Thursday, March 31, 2005

Yin-Yang Thursday Three

It’s the Yin-Yang Version of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! As offered by papa possum over at Possumblog.

Terry writes:
As suggested by Jim Smith, some “eternal questions that seem to divide people on an either/or basis.” Remember that the AoW Thursday Three is open to all persons, although we do ask that you be careful when you come in the door and not let all the chi out, because it ruins the groovy feng shui of the place. Having thus now expended the sum of my knowledge of Far Eastern mysticism, we ask you to state a preference in the following categories--either leave your answers in the comments, or answer them on your own blog and leave a link so that we may all come and meditate upon them. Some might notice this is not strictly a Three-themed thing. You are urged not to let this hinder you.

Category I - Food
1) Krispy Kreme. Ideally in the store when the Hot Light is on. Although at home and 8 seconds (as per the directions on the box) in the microwave will do in a pinch. Hmm, maybe we will do a field trip this week.

2) Cheese curls of cheese puffs? I actually like both. My preference is for the ones with white cheddar and not the day-glo orange cheese. The orange color scares me and leaves way too much evidence and laundry.

3) Chocolate! Rebecca agrees with me on this one. I get a catalog from a very yummy chocolate maker that she takes and likes to “read” in bed. But I do appreciate a good vanilla ice cream. Turkey Hill has some awesome flavors and is very inexpensive. My current favorite flavor is their Philadelphia style chocolate. Their French vanilla is excellent. My husband and I call it the Berghoff of ice cream. This is in referance to Berghoff beer. We discovered it when we were living in Wisconsin. It is the happy combination of being very good and very cheap.

Category II – TV People
1) Mary Ann. She actually seemed to have a brain. She also was a nicer and kinder person overall.

2) Tubbs, I guess. Neither thrilled me.

3) Barney. Barney kicks Warren’s butt all the way down Main Street.

Category III – Potpourri (non-stinky kind)
1) ? I don’t know. Whatever works for the gun my husband gets when Miss Rebecca starts thinking about dating. Hubby thinks she can start dating when she is 30, arranged marriages are even better.

2) If I have to pick, pro-football. I intentionally went to a college without a football team and frats. Going to high school next to Dartmouth kinda soured me on both. But the bonfires were good. We root for the Packers and the Badgers (but we are not cheese heads).

3) Yes, clean with no holes.

4) Blade. Gotta have nice legs for my man.

5) When asked I answer it doesn’t matter, but I do tend towards paper. I can make robot and jousting costumes for the hoard out of paper bags. My local supermarket usually gives out paper so I have a ready supply. The plastic bags are good for yucky laundry and poopy bags. I have a huge stock pile of plastic bags in my pantry.

6) Just sandals and no socks until I get over the ultra hot sand. Barefoot below the high tide line. Dark socks are for Rhode Islanders.

7) Walmart, cause it’s closer.

8) Dogs. I like cats, but I can’t have them due to allergies and my dogs’ philosophy that cats are the other white meat.

9) CDs. Easier to deal with, but we still have a turntable around here somewhere and a couple of boxes of albums.

10) Jeans, but I'm moving towards khakis. I'm having a hard time finding jeans I like.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Fun Day at the Zoo

This morning we went to the zoo. It was perfect weather. Wispy clouds, temps in the upper 60’s lower 70’s and a light breeze. When we arrived at 10ish the parking lot was already filling up. I am an eternal optimist and I drove right up to the entrance. Sweet! I had a choice of not one, not two, but three prime parking spaces. I picked the one directly opposite the entrance. It pays to check things out.

It was busy at the zoo, but not too crowded. We got two cups of zoo food (treats for the animals) that I then split among four lunch bags. The bags are less likely to spill and everybody gets there own bag. Now we were ready to go see the animals. We went on our normal route, first the aviary, around the pond and to the tigers. While passing the pond we noticed a large number of turtles in and around the water.
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We got to see a lot of turtles. Every body of water at the zoo was host to three or more turtles. Except the alligator pool, all we got to see in there were some suicidal frogs.

By the tigers we watched a new enclosure being built. Nail guns in action are fun to watch. We eventually found out that this was to be the new black bear exhibit. Then it was a long walk to the giraffes, the highlight of every visit. On the way we saw more turtles, some tortoises, a rhino and some zebras.

Three giraffes were by the petting/feeding area. Jake fed them while Nate and Max watched.

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Jake and a Shy Giraffe

Rebecca was picking up zoo food from the ground and putting it in her bag. She is very parsimonious with her zoo treats.

We then pushed on to the camels and farm animals. Jake and Rebecca gave the camels a bit of food. Camels are very aggressive so the treats get sent down a tube to a feeding trough. The gentle sheep were very popular with my crowd and got lots of pats and treats.

After the farm animals the path led to the alligators. We got to see the alligators for our first time. They were outside, basking in the sun. In their pool we saw the aforementioned suicidal frogs. Next to the alligators is one of Jake’s favorites, the elk. We could just barely see them today. Last time they were by the fence making their eerie cry.

Max at this point was very eager to see the cute deer. According to Max there are three kinds of deer at the zoo; the acceptable “big deer,” the “bad deer,” and the “cute deer.”

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Cute Deer

The bad deer once grabbed Max’s cup full of zoo food out of his hands. I don’t think he will ever forgive them. We tossed some treats to the big deer and saw one in an odd place. It looked like it had gotten stuck in between enclosures. Max avoided the bad deer. He was saving his food for the cute deer. Rebecca secretly feed a little of her treats to the bad deer. The cute deer was a bit standoffish today. We tried to lure it closer, but it would not come near the fence.

At this point the kids were a bit grumpy and very hungry. The zoo treats bags were empty except for Rebecca’s. They all still wanted to see the bats, so we swung by there before lunch. After the bat house Rebecca finally dumped all her treats in the kangaroo enclosure.

The snack bar was open so we dined on zoo pizza with breadsticks before heading home. I was very proud of Jake and Nate while we waited for the food. After washing up they snagged a table for us. Nearby was a tiny coin operated carousel that caught Max and Rebecca’s attention. On their own Jake and Nate pooled their change so that Max and Rebecca could ride on the carousel.

