Funny First Days and the Proof is in the Photos

Today my three boys all went off to school.  

It was the easiest first day of school for everyone.

It made me smile the whole drive home.  

I also now have time to write more and share it with you.  I am sorting some of my old stories from the journal I have kept since we began our family and I came across a funny from Mitchell when he and his twin brother Avery were in kindergarten.

My husband Jim came home from work and…

Jim, said very enthusiastically, “How was kindergarten boys?”

Mitchell, said with a very grown up matter-of-fact manner …“Dadda, I think there is more yelling than learning going on in Kindergarten.

First day of school – Kindergarten

Avery and Mitchell’s First Day of School – 7th Grade

(note our dog always wiggles her way into photos)

Peter’s First Day – Kindergarten

First Day – This Morning

I may not go back to pick them up.

I’m joking!

If I am not, I am sure it will make the news.

Abbie Gale

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Things Every Mom Says Or Just Mine

I love that Twitter is trending #ThingsEveryMomSays because if gives me a chance to share one of my favorite quotes my crazy mom used to say…


“Honey, I HAD you to do the dishes. You should be thanking the dishes. It is because of the dishes you exist.”

Every year I think my mother was smarter than the year before.

Here is a story about my mom called “Back Back Before You Could Just Go And Buy Boobies” that includes the obvious mention of boobs and chicken poop and how you can use one to get the other.

Recently, when asking one of my 12 year olds to empty the dishwasher, he replies with, “I’ll give you $20 to do it for me mom.”

I say, “That is terrible. What would I be teaching you if I were to say yes?”

My 12 year old replies, “OK, fine $40.”

Now I am thinking I may just take his money to teach him a whole new lesson. I turned around and shot him a look, completely accidental, and he began unloading. Lesson learned…12 year olds these days have too much cash.

When they were little they would sneak and “wash” the dishes!

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All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

Our Most Embarrassing School Art, To Date Anyway

I am running a few of my favorite stories this week.  I will be back soon with new stories, that is if I don’t end up in jail in NYC.  My boys said they won’t miss me much when I am gone since I make them unload the dishwasher.  I reminded them that I wash and load the dishes and so they will have to load as well while I am away.  

Anyone willing to bail my naked ass out of jail?  I know I will be naked because with two drinks and I am drunk and three…NAKED and jail seems like the logical progression for four.  I hear the girls at BlogHer like to party at the conferences, crap.  

Your dad is a BONE doctor!  How can you NOT know there is NOT a bone in it?

I don’t know.  They are sweet.  They are cute boys.  They win classroom awards like, “Most Conscientious”.  These are the only reasons I can think of that the teachers don’t call me when my boys do a project in school and they...just look at the picture.

There are reasons I am not a PTO mom, or a scissor mom, (the ones that come to school to cut things out).  The reasons are because my kids think its funny to make a pasta skeleton and put macaroni testicles and rotinini pee-pee and spaghetti BONE?  I asked what the spaghetti was and he said, “That’s the bone in the pee-pee“.

I know I clearly have more to worry about, judging from this picture, but….




I take a few deep breaths.  I put it into perspective.  There are three types of pasta that makes up the noodle guys junk (oh and we know it’s a noodle GUY, right)  but the dude has no feet.

For all of you with girls I want to remind you that little boys are different.  For little boys, that area is a toy that stays with you.  To quote one of my kids when they were three, “When can I get one of these BALLS out so I can see what they look like?”  Your daughter is putting shoes on her Barbie’s feet right now and I have an anatomically (in)correct foot-less pasta dude on my fridge.

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry, and hopefully cry laughing.

Frog Hunting With Kids During Summer Evenings

Frog and toad hunting has been this weeks evening pastime.

It is HOT outside during the day and this gives our boys something fun to do when it cools off.

Access to ponds or creeks…We have both in our backyard and many more on the golf course across the street.

Transportation…We walk or use the critter mobile golf cart.

Lights…We use headlights and flashlights and even golf cart headlights.

Nets…Do we have nets!  We have short-handled and long-handled and large holed and small holed.  We are even willing to reach in.

My boys tell me this is a “smaller” bullfrog.

Container…We use a big tote.

