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Bits and bobs

* I finally gave in and took my cough to the doctor today. My lungs are clear, so she thinks it's a post-viral cough, where being sick has irritated my respiratory tract and some asthma as well. So I have an inhaler and codeine to hopefully evict my guest that has long overstayed its welcome.

* I turned 40 on the 17th. When I think about starting another decade, I keep remembering that ten years ago when I turned 30, I was 6 weeks pregnant with Katherine. It's fascinating to see how dramatically different our life is ten years and three children later.

Meanwhile, I'm choosing to ignore any thoughts of my looming mortality, no matter how many grey streaks my hair seems to be developing.
While watching Arrow just now, I made a comment that I think sums up the state of death in comics/comic-related franchises pretty well:

"I would not have believed [$character] was actually dead unless I had seen a flashback of her cradling his severed head."*

Yep, that's it. Still more than I want to say about the national election. I am pleased that our horrid governor was voted out of office. Maybe the new governor will restore some of the 250 MILLION DOLLARS Corbett cut from the Philadelphia schools. But when it comes to our national government, I would rather talk about comic books.

*Which of course always brings to mind the fantastic line from the superb movie Soapdish: "How can I write dialogue for him? He doesn't have a fucking head!"

Fashion plate

Guess who's been choosing his own outfits lately?


This particular masterpiece of fashion is a shirt with bugs and pants with monkeys on surfboards (actually a pair of 4t pyjama pants, but why let that stop him from realizing his artistic vision?), but I think it's the blue argyle socks that tip it over into true awesomeness.

Cough cough cough

We seem to have been blessed with the eternal household cold early this year. Coughing is the soundtrack of the house right now. I've been coughing for three weeks now, which is honestly starting to get a bit boring, because I can't do much physical if I want to be able to breathe at the end of it. It's not so bad, I suppose, as long as I don't move, or talk. Or lie down. At work, I've been very tempted to put out a sign labeling myself as a living history exhibit of an authentic Victorian Consumptive.

I suppose I would have to stop using the computer if I wanted to preserve the illusion of historical accuracy though. And maybe grab a red marker from the children's section to put some bloodstains on a handkerchief.


(It's November. Am I doing this? I guess I am)

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We passed an uneventful and sugar-fueled Halloween.

We avoided all sorts of potential drama:

Alec, for instance, was perfectly happy to go off to school in his firefighter costume when I told him that he couldn't wear his chosen monkey costume because he couldn't go to the bathroom in it easily enough.

James was thrilled to wear the dinosaur costume that his brother and sister had worn before him because it was his turn to be the right size for it. He's started to be very opinionated about what he wears lately, so he could have refused to put it on, but thankfully, he actually likes stomping around pretending to be a dinosaur. I left him with the costume while I went to get a fresh diaper and by the time I came back, he had managed to get one arm through a sleeve and his other arm through a leg and couldn't wait to finish putting it on.

Katherine didn't want to wear any makeup on her face even though the Monster High character she was dressed as has blue skin, which was good because apparently Target the day before Halloween isn't the right place to find costume makeup and I didn't have the energy to go any place else.

I don't know when my children decided to be so flexible and easy, but it certainly made for a nice day.

School notes


James's first day of preschool was three weeks ago. The first week went pretty much how I expected: he cried when I left and when I went to pick him up, I saw him through the window acting upset and holding his backpack, clearly signalling that he felt it was time to go home, so would someone kindly summon his mother, if you please? The next day, I had to carry him in because he recognized where we were going and he started crying before I left. But he was happy when I picked him up.

The next week? He happily ran in and left me without a second thought. Clearly I don't rate nearly as highly as a sand table. He was playing quite happily when I picked him up as well. That's how it's been ever since. Today, he blew me a kiss from the sand table as I left.

I'm pleased, of course, but a bit stunned that he adjusted so quickly since he's always been my koala baby. And maybe a little melancholy at my baby growing up. *sniff*


My other babies are doing well in big kid school. We went to Back to School night this week and I was once again blown away by all of the emphasis on social/emotional learning and developing compassion, and what they're doing to promote them.

