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Showing posts from March, 2008

Day 91. in which Liam stops eating crayons.

This represents one of those rare moments when our three children are together and quietly playing. It also marks a moment in history in which Liam has stopped eating the crayons and has begun using them for their real intent.

Day 90. in which the Hoe Bowl turns us away.

Choosing appropriate activities, given our broad range of household occupants, can be a somewhat arduous task. The activity has to be appealing yet not too high maintenance nor too expensive. Going out to eat as well as going to see a movie is pretty much out due to both the noise and the economic factor. While Spring is here, at last, it's still a bit too mucky and chilly to drag everyone through. Liam has no concept of avoiding mud and Lily actually targets it. The park is also a bit of a drag for Seth; it doesn't hold the same appeal it once did for him. He is functioning at a higher level than the rest of our family. Bowling seemed relatively harmless in comparison to some of our other options and it was one we could all participate in. Even Seth likes it! Plus Andrea and Andrew were coming with us, so we had extra hands on deck to help tend to the little people as well as dear old Dad. We needed two cars to transport all of us to Hoe Bowl on the Hill . We pulled out of the

Day 89. in which we are thankful , but should have listened.

A mattress pad doesn't cost much, but I honestly thought for a few minutes after we bought the new mattress whether or not I really needed this. I knew that I did need one, but I tossed it around in my head before I bought one. It's such a boring way to spend money. You can't see it. It doesn't actually do anything. Nothing fun, anyway...I thought of all of the cups of coffee I could buy if I didn't buy the mattress pad. Last night, something was up with Lil. Even though she's mostly verbal now, she tends to regress in moments of anxiety which makes it even more difficult because she really needs something but you can't quite figure out what that something might be. This was the case tonight. She was whimpering and whining quite a bit more than usual and I kept reminding her to use words but that wasn't helping. I was desperate to understand her. She kept touching her tongue and poking at her teeth. It was a lot like playing charades. I thought perhaps

Day 88. in which we wait in Woodstock.

It rained today. Since it was not a good day for roofing, Dana was able to give me a ride to my doctor's office - Maverick Family Health in Woodstock. I've been trying to get to the doctor's for quite some time now. It's tricky that I actually have health insurance but no time to actually put any of it to use. Generally, I'm usually feeling like I'm about to die before I make it to the doctor's. The doctor's office is a nice one to visit, although they do have a bad habit of making you wait quite awhile. I don't typically mind because I am aware of this and my doctor spends so much one-on-one time with you, once you see her, that you appreciate why she is running behind schedule. But the one frustrating thing about waiting is that you spend most of the time in the second waiting room and the second waiting room isn't as aesthetically pleasing as the first waiting room. The office itself is nestled into the woods on Zena Road in Woodstock. The ins

Day 87. in which Alex is humbled.

Dana can't resist calling me at 4:15 every afternoon. He knows that my day ends at 4:30 but he must get very excited because he just can't make it those 15 minutes. It's so like clock-work that if I didn't know his phone was set to GPS time, I would think he just might not know what time it is. Perhaps he is looking at the time on an analog clock that is 15 minutes off? So we had our hundredth argument about 4:15 phone calls. I'm trying to wind up my day at work and because of the 4:15 call, I will consequently be late leaving the office now. Why answer the 4:15 call? I do let many calls go to voice mail. But Dana is very persistent. And since he is caring for our three kids and my dear old Dad, I feel a certain obligation to answer the call. What if it's an emergency? I'm honestly cannot recall if there ever has been an emergency at 4:15 pm, but there could be... Love must have been so much better in the days before the telephone existed. I was already cra

Day 86. in which the ad didn't include a family.

The bed frame arrived yesterday and with minimal cursing and only one missed slat, Dana assembled it in a little over an hour. Except it doesn't quite look as tidy nor as sophisticated as the image shown above. Instead it looks like this: It felt good to sleep in the bed. I didn't think it would make a difference, but having the mattress off the floor actually improved what I already thought to be ideal sleeping conditions. Of course, this is coming from someone who has been sleeping on a variety of air mattresses for a couple of years now... Remember, Liam just turned 1 this past December. So. Never will I wake up in the middle of the night laying on top of a deflated air mattress. Sleep is going to be good in this bed.