Sense of humor…Peter likes to take “frog orders” before he heads out.  I say I would like a green tree frog and his brothers might say a bullfrog.  Peter especially likes to watch people open the tote and see how many he has brought home.  Below is poor Mitchell not expecting dad to pull giganto bullfrog out.

An ability to say goodbye…With the hopes of seeing you again in the pond behind our home.  This took years to perfect as saying goodbye to “caught critters” is very hard for little boys.

Peter may have been kissing this little guy on a dare from big brothers.  

Big brothers can be especially cantankerous.

Camera…It is much easier to say goodbye if you have a photo to remember your new friends.

Potato brush and soap…Have it at every entrance to the house for the “Frog Hunters” to use before entering their home!

Thanks for letting me share,

“All that makes you, smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.”


How to Stifle Education with Cocktails and Other Threats

I have a husband, Jim.  A very, very smart husband. How smart you ask?

Not too smart, he married me!

I remind him of the above mentioned fact if he complains about things I might do.

I tell him he…

– Should just find my annoying habits endearing, it would be easier for him AND me since I am getting too old to change for the better.

– Married me AND that means he married my taste and that means no decorator but he may hire a housekeeper, (so that I have more time to decorate.)

– Needs to remember that he married me knowing that whatever has made him mad is also probably one of the reasons he wanted to marry me.

The list goes on and evolves so as to satisfy my ever-changing needs.

Jim and I were on our way this week to his latest graduation.  He went back for additional training a year ago.  He just completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal imaging.  We debated not even going to the ceremony.

I told him we had to.  I wanted to be sure that there would be no excuse for any FUTURE graduations such as, “I feel unfulfilled missing my 43 graduation ceremony.  I need to go back to school, for more training or redirect my career path” crap.

I threw on a skirt and a shirt and a pair of heels that were chewed up from another night of actually having fun in them.

The last graduation I bought a new gown, shoes, jewelry, flew in Jim’s mom and bought her all the same.  We stopped to buy flowers for his program director.  We hired a sitter.  It was a night out at the “fancy” country club all kelly green, pink and oriental vases.

We pulled out of our driveway this week shouting out the window to the kids to make themselves a burrito.  We were heading to the same pink and green country club.  We were both far less enthusiastic.

I sat in the front seat looking for some sunblock to slap on my dry knees and announced, “I am getting tanked tonight.”

I liked saying it just to force the mental image of seventy-five academic physicians, residents, fellows and their spouses eating baked Alaska while I am falling down drunk.

Jim says, “Really?  You are planning this ahead of time?”

I had and I was.

Me, “Yes.  It is the only way I can be sure you won’t go back for more training.  It will have to be epic.”

Jim, “Awesome.”

I knew he wasn’t doubting that I was actually thinking about this.

Here is what really happened.

I may have sat at a table for ten and been one of only two women and still somehow managed to bring up “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  I then tried guessing which of the men looked tired enough to deem that their wives were reading it or had recently read it.  This is no small feat considering most radiologists look tired from lack of sunlight and interaction with humans, I may have also mentioned this.

I may have told my husband’s subspecialty department director that his nickname for Jim sucked, (R.J. for “Research Jim”) and that it should be “Antwone” and then went on to tell him why he should call him that.

The program director somehow managed to bring up my full first and last name in her speech and included an “Abbie quote” with full body impersonation from six years ago in this very same room and at the very same graduation ceremony.  She then asked where I was in the room and I had the full attention of all of the docs and their “others.”

This is fantastic!  I have only had half a drink and I am “infamous.”  I don’t need to keep drinking!  Poor Jim just looks at me while I am smiling back at him.

I didn’t think it was that memorable but I guess shouting out, “Yayyy BABY!  WE GOT FURNITURE!” when the program presents your husband with one of those “collegiate” chairs with his name on a plaque with “Chief Resident” may have been the most exciting thing other than not having baked Alaska for the, (what is now my fifth) graduation dinner desert.

(Pretend there is a picture here from this weeks graduation.  See, I told you we were less than enthusiastic.  I don’t even have a picture!  I have photos of EVERYTHING including my kids funny poops.  Kidding, but I do have one and if your lucky I will share it with you one day.)

