Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Did You Say???

Here is a sampler comprised of a few of the things the kids said  this week that forced me to work very hard at not laughing in their faces.  

While swimming in the pool with the whole 10 and under crowd I over heard Aston announce
I have three penises.
I have no idea what the context was but try as I may I can't think of any time when that would make sense.

We were in the van with the cousins and Troy was giving a lecture on the different types of ammo used in different weapons.  When he mentioned assault rifles Clara got all excited and Oooh Oooh Ooohed because she knew the answer to this one.  Troy called on her and she absolutely busted out with
Assault rifle uses salt instead of gunpowder.

When Enzo wakes up in the morning he limps and shuffles about the house scratching at himself with a hair-do that would make Albert Einstein proud.  The other morning he completed this picture with the statement
I think I have scurvy.

Aston was playing video games with Ariel on a particularly hot evening.  They weren't wearing their shirts, desperately trying to keep cool.  Aston glanced over at Daddy and said
Hmmm, I didn't know you had boobs.

While we are on the subject of topless Joneses, Clara was examining her robust baby sister who was wearing just a diaper, then came to me very concerned.
Mom, Dorothy has four boobs.

Aston, Dorothy, and I were sitting on the couch bright and early in the morning.  Aston was trying to convince me that he had done no harm in waking Dorothy so early in the morning, after several warnings that he had better not.
Aston: Look Mom, Dorothy is smiling at me.
Me: Of course she is Sweetie.  She really loves you.
She thinks you're awesome.
Aston: I am.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Unofficial Beginning of Summer

     All weekend, in honor of Memorial Day I was reminded that freedom isn't free, and that I shouldn't forget the true meaning of the holiday.  I watched a delightful small town parade, complete with marching bands playing Yankee Doodle, firetrucks, veterans and American flags.  I must confess though, my heart was really aflutter because Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer.  And I LOVE summer.

     Here, in Upstate New York, Memorial Day is the O.K. on planting your garden.  No more pesky frosts (although I jumped the gun this year, it has been so warm I couldn't help myself).  Memorial Day weekend is also Open Your Pool weekend here.  VERY exciting, even though our summers aren't very hot and you have to be of an age that violet lips and uncontrollable shivering doesn't bother you to swim on most  NY summer days.  Some people feel that the amount of work involved in maintaining a pool isn't worth it for the fourteen scorching days we get here each year.  I, myself, don't even have time to complete my regular chores since Dorothy has been born, so pool maintenance is out of the question for me and Ariel works eight days a week so he's out too.

     We do have a lovely pool, however, and we DID open it this weekend.  Our beloved Clara took charge of the cleaning, good girl, and Enzo added a few new features.  Last year we added a slide.  This year Enzo installed two diving boards and a fountain, very smart.

     Now all we have to do is get through this last month of school (always a bummer) so we can fully enjoy our back yard paradise.

Clara cleaning the pool.  Yes, in a witch hat.  Don't ask me why!
The Jones Family Pool
all tricked out
for 2012!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Interview With My Children

A friend of mine had this interview with her son as her status update.  I was interested in how the Wee Joneses would answer the questions so I gave it a try.  The instructions were: WITHOUT ANY prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say.  It is a great way to find out what they really think.  When you re-post put your child's age. I made a point to question the kids separately.  Here is what Enzo(age9), Clara(age7), and Aston (age 4) had to say about Mommy Dearest.

1. What is something that Mom always says to you?
ENZO: "It's homework time"
CLARA: I don't know, I really never hear you.
ASTON: A secret

2. What makes Mom happy?
ENZO: Me being nice to Aston, Clara, and Dorothy.
CLARA: If I clean my room.
ASTON: A flower.

3. What makes Mom sad?
ENZO: When I disobey your rules.
CLARA: To go to jail...well it would, wouldn't it?
ASTON: When she's in fire.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
ENZO: Funny jokes.
CLARA: I don't know, you're too serious.
ASTON: She do everything.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
ENZO: You liked to play in plays.
CLARA: Nice.
ASTON: I dunno.

6. How old is your mom?
ENZO: I'm guessing 33 maybe 32.
ASTON: A grown up.

7. How tall is your mom?
ENZO: I'd say about maybe five feet ninety seven inches.
CLARA: Tall??  You're not three feet...I crack myself up.
ASTON: Big as a grown up.

