Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow Day

Bundled up. Lindsay commented, "I look like the Home Depot."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

No disrespect

"What was your favorite part of your day," I asked.

"We made dream catchers. That was cool!" Lauren replied.

"Oh? You made dream catchers in Art?"

"No. We made them in Social Studies."

"In Social Studies?"

"Yeah, we're studying Native Americans."

"In Social Studies?" I repeated.

"Hey! Native Americans have beliefs too." She said fiercely.

"Wow. Yes, I know."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So cynical

I don't know if it started when she turned 8, or when she began 3rd grade, or even if it was earlier then that and started when her baby teeth started falling away to be replaced by too-big-for-her-mouth yet adult teeth. But Lauren somehow became a big kid. Unfortunately the characteristics of big kid seem to be endless irritation at the stupidity of one's own parents, expressed mostly in long sighs and eye rolls. And letting your little sister know that everything she likes is deeply uncool. Dora? Uncool. High School Musical? Very uncool.

She let me know that yesterday they had a "real lockdown". For my dad out there who remembers nuclear war drills (I think he called them "hide under your desk and kiss your ass goodbye drills"), lockdown drills are pretty similar. According to Lauren, the teacher turns off the lights and everyone has to hide silently out of sight from the door in case a gunman is running around the building. If you make noise, you could get shot. They do these drills somewhere between once a month and once every two weeks. (It's district wide. Lindsay's school also does lockdown drills, but mercifully, Lindsay doesn't see this as "someone is trying to kill me" in the way Lauren does). During yesterday's drill - I have to assume it was a drill because the Honeywell system didn't call/text/email anything about an incident - apparently a couple of the boys in Lauren's class thought that groping other people would be a good way to spend the time. Lauren was neither a groper or a gropee (it sounded like the boys were mostly grabbing each other), but she was pretty upset by the incident. She said that her teacher sent the boys to the principal, and that their parents were going to be notified, and that they were put as a class back on a daily status system. Basically, they get 5 points at the beginning of the school day, and can lose points for bad behavior. If, for example, a kid is out of points by lunch, he's not going out to recess. Lauren said, "We haven't been treated like that since first grade" and was clearly irritated. She's always chafed at group discipline.

I'm not really surprised by any of this. I know this stuff probably goes on at the private school nearby that's $25k/year. It's still really frustrating.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conversations with Lindsay

"Mommy, did you go to Pre-K?"

"No. They didn't have Pre-K when Mommy went to school. Mommy started school in Kindergarten."


"Did Daddy go to Pre-K?"

"I don't think so, honey. There wasn't Pre-K then."

"Who were Daddy's parents."

"Oh, you know the answer to that."

"Oh yes. Poppy and Tutu." She began to sing:
Poppy and Tutu
Up in a tree
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes daddy in the baby carriage
Sucking his thumb, peein' in a diaper
Then he drinks the al-co-hol.
Seriously. I have no idea.

Friday, December 10, 2010

By any other name

Lindsay has been insisting this week that we call her Samantha. We've obliged, mostly because we figure at some point, she will get tired of it.

Unfortunately, part of this obsession included disposing of all the Christmas ornaments that we've collected over the years that had "Lindsay" printed on them. This probably wouldn't have been a big deal had she not done it on a Thursday evening, before we'd bundled all our trash, curbed it, and had it carted away by the sanitation department.

Shortly after this picture was taken, our daughter formerly known as Lindsay began crying because she realized she would never have her ornaments again. She was instantly cheered by the ice cream that came after this.

I'm still bummed. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find ornaments that aren't "Lynn" or "Lindsey". Grr.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Now, with pictures!

This is the trivet I knitted. Isn't it pretty? I based this on a pattern for a dish towel.And this is something Lauren left in the downstairs bathroom. What does it say?
Dear Dad,
I love you. Put
the nobe on
the broar!!
What the heck?

ETA: I just realized that the note says "Put the knob on the drawer." 6/8/11

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Hey, I'm here, and I don't have to be. Nomoblopomo...

