You know you're my kid when ...

You have a 50/50 chance of being the one who was dutifully picking up the raisins you spilled this morning, and then screamed in fear and dropped the large wiggling “raisin” with antennae you found under the desk. You now fondly refer to this as the “raisin-bug” incident, and mom refers to it as the “time to have the landlord call the exterminator again” incident. Enough said.

You have “just a minute” on the list of your first words.

You know that mom CAN be silly, but doesn't really like to be, and that she gets cranky when you're silly most of the time.

You hear “come Here if you want help!” from the time you can walk. Unless you're screaming bloody murder of course.

You know “you'll be ok” because mom tells you that all the time. For now you believe her.

You have climbing into a warm bed with two in-denial-about-the-clock adults down to a science. You know that a sure way to get them up, and get in trouble, is to dig your elbow into a bladder or an eye.

You know the intense pull of a book, ANY book, and the frustration of being dragged away from it. You know mom understands because she does the same thing, but it doesn't seem fair at all.

You know mama runs a lot, and you have an inkling that sometimes she's running away. She always comes back though.

You still think home haircuts are cool. Or you don't know what a haircut is yet, and eat your hair as much as your food.

You understand guilt well, and are able to use it to your advantage, long before you know what the word means.

You know how to hold grudges, and long to be teased out of them. You often are. You learned from a master sulker.

You feel frustrated by how much is going on in your head, and never have enough time to get it all down/out/explained.

You talk early, and often.

You eye doctors with curiosity and awe, but believe almost all medicine comes in spoons, eyedroppers, and teas. You don't know yet this makes you unusual.

You get frustrated very easily, especially by things that don't work the way you think they will. You express this vocally and loudly.

You remember every promise or implied promise, and are devastated if mom doesn't.

You love unconditionally.

You're a lightweight who'd rather snack all day than waste time at the table eating a meal.

You love to make gifts and give them to your parents.

You expect to understand things and be able to figure them out. You also expect to be able to do them well right off the bat. You don't get “having to work hard for something” very well yet. You're learning though.

You know mom putting you to bed means a storybook, and dad putting you to bed means a homegrown tale of mystery and intrigue. You still fuss when mom says it's her turn.

You have Alone Time down pat, and don't mind your parents taking it as long as you get full attention from whichever parent is home. You know both are more indulgent when the other isn't home.

You dream big. You are beautiful. You are stubborn. You are creative. You are intense. You are dramatic. You have dancing eyes and a ready laugh. You hardly remember life without a brother.

Your mom expects you to need therapy when you get older, and is coming to terms with it. You don't know this yet, but you do know she expects a lot of things of you. She's sorry for it. She expects the same things of herself.

You remember Farmer's Market Saturdays, the big rock at Fort Greene Park, summer sprinklers, water balloon fights, quesadillas, the Co-op School, kombucha, Sunday night singing, visiting cousins and family and the ocean, petting Dominic, Mister Charles, having housemates, Chinatown afternoons, the Brooklyn Bridge, the lego stash at Aunt Ruths, and fireworks in Prospect Park.

You are amazing, adored, humbling, frustrating, mirroring, stretching, and mine to raise.

cross posted over here. yes I've been quiet lately. chewing a lot on my faith and how I show/share/feel about it.


Happy weekend between Christmas and New Year’s! Things have been all over the place here, meaning very little has gone according to plan or expectations, but we’re moving right along I'm trying. Both boys woke up several times in the night before Christmas, and so none of us slept well. Douglas woke up Christmas morning with a huge barking cough, a fever, a super sore throat, and the desire to do nothing but lay on the couch and sleep and whimper. Poor kid, he didn’t enjoy much of anything that day. I stayed home from the Christmas dinner we were to all go to, at the house of one of his best friends, and we got cozy and watched The Polar Express instead. His presents were opened sporadically throughout the day, with a couple smiles but no enthusiasm. I confess to being pretty irritable about it, feeling a bit gypped myself. I ended up falling asleep at 8.

