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Thursday, August 30, 2012

That smell.

"Shewww!" was my disgusted response every time I opened the coat/shoe closet.  "What is that smell?"

I diligently checked the bottom of all the shoes and shook my head as I closed the closet door after no poop had been discovered.  "Where is that horrible smell coming from?"

The smell was even worse than this one.

This went on for about a week and half until it finally dawned on me as I was putting my running shoes in the closet - the smell was coming from my shoes!

During the summer I would go out for my runs around 6:15 AM.   I always walk through our back yard and two neighbor's yards to get to the street where I start my run. All summer the grass has been heavy with dew. So heavy that when I started my run I could hear a squishing noise.  It was quite gross, this running with wet feet, but I had no alternative.  So I suffered through my run with wet feet and of course, walked back through that same wet grass to get home.

I would leave my shoes outside to dry and the whole process would begin again the next morning.  This worked fine until I left my shoes outside overnight and they got rained on. After that I began putting them in the closet wet. 

And that's where the problem began.  The shoes stunk up the entire closet and left me blaming my kids and their stinky feet.

After I discovered the problem, I began to leave my shoes in the garage overnight to dry.  The closet has finally aired out, but now every time I go into the garage, I end up saying, "Shewww!  What is that smell?"

And then I remember.

The culprits.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Please. No More Homework!

Yesterday the kids and I pulled in from school at 3:20.  By 3:30 they were situated at the kitchen table with snacks and open books.

By 5:00 they were done with their homework.  FIVE O'CLOCK!

Now granted, they weren't busily working the entire hour and a half - there was some picking and fighting that resulted in one child at the kitchen table and one child at the dining room table, but still!

That's a lot of homework for the first full day of school for a 3rd and 4th grader.  Last week we had three shortened days but they had homework those days as well. 

It's going to be a long school year.

On a positive note though, they came right in and did it all with minimal whining and complaining.  That made me very happy but I think this is how we all felt at 5:00:

Monday, August 27, 2012

You can always learn something new about the people you thought you knew everthing about.

We decided to go to Hanging Rock State Park this weekend for a hike. (If you click on this link, you can see the "hanging rock" that these pictures were taken on.  The fact that we were standing out on this rock isn't noticeable in my pictures.)

The weather was perfect - breezy, no humidity, sunny.  So hiking we went!

We decided to take the short trail.  It was 1.3 miles in each direction.  What I didn't realize at the time was that the last half mile of the hike would be straight up! 

But it was worth it.  We got some gorgeous views when we made it to the top.

I learned something abuot my children on this hike. 

One who is normally fearful of everything was fearless this high up and was not afraid of heights at all.

The other child who normally goes forward with minimal fear of anything hung back and discovered a fear of heights.

Can you guess which is which?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where are those lazy, hazy days of summer?

The kids hopped out of bed at 6:40 as soon as I called them.  They were very excited for school to start.

I made them a tasty breakfast of cinnamon bun waffles.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.  And by recipe, I mean the following directions: Place Pillsbury cinnamon bun on waffle iron and close.  They turned out so cute and they heated right up and the kids thought they were delicious.  And I felt like Mom of the Year! But I didn't take a picture because, hello!  6:40 AM!

Here are our annual first day of school shots: 

Poor Peter is crammed into last years shorts.  I goofed up and ordered size 12s which I thought were a size up from last year.  And they were, sort of.  Last year's shorts are 10 slims so a size up, I guess, would be 10 regulars not 12 regulars. So the new shorts I got him were literally falling off of him - even though we tightened them with the elastic/button waist cincher in the shorts AND used a belt. Our only alternative was to wear last year's shorts.  He said he was fine with them but I'm sure he was uncomfortable. 

Oh and guess what?  I ordered the shorts this morning but they are backordered at Lands' End and won't ship out until 9/4.  So it looks like he will be squeezed into these for a couple of weeks more.  I checked several stores at the mall and guess what?  No one is selling shorts in August.  But if you want a fur lined parka, I can tell you just where to get one!

