Thursday, June 30, 2011

#1 Fan

I decided today its time to announce the Me and My House #1 Fan award. Since its inception I have discovered it is a really vital to have readers if you want to blog. You folks would be what keeps these posts coming. The really odd thing is about blogging is how infrequently people comment. They seem to like anonymity. As a blogger I have grown used to it, but I have to say its helpful to have not only commentors but straight out fans. 
And so my number one fan award goes to ....(drum roll )

Angela Rogan Dungate!!!!

I can hear the applause as the crowds grow wild. Angela not only reads every post, but she generally comments in a sweet manner on what I have to say. What a wonderful fan and an even better big sister. Aren't I lucky?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This was a conversation I heard today:

Joe: Well where is it Michael?

Mike:I don't know. I thought it was over here.

Joe: Its not over here.

Mike:I know, I forgot where I put it.

Joe: What are you gonna do?

Mike:I'll ask Mom. MOM!!!

Mom:Yes Michael?

Mike: Did you see my frog around here?

Mom: (GROAN) No.

I did find it later. On the kitchen counter. Not moving. I called Mike. He came in and yelped for joy. He asked why it wasn't moving. I hadn't the heart to answer bluntly so I chose my words carefully; Maybe he's sleeping Mike.

Mike:Hey Joe, I found my frog, he's right here taking a nap!

There were no tears so it must have worked. Besides I have played with Mike in the sandbox before and I can assure you afterwards- you really are dead tired!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Fred has been teaching the older boys some of his trade the past few years. Today while Fred was busy doing 'other' work, he set Andrew up tiling the backsplash in the kitchen. Tomorrow he'll do the grout. Check out how nice his work came out:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cinderella Man

I absolutely loved the movie Cinderella man. Did you see it? It was a strange name for a movie but wound up being really touching. This post is actually not about a boxing movie though, its about shoes.
 Lots of shoes.
 Lots of really nice shoes.
 Lot's of really nice and expensive shoes.
 Lots of really nice and expensive men's shoes.
 Lots of really nice and expensive men's shoes that I am currently in possession of.

Here's what happened. We know this man Bob from daily mass. He has been nodding to us for the last 7 years we've lived here. I say 'nodding' because anyone who goes to daily mass knows the crowd I'm talking about. They're the folks that are making time for Jesus and prayer in the midst of a busy day, and they creep into church at the appointed time in order to pray, receive the Eucharist, and collect their thoughts. They don't talk to any other folks generally speaking. They 'nod' at the kiss of peace and everyone parts ways in the parking lot. If one of these folks are missing for a few days all the others notice and ask, even though they may not even know the name attached to the face. You may think this is unfriendly behavior and one of the drawbacks to church going- I gotta tell ya, its something I really like.

To me, seeing someone at mass every day for years says an awful lot to me already about that person. I don't really need to know much more on a superficial level to fill in the blanks. Yeah, maybe it would be nice to chat a bit more, but in a busy day, I don't mind the need for a quick reentry after noon mass.

In any case, Bob approached me after mass one day years ago while I was pregnant ( when wasn't I?) and asked if he could give me some trucks for the boys. He said virtually nothing else and then proceeded to his car and handed me a shopping bag full of antique trucks. He did this several times over the years. (He quickly became the boys favorite parishioner.) One day he asked Fred if he would help him move some furniture for a sick aunt. Fred obliged. From then on if Bob needed help moving himself or an older relative, Fred was the man he asked. About a year ago Bob told us he had cancer.We saw him recently and while his treatments are going well, he mentioned he has an uncle who passed away and he really needed help from Fred and I cleaning up the place. We both said we'd do it. He told us we could have whatever we wanted if we helped him out. We 'nodded' kindly.

The homily at mass that day was previewing Pentecost. Father told us that the next day was the birthday of the church and we should be prepared to accept whatever presents Jesus had waiting for us. Bob asked us to help him the next day ( Pentecost) and  so I was not completely clueless Jesus might be saying something to me in this obvious set-up.