Friday was good, and I’d arranged a few days before to spend the night w/a girlfriend whose family was out of town. We were to hit a movie, have some wine, and stay up late talking. I’d planned to come home in the morning after my run and a swing past the farmer’s market. As I was walking out the door after dinner I discovered that my dear husband had forgotten to tell me that the job he’d started that day was a rush one and they’d have to work right through the weekend. I had to be home by 8am. All of a sudden a relaxing night with no real deadlines turned into a ‘get to bed at a decent hour so I can get up and home’ kind of night, a whole other thing to me. My expectations had to be reset, and it wasn’t easy. I ended up ditching the run and market, and getting 5 hours of sleep. It was still great to get away, but somehow it seems harder and harder to reset my expectations as I get older. Why is that so hard? I really count on those few hours away to balance out my time at home. I hadn’t really taken time away, except for errands a couple nights, for a month. I hate that my balance is so fragile that I start to fall apart if some bit of me-time disappears, or social time with other adults gets removed. I hate that I even have those expectations and needs, but I do. There’s guilt attached, a lot of it. Guilt for needing to be away from my kids. All that. I tell myself I should be grateful he's got a week of work after two months with none, and I am. But it doesn't cancel out my need to be alone at times, and that feeling increases when it's vacation and I have both boys 24x7 for two weeks.

On the other hand, I had one strange but certain expectation fufilled, and it was fabulous! I had Douglas enter a coloring contest online, and when I downloaded the sheet for him to color I had a 98% sure feeling he’d win. Totally random drawing, no way I could be sure, but I had that insane certainty. Sure enough, I looked online Christmas day and he’d had his name chosen as the winner of a new scooter. I told OMSH, who ran the contest, that she and God made a great team :). Unreasonable expectations that were competely met! It’s only happened to me a couple of times in my life, but each time it’s been right. He was delighted, and it means that he can throw out the old partially-fixed one we’d salvaged from the neighbor’s trash last year that never worked right. I’d call that a blessed Christmas!

(mostly cross posted from over here)

Updated to add as of Sunday: Fynn and Michael both have the fever/chills/hacking thing going on now, and D is better but still hacking a lot. At least I managed to get a run in before M left for work, only 45 min but I did more exploring of a new 'hood and stopped for a couple minutes in what's becoming my very favorite place to talk to God ... the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. I even had it to myself today which was even better. I dragged the hacking boys to the store to stock up on juice and lemons and a couple other things, then worked on D's puzzle with him and then played Candyland before sending him to bed with a book and a flashlight. Did I mention it's 63 degrees here today?!

8 years and counting ...

Today is our 8th anniversary, and as it didn't go according to plan I'm posting this hodgepodge before I crash into bed :). M's at the studio getting in a few hours, after helping me w/Fynn today so I could get lots of my work done towards this show I'm in this weekend.
He bought me flowers :) and my 'gift' back was to send him to the studio from dinnertime tonight to dinnertime tomorrow, when my FIL plans to babysit so we can have one of those rare dates. Whee! Sadly, a client called and needs him tomorrow, and he can't sniff at work after not having any for 10 days, so he's coming home in a few hours to get some sleep before work. Sad when he'd been so looking forward to a long haul there :( He's at home w/the boys from Thursday thru Monday and while I'm away, and we'll see how sane he is at the end of all that ...

Watching cartoons ... lovely pair!

Then today's portraits ...

Posed by M, and he loved it ... hammed it up. Please note the lovely socks ...

The best of today's 10 minute photo shoot before supper, I don't like it but it's better than what I was using as a bio picture so it's going on my bios for the show.

M's self portrait from today, or one of them rather. Maybe we'll actually get a pic of the two of us tomorrow night, how come we never ever do that? Or family pics? Somehow they never happen.

Wanted to post a couple wedding pics, but the scanner is down and I'm too tired to hunt for the few digitals we have. Another day :). Feels like more than 8 years, that goes w/out saying. I think our reactions to things today say a lot about how much we've changed. Little drama, lots of understanding.

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I love my sister :).

This one has a good dose of spunk, and an imagination to rival Douglas', which makes their playdates rather entertaining as the alternate between play and rivalry.

The stone thing we built became the Clam Fortress of the younger crowd, and we were all asked to choose what type of clams we were (Booger and Iron were the main choices).

Two of a kind.

Dad has infinite patience with the younger ones, and they get pretty attached to him too. This one cried for him often, and would fuss if he walked past and didn't pick him up. He turned 1 while we were there :).

Tom rented a pontoon boat for the last day, and it was enjoyed to the hilt. Ferrying people back and forth to the beach, out to the middle of the lake to go swimming in deep water, and just plain out for joyrides. As you can see, none of the life preservers were small enough to be of any use :). It came off pretty rapidly after the first trip.

The chauffeur

In her element :).