It's actually NOT even Hanukkah yet. I went out this morning and bought gelt for the girlies. Okay, I bought more than that. I did manage to put back the Star-of-David-and-Dreidel lights though. No lie. There is such a thing, and they were briefly in my cart. They just weren't really $15 of awesome.

Lindsay and I will be making latkes tonight. When Alec gets home, we will light our menorah, which we've had since we lived in Boston. It's a beautiful one, but it had very skinny candles that one can't buy anywhere, so we have to melt the bottoms of the store bought ones to make them fit. Also, and I write this because I didn't realize that you have to let all the candles die out on their own, so it will be something of a fire hazard Chez Stoll for the next eight nights.

You've been warned.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I did it!

Hey, I did it! Thirty posts in 30 days. Some of it was dialed in, but screw perfection. I used to dedicate this post to navel gazing about the things I've learned this month, so here goes:

  • Soccer season ended.
  • Lauren made a travel soccer team!
  • I learned how to knit.
  • Lindsay declared that trips to the library when you're not allowed to check out books is pointless, that HER husband would mop, and that David better watch out.
  • Lauren lost 3 teeth - two of them on Thanksgiving.
  • I voted.
I think those were the highlights. No big revelations this month. Besides posting 30 times, I volunteered at the thrift shop, helped with the Thanksgiving food drives at the girls' schools, picked up shoes 64 times, and did 25 loads of laundry. Go me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

According to Lindsay

"Can I help you mop?"

"No, honey, I only have one mop."

"When I grow up, I am going to have two mops. One for me, and one for the daddy."

"Or, so you're going to make your husband mop?"

"Yeah. He is gonna help me with that."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tree

I will post a picture of my tree when my girls stop rearranging all of the ornaments. Odd. I don't remember my brother and I being quite so particular about the placement of the decorations. But then, we put tinsel on the tree in those days. It was plenty of work just to get the tinsel off your footed bunny pajamas.

Last night, we made turkey pot pie turnovers. Oh my, they were good. We finished up the pumpkin pie and watched "The Wizard of Oz". It took a lot of explaining about why there were "grey people". I'd guessed my grandparents were about Lauren's age when the movie was originally released. It's amazing with all the digital enhancement now that movie still stands up really well - the costumes are really incredible.

Enjoy your last day of Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happiness is...

...when girlies are up early playing Barbies together instead of watching television.

...my home group on Saturday mornings.

...leftover turkey for lunch.

...putting up the Christmas tree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hopefully NOT a Thanksgiving Tradition

We had a great turkey dinner last night complete with sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts and pancetta, and finished with a pumpkin pie. We played a little RockBand before our friends turned to pumpkins (they had to be on the ice at some ungodly hour). After they left, I sat at my desk with my knitting, and Alec played some BioShock - to regroup later to watch Battlestar Galactica.

About 10 minutes in, Lauren came down stairs. "Mom, my tooth is too loose and it hurts. Will you take it out, please?"

My dad may remember that we had as many of these conversations as I had teeth. I absolutely HATED having wiggly teeth in my mouth. He often obliged - as I recall, he'd say something funny, and then pull the tooth, hard and quick. I've since mastered the technique myself.

I said, "Let me give it a little wiggle." I gave the tooth a hard push with my thumb, and out it came.

"Yay!" Lauren shouted, running over to Alec, her mouth full of blood, "I lost my tooth!"

I gave Lauren a glass of water for rinsing, and a damp paper towel for blotting. Tooth in hand, she headed upstairs.

About 20 minutes later, she came bounding down the stairs. At this point, I was reloading our dishwasher (dinner parties are fun, but they usually require at least 2 rounds from our slow machine). She came into the kitchen, her mouth full of blood, and announced, "I lost another tooth!"

"What? Open your mouth."

Sure enough, the tooth I'd pulled out had neatly clotted, and it was, in fact, the tooth above it that was now missing. I handed her another glass of water for rinsing, and a new damp paper towel for blotting.

"Um, are we done with the teeth tonight?" I asked nervously, mentally reviewing that there were only $7 in my wallet.

"Don't worry, Mom," Lauren said. "I don't have any more wiggly teeth."

