Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life is like a basketball movie

The boys watched Glory Road this afternoon, while I was puttering around the kitchen. We got to talk about discrimination and why it's wrong, how it's important to be committed to your goals, and how sometimes other people have a better idea than you. The Bigs want to play pro sports when they grow up. Baseball or Football. This is their current dream. Previously they had wanted to be magicians or policemen.

Tonight we went to the Lowell Devil's game, and it appears that everyone but me has a second wind; they're watching a basketball game on TV and they're hungry...again!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Party on

Today we celebrated my oldest's 10th birthday at a movie-dinner-theater place. What a difference a year makes. Last year the boys were running around the theater. This year, they did do some experiements with condiments and soft drinks, but mainly the popcorn, soda, presents, pizza, cake and movie went just fine. There were 12 kids in all. After the movie, we hung around in the arcade part of the place a little too long. My middle son spent his entire allowance. I wished we had brought home some pizza because so much of it went to waste and what did the boys want to eat (to the tune of $2 a slice) at the hockey game we went to tonight? Yes, pizza. The game was our town's hockey coaches vs. some Bruins legends. We're not a hockey family, but I grew up with hockey b/c my brother played, so I enjoyed it. My youngest brought his DS and made new friends and my older two saw a lot of their classmates and I let them run free around the rink while I talked with one of the moms whose husband was playing tonight. I was also very happy to see one of the moms playing hockey! (Her son told me he made all three shots in his mini one-on-one between periods, too.) We left after the second period because I was tired and I know the kids were, too, but they wouldn't admit it. They are all having a sleepover in my oldest's room tonight. I insisted they shower not long after we got home and because my oldest got two Nerf guns and some swords (the mom of the boy who gave him those apologized in advance) we now have bullets all over the house again. And socks. I do not know how my middle son's socks got on the floor of his older brother's room, but there they are. "Mom, can you put them in the hamper for me?" "No, honey." "Mom, can you get us a bowl for our chips?" "Nope, share the bag. Just don't share it with the dog." I am tired and I was up too late (taxes) and too early (boys). And after having made the trip down to the kitchen to get the chips in the first place, I wasn't going again. (This was after middle son asked me what was for dinner. Huh? Did he forget that pizza I bought at the hockey game?) I think we all got a chill tonight in the rink. Everyone wanted extra blankets for their slumber party nest and I have a sweatshirt on and am looking forward to doing not much of anything.


I am doing my taxes tonight. The thing I always wonder is, why do I only get to claim $5K tax exempt for childcare when I spend so much more than that? Would I be able to work at all without childcare? Why can't I deduct all of the amount I spend on childcare? If it weren't for childcare, I wouldn't be contributing to the economy. Anyway, I am up way too late but I really want to get this done now because I can't endure another session of this. Happy Friday! Oh, wait, it's Saturday! (I hope everyone sleeps in.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Just in time

Today, practicing the JIT (just in time) method of accomplishing anything, I showed up in my son's classroom half a minute before the scheduled start of the lesson in which I was participating.

Three other moms and I, along with my son's teacher, were leading book groups. Come to find out, the teacher thought I had done this before so she assigned me the largest group. I hadn't. I knew all the kids but one in the group, though, from camp, scouts, or the past (same class with my son for three years prior).

They were all lovely, thoughtful, interested, willing, silly, and eager children: I put on my appreciation goggles on when I sat down at the literature table. (In fact, maybe I put them on when I walked through the door. When I signed in and the ladies in the office answered my "good morning," I told them "yes, it is a lot better than it was the first time I was here!")

My son and I sat next to each other at the table with our feet touching.

One of our vocabulary words from the reading was "promptly."

I took the opportunity to use it in context. "I do what mommy asks promptly."

My son and I exchanged glances. Then I looked around the table to see if this rang true for the other kids or if they had something to think about as well. A few of them had smirks of recognition.

"I arrived in the classroom today promptly at the appointed time."

"You were the last mom to get here."

"Yes, and I was right on time."

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I realized this morning that something has to change in the way things work at my house. I can't just tell the kids, "Get dressed and brush your teeth, I need you to be ready in 10 minutes." I don't know why, I think I should be able to, but it has become obvious that I can't.