The miracle glasses and their relieved owner! The second day they were left in the sand at the beach, atop a shirt, while out swimming. They were lost in the repacking, and possibly shaken in to the lake while cleaning off sand. We hunted for 2 days, on the beach, in the water, and everywhere inbetween. The last day, as we were choosing a spot to put our gear, mom suggested the lifeguard tower. As I walked over to it and went to drop our stuff, I came almost nose-to-nose with something hanging from a hook on the crossbar of the tower, and lo and behold it was the missing glasses. A huge relief as they were only 2 months old and not the cheapest pair by a long shot. Not even a scratch on them either! Answered prayers for sure :).

did i mention we're back?

Back in MA, that is, and I hit the ground running, tho the internet was down initially.
Running literally, as well as figuratively. I've got a big coaching opportunity coming up, which means many things have to be done/finished/reprinted before Oct 11th.

Vacation was wonderful, and truly relaxing, except for the self-imposed stress of fitting in runs, which I did and am not sorry for. Fifteen miles last weekend :). The pic above is from camping, and shows the part I enjoyed almost the most, except for being with family. M and I built the deliberate-looking portion of the rock jumble you see above, on the shore next to our campsite. I was heavenly to fit/piece/haul rocks to build something useful and enjoyable, and I didn't spend nearly as much time on it as I wanted to.

Visiting friends was good, despite the heart-attack news received while at one house, and the hospital location of Danimal, who could use a ton of prayers and is still there. His skydiving accident was pretty brutal, and he'll be in rehab for years and lots of questions as to the possible outcomes of it all.

I hope to post more, but will do so when I can find the time. Lots more pics to share, and stories :).

The Magic Glen

Based on a tip from one of M's friends at the party the other day, we ventured off to a waterfall in the woods. The directions involved going "past the cemeteries, take a left on M-something street, go to the end of the road and through someone's side yard and you'll find a trail. Hike 20 minutes and you'll see a waterfall."

They turned out to be perfect directions, and the waterfall a magical little grotto place with mini pools, rocks to climb, freezing water, and slivers of sunlight. A most wonderful place to sit and eat Subway, splash, throw rocks, slip and slide and squeal, and spend a magic afternoon.

The rain held off till we were on our way home :).

a pretty magical night

this morning started off with a bang with fynn getting orange juice poured in his hair, and then tripping and falling backwards into to cat's water dish, rendering his as-yet-unchanged soggy diaper even more soggy. a banner moment. so i choose to regress ..

michael got home wednesday night, a day earlier than he'd originally thought :) most lovely. that meant we could go to a free concert last night in Battery Park, where his favorite banjo player Bela Fleck was part of the Sparrow Quartet that was performing. we had to go at 5pm to stand in line for tickets, the doors opened at 6 (it was inside Castle Clinton)", and the show started at 7. a lot of waiting around with kids! we got our tickets and i hit the store for sandwiches while m trucked the boys to the playground. we headed into the venue just after 6, got a row of seats near the back (and in the shade!) to ourselves. near enough to the back to make a quick exit if needed. fynn was eating one of those candy necklaces, and happy as a clam. douglas was getting taught how to write cursive (at his request).

by the time the show started they were both tired, and the opening group was not very kid friendly at all, and they got more antsy as time went on. toys, paper helicopters, flirting with the neighbors, and playing "drop the toy" were reaching the limit of their effectiveness when my FIL called (he lives across the street) and came in and found us. at the break, he took the boys for a walk, one on a sugar high, and both tired as it was already past their bedtime.

then the bliss of listening without ansty whiny kids! the venue was amazingly sound-proof for an open-air place, meaning the sounds were pure and clean with NO ambient noise, despite the view of skyscrapers over the slate shingle roof, and the staten island ferry just a few hundred yards away. it felt like being in a fishbowl or on a movie set, not quite real. utterly clear sky, fading light, and a few pigeons swooping in the dusk.

the boys came back in time to hear the last 3 or 4 songs, and were tired and raptly attentive. fynn was on my lap, and immediately insisted that he SEE, so i propped him up enough to see the stage. he hardly let out a peep. except for the cackles of laughter near the end as he turned around again to play drop-the-pillow with an unsuspecting man behind us who felt compelled to play along.

the playing was amazing, not just bela's banjo, but Casey Driessen's fiddle especially was incredible on this song (Click on Working on a Building). delightful.

the lingering enjoyment made this morning's OJ/cat dish incident not quite the drama it might have tended to be otherwise :)

Happy Birthday Mom :)

I've been meaning to scan this for ages, and decided tonight was the night. I think it's a stunning photo, and as close to a birthday shot as I've seen. Happy Birthday Mom!

they're gone ...