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am learning that being thankful is an attitude I have the great privilege of practicing daily. There are some great women I have in my life that share with me the things they are grateful for everyday. It is a practice that frames my thoughts for that day, and changes me, I believe, a little bit at a time.

I am so grateful for the life I have - my husband and my beautiful girls. My family, far and near. My friends who let me vent and make me laugh.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Out of touch

"So, basically, Rachel said if I didn't like the Eagles, I couldn't be her friend."

"The Eagles? You mean, the band?"

Lauren's eyes rolled. "Duh, mom." She snorted. "The football team?"

Silly mommy. You'd better have written down all the lyrics to Hotel California, or we're through! "Oh. The Philadelphia Eagles." I replied. "So what'd you say?"

"I told her I thought the Eagles were great. They have some great pitchers." Mischief sparkled in her eyes.

"But you just said you were talking about a football team..."


Monday, November 22, 2010

Things accomplished

Food drive haul, sorted and packed in boxes for families in our school.

Turkey, in fridge.

No grocery shopping for me! Yay.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Who knew that 15 4-year olds could tire me out so much? And I was only there for an hour and a half. With a teacher and 4 paras. Geez.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crushing on Lindsay

Lindsay has a playdate today with a little boy in the other Pre-K class. His mom said to me this morning, "His father finally got to the bottom of why David wants to have a playdate."


"He said that Lindsay is the most beautiful girl in Pre-K, so he wanted to have her over our house. David doesn't get an chance to play with Lindsay because she plays with her friends on the playground."

I had to laugh. Poor boy. Crushing on Lindsay.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fire protection

"Mom, I know about fire protection!" Lindsay exclaimed in the pizza place.

"Oh?" I thought maybe she was talking about checking the smoke alarms, because weren't we supposed to replace the batteries at the end of daylight savings? No?

Lindsay dropped to her knees. "Go! Stay low," she said crawling, "and go slow..."

Hmm, sure beats Stop Drop and Roll.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


So, if you didn't already hear, Lauren made the travel soccer team and is now on the roster for the Edison Extreme. We're very proud.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pointless field trips

Lauren has been terribly jealous of her sister, as she's been on 2 field trips ALREADY this year. Lauren's class typically goes on one a year.

Today, Lindsay's class walked from the primary school to the public library, which is about 8 blocks away. Fran the librarian gave them a tour (if you can imagine, our town has about 14,000 residents, so our library is just a big room with a smaller room for the children's books, a gallery, and a conference room) and read them a story.

"Was it a good field trip, Lindsay?"

"Well," Lindsay replied, "The library is nice. Fran the librarian readed us a book about bear hugs. But something bugged me."

"What was that?"

"We went to the library, and we weren't allowed to take out a book."

"Oh. Well, you're going to go to your school library tomorrow...you can take out a book then."

"But it doesn't even make sense to go to a library and NOT take out a book."

Can't argue with that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

End of soccer season

We lost our game this morning, but the travel tryout went well. Fingers crossed!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Friday

I'm glad it's Friday! It's been a very long week.

Today, we're going to have pizza for lunch.

Tonight, it's movie night, and we're watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Tomorrow is Lauren's last soccer game of the season, and travel soccer tryouts!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I can knit!

I taught myself how to knit this month! Last night, I finished my first project - a scarf for Alec. It was super frustrating, and I did break a bamboo needle. But once I got it, I was hooked.

Fringe benefit - unlimited loveys! Lindsay is thrilled.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

S is for Saturday Soccer

We were on the pitch today at the ungodly hour of 9 AM, which I know for my hockey friends is the luxury of a late morning. It was 35 degrees this morning, and the fields were wet, so it was damn cold to be standing out there. The above photo is from earlier in the season. Lauren wore long-sleeves under her jersey, leggings and a headband to cover her ears.

This was one of the games that Lauren's team played versus a boys' team. They've played very few of those this season, mostly the girls' teams play each other, but since there are only 3 girls' teams in an 8 team league, today was one of those days. They also only had 7 girls today of their 14-girl roster since we had a 3-day week, many families went on vacation. Lauren played in goal for first quarter - had 7 saves and allowed 2 goals. The boys dominated today, and won 6-0.

