No Harm Done

Monday, January 30, 2006

Doing My Part to Keep the Scum Off the Street

Every once in a rare while, someone comes to this blog while searching for, um..., unsavory and very illegal pictures. If enough words in their keyword search also randomly appear in this blog they can end up here. And when someone visits this site, I can tell how exactly how they got here.

One of those lovely people visited here this weekend. Ugh.

So, after I got over the heebie-jeebies and the feelings of sheer disgust, I channelled my inner MacGruff, called the police, and reported the person's information and search terms to the appropriate detective. I don't know if anything will ever come of it, but I feel better having done *something.*

That's me: Crimefighter.

Who knew I could help fight crime whilst blogging in my pajamas? If the boys only knew of my secret identity, they would be so proud.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Missed it By THAT Much!

We were so close! M. and I were within six hours of a long-awaited "date night," but had to cancel this afternoon. A sweet girl from church had offered to babysit the boys so M. and I could have some time together. But then Colson woke up with a fever, and spent most of the day languishing on the couch in front of the tv. He wanted me to sit next to him so he could lay his head on me, and then at random intervals said, "I love you, Mom. I really love you."

Poor guy.

By dinnertime the Tylenol had kicked in, and he was a bit more animated.

Otherwise it was a comfortably busy day. If our weekends are too empty, we all just kind of lay around the house like slugs.

"What should we do today?"
"I don't know. What do you want to do today?"
"I don't know. Hmm. Any ideas?"


But today was comfortably busy: just busy enough to keep us moving. Braden's AWANA group had study practice for Bible Quiz. The Commander treated the quizzers to donuts for breakfast and pizza for lunch. The practice was long, but the kids had a great time.

Afterwards, Braden had piano examinations at the local college. It's sort of a music festival that's set up and run by area music teachers. The children perform two pieces for an instructor who critiques and evaluates them. The kids have a sight-reading test and a music theory exam. Some kids will have 20 minutes to listen to a piece of music and then play it, by ear, to an instructor.

Parents were not allowed in on the sessions so I have no idea how Braden did, but he seemed to feel good about it. When I asked how he did he hemmed and hawed. Finally I asked him bluntly, "How do you think you did? " He just grinned and answered, "Well, I can't really tell you because I don't want to seem prideful. But I was good."

Funny guy. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

If you'd asked me 5 years ago how much tv I'd watched as a child, I'd have replied, "Not much." We had an amazingly early bedtime, so I rarely saw much weeknight prime time. Before my mom started working, I remember playing outside a lot after school, and I can recall one or two shows I would watch before or after school. But that's it.

Until the older shows started coming out on DVD.

The DVD aisles are my favorite ones to wander through when I hit Sam's Club or WalMart now. So very many of these shows I'd forgotten about, until I saw them in beautiful boxed sets on the shelves: Wonder Woman, Sanford and Son, Dukes of Hazzard, ABC Afterschool Specials, Soap.... The list goes on and on.

So much of what's on children's tv is terrible, and if the shows are not bad the commercials are. Recently, we've started buying the shows we loved as children and watching them with the boys.

One of my favorite tv shows as a kid will be out on DVD next month. And it's about time! I've been watching the release date approach for several months now. Why haven't they done this sooner?

The Electric Company ran for a few years in the 1970s on PBS. I loved this show, and I still think of many of it's songs or skits today. From Easy Reader (mmm) to the cast of the Short Circus (see that dude above) to Jane of the Jungle. to the Blue Beetle. I can hardly wait for the boys to watch it. Maybe they can catch an episode of Spiderman on it too!

"Do not bother this giant person" is not an unfamiliar phrase in this house. Early in the morning, when one of the boys gets up before the sun, it's often the first phrase that comes to my mind. Even before "I need a Coke!', believe it or not. And soon, the boys will get to see it!

And Letterman, remember him?!

"Faster than a rolling "O!"
Stronger than Silent "E!"
Able to leap Capital "T" at a single bound!
It's a word!
It's a plan!
It's Letterman! "

Now that I've made you read to the bottom of this entry, you will be rewarded by a link to a site where you can watch several short clips from this show. Enjoy!

"We're gonna' turn it on...."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Couldn't Pass This Up.

In December I posted SNL's "Lazy Sunday" video on this blog.

Today, I stumbled upon a new version of it called "Lazy Monday." It was made by two 11 year old boys and one of their fathers on the recent MLK Jr. Day.