... and missed already. it was heaven to have M plus 4 for a week. Alex and Fynn got along wonderfully, as far as a 9 month old and 22 month old can. Fynn alternated between taking away toys that were either his or deemed to dangerous for Alex, and bringing him things to play with.
We hit Nintendo World (Wiiiiiii!) and Rockefeller Plaza and R and R's for dinner. Lots of park trips, Wii exercise, and reading. So glad they all like reading!

Hetcher Playground in Central Park is awesome, even without the water fountains being on. Alex got his first dose of sand, and took surprisingly long to put the first handful in his mouth :)

I managed to get the boys to cooperate barely long enough to pose for this, it's a really cool spider web climbing structure.

Since they left this morning we've hit the farmer's market, artisan's market, stoop sales, karate class, and a birthday party, and I'm pooped. the weather is beyond gorgeous, a most perfect spring day, and I'm going to nap while I can. Leftovers for supper and an early bed for all!
As much as I love visitors, there's something about family that adds the icing on the cake. Maybe I'm just so able to be myself that I feel utterly relaxed, and can talk about anything because chances are they remember it too. They're the coolest bunch ever. Love you M :).

the roller coaster

yesterday was a great day ... started off at 6:30 with a run, and got my printer fixed (finally!) just in time to print off a proof of the postcards for michael's show, so he could take them along and show them to the gallery owner who was coming to check out his studio. they ran off and I did a whole bunch of little things that I can't even remember. but felt good about :).

they showed up at the house, unannounced, while i was just getting ready to finally get in the shower and rinse off my running stink. the house was a wreck from fynn's morning fun (buttons all over the floor, stale cereal, toys on every surface, clothes all over the bathroom floor, etc ...) and he stayed for an hour looking at more work and talking! nice guy, very realistic and honest, and left with the promise he'd think it over and get back to m. the deal being that he has lots of work, but not a lot that visually 'fits' together as a show. he had 8 pieces that he thought would work, but wanted to check with a curator he works with.

then i got another trial session request on my coaching site, the 2nd in two days after none for ages. very relieved! i think changing my landing page and reworking my prices/offerings have both made a huge difference in people 'getting it' at a glance, and being willing to give it a try knowing that the pricing is highly affordable. (well, for them, not me!)

i stayed up researching media contacts, m wrote out an artist's statement, and we crashed.

this morning i opened one of my travel-deal-newsletters and clicked on one of them as usual, looking for deals to go to chicago for s's wedding in 2 weeks. we've been given money from a couple people to help with costs, but it wasn't quite enough to cover the price of 3 tickets and we have not a penny to add to it. i found rates $40/lower per ticket than I'd seen in the last 2 months, ran to the bank and deposited/moved money, and ran home in time to complete the transaction before it timed out :). yay! tickets to chicago for all of us. m hasn't been for a year or more i think, and it's time. so glad i won't be flying solo w/the boys, fynn is so mobile and having him in a lap for 3.5 hours isn't a fun thing at all, no matter how many distractions!

then m and i traded cat-naps before he left for the studio. i got up from mine to find a very disappointed m with news that the show was off. he's still promised one, but not until he has a more cohesive body of work. he learned a lot about how to navigate, and it means that there's actually a chance to do proper PR and get the media potentially involved when it does happen, but it feels crappy none-the-less. Rather tantalizing to have it so very close, but not. it's hard to go back to the friends and coworkers you've told, and 'untell' them. it's hard to know what to say, if anything, when he feels down and is looking for ways to deal and move on. men process emotions so differently and at times i'm at a total loss.

I've stopped doing PR research, watched him off to the studio to paint, and am about to dive headlong in to tax info gathering in the hopes that we might get a return from an e-file in time to partially salvage the finances.

Merry Christmas!

Been a quiet morning here ... D is playing with his new sharpie markers, fynn is napping after an exhausting round of button-dumping, M2 (visiting) is reading, and M is on the couch behind me snoring. I think opa is coming over to sing in a bit, and then we're off to R and R's for dinner.