Day 84. in which Lilith wears princess shoes.

Lily was given a pair of plastic 'princess' shoes for Easter from her Grammie Barb. These shoes aren't anything I ever would have picked out for Lil to play with. She's a bit rugged and I'm her main female role model - and you know how I am about shoes. Shoes should be functional. Comfortable. Practical. But I don't think I should deny Lily the opportunity to explore her feminine side, either, and let her don a 'pretty' pair of 'princess' shoes. Tonight, we watched Shrek . Given Lily's love for all things monsters and dragons, I suspect this will become a favorite. She decided she wanted to be Princess Fiona and went downstairs to fetch her 'princess' shoes. She brought them back to the bedroom and set them on the floor in front of her so that she could slip her feet into them. I was surprised by her balance as she slid her little foot into each shoe without holding onto a piece of furniture. I wasn't sure if I could do the same..

Day 83. in which we celebrate the 1st Annual Brown-Soechting Kite-Flying Day.

I'm not Christian and nor was my family growing up, but we always observed Easter. 'Observation' might not be the right word. Really, it served as an excuse to eat a big dinner and celebrate the coming of pastel-colored candy. Being that we didn't go to church on any Sunday, let alone Easter Sunday, I never quite grasped the concept of 'Easter' clothes. Attire on Easter Sunday didn't differ from any other day of the year. It was just one of the days of the year that we ate a whole lot of food. Seth as the Easter Bunny...Easter 2007 Easter, to me, didn't have a 'Christian' meaning. I had no concept of Easter having a meaning at all. This is sad. Even though I'm not a Christian, I think it's important that my children understand that there is meaning behind Easter (and other holidays) so that they aren't equating Easter with Peeps . Of course, I still want my children to grow up with holidays to which they can look forward to celebrat

Day 81. in which the ringy-dingy has existed for years. Duh.

It was a bit chilly in the living room. Drafty, you might say. I gave Dad a sweater. "Hey Dana," I called as he passed by the living room entrance. "The window isn't shut up at the top. Could you fix it?" Dana scrunched up his face as he looked up at the window. "Huh, that's weird," he said. He looked puzzled. The window was about open, about 5 inches down from the top. I didn't volunteer any information. Dana often makes fun of my lack of memory. I feel like he sometimes uses this as his only weapon against me when we're each trying to win a fight. As if anyone ever 'wins,' a fight... Since he knows that my memory is poor, he can pretty make up just about anything and say that I said or did that because he knows that I can't be certain. Of course, if I really am forgetting everything, then I'm just being paranoid! But if I'm really not forgetting anything and Dana is trying to trick me, I don't want t

Day 80. in which Bob remembers and Alex forgets.

Last night, Dana and I came down after everyone was tucked in upstairs. I was getting something to drink when Dana remarked that I ought to pay more attention when Dad is taking his medication before bed. There was a small yellow pill placed directly on the center of the stove top. What a sneak! How did I miss that? I had been especially careful to watch him when he took his medicine earlier that evening, because lately I had noticed that he would miss one. With kids in the house, this is particularly dangerous. I needed to be more careful to make sure he was taking all of his medicine. Dana was right (this time...) Like tonight, it wasn't noticed until after Dad was sleeping in his bed. And waking Dad up when he's sleeping is just plain stupid...especially since he takes this pill to help him sleep. Dad! Wake up! You have to take your sleeping pill! Dana headed back upstairs and I picked up the pill to put it back in its container. However, after opening the bottle and droppi

Day 79. in which we have a happy lunch!