Our last stop was the gift shop. Jake had brought most of his money from home and bought a very large king snake and an elk. Nate had lost his two dollars, but I was giving each child one dollar, so Nate ended up with a plastic cobra. Rebecca quickly picked out a pink stretchy snake. Max could not make up his mind. After endless dithering and a trip out to the car and back he settled on two fifty cent dinosaurs.

Nate proclaimed that this was the best day of his life. We all had a good time.


On Sunday I got to wear my sparkly pink hat again. Crunch’s romantic interlude was over and it was time for him to go home.

Andy, Kandee and I agreed to meet on Sunday for the transfer. They were heading home from NY and could transport the old boy. I would meet them in MD in the parking lot of their building. Since it I would be meeting them late (after 6 pm, which means I would get back home after 9 pm) I decided not to bring any of the kids. Instead I would bring along John. They would get to see how John was developing and the two boys could get reacquainted on neutral territory.

John was very happy to see his breeder’s family. He peed all over Kandee’s shoes (sorry about that) and just missed getting Andy’s shoes as well. Silly puppy!

When Crunch emerged from their car you could almost see him go from “Hi Mom!” to “Oh man, you brought the goofball.”

John, on the other hand, was ecstatic upon seeing his father. He kept trying to bounce Crunch. He missed his wrestling partner. Playing with Rally was not the same. All it involved was a lot of barking and play bowing, no racing about the house.

Crunch was not too happy about the bouncing. Not aggressive, just a stiffness about him. As long as I could keep John from mugging him all would be well.

So after a quick walk I loaded the two red boys into the van. Crunch was more than ready to go home. John was a little trickier. He was a big ol’ wiggle pup.

Three hours later we were home. The full pack was reunited. Rally gave Crunch a though sniff and deemed him to be the same old big red oaf. John and Crunch then went back to their old routine of noisy Greco-Dachshund wrestling under my feet.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Weekend Guests!

This weekend my in-laws came to visit. I truly enjoy having them over. The kids adore Grandma and Grandpa and are always very excited when they come to visit. The only tricky part is the dogs. Due to allergies and asthma it is better to have the dogs kenneled when my in-laws come to stay.

This time it was not possible to have the dogs kenneled. Grandma and Grandpa made their arrangements a little less than a month ago. It wasn’t until last Wednesday that I finally got around to making a kennel reservation for the dogs. Normally this would not be a problem. However, it was Easter weekend and the start of the county’s school spring break. This information did not occur to me until Wednesday morning as I was about to call the kennel. Oops. When I called I told them I had an absurd request. After a long wait while they checked their book I was told that the kennel was booked solid. They were genuinely sorry that they could not help me. My dogs are popular at the kennel. They are both entertaining and affectionate. Even if I had remembered earlier it would not have mattered. I needed to have made my reservation at least a month before hand.

In the end it worked out. Crunch didn’t come back from his romantic getaway until after my in-laws left. We only had to deal with two dogs. John and Rally had a bit more crate time than normal, which is just fine as far as Rally is concerned. She likes to just hang out in her crate. As you can see below Max and Rebecca like to be crated as well.

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Max only looks sad because I wouldn’t give him a dog biscuit for going into the crate. On the upside Grandma got to meet John for the first time.

Friday, March 25, 2005

It's Purim!

Today is Purim, which means ...cookies!
Well, not really, here are some good sites about Purim.

Anyway, I get to bake cookies today! Hooray! I love making Hamantaschen. Mine are a combination of two recipes. The dough is from “The International Kosher Cookbook” (a well written cookbook) and the filling is from “BETH ELegant Cooking” Temple Beth El Sisterhood Madison, WI. The dough has a hint of almond that marries well with the chocolate filling. I don’t make the traditional poppy seed filling. I am not very fond of it and lets face it, chocolate is much tastier.

When I got the mixing bowl out Rebecca got very excited.
“Cake? You make cake?”
“No sweetie, I’m making cookies!”
“Oh alright.” She hangs her head and shuffles away.
Apparently Miss Rebecca wants cake, not cookies.

Max then pops up.
“Cookies? We make cookies?”
(Notice how Rebecca wants me to make a cake, but Max wants to help make cookies. I’m telling ya she really has got this princess thing down)
“Yes, after the dough chills we will make the cookies.” Glancing up I note the time. “That will be after lunch.”
“Lunch?! Time for lunch?” He asks hopefully.
“Not yet, it is just 10:00 am, it’s too early for lunch.”
With a sigh Max bounces off.

At least somebody other than me wants to make cookies.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Springtime for the Thursday Three

Rebecca picking flowers Posted by Hello

It's that time of the week again over at Possumblog and Terry writes:

A little-known fact is that the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three can be balanced on end during the vernal equinox!A better-known fact is that it is exceedingly difficult to come up with three questions every week! BUT, since we have launched out on a Springy theme, answer me these questions (even if you’re on the underside of the globe and are headed toward autumn)-

1) What is the one thing that you love MOST about Spring?
2) ASIDE FROM POLLEN AND TORNADOES, what is the one thing that you love LEAST about Spring?
3) Name your single most favorite song, movie, play, book, painting, sculpture, etc., etc., with “spring” as part of the title.

And here is my response.

1) I love the longer days and the softness to the air. I love the smell of freshly turned earth after the rain mixed in with the smell of growing things. To me it really smells green and fresh and lovely. I agree with Terry that Dogwoods are wonderful, but I also love the Red Bud. Here is a neat site that has all sorts of spring flowers.

2) My mother’s road turns into a sea of mud. I remember my friend losing her shoe in the muck (we never did find it again). It was so bad that every spring we had to park the car half way down the road and walk the rest of the way. Bugs, stupid birds trying to make nests in the oddest places and bugs again are high on my list of dislikes. Oh and pollen, yeah I know it’s already covered, but I hate that horrible yellow film all over everything and it makes me ill.

3) I’m rather fond of the Producer’s fake play and song “Springtime for Hitler” and of course Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons, Spring. Morning Spring by Maxfield Parrish is a nice enough picture. This one also by Parrish titled simply Spring is not so nice. One of my favorite amphibians is the spring peeper. They are the cutest little frogs and their night time trill tells you that spring is here. I also like springboks, they are a lovely little antelope.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Making Friends

Digging is fun! Posted by Hello

John has a new friend. The sprinkler guy came to start up our system yesterday and John was quite taken with him.

