The Spookiest School House Stories

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought it was an appropriate time to share the top five "spookiest" (read: top five grossest) things that have happened in the five years we've been in this house. 

A warning before you continue reading... some of these are really gross. As in, reeeaaally gross. Blood, fangs... Okay, that's your warning. Stop reading if you can't handle it. Oh and by the way, there are pictures. So maybe you shouldn't show your small child. Also, some of them are longer than others so grab your coffee.

1. I was doing my morning walk from the bedroom to the tea kettle when I let out a scream. A real, horror movie-esque scream. I glanced at Griffin's water bowl to discover a big gray mouse drowned in the water. We live in a really old house and we've had mice in the past, but they were always in the garage or behind the walls... never in our living space. Needless to say, the mouse traps were a bit more aggressive that year. 

2. On my way up to get the mail this October, I was hit with a nasty stench before my eyes identified the culprit. A car had hit and killed a local black cat, and its final resting place was the top of our driveway. It was dark when Matt got home, so we left the absolutely disgusting task of clean-up until the next day. That night, an animal dragged it into the thick brush and we were a bit relieved because hey, maybe it would naturally decompose. It didn't. The smell worsened. Something dragged the cat back out into the open that night and our neighbor ran it over a half dozen times, flattening it as if it were a scene from a cartoon. Bones, blood, stench, pieces of fur... gag. A BBQ we hosted finally served as the impetus to get going, and Matt scooped up the poor, neglected creature and tossed it deep into the back woods. RIP Kitty. 

3. This one deserves a post of its own... maybe that will happen one day... A few years ago, Matt was in the city for a conference. My parents came up to help me hang some Christmas decorations. Upon entering the house, Dad casually asked what was sticking out from behind the siding near the front door. I told him I thought it was a leaf and that it had been there for months. Well, call it a father's intuition paired with a daughter's neglect because when he smacked the siding with the back of his hand, the "leaf" started moving...ever so slowly. In fact, upon closer scrutiny, it looked like a hand stretching out from behind the siding. Yes, a hand. Then it dropped down behind the shutter.

Bat Attack

I stepped back a few steps and told my dad that it was probably some freak bug (because we have those around here) and to let it be. Well damn that father's intuition because my dad asked if we had a lot of bats in the area. I explained that they're active at night but surely this couldn't be a bat... Well spoiler alert: it was a bat. A small brown bat about the size of my fist with it's wings tucked in. Triple that size with the wings spread out. I swear it had been there for months, thinking all along that it was a leaf. I'm seriously an idiot. Well, Dad said it could be rabid since it was alone and didn't seem to have left its spot behind the siding. Either way, it had to go. It was a bit unnerving to have it lurking so close to an entry point. My father went into the garage to survey the tools available for his use. My mother and I huddled together at the base of the porch steps just studying this little creature, moving its body ever so slowly. My dad came out with a long, thin dowel and started poking at the small hand and spindly fingers lurking just over the edge of vinyl siding. The hand stretched out more. At this point, my mom and I did the only rational thing we could think of. We screamed and ran into her car, parked about thirty feet away. After a few more pokes and my father's body recoiling back a few times, Dad came over to the car window and knocked. I opened the car door ever so slightly. "Yes?" - "Where is Matt's BB gun?" -  "What?!" - "Matt's BB gun. Where is it?" Well as you can imagine, this made me a bit nervous. I knew Matt was in the middle of his conference so I sent a text. "I need your BB gun." - "What the hell do you need my BB gun for? Where are you? What are you up to!? What is going on over there?!" - "My parents are here. We need it for insurance reasons... I think we have a bat near the front door." - "Oh for Pete's sake. Keep me posted and don't let your father put holes in the house!" - "Yeah, ok thanks. Bye." Well the BB gun was in a hiding spot of Matt's but being weeks before Christmas, it was accompanied by a Christmas gift for yours truly. Matt told me this at the last minute so I sent my father in to retrieve the gun. My mother and I remained in the car, making sure everything went smoothly from our spot. Gun in hand, my Dad tried to poke the bat out of the spot one more time.

Bat Attack

My mother and I screamed as if on cue. It started wriggling with a bit more energy than five minutes earlier but it still seemed off. Up went the gun and after putting two holes in the siding, Dad put a small BB in the little guy and he stopped moving. I tentatively exited the car, leaving Mom behind to check on the progress from a better vantage point. The scene of the crime. Dad was already removing the shutter and once off the house, he tossed the shutter onto the grass.

Bat Attack

He and I slowly walked towards the shutter. Attached by his little feet was the bat. Blood dripping down his chest. Teeth exposed and fangs out. FANGS OUT. It was tiny but seriously scary looking.

Bat Attack

Dad suggested tossing it into the brook that runs along our property as a sort of burial, so we scooped him up with a shovel and walked down to "the waterfront."

