September 29, 2011

little blue folder - love notes

there is a little blue folder that resides in anthony's backpack. 
it is the one that brought home this recent classroom assignment
typically, it only brings home his classwork and messages from his teacher. 
but, last week, it also brought home a fun  new surprise.

anth and his classroom are currently into what is called "driting."
you start with a written statement, such as "i like," and then draw the rest of the sentence. 
drawing + writing = driting
for anthony, these usually include "i like," and then a picture of a Star Wars character. 
we get a couple of them a day in his little blue folder.
 last week, we found something new in his folder.
there was a piece of regular paper that had been folded into something resembling an envelope.
on the outside, it had what looks like a failed attempt at writing the word "september."
this is crossed out.
then is says "anth."
on the inside was the following little "love note."
i have classified it as such, as it was packaged and given to him by a girl at his table during "driting" time.

a girl, who, is apparently very direct about her ambitions in pursuing this relationship.

September 28, 2011

failure to communicate

remember that time? 
you know. . .
the one when my friend from work came over?
and she brought her precious little girl so we could cook dinner for our kids and let them watch a movie together?
and anth had just gotten his new pumpkin carving kit for this year?
(yes, like 45 weeks early, i know. he's like his mother.)
and his friend wanted to see his pumpkin carving kit, which was still perfectly wrapped and unopened?
and because it was new, and therefore precious to him, he didn't want to share?
and i was thinking, the darn thing is still in it's packaging, so what harm could it be?
so, i, trying to be helpful, told him, in front of his sweet female friend, "oh my goodness anthony. would you please just let her touch your package?"
and my friend and i started laughing?
and i was laughing so hard that i was crying?
and poor anthony and his friend didn't understand what was funny?
and, worse, didn't understand why we wouldn't tell them what was hilarious?
yes, that time.
that was awesome.
it was a proud moment for me. 

i tell you, someone out there really needs to start writing my Parent of the Year recommendation letter. 
i'm full of gems like this. 

September 27, 2011


i randomly mention friends here and there on my blog.
my old college roommate, fellow res life community programmer, current creative writing faculty member and fellow mom, joy, is one of them.
she shows up here, in this post about anthony suggesting i'm a senior citizen.
or this one, about my bookaholicism.
and there are plenty of others as well.
well, to me she is joyOUS!
i am krysTYNE!
these are both pronounced as they are spelled.
and they are best delivered loudly from more than 15 feet apart.
in college, we took many of the same courses as English majors.
and, we had a few faculty members, our Dante professor in particular, who would mix us up in class.
now, joy and I did have a freakish tendency to wear similar outfits to class.
and we both had a ill-formed love of overalls.
and plaid.
but I would generally think the fact that she was blonde and I a brunette would be a good identifier.

here is a picture of us outside of our Newport Beach apartment.
yes, i know, rough life. 
here is a postcard with our beach house in it. 
i was fresh out of college, working for Verizon Wireless, and living with joy and three other English and Theatre majors. 
so many stories. :) 
we lived in the top floor in front of the ones with the little people in the rental buggy.
to put it in perspective, joy and i are sitting on the wall that they are driving past in the picture above this one. 
i fell asleep at night with my window open, listening to the ocean. 
i love it there.  
i specifically remember floating out in the ocean once with joy, on boogie boards, and having a discussion about how lucky we were. 
how few people on this planet of ours were able to live on the coast like this. 
in summary, it was a good year. 

sadly, the last time i saw joy in person was at her 2004 wedding.
during the Ohio State v. Michigan football game.
(yes, bern loves me enough to travel to Mississippi and miss the game.)
clearly, the wedding was not the sad part.
unless you consider being the 5-month pregnant bridesmaid sad.
but i didn’t.
she was the nice kind of bride who told us to go find a black dress that wasn’t too short or too long.

oh the belly those flowers were hiding. 
let it be known, i can actually say that I have re-worn that bridesmaid dress.
this was the only maternity one i owned through both pregnancies.
i am not good at keeping in touch with people after they are out of my direct line of sight.
it does not come naturally to me.
joy is one of the very few people on that rather short list.