We have our last game next week, which will wrap up our 10 week season. Thankfully, it's a later game, and hopefully it will be a bit warmer because it sure is getting chilly to be playing an outdoor sport!

Friday, November 05, 2010

New Traditions

I like the idea of family traditions. I'll admit that I've always been envious of my friends who practice the Sunday dinner tradition. I imagine in practice it is probably a hassle. Our Sunday mornings Chez Stoll are hectic. We're usually busy until noon.

About 6 weeks ago, the girlies and I started a new tradition. We watch a movie on Netflix together after dinner and have buttered popcorn. It usually means they get to stay up a little bit later, and condenses the bedtime routine a bit. So far, we've seen: The Princess and The Frog, Ponyo, Annie, and Monsters vs Aliens. Tonight, we're watching Flushed Away.

I have vague memories of watching The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday evenings with my parents. I don't remember any of the movies though. I remember we used to watch The Wizard of Oz together every Thanksgiving, though my clearest memory of it is watching it with Gramma Jean. She moved a television into her parlor, which I thought was Very Fancy. I must've been about 8 or 9 at the time. I doubt we ate buttered popcorn sitting on her velvet sofas...hee hee!

What are some of the traditions you remember from your childhood? And do you continue them with your kids?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sleepover with the bestie

My girlies are tired this morning. No school today meant that Lauren had her best friend sleep over last night. I know it won't surprise you that there wasn't much sleeping. They were upstairs around 10, but they whispered in the dark until sometime around 11:30 pm. I slept in this morning, but I heard them head downstairs just after 5 am.

We ate dinner together last night. I made steak fajitas from the leftover London broil I'd made on Monday night, along with rice and beans. Lauren's bestie said, "This is the best dinner ever. It's like eating at a restaurant."

Yeah. Awww.

While the girls settled into their movie, I went to text her mom and let her know because I like hearing when my kids are good. Unfortunately, my thumb slipped and I hit page instead of text. As I tried to quickly type the text, she called, worried that there was something wrong. Oops.

I'd told the girls that I'd get them ice cream for dessert, so once I was done texting, I headed out to get 3 kiddie cups of mint chocolate chip ice cream (with the flat square chips, not real chocolate chips because that's yucky, according to bestie). There was some construction going on right in front of the shop, so I parked my car down the block and walked. Who was there? Bestie's parents and little brother.

So, the girls had fun...and hopefully between the page and abandoning them for ice cream, Bestie will be able to sleep over again, because my girlies sure had a good time.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Visit from the tooth fairy

Yesterday, Lauren had a playdate at her friend Rachel's house. I got a call about an hour into the playdate from Lauren.

"Mom, I lost that tooth that was loose on the playground today."


"Well, yeah. I found it, and then went to the nurse and she gave me a tooth holder."


"Well, it was great until I lost it again walking home."


"But I still have the container from the nurse as proof. So do you think that the tooth fairy will still come?"

"Sure. You can leave the tooth fairy a note."

Our tooth fairy left Lauren a note when she lost her first tooth. At that point, we found out that our tooth fairy is named Bruce. The missing tooth note read:

Dear Bruce,

I am sorry I lost my tooth outside playing. If you want proof, look in my mouth.


PS Write bake back.
PPS Leave money.

Bruce left $5 under Lauren's pillow and penned on the back of the envelope. "No problem, Lauren! Love, Bruce".

This morning, when I asked Lauren about the tooth fairy, she said, "He wrote back 'No big', and left money. But, Mom, I think Lindsay might be Bruce."

Stiffling a laugh, I said, "Why do you think that?"

"Bruce has TERRIBLE handwriting."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

Don't forget to vote today!

I'm planning to in between school drop offs this morning. My polling place is a synagog on Main Street. Before I lived here, I thought they only used schools as polling places. I can't really complain about voting here, we have older machines, but there's no wait (when I voted in Boston, I waited 2 hours to vote in a presidential election once).

