Friday, February 27, 2009

Interview with CJ - 7 years old

A real-life friend of mine, Alissa posted these questions to her sons and posted it on her facebook page. I thought it was such a great idea and loved the questions so much, that I had to copy the idea.

So here are the questions and his god-honest, verbatim answers. My observations are in the paragraphs.

1. What is something mom always says to you?

2. What makes mom happy?
When she gets home from work early

3. What makes mom sad?
When she gets fired (hmm, that's interesting for those of you who know the truth)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Tickling me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
She was an artist and a photographer (definitely a stretch)

6. How old is your mom?
37 (close, 38)

7. How tall is your mom?
Above five feet (5'5")

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Spend time with me

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Doing 100 tasks in a half hour (I think I do that already)

11. What is your mom really good at?
Organizing the craft fair and tickling me

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Saying blah blah to her boss (I think the blah blah stands for cuss words)

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Goes to Chase

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
apple (clearly he is not aware of my obsession with french fries)

15. What makes you proud of your mom
that she makes money for our house

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Jerry from Tom & Jerry

17. What do you and your mom do together?

18. How are you and your mom the same?
hazel eyes and brown hair

19. How are you and your mom different?
She’s older and has weird teeth (I would beg to differ on this one considering he has some missing right now)

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She says it

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
That he kisses her a lot

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
home (true)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When gas passes

I have just found my most favorite way to describe farting.

Yesterday, when Andrew was eating a cup of pudding, apparently it set off some gas bombs in his stomach which then promptly exited. He was telling me the tale when I got home from work and said:

"My belly go boom."

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Big Boy Bed

This weekend we reached another milestone for a little toddler's life. We took down the crib. No real reason for choosing this weekend, or this moment or this actual time to move him from crib to big-boy bed, just a feeling that he was ready. Maybe I was more ready than him. Either way, the crib is down. And not one tear was shed. Nada. Zilch. In fact, it validated that I'm absolutely satisfied with 2 kids and ready to keep moving forward. While I was a little nostalgic, it was fun to see his excitement for getting his own big bed. But in no way will I ever miss assembling that sucker ever again.

Next stop (hopefully!): using the potty like a big boy. I am MORE than ready for that.

The proud 3 year old posing with his new bed:

On another note, check out the House of Revelry for a great project I did over the weekend with a cool group of ladies.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


While lost in thought walking back to the office building after a hurried lunchtime full of errands, there was a sound that stopped me in my tracks. It brought me back to a place from a long time ago.

It’s very windy this afternoon. The type of wind that seems to clear out all the funky smells in the air to give it a crisp, fresh aroma. In front of the building, there is a very tall flagpole, and the flag fiercely snapped back and forth as if being caught in a tug of war. Between the snapping of the flag, there was also the rat-tat-tatting of the rope banging against the metal pole. It was this sound that stopped me. Rat-tat-tat-t-tat-tat-t-tat.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a town near the Jersey shore. There was a river that spilled into the Atlantic on one side of our boundaries. On this river, there was a marina with an adjacent park, where in the summer it would host fireworks on the fourth of July and in the winter host ice boaters if it was cold enough. I spent many hours at this park when I was a kid. A place to hang out for endless hours with friends, a place to sneak cigarettes, watch the boats go by, dream of owning one of the mansions across the river, and dangling over the edge of the pier counting all the white jellyfish in August. Being that the park is on the water, there is usually some wind blowing things around. And so usually I could always count on a familiar rat-tat-tat of the flag pole in the park to know where I was: Marine Park. I can’t help but think of boring days mulling around a park as a kid when I hear that sound. Ah, the be “bored” again.

Usually smells are what bring back the most memories for me. The smell of pencils makes me think of my dad’s basement office, the smell of coconut reminds me of being at the beach with mom in the summer (from the Coppertone), and fresh cut grass reminds me of times spent at my grandparents house in the country. But there are also sounds that seem to alter the mood for briefs periods:

• Any song by The Doors brings me right back to high school
• Ocean waves calm me
• The pop of a cork brings happiness
• Waterfalls make me think of my grandparents house
• The dribble of a basketball on a court in a gym brings me back to 8th grade in an instant
• The opera Turandot makes me cry

I was once asked if, given the horrible possibility of losing either your sight or your hearing, which would it be. When I really thought about it, the answer surprised me. As much of a visual person that I am, I don’t think I could live without sound around me. Of course, maybe I could get a hearing aid, which seems more plausible than new eyes to see. But what do I know. The debate is nonsensical. Thank God I have both. All I know, is that I could not live without these sounds, both grand and small, rhythmic and irregular.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little bragging never hurt anybody

I’ve been feeling a bit of writer’s block lately, constricted by the daily grind and a little anxiety about things I have on my slate. But there’s always time to brag about your kids, so here goes.