recently, joy and i were emailing/facebooking and i suggested she start a blog.
a few of my favorite people have blogs, and whenever they post, i feel like i talked to them that day.
yes, i know.
i didn’t REALLY talk to them.
and largely, this is exactly what we encourage students NOT to do.
to, in fact, go out and talk to people face to face.
but, often, the day is filled with work, then a frantic attempt to make it to daycare on time, followed by Krystyne Attempts to Make A Wholesome Dinner That Is Neither Kraft Mac n' Cheese nor Chicken Nuggets, followed by baths, followed by reading, followed by cleaning, etc.
at the end of a long day when I just couldn’t call, these little blog snippets give me a 30 second peek into my friends’ heads.
or their failed attempt at no-baking something.

now, I don’t usually specifically share their blogs, or devote an entire post to them.
but this one is extra special to me.
like i said, joy and i were English majors together and RAs and all of that undergrad goodness.
i went on and made my career in helping people deal with their lives as they happen in the residential setting.
joy made one of helping people learn how to put their lives on paper.
joy is a writer.
i find this infinitely cool and something to be respected.
typically, when she has finished something or has it published, she zaps it my way or points me to the online journal hosting it.
and, without fail, i stop what i am doing to read her recent essay.
as in, last night, she sent me a message to say she had her blog up and running and that i should check it out.
and, in the middle of painting my nails, i put down the brush and read through her shiny new essay that is up on the blog.
(i have a smudge on my right pinky nail as evidence.)
usually, after I read her essays, I forward them to my mom, a few friends, and a few colleagues who appreciate her writing as well.

but why save them up just for me?
to check them out, simply visit her site. now.
yeah, that’s right.
if you actually clicked on that link, you would see that the name of her blog is Joyous In Hell.
it comes back to Dante, as she explains here.
(she also shares her thoughts on us being confused by faculty in this post as well. haha.)
it's like i'm famous. but then, totally not.
to be honest, a lot of her writing is what some would consider dark.
i just consider it genuine.
but, yes, there is plenty of humor in there as well.
i kind of picture us as the equivalent to Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy.
willing to be “dark and twisty.”
sans the scrubs, medical knowledge, and variety of other differences that probably don't need to be named.
(but, we did both meet at work, and work with our husbands. so . . . there's that.)
her newest essay is about her “jesus year.”
but, there are also many of her other essays that i love up there as well.
particularly, there are a few regarding her recent neighbor and pageant girl. these are some of my favorites.

now that bern is done with school, it is on my very short list of Things That Must Happen Sooner Rather Than Later to make a trip to see joy.
and her little girl who has grown up on my fridge but I have never met in person.
particularly because we have decided that this sweet girl is betrothed to my son.
but, we haven’t really landed on which one.
and i kind of feel like she should at least have her choice between the two.

(for those interested in the usual mysavvyboys antics, come back tomorrow. you might just get to see the love note that anth received last week that enforces my choice to pair the boys with joy's kids now.)
 (disclaimer: no, i am not serious and make no assumptions to the type of relationships anth and benny wish to pursue.)

(or, you might get to hear about the WORLD's MOST INAPPROPRIATE statement i made to anthony regarding my friend's daughter. in front of my friend. and her daughter.)
(i'm having an awesome week.)

September 26, 2011

self-regulation update: Stairy Night

each day, anth has a blue folder that goes to and from school in his backpack.
notes to the teacher from bern and i, as well as completed homework, go to school via this folder. 
his day's classwork, as well as newsletters and homework come home with him. 
(and, most recently, a few hilarious "love notes" from his classmates.)

i have been saying that i need to share some of anth's classwork for a while now. 
but this one quickly rose to the top, due to it's relevancy to this recent post
"I said please when i wanted to get off the stairs."

now, we have always used the stairs as our time-out space. 
and, yes, he does often politely request to come off of the stairs before his time is complete. 
however, i don't know if this picture captures the spirit of all of that to a teacher new to our family. 

September 25, 2011

Labor (of love) Day

this weekend, i finally uploaded my photos to my computer.
i've been meaning to do this for a while. 
there are a lot of fun pictures to share, including some from my recent "how to use your camera you've had for 9 months lesson" with Sam Al-Khoury.
a huge portion of the photos involved my kids working on some sort of art project or another. 
anth has been on a painting/iron beading/sun-catcher kick. 
which, of course, i love. 

over Labor Day weekend, both of the boys and i had our own little creative adventures . . .

anth loves painting plaster figurines. 
this particular weekend included a monkey and a dolphin. 
this was a nice, easy, project to acquire at Michael's.
not so much. 

