Friday, December 29, 2006

Congratulations to Dave

Dave has purchased a new business. The deal closed today. Here is the website I guess I'll have to add it to the links on my blog! This business, which sells Science, Math, and Technology supplies to the K-12 market fits well with his existing computer supplies and accessories business that focuses on schools and educational institutions.

I am very proud of him. As many of you know, he has had lean years of late. I kept thinking (or I should say, he kept reassuring me) that eventually his business would take off--and this opportunity to merge with (or take over) a bigger, existing business--is even better. So, here's to you, dear. You were right! Your patience has payed off.

I believe Dave was given this opportunity because the man that started the business trusted Dave more than any other available buyer. The original owner has done busines with Dave, and known Dave for many years. He wanted to sell the business because he is looking to retire, and has other business ventures as well. Other buyers could put more money up front, but none were as enthusiastic about keeping the existing business intact and building on its sucessful history as Dave. This is one instance where Dave's honesty and personality have finally worked for him. He was burned in the political arena by being a straight-arrow guy, but now he has an opportunity because he is a nice guy. It is such a joy to see him so excited and happy. The man has more spring in his step than I've seen in many years. Okay, he is also pretty nervous!

We are going out to dinner (at Der Dutchman) to celebrate! (Any local readers are welcome to join us!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We had a blissful, restful holiday. We missed seeing out-of-town family, but the adults in the house are well-rested. The downside is the boys are getting bored just being at home and playing all day. Alex's best friend is out of town all week, so that adds to the pouting . I'm not very creative about finding new things to do, or fun things to do... We have another wedding on Saturday, so that will be an adventure. Alex gets to go to the office with Mommy later today. I'm sure that will be diversion. Not a great diversion, but at least a change of scenery!

I love Christmas. I always have. But, I'm already eager to take down the decorations and have a less cluttered house. I'm trying to wait till Jan. 1 to take down the tree and lights outside. Something about Christmas is all about anticipation and expectation. Once it is here, it seems old. (I won't touch the theological implications of that...I'm sure there are great lessons to be learned. ) Anyway, I guess I wish society would encourage us to WAIT to celebrate until closer to the day, and then to enjoy the 12 days of Christmas AFTER the day. I guess I could wait to put up my decorations until just before the day, and not do what everyone else does, but when all the other Christmas lights are up, I hate to have a bare house. So, I guess I follow the crowd. And I don't want to wait 'till the last minute, 'cause then it is just another thing that needs to be done...

Friday, December 22, 2006

TV and Computer

How much is too much? Obviously, all day is too much. But... We try very hard not to let the boys watch TV or play on the computer too much, but it is SO EASY to let them watch. I can get things done! We play a game with Joseph to keep him off the TV and the computer. The computer is unplugged, from the back, so he can't turn it on himself. He is trying hard, and can almost do it, but not quite. The TV remote downstairs is hidden. We spend a lot of time finding and losing it ourselves. Joseph spends enormous energy dragging chairs all over the house looking for it. The small TV upstairs was rigged with so he couldn't turn it on, but over time, he has figured out all of our tricks. Now we unplug it and put it in our bedroom. He gets it, lifts it and plugs it back in whenever he is given a chance. We usually lock our bedroom to prevent it. As Dave says, you've got to admire his determination and problem solving skills. Well, we are just about out of ways to stop him. And??? If we are careful about WHAT they watch? Is it so terrible? Millions of children are being raised on a steady diet of TV. I don't have the stomach for that, but??? I've tried to limit to an hour or two per day? If I let him have more will he eventually get bored with TV? I want to be able to USE TV when I need it. I don't want him to be bored by it...


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

School's Out

I think Alex has mixed feelings. He loves school and two weeks seems like a big break. He cleaned out all the school supplies from his desk and hauled it all home. Too funny! Maybe he thinks we will start all over with new crayons, pencils and markers. (Maybe we will! Santa is bringing him a new backpack--With Superman on it. He will be thrilled!)

I have mixed feelings, also. There is a lot we can do, and I'm sure we will have a good time, but I'm also sure I'll be happy to go back to school myself!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Krista's Wedding

We went to Krista's wedding Saturday night. Krista is one of Joseph's beloved ABA tutors. She was a beautiful bride. The boys behaved very well, for the most part, and we had a nice evening. The boys also looked devestatingly cute in their Christmas sweaters.

