Posted by: maryjn | October 20, 2010


The new blog is up and running!  Check it out at:


Posted by: maryjn | October 16, 2010

I Must Be Moving On Now

Well, the time has come for this blog to evolve.  “Domestically Demented” had to morph from a stay-at-home mom blog to a Mary’s-done-with-law-school blog, and now “Swim Without Drowning” needs to grow up and start working for a living.

If you have enjoyed the adventures of Ethan and Maggie, never fear.  They will still be around, but I’m making them get jobs.  They can’t lay around the housing soaking up free rent forever.  So.  If you are so inclined, please check back next week when we will be launching our new blog creation: “Mommy Docket”.  You can already find and like our Facebook fan page here:

And you can start to look for updates on Twitter here:

The new blog should be up and running next week.  Still with Ethan and Maggie.  But also with so much more.  Just don’t try and check it out right now because it’s so not ready.

And because Will Ferrell was not in the budget, I leave you with a re-post of his epic send-off when Conan left The Tonight Show.  Because that’s totally similar to what’s going on here with this blog switchover.

This is not goodbye…this is: go to my new blog please.


Mary, Ethan, and Maggie


Posted by: maryjn | October 1, 2010

Fun With Handwriting

So, tonight, I was going through the seven trillion pieces of paper that were sent home in Ethan’s school folder.  I came across one entitled “Writing Around the Room”.  The directions explained: Write down words from around the room that you can read.

Ok, simple enough.  Ethan had written four words.  As I looked down the page, one particular word jumped out at me: (see photo below)


What does that say?  PUSSIES?  PUSSIES? What is going on in this classroom?  Was he looking at an anti-bullying poster?  Was there maybe one of those motivational cat posters, but with multiple cats?  I closed my eyes and tried to imagine how Ethan’s classroom is set up.
Then I looked at it again.  That’s not a double-s.  He put his Z’s backward.  And that’s not an undotted I.  It’s an L.  It says PUZZLE.
Fine, I’m a perv.
Posted by: maryjn | September 30, 2010


So, last night, we got an email from Ethan’s soccer coach.  For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, YES, that coach.  Anyway, he sent a message to us, and two other parents about the indoor league he coaches.  Apparently, they have this elaborate indoor league where the kids play “real” soccer and not this recreational lovey-dovey stuff we’re doing now. (OK, those are my words, not his.)  Anyway, he has three open slots to fill and he was emailing us to see if Ethan and two of the other boys were interested in playing.  Apparently, he only wants the “good” kids for this indoor league…and, that’s right, OUR SON IS ONE OF THE GOOD PLAYERS!

Now, realizing that this is NOT a big deal in the grand scheme of the world, and that we do not need to start talking with recruiters or putting all of our eggs in the proverbial soccer basket (or would that be a goal net?), James and I worked pretty hard to not seem impressed.  It’s not every day that two band nerds combine genetic material to create a child who is GOOD AT SPORTS!  Between Ethan’s athletic prowess and Maggie’s very apparent intelligence that exceeds all of us combined, it is going to be pretty interesting to see these two grow up.

Ethan: soccer star?

Posted by: maryjn | September 22, 2010

The Girl’s Got Moxie

Maggie's Signature Pose

Yesterday, James had the bright idea of giving the kids a drink to SHARE in his backseat while he drove them home from school.  Obviously, this did not go well.  The kids have a special brand of crazy in the after-school hours because they are tired and have not been able to fight with each other all day.  They really should be separated entirely.

Anyway, Maggie felt that Ethan has gotten more to drink than she had, but (as James explained) instead of taking the bottle back to finish what was there, she found it more advantageous to just pour the remainder all over her brother.

James then requested (in what I’m sure was a very calm and relaxed manner) that Maggie return the bottle to him.  But Maggie was not finished with her reign of terror.  After James’s repeated requests to hand him the bottle, she finally responded by throwing the bottle out the window.

I do not condone bad behavior.  But I did think it was pretty freaking funny. As long as she’s not using her evil super genius powers on me, I’m pretty proud of her moxie.

Posted by: maryjn | September 11, 2010

Where Did the Kids Go?

James and I have grown increasingly lax in letting the children wander off within the safety of our own home, or homes of familiar family, because, well: they’re not destructive toddlers ripe for the front page of “Sh*t My Kids Ruined anymore. (If you do not know what I am talking about, RUN to this site NOW:

Today, however, they managed to get into trouble at their grandmother’s house.  Not once, but twice.  First, while the “grown-ups” were entertaining a great aunt and uncle from out of town, Ethan and Maggie decided to play on their own.  I found them outside in the rainy drizzle, pushing each other down the hilly street outside their grandparents’ West Virginia home, on a children’s wheeled push toy.  Apparently, the thrill was not just the speed down the hill, but whether you could successfully navigate the toy steering wheel in a way that delivered you to a gentle curve, instead of just crashing into the dead-end at the bottom of the street.  Awesome.

The other event, slightly more bizarre, occurred again during the entertaining of the out-of-town relatives, but after dinner.  For some as-yet-undetermined reason, the children went upstairs, got into James’s luggage, found his dop kit, and decided to play with his razor.  This completely boggles my mind, as the kids are very aware that they would have been in trouble just for getting into James’s bag, period.  But the razor?  From the dop kit?  What?

From what I can gather (they eventually wised up and started pleading the Fifth–darn kids of a lawyer…), they decided to shave their legs, and while Maggie was more successful in simply shaving off some leg hair, Ethan managed to scratch himself up enough that he needed James’s medical assistance (darn kid of a doctor…), but was not bleeding.