as of late, the boys have been highly in love with the new version of Thundercats on Cartoon Network.
more specifically, ben loves an episode about the "Sword of Omens."
lately, he can be found brandishing pretty much anything and claiming it has the power of omen. 
or something to that effect. 
here is a visual of the sword for reference: 

note: while searching for the image above, i found a disturbing amount of photos of people who have tattoos of the same sword. 
okay, so i found like 5. 
but still. 
i should really watch this show with bern and the boys to figure out what this sword can apparently do.
benny wanted a sword. 
and i was in my pajamas.  

so this is what he got. 

apparently, he was not impressed by mom's low-budget productions. 
(actually, he was upset about something entirely different and, apparently, unmemorable a few weeks later.)

but this next picture leads me to believe i offered him a reward if he stopped crying and took a picture. 

my random little project on this day was food. 
one of my colleagues, alice, has recently turned me on to kale chips
i was working on these while anth was painting his dolphin. 
at some point, anth asked me to come over and help him with something, and i carried the baking sheet with the kale on it over with me. 
he took one look at it, forgot his question, and asked me what i was doing. 
i explained. 

"never mind, mom. i'm okay. i mean, that looks pretty gross already, so i really don't want to distract you and have that turn out worse. "

September 22, 2011

it's all in the name

benny has decided he does not like potatoes.
actually, he seems to have taken an actual political stance against potatoes.
if you offered him, say, mashed potatoes, he would decline.
just by virtue of the name.

this is hilarious to me, because ben loves french fries.
i could judge him about this obvious oversight, if it weren't for the fact that, when i was slightly older than him, i was horrified to learn that french fries were not, in fact, bread.
it's an odd gene to pass down, confusing potatoes for other forms of food, but inherit it he did.

ben does not like potatoes.
ben loves french fries.
ben also loves ice cream.
ben especially loves shakes.

and, as of a week or two ago, ben now offically loves mashed potatoes.
except he doesn't know this.
because he thinks he is eating "french fry shakes."
you can question my parenting.
but you can't question my creativity.

September 20, 2011

self-regulation. on steroids.

in our house, the staircase is used as the time-out space.
if the boys earned frequent staircase miles, they would be able to visit grandma and grandpa on the west coast by now.
or at least have a highly respectable collection of magazines from their stray point collection.

the boys know that, when they have been asked to go to the staircase, they have officially gone beyond the limits of what we consider acceptable behavior.
anth usually wanders over sullenly.
ben protests, often extending his stay on the stairs, but eventually makes his way there.
he tends to find great joy in shifting about the stairs.
as long as he is somewhere between step 1 and 15, bern and i generally choose not to split hairs on that one.

recently, the sibling rivalry has ramped up a bit between the boys.
there are two main reasons for this.
the first is that anth's toys are becoming increasingly cooler to ben.
the second is that they have learned how to antagonize one another via poking-but-not-necessarily-hitting maneuvers.
as you might imagine, these tend to quickly escalate into i'm-not-so-much-poking-you-as-actually-hitting-you moments.

anth, being the rule-abiding peanut that he is, has also been trying to help benny understand the rules of the house.
sometimes, perhaps too emphatically.
bern and i have been trying to help him see himself as a coach for his little brother, rather than a disciplinarian.

recently, i was in the kitchen making dinner and the boys were playing in the family room.
i heard a bit of a volume increase in their activity, so i popped out to see what was going on.
i came out to find benny sitting happily on the couch, and anth sitting at the bottom of the stairs with his head in his hands.
i went to ask him what happened and he looked up, and said, "i yelled at my brother. so i feel like i'm in trouble."

the kid put himself on the stairs.
i let him decide how long he felt he needed to be there, and explained he didn't need to be so tough on himself.
and that it was okay to just let mommy and daddy be the mommy and daddy.
(and that he probably didn't need to find the nearest stairwell at school should he feel that he made an error in judgment in his new 1st grade classroom.)

September 19, 2011

love-love (i know nothing about tennis)

yesterday, we finished moving this year's slew of Ohio State University students into the residence halls.
it was an exciting, and full, day.
as such, my brain feels kind of squishy and useless today.
thankfully, i loaded this last set of pictures from california over a month ago, so i have an easy post waiting to be used.
this is a good thing as coherent would not be a good way to describe me today.
hopefully, i will also make my mom happy, as she has been waiting a long time to see all of these pictures.

on our last full day in San Clemente, we decided to do something other than go to the beach.
largely because anth was pretty much over it.
and he was developing carpel tunnel syndrome from playing paddle ball.
so we decided to do something much better for his poor little wrist.
we thought we would give him an adult sized tennis racket and see how that worked out for him.

