Sunday, July 31, 2011

If the congress behaved like my family (and sometimes they do)

Obama: Mr. Reid, Mr. Boehner, thank you for meeting with me. I'm confident that together we can come up with a solution to the debt ceiling crisis. Mr. Boehner, please get back in your chair. Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair. Mr. Boehner? Do you need a time out? Thank you. Now, who would like to begin? Mr. Reid, you have the floor.

Reid: Thank you, Mr. President. Mitch and I have drafted a series of compromises that I think you will find interesting.

Obama: Alright, let me hear them.

Reid: It's a surprise.

Obama: A surprise?

Reid: A surprise!

Obama: Can't you just tell me?

Reid: What's the magic word?

Obama: Please?

Reid: No.

Obama: Pretty please?'

Reid: No.

Obama: Would you please just tell me the compromises?

Reid: The magic word is POOP! (riotous laughter)

Obama: Please, Mr. Reid, let's hear your list of compromises.

Reid: What?

Obama: The compromises you alluded to, can I hear them please?

Reid: I wanna play golf.

Obama: OK, Mr. Boehner, let's move on to you.

Boehner: Thank you, Mr. President. The House is prepared to vote on the most recent package as soon as we clear up the timing issue. I can deliver our support on the extended deadline if you can give us several minor concessions.

Obama: Excellent, what are those concessions.

Boehner: First, no additional taxes. Second, no cuts in defense spending. Third, no changes to Social Security.

Obama: You can only have two of those things. Which two do you want most?

Boehner: No additional taxes, no cuts to defense, and no changes to Social Security.

Obama: I said pick two.

Boehner: No additional taxes, no cuts to defense, and no changes to Social Security.

Obama: You may have two. You may not have three. If you cannot pick two, you may have none.


Obama: Mr. Boehner, this behavior is not appropriate. If you cannot calm down, you will need to go to a committee room until you can. One...two...thr--much better. OK, we have two more days until it's time to default. Did you hear me? Please look at me when I'm speaking to you. Two more days until default, do you understand?

Boehner, Reid (sing-song): Yesssssss, Mr. President.

Obama: Alright now you two, have you looked for places to reduce spending?

Reid: Yes.

Boehner: (looks at shoes)

Obama: And did you find anything?

Reid, Boehner: No.

Obama: Are you sure? Did you look really, really carefully? What about in the farm bill? I thought I saw some unnecessary spending in the farm bill just this morning! Did you look in the farm bill?

Reid: Oh, uh, no.

Obama: And you, Mr. Boehner, what about that new transportation bill? Did you look there?

Reid: (snickering, unable to contain self)

Boehner: Actually, I left my copy of the transportation bill on the jet (looks at shoes).

Obama: I made you that nice transportation bill and this is what you do with it?!

Boehner: Sooorrrryyyy.

Obama: Nevermind. Now, it's almost time to default, let's go.

Reid, Boehner: But, Mr. Pres-i-dent! Just one more vote, PLEASE?

Obama: I said NOW. I want you both to go back to your offices and look again for unnecessary spending. And if I come in there and find it myself, you're not going to like what happens, got it? I'll call the press corps and cancel all of your appearances. All of them! Do you understand me? LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M SPEAKING TO YOU.

Reid, Boehner: Yes, Mr. President.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The cost of a simulnap


When I got to the gym playroom today after working out a boy I don't know was sobbing in the arms of the caregiver.

My kids were not crying. My kids were laughing like little sociopaths.

The teacher explained "They threw toys at him. At his head."

I grabbed them by their chubby little arms and sat them down with their backs against the door.


They apologized insincerely and then continued to giggle and goof around as I signed them out. When we got to the sidewalk I let them have it. They wouldn't stop giggling and screwing around. They climbed up on top of the landscaping boulders near the entrance and shrieked defiantly. Hearing Dr. Phil's voice in my head ("Keep raising the price of poker!") I kept taking things away until Charlie sobered up and told me he was really, really sorry.

"When we get home, you're going to your room."

Giggle, giggle, giggle.

"And you've lost your TV privilege for the rest of the day."

Slightly less giggling.

"Should I take away our trip to the pool, too?"


And then, of course, no one would get in his carseat when I asked. Everything was SO freaking hilarious. Wes hit me as I tried to buckle him in.

On the way home I made an unplanned trip to Starbucks--for me--so that I could make a big point out of "Boys who hurt other children in the gym playroom do not get treats." There were lots of "Mama, I'm really, really sorry!" in the drive-thru lane! I considered ordering some cake pops then eating them in front of them, but thought that would be a little too cruel and went with tea instead. I had just worked out, after all.

And now they're all sound asleep. And I ate all the M&Ms out of the trail mix.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Charlie-, Wes-, and James-zilla take Boston, a liveblog*

*is not actually live

10:30 We're on the T! Everyone is excited! I have lost five years of lifespan due to stress of keeping two hyper kids from falling onto train tracks during wait for train.

11:00 We've arrived at the Park stop to learn that the elevator is closed. Had to carry three children plus bags plus eighty pound stroller up approximately nine flights of stairs among dozens of well-dressed commuters. Thank goodness Ryan is here!