I had let John outside and a short while later the sprinkler guy showed up. I then served Nate (at home sick and not at school), Max and Rebecca lunch. The table they were sitting at has a nice view of the backyard. While I was puttering about I overheard the kids talking about John and the man in our backyard.

Ooops! I need to round John up and bring him in. He is a very friendly puppy, but he jumps up and can be a nuisance, especially if you don’t care for dogs.

When I looked out I could see John happily sitting next to his new friend. He seemed to be impressed with the rather large hole his friend had just dug. I went out to bring John inside. While chatting with the sprinkler guy I found out he was enjoying John’s company. Apparently John had gone around with him and inspected all the sprinkler heads. Then John seemed to watch in awe as the sprinkler guy dug a hole to fix a pipe.

Twice I pulled John inside. After my first try he shot back out again when Rebecca opened the door. He wanted to be where the action is. The second time I crated John after I brought him inside.

Later, when I let John out he seemed a bit disappointed his new friend and the hole where gone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Getting Dressed

Getting the troops dressed in the morning is not too much of a challenge. My older children are willing to even put on outfits that I have laid out for them. The tricky part is getting them to actually put on the clothes. The threat of going to school in their jammies usually works. When they dress themselves they will even consult with me in the long sleeve vs. short sleeve and the pants vs. shorts issues. Nate will occasionally come up with some odd combinations, but generally they work.

Max and Rebecca are a little trickier. Some days Rebecca will be very opinionated other days she really doesn’t care. She has two favorite outfits that she wants to wear as often as possible. Luckily she is willing to admit that the end of the day that is it. She usually does not go digging about in the hamper. Her two favorites are her ballerina outfit and her winter party dress. In this photo she reminds me of the figure by Degas.

The little ballerina Posted by Hello
After this photo was taken I have been able to convince her that a white turtle neck and tights complete her outfit. The first time she hauled out her winter party dress I hesitated. Then I realized, where else was going to wear it? We might as well get our money’s worth. The dress is now in regular rotation.

Max has his favorites as well. He has two favorite shirts, one being a striped turtleneck. I think I’m going to have to hide it when the warmer weather is here to stay. He also loves his spiderman outfits. He has never seen the movie, but he loves spiderman. Max’s most distinctive style is his hat. Right now he has two favorite hats (what is it with this kid and the number two? Is it because he is a twin?) And he likes to wear them at the same time. Every time we get in the car he puts on his hats. First on is the baseball hat with a dolphin on it. Then perched jauntily on top is a blue bucket hat with a green fish pattern. When we arrive at our destination I tell him he can wear one hat, not two (the top hat keeps falling off and I get tired of telling him to pick it up.) He then removes the upper hat and we go our merry way. Once he gets back in the car he puts the upper hat back on.

One of these days I’ve got to take a picture of his multi-hatted splendor.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Today is my brother’s birthday.

Here is a picture of us from about 30 years ago.

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I like to call him my little brother, even though he towers over me and he is my only sibling. On the day he was born I was just under 3 ½ years old. I remember being in a room sitting on a chair watching men’s legs clad in suit pants pace back and forth. I have another memory of my father and me in the hospital parking lot. He is pointing out which room my mother is in and she is waving out the window. I don’t know if these are true memories, but they feel right. Growing up we would play together and we would also fight like cats and dogs.

He lives out west now with his new bride. Here is a picture of us at his wedding.

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The wedding was just last October. It was a small clambake and I made the cake.

I hope he has a good day. I think I’ll give him a call tonight.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Dog Shows, All Breed or Specialty?

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Are you look'in at me?

Poking about on A Dog’s Life I got pointed to ...Ooozing with Type. There I got pointed to an article from The Canine Chronicle about how some show breeders only go to specialty shows.

It is a fascinating article for someone who shows dogs. I have standard dachshunds and I attend both specialty shows (a dog show for just one breed) and all breed dog shows. On average I will go farther a field for a specialty and/or a particular judge. I have passed on a show (both all breed and specialties) when I know the judge favors miniatures or smaller standards. I am willing to go extreme distances for the National (an annual specialty show that is held under auspices of the National breed club).

Dog shows are intended for breeders to exhibit their breeding stock and have it evaluated against the written breed standard. If your dog wins it means the judge viewed it to be the dog that best represented the standard versus the competition at that show.

My puppy, John, I started at a specialty at a specialty show. I wanted a smaller venue so he would not get overwhelmed. By entering him in both regular classes and sweepstakes (a puppy only competition that is normally only held at a specialty show) John got lots of ring time. It was a positive experience for him. By the end of the day he was moving nicely in the ring as a relaxed and happy dog. I will be showing him in some all breed shows this summer. The shows are not far and have nice show sites.

It is a shame that some “biggies” no longer go to all breed shows. They are a wonderful way for the public to see different breeds of dogs and the breeders. It enables future puppy buyers to get a good look at nice representatives of different dog breeds.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Question I'm Not Ready For

This morning I had a conversation with my oldest son that I am not ready for. Jake is a very observant and inquisitive eight year old. I like to give him reasonably accurate answers to his questions.

“Mom have you ever taken Viagra?”

“Nooo.” I replied while eating my breakfast.
(Ack!!! Where did this come from!!!)


“It’s for men.”
(Please no more questions!!!)

“Has Dad ever taken it?”

“No, he doesn’t need it.”
(Please, please go away!)

“What is it for? Other than it’s for men.”

(No!!!! Not that question!)

“I mean what does it do? Help you if you are sick like a cold or if you are hurt?”


“Ummm, it helps blood flow.”
(That’s reasonable, right???)

“Ok, thanks Mom!”

(Thank you, thank you. I’ll just curl up into a ball now.)

After he left I flipped over the news magazine I was reading. Well look here, an ad for Viagra. Thank you Madison Avenue!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Silly Momma

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Four Silly Monkeys

I have a bit of a dilemma.