Bat Attack

I said a few words. They were along the lines that while I don't propone the slaying of innocent animals, I'm also not comfortable with animals with fangs residing that close to my home. Sorry 'bout it and RIP. 

4. My brother-in-law lived with us for a few months when we bought this house. Every time we tell people that it was an old school house and show them the creepy picture, everyone always says, "Oooh, think it's haunted?" I always reply, "No." It's an ex-school house. Not an ex-school house built over a cemetery or an ex-school house that performed exorcisms. Yet on one of our very first nights in the house, Mike swore over and over again than someone was tickling his feet in the middle of the night and he heard strange noises coming from the basement. AWESOME.

5. Our next door neighbor rents his home so we get new neighbors each year. The family that lived in in the house a few years ago was grilling out on their deck when they stopped by with some goods. "Care for some venison?" Matt and I aren't giant venison fans so we politely declined. When we inquired later where they had gone hunting, they replied, "Hunting? Oh, no. We saw this deer on the side of the road and threw it in the back of the truck." Ugh. Ick. Blech. We were offered roadkill. When our faces gave nothing away, they offered, "We have it hung up in the back woods if you change your minds!" Uhhhh, no thanks.

Roadkill, anyone?

After they were done with it, they buried it in their backyard. The entire deer carcass. Steps from our property line. Months later, the woman that lived there called me and told me she thought she was being affected by a black magic witch in Litchfield. I won't get into that story but needless to say, the family provided us enough spooky things while they were next door.

...aaaaaand that rounds out the top five "spookiest" things that have happened to us in this ol' school house. If you have a spooky (or gross!) story of your own, I'd love to hear about it. Share it in the comments below, on School House Rehab's Facebook page or shoot me an e-mail. I'll share the best one on the Facebook page on Halloween night!

Not a fan on Facebook yet? Like the page here. It's the easiest way to share your spooky story and I'll love you forever.

Skinny Brownies

I happened upon a recipe from fitnessmagazine.com that sounded interesting... "Guilt-Free Double Chocolate Brownies." Um, you had me at "Double Chocolate."

I tried it out this morning (days are so much better when they include brownies before noon!) and I have to say, they're good. They aren't Ghirardelli triple chocolate good, but they're good for having 18 carbs and 111 calories.

I like this recipe because you make it all in a sauce pan. It may just be me, but it seemed a lot easier than other non-box recipes.

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons butter (what?! not the whole stick!? progress!!)
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 c mini chocolate chips (what again!? not the whole bag!? this is guilt-free!)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Skinny Brownies

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter the remove from heat (I used low heat.)
  4. Stir in sugar, water and vanilla
  5. Mix in flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
  6. Add your mini chocolate chips and add to pan
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes and cool on wire rack
  8. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top
  9. Chow. Down.

I used a smaller pan so mine cooked a couple of minutes longer. That, and my oven stinks. The original link is at the top of this post. You'll have to let me know what you think. When I asked Harrison if he wanted a brownie, he made this face.

His arms are blurry because he's shaking them with excitement. That's Momma's boy. Next year, bud. Next year.

4th Wedding Anniversary Linen Pillow

Apologies if the site looks a little wonky today - I have my web guy on it and it will be remedied soon enough. 

My choices for a fourth wedding anniversary present for Matt were floral, silk or linen. He can't name 90% of the flowers in our yard and he's not a silk kind of guy, so linen it was.

You can read a little bit about the before process here but I ended up making him a "Game of Thrones" themed linen throw pillow. You know, since he loves GoT and I love throw pillows. What a pair, right? He put a ban on no more throw pillows but I circumvented that with this gift. Brilliant!

4th Anniversary Linen

We had a few delays so it took a week to sew it all together, but it came together very quickly and adds a personal touch to the living room that I looove. Plus, embroidery is so pretty and serious fun. #nosarcasm #imadork

4th Anniversary Linen

I'm so thrilled with how it came out and matt likes it, too, which I guuueeessssss is the whole point. Yes, that blanket was my 2nd anniversary present, which I wrote about here

4th Anniversary Linen

I think they go pretty well together. I had the pillow insert on hand so all I had to buy was the fabric and embroidery thread. All in all, it cost me under $10. Pretty cheap, right? Frees up more money for the 10-year anniversary dream vacation... Hope you had a great weekend!

A Letter To My Baby (7 Months)

Hello again my sweet, sweet boy. It's Momma and I'm a bit late on your letter this month. Again. Forgive me. You turned seven months old on the seventeenth and we decided to take you all over creation in the days after, leaving Mommy zero computer time. It was all worth it, of course, but that's why this is a little tardy.

