a conversation over dinner tonight:

trey: hazel, your hair cut looks so nice!

hazel: thank you daddy.

me: we might have to go back and have it fixed in a few days because i think the ends might be a bit crooked.

hazel: (looks confused) hey! what's crooked mean?

me: oh, you know, not straight.

hazel: (a light bulb goes off in her head) oh, you mean like your teeth?

good morning sunshine!

it's going to be a beautiful day today. i'm keeping the kids home because august was sick last night but seems to be just fine this morning. hazel is getting her hair cut after lunch, then off to ballet. august has baseball practice this afternoon but i'm not sure if he'll make it.
the temps are supposed to be in the 60's today...i can hardly wait.
i turned the TV on for the kids so i could make my morning coffee. my friend rachel is the queen at making a mean cup of coffee and has inspired me to start perfecting my own cup'o joe. it's been a good challenge and really is saving me money. today i used vanilla soy milk and some white chocolate sauce. it's really good. i still need to work on my foaming technique. not sure how rachel does it, but her foam is just about perfect.


drum roll please...

the puppy has been named.
we are calling him TANK.
rhymes with HANK (thank you zane).
we bought the crate today as well as some puppy food. he'll come live with us the week after easter. we're all very excited.


Name that Dog!!!

we had the dog for about 8 hours today. i think he did pretty well, even peed outside 3 times!! we won't get him until he's 8 weeks old which will be right after our trip to California to see Zane and Audrey.
none of us can agree on a name. any help in naming this sweet boy would be very welcomed. the breeders named him valentine because he was born on the 13th of feb., hazel originally thought we should name him gnarly but has since changed her mind. trey likes gnarly but i think he should be called blueberry because of his nose. august likes "the day before valentine's day" but i'm working on convincing him that that's way too long of a name.
what do you think?
let the naming begin...



we looked at some puppies today. the one above is the runt of the litter, they call him vito, he's very feisty.
they call this one valentine. he's the biggest one out of the litter. he's very sweet and playful.
we're probably going to go for him. he's coming for a home visit on friday. we're very excited for this next step with our family.
i know the kids are going to love this dog and as you can see, trey is already partial to the pup. hazel wants to re-name him "gnarly"...not a bad name...we'll see.



Smells have always brought up strong memories for me. The smell of the cologne worn by a previous boy friend brings me back to that jean jacket I borrowed from him. The smell of lavender reminds me of that friend I worked with many years ago who always did everything she could in that thankless job. The smell of chocolate chip cookies quickly makes me think of my father who bakes them so wonderfully.

There are also smells that bring me around to memories that aren’t so pleasant. The smell of a farm will always remind me of a trip I took with my grandmother to Iowa where I saw a mommy pig accidentally squish her baby. A certain kind of lotion that I’ll catch a whiff of brings me right back to my great grandmother’s room where I was asked to rub her feet.

The scent of a group home never really occurred to me until I went to visit my brother Jamie at his new residence. I’m not sure why they all smell the same, but they do. I’ve worked in a number of group homes all through college and each one smelled like all of the others. They were not dirty… I knew this for certain because one of my duties was to clean the place. I cooked, cleaned and took care of the people who lived there. In some cases, I was the only family they had.

Jamie moved into a behavioral group home with other men his age or older. I spoke with my parents when this decision was made, and from my far away home I confirmed that it was the right thing to do. After that, I didn’t think about it again until we went home for the holidays.

When we walked in the house the smell hit me. I knew that smell. I knew it as a staff worker though, not as a family member. The staff was running around putting clothes on Jamie who had been napping. He didn’t know what was going on. He looked around and upon seeing Mom and Dad he thought it was time to go home. Mom had to verbally and physically take her coat off, “Look Jamie, I’m taking my coat off.” Dad sat quietly at the kitchen table and asked someone to find a puzzle for him to do with Jamie.

We had come during a staffing transition. As the old staff left they hugged the men in the house, the new staff did the same. The alarm on the front door went off as the door opened and closed for all the comings and goings. I’ve worked in a home much like this one. I never thought what it must be like for the families that enter to visit their loved ones. The truth of the matter is that not many families do come visit people in these kinds of group homes.

I walked into my brother’s room and was shocked at the bareness. The walls were bare – no pictures, no window frame. There was only a bed and a closet with no door. Jamie has some behavioral issues that cause him to occasionally become very aggressive. He is a strong man and this aggression was becoming dangerous to the family. In this state he will destroy anything in his path, so I looked at his room and fully understood. The group home staff was forced to have it this way because he can’t keep things up on the walls. As a sister, however, I looked at that room and became so sad.

Jamie was living in a home that was not his home. Not the home he came to when he was the small little boy whose parents did not want him because he had Down’s syndrome. Not the home that accepted and loved him even when we found out that he also was autistic.

I looked into Jamie’s eyes and said hello. He looked at me with his tongue out and tiled his head and grunted. That hello was good enough for me. My eyes started to water. Mom put Jamie’s head in her hands and they touched foreheads. Dad pulled him over to him and hugged him. I stood in the dining room like a stranger watching my brother. As I looked around the house one more time I knew that I had to leave before I started crying. My husband caught my eyes and he knew what was coming. I didn’t need to say anything to him - I just left. The door alarm announced my departure.