We received a letter from my child’s school district that based on recent test scores he is going to be considered for the gifted program within his school for his aptitude with reading. So he will still be tested again over the course of the next few months, at which time they will assess his abilities and decide whether they will place him in the program, which starts next year in 2nd grade. We told him about the letter and he was genuinely excited. More accurately, about as excited for something he has very little knowledge of, which is understandable. He loves reading so much. Can’t get enough of it. He may like it as much as TV. Or playing computer games. Or… well, it doesn’t sound like he does too much reading does it? But he really does. But my true feelings on this news is that I’m so proud of him that he even was considered for the program. While I hope he gets in, it almost doesn’t matter in the long run. Just the fact that he was considered seems to be pleasing in itself. Clearly, he has inherited his father’s genes for giftedness in school as he was also in a gifted program at his elementary school. Me, well, I wasn’t exactly gifted in school. Success in school work was clearly not my destiny. Let’s just say some favorite words my teachers used to describe me were,

“Really bright, but careless…”
“Charming, but underachieving…”
“Talented, but talks too much in class…”

Well, you get the picture. I could usually charm my way into at least a “C+” when the teacher would give me that look like, “You know damn well you don’t deserve this, but you’re a good kid, so…”. My grades were usually B’s and C’s. I guess I had other priorities. I was good at other things. Like sports. Art. Bike riding. Daydreaming. Ice skating. And talking in class. My seventh grade teacher, Sister Eleanor, divided up the class in rows by conduct. The “A” kids started in the left row until you got all the way over to the “F” row of kids on the right. I sat in the last seat of the “F” row. Catholic school does wonders for your self-esteem.

So back to my son. What’s exciting to me about him being considered for this program is that he is equally talented in so many other things, too. Like building things. Joke telling. Being safe. Completing puzzles. Taking pictures. Admiring old artifacts and appreciating history. At the latest parent-teacher conference, his teacher glowed with excitement on telling us how much she enjoys having him class, how much she enjoys his sense of humor, how attentive he is and how obedient. And we told her how much he loves school. He loves it so much he wishes school was on the weekends. This is why I’m writing this post. I must get this recorded in some form for future use, “I love school so much I wish it were on the weekends.” Yes. A good bribe for later on.

I love hearing about the simple wants and pleasures of his little life. Wouldn’t it be nice if this age with our kids lasted forever?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Denim, Converse and Pleather

So I asked a colleague one day, who always wears a suit to work, “Why do you bother?” The management team is in New York and we never have any in-person meetings with anybody important. Her response was, “Well, it’s the only clothes I’ve got, so it's just easier.” Only clothes I’ve got. Easier? Hmmmmm. So here I am, at the end of our conversation, imagining a long rack of woven wool and polyester, in black, tan and grey organized by color with matching shirts and shells in a long walk-in closet lined with cedar walls. (I know, my imagination goes on overdrive sometimes.)

And so I got to thinking how I would hate if suits were my daily uniform. On days that I work from home I hardly shower. While I’m supposed to maintain a corporate presence in my day job at the office, I don’t wear suits. I only wear suits when I have important meetings, or when an important manager is coming to town. I have 3 to choose from in my closet that are right now collecting dust. On a daily basis, I dress as minimally corporate as possible. Pants and button-down shirt combos. In my closet there are jeans, and lots of them. The best fitting ones, of course, which take years to track down. Every woman knows that, even if you don’t have the extra money to spend, if you come across a pair of jeans that fit right, you will go into debt to pay for them. You may even sell a kidney. And other things that are in my closet have elastic waistbands. And fleece. And cotton. A few pieces of wool for those 7 degree days, and then a shoe rack hanging on the closet door with about 10 pairs of shoes all ranging from my black converse sneakers to my pleather work shoes.