On Saturday Nate has t-ball practice at 9:00 am. I just found out last night that Jake’s first soccer game is also at 9:00 am at a place about 20 minutes from Nate’s t-ball practice. Larry is out of town until late Saturday and it’s a bit early to dragoon Meryl into hanging out by a field while little boys run around.

I think I can make it work.

Jake’s coach wants him there at 8:30 am so the team can warm up. I could drop off Jake and then take Nate to his practice. He’ll be a little bit late (I have to heard small children across a very large field and back), but it’s just a practice. After I drop off Nate I’ll go back to Jake. Jake’s game will be over by 10:00 and I could get there by 9:45 (less children to herd across the field). Then, when the game is over we’ll all go back to Nate. His practice doesn’t end until 11:00. I’ll tell all the coaches my little sob story and they’ll be happy to stand by if I’m a bit late.

This could actually work. It’s a heck of a lot of driving, but doable.

When I announced my plan last night Jake was less than thrilled. He really wants me, his father or Aunt Meryl to be with him. Nate is game. He is pretty much up for anything that results in his getting to play sports.

It turns out that all my plans were for naught. There is one other option that I had not thought of. They could all get sick!

Last night Jake was feeling lousy. This morning Nate and Max were ailing as well. I took them all to see the pediatrician. They all have swollen glands, horrible red throats, fever and what the Dr called strep breath. Surprising the rapid tests all came negative. However it is probably a false negative. So we decided it is strep and the boys were all sent home with new prescriptions for antibiotics.

Bottom line is no sports until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours. I’m off the hook! Of course I now have four silly monkeys running around the house.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thursday Three! The Musical!

Rebecca and Nate at the piano Posted by Hello

Over at Possumblog it’s time for the Axis Of Weevil Thursday Three!
Jim Smith suggested the following three questions:
In honor of Larry learning to play the bass guitar, a musical Thursday Three:
1. What instrument do you play?
2. Which one do you wish you could play if time and talent were not involved?
3. Have you ever taken lessons for an instrument or voice and how did it go?

1.) I don’t actually play any instruments. But, our older two children are taking piano lessons. Ms. Ryan is a great teacher and comes to our home (Wahoo! No carting the kids around!). Since I am the one overseeing their practice (You WILL practice the piano or no computer time! Ahhhh!) I have been forced to learn some piano. I can slowly puzzle out simple pieces of music and plunk them out on the piano. Jake and Nate are much better at it than I. Fortunately I can listen to them play a piece and point out where they went wrong.

2.) I do like the piano and it would be nice to know what I am doing. I also have a fondness for violins and flutes.

3.) I briefly took flute lessons in grade school. I dropped out when I found out that I would have to play in the school band. I think I might have gotten something out of it, but it was many moons ago for a very short period of time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Morning Madness

This morning Larry needed to leave somewhat early to catch a plane to Louisville, KY.

This should not be a problem. I would just go about on my regular school day morning schedule.

First thing in the morning I take care of the dogs. When I got downstairs I noticed Jake was already up. Good, I prodded him to finish his homework. Once the dogs were done I went back upstairs to take care of Max and Rebecca. They were cheerfully playing in their room. After I dressed them I sent them downstairs to say good bye to their father. Then I went to Jake and Nate’s room to wake up Nate. I knew he would be very upset if he missed seeing his father. Larry had not yet left for the airport and he would not be back until Saturday.

I followed Nate downstairs to get Max settled down for his nebulization treatment. I reminded Jake to do his homework. He finally got up to finish his sentences. Now I get to shower and dress.

When I came down for the third time (this by the way is my exercise program, endless stairs) I was ready to do Max’s chest PTs. Jake was finished with his homework and both he and Nate were dressed. We were ahead of schedule by 30 minutes.

This is great! I had planned to drive the boys to school so we could drop off Nate’s Leprechaun trap. I would then peruse the book fair at the school. Lastly I would take Max and Rebecca to the library for story time.

But wait!

Jake cheerfully asked me “...since Dad had to go, was I going to drive him to his “Science in the Mornings” at school?” He needed to be dropped off an hour before school officially starts.

“Nooooo, you don’t have that today.” I replied.

“Oh yes we do. The teachers said there was a mistake in the schedule and we do have it today. Today we are going to do balloon rockets and I do not want to miss that.”


I watched my 30 minute cushion evaporate.

I rushed Max’s PT and got breakfast served. Jake and Nate were helpful and toasted their own waffle/english muffin. For once nobody dawdled and I didn’t have to keep telling people to eat their breakfast. I was also happy to note that today’s school lunch was one that both boys liked.

I loaded up the backpacks with various miscellany and snacks. Everybody was herded into the van. They all had on their socks, shoes and jackets! Backpacks and the trap were placed inside the van and we were off to school.

We got Jake to school just in time. Nate’s trap was dropped off in a dark, but luckily, open classroom. It was too early for Nate to be left at school and the book fair was not open yet. So Nate, Max, Rebecca and I went back to the van to hopefully return home in time for the bus.

Hooray! We had a substitute bus driver and she was late!

After Nate boarded the bus the rest of us headed home. Once inside I settled down for some breakfast with Max sitting next to me looking at books. I then noticed Jake’s notebook was on the table.


Well I was going to go back to the school for the book fair. I finished my breakfast, loaded up the van, again, to go back to the school, again.

We signed in, dropped off the notebook and got several books at the book fair. Max and Rebecca wanted a lot of books, but I was able to keep it down to one apiece and no tantrums. I did this with the promise of getting lots books about ponies for Rebecca and dinosaur books for Max at the library.

Then it was off to the library and story time. Today’s theme was cookies! Max and Rebecca scored three cookies each. We get all sorts of treats at the library. I don’t remember getting all this food at the library when I was a kid! We checked out our various books about ponies and dinosaurs (sadly none combine to two) and staggered home to lunch.

I’m beat. I want to take a nap.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It’s International Eat an Animal for PETA Day!

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Today we started out with a bang. Sausages for breakfast and a fried egg for me! Jake was curious on why we were having sausages this morning. Normally this would be a weekend treat. Weekday mornings are usually a bit too hectic for anything elaborate. I told him it was IEAP Day, an event founded by Aunt Meryl. He was game and requested some pepperoni slices to be included in his lunchbox. Jake then had a breakfast of exploited cow juice, oatmeal and half a sausage. Nate was not quite ready for meat fest this morning, so he declined the sausages. And I say good for him. He does not HAVE to eat meat today. Then I would be as bad as those knuckleheads over at peta. Nate will be having corn dog nuggets for lunch, so there. Max enthusiastically consumed many sausages (I lost count after three) and Rebecca requested some pepperoni instead.