(actually, first we went to play a little bit of air hockey and the game with the little people on sticks who are playing faux football. or soccer. you know? the one i am too tired to remember the name of and too lazy right now to google so i don't sound like a moron? that one.)

ben was dead set on playing this game. 
as you can probably deduce from looking at the picture, he is not the best height for this game. 
this resulted in lots of frustration and a stick or two to the eye. 
that was when we decided on tennis.  
ben was much happier with this choice.
there was room to roam and, seemingly, no height requirements.
give or take the whole the-net-is-as-big-as-i-am factor.
he didn't let this get him down.

anth actually got to play tennis for a week at his summer sports camp back home, so he was excited to try out his new skills with Aunt Katie and Jeff.

aunt katie was excited to show my mom how to do . . . this.
currently, katie is enjoying Bikram yoga.
this basically involves doing yoga in a room that is heated to approximately 105 degrees.
she tried to convince me to give it a try.
i tried to remind her that, though we have not lived together for 16 years, i am still krystyne.
an inherent function of being krystyne involves avoiding hot places and sweat.
especially hot places where i will need to exert myself.
amidst the yoga lessons and ben running around playing a version of tennis that exists only in his mind, anth remained focused.
dad and anth played against katie and jeff, and later katie and my dad.
the whole thing was pretty cute.
later, katie got my dad to give it a whirl.

dad's yoga lesson didn't last very long.

at some point, something happened.
and ben reacted.
i no longer remember what that something was.
but that is usually how the story goes with my littlest man, so i feel pretty confident about this account.

the beaus.
i made the mistake of putting the camera down and bernie grabbed it.
so, here is one shot to prove i was actually there that day.
you can't see it, but ben is still crying here.
note the look of parental concern on my face.

September 16, 2011

fail photo 37: my kids don't look like me!

i am told on a semi-regular basis that my kids look just like bernie.
more specifically, folks usually say that anth looks just like bern.
i generally have two responses, depending on the audience.
one involves smiling and agreeing wholeheartedly.
the other involves agreeing and making some flip remark about genetics.

but, you know what?
i really don't see it.
there, i said it.
i don't actually think my kids look much like me.
or bern.
i think anth looks a lot like anth. and ben like ben.
i have always contested that benny actually looks like the men in my family.
so, during our august trip to see the fam in california, i took a minute to scan a few pictures around the house.
because me telling random people in ohio that i think ben looks like my grandpa isn't all that helpful.
now, you have it.
photos to weigh in on.
so i guess these aren't the traditional mysavvyboys "fail photos," so much as my photos of my kids failing to look like me.

also included below are pictures that show that the boys really did look a lot like one another at certain ages, though they don't right now.

for starters, here is what we look like.
except for my foot of missing hair that i can't grow back as fast as i'd like.
(this photo was taken by pricsilla of 

here's another shot of bern.
since his face is the one in question.
and because i think it's a cute photo of him.
i have no idea what ben is reacting to so strongly on a children's playground.

this is my dad.
this picture will do absolutely nothing to prove that anth or ben look like him.
i just think it's a really cool picture.

this is my dad and his brother.
my Uncle Harry.
circa 1990-something.

here is my sister and i with our Grandpa Harry.
#1 - dear mom, that bow in my hair is potentially the reason i dressed in all black for most of high school. that's a whole lot of girliness going on up there.
#2 - also, i am wearing white socks with black dress shoes.
#3 - this was the thing to do in 1987.
#4 - no, it wasn't.
#5 - look how freaking cute my little sister is.
for a better comparison, this is Grandpa Harry up close.
you will note that these photos were clearly in frames before i scanned them.
and that my grandpa was not originally wearing a magenta jacket as i had thought all these years.

this is benny.
he is close to 6 months old here.

here, you will note benny rocking the same smile as that of my dad and his brother in the 90's.
and this includes my "i think ben looks like he has some Welch in him" photo series.
(bern's house has some good evidence of benny also looking like his Uncle Frank Anthony, but i thought it would seem odd to start taking photos off of their walls during our last visit.)
now, this is benny at 18 months old.
he looks all sweet an innocent.
but, that is actually a piece of candy/gum/something sweet sticking out from behind his head.
the only reason he is smiling is so that he can eat it.
and this is aunt katie with anthony at about 15 months.
similar, right?
and, just because i was busy scanning, here is a picture of me from the late 70's.
let it be known, combovers on babies were all the rage in 1978.