I only told one other person my goal of total inebriation with the end result being embarrassing Jim from any future higher education aspirations.  I looked over at her and said, “Well I guess I can just rest on my laurels and not have a hangover tomorrow.”

You know what though?

I reminded myself that for all the reasons that I tell Jim he should accept me I realized I have to accept Jim.  I love him because he loves learning.  I love him because when we were eighteen and at his high school graduation party his aunt asked him what he was going to do with is life and he said, “I am going to be a doctor.”

I may have spit Coke out of my nose when he said this and I may have said, “I think maybe you should join the military or study computers” and he still held firm that was what he wanted to do.

Who knew you never really needed to show up to high school to become valedictorian of your medical school class, or chief resident, or mammography doc, or musculoskeletal imaging sub-specialist.

Maybe that is really why I married Jim.  


– I find his tenacity endearing.

– He makes me happy to be his wife when he looks at me proudly when an esteemed doctor does a full body impersonation of me at the podium at HIS graduation.

– I love him because he knows I would never really get drunk on his special night but he will sit and listen to my master plan to, just to entertain me.

Thanks for letting me share with you all that makes me,

Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

This Stuff Only Happens To Me!

Have you ever felt like your kids school’s teachers and staff think you are disheveled, bonkers or possibly a stripper?  Well, after the story I am about to tell you you will realize that my kids principal and school counselor probably think I am all three.

The night before the first day of school and because this was our first year of being car riders and to two schools no less, I cleaned out the Suburban as the teachers will get a first hand look inside at the schools drop off and pick up lines.

I wouldn’t want them to see how we REALLY live.

Knowing I will finally have time to do some decorating while they are off learning I pile grocery bags of fabric that I have in my house, pieces of granite we have, cabinet door fronts we have had built…ok piles of examples of colors and pillows and wood…all over my front seat to make it easy to grab what I need and ponder while in the lines at school.  The plan is to sneak off to the fabric stores while I’m kid free. I’m thinking I’m so well prepared and getting something done while sitting.  It was good to think so highly of myself for A DAY…

On the first day of school I’m picking up at the elementary school and the principal is out walking the car line.  Keep in mind I’m still gun-shy of all teachers and principals after my less than exemplary behavior as a child.  

And here she comes to talk to me, while I’m in the car, and at my window and not at one of the windows where the car is clean…

she comes to the “a homeless person lives in this car” window.  

As I’m shrinking in my seat as she asks why I don’t have “the tag” with my child’s name and school hanging from my rear view mirror. I say (remember my kids were always bus riders), “I don’t have one.”

She is making the poop face, (like all principals do;) at my pile of house samples all over the front of my car that looks like I’m a hoarder.  I then say, “Where do we get them?”

She says, “At the open house. Did his teacher not give you one?”

Ok, here’s where I wish I could lie, I say, “We didn’t go to open house.” I am now making the poop face.

We go to all open houses. We’ve never missed one. For the love of God my first grader begged not to go and I have been to them there five years in a row. We know the teacher and made a decision to skip this one and I walked him in on the morning of the first day. Anyway, she continues with her nose scrunched up and handwrites his name on a tag (something tells me she wanted them all computer printed).

I spend the next several days saying to myself, I wish I had fewer “New Adventures of the Old Christine” moments…They only get better because that next Monday morning at the car rider drop off line the school counselor opens the door for Peter. This is the same clean backseat from a few from a few days ago.

Except that the entire time I’m saying goodbye to Peter and good morning to the counselor she is staring at the backseat floor right behind me, you know the spot the driver cannot see.  She too is making the teacher “poop face”.  

At the next stop sign I take off my seat belt and look around to find my husbands bright red gym bag stuffed so full it cannot be zipped up and a pile of black hair sticking out all over the floor of the Suburban. It is a black wig that we all know my husband wore on stage last Saturday night, with our friends at a Hospice fundraiser, dressed up as Kiss…to raise money and make people laugh. It now looks like a decapitated head in my backseat shoved in a gym bag or some kind of weird kinky thing or I can’t think of a reason that isn’t during Halloween week to have a long black wig in a duffel bag at the feet of your first grader. Sometimes I feel like I am Old Christine or Elaine from Seinfeld.

– Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing!

Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

.   Our Peter’s first grade teacher’s names this year were

Hatfield and McCoy.

Hatfield to left and McCoy on right.

Dont they look ferocious?

I fuzzed them for privacy.

I cannot make this stuff up.

It is the end of another school year and my oldest boys have finished their first year of middle school and our youngest has finished his first year of first grade.  Avery in red and Mitchell in yellow.  They are receiving a citizenship award. Here is Peter receiving a “Future Scientist” award. He is in the pale yellow.

Two Broke(n) Girls…

Nine years ago we moved our family south.  The day we moved in, another family was moving in just across the street from us.  “She” was a mom with two little girls with bows in their hair that matched their dresses and their dresses had monogrammed little initials on the front. The family went to church every week, never yelled and they attended “play dates.”  “She” drove a white Volvo station wagon, (uh-huh, one of those.)

“She” was going to hate me.

The first time we met it was dark outside and I was walking down the street.  I was pregnant with our youngest.  I will translate that since you don’t know me well enough yet…

I was crazy, loud, screaming at my twin four year-olds to stay out of the road and I had my own moons orbiting me, (If you read my story about giving birth to farm animals and how my bellybutton is now a cup holder you understand and if you didn’t I will put a link below.)

“She” was, thin and blond and she had her front door open and the glass storm door closed.  Who does that at night AND with the lights on?  Sure, I have done it but I have threatened my husbands life if he turns a light on.

So, “She” has two small children AND her house is clean.

I hated her.

Due to proximity and the fact that I would NEVER schedule a “play date”, (what is that about) we exchanged phone numbers.  It doesn’t mean that my kids don’t “play.”  We just play with kids when play happens.

Our kids would often hang out in the driveways together.  They were a great match.  My boys don’t have sisters and her girls don’t have brothers.  My boy’s mom is a fast blinker and her girl’s mom is a slow blinker.

Blinker Definition: I define people that I come into contact with as either slow blinkers or fast blinkers.  You have to have something to size people up by.  You do it too!  You can “blink both ways” but you are mostly one or the other.  I know I am a fast blinker because when I talk, slow blinkers look out of the top of their eyes at me.  I am sure “Conservative, Connecticut, Catholic, Cathy” found me a bit overwhelming.  This was never going to work.

One day I called Cathy regarding a neighborhood issue.  I asked the rhetorical question, “How are you?”

She replied, “You know, I am trying to figure out what to do about a little girl at school that is being mean to Chloe.  Chloe came home from school crying.   This girl wont stop calling her names.  I tried telling their teacher before that this little girl is mean to Chloe but the teacher keeps saying the girls have to work things out on their own.”

“Do you know where this girl lives?  I will go straighten her out.  Come on, you and me!  We’ll show her what it’s like to have someone bullying you.” Yeah, it was me that said it.  I was threatening to go shake down a preschooler.  I wasn’t really going to.

Guess what?  She decided, at that moment…

“She” liked a little crazy.  

Cathy laughed at me.  I then pretended that I was joking and I laughed back.

At that moment we became friends.

I have NO IDEA why we are friends.

Have you seen the television show “Two Broke Girls?”

That is us.  

We even look like the characters, (a little older, you didn’t have to point it out!)  She is so polite and mindful of what she says at all times.  She says “yes” to being a “scissor mom” when the teacher stares down the classroom of new parents and I am dunking behind someone snickering.

When my husband was done with training we bought a larger house in a neighboring town.    Within a year a lot went up for sale around the corner from us and I called her as the guy was pushing the “For Sale” sign into the ground.  They bought it it that week and built their new home.  She has been as close as a sister and her husband has been my husbands partner in crime.  Our kids go to the same school, we belong to the same club and we have spent Christmas with their families.  They are ours, without the family tree.

We are yin and yang.

We have laughed for years, before we even knew what a “sister wife” was, that if we could just share our work it would be so much easier.  I like to cook the savory dishes and she likes desserts.  I like to play in the dirt and she likes to clean dirt.  I like to wash and she likes to iron, well we don’t “like” to but someone has to do it.  She does the homework help and I do the shopping, (mostly because I didn’t do homework when I was a kid and I’m not starting now.)  If we could work it out with separate houses and husbands and beds and it would be _____ amazing!