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do?
ENZO: Chat on Facebook.
CLARA: Clean.
ASTON: I don't know.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
ENZO: This one is hard.  Let's see, take care of the house.
CLARA: Clean.
ASTON: I don't know.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
ENZO: Cross Stitching.
CLARA: I don't know.
ASTON: For being nice.

11. What is your mom really good at?
ENZO: Making food.
CLARA: Playing Hang Man.
ASTON: Reading books.

12. What is your mom not really good at?
ENZO: Playing video games.
CLARA: I don't know.
ASTON: I don't know.

13. What does your mom do for a job?
ENZO: She doesn't have one.
CLARA: Blog.
ASTON: Go to the store.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
ENZO: I don't think you have one.
CLARA: Pineapple.
ASTON: Eggs.  Just eggs with ketchup.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
ENZO: How nice you can be to me.
CLARA: If she plays Hang Man with me.  That's not all but I only want to say one.
ASTON: Saying I'm a good boy.

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
ENZO: I don't really get this one...a mom. (In the past he told me I'm just like Ant Man, whoever that is.)
CLARA: I have no idea. (Aston walked by at this point and interjected, "My mom died and now you're my new mom".  This is complete b.s., for the record.)
ASTON: I don't know.  You're not a character anymore.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
ENZO: Read.
CLARA: Hang Man
ASTON: Eat some food.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
ENZO: We both like reading.
CLARA: We look alike.
ASTON: We're not the same.  Only if you were a boy we would be the same.

19. How are you and your mom different?
ENZO: I like video games and she doesn't.
CLARA: I don't like cleaning and you do.
ASTON: We're not different at all.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
ENZO: Well, she takes care of me.  She feeds me.  She lets me have privileges.
CLARA: She tells me.
ASTON: Smiling at me and be happy at me and staring at me.

21. What does your mom like most about Daddy?
ENZO: He's funny.
CLARA: He's nice.
ASTON: She doesn't.

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
ENZO: Home.
CLARA: Home.
ASTON: To the store to buy food.

23. How old was your mom when you were born?
ENZO: Uhmmmmmm...33 minus 9...about 24 maybe 25.
CLARA: 24, is that right?  Or were you 25?
ASTON: No idea.

There you have it.  Mrs. Jones according to her children (except for Dorothy who was busy nursing, eating chalk, and chewing on a Mega Block when I interviewed the other kids).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Speaking of Pugsley Addams...

...maybe Dorothy should think twice before wearing horizontal stripes,

at least until her hair grows in

or she slims down.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

    After years of trying I have finally caught the elusive Kohl's clearance sale!  I was sitting in my family room having a nice cup of Celestial Seasonings' Mixed Berry Zinger Tea (MmmMmm) with my sister Alyssa.  We were watching the rain trickle down the windows and chatting merrily about all of the weddings we have coming up between us.  This train of thought stopped at Wardrobe Station.  We discussed how I really hoped to be thin enough to fit into this pink number I bought ages ago but have never worn because I've been pregnant for the last decade, how the boys can't possibly get away with wearing gym pants to a wedding, how Dorothy only owns one dress which probably won't fit her come July, and how Alyssa doesn't think Mike's dirty work boots will work with dress slacks.  I mentioned how a nice Easter clearance would solve all my problems, just like one did the year Clara turned three and refused to wear anything but the fluffiest of dresses.

     Alyssa asked what time it was. 11:00am.  Before I knew what was happening we had Dorothy, Aston, and Phoenix buckled into the van and we were on our way to Kohl's.  This probably sounds like a normal day to most people but it is unexpected and exciting  for my sister and me.  Alyssa and I very rarely go shopping.  We dress the kids in mostly second hand clothes and shop only if an unexpected growth spurt surpasses our hand me down supplies and renders one of the children naked.

   Well, we picked the perfect day for a break from that routine.  There were glorious signs as far as the eye could see boasting 50% and 60&70% off.  There were three dollar dresses, six dollar sandals, and five dollar winter coats, just to name a few of the mouth watering deals.  Dorothy now owns NINE adorable dresses ranging in size from 18 months to 2T and Enzo has a new pair of snow pants that will cover the entire length of his legs this winter all for...drum roll, please...$47.40.  Just think, if I had stayed home today I never would have saved $218.60!!! Little Phoenix and I also smell like Elizabeth Taylor's Violet Eyes as an added bonus thanks to a leisurely stroll through the jewelry and cosmetics section.  I still have to do something about the boys' sweatpants dilemma but all in all, it was a very successful day.    Hip Hip Hooray!