Fun to watch, and it's very cute. What a great way to spend a school holiday!

Where Can I Buy This?

This short clip is one of the boy's favorite commercials. They are about 2 years into a love of Transformers, and this car commercial fascinates them. Colson, in particular, asks to watch it over and over.

I think he wonders why he hasn't seen them on the road.

If we start working on the dance moves, can that count as PE for the day?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

You Decide.

Today Uncle D. and Aunt D.'s Christmas newsletter arrived in the mail. They included the following photo, and Uncle D.'s expression made us laugh out loud.

"Stable Family Man" or "Drunken Mime?"

*Disclaimer: Uncle D. poses like this in pictures on purpose. (Poor Aunt D.) We have his consent to post his silliness on this blog.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I felt a little sorry for the older man who did his lap swim in lanes near Braden's swim lessons this week. The pool has adult lap swim at the same time as swim practice, and we usually see the same people there every week. But this man was new, and attracted everyone's attention because we was wearing a Speedo swimsuit.

Not one of the cool and very trendy speedo body suits, but one of the very tiny Speedo suits that were popular in the 70's and early 80's.

Very few men can pull off wearing one of those teeny suits. You pretty much have to look like this guy:

Sadly, men that look like this are NOT usually the ones you see wearing speedo suits at the local pool.

Multiple-choice: One should not wear a speedo if:

a) You have neither buns nor abs of steel.
b) Your chest and back are covered in a thick mat of salt-and-pepper hair.
c) Your middle is thick enough that it hangs over the edge of your speedo like a "muffin-top."
d) All of the above.

And, just for the record, should you choose to wear your speedo to the local pool while children are swimming and mothers are watching, white is a VERY unfortunate color choice.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


That's a picture of Braden's AWANA badge. In early December he completed Book 2 for AWANA. That's over 70 verses memorized and recited in 3 1/2 months. It was a real milestone for him, because this was the first year he's set goals for himself and worked to achieve them.

This year, he decided early on that he wanted to memorize 5 sections each week. Some weeks he made it, some weeks he didn't. But he always worked toward that goal.

He's never been a goal-setter or a self-started. He's always been pretty content to just kind of roll with things, and if it happens, it happens. This switch toward working for something is a nice change.

His AWANA sections was one goal. His two others were:
a) learning to dive from the starting blocks, and
b) learning to do flip-turns when he's swimming.

He's learned how to do the dive. Now he just has to figure out those turns. He'll get it eventually. For now, we enjoy watching him work at it.

Trying. Failing. But not giving up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Come Watson! The Game is Afoot!

Yesterday I went to check on Colson during nap and found..... empty bed.

I went in search of my missing son and soon found.......

the pantry door left standing wide open.

Upon further investigation, I discovered....

a chair pushed up to the counter.

The careful observer will note the empty biscotti wrapper and a pair of scissors left on the counter.

At the kitchen table I find......

chocolate crumbs and a recently used cup next to a child's booster seat. (Note - The cups are kept in one of the upper cupboards.)

In the bathroom........

cookie crumbs in the sink and a recently used towel.

And finally, downstairs in the basement I discover......

a washed up, well-fed boy who is supposed to be napping, but instead has popped in the "Bride and Prejudice" DVD.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Guest Blogger

One of my closest friends, Dana, sent me an e-mail regarding the recent crumpet/strumpet entry. It was simply too good to allow to linger in my inbox, unread by the world.

Dana was an English major in college. An honors, summa cum laude English major, and is one of the smartest people I know. It is a mystery to me why she has not yet been published.

She's the one who needs to blog.

And now, without further ado- Dana, musing on the differences between crumpets and strumpets.

"Albeit there's a difference between a strumpet and a crumpet, couldn't both
be considered tarts?

And a successful strumpet is often also described as tart, but would a tart crumpet pass muster (mustard)? When is a tart tart a 'good thing', Martha? And isn't it amazing that this cadre of dual meanings around both tea and temptation have remained largely intact amongst the obervant on both sides of the Altlantic, whereas many other carbo-laden foodstuffs that could be consumed at Boston Harbor or with a steaming cuppa-anything on the East End are not named the same thing between here and there? Consider: biscuits, cookies, chips, fries, puddings, and waffles (that's politicians like John Kerry in America). Scones and French things-- petits fours, crepes, eclaires, quiche and croquettes-- have pretty much retained the same meaning, although a low-brow Southern 'croquette' is really called a tuna patty... and what of all the cakes and random things? There's pancakes (that's landing a plane without gear in England), griddlecakes, crumbcakes, bundtcakes, teacakes, hotcakes and cheesecakes (with associated dubious meanings as well), popovers, flapjacks, ladyfingers, finger sandwiches, trifles, fools, pasties (yikes!!), tortes, bombes, cobblers, brownies, bearclaws, butterhorns, shortbreads, sweetbreads, sweetmeats, and mincemeat... to name a few.