This morning I had made their lunches and organized everything for our trip to school. It's my day to drive my youngest to preschool, so I told the Bigs they could ride with me or take the bus. They chose to ride with me. I told them we had to leave by 8:30. I told them I had a call at 9:00, so I'd drop them off after their brother (because it would be too early to drop them off before). I really wanted to be able to do my 9:00 call from the (relative) comfort of my desk. (I say "relative" because lately sitting at my desk is causing back pain, aching in my arm, and tingling in my hand, even though my work area was completely overhauled to meet chiro and other ergonomic rules for correct posture and equipment positioning).

When I began descending the stairs after getting dressed, brushing my teeth, and checking out from work, I heard my oldest admonishing his younger brothers to "stop." Stop what, I could only imagine. I had heard them goofing off. My oldest no doubt heard me coming down the stairs and changed sides. I am sure he was right in the middle of the mix mere seconds before. My younger two probably heard nothing over their wrestling and giggling.

No one was ready. No one had brushed. Not everyone had socks on. Not everyone had his bags packed. I was irate. I told them through clenched teeth, "I am going to start the car. Brush your teeth. Pack your bags. Put your shoes on."

I came back in. "Where are your socks? Why haven't you brushed yet?"

"There aren't any on the table!" (which is because I had actually managed to fold and put away all the laundry except the load that was stranded in the dryer).

"I can't reach..." (why hadn't his brothers helped him?)

I groaned and ran back up to my office to get the conference details. I would have to dial in from the car.

When I got back downstairs, one was in the car, one was standing in the open doorway. And one was still in the bathroom.

"Shut the door. Did you brush?"

Eventually I got them all in the car and we were on our way. I grumbled something at them about being disappointed that I couldn't count on them to do their part on our half-mile drive to school.

"Good morning!" the ladies at the drop off line said cheerfully. I had taken the Bigs first since it was no longer too early. I couldn't answer, I was still too annoyed. I justified this by thinking, surely she's talking to the boys anyway.

I told my oldest, "see you later," since I was volunteering in his class today. I spitefully and childishly entertained the thought of showing up 15 minutes late to see how he liked it. He did not answer me, and neither of them said goodbye.

"Have a nice day!" my youngest's preschool teacher told me.

"Thank you -- you, too!" I tried to match her happy tone. But I was NOT happy. I got back into the car just in time to dial into the call.

Two things I learned today are

1) my reality is I cannot expect my kids to get ready on their own. If they ever do, I can consider it a bonus. I will spare myself a ton of agony if I simply lose this expectation.

2) focusing on the work-life battle day after day would be drudgery. I am going to have to look for other things to write about. We all know balancing and blending work can be hard.

Snow day

The call came in at 6:00 a.m. or so: two-hour school delay. Oh, well, at least the Bigs could go to extended day and my oldest would be able to have his band concert. My youngest's preschool hardly ever closes, maybe only one day during last year's ice storm. They'd have to be quiet during my first two calls, but I felt optimistic. The calls were at 9 and 10, and then the kids would be due at school at 11:10.

My oldest was disappointed that it was only a delay. I suggested we watch the news, so we could get a bigger picture. "How come they don't have to go to school!" he demanded as he watched the notifications scroll by at the bottom of the TV screen. (morning kindergartners or kids in adjacent towns).

"I don't know, honey, it's up to each district. And kindergartners only go to school for three hours or so anyway, so I guess if 2/3 of their day is delayed, what's the point?" (I wondered when and if they'd make up the time?) I do have kindergarten on my mind as I just registered my youngest.

And then I got the second call, with an "updated message" informing us there was no school at all. Well, okay, there was a ton of snow out there and it sure looked pretty, but what about my two midday meetings and the two other appointments on my calendar? I cancelled both appointments, the first of which was a visit to the chiropractor. I couldn't imagine bringing my three boys to that, though I did tell them they might have to come with me in case I couldn't cancel without penalty (I wasn't sure about the doctor's policy as I am new at this). The second was my weekly walk with two friends from church. My kids wouldn't have wanted to be dragged along on that either. And yes, I do have to schedule personal time in my calendar. I used to put in "WLB" for work-life balance. Today I think that acronym means "Work-life blending" but that is a story for another day (which I've actually started and includes amusing things I do during conference calls that you couldn't do if you were in an office).