Monday, May 21, 2012

There's no place like home

     I am very fond of homes.  Not just houses, but homes.  A building that is as much a part of your family as any living, breathing member complete with growth charts on the walls and hand prints in the sidewalk...where you raise all of your children and welcome them back regularly after they've grown, a space you're married to, this is home.

     This is the story of my home, not the house I live in now, (I've been having an extramarital affair on my home for the last five years with my husband's dream house) and not my childhood home (I'm pleased to report that even though my parents sold it twenty years ago it is still referred to by the neighbors as The Moran House).  No, this story is about the house I married and loved and planned my dying days and beyond in, but we'll get to that.  Jones Family Home #2, where Enzo's and Clara's hand prints and initials really are in the sidewalk at the bottom of the front porch step.  A house my grandma and I fell in love with at a yard sale.  A home that I actually cried for when it was no longer my residence.  A home I  learned, had been married before.

     When Enzo was fifteen months old I babysat a little boy to make a few bucks.  I had Enzo and Otis playing with play-dough in the kitchen of our home one day.  Otis became bored and wandered off.  I stayed in the kitchen trying to get Enzo to help me clean up.  I heard Otis talking in the hallway. "Are you my mother?  Are you Di-Anne?"  he was saying.  Diane was his mother's name so I figured she was standing at the door and he could see her through the window.  I made my way to the front of the house to let her in but there was no one there.  In fact Otis wasn't even looking at the door, he was talking to the landing on the stair case.  The sight of this golden haired angel faced boy working hard at figuring out what the stairway was saying freaked me right out and I ushered him straight into the kitchen for more play-dough, or painting, or snack, or whatever would keep us out of the hallway.

     That night, after I put Enzo to bed, I sat with Ariel at the dining room table and told him about what happened.  He was quiet for a moment then confessed that he had been withholding a bit of information from me.  A previous owner, not the folks we bought the house from (they only lived there six months), but the one before them, had passed away in the house.  He hadn't told me before because he didn't think I'd want to live in the house if I knew.  We received a bunch of mail with her name on it in the few months we had lived there.  Her name was Ann.

     If I were the fainting type I would have hit the floor right then.  Well maybe I would have waited until after I picked up the phone which began ringing at that very instant.  My heart was racing as I answered it and I was petrified, but not surprised when there was no one on the other end.  I glanced over my shoulder into the dark hallway and told Ariel that I was going to dial *69.  If I heard that recorded message when the phone lady says something about the last caller who called our line being unknown, we were moving out immediately.  Sure enough I heard all the proof I needed to convince me that the ghost in my house had just tried to call me and Ariel was right, I wanted to divorce the house pronto!

     Ariel insisted we stay put, and so we continued to live in Ann's house.  We hung curtains, bought furniture, decorated a bedroom across the hall from Enzo's for impending Jones Baby number two, had parties, brought home Baby Clara, built a spice rack, fell in love with our neighbors...had and planned an entire life there. One time I even brought a homeless dog named Julie to live with us.  I thought a little dog would complete our little family nicely.  Ariel thought either the dog went or I did.  One night I was reading bedtime stories to Enzo and Julie was stomping around on the stairs keeping Enzo awake.  Right then I agreed with Ariel wholeheartedly. The noise maker had to go.  After I read about Diesel 10 and Thomas the Tank Engine thirty or forty times I went downstairs to hang out with Ariel and a few friends who were visiting.

     Ariel questioned me on my recent activity so I reported all of the excitement I had just experienced in a two dollar and fifty cent book.  "Yeah, but why have you been sitting in the hall for so long?" he asked.  I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, I was hanging out with Enzo and Thomas the whole time.  "Lora, I heard you come down the stairs".

    "Noooo, you heard Julie come down the stairs.  I heard her too.  That stupid dog was keeping Enzo up.  I'd have been relieved of duty ages ago if it hadn't been for her".  The guys looked at me like I was bonkers. Julie had been watching Gladiator with them all evening.  Ugh, Ann strikes again.

    As a mother I favor a quick nursing to sleep over self soothing because it seems easier in that very instant.  The result is constant trips back and forth between my room and the children's rooms for all of eternity because they never learn how to do something so seemingly simple as sleep. (It was during one of these trips that I realized that Ann is going to have to make room for me when I die because I'll be haunting the hallway too, my soul won't know what else to do after a lifetime of this).  Our routine was, and still is, one of the kids shouts or whines, "Mom", then I shush them so they know I've heard them, am on my way, and don't want them waking the other kid(s).  Back at Home #2, Enzo and Clara would reply to my sushing with, "Mama, is that you or is it Other Mother?"

