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I love seeing how my kids’ answers to these questions have changed from time to time.

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?

K: I love you.
A: Be polite.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
K: Being with us.
A: Getting chocolate from Wendy.

3. What makes Mommy sad?
K: Us being sad.
A: Being away from us for long increments of time.

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
K: Tickles me until I go pee.
A: “Behhhhd.”

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
K: Old compared to her brother.
A: Like me.

6. How old is Mommy?
K: 42
A: 42

7. How tall is Mommy?
K: 5 feet
A: 5 feet 4 inches

8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
K: Spend time with her family.
A: Go to Maine.

9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?
K: Drink wine.
A: Book club.

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
K: Running for president.
A: Singing.

11. What is Mommy really good at?
K: Loving people.
A: Acting.

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
K: Giving Katie dessert every day.
A: I don’t know.

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
K: She does Congress.
A: Works on the budget for Congress, I think.

14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?
K: Pumpkin soup.
A: Belgian chocolate.

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
K: She takes care of her younger brother.
A: She argues her point.

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
K: Snoopy.
A: Minnie Mouse.

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
K: Snuggle and I read to her.
A: Go on trips..

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
K: We’re related.
A: We could be identical twins.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
K: Mommy’s eyes are greener and I’m not married. I know that’s a pretty bad answer but its the only thing I could come up with.
A: I have a squishy nose and mom doesn’t.

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
K: It’s in your eyes and your heart.
A: She tells me every day.

21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
K: Maine.
A: Home.

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Last Friday the 7 year old got “lost” while visiting my brother. I say “lost” because it was for such a brief period of time that she was the only one that knew she was lost. Does that even count?  To her, it does, I’m sure.  Poor baby had run out of my brother’s backyard to chase the dog [who was chasing a squirrel, who swallowed a cat to catch the bird…oh, wait…] wound up on the street behind Uncle Mikey’s house and got disoriented. So she approached a safe-looking lady and said “My name is Katie and I am visiting my uncle who lives near here but now I am lost. Can you help me find my Mommy?” So the nice lady called the police…  and 30 seconds later, three of us come flying out of the yard, shouting for kid and dog…and see them both 50 yards up the street… The neighbor explained what happened (minus the phoning the police part) and we said thank you, thank you, and started to walk home. So I was pretty surprised when a police car pulled up next to me to see if everything was ok. I said it was. You’ll be happy to know he didn’t just take my word for it, he asked my sister-in-law — who was standing next to me — if the child I was carrying really belonged to me. Anyway — crisis averted…yay for my nephew who came inside to tell us that Miss Dog had escaped and Miss Thing had run after her. Yay for Miss Thing for asking a safe-looking grown up for help. Yay for Miss Dog for coming back when she was called. Yay for Miss Thing for figuring out that next time she should get a grownup before chasing after Miss Dog [Because KC has tags with our phone number on it…but I don’t have any tags, right, Mommy?”]

It made a good story to share with DH later that night when we called to say goodnight (he had to work and couldn’t leave The ‘Shire.)   A few hours later I got an email from DH… it seems that he, too, is vying for the title of Poet Laureate of the family. He said:

Just in case our young Poet hasn’t yet begun to reflect on another weekend adventure…

Running running into the street
after the dog with fleet feet
Turn around and house is gone
Mommy?

It says a lot about my family that my brother, SIL and I all burst out laughing while my mom was appropriately horrified and said “That’s SICK.”

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I am a writer who lost her muse. I am muse-less. In need of Muse.

I have spent the last several weeks looking forward to getting back to writing again. Writing for me, not writing for work — which I have been doing nonstop, to the point where it has sucked my life force away. On my blog, no one cares about whether I use Chicago style or not, or whether my comma usage is up to par, or whether I use words on the Naughty List [all of which appear in Webster’s, for the record.]

So when I finally found time to write, I have…nothing to say? Not possible. Me, who cannot shut up, ever, has nothing to say? How is this possible?