Dan typically does drop-off in the mornings but he is out of town this week so I got to drop the kids off.  And I figured, well since I'm in town, I might as well mosey on over to Target.  I spent a glorious hour and a half wandering aimlessly around Target pushing my shopping cart and humming to myself and buying things that I knew I could get cheaper at Wal-Mart and I didn't once have to say, "NO! We are not getting a toy, book, video game, movie!).

It was lovely. 

And then I left Target and thought to myself, "I think I miss the kids!" 

And then I headed to Kohl's and didn't give the kids another thought until it was time to pick them up!

All in all it was a great first day of school. 

Except that they both have homework. Oh, summer. How I miss the already!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

24 hours is plenty of time for completing all those things that I should have compelted last week. Plenty of time!

As long as I can make it through the next 24 hours, I will able to say "I survived!".

The kids start school tomorrow.  I wish I could say that their backpacks are packed but they aren't.  In fact, I ordered both of them new packs from Lands' End but due to an error on my part, Peter's still isn't here yet.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives today.

I wish I could say that their summer homework is completed but it isn't.  But hey, technically, it's still summer! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can get it completed it today.

I wish I could say that their school uniforms are pressed and ready to go but they aren't.  But hey, that's what I plan on doing tonight while they kids are showering.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I remember to do that tonight.

We had a really good summer together but all good things must come to an end.  And really, not a moment too soon because the kids are starting to go at one another like never before.  Sarah has amped up her techniques for annoying Peter and Peter seems to have discovered some pro wrestling techniques for getting her to stop.

Like I said, not a moment too soon.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share some pictures I took at the bowling alley when we went a few weeks ago.








Crazy boys!

That's better!

Caity and Sarah!

Cheyanne and Sarah!

Friday, August 17, 2012

And the sauce still has no flavor so I just got the salad bar.

Jennifer and I started taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese's at the end of the summer about 4 or 5 summers ago when we all were just completely over the pool and summer vacation in general. And you know we must have done this in complete desperation because why would anyone over the age of 16 willingly go into Chuck E. Cheese's?

But now it has become a tradition and the kids look forward to it.  Last year I had to suffer through it without Jennifer and this year was no different.  However, it was much more bearable because I had my fancy cell phone (which has now been reset and is working correctly!) and I spent the entire time playing Words With Friends with her so it was almost as good as her being there. 

The kids had a great time and Sarah and I took our annual Chuck E. Cheese picture.

It was a little faint but I still think it turned out great!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bubble snakes!

I headed back to the car for more bottles only to find there were none.  So when it came time for big bubble fun, I made Sarah and Cheyanne drink the water from two water bottles.  We had just gotten back from the pool so I knew they were thirsty.  But when they both started belching like drunken sailors, I knew it was time to pour the water out and just get to it.

I did a better job cutting the bottles this time. Then I grabbed two light weight wash clothes and secured one around each end of the bottles with a rubber band.  Then I poured some Dawn dish washing liquid in a bowl with a little water, swirled it around with my finger and the girls lightly dipped the washcloth end of the bottles in the bowl.

Then they started blowing in the bottles and this is what they got:

Those are some serious bubbles!

Just make sure you tell your kids to blow out only and not to breathe back in.  Sarah learned this the hard way and once she got a mouthful of bubbles, she was over the whole thing. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

If at first you don't succeed, head back to the car...

I thought I would try something I pinned a while back on Pinterest. I was trying to plan ahead and get this nifty bubble blower ready for Sarah and Cheyanne for tomorrow so when we get back from the pool and they say they are bored, I will be prepared with something other than my usual, "You can always clean the bonus room!"

I grabbed a couple of empty water bottles from the backseat of the car.  (Because apparently the kids think that the backseat of the car is a trashcan and a shoe closet.)  And I started to cut.

I stepped back to admire my cutting job and realized that I really should just stick to drinking coffee and pinning cute things for the kids to do instead of actually trying to do them.

