Saturday, March 23, 2013


Sadie on her first ever motorcycle ride with her dad:
"Believe me, it was a lot of fun. It was the best time I've ever had in my LIFE."

Josie to Grammie and Sadie, who were talking about what slowpokes we are when we were lagging behind them in the parking lot at The Natural History Museum:

Sadie, in a thwarted compliment attempt:
"Mom, you are a handsome woman!"

Josie, in an attempt that went just as awry:
"You're like a cow, Mom. You're a good mom. Like a cow." 

Adelaide's ideas

"There's a little man that lives inside all of us - and his name's Plaque. I learned that in my Teeth Class."

Adelaide pulled her toy sword out of the crack in the ottoman, held it over her head, and said, "I'm Queen Arthur!"

Chicken Code

“I want to raise chickens because I want to gather eggs. And sell them to our friends and neighbors.”

This is the answer I got from my 8-year-old daughter when I asked her why she’s become so obsessed with chickens.
Right now when we “gather eggs,” I send one of the girls out to the extra refrigerator in the garage. They fill a little basket with the eggs they get from the giant family-sized 3-dozen carton from Sam’s Club.

This "egg-substitute" is not cutting it for Sadie. What she really wants to do is gather eggs from actual chickens.

We have plenty of room, plenty of land, a handy dad who can build a proper enclosure and some kids with a great deal of enthusiasm and “want to.”

We homeschool, so this would be a fantastic opportunity for my kids to learn about responsibility, animal husbandry, buying and selling, making a profit and dealing with the public when they possibly might show the birds at the county fair.

So I called the city. I was told that we are not allowed to have chickens at all. Hmm. I was surprised and, honestly, somewhat annoyed. A) I really don’t like being told what I can or can’t do on my own property and B) I don’t want to train my kids that you’ve got to go and ask the government for “permission” to feed your family. Granted, this isn’t necessarily something that's going to keep us from going hungry, but you understand my point.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand zoning. I understand that I shouldn’t be allowed to raise rattlesnakes in my backyard or set up a mobile home next to my garage. I can even understand why we shouldn't have a rooster because, let's face it, roosters are loud (we used to live next door to someone with a rooster in NC and he woke us up every day.) But I don't understand why, if we have plenty of land (we do) and plenty of space between neighbors (we do) and a very willing and eager 8-year-old who actually wants to work and learn about sustainable, renewable resources - why can't we (legally) own three little chickens?

I did some research. In other large cities like New York and Philadelphia, they are beginning to adopt rules that allow chickens within city limits. According to, in the city of Cleveland (where most yards are tiny) you can legally have up to three laying hens. But in Mentor, where I have a humongous yard, you can’t have any.

I’m not trying to start a debate or anything. I’m just asking, why?

I decided to write to my very kind and helpful City Councilwoman. She informed me that at this time, there isn’t a Council majority of at least four members that would vote to change what I’m henceforth referring to as the “Anti-Chicken Code.” I also found out that at least a few other people in the area would be interested in changing the code.

I love living in Mentor. I don’t want it to become Farmville or anything like that. I’m not really sure how to go about this, but I think maybe we could initially draft an ordinance to allow citizens in residentially zoned areas to raise a maximum of three hens per household in a well-maintained coop. If necessary, residents could even apply for a permit or receive approval from half of their adjacent neighbors (I bet a dozen fresh eggs would go a long way with some neighbors!) There could be distance restrictions between chicken coops and neighboring properties.

Some friends of mine were allowed to raise chickens in Painesville when it wasn’t technically “allowed” because it was a special project for 4H and homeschooling (even the initial petitioning of the city would be a great learning experience for us.) I wonder if we could we allow it in Mentor for special circumstances, too?

One more thing – I’m not sure I want to try to change a rule if my kids and I are the ONLY ones who want to change it, so I’d really love to hear your opinion – even if it's different from mine.
What are your thoughts on the “Anti-Chicken Code?”

from my 3/22/13 post for 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Whenever we come home from somewhere, Jed runs into the house and yells, "RO-CCO!" We home!"

"I go updairs."

