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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our weekend trip to another galaxy (or maybe just San Francisco)

I will post details when I have a moment, but I'm bursting with all the memories my little guy, D, and I has this weekend and wanted to share a few photos:





Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Whoa, Pinterest!

(my blog traffic after this post was shared on Pinterest, as of Wednesday at 7:41am):


Ironically, I do not even have a Pinterest account.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to fall in love with winter. . .

I have a foolproof way to fall in love with winter.

Just grab three tween girls who aren't embarrassed to be seen with you.

Dress warmly! Winter is cold.

Find a hill, a tube, and someone who will give you a good push.


Repeat, over and over again, until you cannot feel your cheeks from cold, wind burn and smiling.

Video taken at Amesbury Sports Park in Amesbury, MA. And, yes, this 44-year-old mama was the one with the camera. And the screech.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Musical Beds

--round and round she goes/where she stops/nobody knows--

This is a picture of my comfy, king-size bed:


I share this with my husband, John. Most nights. Often, nestled against me is my son, D, who sneaks in around 3am.

This is D's bed, in his newly painted bedroom. 

However, he doesn't sleep in this bed. My daughter Jilly has decided she likes this bed. She now sleeps here, often with our dog Star stretched out along the bottom.

Where does D sleep now? 


He's here, with his sister Belly, in her crowded bed. 

And here is Jilly's bed. 


It used to be a loft but she didn't like being up high  so John cut the legs down for her. Of course, no one sleeps there right now.

Though I ended up in it with Belly last night. Until D woke me up, and I ended up in Belly's bed with him.

Confused???? Yes. So am I. 

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Destination Imagination: A journey to the unknown

Have you ever heard of D.I., or Destination Imagination

I had only heard the words in passing from an extended-family member whose kids were involved, and I didn't understand what the heck it was.

Now, here it is January, and I find myself in charge of a team. And I'm still not exactly sure what the heck it is. 

What I can gather from what I've read, the videos I've watched, and the day-long information seminar I attended in December, D.I. is a team competition where the adult managers are constantly warned of the dangers of "interference". 

Ahhhh, interference. This is how I found myself managing a D.I. team. This idea that the kids have to do all the work themselves, with only my guidance---to keep them from cutting off a finger or punching a fellow team member--- was appealing to me. In other words, I am discouraged from doing any of the work for them, and even giving them suggestions on how to approach their challenge is a big, fat no-no.

Little did I know that my team of four kids, ages 7-9, would pick one of the hardest, most complicated challenges to do for the big competition this spring. I'd explain it if I could do it justice, but let's just say it involves creating a skit that involves golf balls, while also building a weight-bearing structure out of wood, glue and hope. The addition of golf balls to this year's "structure challenge" is new and I think it was added just to shake things up and insure each manager goes a little grayer before the year is up.

My own daughter Jilly is on my team and is the biggest goofball, something I am slightly proud of at times. The other times, I want to wrap her up with duct tape, sit her in the corner and let her teammates work.

Our debut of this idea that exists only in their imagination is the 17th of March, a mere two months away. If the kids advance from regionals, we move on to states on the 31st. I refuse to even consider that they will go to the national championship.

Especially since there has not yet been any consensus on their overall idea and no development of a structure yet. I am half expecting them to enter the competition with a few handwritten notes, a structure of popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue, and costumes made out of the remnants of our dress-up box.

Wish me luck. Actually, wish them luck. I don't want to interfere.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the 19th day of Christmas. . .


Oh, ok, I guess this needs to come down soon. (please tell me I'm not the only one who still has their Christmas tree up) 


Sunday, January 08, 2012


Eleven years ago today, at 4:18 am, I became a mom.


My "natural childbirth" baby quickly turned into an emergency c-section after the nurses discovered she was breech. . .when I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. Doh! 

The lesson I learned? Things may not be as easy as I expect, but the end result is pretty amazing.

To know Belly is to love her. I don't say that to brag or because I'm her mom, it's just the truth. She makes so many people happy and has such a kind soul---I know that isn't all there is to life, but it's a pretty great start.

this is the beginning of one of my favorites---to read the entire short story, go here.

“Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros

What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't. You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today. And you don't feel eleven at all. You feel like you're still ten. And you are—underneath the year that makes you eleven.

 Like some days you might say something stupid, and that's the part of you that's still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama's lap because you're scared, and that's the part of you that's five. And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you're three, and that's okay. That's what I tell Mama when she's sad and needs to cry. Maybe she's feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That's how being eleven years old is.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Happy


Star: Almost three months with us and right at home

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

It's all about the Lincolns

Last December, I read about the five-dollar savings plan. It goes like this: Every time you find yourself with a five-dollar bill in your possession, you set it aside instead of spending it. At the end of the year, you use the money you've saved for either a big purchase or to do something you wouldn't normally spend the money to do.

