Sunday, October 28, 2007

Most Inappropriate Halloween Costume EVER

I am at a loss for words. Conjoined twins, in case you are wondering. Yes, those are my sisters. Mary, um...I love you...but I don't want to duplicate this costume next year. I think Esther and Rachael did such a good job that there is NO WAY we could compete. Don't you agree?

If you have not already done so, please scroll down and read my post about the furniture dilemma and tell me what the heck I should do.

Love to all!

PS I entered this photo in a contest for a TiVo HD DVR plus 3 months of service. Assuming they win, and I think they are a horrifying shoe in, which twin do you think should own the prize? Ah see now THIS is a pitfall of the shared Halloween costume.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Unique Cleaning Problem #6: Cat Urine on Microfiber

You may or may not be aware of my list of solutions to unique cleaning problems, located somewhere on the lower left hand side of this blog. This will be my most recent entry to that list, but one that has been in the making for the past 6 MONTHS.

You also may or may not remember reading my brief and irritated reference to what our cats did to our brand new living room furniture.
this post for more information, though I think the title of the post you are reading now provides all the information you really need.

To make a VERY long story as short as possible:

Early in 2007 we purchased a LOVELY living room sectional from a certain department store, let's call them Shmacey's.

Because we are the parents of 3 young children we also opted to purchase a full coverage, fix it or replace it, warranty from "Shmacey's."

Our cats opted to relieve themselves on this lovely, brand new furniture shortly after it arrived.

Disgusted and irritated, we stripped the cushion covers off of the cushions and stored them in our basement.

Relieved that we had purchased this warranty, we made a phone call.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Another phone call.




Phone call.


Until 6 months had elapsed.

At this point we began preparing for Isaac's 6th birthday party. Realizing that we would not be getting resolution from the warranty company any time soon and not wanting to host a large party with no cushions on our living room couches, we took them to a dry cleaner. We did not go this route previously because, "improper cleaning may void the warranty." and we really believed they would take care of this problem for us. Another one of those painful life lessons, eh? We paid for the cleaning and came home very excited to have our living room furniture back.

Until we opened the bags and discovered that the cushion covers still smelled disgusting.

We then became down right angry, decided that they were ruined either way and threw them all in the bathtub with some detergent and a whole bottle of cat urine neutralizer that I purchased at Target. We filled the tub with warm water, stirred the brew with a broom handle and let them soak overnight.

The next day we hung them in the sunshine, my thoughts turning with hope to this post by Mary Mia and a few hours later VOILA!


They slid nicely back onto the cushions and we celebrated are furniture's rebirth by plopping our behinds down and testing each and every cushion. We even invited Esther over for the occasion.

We allowed ourselves a few days to bask in the glow of a clean living room sofa...and then we decided to deal with "Shmacey's."

Jesse went down in person and had a chat with both the store manager and the furniture sales manager, producing documentation and a timeline of our efforts to seek resolution to this problem. I was not there to witness it, but according to Jesse, both people stood aghast, mouths hanging open in complete shock.

In defense of "Shmacey's," they usually have EXCELLENT customer service and I really enjoy shopping in their stores. Our problem was actually with the company of the warranty they sold us, not with them. But we felt they should know what kind of service this company was providing, since Shmacey's really does pride itself in its customer service.

At this point in time all we really wanted was our money back for the useless warranty we had purchased. Compensation for the months without furniture would be nice, but I was not holding my breath.

A bit more time passes, a few more phone calls and we arrive at this past Friday night.

The manager of Shmacey's called and said that along with the president of the warranty company they have worked out the following solution:

We can walk into any Shmacey's furniture showroom, select any couch or sectional we want, and the warranty company will buy that piece of furniture for us.

Sounds great right?

Well here is the rub. Please don't think that we are ungrateful, we are so thankful that this manager went to all this trouble for us. The problem is, we REALLY LIKE this piece of furniture. We shopped for over a year before we found what we wanted for our living room. You may be thinking, well then go get something new and put that somewhere else. This was our first thought as well.


In order to receive the new item we select, we must give back the "old" (this item is not even a year old and in GREAT condition folks) furniture.

I have no idea what to do. I cannot possibly call this person who worked so hard to make this great deal for us and tell her that I am still not happy. seems absurd to go and pick out something to replace essentially brand new furniture that we REALLY like.

All I really want is my money back for that warranty.


PS The next time you buy microfiber and they hand you that tiny bottle of $34 cleaner and tell you that this is the ONLY thing you can use on your purchase, DON'T BUY IT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So that's the way it is, eh?

A conversation between Isaac and his parents:

Setting: Target parking lot

Isaac: It's my turn to ride in the front! (Meaning the middle seat in the van.)

Cherith: No Isaac it is Nathan's turn.

Isaac: It's mine!

Jesse: Isaac, you heard your mommy.

Isaac: Fine! Then I will go live somewhere else!

Jesse and/or Cherith: Well, ok, but who do you think will take you home? Should we ask someone in the parking lot?