I made it to 1:30 and all my calls were done, and all it was doing was raining. That's pretty much all it had been doing since I got the second call, and all it did all day. The kids were being relatively good but I knew the downstairs looked like a war zone (well, actually, it has looked like that for almost a week since the day we had the playdate with the Nerf gun wars -- I have not cleaned up any of the bullets. So in addition to the socks next to the bed that have not been picked up, neither have any of these bullets). I had gone down a few times to make sure everyone was settled prior to each call. I had cooked and served food. I had even taken a shower and got dressed.

I congratulated myself. Until I realized that someone had sent me an invite for a 2:00 call, and it was 2:01. I had deliberately chosen to ignore my email today because juggling kids and meetings was enough, I couldn't add multitasking with email. I took the extra call but the kids were at the end of their ability to be quiet. "I'm bored" had turned into roughhousing, shrieking, crashing, whining, and ultimately dashing up to my office. (Glad about the mute button.)

I worked for the rest of the afternoon. And then the payback part of the snow day for me was that there was nothing we had to do that night. The band concert was cancelled, and the fact that we were double booked with Destination Imagination no longer mattered because that was cancelled, too.

Update: after two reminders, the socks and a even stray pair of underwear, were put in the hamper today!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No news is good news

I had such a hard time getting through my work email today. There's a late-night lull right now where most normal people in the U.S. are not online (but I can see a few on my IM list) and my colleagues on the other side of the world haven't started tomorrow yet. But if I don't get off the computer soon, people in the other hemisphere will start emailing me.

Sometimes I wish I could just stop working at 5:30 p.m. and not have to go back after I do the mommy shift. It would be so nice to just read a book (or write one!) or even watch a show.

Tonight we had scouts again and it was a brief reprieve from my middle son's very grumpy mood (which he finally owned up to) since he doesn't like to be wretched in public. He did sell out his older brother with one of his friends, though, which led to a brief discussion about family loyalty on the way home.

I insisted he apologize to his brother.


"Apologize like you mean it."


"Wait until you can say it sincerely."

"SORRY!! There! I apologized. But what good is it gonna do, he's not gonna forgive me!"

"Give him time. You can't expect to snap your fingers and undo what you did." (He's actually not the one who can snap.)

Ultimately and fortunately his older brother forgave him because I could tell that he (middle) felt really guilty and he was already wallowing in enough self-pity and misery. It would have put him over the edge.

We are having a storm warning tonight/tomorrow, another good reason to clear the case I wind up working around the kids.

There, I just tempted fate and pressed F9 and nothing new came in. No news is good news!

Off to a rough start


I forgot about my 8:00 a.m. conference call and was late. I had sat down at my desk at 7:45 and begun working (my entire screen was filled with new mail) and all of a sudden before I knew it the Bigs were telling me it was time to go to school (though to their credit, it was early. I was glad I didn't have to fight that battle with them as I had with my youngest, whose dad takes him to school, and who I delivered shoe-less because he didn't want to put them on, apparently less embarrassing than going pants-less, which was the only reason he had pants on.)

I said, "Well, did you get your backpacks out of the closet?"


"Did you brush?"

"Not yet, but we will."

"Okay, I'll be down in a few minutes."

When I descended the stairs my oldest was still brushing, "Are you buying lunch today?" I would have been surprised because it was baked mac and cheese and broccoli florets.

My middle son said, "I packed my own lunch" and walked out the door.

My oldest took his toothbrush out of his mouth, "I just need a sandwich."

Wow, I thought to myself. I pulled the bag out of the trash can and handed it to my oldest as he walked out of the bathroom. Thank you, God.

"I'll be right out." I rinsed out my coffee cup so it would be ready for the second cup when I returned from walking the boys to school.

When I got outside they were doing a King of the Mountain song and dance on a snow mound, which I am sure amused the commuters who pause near our house depending on how backed up traffic is because there's a stop sign at the end of our street.

My middle son asked me when it would be time to stop wearing coats to school. I told him I figured when it was warm enough out that he didn't need one."But when, mom?" I guessed it would be about a month and realized my gloves were locked in the car and I'd left my car keys in the house. And that reminded me, I had a headlight out. I'd driven home from yoga class the night before with a pididdle. I'd need to get that taken care of before dark.