For lunch Max, Rebecca and I will exploit some chickens with a nice glass of milk.

Dinner will be catch as catch can. I need to leave the house by 6:20 pm to go to a meeting. Piano lessons do not end until 6:30 pm. Our dinner will probably be hot dogs and hamburgers.

The meeting I’m attending is oddly appropriate for today. It is for the Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia. peta is against the owning of companion animals and gets downright rabid on the subject of purebred dogs.

I’m all for the humane treatment of animals. I have worked with laboratory animals in my dim pre-mommy past. I know that we did everything we could to make the animals as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Computer models can only take you so far and cell culture can not be used to evaluate whole systems. At some point a new drug or treatment must involve a living creature.

I’m also the parent of a child with Cystic Fibrosis. A wretched genetic condition that was a death sentence 50 years ago. Now due to improved drugs and therapies (much of it from animal research) it is on the cusp of something big. peta is against the CFF charity and other excellent organizations funding research to cure all sorts of diseases.

So even if you can’t eat meat at least think about raising a fork and sticking it to peta.

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Me eating some yummy cow!

Monday, March 14, 2005


John in the snow Posted by Hello
I actually found something that John, the puppy, doesn’t want to chew. Apparently Ivarest tastes vile. It is a glorified calamine lotion.

John had snuck into Larry’s home office and grabbed the tube. After speaking with Larry I followed John out of the office. When I caught up with him I saw him standing about three feet away from the tube, staring at it. It had one small puncture with a bit of goo oozing out. Normally I have to tell him to drop purloined objects. It really looked like his expression was “Man is that stuff nasty.”

Of course it won’t stop him from chewing other things.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sweet Moment

One day last week it was raining when it was time to go to the bus stop. As a result the troops were loaded into the van and we drove to the bus stop. I feel silly when we do this, it is a very short walk, but it is no fun standing in the rain with four kids. When we got back home I pulled into the garage and left the garage door up.

Rebecca bounced out of the car and ran towards the rain. She stepped outside into the now gentle shower. She then lifted up her shirt to expose her tummy to the rain. After a moment she ran back into the garage with a giggle. She then ran back out again with her tummy bared. Turning around to face me she said “My tummy is in the rain! My tummy get all wet!” She then stepped back into the garage patting her head “Rain on my head!”

Max and Rebecca then together briefly stepped out into the rain exposing their tummies.

Three year olds can be so much fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Stupid Dishwasher

I’m just sitting here puttering around thinking I’ll get to bed at a decent hour. John asks to be let out so I get up and go to the door.

I then notice IT, IT being a small lake under our kitchen table. At first glace I thought the dogs, but IT was too big. I don’t think even a dozen dachshunds could produce that much liquid. But where did IT come from?

I then hear the sound of water pouring from the dishwasher.

I rush over and cancel the cycle. The machine claims to drain and shut down. Inside is another story. Apparently it was no longer draining. I was puzzled that the overflow valve did not work.

So now I get to mop and bail. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

After awhile I realize that water is still coming into the machine.

So more mopping, more bailing.

Now I need to find the cut-off valve. I poke around under the sink and stomp around under the house. Finally after returning to under the sink and looking in the farthest corner from the dishwasher I find it. Success! No more water going into the dishwasher. Finally I break down and get the wet vac. It is very noisy, but now I don’t care if I wake everyone up. I’m tired. Once everything is squared away I then finish my previous post.

I’m just glad I had not turned on the dishwasher and gone too bed. It would have been much worse. The first picture in this article shows how I feel.

So guess what I’ll be doing the next couple of days. Paper plates seem like a good idea.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Road Trip for a Lucky Dog

Thursday I got to go on a road trip to Rockville, MD to meet Andy. I had to be there by 3:00 pm. Originally it was 4:00 pm, but it got moved up. Andy wanted to beat some of the horrendous DC traffic and get home at a decent hour. The whole point of this was so that Crunch could have a romantic interlude in upstate NY.

Looking for Love Posted by Hello

So I get to wear one of these! Or maybe this one! Yes, it’s love for hire with Mr. Crunch.

But first it’s a short Twinsday lunch with Aunt Meryl. The plan was to swing by her place with our sandwiches and she would make us home made potato chips. Yum!

Thursday was a busy morning. I had to make sandwiches, bathe Crunch and clean out his crates. I say crates because his regular crate was due to be cleaned and the travel crate was rather grubby. Crunch knew something was up and was whining, eager to go. Once all was ready I loaded up the van aka the teckel car (Teckel is a Dutch/German diminutive of dachshund).

At Meryl’s we got to enjoy her yummy potato chips. At first Rebecca rejected them, but after watching the rest of us gobble them up she changed her mind. The potato chips were very tasty and they were gone before we knew it. We were treated during our lunch with an appearance by Tig (expected) and by Gracie (completely unexpected). Amazingly Gracie did not flee in terror.

I then rounded up the troops and left for Rockville. It was already 12:45, a little later than I wanted. The drive was not bad. Max and Rebecca were happily watching movies in the back. Eventually they both fell asleep. I was, however, alarmed by how the south bound traffic kept getting stacked up. We got to our destination just before 3:00, perfect timing.

We parked near Andy’s car. Crunch was pottied one more time and allowed to stretch a bit. His crate and health records were then transferred into Andy’s car. At this point Rebecca was awake and very grumpy. Andy tried to say hello and this just set her off. He thought it was his fault, but I tried to assure him that he was blameless. He then got in his car and drove away with Crunch.

After a cookie, a clementine and a juice box all was right in the world. Max, Rebecca and I then went for a short walk. We needed to move about before our slog back home. It took us a bit over 2 hours to get to Rockville, but it would be a longer drive home. Meryl’s place is a least 20 min closer to DC than our house and rush hour in DC had begun. When we hit the road again it was about 3:30. It was amazing how bad the traffic had gotten. The inner loop was at a standstill. Lucky for us, the outer loop was still moving. 95 was a mess and it took us a little over 3 hours to get home. Not bad considering the traffic.