So the next day we met up with Bob. We were fully prepared to roll up our sleeves and get to work scrubbing. When the door opened our jaws almost fell on the floor. An immaculate condo with furniture that was REALLY beautiful stood before us. Bob asked us to empty out the closets. We opened the doors and loaded up boxes of mens clothes and shoes, tools, and all sorts of odds and ends in pefect condition and asked what he wanted us to do with them. "Keep them or give them away" were our instructions. No matter how many times or ways we insisted- maybe he wanted or could use some of this stuff he just laughed and shrugged.  "No thanks, what am I gonna do with them? " and we'd get back to work.Fred and I were stunned at his level of detatchment. Remember the four poster bed from a few nights ago? That was Bob's uncles. Along with the rest of the bedroom set. 

So Fred and I and the boys have been packing up and cleaning out another mans life. Mr. Cash's life to be exact ( yes his name was actually Mr. Cash- I am SO serious!).

I found that the really strange thing that happens when you're given the proverbial keys to the candy shop though, is that you realize you can't really eat as much as you might  think. After the initial shock of being told we could take anything we liked, we realized well, we don't really need very much after all. Its pretty cool, but its all someone else' life and things. We've made our own. So yes, where we can fit it in we will, but it's also kind of fun to give things away and make them more useful in general.

( Well, EXCEPT maybe for this SWEET find! A very old Magnavox in mint condition that still works! YES!!! It is sitting on our new screen porch and Fred has already got it playing tunes. Can't wait to find some old records and let the boys check it out!)

 So now we're back to 14 pairs of men's shoes. All a size 8.5. (We are talking about a man with small feet.) I cannot begin to tell you how many families I called searching down the Cinderella man. Even John Paul cannot fit these shoes. Finally after doing my best impression of prince charming, I found my very own dear brother-in-law Christopher was the perfect fit! He doesn't even know that the next time I see him I will be showering him with shoes! More shoes than anyone could possible need for one set of feet . But you know the saying -

if the shoe fits...! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Community Day!

Well, today was community day here in E-berg. It's a rather strange thing to experience these little town events after growing up in New York. Initially when we pulled up and parked the van we didn't see much actually going on. I ventured out first and said we'd better walk over to the crowd. Fred stepped out a bit more cautiously and said all he saw was a group of townies and a rope. He was unsure if I had mistaken community day for a lynching. I assured him it was tug-o-war.

 Its been years now since we lived in NY with it's fast pace and cutting edge, and we have grown a bit accustomed to the differences and quaintness of country life for the most part. We couldn't seem to manage getting all the little ones ready for community day on time so as luck would have it we were late for the pig-chase (shucks!). After that was the pie  and watermelon eating contest along with lots of traditional games.

Fred got hooked when he saw the line up of hot-rods. They really had an amazing collection of cars to sneak a peek at while the little ones ate hot-dogs and visited the playground. We left shortly after to take care of things at home.

After dinner the older boys ( Andy, Pete, JP, Matt, Joe)and Fred headed down for a movie (Thor) and arrived home just in the nick of time to catch the fireworks display from our front yard. I had already put the little 5 down telling them they could get back up if and only if they heard fireworks. They took the bait. The first BANG and they were at my side with high pitched gleeing sounds. We all gathered together out front and watched the show. Mike and Tom could not help but run off to catch a million fireflies that glowed between the fireworks. The children are all tucked safely in their beds now. It was a beautiful day to be a family and to see the blessings of our marriage as it should be... no matter what's going on in New York. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Musical Beds Take 2

Here is the working solution to last nights musical beds situation. Meet princess Mary and Princess Sarah as they sleep in their new Princess bed. Now this makes me happy. And it also makes 2 little girls pretty happy as well.
Problem solved.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Musical Beds

My whole family is mad at me right now. UGH!
I hate that.

