Mouthy Mondays: Oh, boys

With Jude starting school, I figured now would be the time to give him a bit more responsibility. This morning, after his teeth were brushed and hands washed, I said “Okay, now go make your bed.”

“What?” He cried. “Why is that always part of my life?”


Above is a picture of my over-burdened little boy. His life his hard.

Seven Quick Takes: School days!

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary for 7QT. We’ve had a busy week at the Hazzard house, so no shortage of things to write about here:

1) Jude started kindergarten!!!


Here he is modeling his (borrowed!) uniform. I’m the awesome mom who first ordered the wrong size, then ordered the right size way too late to get the uniforms in time for school.

2) McBrother also started school this week! He’s having a good time at Providence, even though the resident hall powers-that-be put all freshmen guys into quads. That’s right: Himself, who has always had his own room, is now sharing with three other guys. It gets better than that, though. Jim’s roommates are three other kids of Irish extraction. Seriously, our McBrother is in with another Mc, a Fitz and an O’Something. I’m going to send him a can of Febreeze and this sign to tape to his door:


3) While Jude was having fun at school (and whistling at inappropriate times, according to one reliable source) the girls and I went furniture shopping and then we got McDonald’s (which we had to keep secret from Jude).

Jackie and Carmela try out our new sofa.

Jackie and Carmela try out some seating options.

4) The furniture shopping was one of the final components of the Great Family Room Makeover of 2013. Behold:





There are still a few things to do, including nailing in the quarter round around the base board and putting the shelves and doors onto the bookcases, but it’s 3/4 of the way done.

5) The painting and floors were only part of the makeover. Check out what the room looked like when we moved in last year:


The above picture was taken in the early morning and as you can see, the room was completely paneled and very, very dark because instead of the sliding glass door shown above, it had a small double window that looked out onto a screen-in porch. We painted the paneling to lighten it up but because of the porch, the room got little direct sunlight. This spring, we (by which I mean NOT me) tore the porch down and replaced the double window with the sliders. We also moved the washer and dryer hookups into a closet in the back of the room. It’s a wonderful difference and we’re very fortunate to be able to make these changes. I’m hoping we can make some positive changes to the kitchen sometime in the next year. The previous owners were really big fans of oak.

6) Our Jackie starts preschool next week! If you haven’t already, you should read Ellen’s post on preschool from last week. We decided to send Jude to preschool because he was (and is) a really social kid. He’s always looking for someone to talk to or play with. He’s got a great imagination and is very precocious. He spoke in full sentences shortly after turning one and never seemed to stop. This drove (drives) me nuts. DJ and I decided the best thing for Jude and for me would be to enroll him in PreK two days a week when he turned three.

Jude's first day of PreK 3.

Jude’s first day of PreK 3.

If Jackie had been first, we probably would have skipped the first year of preschool. She’s pretty content to stay home and color or play with her dolls. The only person she really wants to hang out with is her cousin Margot. However, because she’s seen Jude going off to school for three years in a row, she now expects to go to school so she’ll be starting next Tuesday.

7) Here is a picture of my kids watching the iPad, because that’s the sort of Mom I am:


Hope you all have a good weekend!

Five favorites: Time and money edition

Five favorites: Time and money edition

Linking up with Hallie to share my current five favs. This is the first year the Hazzard family will have someone in Catholic school full-time (gulp!) so we are knuckling down on the budget trying to save some money where … Continue reading 

Mouthy Mondays: Master of the Non-sequitur

At dinner last week the kids were discussing what the definition of dairy was. Jude decided eggs were not dairy but milk was because milk came from cows.

“Noooooo,” said Jackie. “I fink cows make cat food.”

“No, Jackie.” DJ replied. “Cows don’t make cat food.”

“Yes,” said Jackie. “Yike dis!” She banged her fork on the table then solemnly said “Yadies and gentleman, pwease don’t go under da water.”

Jackie will be majoring in logic.

Jackie will be majoring in logic.

Five Favorites

This is the first time I’ve done five favorites and I’m working on three hours of very broken sleep so forgive grammar and spelling as well as boring prose.

1) Up first: this printable for Carmela’s room. The lovely Tricia brought this to my attention and it’s perfect for C’s room. I’m pretty sure Carole Middleton had one for Kate’s room reading “The Future Mrs. William Arthur Philip Louis” and it obviously worked.

2) DJ and I are trying to think of ways to redo our 60s oak-and-ugly kitchen for something not amounting to a small fortune or a kidney. This is for two reasons: where we are right now may or may not be a house we stay in for a long time and other, more necessary, items may need money first (the roof, she be a’leakin.) One of the main problems in the kitchen is the total lack of storage so the latest idea is a stand-alone pantry cabinet. I searched online and found the one below which I’m really in love with:




3) This post, by Betty Duffy, which came along at just the right time for me. So thank you, Betty, for making last night a whole lot better for me. As I struggled to sleep, things raced through my mind at lightening speed and, as per my usual, I began to think about all things spiritual and wonder why He seems to far away at some points. Well, He’s not. And sometimes He steps in to make sure I read a blog post and understand that He “doesn’t play games with us.” Amen.