I really thought we were close to the point where the kids could get part-time jobs or stay at home alone for at least a long weekend or so.  (Um, just joking, Mom. Please don’t send angry emails.)  After today, however, I felt the need to give the kids a pretty remedial review of what I thought we’d already covered: we don’t play with sharp objects; we don’t play with matches or lighters or other fire-starting devices; we don’t create elementary school Jackass stunts on Grandma’s street; and if our sibling is doing one of these stupid things, we should have enough sense to go TELL ON THEM!

Honestly, though, this was not a total bust.  At least they were getting along?

Posted by: maryjn | September 3, 2010

Settling In

Well, it’s been two weeks and I can say that I am now running a fairly efficient operation that puts a kindergartener and a first-grader into their classrooms by 9am every morning.  The mode of transportation is not always the same (some days, Ethan is THRILLED about the bus . . . and others, he wants me to drive him), but we are finally getting into a groove.  Soccer practice started last week, and choir starts next week, and that is IT for fall activities.  Maggie wanted to do ballet and Ethan, gymnastics, but I am too exhausted to add anything else to the mix.

All of the “firsts” were pretty rough on me…first day of school, first day dropping off (instead of letting me park and walk Ethan inside to his classroom), first day of Ethan refusing to kiss me goodbye.  I’m not going to lie–most of this has been a fairly sharp change in Ethan’s…maturity?  He is definitely not a baby anymore.  Instead, I have a fairly sassy, too-smart-for-his-own-good little boy.

The one unfortunate incident of the past two weeks was feeling the need to charge across a practice field and take Ethan’s soccer coach to task for yelling “I’ve seen girls kick harder than that!” at one of Ethan’s teammates during a practice.  I don’t really care what the coach thought of me for pointing out his horrific faux pas, especially since Maggie heard it and immediately grilled me about why it was that Ethan’s soccer coach thought that girls were bad at soccer.  I am glad that I said something, as I am sure he will think better of employing such tactics again, and hopefully eight six-year old boys will be shielded at least a little from the rampant sexism that is still alive and well in every facet of our existence.

On the positive side, Maggie and I have been through two practices now with me as her head coach.  She seems to really enjoy it, but we’ll see if she still likes me after our first game next week.

And on a final, yet sad note, both my grandfather and James’s grandmother, our last living grandparents, are ill and in the hospital.  This has led to many questions from the kids that we struggle to answer properly for them.  Hopefully we will all be back to laughing soon.  In the meantime, we are busy with this new schedule.  I hope that everyone else is getting settled in–I am surely enjoying all of the shared stories from friends who either have kids or are teachers.

Is it Holiday Break yet?!?

First Day of School!

Posted by: maryjn | August 22, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

Well, today is the last full day of the summer.  Tomorrow afternoon, Ethan has an ice cream social to meet his teacher and preview his classroom.  Tomorrow evening, Maggie has her Back-to-School night to do the same.  Last year, I had my meltdown at the day-before event, but was fine on the morning of school, so hopefully I can get it out of my system again tomorrow night!

I have loaded money into Ethan’s lunch account, paid his school fees, and wrote the check for Maggie’s . . . their school supplies are sorted and bundled up . . . their names are on the new backpacks . . . I have filled out all the forms  . . . and we have picked out our first-day outfits.  OH NO!  I still need to sharpen the pencils!

Although I had contemplated a complicated first morning where Ethan could take the bus and we’d meet him at school, I’ve now ditched that plan for something more efficient.  He will be mad that he doesn’t get to take the bus on the first day, but he will survive.  We can take Maggie first and get her settled before her 8:45 tardy bell, and then drive a mile down the street to drop him off and settled into his classroom before the 9:05 tardy bell.  On normal days, I can put Ethan onto the bus at 8:30 and leave immediately to get Maggie to her school just on time.  But if I have court  . . . everyone has to be dropped off early!

We will have just the first day to get organized.  Ethan’s soccer practice starts on Wednesday, and then Maggie and I have her soccer practice on Thursday.  Oh yeah, I have to plan soccer drills for Thursday’s practice!

Otherwise, everything is under control.

Off to Preschool in 2008

Posted by: maryjn | August 18, 2010

I’m surprised he hasn’t made bumper stickers…

Ethan: Gosh, Maggie, you’re so yesterday.

Maggie: Ethan!  Stop saying that all the time!

Ethan: NO!  It’s my catchphrase.

Posted by: maryjn | August 17, 2010

First Grade is Stressing Me Out

I received a huge packet in the mail with information about Ethan starting first grade in the public school.  Among the highlights:

  • Ethan’s teacher is due to have triplets in October, so she will only be there for half the day until some undetermined time, with the long-term sub coming the other half of the day until she takes over full-time.  Considering the fact that it takes Ethan about 30 minutes to warm up to anyone, this won’t be hard on him AT.ALL.
  • There is a diagram/flow chart to explain how to pick up your child and what you can/cannot do with your car.  I am mortified about ever having to do this.  On the flip side, putting him on the bus seems to be akin to putting him on a NASA shuttle for a space launch.
  • We cannot send him with lunch money.  We have to pre-pay into an account and when he gets his lunch, he (my six-year old that vaguely knows his phone number, but not really) has to type in a six-digit number to a point-of-sale keypad in order to debit his account.  This alone nearly caused me to burst into tears.

Fortunately, after four stores and about 3 hours of work, I was able to secure all of the items for his school supply list.  Home schooling is looking better and better…

Mary and Ethan, circa 2004

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