And pirogis. ("What's a pirogi?" "It's dough, filled with meat." Dan loves that line.) But it's pretty much a pasty...

I'm gonna go-- I made myself hungry.

...I'll just think, 'jello mold'.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sartre Could Have Been Wrong

All last week I would have denied this.

While overall it was quite a good week, it was a sort of testimony to the validity of Jean-Paul Sartre's quote: "Hell is other people."

But tonight made a strong case for an alternate possibility: Hell is timing a swim meet in which nearly 40 children must swim a mile.

Think about that, will you. Take a moment: 1650 yards= nearly 1 mile. 66 laps. 40 children cycled through an 8-lane pool. That's five heats of eight children.

Last night's average swimmer swam the mile in 20-25 minutes. Five 25 minute heats........ that's OVER TWO HOURS!

I enjoyed the first two hours of the session, and they sped by pretty quickly, really. I was excited to turn over the heat sheet and see there was only one event left. My heart fell when I saw that the 1650 freestyle was the final event. The final TWO HOUR event.

I could go, get dinner, gas up the car, and still make it back to pick up the sheets at the end. Or, I could catch a movie. (Not King Kong, though. King Kong is too long.)

There's almost something zen about watching children swim


and forth......


and forth.......

But I am not into zen. And while the kids did an amazing job, I just kept wishing I'd thought to bring a book. Instead, I watched them swim.

66 laps per heat.

330 total laps.

One. Long. Night.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Sorry! It was pointed out to me that I forgot to post our family's Christmas letter.

It was sort of, loosely centered on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou" movie of a few years back.

So, without further ado, our 2005 Christmas letter:

“I am the paterfamilias! "
M. has finished his first year working for ****** in *******. We’re so thankful that he now works day shift. It’s nice to have him around more while we’re all awake. His job takes up a lot of time but he’s enjoying the people he works with, and is continuing to learn and grow. He is finishing reading “A Patriot’s History of the United States.” It’s a 944-page book that he’s been working his way through for several months.

“A woman is the most fiendish instrument of torture ever devised to bedevil the days of man.”
I’ve had a busy year, and it’s hard to boil it down to a short paragraph. Some of the highlights, though:
*Creating and maintaining our family’s blog. I try to update it every couple of days with photos, stories, or just links to other websites I think are funny or thought-provoking.

*In September I had my thyroid removed. It was quite an adventure, and I’m thankful to be on the other side now.
* I’ve painted the kitchen, boys’ bedroom, and boys’ bath. This coming year I plan to do the living room, master bath, and master bedroom.

“I detect, like me, you're endowed with the gift of gab.”
Braden continues to homeschool during his 4th grade year, and it’s exciting to see his growth. This year we added cursive and Latin to his studies.
In May, he began taking swimming lessons and has since joined the swim team. He is improving his technique on all 4 strokes, and is working to master diving and those pesky flip turns. Neither comes easily to him, but it’s encouraging to see him work hard and not give up. In October Braden made the decision to be baptized. We drove to La Crosse, and Braden was baptized in the same pool where
M. and his parents were baptized years ago.

“We thought you was a toad! “
This year we discovered Brogan’s love for costumes. He loves to pretend to be characters he sees in movies or reads about in books. Give him a hat, or a cape, or a marker to draw a mustache on his face, and he’s happy.Brogan has also started doing preschool with us. He’s learning to cut-and-paste, and has learned his letter sounds. In January he’ll start swimming lessons, and is excited about being able to have his turn in the pool.

“Soggy Bottom Boy”
Colson’s big achievement this year (besides learning to talk) is potty-training. Well, he hasn’t achieved it yet, but he’s close. Veeeeery close. Colson favorite game is to play superheroes. He’s usually pretending to be Hulk or Batman. He follows his brothers closely, imitating whatever they do.

