Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This and That

As I type this Seamus is in his room, supposed to be sleeping, and trying everything he can to get me to come in there…including yelling out: I pooped! Mommy change diaper! AND Aaachoooo! (totally fake sneeze) I sneezed! Mommy, clean it! Mommy clean big booger! If I hadn’t fallen for these two lines in the past, I might actually believe them.

I’m sick today, ended up catching whatever dreadful thing Mr. T and Mr. S had. And since Mr. S had a fever only yesterday, I didn’t send him to day care for his half day toady as I usually do. It was rough chasing a toddler all over the house when I felt like doing little more than crawling under the covers and complaining. But, I began to feel guilty that Seamus was getting bored being couped up all day, so I took him to the pet store to see the iguana and the fish. I told him we were going to the park afterwards and then had to renege because my body started aching and I could feel a fever coming on. Seamus was a good sport about missing the park today, which means I’ll dig up extra earthworms for him tomorrow when we go.

Still no word on the job I interviewed for. This worries me. I’ve been trying not to think about it and just focus on my writing and Mr. S and all the new things he’s learning. Just the other day he started saying I love you. He said it first to Mr. T and then me. Now he says it to his dinos, his Thomas trains, my shampoo bottles. He’s also learned thank you and says it all the time, which makes me so proud. Today he thanked me for his soup at lunch and then said, I love my soup.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thanks Rocio!

One of Mr. T's fellow toy design students sent Mr. T home with a special surprise for Seamus.

Since Play-Doh and Spongebob are two of Seamus's favorite things, this toy hit a homerun. Lucky for me and Mr. S (not so much for Mr. T), Mr. T was sick today and stayed home from class to photograph the whole thing.

Thank you, Rocio!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Seamus Updates

Remember back when I blogged about how much Mr. S loved his veggies, that he would rather eat peas than a PB & J? Well…this isn’t so much the case anymore. Seamus will no longer eat vegetables or PB & J. He’s been on a vegetable strike for a few weeks now. The sweet potatoes and green beans that he used to devour are a thing of the past, as are edamame, broccoli, carrots and squash. In fact, the only vegetables he’ll actually eat now are peas and lima beans and tomatoes (but only as sauce or salsa). Also, he gave up most bread and all peanut butter, which means PB & J is also no longer an option. What’s a mama to do?

Mr. T suggested I start pureeing vegetables , just like we used to do when Seamus was new to table foods, and sneaking them into his meals. I’m happy to say this has been working quite well. I’ve been a pureeing fool, blending carrots and bell peppers, broccoli and asparagus into his pasta sauces and rice and beans and he hasn’t even noticed. I’m proud to say I’ve also conquered the bread and PB & J dilemma, by purchasing some dinosaur cookie cutters and making stegosaurus and t-rex shaped sandwiches. He has so much fun eating these, I doubt he’s even paid attention to what they taste like. I’ve also started making his bread from scratch. I end up with moist, chewy loaves of bread and can add applesauce, wheat germ and/or honey to them if I like. When I serve this to Seamus I don’t call it bread. Instead I call it something like a honey wheat treat and he falls for it every time, every time gobbling it up.

However, today I made peanut butter blondies with pureed carrots and sweet potatoes. They taste like the yummiest peanut butter cookies; you’d never even know there were vegetables in them. Mr. S couldn’t bring himself to put one crumb of these snacks past his lips. Sometimes, I think he senses that I want it too much, want him to eat his snacks, his veggies, etc. and he rebels. I knew he’d be on to me in no time.

Anyone have any other tips for sneaking in vegetables and getting kids to eat foods they don’t want to? Most of those sneaky recipe cookbooks get really bad amazon reviews; so I don’t want to waste my money on them.

The Funny Things Mr. S Says…

Seamus is talking up a storm nowadays. You can actually have a pretty lengthy conversation with him. Mostly he likes to talk about things splashing in water, or swimming in water or falling down in water. He threw a rock in the bay today and narrated the whole thing and then reenacted it all the way home. Also, today he saw an earth worm for the first time, and he hasn’t stopped talking about it since. This was perfect timing because we were just reading about earthworms. All day he’s been pointing at the ground and saying big worm hiding in the rocks, or big worm hiding in the mud. And then he asked me to sing him a song about big worms when I tucked him in for his nap today.

He also often tells me he’s hiding in the moon like the Cheshire Cat (we just watched Alice in Wonderland).

When I pick him up from day care in the afternoons, he’ll tell me all the way home what happened that day. Here’s a typical conversation from Seamus verbatim:

Alex throw big alligator down on the ground.
Seamus pick up!
No, Alex! No!
Isha (that’s his teacher) pick up alligator.

I get a good idea of what happened in that instance.

Or he’ll say something like:

Morgan hitting. Morgan go in time out!

It’s nice to know what goes on at day care. I wish he could tell me more.