I look at my list of Blogs I Heart for inspiration. Nothing. I think about the days and weeks of “bloggable moments” — I know I had them but I can’t remember what they were. Ugh. Uninspired.

And then it occurs to me that he most inspired person I know lately is my daughter. What inspired her?  A tragic house and barn fire that we witnessed last Saturday. What did she do with her inspiration? She wrote a poem.  She is all of 7 and her way of processing scary shit is POETRY.  Awesome.

For background, here’s what happened…

On Saturday night we were at our friends’ house a few towns over for dinner. Just before dinner, the guys look out the window and say — about the house across the street —  “ummmmmmm, that house is on FIRE!”  HUGE flames were everywhere — I call 911, we instruct the kids to stay inside with the dogs, and the 4 adults ran across the street to see what was going on…the barn was totally engulfed in flames and it was moving to the house, quickly. The owners weren’t home but the guy who rents the back apartment had just come back from dinner with his two pre-teen kids… the kids were hysterical; we took them back to my girlfriend’s house to calm down and watch Harry Potter with our kids.  We went back across the street to help move cars out of the driveway, get the dogs to safety, move propane tanks and other things that could explode, save a baby goat, etc.  I attempt to move a dump truck.  [Go ahead, take a moment and picture that…and yes, I was as clueless as you’d think a suburban kid from Long Island would be. But I moved the stick shift car without stalling out.] It was a big deal (the fire – not me driving stick shift) —  very scary and lasted about 4 hours. There were easily 10-15 fire trucks from all of the surrounding towns in the Mutual Aid District. No one was hurt…most of the animals made it out of the house and barn  — they lost 2 goats but the cows, 2 dogs, and 1 baby goat made it. Half the house was saved but the barn and the back half of the house — including the poor renter’s apartment — were lost.

I’ve never seen anything like it — it was surreal, movie-like. The kids were fantastic and they are all processing through it in their own ways.  Katie had trouble sleeping that night and came into our room for the rest of the night, which she hardly ever does anymore.  The next night she had a nightmare but she says she can’t remember what it was about.

Her class has been doing a poetry unit since last week. I picked her up from school on Monday and she told me she wrote a new poem. She recited it for me in the car.

Fire

Blazing hot fire
Burning up my barn.
Run away, run away.
Burning up my house.
Run to the neighbors
Until it’s all out.

She made up new poems off the cuff all the way home, about the most random of objects — whatever we drove past on the way home, she was Miss Slam Poet of the Century. Trucks and Ducks (yeah, I was concerned for a minute for where that one was headed;) icy lakes and glittery rocks; barns; puppies…they just flew out of her, effortlessly.

I guess you find inspiration in the simplest of places.

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Photo Friday (on Saturday)

Keeper Extraordinaire.

 

Napping.

Somewhere…

 

Hiking part of the S-R-K.

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Got Friends?

I have 300 friends, or so Facebook tells me.  THREE HUNDRED??  I don’t think I can name 300 friends, let alone “friends” Facebook says I have. Let’s set aside larger questions of what is a friend, and when does someone become a friend vs. an acquaintance. Also a topic for another day —  whether someone who was a friend many years ago once again a friend today because, through the magic of Facebook,  I am constantly aware of the mundane details of their lives…they are a Yankees fan instead of a Mets fan, their kid was a robot for Halloween, they are sitting in traffic on 95…

I can’t remember when I caved and joined The Great Timesuck — it may have been around reunion time a couple of years ago when the curiosity about the kid who sat next to me in Mrs. Passor’s 5th grade class got the best of me. It gave me something fun to do on the train, too. I  friended everyone I used to know,  just to see what they were up to now. I accepted Friend Requests from everyone whose name I recognized…and some I didn’t. In at least 2 cases I had to message another FB friend or my brother (who refuses to get on FB because “if I wanted to be in touch with these people, I would be…”) to figure out who has contacted me.