I’ve never been a fashion trendsetter, although I appreciate a really stylish outfit on someone else. But I lack the ability to make it happen for myself. I usually look at the mannequin to guide me. I am not daring at all with my clothes. And my taste seems to vary with the wind. One day I feel preppy, the next I feel punk. I can’t seem to nail down a real fashion sense that represents me. But perhaps that IS who I am. Undecided. Multiple layers. A veritable contradiction. But for the sake of not wasting money, I really do wish I could just nail down a personal image. But there’s a lot of different “people” that make up my day: the employee, the suburbanite mother, the crafter, the writer. They all seem to require a different uniform for some reason. I guess there's a part of me that feels like I can't dress the same way I dress when I go to the White Stripes concert, as when I take the kids to the park. Is this stupid?

But there was a moment in the 80s when I seemed to absolutely have my permanent personal image nailed down to be one of the characters on Miami Vice:

So....back to 2009. Of all the clothing in my closet, though, there is always the most comforting and most frequent piece of clothing worn daily as a mother, employee, crafter and writer: my thermal pants. They are my pajamas. They are my lounge pants. They are starting to fray and turn a darker shade of the grey they already are on the bottom cuffs, but I don’t care. I love them. They even have pockets for easy storage of ponytail holders, cell phones, and chapstick tubes. The ultimate favorite piece of clothing that no one outside the house sees.

Ahhhhh. Me loves the thermal pants.

What's your personal style? Or better yet, do you think you have one?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Paper crafts

Feeling crafty? Well I have found a couple super EASY crafts to get your creative juices flowing, and I just have to share. You can make these with your kids, too, so it will be some fun family time in the grips of winter.

First one: Making a paper house. Never wanted to make a house out of paper? You will once you see how cute and fun these little houses are. Some ideas to do with them? String them over lights, make a little paper house village, increase and decrease the size of the template to make multiple sized houses, paint them, glitter them, stamp them. And love them! Here's the link.

Second one: With Valentine's Day coming up--oh wait, maybe you weren't paying attention to the calendar. There is exactly T-minus 9 days to the Valentine's party at your children's school, so either get to the store soon to buy a boatload of Scooby-Doo cards, or make these fun and sure-to-please butterfly valentine's. And the site they are located on is pretty awesome, too! Here's the link.

Happy crafting!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Where I'm From

Last week was apparently the week everyone wanted to know something about me. So what did I do? Run and hide. Between facebook and this blog, I was tagged to write 25 random things, facts, goals about me, answer 45 questions about me, take an interview that seemed to go on and on, complete a “bucket list”, and write a poem about me.

I am so sick of me.

While I've been successfully caving under such pressure by being "offline" for a week now, I do have to say that this task is at least a little creatively challenging. Much more interesting than someone knowing my favorite food is french fries.

Heather tagged me to share “Where I’m From”. A poem started here, and posted by Binky here. Since this week’s trend is self-reflection, here goes on completing one more of these “me” tasks.


I am from underneath the downy loveliness of the blanket on my bed, from my Pentax SLR camera and old Polaroid stills.

I am from an old colonial white home with the orange door and 2 bay windows, near the corner of a busy street from where everyone would honk to say hello.

I am from the lilac bush, the honeysuckle and the forsythia of my childhood backyard.

I am from the loud and loquacious Cooper clan, the Minears I never knew, and the generations of Czechoslovakian, English and Dutch ancestors before me.

I am from a generation of fighters and lovers, lazy workers and hard workers, artists and engineers; a multiplicity of oxymorons.

I am from underachieving, careless, talented, and MVP.

I am from the Roman Catholic church that spawned many a guilty conscience.

I’m from the Jersey shore, the countryside of Southeastern Ohio, and homemade ketchup and jelly.

From an overbearing immigrant, from cold Ohio mornings when urine in the bucket inside the house would freeze, from a radio always on in the kitchen with my mother singing and the sweet smell of pipe smoke wafting up from the basement.

I am from streaks of ink across a drafting table, from warm bread in the back of a truck, from the tattered, faded remnants and sepia-toned photographs found in trunks and old diaries absorbing the odor of time moving forward. I am from a place I would gladly return.

I tag SMID, Alissa and Mayberry. No pressure MM, if you're not feeling all inner reflective right now.