Isaac (incredulously): NO! I will go live with Baba Nana. (Mom and Tom)

Jesse and/or Cherith: But how will you get there? It is awfully dark and a really long walk. Are you going to run all the way there? What if you get lost?

Isaac (with an eyeroll): You are going to drive me!

A conversation with Nathan:

Nathan: It is my turn to ride in the front!

Cherith: No Nathan, it is Isaac's turn.

Nathan: Fine! Then you better drive me to Baba Nana's so that I can live there!

Mom and Tom, you might want to check your doorstep frequently over the next few days. Does anyone know where I can acquire a REALLY LARGE basket with a lid?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Snow

The first snow of the season is always a much anticipated and celebrated event in the S house. Today was no exception. The boys spent quite a bit of time frolicking with Phantom while Jesse and I consumed large amounts of tea and banana bread and tried repeatedly to explain to Anna why she could not go out and play in the snow with the boys. She was very hard to convince, in case you are wondering.

It was a nice respectable snow, enough to be fun but not enough to be annoying. We did loose a branch in the front yard. This was a wet and heavy, spring like snow and all of our leaves have not fallen yet.

It is 11:15 pm (see post below in case you are wondering why I am telling you the time) and Anna has been sleeping well for a few hours. I am hoping for a much better night's sleep.

Isaac has been low energy and had no appetite all day, but does not seem sick otherwise. No more fevers. We will see how his night goes.

Love and good sleep to all!

It's a Darn Good Thing...

...that Nathan is such a good sleeper. He has always been our champion, slept through the night at 9 weeks, rarely wakes up and wanders the house at night, can sleep through nearly anything and always wakes up happy and alert little guy.

Why, you might ask, is this relevant?

Because it is 2:14 AM. Isaac has been up all night sick and feverish, tossing and turning and moaning when he does fall asleep and Anna has been ailed by some unknown malady that has had me in and out of her room at least 12 times, desperate to the point where I actually put her in bed with me which was a colossal failure as she tosses and turns more than...I don't know, something that tosses and turns a lot! It is (now) 2:17 am for cryin out loud, I am too tired to think of a good comparison.

This is clearly one of the most significant reasons why so many couples have only 2 children. IF Nathan were having a rough night too we would be outnumbered and all end up camped out on the family room floor watching Scooby Doo or some other horror movie. {{{shudder}}}

I am sure you are thinking, why in GOD'S name is the woman up at (now)2:18 am writing a blog post when she could be trying to catch a few minutes of sleep?

Well let me answer that for you since I know you are burning with curiosity.

I am one of those unfortunate souls who cannot sleep in teeny tiny increments. When the kids were babies, maybe, but now a days if I am not guaranteed at least an hour of uninterrupted sleep, I really don't see the point. It is excruciatingly painful for me to get up every 20 minutes, just after I have dozed off. I much prefer to just be awake in anticipation of the next call. I am far less cranky this way.

For the moment all is serene and simply put, I am using you as a means to entertain myself and unwind before I go to bed, assuming I will actually have the chance.

Liz and Mary, I am terribly sorry for so abruptly jumping off IM with you earlier this evening. I would love to have chatted longer, but c'est la vie.

2:27 Am
No it did not take me 13 minutes to type the brief notes above, I DO have other interests.

Sorry. I am clearly too cranky to blog anymore. Night all! Here's to healthy and well rested kids in the morning!

Except that Anna just started fussing again. whimper

May everyone except me sleep well.

PS It is snowing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Items recovered from the washing machine during a load change this afternoon:

3 small counting dinosaurs
1 Sharpie
1 green Crayola marker
1 green baby spoon
1 ball point pen
5 "bullets" to this shooting game the boys received
1 Ziploc bag
Numerous unidentifiable pieces of wet paper

All I can say is thank God I found them BEFORE they ended up in the dryer.

Oh yes and there was also a bunch of laundry in there too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beautiful Music

Anna and the boys have deemed the Dog Train CD as their new favorite music for car rides of any length. They all love to sing along, particularly Anna. I have included the lyrics to her favorite song from the CD below.

If you are not familiar with this particular piece of American pop culture, allow me to enlighten you with my own, personal review.

Dog Train, while in many ways just as irritating as the typical toddler preferred musical option, is also a refreshing change from Disney standby and The Backyardigans, which got old REALLY fast.

Anna truly does sing along and it is ADORABLE. I will try to swing some video for your viewing pleasure. The lyrics I have included might clue you in as to why she is fond enough to actually sing along.

No-I don't want to. I don't want to.
No-I don't want to. No no.
No-I don't want to. I don't want to.
No, no, no. I don't want to. Oh no.
Leave me alone.
I don't want to be quiet. I don't want to be good.
I don't want to do anything if you tell me I should.
I won't listen to you. If you call, I won't come.
All I want to do now... have a tantrum.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
I don't want to. NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
I don't want to. NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
I don't want to. NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
I don't want to. NO NO.
Leave me alone. Leave me alone.
(Don't worry Liz, I am burning copies of this CD for your girls AS I TYPE.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Aunt Mary and Sammy had a nice visit, or at any rate it seemed nice from my point of view. Today we hosted a small, belated family gathering and celebrated Sammy's 2nd birthday.