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Redux

My two little witches had a great weekend. Lauren played hard at her soccer game (nearly 3 1/2 quarters!) although they were defeated by the Angels on Saturday. We spent an evening with our favorite hockey family and enjoyed grilled chicken, roasted veggies from the farm and apricot cream cheese bars that were even good without the eggs. Yesterday, Lauren sang in church, while hubs cleaned the house (!), and then we hung out until it was time for the trick or treating. Girlies went out with hubs, I passed out Laffy Taffy, and when the witches returned we had dinner, and then watched The Goonies together.

Best. Halloween. Ever.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Being human

I wonder what it is about the human experience that we must see destruction for ourselves. The rain left the corners of our basement damp for the first time since we've moved into our house. It also blew in the nearly rotted off side door to our garage. Amazingly, all 16 of the trees on our property stayed standing (our lot is 60 by 100, and yes, that is a crazy amount of trees). Our neighbors with pine trees didn't fare as well. This morning, I noticed that the house up the street we made an offer on before we saw this one lost the giant pine tree in its front yard - it broke in two and fell over into their driveway onto their car. We tried to imagine the sound a tree falling on one's roof must make, and the structural damage it might cause.

We had to reroute several times yesterday because the roads along the Raritan River were flooded. We saw several houses with trees fallen onto them. The mom of one of Lauren's friends posted this picture to Facebook:And went down to Donaldson Park to see how high the Raritan was. It was pretty damn high:
You can see that the new baseball fields are under about 3 feet of water. The edge of the river about a half mile from where it usually is.
The playground we were just playing on last week. The picnic table we were sitting at is submerged. It is still raining today, but it looked like the Raritan had receded a bit and the downed trees are fewer as they get cleaned up.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Working on it

I'm working on far too much stuff right now to enumerate, and blogging has been far from my mind. I thought I'd share a couple of blurry pictures of my progress.

My friend Kimberly bought a house in November, and has been working on it furiously. Literally, every time I am at her house, something is completely redone or a different color. She said, "I'm trying to take advantage of my momentum, because I know once you've been in your house a certain amount of time, you stop working on it."

We had such plans when we moved into our house, and bought so many cans of paint. Once we'd painted the dining room and Lauren's room, we lost our steam. We were both working full-time in jobs where we had to travel, had a very long commute, and a munchkin. Just making dinner those days was exhausting. I don't recall having plans to work on the house when I left my job, I was pregnant with Lindsay pretty shortly after that, and the little time I had was spent doing freelance work. And now that was almost 4 years ago.

But, I thought, I can grab hold of that momentum and be inspired to pick up a paint brush, even though I am not very good at it. As Kimberly pointed out, "It can't look WORSE than it does." But also, I get frustrated with Lauren when she gives up on learning something new because the feeling of not knowing how to do something is scary. I so often hear myself say, "You'll never learn if you don't try..." So, I gave myself permission to make a big mess of painting the vestibule from the back door.

I should have taken a before picture so you could see the terrible blue paint they'd used for the door frames and the coat hooks. I've hated it since we moved in. But before we'd redone the kitchen, it didn't look so bad. Once the kitchen was finished, it became clear that it should be painted to look like an extension of the kitchen, so it has the same green wall paint and white trim. We are hoping that we have enough VCT left to tile the floor the same as the pantry, and plan to buy the same curtain as the kitchen for the door.
Planning the next house-venture, repainting the dining room. It's going to be blue-gray. Whee!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First tooth

Just before dinner last night, Lauren wiggled out her first tooth. She is the last person in her class to have lost a tooth, and we joked often that her teeth really like it in there. No more, though. The adult tooth is already on its way in...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Brought to you by the letter S

"What makes the sound ka?" Lindsay asked from the back seat of the car.

"The letter K?" I offered.

"No," she said, "The letter C."

"Ohhh! The letter C."

"What makes the sound sssss?"

"The letter C?"

"No," she said, a touch of impatience creeping into her voice. "The letter S."

"Oh! The letter S."

"What makes the sound sssss?"

"The letter S?"

"No!" she said loudly. "A snake."

"Ohh, right. A snake." I chuckled.

"What makes the sound ROOOOAR?"

"A lion?"

"No!!" she shouted. "A tiger."