The dark pic above is my lovely gift from a lovely friend, finally up, running, and networked (woohoo! though I'm not fond of Vista) and currently trying to copy 38,854 more files from this machine over to itself. I'm going to let it work in peace.

Day 24 - Changes

Last night we played Pictionary with Douglas before bed, and all had a ball. It's the first time we've sat down and played a game together that all of us enjoyed, equally. No one catering to anyone else based on age, just playing straight. Fynn was too small to participate, of course, and ran around being wild, so Michael had to 'play both teams' making it rather amusing. It gave me a wee taste of what the next phase of parenting could be like, and I enjoyed it to the hilt. If it wasn't 3 minutes to midnight and M wasn't already using the scanner, I'd share his drawings.

Day 22 - Thankful ...

... That my husband watched our kids +2 others so that I could run a 5 mile race this morning with 2 other friends
... That I found the lady who was supposed to be handing out my race flyers at the end of the race, discovered she couldn't do it as no one showed up to help, and managed to get 500 of them handed out myself
... That my friends weren't too mad that I didn't show up at the designated meeting spot for an extra half hour
... That I finished the race without limping
... That I had a wonderful turkey dinner, with family, and didn't have to cook a thing!
... That I got to pick over the turkey carcase
... That my kids didn't break anything while careening around my aunt/uncle's house
... That Douglas had a great time with Joe M. and learned how to tease him this time, to both of their enjoyment
... That it's just past 9pm and I'm home and ready for bed
... That it was a good day
... That I have a loving and healthy family
... That M has off work tomorrow, after all ...
... That I live in a city I love
... That God loves me no matter what ...

and that's just today.

Happy thanksgiving :)

Backyard Boys and That Thing

There seems to be this magic spot in the backyard where the light is perfect in the evening. I took full advantage of it on Sunday afternoon ... and here are about 1/4 of the pics I took. I need to edit them more, but haven't had the time.

I have issues with pictures of myself, you may notice the general lack of them. I'd rather be behind the lens. A friend posted a pic of me on facebook, several actually, and I only liked a couple of them. He gets good shots of me, but I have trouble having them out for public consumption. It's good for me to be uncomfortable that way I think.

I'm testing my feelings/limits/freedoms in the last couple months in a new way, as we stepped out of The Meeting 2 months ago. I alluded to it here, but wasn't ready to talk about it. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, especially the 'call my parents and tell them' part, knowing the incredible depth of their disappointment and sorrow over it. They've been remarkably gracious and non-guilt-tripping about it, which I'm thankful for.

The day we talked to the local assembly about it was the best time I've ever had there. An open, energetic discussion, much more agreement than I'd imagined, no acrimony/judgment at all, and we stayed for lunch ... a spontaneous first. I left there feeling absolutely exhilarated, free, and floating on air. The next week I crashed, going through the Telling the Parents part, and mourning the rift it puts between us. They won't ever treat or love me differently, but I don't believe the disappointment will ever go away. Given the 36 years I spent with the group, I do understand that.

I've been heading this direction slowly since I was about 20. With the first big 'split' that happened I started to really question the "we're the only place the Lord is in the midst (in a special way)" teaching, and reached the point several years ago where I couldn't stand it anymore. I'd started acting on my belief that the Lord could be in the midst of any believers who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, and felt a tremendous joy/guilt in it. Guilt in that I'd been told all my life it was wrong to have communion with anyone not 'gathered' like I was, but joy in sharing Christ with other friends. I can't draw the lines between us/them like I was taught, and am tired of tripping over them. I feel forced into withdrawing, though I'd rather just have fellowship with most of the group I left, when I felt led to, along with the other believers I run across who want to have fellowship. It's become something it wasn't when I was young, and something that I can't be a part of.

I'm incredibly happy with the decision, and feel free in ways I never thought I would. I'll probably drop in to the meeting in Addison when I'm there, to see many real friends, and the first time will probably be hard and emotional. But I have no regrets. The fellowship I have had in the last two months has been sweeter and more real to me than almost any in the last 10 years. I look forward to whatever is next. We have no desire to join another group whatsoever, and while that scares the part of me used to a 'ready-made' network, it's by far the healthiest thing at the moment.

