musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “amazing”

feeding beasties

Our Grand Family Adventure started with picking up the boys at the halfway point between their father’s home in Rhode Island and ours in Virginia  – Wilmington, Delaware. Hugs were given, things were stuffed in the already packed to the gills van. Then we made a last minute decision to side trip to the DC area to visit Honey’s cousin who just moved back into the house he grew up in after living on the west coast and other parts of our country for most of his life. He bought the house from his mother and plans to tear it down and rebuild a new one. He told some stories of he and his brother growing up there, and I think Honey had fun visiting where he used to visit as a kid. It was nice to have one more night in a bed before my family slept in tents on the ground for the rest of last week. He and his long time girl friend were lovely hosts and it was good to see them.

The boys have grown. Captain Comic may have surpassed me or is about to, but we are not telling him.  Please don’t tell him. I will ne’er hear the end of it.

We took a spontaneous approach to this vacation, and the following day as we head toward the Natural Bridge area of Virginia, our campsite destination, we made another detour to Luray Caverns. I’ll post about  about those sites later.

After the caverns, we traveled the rest of the way and made it by evening to the campsite at the KOA. I have mentioned before that I like the KOAs. This one was more modest than the Super KOA where we stayed with just Toots and Lucy about six weeks ago, in Harper’s Ferry, WV. Anyway, we set up camp, and basically collapsed after campfire.

The first morning we decided to go to the Natural Bridge Zoo. They had a lot of exotics there: baby tigers, lemurs, DeBrazza monkeys, etc, but mostly we enjoyed feeding the animals we could feed. All the kids really got a kick out of it. So did Honey and I.

This is Abigail. She is a five week old dromedary camel. She loved us. 
Toots later got to hold her baby bottle for her to feed. 
She loved when I scratched her neck and behind her ears, like a cat.
Mr. Cynic feeding pygmy goats.

This little guy was pushy.

Captain Comic and Mr. Cynic feeding fallow deer, they are indigenous to Eurasia. 
A lot have been introduced to Texas for hunting, apparently. Sad.

Feeding giraffes is fun. Their tongues are very long and… adept.

Mr. Cynic took this one of a giraffe and me.

We rode an elephant! Her name was Beautiful, and she was. 
Honey opted to take pictures of the rest of us riding.

I think Toots wanted to ride the fallow deer after her ride on Beautiful.
This was probably the hottest day of the trip, and we largely spent it walking around in the sun and looking at a lot of different monkeys. I’ll spare you more the pics, but for the baby tigers.
And this guy – we think this cage was full of a type of black spider monkeys. 
They were fun, like a greeting committee.

Okay, one more of a DeBrazza monkey. These guys seemed very forlorn.

But that’s it, today, I swear.


photo: j. gallo

That’s my guy, Honey and me, five years ago today. I think this was taken right before our first married kiss.

Everyone should be so in love and able to do this. Sure, marriage isn’t all happiness and light, contrary to what fairytales would have us believe, but it is worth the work it takes when you love your partner and can be recognized fully in that, no matter how that love is packaged.

first real beach day

At the beach, the world is bright, the waves lull, even when there is a strong riptide, and everything that has gotten under my skin for the past year rolls off of me in the breeze off of mother ocean.

And Captain Comic stops talking when he hits the water, for hours at a stretch, or when he’s buried in the sand. His synapses reset from the sensory input he gets from being wholly contained over most of the surface of his skin, whether sand or water. Sensory ReIntegration. I think he and I are alike in that manner, he’s just more so, to the nth degree. Other than when he sleeps, the beach is the one environment in which he does not talk endlessly.

I loved the beach for a lifetime before he was born, but for him, I love it even more. At one point, he and I took a walk on the pier to see the fishermen’s catch. Toward the end of the pier, one young man had caught a skate! That was really cool for us to see. As we talked with him, he said in the past week, a couple of sharks had been caught at this pier. You should have seen Capt. Comic’s eyes bug out when I said, “Right where you were swimming in the same waters!”