When he was mad at me because I wouldn't give him any candy, he stuck out his lower lip and said. "Whure Kim? Go see Kim."

When he wants me to hold him, he says, "Up! Mama! Up dere!"

Things he likes to say:
"Dog book, Cow book (including looking for the 'bousie' - squeak squeak!"
"Wormer? Wormer?" (his word for caterpillar, which he is obsessed with.)

"Crack my up, bonky head!"
"I seepy too!"

He cracks up when he pulls the hair down into my face and then I blow it back out of my face.

I asked Jed, "Do you like Mommy?" "Yeah." (in his deep voice) "Do you like Dad?" "Yeah." "Do you like Sadie? Josie? Adelaide? Roscoe?" "Yeah." "And what else do you like? "Chicken wings. Pizza."

Jed likes to sing a little song that goes something like this:
"A cracker bowl.
A chicken wing.
A fishin' pole."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

There's Magic Everywhere

Last year my girls tried to catch a leprechaun.

The sneaky little fellow refused to be caught, though. That failure resulted in some extensive planning; my girls have been hoping that he would make not only a return trip, but also some mistakes.

Sure enough, last week some “evidence” starting popping up. Sadie, who is 8, discovered some tiny paper shamrocks on the bookshelf that weren’t there the night before. 7-year-old Josie found some magically delicious marshmallow clovers from a box of Lucky Charms in the mailbox. And someone mysteriously repaired the torn picture of a rainbow and a golden egg in one of Adelaide’s books.

After writing down a list of evidence, Sadie asked, “Mom, why do so many magical things happen at our house? I mean, seriously, think about it: fairies, leprechauns, elves, Santa…we’ve got it all. There’s magic everywhere.”

My reply: “I’m pretty sure it’s because your mother has a great imagination. Or maybe it’s just because she’s nuts.”

Earlier this week, all three of the girls went to the library with their dad to build new (and hopefully improved) leprechaun traps. They also got to play games, learn interesting St. Patrick’s Day facts and bring home their own box-propped-up-with-a-stick-traps, “gold coins” and glittery shamrock stickers.
When they got home, they burst through the door to show me their treasures. I heard Sadie explaining to one of her sisters, “Unfortunately, this trap is not what you would call an automatic trap. Since the string is tied to the stick, someone has to man the trap. And I am pretty sure Mom is not going to let me stay up all night to pull this string myself. Maybe the leprechaun will trip on the string and trap himself.”

As they were baiting their traps, Sadie told me, “Leprechauns are born cobblers, you know. They love to make shoes. So he’ll know which one is mine, because mine is very fashionable.”

Josie set hers up in the hallway. She explained: “Well, I have decided that I need to bait it with more than just food, since last year’s didn’t work. So I’ve put in a little bed, a tiny pillow, a picture of a shiny shamrock on the wall and some Lucky Charms. What leprechaun can resist this?”

Adelaide showed me (very specifically) how to set up her trap: “Well, you take this thing and you put it here like this and then you turn this thing this way and put this thing over there and then you set it up like this and then when the leprechaun comes, you yank the string and then BOOM! You got him!”

Then she informed me that when you trap a leprechaun, “you have to lick him on the eye when you catch him. Like this.” She squinched her eyes shut and darted her little tongue in and out like a lizard.
“You do what!? Why?” I asked, completely baffled at this bizarre leprechaun-catching strategy.
“I don’t know… that’s just what the library lady said. To lick him on his eyes.”

After a sudden moment of silence, Sadie and Josie simultaneously burst into laughter. Doubled over, Sadie managed to get out the words, “Not LICK him on his eyes! Haha! LOOK him IN his eyes! Hahaha!”

Adelaide processed this and responded, “Oh. Whatever.”

I told them that I hope they catch one, because I could sure use some gold. I was reprimanded: “They don’t carry their gold around with them, silly. It’s at the end of the rainbow!”

Regardless, there are three new (and improved) traps set all around my house. Here’s hoping that I’m one pot of gold richer by the weekend.

And even if I’m not, there’s magic everywhere.