Crunch gets to play for the next couple of weeks before he comes home.

Lucky dog.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thursday Three Ahoy!

Nate and Jake on the USCGC Eagle Posted by Hello

In honor of the term "the vast ocean of Possumblog readers" I propose a nautical (but not necessarily naughty gal) themed Thursday Three.
1.) Have you traveled anywhere by boat (across a pond or around the ocean)?
2.) Have you ever owned a boat?
3.) If you were to take a boat trip and had unlimited funds and no motion sickness, where would you go, who would you take and what kind of boat would you go on?
Bonus question: What food stuffs would you want if you were marooned.Sarah G.

Hey! That's me! I guess I have to answer those puppies.

1) Why yes I have traveled by boat. I have cruised on my Uncle’s sailboat along the coast of Maine. Endless ferries across Long Island Sound. Twice across the English Channel, one way in an enormous ferry boat and back again on a hovercraft. I’ve been on a ferry boat and if memory serves a hydrofoil from Naples to the Isle of Capri and back. Believe it or not it was part of a high school trip to Italy organized by my Latin teacher (Much better than the lame-o trips to Canada by the French Department.) I have messed about on inflatable boats, canoes, rowboats, sailboats, a Boston Whaler (the second link is a hoot) and two tall ships. O.K. the tall ships didn’t go anywhere, but they were still fun to be on.

2) We currently have a large inflatable boat and a canoe that lives under our house. We even have paddles and life jackets!

3) I would love to go Island hopping with my husband on a sailboat with gourmet meals prepared by somebody else.

Bonus question: Terry has a point about MREs but I would like a fresh water supply; salt (either mineral outcrop or a climate suited to making it out of seawater); banana, coconut and orange trees; and chickens. Boring but doable.

Addendum to the Thursday Three

I almost forgot about my more unique boating experiences.
The Swan Boats located in the Boston Public Garden and the Wisconsin Ducks.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

How To Entertain Children Before Dinner

There is a time of day commonly referred to as “the witching hour” or “mommy is trying to make dinner and can no longer entertain you.” Basically it is when the small children in your house are all about to spontaneously combust and you are too pooped to deal with it.

My mother told me how she went to see a doctor and mentioned how hard 5:00 pm was. He offered a prescription for Valium. She declined and decided to feed my brother and I earlier dinners.

Tonight I discovered a wonderful website. There is something about wholesale destruction that appeals to all ages and both boys and girls.

As I puttered around in the kitchen I could hear the glee in their voices. “Do it again!” “That wasn’t very good.” “I like that.” “Cool!”

I had to peel them away from the computer for dinner.

The internet is a wonderful thing.

Mmm, Mmm Good!

Last night was the start of soccer practice for Jake.

Goalie Jake Posted by Hello
Practice runs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Mondays and Thursdays. This makes dinner a bit difficult. Last season practice was from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, but I could meet Larry in the parking lot and drop off Jake. I could then bring the remainder of the hoard home and start dinner preparations. 5:00 pm is a little early for hubby to do soccer duty plus yesterday he had the important job of picking up Meryl at the airport (she parked her car at our house). So I get to haul the whole crowd with me and entertain those not at practice.

Thus the mighty crock pot enters the picture. I’ll make pot roast! I can start it at noon and it will be ready when the kids and I get back from soccer and when Larry comes home from the airport. As an added bonus Meryl can join us for dinner if she wants.

After lunch Max and Rebecca supervised the assembly of the pot roast. The meat was seared and tucked into the crock pot with carrots potatoes, onions, a little red wine and beef stock.

While I was making dinner, Rebecca was wandering about, jonesing for cake. I did not feel like baking a cake, but cookies sounded like a good idea.

So cookies it is! We made chocolate chip cookies. I like to have different types of chips in my cookies. Yesterday it was a cup each of white, dark and milk chocolate chips. Yum! My assistants helped mix the batter and add the chips. After the chips were added Rebecca leaned over the bowl and reverently whispered “chocolate.” This girl has a serious thing for chocolate.

Once the cookies were baked it was already time to go to the bus stop and meet Jake and Nate. When we got home there was a minor celebration. The older boys could smell the fresh baked cookies. After a quick snack of cookies and change of outfits for Jake and Rebecca (tutus are not good for mucky soccer fields) it was off to practice.

Rebecca conked out in the car, but I was able to rouse her. Then we schlepped 5 water bottles, 4 soccer balls and 3 chairs to the field waaaay in the back. Only a few instances of discipline were needed (when I tell you to carry the ball it means you carry the ball, not kick it in the drainage ditch. The boy in question lost the use of the ball for a short time. Fortunately he was not the one going to practice). After we established base camp we got to meet a fellow team mom with 2 ½ year old boy girl twins. Yeah! Entertainment for the younger set! Everybody played nicely, and then it was time to go home. Max however disagreed. He had an impressively drawn out tantrum that lasted the long walk and the ride home.

When we got home it hit me. Dinner was ready and man did it smell good! The aroma of pot roast filled the air with the slight undertones of freshly baked cookies. It was heavenly.

Larry was already home with Meryl. The kids were all happy to see their Aunt Meryl, well except for Max who was still grumping about. We invited her to stay, but she declined. That is until I pulled out the pot roast. It was lovely. Jake and Nate had a new victim, ah rather a new audience for their jokes and Larry and I got to enjoy dinner.

Oh and Max, he came round in the end. He enjoyed eating a cookie with some yummy cow.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Rebecca has been pony mad for quite some time.
For Halloween she was a “Pony Princess”

Pony Princess Posted by Hello

She spied her costume at Walmart, clutched it to her heart and said “Pony!”
It actually isn’t a pony, but a winged unicorn. To Rebecca, however, it is a pony.

