Thursday, May 12, 2011

Art Gallery

Sometimes I feel as though my fridge is just a giant paper holder.  It's covered with reading charts, potty charts, mosaics, paintings and drawings.  It's useless to try and display photographs because they only get lost in the mess of artwork.  In an attempt at some spring cleaning, the front of the fridge is going to get decluttered.  

I can't just throw it all in the recycle though.  While some are just scribbles or sticker collages, others are sweet pictures that were thoughtfully made by my little artists.  So, in the first Murry Munchkin online gallery, I present "Drawings of Family" by Maggie and Gregory.

"Daddy" by Gregory
"Mama" by Maggie

"Mommy" by Gregory

"Me and Bubba" by Maggie

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's (Mothers') Day

I am so blessed to be called "Mommy" by three wonderful little munchkins.  They truly are my world.  Maggie had been excited about Mother's Day for quite a while.  I think the excitement came from wanting to make some sort of delicious treat for her Mommy (that she of course would get to share!).  She asked me last week if I would make "a cake with flowers on it that says 'Happy Mother's Day' ".  I told her that was Daddy's job.  She managed to convince her Daddy that they should make Mommy a special treat for Mother's Day.
If you ask Greg, the story goes like this.  On Saturday evening, Daddy took the kids and made a wonderfully delicious cake while Mommy soaked in the tub.  He's sounding pretty awesome huh?  Well, really he took the two older kids while I took a bath with Joseph, which was cut short because I needed to come supervise in the kitchen.  I didn't mind.  
With a little direction, they were able to make a delicious homemade raspberry ice cream cake with a chocolate crust.  It even said "Happy Mothers' Day" on it and had flowers.  But that of course started a debate.  Where does the apostrophe go?  I insisted it go before the s. (Because this is the way it is always written) The Hubs insisted on after the s.  It didn't matter that Anna Jarvis wanted it to be singular, Greg wasn't budging.  He said if it went before the s, then he couldn't call his mom.  We agreed to disagree (although I totally agree with him.  It should go after the s.  Shhhhh)
My day was wonderful.  My children gave me tons of hugs and kisses.  My sweet Darlin' picked out matching outfits for her and I to wear to church. (and matching hair pretties too).  And the cake was delicious!  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zoo time

We celebrated Greg's birthday and took advantage of Easter break by heading to the zoo in Baltimore.  It's days like these that I don't miss Minnesota at all.  The weather was beautiful.  Upper 70s and a slight breeze.  Not even a threat of rain, let alone snow.  We were joined by friends for a wonderful day.

Gregory's favorite was the polar bear.  And I do have to say that it was quite neat to see one so close up.
Maggie wasn't sure which animal she liked best.  But she sure loved the zoo map.  She insisted on carrying it around and checking it after every animal.  This basically consisted of her handing the map to me and asking where we were.  I'd show her, tell her what was next and we'd be on our way. 

The kids also got the chance to feed a giraffe.  They went right up to him and handed him his leaves.  I was very surprised they didn't freak out.  (Perhaps making them pick up earth worms while gardening and making them smoosh their own bugs is starting to give them thicker skin.)

Joseph just slept or nursed the whole time.  Perhaps next time he'll be more interested in the animals. 

Maggie (extremely exasperated): "Mom, I don't know why you keep folding the map before giving it back to me.  I just have to unfold it every time." 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Remember your mercies, O Lord, and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants, for whom Christ your Son, by the shedding of his Blood, established the Paschal Mystery.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

White boy dancing

Music is a saving grace right now.  The big kids love to dance and Joseph loves to watch them (and even tries to join in).  It allows my back and arms a short reprieve from carrying around heavy, clingy Joe too.  Gregory has been blessed with dance moves that match his skin. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Things I learned this weekend.

  • There are no tornado sirens near our house (at least none that we can hear)
  • I must stink at gardening.  My kids' little flower garden was the only one on the block that washed away during the torrential rains. 
  • Joseph loves Gorgonzola cheese
  • When only one of the gospel readers reads dramatically, it makes the whole thing sound silly.
  • Yellow Crocs look silly with church clothes.
  • Dandelions make little hands very very messy.  

Maggie (as we were walking out of Mass) "Dad, can Gregory and I sword fight with our palm branches now?"

And now for a little dancing by Joseph.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fugitive on the loose=New Crocs!