11:15 Have reached the street. It is possible I have more children than I can control.

11:30 Playground, how original! It is the playground in Boston Common, though, so this is a cultural experience. Cannot interest Texan children in the Frog Pond as it is only seventy-five degrees outside (glorious!).

12:00 Wes got yelled at by a stranger IN CHINESE. See! Cultural experience!

12:30 We've left the playground for a lunch break at Quincy Market. Abigail Adams gave us great directions. The twenty-minute forced march to lunch was very special for everyone. I am dismayed that my plan to sneak away to the Gap to find something that hasn't been thrown up on or covered in sand to wear on the plane will not be possible due to extreme unruly behavior.

1:00 In lieu of exposing the children to traditional New England fare for lunch as planned, we're eating lunch at Cheers, where everybody knows your name and no one has to pretend she likes seafood.

1:30 Nothing like being out in a strange city and relying on public transportation to make you feel your "outnumbered" status more acutely. I wonder how much a cab ride to Texas would cost.

2:30 We're back at Boston Common and the children are in the Frog Pond. I am eating a cupcake. Is this what vacation feels like?

3:30 Drag reluctant children to Public Garden for magical/special Make Way for Ducklings photoshoot. Secure very cute picture of all three boys riding ducks. James was not interested in eating nicely on bench near the ducks, preferring off-on-off-on maneuver for maximum nipple exposure. Puritans would be horrified.

4:00 On our way back to the T. Snapped at Charlie after he slapped my butt to get my attention.

4:10 OMG we are lost in the hottest T station EVER and there are NO ELEVATORS. It is possible I will die in here right under the meaningless sign depicting the direction of the platform for the Braintree train as perpendicular to the floor and off to the left.

4:30 The train is here! And packed with commuters! A nice man has given up his seat for me and I am sitting on it with Charlie and Wes are sitting in my lap. Kids are cuddly and sweet and we talk quietly about the Frog Pond. It was sweet and cozy and I wonder what the heck I was so stressed out about all day.

5:15 We're back at the hotel! All of us! Alive! It's a miracle!

5:30 PBS Kids is on and the pizza is ordered. Much better. Next time I leave this room I'll be headed for HOME!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In which we make the children learn something

There's only so much sand and water play three pirates can take before they begin to turn on each other. It seemed to be time for a little change in scenery, so yesterday we loaded up my grandmother's station wagon and went to the Portland Head Light.


We wanted to give the kids a little culture and at about an hour away, it killed just enough time to put us home right at high tide for prime swimming time.

I asked the kids what they thought it would be like to live in this house, way out in the middle of nowhere (at the time) with only each other to play with.


They looked at the pounding surf, nearby beach (with swings!) and boats passing by and thought it would be a great place to live.

I thought so too. I pictured myself wearing sweaters, gardening and canning our food, making big pots of soup while the wind whistled by the windows and waves crashed against the rocks.

And then I remembered how twitchy I get when the grocery store closes for Labor Day.

But it sure was pretty.


We were captivated by the stories of shipwrecks and heroic lightkeepers (Everyone on board survived this one, amazingly). The rocks around the lighthouse were enormous and forbidding. It's not hard to imagine how dangerous and scary it would have been to be on a ship passing by on the way into Portland.


We have my cousin Jen here this week, helping with the boys, and we have had so much fun (We had her sister here last week too and that was great too (Hi Lily! The boys and I miss you!)).


We took an obligatory cheesy family picture.


And then all the kids took a simulnap on the way home.


And, appropos of nothing, James learned to smile for the camera this morning. He is seven months old today. If someone would please find a way to slow down time, that would be excellent.


Wouldn't he make a cute little lighthouse keeper's baby? I better go knit him a Fair Isle Sweater.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ARGH: A Pirate Adventure Story

Once upon a time, the fiercest band of pirates ever to roam the Atlantic Ocean called the lower Maine Coast home. In fact, they lived right here on these here rocks.


One day after a breakfast of raw clams and beer (and cinnamon toast and bananas), the pirates set out on a great quest to find BURIED TREASURE. Captain Charlie read the map.


Deck Swab James the Chubby kept a lookout.


First Mate Wesley the Frustrated found the first clue near the flagpole.


A great quest was undertaken. "To the trees in the side yard!" was their cry. A garden gnome held the key to the treasure. He demanded the pirates solve three riddles, but the ruthless pirates picked him up and wouldn't let him go until he coughed up the next map. ARGH!!


Map in hand, the dread pirates set off across land and sea, singing "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum organic apple juice."


Until at last Captain Charlie spotted an "X" on the beach! The pirates gave orders to have the treasure uncovered! ARGH!


The Grandpirates could barely contain their excitement! Argh, argh, argh!


The treasure was FOUND!! What would it be? Gold? Silver? Jewels?


It was a wealth of loot the likes of which have never been seen in these waters.


And there was much happiness in the land.



And peace once again reigned the land. Until the pirates began bickering over whose bubbles were whose.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Many thanks to St. Anthony

One of the not so nice things about family vacation (among all the really, really nice, wonderful things which have already been documented here), is the way your whole family gets to witness you totally lose your everloving mind every single night when it is time to put the kids to bed.