Today I was sitting in the cafeteria at lunch when my phone vibrated. It was Dana. I'd love to tell you that Dana had called for some important reason although even those one could deem 'important' typically aren't, now that I'm situated in New Jersey for work. I consider this a positive, actually, as many household crisis need to be solved without 'Mom Intervention'. When I worked in our Wall Street office in Uptown Kingston , I was only a few blocks away from my residence. Invariably, I would get called for any mini-crisis that occurred. These calls were often something that could have been figured out without me, but since I was so convenient, I was often brought in to oversee the decision. Dana once called me when his truck was overheating to have me look up online for him what he should do...Another time Andrea showed up at work because Dad had gotten out of the house and she was nervous about calling the police, since they had returned a wandering Dad

Day 78. in which Seth is missing.

Seth left on Sunday to get away from his family for a few days. Generally, he accepts anyone's offer to get out of our house for a few days. Not that he doesn't love his family, but if you lived in our house, you would completely understand why its inhabitants desperately need to get away to anywhere but here occasionally. So, school breaks generally mean no Seth. :( I immediately realize this for many reasons. My laptop cord isn't missing. The dishes are piling up in the kitchen sink. The cats are wandering around the hall upstairs outside of Seth's door, crying longingly. There is no one singing ridiculous songs loudly in the kitchen nor is anyone around trying to talk me into something silly, like putting peanut butter on my waffles. It's boring. Lily didn't notice that Seth had disappeared until today. Being a toddler, this isn't unusual and shouldn't be taken personally since by nature, they are generally self-centered creatures. When she did notice

Day 77. in which it isn't our eye sight.

Dana can't see the TV. Honestly, I'm not certain how much of anything he ever really sees because he can't seem to read text that I can read from across the room. However, he has no insurance and I forget to put this on our to-do list. Dana doesn't remind me about it, and since I can see fairly well, it doesn't occur to me that Dana can't see exactly what I am seeing. Eek...I hope that's not a metaphor for our life together! :) Anyway, we tend to watch TV before bed after we retire to our room. It's really a task of futility and yet I've noticed us completing this ritual night after night lately. I think perhaps people become TV junkies only after they have small children. They are simply too exhausted to do anything proactive so that they must zone out to something external. Typically, getting out of one's mind to an external peaceful place is a good thing to do. But this does not apply to the relationship one has with the TV. This is not a go

Day 76. in which the delivery men are punctual.

Our mattress was scheduled to be delivered between 12 and 4 p.m. It arrived at 12:04 PM - just in time for an afternoon nap. Have you ever noticed how delivery men either show up at the very beginning or at the very end of the range - never in the middle? I was glad to be at the beginning, but I've more than not been on the other end. The worst for untimely visits is Mid-Hudson Time Warner Cable. Without fail, they show a half hour after the window has closed and are generally obnoxious. I even had a Time Warner contractor hit on me once in my own home...and I was five months pregnant... The delivery men gone, I ripped off the plastic and flopped on the mattress. Lily gave it a try, too, and jumped in the air a number of times, landing on her bottom triumphantly. I love it. That's about all I could think as I drifted off to sleep. I am in love with my mattress.

Day 75. in which we flop on mattresses.

I had enough of trying to buy mattresses online. It was impossible. The only distinguishable difference seemed to be the price tag. Today was the day we would go in person to test out the mattresses. I felt a bit guilty because I knew unless someone offered me an amazing deal, there was no way I was actually going to buy the mattress at the physical store. I really only wanted to determine what was comfortable and then apply that knowledge to an online purchase where I knew I could get a better deal and in which all of the shipping would be thought-free for me. Of course, we were accosted the moment we walked into Sleepy's. There were 5 sales people - 4 men and 1 woman - in the store altogether and not a customer in sight. We were obviously the next victims. I think they sicced the newest one on us because we came in with a million kids. Who in their right mind would spend a lot of money on a mattress with a million kids? I felt guilty because I knew I was wasting their time. At th

Day 74. in which our fantasies give way to practicality.

This bed meets the rigorous Alex Brown criterion for a bed. This may be the one. fairly priced so that if my kids break the slats from jumping on the bed, I won't need to strangle them (though I might, anyway). ships for $1 from so that Dana and I aren't cursing at each other fitting into the car. is low enough to the ground so that if the kids fall off, it won't require a trip to the ER. Tomorrow night, we go to physical stores to see if we find something we prefer to what we've found online. Honestly, I can't see going to many stores with Dad and the kids in tow...if there wasn't an internet, I think we'd all be wearing rags and furnishing the house the Bob Brown way, with Xerox boxes!

