Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving thanks

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser) I find myself becoming a little more pessimistic about things that I would never have thought twice about in the past. Since we moved to Cheshire more than two years ago and had the "pleasure" of finding out (the hard way) that our home was built on top of barite mines, I sometimes feel like the bad times just keep rolling in. As they say, "the hits just keep on coming"! Having dropped close to $15,000 into closing that sinkhole, Bill and I were no longer able to fix up the house that we had hoped would be our little dream home in which we raised our kids, made many happy memories and lived happily ever after. Or at least until the kids were off in college and Bill and I escaped to tend bar and run dive tours in Turks and Caicos.

The smarter, happier side of me has to slap that crabby side around sometimes in order to remember that, you know what? We've got it pretty darn good. Sure, we're caught up in a law suit that could take years to finalize and even then we might never see a dime. And we can't sell the house we're in order to downsize, perhaps allowing ourselves a little more financial freedom. And yep, Bill needs a new car (or at least a heating coil) because he has no heat, which of course means no defrost either, and he just trying to make it through the winter before breaking down and buying a new one. (Ask him about the lack of A/C during the summer heat with only one window that would go down and find out which scenario he enjoys most!!)

So with Thanksgiving upon us, it's time for me to express my appreciation for all the things that are right in our lives. Bill and I have our ups and downs like all couples do but we'll soon be celebrating 9 years together in January and 8 years of marriage in May. We are blessed to have four beautiful kids, three of them together. Two of them happen to think that the sun rises and sets on their big brother Bryan and I'm sure Robert will be feeling the same way too by next year. We're all healthy and we just happen to be lucky enough to be surrounded by loved ones on both sides of the family. There's always plenty of food on the table and darn it, it might be a money pit, but we still have a roof over our heads. (For the time being anyhow.) (See, there's that pesky negative side of me again.)

There are so many people out there that are less fortunate than we will ever be even during the lowest points in our lives. There are those who are no longer on this earth and for all we know there might even be some who are celebrating their last Thanksgiving with us and don't even know it yet. I am so thankful for the times that we've shared, the lasting memories that we created and the happiness that these relationships have both given and received.

May you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving celebration. And may you remember that without the bad times in our lives the good times wouldn't be quite as sweet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Manners 101

While Bill and I are both fully aware that our children are no saints, by a LONG shot, we've been told by some that the kids are actually pretty well behaved when we let them out of their cages to roam within view of the public eye. But we still hammer the kids on a daily basis about their manners.

Megan is pretty good about this. She remembers her please's and thank you's, covers her mouth when she sneezes and coughs, uses a napkin when eating, and is pretty good about being considerate of others. (Although she definitely has a bossy side that we are trying to tame...)

Matt is the tough one. On a good day, he'll remember to cover his mouth when he sneezes. But on an off day, when he just feels like getting under our skin, he'll quite blatantly refuse to do so. Those off days tend to occur more frequently than the on days.

Although we'll probably still be lecturing the kids about these things when they're 27, it's nice to know that some of the things we've taught them do actually sink in occassionally. However, we seldom reap the rewards of our efforts. Maybe because we are just Mom and Dad and are undeserving of routine manners in the eyes of our 5 and 3 year olds. (Oh wait - the 15 year old is pretty much the same too!) (Robert - you're off the hook on this one.) But Wendy, our babysitter, will sometimes tell me when the kids have gone out of their way to be kind.

Last year, when Megan was still going to daycare a few days every week, Wendy was telling me how demanding her kids can be. (By "her kids", I mean the kids in her care.) While the other kids were forgetting or neglecting to use any manners, she informed me that it was refreshing to hear Megan politely ask for things that she wanted.

Because Megan was standing there when she told me this, I used that opportunity to prove our point to her about how nice manners can be, how good it made the other person feel and how manners will get you so much further in life. And she gets it. That's just how Megan is. I just have to remember to not take that for granted with her.

Matthew, being the terror that he is, has us believing that he is the exact opposite of his sister. Well Wendy has once again proven to us that we must be doing something right. She told me the other day that she had walked into the room with kids everywhere and commented about having no place to sit. Matt proceeded to jump off of his chair and said, "Here Wendy. You can have my seat." She said it brought tears to her eyes and as she told me the story, I could feel the same thing happening to me. I've always called him my little man and when he does things like this, it gives me glimpses into the wonderful man that he will grow up to be.

Robert, you've got a lot to live up to baby boy! But lucky you, we'll be hounding you about these pesky manners just as hard!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

He's far too quick, this kid

There's a new Nationwide Insurance commercial on the radio these days. Well, to be honest I'm not exactly sure how new it is, maybe it's just new to me. It starts out with a guy and girl in their car, driving down the road and he's commenting about how great her hair smells and ends in an accident. Of course everything in the middle is absolutely the type of meaningless, childish humor that I get a kick out of. And as it turns out, so does Matt. (Hence the aforementioned childish...)

On our ride home the other evening, the commercial came on and the rest unfolded something like this: (And remember, I'm paraphrasing here...)

"'re hair smells great! I love the smell of lemons."

"Thanks! It's my new shampoo called Scentalicious. It changes scents every three seconds."

" it smells like cherries!"

...giggle, giggle from the girl voice

...and now I notice in my rear view mirror that Matt has a goofy grin on his face as he's listening to this.

" it smells like....OH DISGUSTING! IT SMELLS LIKE COW SH...!"


Honking horn, screech, crash, bang (sounds of auto accident)

And as the commercial wraps up with the Nationwide Insurance Info on accident forgiveness, Matt shouts out, "COW POOP! HE WAS GOING TO SAY COW POOP MOMMY!" All while laughing hysterically.

Happy Halloween!

Another successful Halloween has come and gone with tons of loot left over at the house as evidence. (Note to self: any candy still remaining next year will be placed in plastic eggs for Easter baskets just like last year.)

The kids had a blast and no one complained about being tired at house #5 this year. In fact, the only one who was exhausted was Robert who promptly passed out on Daddy's shoulder at the very last house. What a trooper! (Ok, props to Dad who carried him all night! How's the back this morning Bill?)

This year, because the kids all went dressed as 3 of Bill's favorite sports teams, we made Daddy dress up as the referee as well. He added the hockey helmet since he was carrying the Bruins player around the neighborhood.

Matt cleaned out each house, either because he quickly got back in to double-dip before we could catch him or because he was told to take more candy due to the Red Sox costume.

So it was a lot of fun and the kids loved their costumes, but I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. It's just so much more fun to paste the pictures everywhere showing Bill in a kooky costume with the kids. This year was pretty tame...but I always have the year of Winnie-the-Pooh to hold me over!