Today, while going to the supermarket, we saw a couple of horses grazing in a field.
“Rebecca, do you like ponies?” I asked.
“Yes! Ponies!” she answered enthusiastically.
“Do you want to ride a pony?”
“Yes! Ride pony! Get Pony”
“Honey, we don’t have room for a pony.”
Rebecca paused and said quietly “Other people can.”
“Other people can have a pony and you want one too?”
“Yes! Pony! Yes!”
“Where will you keep the pony, in your room?”
“Yes! My room! Big pony!”
“Will the pony sleep in your bed?” Images from Thelwell’s books filled my mind.
“Yes!” followed by a giggle. Even she could she the absurdity.
Max, not wanting to be left out raised the ante.
“I want a big horse.” slight pause, “In my room.”
“What color do you want your pony to be?”
Both chimed in “White!”
Then I heard Rebecca say softly “baby pony, baby pony.”
“Rebecca do you want a baby pony?”
No answer.
“Do you want a baby pony and a big pony?”
“Yes! Baby pony! Big pony!”
Max then added “Baby horse. No, big horse. Just big horse”

So it looks like Max and Rebecca would like a baby pony, a big pony and a big horse; all of them white and sleeping in Max and Rebecca’s beds. I think I have to dig up my copy of Thelwell’s “A Leg at Each Corner.”

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Little Things

Routine is very important for most kids. This point got driven home to me last Friday night.

On Friday I try to make a nice dinner for the Sabbath. During the day I make challah and I try to plan out a dinner that has at least a few elements that everybody will like. We light the candles and say the blessings. After dinner we then have some dessert or the kids might get a piece of candy. It is a very low key observance.

Last Friday as I was pulling out the challah cover and the candle holders I realized I forgot to buy more candles. I had only one candle left. Traditionally two candles are lit for Sabbath. It was too late, dinner was almost ready. So I put one holder back and finished setting the table.

Once we were seated we did the blessings. Max did his now traditional protest of Nate reciting the blessing for bread and all seemed fine. Then the commentary started. At various points a child would ask why there was only one candle. I explained each time we were out of candles. The older boys accepted the explanation and moved on. Max and Rebecca were disturbed by the change in routine. Max would point and say “we need to buy more candles” in a very solemn voice. Rebecca, being a girl of very few words, would just say “need more” in agreement with Max.

It was not earth shaking, but it showed that our little traditions are important to our whole family.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Quick Question

I have a quick question for anyone who has traveled with diaper wearing children.

Have you ever noticed the signs before you go into a tunnel and certain large bridges that say “Hazardous materials/ HazMats are not allowed?”

Do you wonder if you should go through since, odds are, the aforementioned small child has very kindly produced a hazardous material? Sometimes these bio-hazards even qualify as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

I know I always have a mental pause and then a bit of a giggle.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thursday Three of Unease

Here are my answers to the Thursday Three over at Possumblog.

The theme was unease of the nauseating kind. On a whole I do not get nauseated. Well except for when I was pregnant with the twins. That hormonal rollercoaster made even plain spaghetti sauce smell bad. But that only lasted a few weeks. Normally I have the digestive system of a goat.

1.) What three commonly served food items cause you to become nauseated when you smell them?

I love Kim Chee, but unless you are in area with a lot of Koreans it is not that common. Its stench is enough to make anyone ill. One of my former co-workers served me some once, she warned me about the foul odor. Her mother’s stuff was so potent that they had a separate fridge just for Kim Chee. The more common items I find nauseating are tripe, a stinky cheese spread called Liptauer (hubby loves the stuff, I will not touch it) and brussel sprouts.

2.) What three non-cable, non-satellite television shows can you just not stand to watch? (If they make you nauseated, even better.)

Pretty much all of the political talking head shows. I do not get nauseated, just stupefied. I do not like boxing. I do not like seeing two men pummel each other. And in the same vein I do not like pro-wrestling. The over the top theatrics are just too much.

3.) What three things are you immune to that seem to make other people ill?

Like Terry and a lot of other parents, child effluvia. I remember a day when I got to personally experience them all. I thought I was going to get out of vomit, but one child obliged just before bedtime. After I cleaned up I actually laughed. I figured it couldn’t get much worse. Having dogs all my life I can also add dog effluvia and some of the vile things dogs do. I shall not elaborate here, it’s too disgusting. I can also discuss all of the above in great detail while eating dinner. I guess this is the result of majoring in Biology, working in research labs, growing up next to a farm and having four kids.

Oh and my whole family loves scrapple.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Invasion of the Poodles

When I was very young my mother inherited her sister’s standard poodle. Casey was very smart and affectionate. She and my parents’ dachshund Throopie became best friends and would regularly hunt together. I have very fond memories of the two and as a result I like both breeds very much.

Me, my father and Casey Posted by Hello

However, I do not like the two poodles that roam my neighborhood.

On Sunday when I came home from the glory that is Costco I saw the two poodles that peeve me in my driveway. With an exasperated sigh I stopped my car. The stupid poodles were aimlessly milling about. As I sat there glaring at them I decided that this is it. I’m going to catch those stupid poodles and call their owner. I have a large wire crate in my garage and a couple of 20 foot leashes. I could probably stuff one poodle in a crate and tie the other one up.

When I got out of my car the stupid poodles started to retreat to my backyard and bark at me. I slowly approached them as they swirled about. One of the stupid poodles then had the gall to GET UP ON MY DECK! ARGH!! That’s it, I want those dogs gone.

I could hear my dogs baying from inside the house. “Intruders! Intruders!” they seemed to be barking. “We must get those poodles!”

I herded the stupid poodles toward the front of the house. I then decided that maybe I should tell Larry what I was doing. He had stayed home with the kids so I could experience Costco without children in tow. So I went inside and told him that I was going to follow the stupid poodles to their house and talk to their owner.

When I went back outside the stupid poodles were hanging out by my mailbox further defiling it. As I approached, the stupid poodles they bolted across the road and cut through the Cs’ backyard. At that moment a car was pulling out of the Cs’ driveway. I asked the driver (a friend of the Mrs. C) if she knew where the dogs came from. Yes indeed, and she pointed to the house directly behind the Cs. It turns out that Mrs. C had complained about the stupid poodles hanging out in her backyard. Gee, what a surprise.

So I marched down the street to the supposed home of the stupid poodles and rang the doorbell. A cacophony of barking greeted the bell. Ah, this must be the house. The dogs were quickly (!) shushed and the door opened.