Fulfilling voyeurish tendencies quickly lost its charm and, like many FBers, the “I wonder what happened to so-and-so” folks comprise a pretty large portion of the 300 “friends” I rarely interact with anymore. Unfriending them seems mean and unnecessary so there they sit. I don’t know why I care, as I am well aware I have been unfriended by several people I quite like and I don’t care (Joanna, Penny, Melissa, I’m talking to you…) so I don’t know why I think other people would care. Bygones.

Beyond scoping out what happened to the Head Cheerleader, Facebook has had some unexpected benefits.

I have a large, extended family. Raised Italian Catholic, it’s a requirement. Also typical for Italians, half of my family is not speaking to the other half at any given time. This means that I have a lot of cousins I have either never met, or haven’t seen in 20 years. I actually had to have one of my cousins raw me a family tree to help me figure out which kds and spouses went with which member of my dysfunctional family. But, Lo… through the magic of Facebook I chat with them far more than I otherwise would. Sometimes this means weekly instead of biennially; sometimes it means weekly instead of “ever”; sometimes it just means the potential for contact is increased.  My cousin Anna, who I more or less grew up knowing decently well, checks in every so often and we’ve reached out and touched someone fairly frequently. I’ve even seen her a bunch of times.  My cousin Jessica — I actually haven’t seen or talked to her since she was about 4 (she’s maybe 23 now) but we touch base and trade a few words at least weekly. Kinda cool, I think, and it has made me seriously consider making a trip to her hometown to see a lot of her aunts and uncles. My cousins Jeremy and Jenna…I don’t ever remember meeting them…but it’s nice to know they are there. 🙂

Reconnecting with friends I used to be pretty close to but since drifted away from. Jeanne, one of my best friends in high school, for example. We were close for years, we argued over something stupid, feelings were hurt, we drifted apart.  Bang, 20 years and one 20-year HS reunion later and I can’t tell you how delighted I am that we have reconnected. She is also conveniently married to another old friend I am delighted to get reacquainted with as an adult, and they are now one of my must-do visits when I go back to my hometown. A college pal, Ali. Three years younger than me, we didn’t overlap a lot in college and in all honesty she started out as one of those “oh wow,I used to know you…wonder what she’s been up to the last 18 years.” But guess what — if we go 3 days without touching base even  if just briefly, it’s a long time. And I am reconsidering Colorado as a potential location for work travel so that I can see her in person again. Claire in Australia, my uncle in Louisiana, and Megan in Pennsylvania — same deal…people I don’t see nearly enough, but have more of a connection to now.

Yes, it’s a time suck and yes, there are far too many stupid annoying applications and dumb pointless games…but overall, I’m hooked.

 

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The girls put on a 60-minute variety show for us tonight. They sang, danced, and made up skits. During that hour, inbetween laughing at their antics, I was struck by how much their own people they are, and how proud of them I am for it.  At 5 and 10, my daughters have already learned what it took me well into adulthood to learn — be yourself, love yourself, express yourself, and who cares what anyone else thinks.

My 10 year old LOVES her glasses. And she should –  they look way cool on her. When I was her age, I *hated* my glasses and couldn’t wait to get rid of them. She is so full of personality and not at all afraid to let it show. When I was her age, I wanted nothing more than to be invisible behind my book. She does not apologize for who she is; I didn’t know who I was until I was 30. This amazing small person, who looks so much like me it takes my breath away, can entertain herself for hours by building fairy houses, drawing, reading, building forts, cooking, or writing stories. She is happy to be with people, or to just be. She finds contententment within herself, and does what she wants, when she wants to.

My 5 year old is at a crossroads between baby and big girl, and depending on her mood she can be either. Her favorite place is sprawled in my lap, thumb stuck between her rosebud lips. She’s a mama’s girl like I never was. She is totally fearless, living like there is no tomorrow. This little girl is larger than life. She surrounds a room with herself, willing you to see her. She is both a pleaser and an adventurer. She can charm the socks off you before you know what hit you. She possesses an independence  that, if she can hold onto it, will take her far.

My daughters are all these things that I was not when I was their age. I fought hard for these things as an adult; they efforlessly draw on a deep, seemingly unending sense of self. They will grow up to be what they want to be, not what I want them to be. They are this way because I remind myself each day to let them be who they are instead of my idea of who they should be.