     Clara was the first to mention Other Mother and when she did I remembered Otis, "Are you my mother?"  I questioned the kids about Other Mother frequently but all I could get out of a 1-2 year old and an autistic 3-4 year old was that they didn't like her very much.

     Last weekend Ariel was speaking with the lady who lives in my home now. Their conversation made it's way to hauntings so Ariel asked her if she had ever noticed anything unusual in the house.  Apparently Ann is still getting her exercise by running up and down the stairs and our girl has learned a new trick.  She can now open and shut the front door.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Laundry Update / Motivation

     On Monday morning I hung my sheets and assorted other bits of laundry on my new clothes line to dry.  Now it is Friday.  I am just putting my bed sheets in the linen closet this evening.  I was excited to sleep on the sheets and inhale their sweet scent but after a week of rain  the weather has changed quite a bit and now it is too hot out to sleep on fleece sheets.  My brother in law, Meteorologist Mike, tells me I'll have good laundry weather throughout the weekend and into Monday.  I will try my lighter sheets tomorrow morning even though I am aware that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time.

     Speaking of which, it has come to my attention that I need to drop a few pounds.  I have been dropping a few pounds on and off for twenty years now.  The time has come to do it again.  Today I tried on some pants my grandmother gave me to wear until I lost the weight from this last pregnancy (how an eight pound baby packed sixty pounds on my body is beyond me) and they were too tight.  But that isn't why I'm beginning a diet.  It is too easy to rotate the two pair of leggings and two pair of sweat pants that I CAN fit into to have that motivate me.  I'm also not shedding the blubber because of Ariel's little helpful hints or offers to diet with me or teeny tiny bikini purchases (if I got back to my birth weight I couldn't fit into those silly things, and I was a very small baby, not even six pounds). My husband isn't a pay the mortgage on a house he no longer resides in kind of guy and he isn't going to fork over alimony just because I've become chubby.  So, no motivation there either.  I don't feel particularly unhealthy and I'm pretty sure I pushed out what was left of my vanity  with Baby Dorothy.

     So how on Earth has Mrs. Jones found the motivation to shed unwanted weight for the umpteenth time??
     My mother.  My mother was whining about her muffin tops and how hard she was finding it to care long enough to lose them (she has been dieting on and off for almost forty years).  I suggested we diet together, more to fill the gap in the conversation than anything else.  She brightened as she pondered a The Biggest Loser sort of situation then told me she couldn't possibly because she wouldn't want to make me feel bad.  She quickly apologized, that hadn't come out the way she meant it, but it was too late.  The spark had been lit.  I had found the motivation I had been waiting six months for.  Good old fashioned being told I couldn't do it.  Spite.  Sure I'll be happy when I can fit into the contents of the garbage bag labeled Lora's Normal Clothes in the attic, and sure I'll feel more confident in my ability to maintain my title of  the current reigning Mrs. Ariel Jones, but I'll be laughing my skinny tush off when I can sit thirty less pounds of myself in front of my mother.  I know it is pathetic and even a bit sick, but it is all I've got right now and I'm running with it!

     Wish me luck!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Aston Says....

I love this earf.  It gots all of my favorite things.

Aston A. Jones ~ age 4

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Murphy's Laundry

     Mother's Day was this weekend.  The people who call me Mom made the day special for me in lots of ways.  The big kids missed school on Friday because their hack of a mother couldn't wake up to send them (in my defense, I'd had almost no sleep for two days because the baby had a cold AND Clara had a cold of her own) so they were without their Mother's Day Macaroni Necklaces or what ever darling creation they had worked on with their teachers.
      Clara woke up bright and early and wrote and illustrated an acrostic poem for me. (shown above)  Please note that Fluffy the cat is shown in this drawing...I guess Clara didn't understand what happened last month after all!  Aston was all fired up about the special day and was asking a million questions about the state of our house.  Was it sparkly?  Were there hearts on the walls?  Apparently they celebrate Mother's Day a little different on Go Diego, Go than we do here.  Ariel helped the kids present me with new plants for the garden.  I have no talent as a gardener, but love gardening anyway.  Most importantly, the children all posed for a picture for me without making zombie eyes or rabbit ears or any other dumb photo poses.