We were able to meet another of Krista's families. Their son Ben, like Joseph, has always signed and never spoken, although he isn't and never has been hearing impaired. He is 13 or maybe 14 now. He has started to speak. Just in the past six months. What a story! His speech isn't clear, but he has a lot of words, I think she said hundreds. She credits the language he developed signing. And he never voiced sounds, although the speech therapists tried and tried, he just started to use whole words. He now uses the words he knows as he reads, and signs the rest of the words. He is a marvel. He isn't close to being "typical," but what a great improvement. He still signs most of what he wants to say, but he can use his voice, and I bet he gets more and more vocal over time. The autisim spectrum is such a mystery. I don't expect that Joseph will follow the same path, but it does reinforce the hope that we all have, and the hope that never goes away, that he will continue to develop more and more language in some form.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pare as we Prepare

This was the topic of our sermon on Sunday. A familiar message, but one I need to hear over and over. Rev. Leety talked about how the root of both words is the same, about how "pare" means to slim, or literally to "give birth." I'm not sure I rememberr all he said quite right, but you get the idea: pare, slim, give birth, prepare for the birth of Jesus by paring. I've heard it over and over, but I'm trying hard to do it this year.

I baked for the cookie party yesterday, and now there is no need to bake more until very close to the day. I'll make Dave's Kifli and my Cinamon Rolls on the 23rd or 24th. If we want to decorate cookies during the week between Christmas and New Years, I'll bake sugar cookies then. I don't need to do it now. I can cut out some of the frantic preparation.

The house wasn't spotless, the decorations were not perfect for the cookie party, but we had a great time. I cut my expectations a bit, and it was fine.

I don't have tons of gifts for the boys, but I have enough. They will have lots of packages to open. Some will have undies in them, but that is fun to open, too.

I do have a great gift for Dave--Can't tell 'till after the day just in case he reads this. Basically, I'm done shopping.

I've still not done with everything on my list from last week, but I'm working on it!

I have the Advent Calendar out, I bought cute toys/trinkets to put in it, and I never put them in. I planned to put something in each day, one day at a time so the boys couldn’t cheat. Well, I never remember, the boys don’t think of it, and it is one of those holiday things that sounds like such a good idea and just doesn’t work in this house. Two typical boys wouldn’t let me forget, would they? Two typical boys might even be able to wait to open the next day’s window for the next day. One typical mom could remember to put the stuff in every day. I keep hoping our lives will resemble typical lives, but, alas, they don’t. Anyway, since I’d blogged about my great Advent calendar and all the cool toys I was going to buy for it, I felt it was important to report that it looks festive, and the boys are enjoying all the cool trinkets I bought to put in it, but that they are not enjoying them one day at a time. And you know what? I think Christmas will come to our house anyway, even if we don’t count the days systematically!
When Men Get Sick

Caution, may be sexist and offensive to some.

I'm hoping Dave doesn't see this, 'cause I have to vent... Why are men such babies when they get sick? Please, please, please, let me raise my boys to be reasonable men when they are sick. Dave has stomach flu. Very unpleasant. We all know it is not fun at all. I'm willing to be helpful, supportive, sympathetic, etc. etc. But does he have to whine so much? Maybe I, too, whine this much when I’m sick, but I don’t think so. Nobody stays around to listen to me. Also, he is supposed to drive to Dayton today for a convention. He was there all day yesterday,. He has two people helping him. He sent them to Dayton this morning by themselves, but insists he must go to Dayton to help them pack up the van and bring the unsold things back to Columbus. Somehow, he thinks two reasonably intelligent, capable adults can’t do this without him. I’m afraid he will just make it harder to recover his strength, and he will spend even more time cluttering up the house being whiney. Just be sick, stay in bed, watch TV, sleep, eat jello, and get well. Life would be much simpler if everyone in my house did things my way. But then, what fun would that be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Zoo in December

We went to the zoo on Sunday evening with neighbors and friends to see the lights, not the animals. Our local Zoo decorates with zillions of lights. It was very pretty, almost magical, and festive. It wasn't too cold, and everyone had fun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yesterday's Recipe:

Note, I changed a few things... Bake 30 min. instead of 20.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Cookie of the Week

I'm starting to bake Christmas cookies, and missing my friend Donna. I must email her my blog address!
I'm going to make Sarah's Walnut cookies (Or I guess they are Janice's Walnut Cookies) for the cookie exchange, and also a batch of these. Dave doesn't like coconut, and so I found this recipe that uses Oatmeal instead of coconut in Seven-layer cookies. My Mom made the coconut version, not when I was young, but over the last 20 years or so. I've always loved them.


1 stick butter
1 c. graham crackers, crushed (maybe a bit more)
1 c. oatmeal, uncooked
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips (or white chocolate?)
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free and it worked fine)

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 pan. Layer remaining ingredients in order given above ending by pouring condensed milk over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until nice and brown on the top. Cool and store tightly covered. I think they are better if you freeze them overnight. You eat them at room temperature, but they hold together better after being frozen. Okay, I know it is silly to use fat free sweetened condensed milk in a recipe with all of that butter and chocolate, but it was what I had.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I've reached one of my favorite weeks in the year. I'm done with the most pressing business of the term, and I have flexibility in what I do each day until Dec. 20, when Joseph and Alex get out of school. I always think that I have lots of free time during this week, week and a half. Really, all I have is choice in how I spend my time. What a joy!!!