It is a struggle to get him to put on sunscreen before he hits the surf. In front of the woman in the white top from right to left is Captain Comic, Mr. Cynic and Mr. Cynic’s new gf. She’s cute and very nice, also very blonde, hence she is now known as Goldilocks. They had to move away from the pier zone by 200 feet, partly due to riptide, partly the fisherman’s lost hooks. We kept the encampment by the pier, so it was a little walk to the swim zone. Toots decided she didn’t like the ocean after it hit her in the face when she was with Honey. But I got her there a couple times later to rinse a ton of sand off and to cool down. We got hit with a good sized wave, too, But when I laughed about it, she laughed about it, too. She still would rather go to Water Country.

Here is the gang of youngins all helping out to bury Capt. Comic in the sand. Goldilocks was a good sport in entertaining him, and Toots, who is completely enamored with her.

He emerges to rinse off:

 Honey, soaking up the sun. looking up the pier. It’s nice to see him relax. It’s not nice to see how easily he sunburns, even with 45SPF.

Toots, when we first arrived planted herself in the sand and proceeded to swim in it and douse herself with it.

After a couple of hours, and Captain Comic and my walk on the pier, we discovered a playground near the parking lot.

Toots kept up with the teens, fearlessly. I swear she is a girl after my own heart. There was a time I rock climbed, before I totally wrecked my back, shoulder, etc. Captain Comic, after some initial Parkur moves in preparation for making his ninja movie, decided the puddle between the bathroom and play space was the most attractive place to be. Yuck.

 Play is very serious business for a three year old.

All in all, it was a perfect beach day. Life is good. Wear sunscreen.

saturday morning convo

Grandma, Honey and I volunteer for the Virginia Arts Festival. Last night in Williamsburg, we ushered for a concert of Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Absolutely outstanding show, I was mesmerized. So was Honey. These are giants of jazz, for those who don’t know. Honey and I had to educate a few of the other volunteers a little bit about who these musicians were. I forget sometimes that while there are some people who are absolutely fanatical about jazz – like one guy I saw keeping set lists, there are many more who have never dipped their toes in that syncopated water. Honey and I fall somewhere between those extremes, a little closer to the fanatics.

So while all three adults of the house were in Williamsburg, Mr. Cynic babysat. Babysitting largely comprised of viewings of Kung Fu Panda, expected, and apparently Captain Comic added Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.  

This morning, after our late night arrival home, Toots wanted to wake us – twice. The second time, she climbed into our bed with the Jimmy Neutron DVD case in hand.

Toots (points to the picture on the cover): Das Jimmy Neutron.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Carl.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Jimmy Neutron’s dog, Tonnor.
Mom: I don’t think Jimmy Neutron’s dog’s name is Connor. Daddy, isn’t it something like Einstein?
Honey (slowly rouses from sleep): …………………………………………Goddard.
Mom: Oh yea, the dog is named after a famous scientist, Goddard.
Toots: We sing dat in pweschool.
Mom:  What?
Toots: Goddard.
Mom: What?
Toots: We sing Goddard in pweschool, before we eat.
Mom (light slowly dawns): OH!
Toots (sings): Goddard fadder, Goddard fadder, we thank you, we thank you…..
Mom (chuckles): That’s God our Father, not Goddard, silly!
Toots: Oh.


I’m having a weird week. I wake up every morning feeling very weepy. I want to put it down to exhaustion and possible perimenopausal stuff.  It’s odd, like a biological impulse to cry. I don’t feel sad or anything, just as if I will burst into tears over the slightest thing.

Then there was Toots’s Preschool Art Show this morning and “Muffins with Mom” event, where I received a bunch of little hand and footprints accompanied by sweet little rhymes.  I swear they’re trying to kill me with the cute. I couldn’t even read the I leave my Handprints everywhere out loud for Toots when I unwrapped it, without catching a lump in my throat and my eyes becoming inexplicable fountains.

Tonight is Mr. Cynic’s high school jazz choir – the one that was Grand Champion in the Myrtle Beach regional competition – Spring Concert.


I will need a large box of tissues.  I couldn’t even make it through my niece’s dance recitals over the years. I suppose I can just bring Captain Comic and Toots and go into parental management mode. Nah, it’ll never work. Not this week. I think I will just let the tears roll.

Happy Mother’s Day to the other weepers out there.

1st day

Preschool starts have been wondrous things for each of my children.  When Mr. Cynic was infant to toddler, etc, we underwent many changes in childcare from his going briefly to a box one to a couple of wonderful in home providers to my providing it for others, etc. until I had his brother when he was just shy of 3.5 years old.