As I was driving to pick up Maggie from preschool, I happened past this sight.  I wasn't expecting police tape, squad cars, a police helicoptor and news crews.  I found out that there was a fugitive loose but they were not giving out any other information.  Awesome!  I didn't exactly want to go home so I took the kids to the outlet mall to get some sandals.  They needed some and it was going to be in the 80s today so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. The kids each picked out a pair of Crocs with a starfish on them. 
I called Greg from the mall to see if he could give me an update on the situation.  He was already on his way home.  (Evidently they did not turn the heat off in his office and they insist he wear a collared shirt to work.  Sorry, but you're in the real world now Honey.)  We went home and even though my mother advised against it, we played outside all afternoon.  In our new Crocs!  We didn't even get taken hostage by the fugitive.

Fugitive update: The fugitive has since been apprehended.

Maggie: "Good thing we didn't wear our tennis shoes out today because it's freakin' hot outside"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Goldilocks No More

I finally broke down.  Gregory got his very first haircut today.  Had I thought I'd be able to do it myself, he would have gotten one before today but I knew that if I messed it up, it was going to mean the clippers were coming out.  And I was not prepared to do that.  From the day his whispy white hair started curling, I've been dreading his first hair cut. 

May 2010.  First little wisps appear.

As his hair got longer, it also grew magnetic powers.  It attracted men and women of all ages who thought the brilliant white locks just needed to be touched.  "Look at that hair".
Then last winter happened.  The humidity went away, and the curls were not quite as tight.   I heard the first "oh what a pretty little girl".  I shook it off.  I really didn't understand how someone could think this little boy in cargo pants and a dinosaur shirt was "a pretty girl".  Doesn't he look like a boy?  I mean, he'd actually be kind of an ugly little girl (in my humble opinion).

My "pretty little girl"?

But I kept hearing it.  "Oh she has pretty hair"  "Look at her blonde curls"  "Where does she get that blonde hair"  "GIRL"  "SHE"  "HER"  I was tired of people calling him my little girl and tired of correcting people.  And then his sister caught on.  A little teasing from her brought tears to my boy's eyes.  So I told him we were going to get his hair cut.  He protested.  I told him that he had three options.  He could A. Look like a little girl and leave his hair the way it is. B. Get it cut and look like a little boy or C. Have Momma cut it and look like a goofball.  He chose option B. and so I made an appointment.  His sister was almost in tears.  "Please don't let them cut Gregory's curls off.  I like his hair." 
As we sad there waiting I had second thoughts about it.  But then the hairdresser walked in and said "Oh she has such beautiful hair."

In the salon, waiting.

Gregory was a bit scared when I put him up in the chair.  He liked the dinosaur cover they put on him but did not like getting his hair sprayed with the water bottle.  But then he was given his own water bottle and after spraying Momma a couple times he was good to go.  She started snipping and the locks started to fall.

Gregory's curls

He held still and let her cut his hair, only looking around every so often as one of the patrons of the salon would goo and gaa just how cute he was.

I didn't cry.  After all, it's just hair.  My golden curly haired little boy is gone and in his place is a boy with white waves.  He told me on the way home that his Daddy was going to say "Who's this little boy coming into my house?"  And his Daddy did say that.  And Gregory was so proud to look like a boy.  He looks so sweet.  I just wish it didn't make him look so old.

After the haircut

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How does she do that?

And why?  Why on earth would someone want to eat dinner with their foot in the air?  Strange, flexible child. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

9 months!

Joseph had his 9 month check up today.  He weighed in at 24 pounds.  To be fair though, they made him keep his diaper on and I'm sure that added a few ounces.  He was 30.5 inches long.  That puts him in the 95th percentile for weight and the 97th percentile for height.
He's the biggest of the three.   At nine months, Gregory was 21lbs 15oz and 28.5 in and Maggie was 20lbs 6oz and 29in long.
To celebrate his heavy weight win, Joseph decided to stand up in the middle of the floor all by himself.  He's been letting go of the furniture for a couple days now but this makes me believe that he's going to be my earliest walker.

Other nine month tidbits:
  • Joseph is in 18 month clothing and slowly making his way into 24month.
  • He loves egg yolks, bananas and avocado (among many others..those are his favorites).
  • The phrase he hears most often: "NO NO NO JOE JOE!" said lovingly by his sister.
  • Aliases: Joic (for his stoic face), Lofus (Gregory's pronunciation), Josephmichaelmurry (when he's in trouble with his sister)  I am sad to note that Gregory no longer calls Joseph his "big red dog".  I was hoping that might stick for a wile longer.
  • He has eight teeth.
  • He says" mama", "dada", "bubba", and "ssssssssssssssssssssss".
  • He signs for "more" and "all done"
  • Still taking three naps a day.  Morning, afternoon and evening.  He falls asleep for the night around 9pm and wakes up whenever Gregory comes in the bedroom in the morning.  Usually around 6:30.  He sleeps comfortably at night, next to or on top of me. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The two year old imagination

The two year old imagination can be so fun.  We get to play pirates or pretend we are at the beach.  All sorts of creatures visit our house during the day: dragons, an octopus, bears, Buzz Lightyear and so many more.  The problem is they also visit Gregory's room at night.  We've been having problems getting him to go to sleep in his room.  Just last week I found him sound asleep on the stairs.