Then her husband was offered an awesome new job.  In another city.  It is too far to commute. He has been trying for a year to drive 2 1/2 hours each way or stay in an apartment a couple nights a week.  I cannot complain.  I keep telling myself, I cannot complain.  I know she is torn up about moving from a place and a community that they all love.  I know she is a good wife and wants her husband to be happy.  I know he is a good husband because he tried to make it work.  I know it is wrong of me to think about ways to make him “disappear.”  I am kidding people!

We have five gloomy kids between us and now it is my turn to be happy and supportive.  I am finding all the reasons they should move, because I know it is best for their family, and because they need to be together more.

They might have an offer on their house and I am saying prayers for them because I know this past year has been hard.  The reality is hitting home and I realize they will be moving away.  I count my blessings to have met her and know they will always be a part of our lives.  I think I will write a personal reference letter for her to give to any of her new neighbors in case any of them are fast blinkers.

Dear Fellow Fast Blinker,

I am writing this letter as a person that has known Cathy for nearly nine years.  Please give her a second chance as a friend.  I know that when you met her you thought she was a “Hard Right” republican and that she doesn’t know how to have a good time.  You probably figured she has a blog about cleaning tips.  She is none of those things.

She can drink you under the table and she drinks scotch on the rocks.  When you have had too many cocktails and are trying to take off your saggy tights she will get down on the floor and yank them off by the toes, (and then display them in your house for you to find the next day.)  That is a good friend that can be both helpful and bad at the same time.

When your boys catch something really gross and they want to go show her she will rustle up a scream to make your kids proud.  She bakes gourmet desserts but keeps Little Debbies in her pantry because she knows the neighbor moms wont buy them for their kids, (because  I  the mom’s will eat the entire box before the kids get home from school.)

She will cry if someone hurt you or your family but first she will comfort you.  Don’t expect her to come to your football parties, she is a snob like that.  She cannot stand football parties because all the women talk and she can’t watch the game.  She will send a dish to pass at the football party with her husband but she will stay home and watch the game, uninterrupted.  Do not be offended.

So if she gives you this letter, you just won the neighbor lottery.  Be good to her but not too good.  She will be a little homesick and will need some attention.  She takes harassment well.  She hates Halloween so do things like leave fake body parts in meat packs in grocery bags on her front porch.  A simple bloody handprint on her front door does double duty as scary and dirty.  She will thank you later.


PS.  If you aren’t nice to her, I know where you live.

Abbie at

(I totally fuzzed her out so she doesn’t get kicked out of church)

Taking applications for a “new” local BFF.   Big shoes to fill and must be willing to move. 😉
Which friend would you be?  
Are your closest friends more like you than different?
My bellybutton is a cup holder stories…

I Wish Everything In Life Had a Track To Guide Us and Keep Us Safe.

“Driving is NOT that hard!  You act like it’s such a big deal.  It is easy.”

I wanted to document our Peter’s excitement when he crossed the finish line for the first time driving one of those amusement park race cars on a track.  Every year before he was too little and he had to sit beside me while his older brothers had their own car to command.  He was finally a “big kid” and the anticipation to be declared “driver worthy” was palpable during our lengthy wait in line.  This was a very big deal to him.  He grew.  He was a “big kid” now!  I whipped out my phone and snapped this picture just as he proclaimed…

“Driving is NOT that hard!  You act like it’s such a big deal.  It is easy.”

He genuinely was disappointed in me.  As if every time I told my three boys to, “keep it down.  I am driving!” I was lying.

Oh Peter, I wish everything in life had a track to guide us and keep us safe.

Here is my post from yesterday in case you missed it.  I think Peter might hit the no good, very bad, “TWELVES” earlier than his older twin brothers.  Older siblings do that.  Youngest children grow up a little faster.

We watched “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” with our boys last night.  

Honestly,  the thought of watching it didn’t appeal to me as I don’t like sad movies.  We are going through some growing pains with our twin twelve year-olds and we thought it might be a good idea to make them realize WE MIGHT DIE AND YOU SHOULDN’T BE SO STINKING MOUTHY TO YOUR PARENTS!  Messed up, isn’t it?