The People who call me Mom


     We spent our afternoon visiting with my family at my mother's house.  We had a lovely barbecue and a bit of a plant swap.  It was a nice time, although we managed to lose one of Aston's shoes and Clara ended up having an uncontrollable tantrum and Dorothy was fussing over a new tooth and Enzo might not be speaking to my stepfather anymore.  Oh well.  You can't win 'em all.
My mother, me, and my sister Alyssa's finger tip

     Upon returning home I noticed one of my housewifeing fantasies had been fulfilled.  I spied a clothes line in my back yard.  If you ever find the repetitiveness of life getting to you, do your chores a new way.  I was SO excited to do laundry the next day!   I was actually happy Dorothy peed on my bed during a diaper change so I would have an excuse to sleep in sheets that smelled like sunshine that night.    I was able to fit two loads of laundry on the line. I sat at my picnic table holding Dot watching my laundry blow in the breeze.       Then the sky went dark.  A storm was rolling in.  As I write this we are on day two of rain and I hear it won't stop for at least one more.  My bed sheets are speckled with mud and today's laundry is tossing merrily about in my electric dryer.  Like all of my other failed dreams, I'm not giving up on the clothes line just yet.  It has to stop raining someday.
My laundry
on my brand new clothes line
in the pouring rain

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Patriot (a brief moment in Jonesie time)

   Today Aston was running down a hill while Enzo played ball.  The poor kid ran smack into the flag pole that carries the flag we all salute on opening day while the national anthem plays.  He bruised both knees badly and skinned one too.  My precious little boy hobbled over to me and crawled onto my lap.  He rested his head on my shoulder and sobbed, "I hate America".

Friday, May 11, 2012


      When I delivered all nine pounds and one ounce of my beautiful Enzo Daniel I had a very clear plan to raise him as a pansy.  He would be a soft spoken, peaceful, obedient, artsy fartsy, kitten of a boy.  The formula I devised to reach this goal included a household ban on television, processed foods, battery operated toys, shouting, and graphic t-shirts.  There would be excessive amounts of  cuddling, singing, fairy tales, nature, line dried cloth diapers, breast feeding, finger paint, and nursery rhymes.  I would swaddle him up, pop in an adorable binkey, and let him nap peacefully while I tidied up our bright and cozy little home so that he could receive all of this nurturing love in the perfect, non gender specific environment.  Yes, I planned for everything.  Everything, that is, except Enzo.

     I delivered Enzo on a scorching July weekend (I had a plan for delivery too, HA!).  Maybe the hospital hadn't planned on me because shortly after the miracle of childbirth was behind me it became painfully obvious that there wasn't a functioning shower for me to scrub the blood and puke and general funk, excuse me, the beauty and magic and empowerment off of myself.  I also still looked about six months pregnant which was a shocking blow.  Never mind all of that, I had my son and the adventure had begun.

     Upon returning to said cozy little home (which was decorated with moving boxes everywhere because we had planned to buy a house but the sale fell through because of zoning or something, but never mind that too) I handed my not quite as tiny as expected bundle of hopes and dreams to my beloved husband and made my way upstairs to my long awaited shower.  I massaged my scalp and breathed in the aroma my lavender shampoo when hark, what was this?  Ariel had flung open the shower curtain and was shoving a tense, red infant who was emitting an earsplitting scream in my direction.  Huh.

     As time went on more and more of my dream crumbled.  Enzo could not be set down.  This meant no housekeeping, no pushing a carriage, no dealing with the fact that I still looked pregnant.  Shortly before Enzo's birth Ariel had purchased himself a big screen t.v. as sort of a baby shower gift or something I couldn't understand.  The result was this feeling that Jerry Seinfeld had a strong hand in raising my boy.  The shocking economic shift from two incomes to one left Enzo's wardrobe to be decided by price tag rather than looks or quality. Breast feeding left me feeling like a prisoner sentenced to spend my life stuck to my couch and cloth diapers leaked in the night. I tried to carry on with the plan in spite of all this.  Enzo still loved story books!

     There was a moment though, when Enzo's Enzoness pierced through my fantasy entirely.  We were at a neighbor's yard sale.  I was rummaging through tables of dusty treasure when Enzo began beating me on the bottom.  I guessed he had found his treasure.  (Guessing was the best I could do because at eighteen months Enzo had invented a language that didn't even resemble English and it was all he would use).  The treasure in his hands was a VHS copy of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie.  And I knew then that raising this boy did not mean choosing who he was.

