Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 years

3 years ago I spent New Years Eve preparing for Julia's arrival. This year is a little different, I'll be preparing for her to turn 3, a departure from the baby years. Not the Big 4 yet. That is the year that with Hayley and Ace I searched for but could not find the visible signs of their babyhood. 3 is a bit easier, Julia still has her diaper bottom (at night, at least) and her munchkin voice and her need for me more often than not. But still, 3 is not a baby anymore.
So instead of timing contractions and packing and repacking my hospital bag, I'll be wrapping big girl presents and putting up decorations. She doesn't want a big party, she would rather go to the 99 with us. Big parties can be overwhelming for her and all that attention focused on her is not her idea of a good time. We lucked out this year and her friend from school is having a party on the same day as Julia's birthday so we get to go to a party but not have to be the "Official" Birthday Girl. She also gets to go to the toy store and pick out her own presents. She got so many surprises for Christmas that we are fresh out of ideas and thought she may have fun choosing her own special gift. And then the next week she will get a party with Grandma and Grandpa which is, well, grand.
Oh my Sweet Julia. Our second daughter, our peaceful princess. She is the one that Andy sees the most of his personality in and the one I spend the most time trying to figure out. She is our quiet introvert and me, being so NOT an introvert, am so intrigued by what makes her tick. She doesn't like to be alone and she will not be ignored but she doesn't like it when all the attention is on her. She has a lot to say and she loves to laugh and giggle, you never know when she may break out of her shell for a few minutes of pure silliness. When we are out and about, you won't hear a peep out of her because she is too busy taking every moment in and watching people. She likes seeing new places but is happiest in her house (or Grandma and Grandpa's). She does have a few other favorite places, Dunkin Donuts, the 99, Trader Joes, School.
I could write a billion pages on the wonders of Julia but most of you know her and have seen those wonders in her smile, heard them in her laugh, caught a glimpse of them in her smiling brown eyes. She is our Sweet JuJu bean. She's been with us for almost 1092 days. Every one of them a miracle.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Memories 2009

Julia repeatedly getting confused and thinking it was her birthday (which is exactly one week from tomorrow). Grandma was cooking a cake and Julia thought it was her birthday cake. The presents were "Burfday pwesents" and she was going to be 3 on Christmas morning.

Ace trying and failing to keep his cool on Christmas Eve. Andy appeased him with a small rocket toy while they shopped for stocking stuffers and Grandpa had to threaten that if he didn't stop his shenanigans he wouldn't get to open any presents. Finally, he got to open a present. It was pajamas. He was not happy. But he is a man of manners so after a few minutes he thanked Grandma for the most super awesome pajamas. He spent a good portion of the night making sure that Santa knew he already had pajamas and would not need anymore, just toys.

Hayley and I playing checkers and she kept calling me "Mom" (she has never called me anything but Mama or Mommy but her cool Uncle Stan was nearby). I pretended not to know who she was talking to until she got so annoyed she would finally say "Mommy!" She also beat me at checkers.

Lucy trying to steal her cousin new fluffy purple high heels when no one was looking.

Lucy eating 3 big plates of Christmas dinner.

Lucy running towards the staircase any chance she got, just so someone would chase her and pick her up so she could laugh and laugh and snuggle.

Ace picked out my Christmas gift. It is a fluffy hot pink robe with lips and polka dots and a hood. I love it and laugh everytime I wear it.

My niece trying to keep Lucy away from her legos. When we told her Lucy was not bothering the legos and not to scold her, N. said "But I can see her getting attracted to them!"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Holiday Challenge to You

Every day from now until Christmas, answer your home, work, and cell phone with the following greeting:

"Hi! I'm Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?"*

If it does not brighten you Christmas season, nothing will.


