Friday, November 06, 2009


I have finally reached the stage where the majority of my small herd of children can be put to work to earn their keep. Score!

Lucky for Francie and Fiver that Sally likes to rake leaves while they are at school.

Of course, I still have one straggler who just monkeys around all day!


Is it beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, or is it just me? Every store I've been in lately has had Christmas music playing and the front doors of our Target are covered with snowflakes.

Plus, when I put my iPod on "shuffle" it seems to pick a disproportionate amount of selections from my Christmas play list. Two weeks ago I could have gone for hours without hearing a Christmas carol. This week, every other song has jingling bells in the background. Maybe I should start calling my iPod "Hal". Scary.

I blame it on the dearth of Thanksgiving songs. If we had some rocking turkey carols we would be set!


God bless the people who thought up photo cards that are comprised of individual shots of each child, rather than one group photo. It makes my Christmas card loving self about ten thousand times less stressed out.

No matter how careful I am about making sure the kids are rested and fed and happy, and no matter how much bribery cajoling goes on while the picture is being taken, I still get this more often than not:

And although the above photo may be an accurate depiction of what happens nearly every time I try to get a good family shot, it's not necessarily the look I want to send out on our family Christmas card. Individual shots let me live in my own little fantasy world, my friends.


I saw a raccoon on the side of the road yesterday, and it reminded me of Fiver's special stuffed raccoon, Moey (pronounced: moe-ee). That got me thinking about the special items that help each of the kids calm down at bedtime.

Francie used to have a pacifier as a baby, but now she has a small coterie of stuffed animals that she carefully arranges on her bed at night.

Fiver, with the exception of Moey, has no blankies or stuffed animals, but he has sucked his first two fingers on his right hand since the was six weeks old. He still does, and yet he has the most perfectly aligned teeth of the four. Go figure.

Sally's comfort is thumb sucking, and she has sucked her thumb since birth. But that doesn't stop here from having everything but the kitchen sink in her bed. You think I'm kidding, but I found one of those big metal, retractable tape measures in her bed the other day. If we are missing something in the house, we always make a point to search Sally's crib.

And Bun? Bun is the most exclusive of my gang. He has a beloved blanket with a satin binding and he WILL NOT sleep without it. He eschewed thumb, fingers, and pacifiers for this blanket and he sucks on the binding to fall asleep every night.

Unfortunately, the other kids have named it "Sucky Blanket" which gets shortened to the even more unsavory "Sucky." When we are out we all guard it like it is another child, that's how beloved it is, but I would still feel better if I could get an exact duplicate. Especially given how many times that thing goes through the washer and dryer.

Alas, Sucky was a gift for Bun's birth and the company no longer makes the exact blanket. I have tried several times to slip Bun a very similar product, but he can't be fooled. There is only one Sucky Blanket.

He may be wearing it as a boutonniere at his wedding.


My book club meets tonight, and this month we read a Jodi Picoult novel ("Change of Heart"). I know people love her books and from the tenor of the emails that have been going around among my book club members, I am going to be Debbie Downer of tonight's meeting.

This is the third Picoult book I've read, and I didn't hate this one, but sometimes I just feel like her books are too gimmicky, or contrived. I know she purposely picks controversial topics -- "Change of Heart" is about the death penalty and religious beliefs -- but sometimes I feel like she picks the most outrageous situations just to push the morality/ethics.

I'm not saying that horrible, outrageous things don't really happen, but I don't think you have to have that kind of setting to make moral decisions. You do that every day anyway.

Maybe I'm too harsh and I'm looking at it the wrong way (although the very nature of reading and literature is intrinsically interpretive). I'm interested to hear what everyone else has to say tonight.


Fiver's first field trip of the year is next week, and the permission slip asked for parents who might be available to chaperone. I put my name down, and last week I got a note saying "thanks, but we don't need you this time around." They put me on the list for the next field trip.

Rob asked if I was going to chaperone, and I told him that they didn't need me this time. I admitted that I was a little nervous because this will be Fiver's first field trip without me right next to him, acting as his de facto aide.

Rob smiled and said, "Honey, think how far he's come for the teachers to be comfortable enough to tell you to stay home. Last year it was implied that you would accompany him on every field trip. Now he's doing so well that he can go without you."

He's totally right (and that's why I love him.) Fiver is knocking it out of the park this year.

He's even reading at school Mass on Monday; three guesses as to who will be sitting in a pew trying not to cry her eyes out at 11:15 Monday morning.


"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die."
St. Angela Merici

I hope I can remember this every time one of the kids wants to do something fun with me and I feel like sitting at the computer, or every time I think something nice about a person but never tell them, or especially when I am tempted to withhold forgiveness or mercy to a person who has wronged me.

You know where to find the rest of the Quick Takes -- go visit Jennifer.

Happy Friday, my friends, and have a great weekend!


  1. Your kiddos are so cute!! Snow?? SNOW?? EWW! We get snow once a decade here in Houston!

    Your 7 Quick Takes aren't very quick! But they are fun, nonetheless!!

  2. I am so glad that Fiver is doing well, I know you were worried about this year and am so thankful that God has provided so well this year!

    It does seem Christmas is upon us. I really find that a bit sad. I hate for Thanksgiving to get lost in the shuffle!

  3. lol, Aimee -- I think you should use that picture. It's real!

    I did not like Change of Heart and I do think her books, especially as of late, have been contrived, message books. I think I'm finished with her after the most recent.

  4. Anonymous11:58 AM

    Hey- we too have the must have items at bedtime- Georgie, a blankie, and we have our own Moey (a dinosaur).
    - Right there with you on the Christmas carols.
    - Glad to hear Fiver is doing so well.
    - not my favorite Jodi Picoult book either- you are right about the topics (she explained that she kind of does it to "get" people talking about the big picture)- heard her speak last fall.
    -I also understand about the picture thing- while the Halloween photo looked good, most of the Christmas ones are photoshopped (there my secret is out).
    Hope all is well!
    Mirabella MOM

  5. I totally get what you are saying about Piccoult. I have read several of her books, but not lately because they just started to feel the same to me. Yea for Fiver! Woohoo! And I think it would be funny if you sent a "real life" picture card one year. :)

  6. Bubba has a 'B', a favorite blanket that he is rather fond of. Bella doesn't really have a favorite anything. She is the most easygoing child in the world.

    Good luck to Fiver on his field trip, and I love that he's reading for Mass. Aww!

  7. I started to cry too about Fiver reading at Mass....I cry when any of my nieces or nephews do anything so I can imagine how special this is for you.
    I've tried to like the Picoult books too...I will try to actually finish one so I can chime in on the opinion.
    For some reason, I didn't love the first one I tried. (Didnt even finish it.)

  8. I agree about the Christmas card thing...but there's not too many to choose from that have four picture openings :(

  9. So cool for Fiver! I'm thrilled to hear it.

    As to Jodi Picoult, I'm with you all the way. I didn't think "change of Heart" was that different from "My Sister's Keeper" and I never like how her books end. Yet she $ell$ and $ell$ them!


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