4) I feel like I should lighten things up after my last favorite. Ellen always includes a fashion like or two in her Five Faves so I feel obligated to do the same thing. Only, I have no sense of fashion. At all. None. Actually, I would have been great in the 40s or 50s when women wore dresses and there wasn’t too much choice in terms of style or fabric (also, you could still smoke in the 40s or 50s!).  All that said, I did find this helpful series by Glamorous Housewife. I think I can follow these rules! I just have to find the money to ensure I have all the basics (see leaking roof, above).

5) Our oldest, Jude, is quite a character (a living embodiment of a cartoon character, Jane McSister says). Rose’s husband recently decided Jude is a character worthy of his own meme. Thus:

Jude actually does wear his snow pants in place of the overalls we won't buy him. He is obsessed with what worker guys wear and he's pretty sure they wear overalls or suspenders so that's what he wears on a daily basis -- in July.

Jude actually does wear his snow pants in place of the overalls we won’t buy him. He is obsessed with what worker guys wear and he’s pretty sure they wear overalls or suspenders so that’s what he wears on a daily basis — in July.

Enjoy the other Five Faves at Moxie Wife!

Seven Quick Takes: At the dentist

So, Wednesday I hauled Jude and Jackie over to the local pediatric dentist so she could spend 20 minutes looking at their teeth and I could spend a small fortune.

Lots of people have said we take our kids to the dentist early, but the most dominant gene on both sides of this here family is the one for bad teeth. I had braces for 4 1/2 years (an excruciating experience also involving pulling eight teeth and filing down an incisor) and I still don’t have a bite. Plus, my lovely husband has the world’s most crowded jaw as a result of his SEVEN wisdom teeth.

So, here are 7QT about the dentist:

1) This dude was there:

Yes, that's a gun casually slung on his belt. He's not in a uniform. It was a little uncomfortable.

Yes, that’s a gun casually slung on his belt. He’s not in a uniform. It was a little uncomfortable.

2) Also at the dentist: A lady with two kids (and a lot of tattoos). As she sat with her young daughter and discussed the daughter’s need to have multiple cavities filled, she hissed “This is why I’m so glad you can’t go to Daddy’s house anymore. There was no hygiene there.” The daughter whispered something I couldn’t hear back to her mother to which the mother replied “That’s because Daddy has no heart. He’s heartless. That’s why he’s in jail.”

3) I checked the twitter feed of Richard Palmer while at the dentist. He’s the Royal correspondent for the UK’s Express. It was then that I learned this little guy had a name:

Meet Prince George Alexander Louis (pronounced Louie not Lew-is!). I don't like any of those names, but that's not gonna stop Carmela from marrying him.

Meet Prince George Alexander Louis (pronounced Louie not Lew-is!). I don’t like any of those names, but that’s not gonna stop Carmela from marrying him. And apparently the UK has a different way of strapping infants into car seats.

4) Jude was first in the chair:

The dentist praised Jude's behavior -- he sits still and lets her do whatever -- but she informed me she was "not impressed" with his hygiene. Jude took this as a compliment.

The dentist praised Jude’s behavior — he sits still and lets her do whatever — but she informed me she was “not impressed” with his hygiene. Jude took this as a compliment.

5) While awaiting her turn in the chair, Jackie and I read quite a few Barbie books. They were awful, which is beside the point. As soon as Jackie saw this picture, she informed me it was Daddy and did not let go of that idea:

I texted DJ this picture to inform him that Jackie was pretty sure this was him and he replied "Of course! It's probably the glossy hair and perfect teeth."

I texted DJ this picture to inform him that Jackie was pretty sure this was him and he replied “Of course! It’s probably the glossy hair and perfect teeth.”

6) I have no pictures of Jackie in the dentist chair because she screamed as soon as she sat down. Like full-out, Exorcist-like screamed. Screamed so hard she broke a bunch of capillaries in her face and went around for the next 24 hours looking like someone dotted her with a BIC pen. It was really, really bad. I’m still embarrassed and have no idea what to do or say to her because that behavior is both unacceptable and really humiliating. I’m open to suggestions for how to punish for this behavior and how to prevent it from happening again.

7) Join Jen for other QuickTakes and may your Friday be full of news about Princes, but free of random guys carrying not-so-concealed guns, excruciating toddler screams and bad dental hygiene.

Anniversary: Hazzards by the numbers

Thank you to Jane for the very sweet post she wrote yesterday! Sadly, I don’t think my wit translates well into blog posts. (My previous writing experience includes press releases and news stories about taxes which, oddly, included very little humor.) I tried to think about what I was talking about in the first picture Jane posted. I’m pretty sure I was cracking jokes about the music in our parish (easy target).

This week is a busy one for celebrations at the Hazzard House because today DJ and I celebrate our EIGHTH wedding anniversary. A lot of people thought it was odd we got married the day after my birthday, but I think the date is perfect. My happiest birthday ever was the night before I married DJ and the birthdays since have only gotten better and better since I celebrate them with my husband and our kids.