One more funny Seamus story and then I’m signing off…

The other night, I had put Seamus to bed and about half an hour later he’d stopped talking to himself, stopped calling for water and mama (he’ll do this over and over and never go to sleep if you cater to him) and I thought he’d finally gone to sleep. Then I heard a rustling sound. When I went to check on him I found him sitting up in bed and reading a book (a story about some worms no less—Squirmy and Wormy). He jumped when I walked in as though I’d caught him up to mischief and hopped back under the blankets. It was so hard to put the book away and ask him to go to sleep.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Let the wild rumpus start!

Do yourself a favor...

and buy this book.

I just finished Mary Miller's Big World and have to say this is the best book I've read since Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You came out two years ago.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Special Delivery

Our dear friends, the Michael family, sent one of their famous care packages our way. Weren't we lucky to receive lots of Easter and St. Patty's day goodies in the mail, along with funny movies and flowering seeds and Pocky!

Mr. S loved the lizard, which he sometimes calls a salamander and sometimes Phinny Newt (and sometimes he tries to pull its tail off like the regeneration illustrations in his reptile and amphibian guide). He also loved the roaring dinosaur, which he identified as a Maiasaura.

And the duck bill whistle--he loves that too.

Thanks sweet Michaels for the lovely yarn!

And the old book of poetry!

And the green Sno-Balls...you said Mr. T and I could share these, but unfortunately for T he swore off all junk food the night before your package arrived. All the more for me! You didn't know this, but Sno-Balls are my absolute favorite treat of all time.

We also loved Syd's "valentime" and the adorable pictures. She's a hearbreaker already.

Thanks Bob, Kitty and Sydney! We love you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spaghetti Shout Outs


Our camera battery became "exhuasted" before we could get to everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend and More

My interview on Friday went very well. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to jinx it, but I will tell you that I interviewed with a search committee of three people and that I have never interviewed for a position of this caliber before. The Access Services Manager manages Circulation and Inter-Library Loans. Also, the pay and benefits are incredible...the benefits more so than the pay. I should know in about two weeks whether I was chosen for the position. The search committee has more interviews this week and maybe some next week as well. Fingers crossed!

Once the interview was over, I could relax. And I had a lovely weekend with Mr. T and Mr. S. The weather was fair, so we spent lots of time in the park. Mr. T had class on Saturday, so Seamus and I played and went birdwatching by ourselves. This time the seagulls came right up to us; we think they remember us.

And this time, new birds in the bay. Brants:

There were also a couple of mallards and this guy:

I think this is an American Wigeon.

When we came home that afternoon, there was a special delivery from Grandie and Grandpa: Dinosaur flashcards, a new reptile and amphibian field guide, an insect field guide, a Skippyjon Jones book, a Pinocchio dvd, girlscout cookies and some adorable dinosaur socks (along with lots of chocolate for me and Mr. T).

Mr. S had a blast getting into everything, and we've read Skippyjon Jones a dozen times already. Thanks Grandie and Grandpa!

Sunday, Mr. T came to the park with us and we did more of the same birdwatching and swinging and sliding in the playground.

Seamus is probably the only child on the playground more interested in rocks and sticks than climbing and chasing.

He loves to crawl under the slide and take off his shoes. There are also dinosaur bones under there.

This last photo I just have to throw in. Mr. T is so happy that Seamus just naturally loves He-Man (with little encouragement from Mr. T). Here Orko and He-Man are discussing breakfast.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wish me luck...

I have a job interview tomorrow with the FIT Library for the position of Access Services Manager.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


This weekend the weather in our area has been so lovely, spring-like temperatures, blue skies and sun. Even this morning when it looked as though it might rain, the sun eventually came out and the clouds cleared away. Mr. S and I have taken full advantage of this and twice visited the park and the bay.

But this morning Mr. S slept in. We’d all been out kind of late last night visiting my cousin Alex and his lovely family on the Upper West Side. We love to visit them, especially since they have the most adorable 8 month old boy ever. But it’s quite a production getting to their apartment. We left our apartment at 1:30 yesterday and didn’t arrive back home until 10:30 that night. We took three trains to get there, which Seamus hates, and by the time we arrive he’s wound up and wild and a little bit of a monster. But it’s totally worth it to spend time with family. Also, since Mr. T's Saturday class was cancelled, we had the whole day with him! It was Alex’s birthday and we met up with my Uncle Mike and Aunt Janet as well. We had a fabulous time and even brought our camera, but neglected to take a single picture. Mike and Janet gave Seamus a new house for the plastic bugs they gave him last time we visited them. This was the first thing Mr. S wanted to play with this morning. As you can see, this is also a house for dinosaurs and ducks.

After breakfast, we went back to the playground and took lots of pictures. Every time I asked Mr. S to smile for the camera, he’d squeeze his eyes closed.

We had the playground completely to ourselves, and Seamus claimed his swing right away.

Then he slid down the slide by himself and excavated some dinosaur bones with a tree branch.

Later we walked by the bay and fed the seagulls and watched the ducks on the water.