Instead of a letter in paragraph form, I decided to try a different layout this time. I hope you don't mind. In fact, when I read these to you in a few years, I bet you'll like this alphabet version better.

A - You continue to be one of the most alert babies I've ever met. When a door opens, your head whips around. If we're snuggling and you hear Griffin walking around, you contort your body to follow the nails clicking on the hardwoods. When we're rocking on the front porch, your eyes follow each and every car that goes down the road. 

B - Although they looked questionable for months, I'm fairly certain you'll be rocking brown peepers for the rest of your life. At first, I loved the idea of your eyes staying gray like mine, but I've since changed my opinion on the matter. I love looking into those brown eyes and seeing the same color that drew me to Daddy's eyes eight years ago. 

Big Brown Eyes

C - Sometimes, you can be quite the clown. When we went to visit Bubby in New Haven, you had her (and the whole diner!) cracking up with your bubble-blowing.

Harrison & Bubby

D - It's not all silliness all the time. You have a dramatic streak, too. When you're having your last bottle before bed, your right hand continuously smacks my cheek and you put the back of your left hand on your forehead in a damsel-in-distress/fainting gesture. It's hysterical but I hope you're not a drama king. Daddy has enough drama for the three of us. ;)

E - You're starting to show more and more that you're capable of entertaining yourself. I love this about you and I hope it's an early indication that you'll be a strong, independent boy that knows how to make his own fun. e.g.. While I cleaned out the porch planters, you sat in your big boy chair in the trunk of the car with the hatch up just playing with your toys and alternating your gaze from me to the passing cars. 

F - One of your newest activities is flying on the swings. Okay... maybe not flying per se, but you love the gentle swings and sways as you stare at the ground and squeal with delight. Mommy and Daddy love watching you take part in such a quintessential childhood activity as we look forward to countless future swing pushes.

Baby on Swings!

G - You've always loved your puppy and as the relationship continues to evolve, we've added a new obsession as far as Griffin is concerned: dog tags. This picture? I die.

A boy and his dog.

H - Hiking continues to be one of our favorite activities. I strap you in the carrier and off we go. Fresh air for you, exercise for me. I don't feel comfortable taking you once the ground is covered in snow, so I'm soaking up each opportunity now. Next Spring you'll probably be walking on your own and you definitely won't fit in the carrier. 

I - Remember how I mentioned how alert you are in the first line of this "letter?" Well, you're especially alert when we're eating. You reeeeaaallly seem to hone in on ice cream and really, who can blame you?

Baby Wants Ice Cream

J - If you're wondering if you still love to jump, the answer is an emphatic yes. Yes, yes, yes. You easily spend 60+ minutes/day jumping and babbling in the Jumperoo and strengthening those leg muscles.

K - You absolutely loooove other kids. You're amazed by other kids. You watch other kids and you break into wide smiles. I don't blame you. For the most part, they're way more engaging and energetic than Mommy and Daddy. 

L - You are laughing at so much more than you did last month. You have definitive tickle spots and any crazy sound makes you chuckle. Kissing sounds, mouth raspberries and musical scales that Mommy sings in an operatic voice seem to be among your favorites. Keep laughing, my boy. It's far and wide the most wonderful sound that's ever passed by my ears.

M - Mealtime continues to be a really fun time for you and me. I put on the "Alan Menken" Pandora station and I belt out songs from movies that I loved growing up. You sit your chair and smile at me as I serenade you with any and every song from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid. I'm not sure who enjoys this ritual more. We're three months in and I'm still making all of your food from scratch. I enjoy doing it because I know you're getting the absolute best. Lately, you've been loving pear-broccoli and apple-spinach. You dislike very little, but among your favorites are carrots, sweet potatoes and anything mixed with apple.

Happy, fed baby!

N - Every day with you is a gift (sorry for the corny, trite and oh-so-typical Mommy line...) but some days are definitely better than others. The days that rock are the days that you have your big morning nap. Not only do I get a breather but you wake up refreshed, over-the-moon happy and ready to tackle anything. If you don't get this crucial morning nap, you're just slightly crankier than usual. Don't get me wrong... your "cranky" is still easy-going, chill and sweet... but without sleeping for an hour or more, you're just 100% awesome instead of 110% awesome. The afternoon nap is a bit more elusive simply because we're out of the house. You make it a point to grab a snoozer anyway and most days, it's in the car or the stroller.

O - I can't handle you in overalls. That picture at the beginning of this post? Come on. You have a few pairs and they're one of my favorite outfits in which to dress you up.

P - Last month, you had your very first playdate and you looooved it. We had a few of your friends over and since then, you've been to a few more playdates. Being around other babies is so good for you and the baby love affairs that you seem to have with your friends are too much to handle.