I was even more blown away when I went to Katherine's classroom and discovered all of the writing she's been doing. Writing was such a huge source of drama last year. She would rather refuse (loudly) to do something than try and fail, so last year featured a lot of loud refusal when it came to writing. But this year? For whatever reason, she's willing to try. Her teacher transcribes what she says and she winds up copying about half of it, which solves the one of the big issues, which is being scared to misspell things. There was even a pretty cogent three paragraph essay.

Alec, meanwhile, is having a great time. It took a couple weeks for him to get with the program and stay on task, but he's doing just fine now. I was a little worried after his bad year in preschool last year that he might not be ready for kindergarten, but one thing we've never had any problem with is getting him to use a computer, and since their academic work is done on the computer, he's perfectly happy to sit down and do his schoolwork.

I'm not sure who told me my babies they could grow up and leave me to go to school, but they're doing it anyway.

Sep. 3rd, 2014

Hey look, I blinked and the summer is gone. The older kids had a fantastic time at camp. We took our annual two-week summer trip to Michigan, spending time with both of our families and seeing friends in Indiana and Ohio on the way.

And now it's time for school again. Katherine was not entirely resigned to starting school again:


Alec, on the other hand was entirely ready to rock kindergarten:


The dress code was changed this year from navy blue polo and khaki bottoms to any color collared shirt and long pants or skirt.* It is, however, entirely silent on the subject of monkey hats.

*which I didn't find out about until after I ordered 15 navy blue polo shirts and 6 pairs of khaki pants. Sigh. Fortunately, you can return website orders from Target to the store, so I returned 75 percent of them and bought some other colors, which makes Katherine very very happy.


A conversation with a five-year-old:

longstrider: Put your shoes on.

Alec: They're sandals, not shoes

longstrider: Yes, they're sandals, Mr. Precision

Alec: No Daddy, it's Alec


A cautionary tale:

They tell you that the Internet is dangerous for kids. That you should carefully monitor where they go, especially sites like Youtube. But the thing no one tells you is that the real danger of Youtube is that your child may watch cooking shows and then be inspired to do things like combine flour and water into a reasonable facsimile of a pie dough and then make a pie with grass filing and pretty impressive lattice crust - all on the floor of her bedroom. Or you may wake up to find she's been inspired to get out the powdered sugar, butter and food coloring so she can experiment with making frosting.

Although I will give her credit that she did a decent job of cleaning up after the frosting. And the most damnable part is what a good job she does on these experiments. If they were disasters, it would discourage her from doing it again. But no, she made a pretty good frosting, put it in plastic bags and piped it onto cookies for her brothers.


We are having a very nice, relaxing summer. Back when it was time for longstrider to put in requests for Sundays for the summer, I realized that 1) we had both just gotten raises and 2) he has lots of time off banked already. So since the reason for him to work Sundays is to either get overtime pay or comp time, we decided to treat ourselves to a summer off. The branch libraries are closed on Saturdays in the summer, so except for an obligatory Saturday at the regional library (which still has Saturday hours), he has no weekend hours this summer. I still have them, of course, but we've still managed at least one weekend day off together for the past month except last weekend. Lovely.

The older kids are having a great time at camp. Katherine has reunited with her camp friends and Alec is learning how to swim. If they could only stop bringing viruses home, life would be great (I have been trying to mail a package for the past 2 1/2 weeks, and no kidding, every single day I thought I might be able to make it to the post office another kid would get sick). When they're not running fevers, though, they're having a great summer. See?

Exercise: 25 minutes on exercise bike



Last Monday, Alec turned five. He also started his first day at Big Kid camp, attending day camp with Katherine for the first time, five days a week. In the past month, he has also had his last day of preschool ever, because he starts kindergarten in the fall. My little boy is getting so big!

Very big, actually. He's 45 inches tall and 43 pounds, which is the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. He's always been a very solid kid, and he's starting to thin out and get a bit more willowy.

Currently, he loves Legoes and playing Lego-related computer games. He can spend hours playing with Play-doh. He has started enacting elaborate conversations between toy figures (or the other day, puzzle pieces). He's starting to read short words and do basic addition. I predict great things for him next year in kindergarten.



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