     Enzo's passion for monsters, the super natural, science fiction, fantasy, super heroes, and a good brawl still is hard for me to swallow, but not as hard as it is for his teachers.  Every year since he started school there has been something his teachers have called me trembling about.  This year his teacher plainly told me that while he has never shown any physical aggression toward another student the things he says freaks the other kids out.  Upon hearing this I tried to reclaim some of my old plan as Enzo resisted saying, "I only do what the other kids do!!  They already call me a baby because you won't let me play M rated video games".  Too bad Pal!  The school sees every kid in this town and they feel YOU are too obsessed with gore.  I'm taking it all away.  I was wrong to allow cartoons, action figures, video games, comic books, and red #5.  I'm sorry.  I've failed you.

     This morning I was folding laundry on my bedroom floor with Dorothy, who was unfolding it just as quickly.  I could hear Enzo and Aston playing with stuffed animals the next room.  Enzo was bellowing "THE COLOGNE-ISTS ARE COMING" over and over again during quite a commotion as frightened teddy bears were thrown about the room .

     Finally I shouted to him, "Enzo, are you trying to say colonists?"

     "Oh yeah, Ma," he replied, "We are learning about the Revolutionary War at school.  We finished learning about the French and Indian War".

     Too violent, eh?  Aww screw it!  I let him watch The Avengers (animated) after breakfast because I really can't win, and I'm tired of trying to.

And in other news, today is the eight anniversary of the night my sister, Mrs. Witherell, was ripped open to rescue the baby girl that was dying inside of her and her twin brother too (not what Alyssa had planned on) and she and her husband, Michael began their journey of surprises!  Happy Birthday Savanna and Troy!  The Joneses love you to bits!!!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

People are Strange

     Do you ever stop and think about the things we do?  As people, as a society, as Americans we do some stuff that seems just fine at face value but upon further investigation is just plain bizarre.  Today I was driving past a Target on my way to Home Depot.  I noticed the Target was flanked by two enormous red balls.  Someone envisioned those red balls and made them happen.  Someone built them, installed them...They are entirely useless red balls.  Perhaps they represent the legions of useless crap contained within Target's walls. Maybe they are a warning, If you think these are pointless just wait until you see half of the junk you are going to stuff in your cart...

     Like solar powered outdoor lamps.  This weekend my parents picked up some new solar powered lamps for their house and my grandmother's house.  I was really into them too, until Aston was begging for a set in Home Depot.  As I considered purchasing them (we live on a country road with no street lights, after all) I thought about all of the times I was aiming for my front door and missed due to lack of illumination.  Not once folks.  I've never ever been lost in my front yard crying out into the night, "If only I had half a dozen faintly glowing, highly decorative lamps to guide me to the porch!".  So, no tiny solar lamps for the Joneses.  Aston was quite disappointed.

     There are so many wacky things that we just do and consider normal.  Ever notice fashion?  Who let that one slip by? Or holidays?  How about the way we measure success in miles (specifically the ones you move away from your home town)?  There is body hair removal, food consumption as a form of entertainment, lawn fertilizing, crossword puzzles, this cupcake craze that's sweeping the nation, tattoos, weekend homes,  countless hours spent chasing/ throwing/ hitting balls or, even odder, watching other people do it... the list is probably endless.

     Ariel spends a small portion of his time wondering how long it would take for all of this to crumble and for Mother Nature to take over in the event of, say, a zombie apocalypse.  This week he and his brother answered this nagging question.

     Two hours.

     Ariel and Marley were installing a solar array on the home some people we know plan to retire to.  The house is located in western upstate NY, which, for those of you who don't know, is the official middle of nowhere.  With nothing but nature as far as the eye can see they quickly slipped into a Lord of the Flies mind frame.  They fished a pond on the land for their lunch.  Marley, the one with fishing experience, explained to Ariel that after catching a fish you bash it between the eyes with a rock to kill it quickly. gag.  Marley caught a fish instantly and Ariel had him hold up the line so the fish was pinata style.  Ariel proceeded to punch the fish in the head.

     He punched a fish.


     In no time at all spears and eventually a trident were fashioned from sticks lying about.  In the end, Marley captured a toad (whom he christened Snuggles) and made him their mascot.  Snuggles made the long journey back home with the fellas in a coffee cup as they could not leave their comrade behind.  After fussing over Snuggles's living accommodations and getting him settled in, Marley announced that Snuggles was relatively lame as far as pets go.  I assume he will be released presently.  Snuggles just doesn't belong in the strange world we call civilization.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Timeless Classic

                                Fairy tales can come true.  It can happen to you,
                                if your young at heart.  For as rich as you are it's
                                       much better by far to be young at heart.