In addition to the creatures that visit, I get  to hear all sorts of stories.

Me: Gregory look at the bunny outside.  What do you suppose he is doing? 
Gregory: He's the Easter Bunny's helper.  He is looking for green worms and places to hide Easter eggs.

And then you get stories like this.

Gregory:  Joey, you are a donkey butt
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine taught it to me
Me: Why did she teach you that?
Gregory But it makes Grandpa Buzzy so happy

Gregory: Joey, you are a poopy spoon
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine said it makes Grandpa Buzzy feel better

Greogory: Joey, you are a maniac
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine says it to Grandpa Buzzy when he's driving
(Ok, this one might not have been in his imagination)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Once upon a time, a boy and a girl met and fell in love.  Aaw aren't they so cute?

Maybe the first picture taken of the two of us. 
Our first Halloween.  It was in Rome.  Costumes were scarce. 
Seven years ago, on March 27, 2004, Greg and I became engaged to be married.  He asked.  I said "yes".  The rest is history.  No?  Story time. 

Let's start earlier in the week.  Greg calls up my dad (He probably called him "Sir" at the time.  He didn't feel like he could call him Buzz.) and asks if he can come and talk to him.  Buzz  Sir agrees and Greg comes over to meet with him.  My nosy sister, who was home at the time knows something is going on.  So she calls up my mom.  I'm sure she said something to the extent of "Mom, Greg is over and he and dad are talking downstairs"  To which my mom replied.  "I'm on my way home"  Greg and Dad were having a nice conversation.  Dad asked all the important questions.  "How do you plan on supporting my daughter?"   "Where will you live?" but really he was thinking.  "Thank God!  Get her outta here."  They were having a good discussion when in busts Mom.  Now, Greg carefully planned this meeting.  He had somewhere to be so if he ran into an obstacle (i.e. Mom came home), he could politely excuse himself and be on his way.  I'm pretty sure he excused himself at this time.

Now fast forward to Saturday.  Greg had a nice evening planned for the two of us.  We were going to Mass at the Cathedral followed by dinner at Forepaugh's.  I was getting ready when Greg showed up (early...not something normal).  I gave him a hug.  He hung his coat up and we sat down on the couch and started chatting.  All of a sudden, Greg jumps up and runs down to the door babbling something like "oh would you hate me so much" gets back in my sight and gets down one one knee and finishes by saying "...if I just can't wait until later tonight to ask you to marry me." (At this point he is desperately trying to hide behind the ring box.)  I said "yes".  Greg had planned on proposing at the Cathedral but when I gave him a hug he thought that I had felt the ring in his coat pocket.  He just became too nervous and decided to propose right then and there.  And that is that.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feast of St. Joseph

The feast of St. Joseph is near and dear to me for two reasons.  One, I am Sicilian.  The other is that St. Joseph is for whom my little Goober is named.  