I checked in with work and then took my car over to the mechanic. When I walked back, I remembered I had laundry in the dryer from the night before. It was then that I realized I forgot to send the nap stuff with my youngest to school.

I called the school and they said they had extra blankets, no problem.

Good, it wasn't like I could get there any time soon anyway. I hunkered down to work.

At some time later in the day I realized I forgot to put notes in my kids' lunch boxes.

I almost forgot my chiropractor's appointment; I had been on a conference call that went onandonandon. Quick appointment and back to my desk to undo everything the doctor just did. Or should I say redo everything he undid.

We had a working dinner and then boy scouts. Quick trip to the supermarket after that. Now everyone's in bed and I need to update a presentation for tomorrow a.m.


My middle son's socks are still on the floor next to his bed, though he put the rest of his clothes in the hamper.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Today in church, the chilren's sermon was about lent. The leader was asking what do we do during lent to prepare for Easter? One of the girls in the crowd piped up, "Spring cleaning!" Many of the people in the pews laughed. I said to my friend, "but she's right, figuratively." According to wikipedia, "Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ." Sounds like spring cleaning to me...

After we watched The Sandlot tonight and I carried the boys to bed, I shut off the DVD player and the TV system defaulted to cable. I began channel surfing and landed on Clean House with Niecy Nash. This is a show that I used to watch with my mom sometimes. I am fairly certain the flowers my mom wore in her hair (a tradition I sometimes carry on) were inspired by Niecy.

This is a show where Niecy and crew go into people's houses and remove the clutter and reorganize. It's more than just literal, it's figurative, too (like Spring cleaning). People have got to have issues if they are living in houses so cluttered by stuff that they can't even use some of the rooms, or like in the show that I was watching tonight, have to sleep in their living rooms because their bedrooms are filled with so much stuff they can't make it to their beds.

Niecy tells it like it is, and my mom and I both admired how she called people on their sh**.

In tonight's episode it was a single mom who lived in a cozy bungalow with her 19 year old son. The mom was ill (heart condition) and couldn't get around very well and couldn't expend the energy to clean and wasn't "a very good delegator." Her son estimated that he played video games 8 hours a day and he procrastinated about cleaning and he felt really guilty about it. I guess not guilty enough to clean. They sat around in the living room together all day. She's a transcriptionist; he doesn't appear to work at all (I guess he's spending the time he could be working playing video games.)

"We prepare our children for what they are going to be without us," Niecy told the mom. The kid is almost 20 years old and still leaves his socks around the house.

Part of the uncluttering includes having a yard sale. Niecy's crew goes through the house to cull things for the sale. In this episode, the son was asked to sell his video-game console.

"You can't just expect a man to give up his games," was his answer.


Well, I can't expect a boy to give up his games. I agree. (And I can't expect an addict to go cold turkey.)

Ultimately, he did give up the games. And ultimately, I am sure the house got cleaned up. (I didn't finish watching the show.)

But this literal house cleaning is probably only the first step in cleaning house these folks need to do.

I actually picked up my 8 year old's socks tonight and left them on the floor next to his bed after I tucked him in. But God help me if my kids are still leaving their socks around when they're 19 years old.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not in my right mind

After a very intense "hot yoga" class today I was lying on the floor in "savasana" pose where I was supposed to be relaxing but could not stop thinking about how I was going to tie together some of the parts of the column I am working on, "The Buffet Table of Life" (among other things, like what might be festering in the kids' lunch boxes). One of my yoga teachers has told me that we should try to empty our minds of all thoughts while practicing savasana. Impossible, I thought. She said that it is rare to get beyond three breaths without thinking of anything, but some masters...

I wondered how you can not be thinking at all without being asleep? And even then I am sure my mind is doing things -- we all dream even if we don't recall our dreams when we're awake, and some of us grind our teeth, my dentist has pointed out.

At the very end of the class we did some alternate nostril breathing. It was much easier for me to breathe out of the right side of my nose, the side being controlled by my left brain. I thought, "oh, good, I should have no trouble finishing that column today!" Left-brain dominant people are talkers and writers, confirmed by my internet research.