It was a lovely morning.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This and That

The U.S. Census Bureau called me last night at 9:30. They had the results of my employment test. I scored a 98. Woo hoo! This means I answered 27 of the 28 questions correctly, which is astounding because most of those questions were math questions. My Dad will be proud. (I was always very happy with my C grades in high school and college math courses.) Anyway, this means I can now be considered for employment with the Census Bureau, helping out with the 2010 Census. On the phone last night, I was told they would look at the highest test scores first and then the need for census takers in my community, and then they would start calling people. I’m hoping to get a phone call in the next week or so. It’s temporary work, might last me through the summer, but I would get to choose my own hours and the pay is quite nice.

Mr. S has a birthday coming up. The big 2! I have a little over a month to plan something, and I was thinking a dinosaur themed party would be a blast (especially since he keeps asking if the Easter Bunny is going to put Ankylosaurs and T-Rexes in his basket). I found a cool birthday cake online, but it takes 8 hours to make. I’m sure with Mr. T’s assistance we could pull off something similar. Mr. S’s birthday falls on a Sunday this year. We’re thinking of having his party at our house on a Saturday and then taking him to the American Museum of Natural History on Sunday, where he can see real dinosaur bones.

So, people are buying my little book, and this makes me happy. Mazie Montgomery wrote up a nice review on her blog. And Meg Pokrass mentioned my book as well. Both of these ladies are amazing writers, and I’m lucky enough to have been in workshops with each of them. Mazie has lots of great chapbooks out. If you buy one, you will have to clear a few hours of your day because you won’t be able to stop reading. Meg has been published everywhere. Really. Here’s one of my favorite Meg Pokrass stories.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I have a book!

Haircut Stories is available now from the Achilles Chapbook Series. Five bucks and that includes shipping!

Also, I have a little story up at Wigleaf...Everything Was Blowing in the Wind. And another story, Audubon, at Kitty Snacks. I'm in there with the marvelous J.A. Tyler and David Erlewine.


As of this morning, I am officially out of high-quality, watermarked resume paper. I’ve just sent off another round of curricula vitae and cover letters for adjunct teaching positions for the fall semester. My goal is to blanket the New York City metropolitan area with my resume, and I have now contacted every university and community college within a twenty mile radius of Bayonne. Most of these schools want you to email all your info to their human resources department, which will deliver your CV and cover letter to the appropriate person, but I’ve been mailing hard copies of everything to department chairs as well. I’ve sent too many resumes to human resources departments as of late and never heard a thing, which makes me wonder if anyone is actually looking at my credentials. Keep your fingers crossed for me. If I can acquire enough classes this fall, say four of five composition courses, I could probably make ends meet. After all, we live way out in the boonies of New Jersey where the cost of living is a lot cheaper.

All this staying home has caused me to get to know my neighbors a little mor. The man who used to sit on his front stoop all summer with classic rock blaring from his apartment, turns out to be a super nice guy, who fixes all the neighborhood cars in his spare time and always makes a point to chat about how big Mr. S is getting. There’s also his girlfriend, Leela who has a sweet, but aging chow named China for whom she has purchased an old Radio Flyer so she can wheel China around this summer. The poor dog’s hips are giving out. And I’ve not just gotten to know my neighbors but the crossing guards as well, and some of the neighborhood regulars, like the man who lives around the corner and always comments on my Converse high tops or the clerks at CVS and Rite Aid who’ve started telling me about the dramas in their lives. I’ve also gotten to know the cashiers at Shop Rite, which is sadly closing until Christmas to make way for a bigger, better Shop Rite, and although we definitely need a bigger, better Shop Rite, this means I’ll either have to walk two miles or take a train to the nearest grocery store. I love walking, but in the winter when it’s windy and snowy, it’s kind of a pain. All this is to say, I’ve finally gotten to love Bayonne. It’s not as picturesque as Tennessee, but the people here are just as friendly. I don’t understand how the North has the rude rep it has. We’ve yet to encounter a single rude person up here.

Mr. T is in class right now, but will be home in time for dinner. And since I’ve become a sort of housewife lately, albeit not the tidiest housewife, I’ve got to come up with something yummy and nutritious (as Mr. S likes to say) for dinner tonight. I’m thinking I’ll fix my famous lentil rice stew, which is always a big hit even though we eat it at least once a week.

Before I sign off, I need to tell you that Mr. S has acquired a piggy bank. Actually we’ve had it forever, but he’s just now noticed it. He loves to put quarters in the slot on the top and then empty them all out onto the floor. He will do this half the day, if we let him. But since we must supervise him with quarters, we only let him play with it every once in awhile. Anyway, instead of calling it a piggy bank, he calls it a guinea pig. Just thought y’all needed to know that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Books, Books and More Books

For months now, Mr. S has been in need of a sturdy and large bookcase. We've been keeping his books stashed in baskets all over the house and they've been overflowing for quite some time now. So, Mr. T took it upon himself to build a bookcase. He wrote out dimensions and plans and even made a 1/8 scale model. We needed something that was low to the ground and toddler-friendly, but would still house all of Mr. S's books. Mr. T came up a bookcase five feet long and four feet high. Perfect for our little reader!

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