     There is a fountain of youth and this lovely lady knows exactly where it is, though she will not disclose this information.  My grandmother (Baby Dorothy's namesake) is turning eighty seven today, yet she is consistently pegged at twenty years younger, like, by doctors. Recently, my mother was ranting about how well preserved her mother is, both physically and mentally.  Mom said, "I mean really, Mom, most people your age...".  I don't know what my mother was going to say because Grandma cut her off with, "...are dead".  We were all too busy laughing at Gram's dark little joke to really care what Mom was going to fill in that blank with, besides we don't need to hear it.  We know our Queen Mother is extraordinary!

     I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with my Grandmother so far, be it bashing around NYC, watching the cabs go by in the middle of the night from the bathroom window of our hotel room, styling her hair for countless hours while she sat patiently, listening to romantic stories about when she and Grandpa met, listening to hysterical tales from when she was raising her two sons and two daughters (and rabbits and goats and chickens), running errands and stopping off for a bit of Burger King,  infiltrating the local community theaters, sneaking over to her house to watch Whoopie, gathering around her kitchen table to read goofy columns from the local paper, going for walks (which we both agreed to discontinue because my kids are not good walking companions), asking her to prep the Thanksgiving turkey for me because that whole process grosses me out and I don't even want to know how to do it then looking out of my kitchen window only to see her strolling up the sidewalk (we were neighbors when I lived in The Jones Family Home #1) pushing Tom Turkey in a WHEELBARROW, or being able to call her on a cold, dreary October day and trying to thank her for all of this and  much more by saying, "Uh, Gram, I named the baby...It's a name you might recognize.  I've decided to call her Dorothy".

   So THREE CHEERS for Grandma Dorothy on her birthday and thank goodness one of my best friends is immortal and sure to see MANY MORE!  xoxoxo

P.S.  That picture is more recent than 2007, my sister Alyssa just never programmed her camera.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Work Smarter not Harder

    Allow me to introduce The Jones Family Lawn Chairs.  Their age is unknown because The Jones Family didn't actually purchase them.  These chairs were left on the front porch of The Jones Family Home (#2) by the previous owners. They have been with us for about eight years.  In those eight years I may have gone out in my green "bleaching shorts" and attacked them with bleach and a scrub brush once or twice (or vinegar, water, and baking soda if I was in one of my hippie cleaning modes) with unimpressive results, basically wasting a day.  But for most of their time with us, these lil' plastic beauties have been left to their own devices. I guess that's why they looked like property of the Loch Ness Monster.  Ariel was about to take these repulsive seats to the dump this weekend when the wheels in his head started turning.  Maybe, just maybe there was life left in our sad, adopted chairs.  He drew out his trusty pressure washer and opened fire on one of the chairs (the one shown on the left...obviously).  The procedure was over in moments, used only H20-no chemicals- and totally resurrected the hideous chair.  It was one of those why didn't we do this SOONER??? moments.

     Now I am convinced that no household should be without a pressure washer.  We have two weddings coming up in our family this year and I'm thinking young Mr. and Mrs. Cole and Mr. and Mrs. Ballauer might need pressure washers of their own to set up house keeping.  Pressure washers should be the gift of the future! Spread the good word!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday TOOO YOOOUUU

                                Today it is your birthday and we sing to let you know
                                That you will be queen for the day, whatever you say
                                                             goes! ~ Barbie

     Ariel is a cherished member of our family.  He is adored by all.  So on his birthday we want to spoil him accordingly.  The kids have their own ideas.  Clara and Enzo wish him well, make a card, bake a cake...that kind of thing.  Aston was particularly excited this morning when Enzo told him it was Daddy's birthday today.  He did an enthusiastic spin jump while throwing a punch into the air and formulated the perfect plan.  "YES!" he squealed.  "I want an ultimate swimming pool!!".

     "I said it is Dad's birthday", corrected Enzo.

     Aston wasn't going to be derailed by this trivial bit of information.  "That's fine.  He can share with me".

     For me there is always a bit of stress deciding what course of action to take when Ariel's birthday rolls around.  There is the default nice dinner, but is that special enough for someone who is so special to me?  The whole gift giving thing is a bit awkward as I have no income and haven't for years.  "Hey Sweetie, look what I bought you with the money you busted your hump for..."  I don't know, it is just weird to me. Taking him out for dinner runs into the same economic issue.  I can always fall back on those lovely gifts that don't cost anything. They tend to backfire though, and end up being very expensive.