Today was no exception. After it took three people more than two hours to get Wes to stay in his bed last night (instead of under the bed, under the other bed, in Charlie's bed, or leaning his entire upper body out the second floor window), he finally gave in around 10:00 only to have James get up at quarter till five in the morning.

The sun comes up here between four and five, which meant that after James had his breakfast in bed, he refused to go back to sleep in his crib. He wouldn't stop shrieking and trilling and I was worried he'd wake everyone else so we went outside to watch the tide come in from a lawn chair in the front yard. And then we played on the porch. And then he had two breakfasts (one yogurt, one banana). We had a lot of time to kill.

Once we got rolling (post-coffee, naturally) we had a really nice day filled with swimming and playgrounds and walks to the store for French Toast Muffins. Charlie passed an hour in the back yard jumping on a piece of bubble wrap the size of a beach towel. I read two pages of a novel I'm enjoying before losing consciousness on the couch for an unknown amount of time (ten-ish minutes? It wasn't long but there was drool.). My aunt made a yummy dinner for us all.

And then around 6:00 my blood pressure began to creep up in preparation for bedtime.

And then we couldn't find Phent.

Despite my encouragement to please go back to the porch and relax, the whole family was involved in the search. We opened drawers and cabinets, we stripped all the upstairs beds, we overturned laundry baskets and looked under every single piece of furniture. All the while James was getting passed from person to person and fussing and crying because he was tired (because he got up at FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING) and I was trying, unsuccessfully, to hold it the hell together because to normal people, Phent is just a stuffed animal.

I am not a normal person, however, and I was starting to freak out a little. Charlie's the good sleeper. THAT CANNOT CHANGE. Also, I have already decided that I will keep Phent in my own nightstand after Charlie outgrows him (WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN).

We searched every nook and cranny of the not-very-big house with no luck and I told Charlie that we would have to look again in the morning for Phent because we couldn't find him. He laid facedown on his bed with his legs on the floor and refused to move.

When I'd finally coaxed him into bed to read a story, Phent appeared on the landing. My mom poked her head into the room. "I prayed to St. Anthony," she said "he was behind the laundry basket in the bathroom." She tossed Phent to Charlie, who scooped him up and kissed him tenderly on the trunk over and over again until I finished changing Wes into his PJs.

We read a long book about a boy who gets to go out on a fishing boat and everyone was asleep by eight thirty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sorry, Texas

It's been seventy-eight degrees every day since we got here and people are starting to complain about the "heat wave". Here's what my kids think of your "heat wave", Maine:


I'm going to ask Ryan to send me the rest of my clothes and my pillow so I never have to leave. And maybe one of those huge things of chili powder from our grocery store. You can't find those here.

The kids did some crabbing yesterday.



Then we made them eat ice cream.

Chocolate Ice Cream

And sit through a lecture on lobster fishing.


We caught a BIG one.

Too big, throw 'im back

James makes an excellent beach-sitting partner (who eats sand by the chubby little fistful if you don't watch out).


Yes, I'm breaking up with you, Texas. I just hope Ryan enjoys boatbuilding or lobstering.

The Crab Hunt

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Now with 50% less sleeping!

Still having a wonderful time, but I think we'd all be just a little bit happier if a certain two brothers would start falling asleep on their own without having to be physically restrained (I have a hunch that the seven hours of sleep Charlie got last night will not be enough).

They're walking to the store with my dad and my aunt to buy donuts right now and then we'll probably go over to the rock skipping contest or maybe just do some more sitting around while Charlie splashes in the wading pool in his life jacket.


Yesterday was trolley day.


James knows how to relax. Love that it's cool enough here to wrap him up in a blanket to sleep.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My kids are total rockstars.

Even though they made me set James and Wes up on different rows (one carseat per row, has to be by the window), and I had to sit with James while Charlie and Wes sat up front, they were calm and quiet and friendly the whole time. They ate snacks, they read books, they chatted with each other, we took several trips to the bathroom.

*They* (not me!) made it look easy. When we got off the plane, an off-duty flight attendant was so impressed with them that she carried our two giant carseats all the way to our next gate then waited with all of our stuff so I could take everyone to the bathroom to marvel at the suction potty.


And then when we arrived my aunt was waiting for me right near the gate and the hardest part of the whole trip was officially a memory!

I can't even remember what it feels like to burn myself on my own car's tailgate/driveway/flip flops anymore.

Charlie spent an hour in the freezing North Atlantic yesterday.



He stayed in until he was shivering and asking me to get his coat for him.

Phent watched from the porch.


A lobsterman delivered a bucket of live lobsters to the end of the dock yesterday afternoon and we ate them for dinner. Charlie ate his whole lobster then spent the rest of the meal begging for more.


We went to the Botanical Garden's Children's Garden today. They pumped water into watering cans, watered flowers, heard a reading of Harold and the Purple Crayon, rowed the Tidely Idely, and crossed a perilous rope bridge.





Then we had a picnic where James teethed on a piece of celery just like the colonists.


We have big plans for some serious sitting around later.