Day 73. in which Alex exists in a four-dimensional universe.

I have little scraps of paper accumulating of random, half-baked ideas for my blog. Notes without a structure that won't make sense to me in a year if I don't actually write about them now. It's interesting to find these notes because it's a habit I've had for years and although I don't have a large collection of these scraps, I do have about seven or eight journals full of random notes to myself. At times, I have intentionally obfuscated the backdrop of my notes to keep some sense of personal sanctity if they were ever read by someone other than me. Unfortunately, my memory is so cruddy that these elusive notes often confuse me now, too. Who was the person who kept these journals? What did all of it mean? I've experienced moments of humility while reading my old journals. I was so very young. I find them embarrassing almost. I had a great idea last night before settling into bed. Unfortunately, I have already forgotten what it was. But I tried to capture it

Day 72. in which Kyrce cooks, Spitzer resigns, and paradoxes define our reality.

As Dana and I were getting ready this morning, I said, "Hey! Kyrce wants to make us dinner tonight! Is that OK with you?" Dana responded, "If she wants to come over and make us dinner every night, that would be fine with me! What are we having?" I scrambled to get the house relatively tidy before Kyrce showed up. We typically work together from my house on our work-from-home days. I think it helps keep both of us on target. But the house was a bit of a disaster. Getting all of the dishes moved from our dining room to the kitchen from dinner the night before was key. That's a bit embarrassing for me to admit, but hey, it's the truth. You try to clean the kitchen with two kids tugging at your leg, bonking each other and carrying on, while your father follows you so closely that every time you turn around, he is standing right behind you! No matter which way you turn it's chaos! Now you tell me how I'm supposed to wash the dishes and tidy up! It's

Day 71. in which Alex dreams about sleep.

Pillow Top. Plush. Latex. Memory Foam. What is up with the California King? I don't get it. Are people from California taller? Shorter? Wider? and if yes, why? Honestly, shopping online for mattresses is a complete waste of time and researching it online to get the answers to the questions above is killing me. I just want a comfortable bed. And I don't want to pay something ridiculous for it. Let's face it - Dana and I will likely need to buy a new one in a few years, anyway, since I anticipate Lily and Liam will spend a lot of time bouncing on it. I've never had a brand new bed before. Everything I've had has been a hand-me-down. When you're young, you don't know the difference. Your body doesn't ache when you get of bed at 13. It's something of which I wish I had appreciated more when I was younger. Not being 13, because that is just horrible. But feeling 13 is good. At 13, my father had to argue with me to get rid of this ratty old mattress I was

Day 70. in which we remember.

I once read something written by this New Age pseudo-philosopher about how when we mourn someone, we aren't actually mourning the person's death as much as we are mourning the pleasure they brought to us. He explained that our crying was not for the person who died but for the loss it created in our own life; the process of mourning itself was essentially selfish. I think that's a load of crap.

Day 69. in which Alex is enslaved by the telephone.

I refuse to be a slave to telephone. The telephone exists as a convenience to me. I can call someone if the need arises. But just because the phone is ringing does not mean that I have to answer it. These are the precepts I want to practice at all times. Some of you know that Dana likes to call me until I answer my cell phone, and generally, I give in and answer it at some point. He's alway leaving me these voice mails that go something like, "I don't know why the hell you have a cell phone if you never answer it! What's the point of having it if it's not turned on!?" Barbara used to feel this same way about my father. My Dad didn't want to scratch his cell phone. So, to preserve its longevity, he wrapped it up in an old white tube sock with a rubber band around it. It was difficult to reach him because of this. Inevitably, calling Dad on his cell always meant calling his voice mail. I wonder now if this was genius excuse Dad developed to keep from being e

Day 68. in which Liam catches what Lily had.