I was skeptical as to whether or not this would work for me, mainly because I hardly ever use cash. I pay with credit or debit cards for everything from groceries to gasoline. I go to the ATM for pocket money only once or twice a month. And yet. . .I was curious.

So, starting at the beginning of January, I started putting aside (almost) every five-dollar bill I acquired. And my pile started to grow.

In one year, with no help from my husband or my kids, I saved 70 five-dollar bills.


Yup, that is $350 right there. Not bad, eh?

I love that this didn't feel like a "savings plan" at all (and, don't get me wrong, this is NOT a financially sound way to really save money as there is no interest earned when the money is just kept in an envelope!).  

To make this an even bigger deal, I could get the whole family involved and put any Lincolns saved each week into an interest-earning savings account. If we had a big goal that was worth saving for a few years, we might end up with a good chunk of it paid for without really trying.

So, yeah, I was skeptical at the start of 2011. But when we surprise our kids with a special weekend excursion this winter, I think we'll all feel like this was a worthwhile experiment.


Monday, January 02, 2012

A Fairly Odd Review of 2011

I just read a meme from Nan called The Year That Was and since I'd rather write about 2011 than talk about how Jilly was throwing up last night, I'm going with her meme. 

First though. . .some perspective: In 2011, I blogged only 63 times which is about half the number of posts I wrote in '08 and '09, and about 40% of the total in '10. My focus was instead on my job and in trying to save our homeschooling life. I think this was the right thing to do, but I miss this space and am going to try to work a little harder at it in 2012.

But before looking forward to 2012? A review.

In 2011, what was the. . .

. . .most beautiful post (on your blog)?
When the Storm Passes
A very hard post to write, but one of those imperfect moments in parenting that will stick with me forever.

. . .most popular post (on your blog)?
Waiting Is The Hardest Part
This post about waiting for the results of my ten-year-old's milk allergy test was by far the most popular post in 2011. And though she still hates milk, she gives two thumbs up to any baked good she's met so far. (that's my girl!)

. . .most controversial post (on your blog)?
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
I should have known that a post about why we may quit homeschooling would generate strong feelings. And while this wasn't "controversial" in the sense that I was fighting with commenters (I don't really "do" that kind of controversy), it was filled with strong emotion which I so very appreciated hearing at that very difficult crossroads.

. . .most helpful post (on your blog)?
Wordless Wednesday: Through the Looking Glass


Though not instructional per se, I love looking at the photos of Jilly's Alice in Wonderland party. The included links will hopefully help others create a similar party themselves. Way more affordable than renting out that smelly gymnastics studio!

. . .post whose success surprised you?
Facebook Ate My Blog
With only one measly comment, this post about why I haven't been blogging generated way more traffic than I expected (#2 in traffic this year!). 


If I'm not basing "success" on traffic numbers alone, I'd say this photo of my son with his broken LEGO contraption got a lot more attention than I expected.

. . .post that you feel didn't get the attention it deserved?
Oh Meme, Oh My
Last year's meme took forever to write, but just wasn't all that popular. One would think I'd learn from this. . .

. . .post that made you most proud?
Do You Untag Ugly Photos?


I couldn't have written this post twenty years ago---I would've untagged the ugly photo and pretended it never happened. I suppose being able to accept who I am in my skin, right now, is growth. And that does feel good.

Here's to more growth in 2012! Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Mommy and her laptop, sitting in a tree. . .

If there is one ugly truth about myself, it's that I'm on this laptop far too much. 

I use this computer for work, and to shop for everything but groceries (though I have done that before). I use it to research what we're having for dinner and to get materials for the class I'm teaching in our next homeschool coop session. I have three email accounts to check, and Facebook and Twitter feeds that I try to pop on at least once a day (okay, 50).

But it is way too easy to get sucked into a vortex. Just one more post to read. Shoot, work needs this tomorrow, I'll do it now. Oh. . .Big Store X is having a huuuuge sale, and I really should pick up some of their {insert product here}. 

Here's the thing though: My house is not falling apart from filth. The laundry is done (and put away). I cook three meals a day, and they are (almost) always nutritionally sound. My dog is walked (and tired) (which counts as my exercise, right?) My marriage isn't falling apart (right honey???). My legs are shaved. I read stories to the kids at bedtime and don't check my iPhone as I do it. My kids aren't running wild, beating small animals and setting fires. In fact, they are great kids.

The only thing that bugs me about the time I spend online is how it looks to the kids. Will they remember mom as the lady with the laptop in the kitchen clicking away? Or will they remember her as the one who took them to their million activities? Who kicked their butt dancing to The Chemical Brothers on Just Dance 3? Who helped them put away their 1,001 American Girl accessories? (oy) Who sat with them as they tried to remember the difference between an adjective and an adverb and somehow didn't scream?

I'm debating setting a timer. Working only when they are asleep (a tricky proposition as they stay up later and later). Maybe only going online between certain hours. 

Or cutting myself some slack and stop worrying about this. 2012 as the year of less self-imposed guilt? Sounds pretty nice to me.

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