, because yesterday's was so tantalizing that I can't help myself.

Kate's team made the playoffs so her season continues on for one more week. She was moved up to the Majors last month and it was an adjustment at first, but she is doing quite well and loving it. I hope her team does well. I'm not competitive with my own things, but when it comes to my kids, I'm out for blood.

Seventeen more day until the trip that could end my marriage starts. Two weeks, four kids, one van, one husband, a thousand miles there and a thousand miles back... oh and a wife who never keeps all the ways she's annoyed to herself. It's got happy memories written all over it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

While I'm on the subject of Anthony

I don't know if I should post this, because it makes me look like a mean, sarcastic person who potentially causes her kids undue stress, but I'm sort of frustrated and annoyed and so hey, why not show my bad side. I've certainly done it before.

My husband drinks a beer every evening. Just one and really not an entire one. He pours a good amount of tomato juice in a beer glass and then fills the rest of the glass up with beer. Usually there is beer left in the bottle and I dump it down the drain, or add it to my food, depending on what I am cooking. You would be surprised at the wonderful flavor a good beer will leave in certain stews.

Greg used to drink a glass of wine every night but read that this new concoction was better for you and since he cares about his health he decided to go for it with the beer and tomato juice combo.

So the night before last he left his beer cap on the counter and usually this drives me nuts and I immediately pick it up and throw it away, but this time I didn't pick it up. Anthony did though. He saw it at some point and stuck it in his pocket and took it to school where he decided to take it out and show someone. Or as he put it, "well, I forgot it was there and then I was like Hey, what's this in my pocket,and I pulled it out and the teacher saw me and took it away. I'll go get my agenda."

His agenda is where he keeps his assignments and where the teacher writes notes when she has something nice to tell me about Anthony. Or something not nice, depending on what he's done. So right there in his agenda was the bottle cap, taped heavily onto the page, with a note written by his teacher and it said - Anthony said he took this off of your kitchen counter and took it to school. I explained to him that he can't show other children these sorts of things."

She didn't have to tape it to his agenda, did she? She could have thrown it away and simply sent a note home telling me what he had done. She could have written an amusing note in which she gently teased me about it, making me feel as though she understood she doesn't think I'm a drunk. She could have brought humor to the situation, because nothing makes me feel more at ease than when someone makes me laugh and lets me know they are not judging me. But something about the bottle cap being taped (and taped with several layers of tape, too) to his agenda made it seem so mean spirited and obnoxious.

So I figured if she wasn't going to bring levity to the situation, I would. I left the bottle cap taped to the agenda, because honestly, it would have taken a lot of work to remove it, and I wrote my own little note back... Mrs. X (not her real name) this must be the bottle cap from the beer me and Anthony split for breakfast in the morning. Kindly, A.M. Hacic.

And then I called Greg and we laughed, because Greg and I like to laugh together and we almost always find the same immature things amusing, which isn't always good. His laughing made me think it was a good idea to go ahead and send the note in, so I did. But as soon as I dropped Anthony off at school this morning, I wanted to go chase him down and tackle him and rip the page out of his agenda, because if there is one thing I have learned about his teacher over the past few months, it is that she has absolutely no sense of humor and she will perhaps take her annoyance out on Anthony.

Between this and the non-stop, loud farting my boy is a marked man. I am now sitting and waiting for him to get home so I can open the agenda and see if she wrote anything back. I only hope that at some point today she grew a sense of humor and found it slightly amusing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Adventures with Anthony

Went to the 7:30 a.m. Mass, just me and him, because he was an alter server . It was his first time and he clearly had no idea what he was doing, as evidenced by his deer in the headlights look through the entire Mass.

He begged me to take him to McDonald's afterward, because he thought he had done such a bang up job (of standing at the alter and looking petrified)and said he deserved a treat. We sat staring at the drive thru menu screen for a couple of minutes while Anthony repeated the words, "um, I'm still deciding," over and over again, until he finally told me he didn't actually want anything now, but by lunchtime he would want something and so I could take him back then.

When we got home, Greg left with Kate and Jane for the 9:30 Mass and I was glad to be home in relative quiet, until I heard Anthony screaming and carrying on in a manner that led me to believe he was nearing death, and then I wasn't so glad to be home. His Nintendo ds broke and he just got it for Christmas and the world was ending and oh my goodness, how would he survive, I mean how was he going to go to the bathroom without his ds, which was where he happened to be when he found that it wasn't working.

I went in my room and laid on my bed and wondered. I'm not going to say what I wondered about. I just did a lot of wondering. I laid there while Anthony sobbed and screamed and I just figured the best thing to do was not say a word and let him deal with it by himself, which he did finally do.

I heard him pick up the phone and call a number and press a couple of other numbers, until he got the right person, and then I heard him say, "Hi, um, my ds isn't working but when I plug it in it goes on, but the screen is blank and I want to know why it's doing that. I just got it for Christmas. Why is it doing that?" And then he said a couple of other things and finally, "well, I don't have an email number, but my mom has an email number, do you want hers because she is home and I can ask her for her email number. Do you want it now? Hello? You want her email number now? Now?" I couldn't take it anymore and yelled out "address, email address, not email number," and then I got up and grabbed the phone and gave the Nintendo guy my email number and it turns out they are going to fix the thing for free.

Anthony had gotten the number for Nintendo off of the back of his ds. He was pretty proud of himself. It's amazing how resourceful he can be under certain circumstances. This a kid who consistently forgets to wash his hair when he is in the shower, but whatever, it's all about priorities.

After all of that excitement it was finally time to head back to McDonald's where he happily ate like a pig and consumed enough calories to start pestering me to bring him to the pool, which I agreed to do, because I guess when all is said and done, I can just never get enough time with Anthony.

No one else in the family wanted to go with us, so we headed off and after swimming for exactly two minutes he told me he was thirsty and if he didn't get something to drink he wouldn't be able to swim and we would have to go home. But I was relaxing and didn't want to go home, so I ignored him. I figured maybe he would be resourceful again and find a way to get himself a drink, which he did. It involved finding a glass behind the outdoor bar at the pool, (an outdoor bar that most likely hasn't been used in the past decade) going to the bathroom and rinsing it out with hand soap and filling it up with bathroom water. Hey, it's been several hours and he still isn't sick.

The water pleased him enough that we managed to stay a while longer and then we came home and had dinner and at seven p.m. he told me he had a book report due. Oops. He's been on vacation for the past week and half and he thought that was the perfect time to tell me about it. I told him he must be mistaken because I had checked his book bag last week and there was nothing in it indicating he had any homework. And he said "oh, well, I guess I left the assignment at school."

I had done a fair job all day of letting him solve his own problems so I decided to run with it and I said, "well, you're going to have to figure out what to tell the teacher, because I think you may have purposely left your assignment at school and I am not getting you out of this one." To which he said, "oh, I'll just go ask Hunter what we were supposed to do, he did his last week."

He headed down to the Hunter's house and asked him exactly what he was supposed to do for the report and came home and did his work and said, "see, no problem, my teacher will never know I almost didn't do it," but I'm guessing she might because it's almost as much of a bang up job as his first attempt at alter serving.

Anthony, I really love you, but you wear me out in so many little ways. My hope for you is that you grow up and get married and have a son just like you, because only then will you realize how exhausting you are. But really, I do love you...even when I got that phone call today from the nurse telling me you had gotten in trouble for farting really loud, over and over and over again, I still love you, maybe even a little more than I did yesterday.