I recalled a class a few weeks back when I couldn't breathe out of my right nostril at all. It was during a time when I was obsessing about writers' block. I imagine that if I wanted to eliminate the problem, I could simply focus on my breathing. Maybe it does all come down to the breath, like my yoga teacher has said. It will likely be a useful thing to remember next time I can't get out of my right mind.


"Aren't you glad it's Friday?" one of my mom friends said to me as we walked into baseball camp.

"Yeah...but I didn't get all the work done I needed to this week..."

"Will you have to work on the weekend?"



"Well, maybe..." I added.


Then, No, I can't, I thought. I'd just have to get as much done as I could and put it aside. I have two other personal writing projects I need to catch up on. Work will be there Monday, thank God.

And Monday we'd be back to normal, back to school. Not that the kids were all too happy about it, but I would be. Routine is good.

Just that morning as I was swiping concealer under my eyes, I noticed how puffy they were. I could see the scar that remained from a wayward baseball bat at age 8 very clearly defined next to the half-circle under my left eye.

One of my yoga teachers says that stretching the corners of your mouth towards your ears is like an instant facelift. I figured I'd better practice that exercise a lot. I smiled at my reflection even though I didn't feel like it. It was one of the days where having kids made me feel older, not younger.

I smiled at my friend.
I smiled at my kids though they had already taken off into the inner sanctum of baseball camp -- the "land of testosterone," one of the other moms had deemed it on Monday. I think moms are invisible in the land of testosterone.
I smiled at the coach.

I tried to smile during every phone call and interaction throughout the day. It got easier as time went on.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The mute button

"Mom!" I heard my son shouting. I had just kicked off a conference call and since it was my call that I was hosting, I had to be "present." Two of the four of us were late, so it got started late and I had about two minutes before I knew the pizza in the oven would be ready.

I pressed the mute button. "Coming, honey!" I tore down the stairs.

The timer was going off. The kids -- the Bigs and two friends who were guests of my middle son -- were already watching a movie and they must have had the volume on 11 because it was super loud! One louder. As I rounded the corner, I noticed that my oldest son's playdate had arrived, too.

I took the phone away from my ear, put it on speaker, then realizing that only added to the chaos, pressed it against my shirt, as I said hi to my friend's dad.

One of the kids had already shut the oven off. I assured my son's friend's dad that everything was under control...we were gonna watch the movie that my middle son's friends' mom had sent over, was his son hungry?, sorry about the call, he said he understood he was working at home today, I told him I work at home every day, and I'd drive his son home when I went to pick up my youngest...while getting the pizza out of the oven.

I realized the phone was silent -- it must be my turn to speak -- so after I quickly smiled and bid adieu to the dad, I dashed into the bathroom and shut the door, to rejoin the conversation regarding the need for someone to set criteria so we can add more meaning-blah-blah-blah-don't want to discuss trade secrets here.

I was trapped in the bathroom, but as soon as I figured someone else was going to speak for 20 seconds, I put the phone on mute again and dashed back upstairs where I commenced my IM conversation with one of my colleagues who was also juggling kids today. I often feel comforted to see her online at 11 p.m.; I know I am not the only one!

"Ooh, craziness," she said when I explained the scenario.

She told me "I'm on a call trying to get out 2 items before I need to leave in 2 minutes to pick up the kids." She had told me previously she had been invited to speak about her job at her son's class and was wondering how she was going to explain what we do in kindergarten terms.
My call ended, and I went back downstairs.

"Is the pizza ready yet?" one of the boys asked.

"It is!" I said. And it was ready to cut and serve, too.

I turned the oven on and it was only a few minutes before it was at the right temperature for the "ready-to-bake" (if it came out of my oven it's homemade) chocolate chip cookies. I popped them in and went back upstairs to get ready for my next call.

Throughout the afternoon I checked in with the five boys (I didn't want them to tell their parents I wasn't around at all!). They sometimes split up into unpredictably interesting combinations, using the wii or playing with Nerf guns in addition to watching a movie. They're all on the same school bus. My middle son's two friends are identical twins. Thank God they wore different colored shirts today, the first letter of the colors corresponding with the first letter of their names. It is not like this every day at my house, but this is school vacation week and it was my turn to have kids at my house.