People kept telling us how lucky we were to have all boys.  It was going to make the teenage years so much easier from a parenting perspective.  They said things like, “Boys are a handful when they are toddlers but the teenage years will be so much easier.”  No one said anything about what two, twelve year-olds might be like.  I can tell you what I have observed in our home.

If you are ALMOST a teenage boy in our house…

– You are getting man parts but you still have to pinch the end “of it” to talk like you have done since your diaper came off.

– No one else’s feelings matter if you don’t get what you want.  This includes your little brother who has caused all of the worlds injustices because he cannot reach the upper kitchen cabinets to help unload the dishwasher.

– You don’t know how to make jokes and the results are horrible, awkward moments for your mom when you tease a friend that you think they are checking out your mom or you think it’s funny to tell visiting family members about the time your mom had to bring you underwear to school because you “tooted” and you “released a hostage.”

– Your voice is getting as loud as a mans but you are still yelling at the frequency of a little kid.

– The entire world revolves you and your desires.  This means no one should ever have to clean up after themselves and your mom should be waiting by the stove with her oven mitt in one hand and a skillet in the other.

– You openly discuss what you have learned in health class and want to talk to your mom about sperm and “wet dreams” because you still tell your mom everything.  You scream at her things like, “I just want to know if this “SPERM” with the “FISH” that is going to shoot out of my pee-pee is a liquid or a solid?!”

– You get mad at your mom if she laughs or thinks anything is funny, (including the massive concern over the diameter of sperm.)

– Your parents are morons and you mumble under your breath that everyone is an “idiot” which doesn’t matter because your mom is one too and she wont notice.

– You have amnesia that you just got in trouble for calling people an “idiot” and act like you didn’t know your not supposed to.

– You scream that your parents are not letting you make your own decisions and you still sleep with an arsenal of stuffed animals.

I cannot wait until fall when our twins turn thirteen.  I hear it gets much easier.  If it doesn’t I am going to have a track installed.


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“Keep Your Heads Out of The Toilet!” (best preschool advice ever)

When sending our twin boys off to preschool telling them to “keep your heads out of the toilet” wasn’t a pearl of wisdom I thought necessary.  I was wrong.
While my husband was in residency we had the twins in a preschool program that was run through the public schools. The school system had many requirements that included the children being “bathroom independent”. This means they require no assistance in the restroom.

I walked in the classroom one day to pick up the boys when the teachers suggested that all of the parents of boys to take the boys home and put them right in the bath. The teacher was smiling and could barely say it without laughing. I waited until all the other parents left the room, (my morbid curiosity as both my boys were wet) and approached the teachers. I said something like, “OK, I know mine were part of whatever went down today. What exactly happened?”

The teachers suddenly had a confused look on their faces and one said, “Well, I was in the hall waiting for the boys to finish their bathroom break and they were taking a little longer than usual. I decided it was getting way too loud in there so I opened the boys bathroom and…I don’t understand why…I mean they were laughing and…ALL OF THE BOYS WERE STICKING THEIR HEADS IN THE URINALS AND FLICKING THEIR HAIR AT EACH OTHER AND LAUGHING!”

Whhhhaaaaattttttt????? Then suddenly I figured out what would make them do this and I knew that mine had started it. The night before, to keep them busy, I put a couple inches of water in the bath and dyed it BLUE and gave them toy sailboats and they were pushing them around. I told them we were playing “ocean”.  I was busy changing sheets when I heard them getting loud and when I walked into our bathroom they were leaning over the side of the bathtub and were dipping their hair in the blue “ocean” water (the color of blue urinal thingys) and flicking it at each other and laughing like fraternity boys half way through a keg.

So mine were to blame and since it was pretty funny and since I never really got along with “teachers” 😉 I said, “Oh, that’s my fault. Whenever one of them has an accident in their pants I dunk their head in the toilet to teach them a lesson.” And then I walked away. What are they thinking leaving a bathroom full of boys unattended?!

PS My husband was very concerned the teachers would not get my humor.

I updated our “Us” tab above. 🙂


(reprint – Spending time with kids on spring break)