-from my 3/17/13 article for 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

You're Gonna Miss This - Well, Maybe Not ALL of it...

After all the responses I received to “The Mother of All Playlists,” (including additions like John Mellencamp’s “Authority Song” and Dierks Bentley’s “What Was I Thinking?”) I decided to keep this list thing going for another week.

Here are some other song titles that directly coincide with my motherhood experience. I’d love to hear the “mommy songs” that are on your playlist.

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
What you become when you try to decide whether or not to smuggle the newborn into the movie theater in her car seat or risk taking the three-year-old into a nice restaurant. Know when to walk away and know when to run – running would probably be the better choice if she has created a gritty, Hiroshima-type cloud from the contents of the pepper shaker and most of the Equal packets.
Something’s Always Wrong – Toad the Wet Sprocket
Well, that’s an understatement. Someone always has a splinter, a hangnail, a loose tooth, a tummy ache, a stubbed toe, an attitude problem, some eggs on their head or a bunch of poop in their diaper.
Shower the People – James Taylor
When you stick all of the kids in the shower at the same time and hose them down. Also the idea that my son gets every time he grabs the sprayer from the kitchen sink.
A Bad Goodbye – Wynonna
When you’re trying to go on a date with your husband and your kids don’t want you to leave. You say, “Love you! See you in a couple of hours!” They say, “NOOooooo! Don’t weave me! WAaaahhh!”
If You Leave – OMD
Usually happens after A Bad Goodbye. Go ahead, hum this one: “If you leave, I will cry, I will dump popcorn on the floor, I promise to open the cupboards and climb in the refrigerator… I’ll paint the dog and jump in the bathtub – with my PJs on… every second, every moment – I’ve got to, I’ve got to make you come home….”
Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis Presley
"Because I am! As a matter of fact, I’m SO darn lonely that I’m going to bang my forehead against the slats of this crib until sometime comes in here and gives me some attention!"
Walking After Midnight – Patsy Cline
When the baby won’t stop crying after you feed her, rock her, sing to her, swaddle her, beg her, do magic tricks for her and stand on your head for her. Sitting down would just be unacceptable, so you go walking up and down the hall – at midnight, at 1:00am, at 3:00am – you get the idea.
Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
When your grumbly, roaring, haircut-needing, biting little monster FINALLY conks out for more than 3 hours at a stretch.
Just to See you Smile – Tim McGraw
A mom will do ANYTHING to see her baby smile. Goofy dances, crazy faces, bad celebrity impressions, ridiculous songs, corn teeth (or maybe that’s just me). Anything.
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
The last thing you want to see through the blinds when your eyes are still matted together, you’ve slept for all of 47 minutes, your hair still has toothpaste in it from a toddler altercation the night before and you do NOT feel like making breakfast.
I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
What you sing in the grocery store parking lot when everyone jumps out and takes off for the candy machines by the entrance.
Saturday Night Fever – The Bee Gees
This dreaded song is usually accompanied by throwing up, a frantic search for Tylenol, a midnight run for some Ginger Ale and some sweaty, stinky snuggling – in YOUR bed.
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Your cell phone rings and all you hear is loud breathing, some thumps, a crash, a squeal, a little voice saying “Mamamamama! Poop! Googie!” followed by Grammie’s voice saying, “Hey, when did you learn to push redial?” Click.
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
“A gigantic spider! On the ceiling! A sound! I heard a sound! Something is in my closet! There’s a bird in here! There’s a skunk in the basement!”
Peaceful Easy Feeling – The Eagles
When you’re finally outside in the sunny yard on a blanket watching the kids eat popsicles and play in the baby pool. You have nowhere to go, nowhere to be, a glass of iced tea in one hand and a book in the other. No one is crying – for the moment – and dinner is already in the Crockpot.
You’re Gonna Miss This – Trace Atkins
It’s hard to believe when you’re dealing with a tantrum, a sinus infection, a broken collarbone, a biter and a late night pee-in-the-bed incident, but truer words were never spoken. If you’ve never heard this country song and you’re a mom, well, all I can say is: get yourself some tissues and listen.

--from my 3/3/13 post for