Yep.  That's right.  I totally cut off the wrong end.

I guess it's back to the car to see if I can find some more empties.

Monday, August 6, 2012


My sweet father-in-law passed away last Sunday morning.  By Sunday evening, we were in the car and headed to Massachusetts.

The wake, funeral and burial were all perfect - as far as those things can be perfect.  The love and support my husband and his brothers and sister got from their friends and family was beautiful to witness.  I know they were dreading each of these events, but after each one they felt peace and comfort and love.

My father-in-law lead a very interesting life. This is his obituary from the Boston Globe:

COTELL, Robert D. Of Wellesley, July 29,2012. Born in Dorchester, MA, on April 7, 1919. He grew up on South Sea Avenue in West Yarmouth, MA, son of Clarence & Bridget (Walsh) Cotell. His father was a fisherman, house painter, and well known worker in West Yarmouth. His mother immigrated to the US from Waterford, Ireland in 1915. 

She worked many years as a housemaid and cook at the Chace Family Estate on Great Island on Lewis Bay in Yarmouth. Her work was so much appreciated by Mr. Chace that he offered to send her son (Robert) to college. He graduated from Yarmouth High School in 1936; Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA, in 1938; and Brown University in 1942, with a degree in Electrical Engineering. 

After college he commenced service in WWII.  He mustered into the Army at Ft. Devens, MA; completed US Army Signal Corps basic training at Ft. Monmouth, NJ and was shortly thereafter promoted to second lieutenant as a Signal Corps officer. 

Throughout the war he was an assistant platoon leader for a radar platoon in the 555th Signal Air Warning Battalion, a part of the 9th Tactical Air Command. His unit trained in Tampa, Florida; Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, MA, and in southern England just before D-Day. The unit crossed from England to France in September, 1944 and moved to Ellsenborn, Belgium, where it commenced operations directing US aircraft from England to enemy targets in Germany. They were present in Ellsenborn during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. 

After the war he worked for the U.S. Navy in Washington, DC; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod, and Cambridge Research Labs (CRL) in Cambridge, MA. In 1952 while working for CRL he was part of US Air Force research teams that conducted operations on Fletcher's Ice Island in the Arctic Circle. The island was a floating glacier in the Arctic on which the Air Force established small research outposts designed to measure atmospheric and weather conditions in the Arctic and to track the movement of the island. 

In the summer of 1952 he and a small number of scientists and crew flew 100 miles from the ice island and were part of the first air landing at the North Pole. The team conducted a number scientific readings at the Pole, many of which are still cited in scientific research today. 

While working at CRL he met his future wife, Irene Browne, who worked with him as a scientist on the Arctic project and also visited the Ice Island. They were married in 1959 and had four children. 

In the 1960s he began work as an engineer at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA and at Hanscom Air Force base in Concord, from which he retired in 1986. He lived in Burlington, MA and later moved to Wellesley in 1964. 

In the 1960s he began long association and service with the Boy Scouts of America. Even before his sons were of scouting age he served as an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 186, St. Paul Church, in Wellesley. He later served many years as the Scoutmaster. He was also very active with the Norumbega Scout Council and at Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rhode Island. He was a true believer in the ideals and values of the Scouting organization. 

He was also an active member of the St. Paul Church, Wellesley, and St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis. He maintained his home on Yarmouth throughout his life and enjoyed returning to the Cape as often as possible. He is survived by his wife, Irene (Browne) Cotell; his daughter, Catherine Cotell who now lives in Alexandria VA, Robert J. Cotell, in Fredrick, MD, Richard W. Cotell,(Jennifer) in Needham, MA, and Daniel P. Cotell (Beth) in Lexington, NC and 3 grandchildren, Jillian, Peter and Sarah Cotell. 

Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington Street, (Rt. 16) WELLESLEY, Wed. at 9 AM. Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, Wellesley, at 10 AM. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours Tues. 4-8 PM. Interment St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Hyannis. 

Rest in peace Grampa.  We will miss you.