*Line shamelessly stolen from Will Ferrell's stellar performance in Elf

Christmas

I've been wanting to write and keep sitting down to update and then stall out when it comes to starting a paragraph. There is so much going on and so much excitement that I feel a little drunk on Christmas spirit (not eggnog, really) and it's hard to follow through with an update.
We are spending the afternoon cleaning and packing and getting geared up to celebrate an early Christmas tonight. We will let the kids open some presents and have a quiet family meal before we head down South on Monday for a big family Christmas with my side of the family. We are also awaiting a powerful winter storm that may throw all of our plans out the window. I'm just breathing deeply and trying not to stress. I'm fairly powerless over a blizzard so my freaking out is not going to make any difference, I'll just enjoy watching the snow fall and not borrow worry from Monday. I'm just praying to make it to NC by Thursday.
My favorite niece that is 3 was here last week and we had such a great time with her. I love her so much, being around her constantly makes me laugh. My sister and I took the 3 oldest kids to see The Nutcracker last weekend and in the middle of a dance N. stage whispered to my sister "Boys should NOT wear white tights!" They were surprisingly well behaved through the 2+ hour performance, the only disruption was during a performance by a scantily clad dancer when Ace yelled at me "I need the binoculars, NOW!"
We also saw Santa at the fire station and, although she still did not want to sit on his lap, Julia did not insist on leaving the minute Santa arrived. Maybe he's growing on her. She still doesn't get what all the fuss over his is about and if you ask her what she wants him to bring her she answers with a firm "NOTHING!" She would just like him to take his sleigh and keep right on going, thank you very much.
I love Christmas and I hope I'm keeping it simple enough that the kids are having time to just soak it all up. We try to have some quiet time every night when we sit by our little tree (we just put up a little one since Grandma has the big one) and read stories and listen to music. I kept the shopping to a minimum and we only got 3 gifts for each child, one big one and two smaller ones (because as my pastor said, "If 3 is good enough for Jesus...") The kids are spending way more time talking about our trip and seeing family than what Santa is bringing so I know that the big gift this year is the time we'll have with our favorite people. And if the blizzard hits and we are stranded in Cape Cod, maybe Santa will stop by and offer us a ride on his sleigh. Maybe then he would win Julia's heart!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sisters

Lucy loves games. She dreams of the day she will be included in all the games she sees her older brother and sisters play. The other night we all played Junior Monopoly and she was in her exersaucer (which she is really outgrowing but we set aside specifically for these times) with cookies to keep her entertained. She got agitated after a while and the game was ending anyway so I let her get out and join us on the floor. She immediately picked up the oversized die we were using and rolled it just as she had seen us do and then started moving a piece around the game board and "counting" the spaces. She kept looking at me as if she was saying "See, I know what to do!"
Now Julia and Lucy are playing Hide and Seek. Lucy will go into a room and Julia will come running out and hide in the exact same spot every time. A second later Lucy will come out of the room and look in the exact same (wrong) spot and then just stand there, wondering what the next step is. Luckily she doesn't have to wonder for long because Julia lasts about 5 seconds before she jumps from behind the couch and yells "Surprise!" They laugh and squeal as if it really is a huge surprise. When they switch places Julia counts in the room and Lucy runs out here, then runs right into the room where Julia is counting and screams her closest imitation of "Surprise!" and they squeal and laugh some more.
I love watching my daughters be sisters. They take such good care of each other but they also delight in each other, I hope they always do.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Full

Thanksgiving was 4 days ago but I am still full


of pride


of smiles


of laughter



of gratitude.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lies I've told my kids over the long weekend purely for my own entertainment.

1. "We can't buy toys today because if you buy toys in December, Santa may get confused about what you have and not know what to give you for Christmas."

2. "Buffalo wings are the wings of tiny, flying buffalo. They only live in Texas, we used to see them all the time. Don't you remember?"

3. "Daddy spent all day cooking that turkey so we better eat the whole thing tonight. But I'm not hungry at all, so it's up to you guys."

4. "There are no children's shows on TV after 10am."

5. "Sure Ace, it's possible that your Nutcracker he may come alive and take you on a magical adventure. I wouldn't count on it, but it's possible".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week of Thanksgiving

Confessions of a CF Husband http://cfhusband.blogspot.com/ posed this questions today:

"What would it look like if I spoke only words of gratitude the week of Thanksgiving?" and he invited his readers to join him in the challenge of trying to do exactly that, starting today.

I didn't read the entry until this afternoon so I'm a little late but I'm going to do my best to follow through and spend the entire week expressing gratitude for the abundant blessings in my life, even the ones I often overlook and take for granted.
I spend so much of my holiday season talking about how busy I am. There is so much to do, so many places to be. What I overlook is that each of those chores and errands and events represents a blessing. Why do I chose to complain about how long it can take to prepare a meal instead of stopping to give thanks that we are provided with plenty of food to eat? Why complain about my messy, loud house instead of stopping and appreciating that my children are here in it, healthy and happy enough to create messes in every room? Even on days when I seem to do everything wrong, I can go to bed thankful for the hope that I will do better tomorrow, and the opportunity to try.
So this week I'm going to dig a little deeper than just going around the table on Thursday night and thinking of something I'm thankful for. I'm going to try and think thankful thoughts and speak words of gratitude and to really feel the gratitude, not just speak empty words.
I'll start by saying Thank You to Nathan for the inspiration (today, and any day I read his blog).
Happy Thanksgiving Week to everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

They say what they mean, and they mean what they say.