Up until this point I had been emboldened by righteous anger. But this guy was huge! He towered over me. I think he was over six foot four with very broad shoulders. I pressed on. I politely introduced my self and indicated where I live. A toddler then appeared, peeking between his father’s legs. Smiling, I then asked if he by any chance had two standard poodles. He looked uncomfortable and a little bit nervous. They were indeed his dogs. I then calmly related my saga of what his dogs were up to and how tired I was of it. I mentioned that I had fenced my yard, but I now had to do a poodle check every time I let out my dogs. He apologized and said he was looking into fencing his yard. He claimed that his dogs would stick nearby if he remained outside, but sometimes he had to go in to tend to his son. I also found out that one of my next door neighbors had been FEEDING THE STUPID POODLES. No wonder they had been in my yard. I then reiterated my concerns and finished by saying he has beautiful dogs (and they are lovely to look at) and it would be a shame if they were hit by a car. He promised to keep better control of his dogs.

So far so good, I haven’t seen the poodles since.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Having Kids Can Really Cut Into Bon-Bon Time

Occasionally my husband will call me from work with some minor request to pick something up or drop something off for him. I’ll respond with a laugh “But that’ll cut into my bon-bon time.”

Well all I’ve got to say is that having kids really cuts into your bon-bon time.

Last week I had to take Max to the pediatrician for a truly horrendous ear infection. Normally I catch the signs fairly early on, but Max never let on how bad it was until just before I saw fluid leaking out of his right ear. Argh, the poor guy, I felt like a complete idiot allowing him to suffer so long. His siblings will either tell me directly or wake up in the middle of the night, blazing hot with fever and screaming blue murder. All Max did was pathetically whine early Monday morning about an hour before his normal wake up time. I put it down to the stupid cold we had been passing around. We just had strep fest four weeks ago. Of course his ear problems did not come to light until it was late afternoon, just before I had to meet his brothers at the bus stop. I would not have time until Wednesday morning to take him to the pediatrician. When I took him in it was very quick and we were able to get back in time for story time at the library.

All was well until Friday night when it became apparent that there was more going on with his ear infection. So on Saturday I got to experience the special joy of the pediatricians’ Saturday morning clinic. For once things were speedy and we were out in less than two hours. The Doctor agreed that it was a very nasty infection and we even got to look in the big book. In the end we were sent home with the admonishment to come in ASAP if he worsened or come in Monday if he stayed the same.

Sunday Max seemed to be the same, so it was a relatively uneventful day. That night our regular pediatrician called to check in on Max (I love this practice, all of the doctors really do care about their patients.) We chatted for a bit and then she asked when we would be coming in. I said I was told to come Monday. She replied that she wouldn’t wish that on her worst enemy. It will be a complete zoo. We decided to come on Tuesday when she is on in the afternoon.

Monday school was cancelled. All sorts of muck was coming out of the sky. I was happy to be not going anywhere. Just as I settled down to write a post an awful wail came from upstairs. Max staggered into view crying about his right arm. He and Nate had been arguing about toys when Nate inadvertently hurt Max. After cuddling Max for a bit we had lunch. I watched Max’s arm carefully throughout lunch. He was not using it at all. It just hung there against his side. This was very disturbing since he is very much right handed. Obviously I had to do something. I mentally debated where to go. The ER was out of the question. It takes forever and we will get exposed to some very sick people. The walk-in clinic nearby was considered. Its main advantage was its x-ray machine. In the end I decided to wait until 2:00 pm when our regular pediatrician’s office opens. I could get Meryl to watch Jake and Rebecca while I’ll take Max and Nate. This way I could get Max’s ears and arm checked out and Nate tested for strep. Nate had been crabbing about all morning and then took a nap after lunch, a sure sign of strep throat for Nate. If Nate did have strep our pediatrician would write a prescription for Jake while we were there. If one has strep the other does too and Jake had mentioned a scratchy throat earlier.

A little after 2:00 pm I bundled the two boys up, both protesting the unfairness of not hanging out with Aunt Meryl, and set off to the pediatricians. After a 30 minute drive I found out they were “closed due to the weather.”

What?! It was not that bad out. What a bunch of wimps. So then I herded the boys back to the car and called home to tell Meryl what was going on and that we were now going to the clinic. This was extremely aggravating as it meant another 25 min back towards home to the clinic. At 3:15 pm we arrived at the clinic and signed in. Soon we ere called up to do our paperwork. As I sat there chatting with the receptionist I pawed through my wallet and purse for my insurance card.

I can’t find it.

After the third pass through both, the receptionist asked if I had my card.

I paused in my efforts and asked if a fax of the card would do. She said it would be fine. One quick call to my hubby and all was set. He had the card and would fax it to the clinic. Then I herded my increasingly restive crew back to the waiting area and camped out.

Finally we were called back, with Max howling that he did not want to go there. Nate got his throat swabbed and Max, under duress, got two x-rays of his arm and shoulder. At this point Nate was bouncing off the walls. So we hung out in the hallway admiring the pictures of the bones in Max’s arm.

After a loooong wait the doctor appeared. Nate tested positive for strep. She asked Nate how long his throat had been bothering him. Nate cheerfully replied that his throat wasn’t hurting him at all. The puzzled doctored turned to me and asked how did I know he had strep. I told her about this morning’s behavior and how it almost always meant he had strep. She nodded and turned to Max. Turns out he had nursemaids elbow. With my restraining Max, the doctor gently manipulated his bones back into place. At 5:40 pm we were sent back home with a handful of stickers for Max and amoxicillin for Nate.

I called up Larry and filled him in on our adventure and hung up. After a few moments thought I called him back and requested that he pick up dinner on the way home. I was wiped out.

After dinner Larry and discussed what to do with Jake. It was either take him to the clinic now or wait until tomorrow and I would get the pleasure of taking everybody to the pediatricians. Either way it would be a long wait. I decided one kid now was better than four kids later, so back to the clinic. Larry stayed home and wrangled the remaining three into bed and I got to wait with Jake. This time I got to take a book. We were there for an hour and half, but it was much nicer with a reasonable eight year old than with an amped six year old and a miserable three year old. And yes, Jake has strep throat too.

So when do I get my bon-bon time?