Q - You're constantly on the quest for all of our stuff. Beer bottle, water glass, cell phone, sweatshirt cords... Whatever it is, you want it. The water glass is the only thing from that list that I let you play with... with my help. You're showing signs you're ready for a "big boy cup" soon, so that'll be coming up this month for ya.

R - You are rolling like a mad man. A serious mad man. Back, forth. Forth, back. I left you in the middle of the living room one afternoon while I ran to the bathroom and came out moments later to find you off the carpet and onto the hardwoods. You may not be anywhere near crawling, but boy do you get where you need to go. Just remember, it's not nice to roll onto your new friends. 

Rolling.

S - For a 18-24 hour period last month, you were not yourself at all. I kept saying you were sick, but the visit to the doctor proved otherwise. Maybe you were upset that Mommy went away for the night? Either way, you had Daddy and I terrified and your poor father was up with you all. night. long. Never again, you hear? Never again.

T - Teeth. As in... where are they!? You've been drooling like an animal since you were fifteen weeks old and chomping on everything in sight... let's get this going and over with already!

U - We have UV light on lockdown with your four pairs of sunglasses. We love seeing you in each and every pair. You're already so much cooler than Mommy and Daddy.

Baby Sunglasses

V - You're getting very sturdy on your arms. You do countless baby push-ups each day and while we thought you had strong legs from all of your jumping, (See letter "J" above...) it looks like your arm strength is catching up quickly. You're at the very beginning stages of pushing up onto your knees, so we're working on that more each day. Whenever you decide to crawl, we'll be cheering you on all the way.

W - We're going to end with "W" since I'm having trouble coming up with words for "X," "Y," and "Z." Besides, this is one of my absolute favorite pictures from the last month - what better way to go out? One of your favorite morning activities is to sit on our bed and gaze out the window. Daddy lays down behind you and the two of you spot different birds, leaves and trees. Daddy points out shapes and colors and you listen contentedly while smacking and/or salivating on the sill. All joking aside, it's a special moment that I could observe for hours on end.

Daddy and Baby

So there you are - Harrison from A-W over the last month. You're cracking us up more than you ever have and we can't wait to see what the next month holds. Keep smiling, learning, observing and (thank the good God!) sleeping.

We love you more than we could ever put into words or alphabets,

Mommy & Daddy

7 months old!

4th Wedding Anniversary Gifts

If you read yesterday's rambling post about my husband thinking I'm nuts because I re-use Zip-loc bags, you must really be a loyal reader. That ish was long. And pretty boring. But, if you read it, and you read it all the way to the bottom, you knew this post was coming.

Matt and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary yesterday. October 15th. 15 de Octubre. I can honestly say that I truly love him more today than I did four years ago, so I think we're doing something right. I won't get too sappy here, but one day, maybe he'll get his own letter. It's 10pm and I've put down two glasses of wine, so this will be mostly picture oriented. 

The 4th wedding anniversary is categorized by linen or floral. Matt came home on Tuesday* with an incredible floral display of hydrangeas and white roses.

4th Wedding Anniversary

He said, "I thought you'd like this, since you had white roses in your bouquet and your 'maids and centerpieces featured blue hydrangeas." So sweet, right? Men out there... this melts a woman's heart. We plan and plan and plan and think you have no idea what goes into it and then you pop in with a gift that lets us know you know exactly what was going on the whole time... yeah.

I had other ideas in mind since Matt couldn't care less about floral anything. Linen it was.

Linen shirt? Eh, too easy.

Linen pants? Pleeeeaaassse...do you know my husband? He's at his happiest with a power tool and/or a baseball bat in his hand. He's not the linen pant type of guy.

I started thinking about how we totalllllyy don't have enough throw pillows around here and decided to make him a throw pillow with linen fabric. Except, he wouldn't appreciate the throw pillow without something manly associated with it, so I decided to embroider something onto the pillow. No, embroidery doesn't scream masculinity but what I embroidered does. House Tarsi. That's a Game of Thrones reference.

I took embroidery lessons from Matt's grandma (I'm so fancy...) and got to work. I sketched out what I wanted to write and dug in. Spoiler alert: Embroidery/Needlepoint is fun.

Embroidery Virgin

Embroidery Virgin

Embroidery Virgin

Embroidery Virgin

Really fun. 

Embroidery Virgin

I actually don't have the finished product because on my way to Matt's grandma's to sew it up and fit on the pillow insert, we ran into unexpected delays. I'm going to get it done soon and show you the final product at that point. I know you're on the edge of your seat.

*Yes, Matt brought the flowers home on Tuesday instead of Wednesday - our actual anniversary. This is because I always make a big deal about not wanting flowers on "special days." I prefer them early February instead of February 14th. If he's going to get me Christmas roses, I prefer them 12/21 so I can actually enjoy them... it's all about expecting the unexpected. If that makes sense. 

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