I sent him to preschool when he was 4 years old with a lipstick kiss to keep under his shirt, so he would know I was still with him.  He was never a big fan of changes, and I think going to preschool in a high school was very intimidating for him.  Once he adjusted, he made plenty of friends and we had loads of playdates afterschool with a couple of families who had younger baby siblings, too.  It was an Integrated Preschool that provided services to children with special needs while exposing ‘typical’ students to all kinds of people.

I was never able to send Captain Comic to daycare of any kind for long before they said they couldn’t handle him. He went to variations of Integrated Preschools from the time he was 2.9 years old until he entered Kindergarten, with an extra year of preschool.  For the longest time, they had to pry him off of me kicking and screaming, and he clutched two Godzilla toys for comfort, one in each hand throughout the day.  I heard his wails all the way down the halls of each school he attended.  First was the Early Intervention Program in Concord, MA. Second was the Integrated Preschool in the town we shared a public school system with, which was also the preschool Mr. Cynic attended. And the third was a new Integrated Preschool that opened in our little town’s only public school – the elementary where his brother was.  Eventually he found an activity, usually puzzles or trains that interested him slightly more than clinging and screaming to me.

Toots has been so full of excited anticipation to start preschool since the boys went back to school in September.  She finally aged into a 2.5 year old two day a week program at a local church.  Yesterday was her first day.

I barely even got a kiss from her as the teachers unloaded the students from their carseats. She was gung-ho and full of smiles. 
Grandma  arrived early for pick up and was able to watch the class on the playground for a while before Toots noticed her.  She was so busy with all the toys, equipment and her new friends that she was the last to be corralled into line to leave.

My girl’s got some serious spunk and independence.  I’ve got no worries about how she’ll adjust to new circumstances, likely for the rest of her life.  However, once again I will say, I’m in trouble once she’s a teen, aren’t I?


I have 2 new ones:

1. My new gym’s yoga classes. 

2. This fabric site for quilting:

Help me, please.  Is there a Quilters Anonymous?  or Yoga Anonymous? 

I may need them.


happy shack

Kelly Warren at The Happy Shack and I have become friends over the past couple of years because of an introduction over at  Studio Mothers.  We shared our woes and triumphs in the great balancing act that is maintaining creativity while devoting our lives to our families’ wellbeing, however that manifests.

We arrived at the conclusion that we are twins who were separated at birth.  We’re both somewhat goofy, not afraid of embarrassing ourselves, rather clutzy, dimpled Capricorns with a mix of reticent perfectionism and go for it spunk.  She is the much taller and more energetic twin.  I’m the more reticent one.  Reading about her work in Student Life at a college, her go get ’em enthusiasm for her jewery making and selling, mothering her twin redheads and growing menagerie, and blogging, I boggle continually at what she accomplishes every day. And she organizes creative retreats! All this while battling periods of severe vertigo.  She’s a fine art photographer and master collager, too!  Oh, and she just happens to live in a colorful house that sits at water’s edge where she can sit back in her dock chairs and watch the sun set over the water.

I’ve been admiring her jewelry for ages.  Then she blogged about making this necklace:

I had to have it.  It spoke to my ocean, beach loving soul.

So I bought it and asked if she could conjure up a pair of matching earrings, and she did!!!
They arrived on Thursday with a polishing cloth to boot, all wrapped up in purple tissue paper with a little bow. It was truly a gift.

Thanks, I love them, Kelly!

Having the above necklace in hand, really made me admire the craftsmanship of her work. It looks quite delicate, but it is rather sturdy. I don’t need to worry about Toots pulling on it or one of my own brilliant maneuvers that have destroyed countless other pieces.

Please, go check out her Etsy shop!  Don’t forget to peek at Kelly’s fun colorful photos, too.  I love her rusty old car series.  And this one:

Isn’t it dreamy?  Don’t you want a nice matted copy of it on your wall so that you may dream escapes to other worlds around that bend? 


Toots, at two and nearly a half, still squeezes my belly roll for comfort, especially when she wakes up. 

This morning:

Toots, excitedly, as she lifts my shirt edge : “Wook, Mommy!  Dere’s my hand!”

Me:  Did you just find it?

Toots: Yes!  Yes I did just find it!


Toots, adoringly:  I wuv my hand!

my new favorite thing

Please enjoy while I go back to my edits.

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