A friend of ours that we know from daily mass gave us some really beautiful furniture. We picked up an entire bedroom set today. Its a four poster bed with dressers, night tables etc. It is soooo pretty you cannot imagine. ( it looks kind of like this)

So After a really long day of working I convinced my older boys to help me take down the old bed (which isn't a set at all, and is just a box spring and mattress on a frame with cheapo night tables and lamps) and move in the new set. They struggled and hassled with the pieces, carried heavy items through doorways with me shouting "Don't scratch that!", vacuumed and readjusted dust ruffles, and finally the new set was sitting in our bedroom.

Fred came in to look. The younger kids started jumping on it. The older boys were oohing and ahhing and finally I laid down and stood up almost as quickly.

They all looked puzzlingly at me. "I don't like it." I said aloud.

WHAT? Are you crazy? BUT ITS BEAUTIFUL!" they exclaimed.

One sole voice spoke up. It was Fred:

"Thank God!"

was all he commented and then the boys groaned.
Because they knew what was coming next.

"Would you mind taking it back down and bringing my old bed back?"

"No, No, NO! MOM!!!Can't you wait til the morning?"

'Well, not if I want to sleep tonight.'

 So, the boys lugged all the pieces back in and took down the new bed and replaced it with the old one. And I am much happier. It just suits me better.  I think I'll try it in the little girls room tomorrow. If that doesn't work there's always ebay.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Joseph was surfing on the internet Monday. He  looked panicked when I came in. I asked him what was wrong. He answered in his gravest voice...

"Ummmm....Mom.....I one clicked!"

What he meant of course was he one clicked on Amazon while checking out some of his favorite items. I told him he'd have to pay for whatever he purchased. Then I forgot about it. Today a package came in the mail. I was so curious as I hadn't remembered buying anything.And once the package was opened I realized, I hadn't. He forked over the 20.00 bucks and has been happy all afternoon.

(P.S. Fred got one for Fathers Day and so they are having races with them in the house.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Next door to Grandmaland live Uncle Dave and Aunt Di. But much more importantly than them is Stephen and Michael, their children. Stephen and Michael are the boys cousins and the sun rises and sets on them. The actual reason for our visit this past weekend was Michael's graduation from Middle School. He won a few awards ( one for Christian Conduct) and is about the sweetest kid on the planet. His younger brother is not far behind.

While the boys have been spending a week together each summer for years now, a new development has occurred this last the name of Nikki.

Nikki is Freds god-daughter and WOW what a beautiful young lady. My boys always loved Nikki but of course she is a girl, and so they weren't very interested in how she was ever doing if she didn't want to paintball or play video games. BUT Mary and Sarah have no older sister and so Nikki to them is like having one for a few days. Mary and Sarah are pretty much convinced Nikki is a princess and they follow her around like her maids in waiting. I am so glad she loves them so much too!

So while we big kids spend time talking in the kitchen, the boys and their cousins spend time building bon fires, having sleep-overs, taking walks in the fields and telling scary stories that keep them from ever falling asleep at night ( ahem Peter and Stephen!). We actually all went to the Walkway over the Hudson and then made home made pizza afterwards. Sunday was Michaels official graduation party with Auntie Theresa and Uncle Paul,Grandpa Vinny, Uncle Pat and Aunt Leigh and their little ones showing up as well. Its really wonderful to see so much family and have the chance to catch up on how everyone is. It would have been perfect if Brian and Fallon could have been there with Caroline! Maybe next time...something to hope for!

Monday, June 20, 2011


At the end of last week we traveled to New York to spend time with our wonderful family in extended version. My in-laws are salt of the earth folks. (It only took me 18 years to figure that out too!) Close your eyes and try to picture the kindest man on the planet and I guarantee you're picturing my father-in-law. He is patient and good at his very core. When I first met my mother-in-law she had about a million opinions on how I should live my life. There was nothing about her that wasn't intimidating. She could cook, bake, clean house, play tennis,and garden better than any woman I had ever met. She needed almost no sleep. She liked fine things. 