In many parts of Sicily there are banquets to celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph.  In some communities especially in small villages large altars and tables are built and filled with large quantities of local cuisine: fish dishes, cooked vegetables, breads, and sweets.  In many places, this feast is also shared with the poor.  
One of the desserts cooked on this day are the Sfinci di San Giuseppe.  You may know them better as creme puffs.  While I did not make them this year, I plan to in the future when my little Joseph is old enough to enjoy them.  My grandmother made them for her son Joseph every March 19th ( a sore spot with my mother since no one else got anything on their feast.  Joey was obviously the favorite).  I hope to carry on this tradition (no, not of Joey being the favorite....well maybe) of making creme puffs every year on March 19.  I had the honor of visiting the town in Sicily where my great grandparents were from and want my children to know where they came from.   I hope to do so by keeping alive this Sicilian tradition. 
With Guiseppina (my grandmother's second cousin) in Sicily
Grazia and Pasqualina (grandma's first cousins) in their home in Sicily
Santa Caterina, Sicily
St. Joseph is also the patron of those selling houses.  Last spring we were in the midst of relocating and selling our house.  I was pregnant at the time.  It was a tough market but we finally sold our house.  I diligently prayed to St. Joseph each day for our house to sell.  As moving day rolled around, everything seemed to be working out until the day we were to close on our new house.  Since we were moving a few hours away we did not attend the closing on our house and instead opted to have the money for our new house wired to the seller.  I guess the lawyers at the firm took the day off (not kidding) and left one secretary in charge of the office duties (which included wiring the money from closing to our seller).  We called our realtor to make sure the money had come in and she informed us that it had not.  Moment of panic.  We called the realtor who sold our house and he got on top of it right away.  (This whole time I was praying to St. Joseph).  He called us back and informed us that they had forgotten to wire the money and it was now too late to get it to us in time for the closing.  Extreme panic.  It was Friday afternoon.  If we didn't close that day we would have to wait until Monday.  I was due any minute and we had two kids.  We were in a brand new town.  I know St. Joseph was interceding for us on that day because things worked out in the end.  We were able to get a fax of the check and do a dry close on the house.  As we were leaving the closing, I turned to my husband and said "We're naming this baby Joseph". (We knew he was a boy).  We hadn't talked about Joseph as a name but he said "Yes, I think that's appropriate".  Three days later, on June 23rd, I gave birth to Joseph Michael. 
Thank you St. Joseph for watching over us then and please continue to watch over and pray for your namesake.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


We received a large envelope in the mail today and now my Darlin' is so excited.  She was accepted into the Spanish Immersion Charter School for Kindergarten.  (Writing this, I  feel like one of those parents from Nursery University).  Now it's time for me to learn Spanish so I can help her with her homework. 

Let's play a game!

Last night at dinner, Gregory sat down and said, "Let's play a game!  Ummmmmmm I know!  Who has the biggest butt?"  That's my Bubba.  (And just for the record, he thinks that his daddy has the biggest rear end.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Naturally dyed Easter eggs: An experiment

For the past couple years, my kids and I dyed Easter eggs the "normal" way.  We dropped a little pellet of dye into a cup of vinegar and used  the metal egg holder shaped like an old person's eyeglasses.  Rather than use the store bought kit this year, we decided to venture into the realm of natural egg dyes.  I researched a few ways to do it but also let the kids come up with their own ideas of what to use.  Maggie was set on grape juice.  She wanted a purple egg.  Gregory wanted to use blueberries.  We started the process just as you would with the dying kits: hard boil the eggs.

I prepared the "dyes" ahead of time so the munchkins wouldn't get impatient.  We tried six different concoctions; red wine, grape juice, turmeric, turmeric/grape juice, blueberries and coffee.  
Red Wine:  Add 3/4 cup red wine, 1/4 cup water and 2Tbsp vinegar
Grape Juice: 1/2 cup juice concentrate, 1/2 cup water, 2tbsp vinegar
Turmeric: 1 cup water, 3Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves.
Turmeric/Grape Juice: 1/4 cup juice concentrate, 3/4 cup water, 1Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves
Blueberries: 3/4 cup crushed blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 2Tbsp vinegar  Boil for 5 minutes. (I chose not to strain which resulted in darker spots on the egg)
Coffee: 1 cup strong coffee and 2Tbsp vinegar
Maggie and Gregory each took a white crayon and made some scribbles on two of the eggs.  Maggie chose to put her egg in the grape juice and Gregory chose the wine for his egg. 


We put one egg in each of the other colors and then waited.  Since the kids really wanted to see the progress, we checked them after five minutes.  The dyes with turmeric were the only ones that had turned even a little bit of color.  So, we set the timer for ten minutes and went and did some puzzles. 

  After fifteen minutes we had eggs with very muted colors.  The kids wanted darker eggs so we decided to keep them in there for even longer.  This time we set the timer for 45 minutes and at the end we couldn't believe just how nicely our eggs looked.

Clockwise from top left: Coffee, wine, turmeric, grape juice, blueberries, turmeric/grape juice.   

We had three eggs left so we mixed the blueberries with the turmeric.  We also added the wine to the turmeric/grape juice.  I drew a big "M" with white crayon on one of the eggs and plopped it in that concoction.  Maggie wanted another pink egg so we wrapped a rubber band around the last egg and put it back in the grape juice.  We left them alone for 45 minutes and once again had beautiful eggs.

Top eggs: Turmeric/blueberries, grape juice with rubber band, turmeric/grape juice/wine with crayon "M"

This experiment was extremely fun (I almost put EGGstrmely but thought better of it).  We have a bunch of very pretty eggs and with the way my kids eat hard boiled eggs, I think we just might have another try at it before Easter. (I hear red cabbage makes really cool eggs).  

And Joseph attacks.