Road Trip 2007

The Stats :
8 days
2200 miles
one Toyota Camry
5 different beds
4 different visits
2 road-acceptant kids
1 claustrophobic mom (don't ask me how I had to feed Fynn in the backseat of a Camry between 2 car seats.)
1 cousin-intoxicated 5-year-old
1 diaper-rashed 10-month-old
fireplaces and moonlit trees and wine and conversation
fellowship of delicious sorts
old friendships found to be exactly as delightful as the last real conversation 4 years ago
twinges of the desire to set down real roots

The pics are in no particular order, and I was too lazy to animate

Grambie Rotten Kid Rule ... Rottener and better than ever. I can only hope to be this cool at 91.

I spoke too soon

He hasn't slept thru the night since that post, due to congestion again and general fussiness (i *think* he's finally actually teething.)

Having real sleep dangled like a carrot, and then replaced with crying/waking every 10 minutes for 4 hours straight does something to you. i think i snapped around 3 hours in and it wasn't too pretty after that. perpetual sleep deprivation does something.

happy valentines day! I got a sparkling clean stove as a gift, and a hyper-organized tupperware drawer. husband received fresh coffee in bed and a favorite dinner, which got eaten in shifts and mostly cold after fynn decided to fuss all over the place, and i think we actually all sat down together at the very end of the meal. a game of old maid with douglas rounded out his day ... and made it for him i think. now if they'll sleep long enough for michael and i to tackle a painting together like we've been trying to do for months, we'll have something.

be careful what you wish for ...

About a month ago, our housemate S asked me if we were still comfortable with her here, or did we want the front room back? I honestly assured her that we were truly happy w/her here, and didn't want her to move on.

The last couple of weeks I've gotten the re-arrange itch, strongly, and have been having a heyday with it. My favorite cat-trashed orange mini-easy-chair moved from Douglas', scratch that, The Boys room into the corner of the dining area. The stereo/CD's now sit next to the washer. The chest from the front hall is now a coffee table in our room, and the stroller can park where it used to be, meaning i don't have to lean over the stroller while getting dishes. I've closet cleaned, dresser cleaned, and made $150 on ebay selling things I've dragged out.

Somewhere in this process, I started eyeing the front room and wondering what we'd do with it if we did have it back. I've been craving a 'me space' that's not linked to my computer, so I can do things besides work or getting lost on the internet. Like read books, write letters, make photo albums, sew, etc ... feeding whatever urge I have that day if I find the time. I managed the orange chair, which is a good start. I started thinking how nice it would be if we could use that front room as our bedroom and my office (it gets GREAT morning light in the summer) and turn our current room into a true living room / playroom combo. I worked out roughly how many steady coaching clients I'd need in order to pay for it (8 if you're wondering ... I currently have 4 paying ones, with one being only once a month) This morning, I told M I'd been really lusting after that room since I had new ideas on how to use it.

Tonight S came home, settled in, and then came to sit by me on our couch. She took a deep breath, looked a little funny, and blurted out that "I've decided to move back into the city".
She said she'd been thinking about it in January, but wasn't quite sure so waited a few weeks. She said not till April, and I was too chicken to ask if that meant April 1 or 30 .... probably the 1st. As I think she paid us a security deposit, that means she's paid the last of her rent. Ouch! Lots of room for God to work, not that he needs much, but we either need a big income boost between the 2 of us, or have to find another renter. I've always said I couldn't imagine anyone else living there, now we'll have to see.

I'm going to miss her.

Back from Early Holidays ...

We went to Chicago last weekend to see my family, and it was delightful. Relaxed enough, for once, with me not trying to pull off too many things. I did get to see all the girlfriends I hoped to see, in two small batches, and it was heaven to meet new kids, and have a gathering around the table again. Kara's table to be exact, thanks to her generosity, lovely home, and generally central location.


Since coming home, things have been rather crazy. Michael's been working double shifts, both day and night, 6 days a week. Needless to day he's rather exhausted, getting sick, and I'm tired of not having kid-relief in the morning or much at night, and having to keep the kids quiet or out of the house to he can sleep. Shopping has been a nice solace/diversion, thanks to an early birthday gift from my parents :) Craft fairs abound with cool and not so "crafty" options, which I love. No crocheted toilet paper covers seen anywhere, but lots of knits, fabric, pampering sprays and to-die-for clay. Douglas, however, did manage to score a $2 'record bowl' that's he's very pleased with, and perfect for his collections, made of a slightly melted LP. It's now full of empty water balloons, acorns, sticks, wagon-wheel pasta, spiky seed pods, a glittery drum christmas ornament, and other treasures that I can't remember at the moment. I do remember the intense joy of collecting and hoarding treasures though.