Things I need to do during the next 10 days--in no particular order:
-Sort toys into three piles: keep, donate, throw away. This is important before we get new things. The space is limited and my ability to tolerate stuff lying around is diminishing daily.
-Bake for Christmas
-Figure out teacher gifts
-Finish Christmas shopping I'm about done... but not quite
-Wrap and mail gifts to out of town friends
-Write syllabus for next quarter
-Do other "real work" to get ready for next quarter
-Finish decorating the house and tree. (The ornaments have been in a box on the dining room table since Sunday.)
-Call the administrator that supervises Joseph's teacher and talk about where we are for the rest of the year

I'm sure there are more things I need to put on the list, but for now, that gets me organized and started. Today....hmmm... maybe some shopping and a bit of time at the office... Perhaps we will decorate the tree tonight. Dave will behome late. That will be a good activity for the boys and me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cookie Exchange

My neighborhood book club is having its annual cookie exchange party next Tuesday. I need to decide what kind of cookies to make! I could do the Walnut cookies on Sarah's blog, but I'm worried about decorating them. I guess I could just do a spiral of white chocolate on each... I don't think I can make a snowflake. I could make 7 layer bars. I make a variation with oatmeal instead of coconut since my husband is sure coconut will kill him. I could make my peanut butter bars with chocolate topping, or gingerbread boys. Or, I could make Hugarian Kifli. These are Dave's favorite. I've worked hard for 13 years to perfect my technique and to make good Kifli. You start with a very simple, rich dough, with yeast in it, but you don't let it rise (??). You roll them very very thin on a sugar covered board. Cut into small squares, fill with walnut/egg white mixture, and form into crescent shapes. Kifli means crescent in Hungarian. The cookies puff a bit while they bake, and you roll them in powdered sugar when they are hot. I guess for the Crescent Drive book club, I really SHOULD make Kifli. Dave may complain if I give away 4 dozen Kifli. Maybe I'll just need to make two batches...

Maybe instead of actually baking cookies this year, I'll just think about all the different types of cookies I could bake! I do need to bake at least four dozen for the cookie exchange, and I need suggestions about what to make. What would you like to get? A familiar cookie, or something new?

Also, I've always done cookies in a jar for teacher gifts. I'm getting a bit tired of the same old thing. But I don't have any good ideas. I need a lot of teacher gifts since Joseph works with 4-8 at school and 5 at home, plus a bus driver. Alex works with 3-6 at school and an OT outside school. The higher numbers at school would be if I included the music teacher, art teacher, gym teacher, etc. I ususally don't. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Our Nora Kitty

We call her Nora or Norabelle, or Norabella. She may never be much of a lap kitty, but she is finally brave enough to venture out from under the furniture. She and Felix play well together, and will be great pals. Isn't she a beauty. And yes, she is a bit cross-eyed.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My comments on Advent and the Christmas season. See Sarah's start to the discussion!

First of all, Dave thinks Advent is something invented by the Presbyterians. He was Baptist, and never had Advent. He treats it as a suspect religious activity. I just laugh. The trick of Advent is the same as everything in life. Balance. Hard to achieve.

I agree with Sarah. This is a time of great internal conflict for me. I love the darkness and the stillness of the season, and the pretty lights, shopping, generous spirit part of the season. I love the tacky way-too-over-the-top lights and the pathetic single strand of lights on a Charlie Brown tree. I wanted to start decorating the house yesterday, and I wanted to attend a potluck dinner at church. Joseph just wanted to have some attention. Dave had been with Joseph for several days without me (I had a great time, by the way) and needed a break. So... as we both get short tempered over a fake tree that doesn't light properly and Joseph who wants to get into everything and Alex and the neighbor boy who want to torture cats for fun, I wondered where my Christmas spirit was drifting off to. I love holiday decorations. But they take time and energy. I love holiday tradition. But it takes time and energy. I stopped myself before I had a big melt-down, and we decided not to go to the church potluck. One stress down. (But, of course, we eliminated a traditional night of fellowship. We go to this dinner every year, and I want it to be a childhood memory for Alex and Joseph. However, I decided, they won't remember that in 2006 we did not attend the Christmas Carol Buffet...) I bought a new strand of lights for 1.99 to replace the lights on the tree that were not working rather than spend another half hour twisting each and every bulb in the strand yet again to see if I couldn't coax them to light. I left all the tree decorations in a big box on the dining room table and we will enjoy the tree with just lights on it for a few days. There is no need to do all the decorating at once!

Anyway. Once I had the tree up, and a few of my favorite decorations placed around the house, it started to feel very festive. Then I quit and took Joseph to the grocery store. (Check the Meijer ad for the week, Sarah. Buy 15 General Mills products and get a 10 gift card. The scalloped potato mixes are 3 for 2. That means 15 cost 10. That means that they are free! Yogurt smoothies are about 20 cents after you subtract the gift card savings--cookie mixes are also very cheap...)