And that is the greatest gift I can give them.

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Sister, Sister

When I was a little girl, I wanted a sister sooooooo much. I wished it so badly that when I was about 10 or 11, I told my neighbor girlfriends that my mom was pregnant with a baby girl (you can imagine how well that went over with my mother when it got back to her…not.)  Yes, I have a little brother…but back then he was an annoying pest (as is any little brother worth his salt.) And a bit of a crybaby, if we’re being totally honest. We didn’t like any of the same things, and he always teased me and called me FAT [who knew we’d grow up to be best friends?]

If I had a sister, though, I’d always have someone to hang out with. Someone to laugh with, go to the mall and the movies with, to cry with, to share clothes with. Someone who saw right through my brother’s “I’m so cute and funny” act and recognized him for what he was — a pest. A sister understands your crazy parents and is a built-in early warning system that lets you know when you start acting like them, makes you feel better when you’re sad, is always up for a drink, never says she’s too busy to talk to you (even when she really is), always takes your side, and calls you out on your shit.  [Yes, yes, all of you reading this who have sisters are laughing hysterically about my roses and sunshine view of growing up with a sister… bygones.]

Over the years I made friends who were all the things I imagined a sister would be — and to this day I am blessed by and grateful for them. After all, we’re not stuck with each other as we would be if bound by family ties…we  chose each other. I thought that was pretty damned special. And then I hit the jackpot — women who are sort of stuck with me but like me anyway…my sisters-in-law. I have two and they are totally different from each other, but both are absolutely brilliant. They are strong, beautiful, funny, smart, warm, kind, generous, witty, and fun. One put up with my husband for 18 years and lived to tell about it; the other chose to be tortured by my brother, daily. If that isn’t strength of character, I don’t know what is. 😉

Here’s to you, girls.

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Easter

Dear Easter Bunny

I would like you to hide the eggs outside and hard for us to find because it would be funner.

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The Mommy Meme

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?

K: Use a napkin.
A: Clean up your room.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
K: Being nice.
A: When daddy does the dishes. Or having a cocktail after she’s done a lot of work and she’s tired.

3. What makes Mommy sad?
K: Having to be away at Boston.
A: If she misses my show.

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
K: Tickles me
A: Doing tricks on me.

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
K: Like you are right now.
A: Like me.

6. How old is Mommy?
K: 17
A: 39

7. How tall is Mommy?
K: 18
A: 4 ft. 11″ (she shrunk me!)

8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
K: play with her kids
A: Play outside in the snow with us.

9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?
K: Stay home.
A: Work work work work work.

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
K: The arctic ocean (meh?)
A: Singing

11. What is Mommy really good at?
K: winning stuff (??)
A: Having fun

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
K: Madagascar on P3
A: Coming up to bed and saying goodnight.

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
K: Work at Boston
A: Work for the government.

14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?
K: chicken broth (??)
A: Italian food.

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?with you.
K: Playing games
A: When she gets good stuff from the people who check her reports.

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
K: Tom and Jerry
A: Minnie Mouse

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
K: play Little Big Planet.
A: We play monopoly.

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
K: Our hair
A: I look like you.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
K: you wear glasses.
A: I don’t go to work and you do.

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
K: Because she’s been with me the whole time.
A: Because she is nice to me, and um, and you are always going to be there for me.

21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
K: Disneyworld.
A: Home with me and daddy and katie.

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 I’m not sure if I am impressed or slightly disturbed — or both —  with K-child’s latest tome. She brought it home from preschool recently.

The Fire Ball — by K-child.

Sometimes people see hawks around the world. They are very interesting animals. They like to eat different foods like worms and birdfeed. And mice and rats.

The comets can come from space. Meteors come from many different worlds. Like Obama.

Like the One-Eyed Purple Eater. They can be three feet tall.

The tooth has many other ingredients than humans. Humans have two teeth. And very munchable teeth.

The meteor is about three feet tall. The big launcher is about two and a half feet tall.

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