Of course, both my birthday and our anniversary are eclipsed by our resident Princess’s birthday. Jackie was born on July 4th, 2010. That’s right, she’s a Yankee Doodle baby. She arrived a week early but her date fits in perfectly with Hazzard numerology.

When Carmela was born on December 5th last year, DJ and I both realized all the important Hazzard family dates line right up:

Jude: April 1

Claire: July 2

Anniversary: July 3

Jackie: July 4

Carmela: December 5

DJ: June 6

And our house number is 7.


I found this canvas at Target a couple of months ago and it's hanging in our kitchen. I hate the colors, but love how it fits in with our numbers.

I found this canvas at Target a couple of months ago and it’s hanging in our kitchen. I hate the colors, but love how it fits in with our numbers.

Mouthy Mondays: Dinner sayings

So, I’m not that great of a cook — my Irish gets in the way and I tend to over bake and over boil most of what I serve to my family. This has led to some interesting dinner comments.

The one that comes to mind first is a pre-kids comment from my wonderful love. I had tried my hand at steak only to have it turn out looking (and tasting) like a tire. DJ tried to make me feel better by assuring me that he loved chicken that way.

Jude has also made innocent-sounding comments about the dinners I’ve made, like the time I put a plate of meatloaf in front of him only to have him ask a few moments later “is this made of tree bark?”

Last week Jackie decided to add her wit to the collection. She covered her plate of stew with her napkin and solemnly waved her fork over it while saying “Abracadabra!”

We thought she was trying to make her dinner disappear, but then she explained “I’m trying to change this into bessert.”


Jackie falls asleep at the breakfast table. Sorry, there are no pictures of her unsuccessful dinner magic trick.

Jackie falls asleep at the breakfast table. Sorry, there are no pictures of her unsuccessful dinner magic trick.

Mouthy Mondays: Away from home

Last year, Jude began calling me Emily for some reason. He refused to call me Mommy at all and referred to me as Emily to everyone else. He had just started preschool so this caused no end of confusion for his poor preschool teachers who though my name was Claire. At Thanksgiving, when asked what he was grateful for, Jude said “Daddy and Emily.” The teachers thought there were problems at home.

Eventually, Jude dropped the Emily but he still has a special way of referring to me when I’m not around, apparently. I found this out when he brought his journal home on the last day of school. Check out this year’s Thanksgiving entry:

This reads "I thank God for my sister, Mom, Dad and my trucks."

This reads “I thank God for my sister, Mom, Dad and my trucks.”

Click on the image to make it larger.

And now, check out how he describes each member of his family in this close up.


He describes Daddy as “the nice one,” and me as “the crazy one.” Charming.

I think I preferred Emily.

Seven Quick Takes: MILESTONES

1) We’ve reached several milestones at the Hazzard House this week: first up is Jude’s preschool graduation!


Jude graduates preschool.

Jude graduates preschool.

Jude’s school had a very low-key park party for preschool graduation. It’s good it wasn’t anything fancy, ’cause that is just not this boy’s style. He went to his graduation wearing muddy work boots and a baby monitor strapped to his jeans that he calls his “CD” radio. Fancy this boy is not.

2) Our sweet baby turned six months! This baby had the hardest start in life, from arriving early (though fat) to her constant stomach troubles but the past few weeks have been so much better. She smiles and coos at all of us, especially Jude, and is trying so hard to sit up and move.

Carmela at six months.

Carmela at six months.

We’re now all looking forward to the next six months!

3) DJ turned 30! Just to be clear, DJ is younger than I am by two years so I hit this milestone awhile back. We don’t celebrate things such as birthdays with much fanfare around here, but DJ and I decided to hit up a place that says “I’m 30, I’m married and I’m cheap,” better than anywhere else: Ikea. While the kids stayed with Mimi and Joanie, we drove to the nearest store (2 1/2 hours!) and spent four hours getting increasingly confused and frustrated by the selection. We had a great time, though. It was nice to be by ourselves, even if we did spend the whole time talking about the kids or engaging in other “we’re old” activities like listening to “This American Life” on the way there and “Wait, Wait — Don’t Tell Me” on the way home.

We came away from Ikea with one burning question, though:IMG_0585

What does return within 000 days mean and why was this information posted in the bathrooms?

4) While at Ikea, we purchased a couple of things we’ve been meaning to purchase for a bit, including dressers and bookcases for our books. This isn’t necessarily a milestone, but you have to understand that getting the piles and piles of books off the living room floor where they currently live is a really big deal.

5) A further milestone will be putting together the bookcases for the books but just having bought the bookcases is pretty important, too.

6) Finally, I reached a personal goal this week and gathered enough support to take a polite letter of disagreement to someone. This letter was not received well. But sometimes the Holy Spirit calls, and knocks, and writes and generally bothers you so much, you have to do his bidding and after a lot of prayer and reflection, I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit wants me to hike up my pants, wipe my eyes and keep trying. If only He would be as direct with what He’d like me to do with laundry and cleaning in general, life would be so much easier.

7) Join Jen and crew for other quicktakes (And Jen, I think you ought to take a look at McSister’s “About Page!“)