Photos for Miz Booshay

We used to live about an hour from Lambeau Field. One day, the boys dressed up in their Viking gear and they posed for our 2004 Christmas card photo. After taking several photos, we went into Curly's and shared a HUGE ice cream dessert.

We were worried about people making mean comments, but no one did.

Several cars did honk at us, though. :)

Lambeau Field became one of our favorite field trips. The boys loved the "Packer Experience." We even went to watch one of the team practices and saw Brett Favre (back when the Packers were a winning team).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I Shopped in the Petite Department!!

At last! At long, long last!

Years have I hoped. In vain, or so I thought, I dreamed of shopping in the petite department. To browse amongst and finger small, adorable garments. However, I am far too tall to even entertain such an idea. After having three children, I am far too wide as well.

Recently I tried on an item in the women's section and found the item much too large. The attendant steered me toward the children's department, saying, "Perhaps one of these?"

"But, they're for children!" I stammered.

"Yes, most are, but we have our petites over here as well," she replied.

Overcome by joy, I tried on one item after another in the petite section, fulfilling a lifetime dream.

Through my euphoric haze I carefully judged each piece and picked the petite one that suited me best.

And then I paid for the new pair of glasses I'd selected and left the office.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Window into the Soul

I love that my eye doctor has a sense of humor. Here is a picture I took of the office exterior.

The blue and black object is a water meter. He painted it black and blue, and then used white and brown rocks to make it look like an eye on a face. I thought it was hilarious, and the boys love to point it out every chance we get.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Little Photo Heinz

Catch-up, that is.

Okay, maybe that joke only worked inside my head. But I'm too tired to go back and think of something clever.

We've spent past couple of days primarily doing school and unpacking the basement. We moved many, many things downstairs once the basement was completed, but we never actually put anything away. We pretty much carted things down, stacked them (maybe), and closed the doors of the rooms closest to avalanche. Yesterday we made tremendous progress in one room and it's almost clean and organized!

As a reward we managed to squeeze in a special trip to Chuck E. Cheese, and then today I took the car to the mechanic to be fixed. I had the boys all hyped up to ride home in the mechanic's shuttle, only to find out that they wouldn't be fixing our car after all. Therefore - no ride home in the shuttle.

Brogan was pretty disappointed to hear this, as he apparently thought we would be riding home in a space shuttle. Poor guy.

I was disappointed because, to make a long, uncomfortable story very short, I was told to take the car to the mechanic to be fixed. When I described the problem, the guy walked over to the gas cap, clicked it shut, and said, "Problem solved. No charge!"


Anyway, today we get a little photo catch-up from the holidays.

M. shoveled our driveway earlier this month, Braden managed to bury himself in the snow.

Colson as Batman, here, and Brogan as Spiderman. Happily, Brogan has stopped wearing the mask and is comfortable with his bruises. Thank you to all who sent him encouraging notes. He smiled at all of them!

Over our Christmas holiday, the boys and their cousins treated us to several shows. Here's a picture of Braden and cousin J. Braden played "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World" and J. sang. Their duet was quite a treat!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Excuse Me??

It's a shame. It really is. It was a great conversation, and I would've liked to have seen when the speaker's line of thinking would end up, but I was completely sidetracked by a malapropism.

malapropism noun [C] the wrong use of one word instead of
another word because they sound similar to each other, and which is amusing as a

I love good talk radio because it makes me think. On Friday my favorite radio show had a guest host. I've no idea who he was, just that he and his two "co-hosts" were from St. Louis. They were pretty entertaining, and I liked the interaction between the three people.

They spent the morning discussing small-talk-y kinds of topics. Nothing especially earth-shattering or riveting, but then out of nowhere one of them brings up the notion of how cavalier we've become when disccussing God or matters of faith. As a society, we've lost a lot of the reverence that we should have when talking to or about God.

THIS sounded interesting. I listened carefully as they set the discussion up, but completely lost the conversation when the host said, "We talk about God so casually. We talk about Him with a little 'g' instead of with a capital 'G'. He's become just another trite topic. Something we chat mindlessly about over tea and strumpets."

Um...... What?

Tea and strumpets?

My mind was gone; imagining what someone would talk about over tea and strumpets. And in what situation might you find yourself dining with both tea and strumpets.

There's a big difference between strumpets

and crumpets.

And while pondering this, the show went to a commercial. Sigh.