Outside I smelled fresh rain, dirt and worms - also familiar scents. My emotions were all over the place. One of the staff members came to the van to check on me, to assure me that my brother is loved. I had no doubt of that, we love him dearly and my parents always visit at least once a week. It was just so hard for me to see him somewhere other than my parent’s house – his home.

I know that from time to time, my dad makes his famous chocolate chip cookies and takes them over to Jamie’s new group home. I know that the smell of these cookies must take Jamie back in some way to the home where we loved him from the very first second, when I scooped his tiny body up and he stuck his tongue out and grunted at me… his way of saying “hello”.


This is how we roll

i'm really looking forward to the warmer weather. yesterday was 65 and sunny, today it's 52 and rainy. i just want to be warm for an extended period of time.

there were a number of springs spent here where the kids and i would pack up games, books and art supplies and head over to a coffee shop. we had a wide variety that we could walk to when we lived in the apartment. now we have one or two and even those aren't that great. i miss those days. when we had nothing to do and could fill the day with coffee. the kids are older now and are interested in going places and doing things with other people. don't get me wrong, i'm a social person but i really do enjoy my down time.

the kids are being amazing today. we had to get up early for baseball practice so i made a healthy breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and fresh fruit. hazel has been fighting a cold or allergies (i'm not sure which) so the two of us spent most of baseball practice in the car with the heated seats on. i'm fighting a fever for the last few days so life has been very quiet here. right now the boy is in his room reading "the day my butt went psycho" (thanks kat) and hazel is taking a warm shower. i've been changing sheets and getting ready for a friend and her son to come over and have a slumber party.
happy saturday.



The temps it 65 today!!
Trey and I haven't made much of an effort with our landscaping yet which means that we have random flowers blooming throughout the yard. It's quite a nice surprise as you never really know what's going to pop up.
My friend AK gave me a beautiful pot of bulbs for Christmas this past year. It's just bursting with color.
And then there's this:
I've got a nice little collection of them growing between a flowerbed and the sidewalk.
Any ideas as to what kind of mushroom I'm lucky enough to grow?
This means that you may have to post a comment...it's not hard...click "comment" and follow the directions...
Inquiring minds want to know.


budgeting for braces

the tooth fairy has been very busy flying back and forth from our house this week.

august has 4, count them, 4 loose teeth. one fell out, the other was hanging by a thread and finally fell out. we're now waiting for the bottom two to wiggle their way under his pillow.

his dentist has informed us that we should be preparing for braces...can't wait!


funny moments from today

august and hazel spent some time playing an exciting game of memory while i was sewing today. august was very supportive of hazel whenever she found a match saying things like, "wow hazel, good job" or, "your not really in pre-school are you? you must be in kindergarten!"
hazel took all the compliments in stride when suddenly she admitted in a hushed voice, "well, sometimes i cheat."

trey made us some super yummy meat sauce for our pasta tonight. the kids are more accustom to tania's sauce with meat balls. when hazel asked trey if the meat was really just small meat balls trey responded by saying, "yup, it's meaty ball sauce." hazel accepted this answer.

after dinner trey ran out to mow the lawn real quick because it was still light out and it had stopped raining for a bit. august and hazel sat at the kitchen table and watched for their dad when hazel busted out in song:
"who let the dogs out?"
"who, who, who, who,who?"
"who let the dogs out?"
"who let the poo out?
who, who, who, who, who?"

i took a moment to look at my children while i was doing the dishes when hazel interjects:
"yeah, who let the mommy out?"
"who, who, who, who, who?"


Dog Sitting

my sister has this great dog named Royal and we get to watch him overnight tonight. everyone is excited about it:

trey tried to take a little nap this afternoon but Royal just couldn't stand it. He kept on jumping on him, then jumping off him, then stretching on him, then sniffing him...it was quite fun to watch.
Royal couldn't decide what to do for the first few hours he was with us...he sniffed around everything, running from one area to the next. He finally decided to chill out for a bit on the couch at Trey's feet but then Hazel couldn't let them just rest, she had to get in on the action which just messed the whole thing up.

we went to the disney store today to buy one of my favorite movies which happened to be re-released yesterday. i don't know why i love Peter Pan as much as i do but i just can't get enough of it. we also have the live action one that came out a few years ago...that one is closer to the book and wonderful. the kids and Royal and i spent the evening watching the disney version. Royal snored through most of it but i'm not gonna complain...the dog kept me very warm as he curled up into a ball next to me.
i think it's high time for this family to get a dog of our own.


my girl hazel

Hazel is obsessed with the new Rosie Thomas record. she listens to it when she's going to bed and starts it over when she wakes up.
we spent some time over the weekend organizing her room and there was Rosie singing in the background with Hazel humming right along. it was a very strange experience for me. my little girl is developing taste in music, she's singing along to her favorite songs...she's going into kindergarten. it's all so strange to watch her grow up.
we take turns picking out the clothes she will wear. today was her day. she will be leaving the house wearing jeans with roses embroidered on the pockets, pink shoes and socks and a black shirt with the word "love" across the chest. she loves these clothes. she feels like a grown-up in them.
i'm not ready for her to feel like a grown-up.