For a few weeks now Julia and I have had a deal on the table. If she sleeps in her own bed all night, she gets lunch at the 99. As much as she loves the 99, she apparently likes sleeping at the foot of our bed with her head on my ankles even more because she has not cashed in on the deal until today. Last night she went to bed, in her bed, at 7pm and didn't emerge until 7:15 am. It was an amazing feat considering that Lucy (who shares her room) was up crying at least 8 times between 10pm and 5am so she really earned today's lunch. Of course there were other factors. Like the fact that she has been fighting a stomach bug all week that has wiped out all her energy which may have helped her reach this goal. I know it seems ridiculous to reward behavior that was brought on by a stomach bug with a hearty meal of grilled cheese, fries, and an ice cream sandwich but my parenting style is pretty much a study in ridiculousness so, well, there you go.
So it was off to the 99 after school today. She was so proud and excited, she announced to the greeter and our waiter that we were there because she sleeps in HER bed. Then we sat in our booth and she looked around and her face fell. She looked at me and said:

"There's no one here."
(It was lunch hour so the place wasn't packed but it wasn't exactly empty.)

"Babe, there are a lot of people here, see?"

"No one that I want is here."

"Oh, like who?"

"Grandma and Grandpa, I want to come back when we can meet them here"

See, even the awesomeness of the 99 is nothing when compared to being with her peeps.



Ace is doing so well at school but by Thursday after school he starts having trouble dealing with his emotions. He is overtired and rude and spends a good part of Thursday afternoon kicking his toys to express himself. At first I said it was okay for him to kick things as long as he wasn't near people but then it started to annoy me and ruin his toys so I'm working harder at getting him to express his feelings in words. Obviously we are making progress because today we had this conversation:

"Mommy, can you buy me a Thunderbird jet?"

"No."

"Mooommmm, I can't ever feel good at all when you say that to me! You make me so angry in my whole body when you say NO!"

It really doesn't get more clear or expressive than that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It won't be like this for long...

This song by Darius Rucker



was popular when Lucy was just a few months old and I would listen to it, tears streaming down my face as I was up late with her. We would be up at 4 am for the 3rd time that night and I would rock her and nurse her and treasure each moment, thinking that in a few short weeks she would be sleeping in her crib not in my arms and those days of late night feedings would be a thing of the past. Well, now she is 14 months and we are still in "those days". She is still up many times between her bedtime at 7:30 and the time we start our day around 7:30 am. I'm still up with tears streaming down my face at 4 am, but now they are tears of pure exhaustion.
You never know, tomorrow she may decide that she doesn't need to check on us every few hours. She may give up nursing every 3 hours and suddenly decide that milk in a cup isn't the most ridiculous thing she's ever heard of. And then these days really will be over. Maybe that will be harder than I think. Maybe I will miss these days and find out that sleeping for more that 2 hours at a time is overrated. But you know, I think I'm ready to find out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lucy vs. The Wall

I woke up today optimistic. Monday isn't my favorite day of the week but today felt like a fresh start. We had all had a good night of sleep, everyone was healthy. We had plans. Plans that involved getting out of the house and being busy and productive. And then Lucy hit a wall. I mean that literally. She hit a wall. With her head. Hard.
I wasn't in the room, I was putting on makeup and I heard a thunk and some crying and Ace came running talking about blood so I ran. There was so much blood. And she was crying so hard. I just swooped her up, yelled at Andy "ANDY! Hospital! Now!" And he came running and tried to calm me down and then he saw the blood and the cut and went suddenly very pale. He grabbed a dishtowel and told me to hold it on her head and get in the car. He ran out with a shoeless Julia and a freaked out Ace and we were at the hospital in record time. Before I keep going at this dramatic pace, I have to point out that it really wasn't so bad. It was a deep, scary cut and faces tend to bleed a lot but it was okay. It was really okay. I have to keep reminding myself of that, even hours later.
At the hospital we were rushed to our little "room" and the bleeding and Lucy's crying had stopped so I was breathing normally again. I think Lucy was wondering where we were and why everyone was in such a rush and all she wanted was everyone to stop rushing and yelling and crying and give her some milk and hugs. So I sat and did just that while we waited for the doctor. After a minute she sat up and smiled at me and I took another big breath. The doctor came in and checked her out and a few minutes later she was wrapped up in a "papoose" and it took 3 nurses to hold her down because my girl is no one to be trifled with. I stood at her feet and secretly unwrapped her toes so I could hold them. She got four stitches and a popsicle. By the time we left the hospital she was laughing and wanted me to chase her around the lobby. I just held her so tightly and didn't want to set her down. All day everything seemed very dangerous, even our new soft rug in the living room seemed hazardous. So I just held her all day which annoyed her. But I needed to keep her safe. Because this morning for a minute I didn't and I can't always. I just needed to hold her close, maybe tomorrow I'll be able to let her go a little. But probably not.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I have a Halloween post waiting in the wings but it needs pictures and my camera is malfunctioning so that will have to wait. I'm now thinking that all those times I've handed over the camera in order to quiet a whiny toddler and let them take 1000 pictures of their fingers over the lens maybe were a bad idea because now it won't even turn on.
After a great Halloween, our week started off with Andy getting sick. Now Andy, Ace, and Lucy have some sort of virus, Julia still has a runny nose, and I am extra tired because everyone is up so much during the night it is hard to get a good night of sleep. Hayley is the only one who has kept a normal schedule so it has been an off sort of week. Thankfully, everyone seems to be on the upswing. Yesterday I finally got out for a bit with Ace and Hayley to Trader Joes and realized how long it had been since I had been out of the house wearing actual pants. I had pretty much lived in sweatpants since Sunday. Today was storytime and Ace and I went to the park before school. It was so nice to have a busy morning for once that didn't involve a marathon of Fresh Beat Band. I'm ready for wellness.
The end of Daylight savings time is also throwing me off a little. Lucy refuses to acknowledge the time change so now she's been waking up at 5 am and is ready to start our day. By the time I convince her that it is not time to get up and she finally dozes off, it is 7 am and I have time for a 25 minute nap before everyone else is up. We've been taking a lot of afternoon naps. Also, just to keep things exciting, Andy has left a few of the clocks set to Daylight Savings time. This guarantees that at least once a day I will glance at the clock and freak out because I think I'm an hour late to pick someone up at school. It keeps me on my toes.

