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.