     So far today we have a big day of errand running planned.  We'll see where the day takes us.  I just hope that at the end of the day as he drifts off to sleep he knows how very, very much he is loved and how impossibly happy we are that he was born.

                                                       HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARIEL!!!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


     Enzo has been working on a science fair project for weeks now.  He is working on the relationship between the shape of a paper airplane and the distance it flies (very important stuff).  With hypothesis, research, theory, and planning behind him, tonight was the big night when he conducted the actual experiment.  He and I went out to the yard to find the perfect place to launch the seven red paper airplanes we made.  He stuck a stick in the ground to mark the launch point.  He set a notebook on a lawn chair to record his data.  Curiosity got the better of Clara and she joined us.  It was a good thing she did because I was in charge of the video camera and Enzo needed help with the tape measure.  Things were going well when Aston must have spotted us out of a window.  He soon joined our team of researchers.  Aston added his personal flair to the video, begging Enzo to give him a turn with the airplanes, crying when Enzo and I explained that he had to wait, and finally turning his back to the camera for a bit then spinning around and announcing "I PEED!".  Yes, he was in frame while peeing, centered actually.  I wonder if there is a science fair prize for "Most original video".  Enzo would certainly walk away with that blue ribbon.

A Seasonal Jones

     The Joneses would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to Uncle Marley!  Though not a Jones by name he is a Jones in spirit, some genetics, and address while on break from college.  Everyone is glad to have him back under our roof for the summer.  Aston has not stopped harassing him about playing Legos, action figures, and video games all day long.  Enzo and Clara feel comfortable having as much of the family together as possible...they would have loved a longhouse.  Ariel, of course, enjoys having his brother with him and delights in an extra set of hands.  Day one, they are already staining our house.  As for me, I don't wish to exploit Manny, uh, I mean Marley.  After all he is here to enjoy his summer vacation.  I can't complain, however, about having someone else to ease the "building multicolored castles" burden among us!  Welcome Home Marley!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


    Sometimes it has been raining all day but stops just in time that your nine year old's evening baseball game
isn't cancelled. So you pack up all of you kids including the six month old baby who hasn't had a complete nap all day because your four year old needed something at the top of his lungs every single time her eyes got droopy and head to the baseball field where it is a little chilly and a little damp and your kids are suddenly starving and need something from the concession stand even though you made them eat before you left the house. Sometimes you use this desire to bribe them in to behaving like nice little children instead of the wrestling little monsters you see rolling around on the ground before you.  You quickly realize you've wasted a bribe because the hot dog isn't even half way gone when they are back at it again.  You can't tell how long the baseball game is taking because it feels like an eternity due to the fussy baby in your backpack carrier, the constant reports that your four year old bit/kicked/jumped on/slapped your seven year old and, whoa ho, wait, what is this?? He pulled down his pants in front of a group of kids.  Why would he do that?  He wanted to pee while jumping off of the picnic table(at least that is the story your seven year old gives you because she doesn't want her curious girlfriend from school to get in trouble for asking him to pull down his pants).  Sometimes you realize you cant take your eyes off your kids for a second so you make them stay right next to you until the coaches notice it is dark out and let you go home or the game is complete.  You instantly regret insisting your kids be so near you because you'd like to ignore them beating each other up and that is really difficult when they are only a foot away from you.  Sometimes you tell your kids they will never come to a baseball game with you ever again if they don't knock it off and they say "Don't leave us home with Daddy", as if he is some sort of maniac even though he is a complete pushover cupcake. But the game is over and you go home where no one can seem to remember how to brush their teeth or put their pajamas on.  Sometimes your husband comes home from picking up his brother from the airport because he is going to be living with you during his summer break and you had wanted to give him a warm welcome but all you could muster up was a weak wave while ushering kids to bed.  Sometimes you are shuffling to your bedroom with a squirmy, overtired infant when you remember the elementary school is doing a reading contest that involves parents reading with their children every day so you do an about face, go back to the kids' room and read to the kids.  Then you nurse the baby to sleep while your husband goes in to say "Goodnight". Sometimes he comes into your room and asks if you were listening to his conversation with the children which of course you were not because you've heard quite enough for one day.  So he tells you what they said.  He, your husband, was explaining to your seven year old daughter that there are military bases all over the world and your nine year old son interjected, "Yeah, there is even one up my butt".  And sometimes, it is all funny again.