Once we got married and pregnant my whole world got turned upside down. Angela was the constant measuring stick for all the things I should be and wasn't- yet. I'd come to her house green with morning sickness and she'd give me a sneer that said "suck it up" and push me along. She'd come to visit my house giving it the white glove treatment and say "Ellen, you need a washer and dryer." in her firm English accent and opinionated tone, and I'd reply equally as firm that "I liked the laundromat" while scraping gum off the seat of a chair.On her next visit a washer and dryer would magically appear- I was never really grateful. If she wanted me to do things one way, I'd do them the other just to prove I could. If I slept in when I visited her house I felt like the laziest person as she spoke of 'rising with the sun' to get ready for the day. We spent plenty of days sizing each other up and deciding where the other was entirely wrong. We disagreed often and loudly.

If you asked either one of us what we thought of the other, you'd likely hear "She's all right." and that's about all. Of course what was always changing was the size of my family, and therefore Angela's grandchildren. And if there was one thing Angela and I did agree on, it was that Fred had the most wonderful children in the world. If there was anything a child did that I wanted to brag about, she wanted to hear. If I needed a break or a babysitter, she was always willing to lend a hand. And so it went for many years, through moves and ever growing mini-vans. We tolerated each other, and nudged each other, and measured how we were accomplishing our respective roles, both often exasperated.

This past weekend we arrived on Thursday evening and the children entered Grandmaland quite happily. She must have baked 12 dozen chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, along with Napoleons, pies and every other goodie a kid could wish for. She has boxes of toys just waiting for little hands to grab at and play with. A sandbox sits outside her door with about 15 types of riding toys to conquer the hills and lawns. She spends her entire time playing with them and caring for every need and whim. She and Phil are the youngest old people I have ever met. They work so hard they make Fred look lazy. We were talking about the newest generation of Legare women now entering the family. Angela and I had ourselves quite a laugh thinking of how much we had disagreed over the years and how different that was now.

When I climbed into bed at night she came to chit chat with me about  Fred and the kids and life. She told me what a fine job I was doing as a Mom and I thanked her for being the best grandmother on the planet. She told me not to get up in the morning as she'd get the kids so I could sleep in; but I told her I generally wake up pretty early these days after so many years of doing it reluctantly.

Its only now that I can stop and look back and be as thankful as I should be for all Angela and Phil have done for us. Before, I was too  strong willed to admit she might be right about a few things, now I can see it was so. So while I have the time and its still in my thoughts I better tell them both how grateful I am for a few things I was never able to say out loud before.

Thank you for:

  • The washer and dryer that I desperately needed but couldn't afford
  • the air-conditioning I hoped for while I was so sick with John-Paul and the heat was awful
  • the million batches of cookies and cream puffs
  • babysitting every time we ever asked
  • rearranging plans to accommodate us
  • remembering every birthday, anniversary, and special occasion for every year - every child
  • making each child feel loved by their grandparents
  • letting us escape the pressure of the adult world by visiting your house for a change
  • reading stories to the kids until they fell asleep
  • bathing grubby feet and faces 100 times a day while they play
  • holding onto every old toy so the kids always had something to play with on visits
  • trips to the park
  • picnic lunches
  • creating such beautiful memories for our family.

 I love you both so much! (tomorrow I'll tell you whats next door to Grandma and Grandpa!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday Dear Andrew.....

Happy Birthday to you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Camp Out!

After the Lake we went camping. I don't think there is any experience better for the soul than a night in the woods. I love the campfire smell, the sounds of the earth, the fireflies, and the important questions that get answered around the flames late at night- like:

"Do black bears really eat small children?"- (Only if they don't run very fast....)

"Do monsters really live in that lake down the road?"- (They haven't been able to prove it yet.....)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cunningham Falls

Spent the day at the Lake yesterday. The kids had a blast swimming, sandcastle building and visiting the raptor center of the State Park. We got to see some amazing owls ( eating mice for lunch) along with a 60 pound snapping turtle. Most of the birds are there on account of car accidents since they can no longer live on their own in the wild. The naturalist who showed the kids the animal was really patient and engaging. They were fascinated by the experience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One, Two, Three, Four, Five!

I Love this nursery Rhyme and thought of it immediately when I saw these shots from Freddy.He was watching the kids climb and sure enough it built in momentum.

One, two, three, four, five.
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine ,ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.