I used the mute button a lot today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Copy Cats

"He always wants to copy me!" My oldest griped about his younger brother. We were walking out of baseball camp after I insisted for the last time that they "get out of that cage right now, "Mommy has work to do!" and my middle son had just announced that he likes pitching after all. The day before he wanted to be a catcher. "Can't you tell him he has to be a catcher so we can play together?" My oldest wants to be the pitcher.

I told him, "you're not gonna be on the same team, so why can't you both be pitchers?" It made me think of years ago telling them that they could both be Red Ranger or Spiderman, they were using their imaginations anyway, so what difference did it make (which is why I have duplicate Red Ranger, SpiderMan, and even knight-in-shining-armor costumes)?

"But why does he have to copy me. He always wants to copy me! He says he wants to play the clarinet, too!"

"So? Did you know that mimicry is one of the most sincere forms of flattery?"


"Well, he wants to be like you because he admires you!"


"That's why you have to be careful about what example you set..."

The ride home was agonizing. "He's copying me!" "No, he's copying me!" "Bet you can't copy this!" "Well you can't copy this!" (one can whistle, one can snap fingers, but not vice versa).

Mimic, challenge, tattle, whack. They created some sort of hand jive routine that appeared to be a cross between "rock-paper-scissors" and "Miss Mary Mack." This is where the whacking part came in. They were already flailing, it would be just about impossible not to make contact.

The whole way home.

Upon arriving, they dropped their coats and accessories all over the floor.

"Boys, Mommy has work to do."

I popped a pizza in the oven for them and headed for my office, my housework blinders on as I passed by the dining room table with laundry draped (not yet folded) all over it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our visit to the dentist

All of my boys had 9:00 a.m. dentist visits today -- all three in adjoining rooms with their own hygienists. I checked in with each room, periodically, to confirm the information on file was correct, to mention that the older two had been seen by a hygienist at school, to rejoice in the fact that my youngest now has toothbrushing included in part of his daily routine at full day preschool.

The Bigs were fine, but my youngest had a really hard time. He began crying with the toothbrushing, and it got worse and worse with the flossing and fluoride treatment. (I think it was the sound of the machines, whirling and buzzing -- he doesn't like the sound of public toilets flushing either). I let his brothers know that I was going to go in his room and stay there and that I "needed their support." I sat in the chair with him and counted to 60 for the fluoride part (which is what I did for him in the shower last night, too...I told him, "if you can take a one minute shower, you can get through the fluoride treatment, right?" "Sniff, sob," was the answer I received, and we proceeded).

Normally when he is stressed out he pops his thumb in his mouth, but obviously not something one can do at the dentist's office. Not only because he's already got someone else's hands in there but also since the dentist thinks he shouldn't suck his thumb at all, though I confessed to the hygienist that I fully intend to let him do it as long as he wants. I am sure the peer pressure of kindergarten will wean him.

After the minute was up, his brothers both crowded into the room for a small family reunion. "We could hear you crying." "Are you okay?" (Observation and validation without judgment -- that was the "support" I needed). My middle son hugged his brother. The hygeniest shooed them out so the dentist could have a looksee. My youngest endured this final insult, his mood brightening as he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

He got a new toothbrush, and not one, not two (because he had been so brave), but three prizes (because my oldest gave him his) (more support). By the time we were on our way he was singing, "I love the dentist!" (As do I, because I get to lie down for half an hour!)

After we dropped the Bigs off at baseball camp, we had car time together. I told him, "You were very brave in there honey." Silence. "Being brave doesn't mean not being afraid, it means facing your fear." Silence.

When he got to school -- late -- he disrupted circle by telling everyone, "I was at the dentist! I cried a lot!"

And best of all, no one had any cavities.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Here we go again

Last year I thought I would blog every day for lent. I am not Catholic, so rather than give up something, I thought I would add something. I didn't make it all the through. Now, tomorrow's Mardi Gras, and the next day is Ash Wednesday, so I am getting a head start.

We're getting a head start on baseball season, too. The Bigs started baseball camp today. Tonight we watched "The Rookie." Yesterday we played catch in the parking lot across the street (there's too much dog poop in the back yard) for a little while until we realized that it really was kind of cold and windy.

That's about it. Kids tucked in. I have work to do and a book to edit. Life is good!

But no one will see it

I set up the nativity in the back yard again this year. In the past it has been out front near the fire hydrant that is on our property, and...