As everyone was getting ready to leave, Sammy spilled a container of art supplies in my garage. I was in the process of cleaning them up when I heard a strange thumping noise. I glanced up in an effort to locate the source of this strange noise. Anyone care to guess what I saw?

I saw Nathan.

I saw Nathan, my darling, athletic 4 year old bundle of energy.


I don't think I have ever been so embarrassed. WHERE would he get the idea to do such a thing???

I am horrified and embarrassed and I don't even know what else.

But at the same time, I have to admit, the sight of Nathan using the roof of a car as a trampoline was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Maybe NOW Jesse will listen to Rachael and let her get the boys that trampoline for Christmas. Better the grass die under the trampoline than we have to pay for the repair and/or replacement of car roofs.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Isaac's 6th Birthday Cont. (Yes I lied)

I said I would be back in a day or two, it has actually been 7. Esther says that I cannot keep using Oct count as an excuse, but seriously! Tracking down and keeping records of every login, assignment, e-mail, phone call, etc for 90 kids is NOT an easy task.

Fortunately, today is the very last day of the 2007 Oct count window. I have called each of my students, congratulated those with good progress reports, nagged those without, completed my record keeping, updated my grades, folded my laundry, cleaned my house and I now find myself with an hour to spare before my next meeting. GASP!

What better way to spend a spare hour and than to create a long overdue blog update?

Isaac's 6th birthday was great fun for all involved. We took our annual trek to the pumpkin patch on his actual birthday and acquired our pumpkin supply for the fall. We then took him out to dinner, ordered way too much junk food and opened presents.

On Sat we had his birthday party. We hired a reptile handler who we met this summer. He brought a mobile petting zoo complete with iguana, large and small turtles, snakes of all sizes and some other critters whose names I do not recall. A few faces, mostly amount the adults, rapidly drained of all color when he started pulling out snakes, but the kids had an absolute blast. As you can see from the slide show below, my mom, Jesse and a few of the other grown ups were even brave enough to get involved.

I am a tad concerned for my poor neighbor. The handler allowed the kids to carry the 10 foot Burmese Python back to his car at the end of the show. Just as they rounded the corner carrying said snake my poor, innocent neighbor was out checking her mail. A party guest thought it would be amusing to call out, "Look what the S family found under their deck!" I truly feared for the poor woman's consciousness as all of the blood drained from her face and a look of utter terror replaced the welcoming smile she had sported but a second before. I should probably do a welfare check today.

The day after his party we relaxed, cleaned up and enjoyed a FABULOUS dinner of leftover cake and ice cream. You absolutely must have cake and ice cream for dinner the day after a party, it is an S Family rule. Especially when it happens to be Nana's pumpkin spice cake that mommy (me) would possibly sacrifice a non-essential limb to taste. Below you will also find a video of Anna playing peek-a-boo whist covered with her fabulous dinner of cake and ice cream. I do not currently have a picture of Isaac's cake but I will post one as soon as one is sent to me. Nana made another of her darling pastry creations and I must document each and ever one.

Isaac had a wonderful birthday and we are all now enjoying some fabulous Autumn weather. Thanks to everyone who helped make his day so special.

Aunt Mary is coming to visit with Sammy this week and the boys are SO excited! It should be amusing as Anna and Sammy have not been together since Anna started walking or expressing ownership of her possessions. Sammy has been in TN and much used to the idea that all toys are HIS toys. We are gearing up for some baby battle royal.

Love to all! Have a safe trip Mary!

Monday, October 1, 2007


Happy birthday my charming, sensitive, lovable, tender hearted little punkin.

We love you more than we can possibly ever explain and we are so honored that we have been given the privilege of guiding you through this life.

You are no long a baby and no longer a toddler. You have grown into a fun loving and rambunctious little boy with an infectious smile that absolutely lights up our world.

We probably aren't terribly good at raising little boys, you being our first opportunity to try our hand at it. We are just so sorry that you must bare the brunt of all our first time parenting mistakes. Please be patient with us and we will try our best to be patient with you.

We love you Isaac!

PS Dear readers, I have lots of fun birthday pics and tales of Isaac's special day, but unfortunately my little guy also happens to be born on the day when my state chooses to count all students attending public school for reasons of funding. When one teaches in an online school, count day transforms from the simple process of recording a student's physical presence in a chair with a check mark in a grade book to a massive and laborious procedure fraught with phone calls, much copying and pasting, pulling of login information, repetitive entering of seemingly redundant data and oh so much more. Because this day is also my first born's birthday, I am in the habit of trying to cram all this record keeping and my role as Dog the Bounty Hunter into the hours between 8 AM and 1 PM. We then spend the second half of the day celebrating with Isaac. To say I am tired does not even come close to describing how I feel right now. I will rest for a day or so and then be back with pictures and tales of Isaac's 6th birthday.