I've been up since 5:30 this morning and I didn't get much sleep the night before. Have you ever heard a baby cry for five hours straight? If you don't know babies, you might think this is an exaggeration, that it's not even possible. Oh, but it is! If you have babies, you are shuddering with fear as you read this and wondering if you have crossed my path in the last twenty-four hours...will it be your kids next? The worst of winter is that illness is more prevalent. Having little kids means that you'll get everything that you come in contact with. They have germy little hands and they spread their germy little germs all over the house. They think nothing of sticking a finger up one nose and picking up dried up macaroni they find under the dining room table and sticking it in their little mouths. It's a wonder we aren't riddled with disease. Poor Liam caught what Lil had and was beyond miserable. His fever hit 104. We were getting ready for a trip to the ER

Day 67. in which you read a day in the life.

It's hard to tell when my days begin and when my days end. It's not easily divisible into two separate halves - one of day in which I work and one of night in which I sleep. Sometimes it feels like work is my solace. If you work with me, you suspect that I am exaggerating. However, if you work with me and you have been to my home (Kyrce) - you may truly understand how apt this sentiment is. * * * ~ 1:30 A.M. Liam wakes and begins to cry. Alex stumbles out of bed, waking up only after she is set in motion towards Liam's crib. Hadn't she just done this? She fetches Liam and brings him over to the bed, waking Dana. "Will you go grab the bottle?" she asks. "Uh..." Dana grunts. Alex grabs a diaper and lays Liam on the bed where she changes him. "Dana. Dana? Please. Please go grab a bottle," Alex pleads. "Uh..." He grunts again but this time he responds by getting out of bed. Dana goes downstairs to get a bottle. He meets Bob along the

Day 66. in which that is some kind of magic trick!

After dinner, I was tidying up the house and carrying out the cans to the recycling receptacle on the front porch. Despite what everyone in the house thinks, the cans are not carried out to the bin by magical faeries. I disposed of the cans quickly. But I hid outside for a minute to get some quiet and compose my mind. You steal time when you can get it around here. I came back up to the door and before I could even put my hand on the door knob, the door was opened from the other side. Standing before me was Dana with Dad close behind him. Dana had a smile on his face but Dad looked stunned. His eyes were wide open, as if he was shocked to see me standing there. " How did you do that!? " I was confused. "How did I do what?" I asked. "See, I told you, Bob! I told you I was psychic! I could feel she was coming through the door and look at that! She did! I'm a psychic!" Dana announced, laughing. "By God! You are! That is some kind of magic trick!&quo

Day 65. in which Seth studies español.

On my way to bed, I always stop into Seth's room to say goodnight. I walked into his bedroom and found Seth positioned between his desk and his bed in his computer chair. His room was dimly lit with the light of a green-tinted incandescent light bulb and the glow of the laptop he stole from me about half a year ago now. He was listening to Sargent Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band ; "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was playing. Surely, this was my son. His 3-ring binder was opened up on his lap, along with a pile of index cards and a pen. He appeared to be studying. However, one hand was on the keyboard of the laptop. I asked Seth what he was doing. (I knew what he was supposed to be doing...) "Studying." "It doesn't look like you are studying." "What does it look like I'm doing?" "It looks like you're listening to the Beatles, fiddling around with your computer, and I don't know what else? But I don't see how you c

Day 64. in which we fear Facebook?

Facebook is freaking me out. I recently joined because Kyrce needed more vassals for her Knighthood game. I am now known as Lady Alex, vassal of Lady Kyrce. I haven't recruited anyone for my own castle. I started to 'play' but I abandoned it. Instead I started poking around in areas of which perhaps I shouldn't have poked around. I haven't decided yet. Jury is still out. What I mean is that ALL OF A SUDDEN everyone from every crevice of my life across my lifespan is converging on this one social networking site. For someone like me, I have to analyze this to death and come up with a number of sci-fi possibilities. What if the government starts issuing us an email we maintain for our entire lifespan? so that anyone could find you, at any time...? Maybe you don't want to be found? I find a lot of people I'd like to find are no where to be found. Likewise, I have also found a lot of people that I rather had not found me. Perhaps I have found people who didn