Monthly Archives: October 2012

there are a number of reasons why I married Mike.

This actually does fall into one of those categories. I’m not sure which one, but it’s so hilarious and endearing.

Two weekends of acquisition

As much as my last two weekends have been filled with torturing Thirteen as I try to help him help himself on big social studies reports, blistered palms resulting from digging holes for perennial planting in our extraordinarily rocky soil, and singlehandedly (well, I did use the washer/dryer) washing almost EVERY SINGLE piece of clothing in the house in one weekend — well. LOOK, just LOOK at what I’ve gotten over the last couple of weekends:

A new project bike! Nighthawk 450, gifted so generously from Rick and Janice to commemorate the happy occasion of our marriage. Considering that Mike already has a project bike I am so commandeering this.

The next day we hoped in our little car and trailered this lovely pedestal cast iron tub home from Tarrytown NY. For only $60!

it’s SO nice on the inside:

and once again may I say: I love our small car lifestyle!

The occasion for the tub is not so happy. Suffice it to say (for now!) that there is an awkward and annoying leak that is persistent and getting much worse and necessitates the renovation of our upstairs bathroom about 2 years before we were ready to pay someone else to do so. Family Tip Grundzilla will be performing this engaging and fruitful activity next weekend. Theoretically Fruitfully. Wish us luck.

And then this weekend I went to Rheinbeck for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival and got ALL THE THINGS:
rheinbeck party

OK, I didn’t get the sheep and the llama. But I wanted to. Badly. Think Nine and Thirteen can be swayed off of horses in 4H and onto the fiber-bearing animals?

Tortured by traffic

I’ve been having a terrible traffic week. This time of year always seems so dire as the day gets dramatically shorter – it’s been dark the last couple of days when I left the house. And the traffic! At least when it clears up I can enjoy lovely sunrises.


These days I really feel my 1.5-2 hr commute. It’s so clear as I sit in dark traffic all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t in the car – all the emails unresponded, all the knitting unknit, all the canning I’m behind on, all the running I don’t do! It is what it is, but dark and trafficy makes me restless.

Today I left at 6AM and rushed to central NJ for training. I took to the streets after my particular highway was jammed up and barely made it in time. I’m sitting here 105 miles from home learning all about my next big professional certification. Lunch is provided and the tea service seems to be ample. Learning hat on!


After a family dinner, a rainy day spent in V&A museum, and a quick sunny walk, @mikegrundy and I are heading home. Lovely 48 hrs in London! # Powered by Twitter Tools

Underground minimoon


Mike and I spent all day today in the Victoria and Albert museum. It was amazing, we totally geeked out. tomorrow we spend all of our remaining pounds on chocolate bars for the boys and head home. We didn’t have beers at a pub or fish and chips but our brief stay in London was amazing. Almost like a tiny honeymoon.

We can do that, right? Keep calling all our alone-and-away trips honeymoons? Like, forever?


Notes from London

No pictures of the wedding just yet, nor of anything we’ve been looking at.

  • rye is so neat. I could probably spend a good while there relaxing and walking around.
  • wedding = fabulous! It was beautiful. The bride and groom were beautiful.
  • I’m so envious of all the people on motorcycles. Mike and I have a secret plan to come back and spend a few days in London, a few days on motorcycles, and the Paris.
  • Tomorrow we are going to the Victoria and Albert museum, having cream tea, and possibly also eating at a pub in the evening.
  • Jet lag went ok – we powered through.
  • English breakfast! Poached eggs on toast with grilled tomato, mushroom, and bacon. And so much tea. Lovely.
  • We are visiting with peeps tonight before the bride and groom jet off on their honeymoon.

    Oh! And I finished a hat. It didn’t come out at ALL how I thought it was, but it’s cute none-the-less.


    On our way to London to see Ranger get married! # Powered by Twitter Tools



    I made a field visit to my big project job site this morning. I didn’t do a field walk today but took this picture a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to impress Thirteen with my awesome job. He was just moderately interested. My sweetheart, on the other hand, showed off the picture to his coworkers saying “hey! Look! It’s my wife!” apparently responses were split between “what does she do?” and “no, it’s half of your wife.”

    Homework Monster

    Lately I am the homework monster. Mike’s “new” job has a long commute and a lot of afternoon meetings, so frequently I am picking up the boys after work, bringing them to my house, making dinner and checking their homework. Then Mike rolls in at 7:30 and I give him a kiss on the cheek and serve him dinner. (for the record, then he cleans ALL THE KITCHEN after the boys are to bed and I climb under my own covers with a glass of wine and a good novel.)

    photo Nine is, well, NINE. he is not interested in doing homework. He gets it out at his sitters after school and does it to about 95% completion. I’ve been making a point this year to check his homework whenever he’s at our house, and make sure that his answers are correct and he’s done everything he’s supposed to do.



    photo Thirteen is, well, THIRTEEN. and he REALLY doesn’t want us to butt in to his schedule and so for now, we are letting him check his own work. If his grades change then that’ll change too. We bought him a new planner and showed him how we get notifications from his teachers if he misses a homework assignment. He knows the plan and hunkers down to work as soon as we get into the house.

    This week I spent nearly 2 hours with Nine going over homework. He’d left his homework packet at our house on Thursday morning, so he couldn’t hand in homework that was due on Thursday, Friday, or Monday. He didn’t tell his mom or his babysitter about it, and he passed it off to his teacher as a “dad’s house/mom’s house” issue. So he got a big talk. He had to finish all the homework he would have had to complete last week – a math worksheet, some reading, and a book report – and then we talked about all the homework he hadn’t gotten done the week before, how leaving homework at our house is NOT an excuse because hey: your mom and dad talk, kiddo, a lot, and how he needs to be more responsible for his own homework.

    (This is all really crazy for me because I never did homework when I was a little kid. Don’t tell Nine.)

    It turns out I’m the homework heavy. I’ve been talking to Mike all summer about Thirteen, and how to help him succeed at school. I totally laid down the law for Nine this week. Thankfully Mike backs me up, and the boys’ mom agrees too. But I just never thought I’d be the one enforcing this stuff for these little dudes, and I certainly didn’t expect it to take as much time as it does.  HOLY COW DOES IT TAKE A LOT OF TIME.


    I wrote in April about how much parenting I take on with the little dudes, and you know, I’ve been doing about the same level of engagement for a few years now. But no matter what happens I have a very little insecure stepmonster deep inside who manages to derail me frequently with whispers of “who ARE you, anyway, to force your value system on these children? They’re not even yours.” UGH. torturecakes. What a nasty little voice.

    And you know, it’s KIND OF true. They’re not biologically *my kids.* They are, however, the kids I’ve got and the kids I’m caring for. So I have to remind myself to shut UP that insecure stepmonster voice. Kids LOVE structure. Kids LOVE having reasonable expectations placed on them, because kids also LOVE success and accomplishment, and with reasonable expectations there are endless opportunities for success and accomplishment.

    Just by knowing me and seeing me as frequently as they do, the little dudes will pick up on my value system. If I chain-smoked and drank with breakfast and cussed all the time, they would notice that. If I went to church 5x a week and prayed before meals, they would notice that. I’m a reasonable person with very reasonable expectations: do your very best in school. No iPhones at the dinner table. We will all eat together for dinner. Eat vegetables every day. Read a book every now and then. Pretty easy stuff, right?

    Whoa. After waking up in TN at 4am, flying back and doing a full days work in NJ, then intensive homework time w Nine for the last 2 hours.. # Powered by Twitter Tools

    Thankful for my sweet family this weekend, and thankful for dear @mikegrundy, maker of trips and holder of hands. # Powered by Twitter Tools