And here, since I have no new pictures, is an old picture of Hayley holding a Happy Bucket:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playing Favorites


Since I came back from my trip to NC, the kids have invented a new game. When we are getting ready to go out they always ask "Are you going, Mommy?" and when I say yes they dramatically sigh and say "Oh, we don't want YOU to go. Just Daddy. He's more fun" I think that this is their passive aggressive way of saying they are still a little peeved at me for my trip because they did the same thing to Andy for weeks after his trip in August but still, it stings a little. And sometimes I get back at them by making them listen to NPR in the car instead of their Animal Cracker CD. Hey, two can play the passive aggressive game.

Even after 7 years parenting together I still am competing with Andy for the Fun Parent Award. I spend hours and hours training, yet I'm always at a disadvantage. I blame 2 things: one, my terrible aim and two, my weak bladder. My terrible aim came into play in one of the main events in the Fun Parent Olympics: The Bedtime Toss. Andy is a pro, he can spin the kids around and release them at top speed, yet they still land softly and gently on whatever soft surface they are being tossed onto. He makes it look so easy, I was sure I could compete. Then came the night in 2007 when Ace asked me to step in for Andy for his bedtime toss. I did the spin, maybe not as fast as Andy, but still not bad, then the release, then the...THUNK. Ace missed the bed by a good foot and a half and landed on his (Thank God, carpeted) floor with the THUNK. One really embarrassing call to the pediatrician and an icepack later and I knew that my bedtime tossing days were over.
My weak bladder has caused me to be disqualified from countless Tickle Mommy and Jump On her Belly competitions. Let me state for the record that I never have actually wet my pants, but it has still put a swift end to many tickle fights. You can't be the fun parent and the potential pants wetter at the same time.
So no matter how many games of Crazy Eights I play with the kids, no matter how much time I spend pretending to be Freddy from ICarly or staying up late to sew patches on Ace's Fireman costume, I still only get the Silver, never the coveted Gold Medal of Funness.
My niece is only 6 months but my sister already knows my pain. She carried C. for 9 months (and a few extra days), nurses her day and night, cares for her lovingly even when she is sick and exhausted, but still my brother in law is the one rewarded with the biggest grins and all he has to do is walk in the room. I'm not saying that my brother in law isn't a great dad too and he certainly deserves those big grins but come on, what's a mom gotta do to win? Katherine,I suggest you start practicing the toss immediately.

Sometimes being the less fun parent has it's advantages. Like today for example, the kids have requested that Andy take them trick or treating. And someone has to stay home and guard the candy and test it frequently to make sure it is still fresh. I supposed that that is the job of the less fun parent, and that doesn't seem so bad.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now and Then revisited.

Remember a few days ago when I was having a crazy day but I was feeling so happy and appreciative and blessed? Remember how I was peacefully folding laundry and smiling upon my children as they played happily at my feet? Yeah. That was nice. Today, on the other hand, I yelled at Andy because he had to go to work early, kicked the pumpkin on our front stoop because it tripped me, and told Julia that the Wonderpets were not coming on TV today because they gave mommies headaches. Yeah, today is not my best day.

So, to cheer myself up I'm posting these pictures. Because for some reason beyond my earthly comprehension, God made these children and thought they belonged here with me. Maybe He didn't know they would be exposed to unprovoked pumpkin- kicking. Maybe He didn't know just how much I would need to look at these faces every single day, headache or not. Or, maybe He did.












Monday, October 26, 2009

Then and Now

When I was 20, I was under the pressure of attending classes (a solid 60% percent of the time, I think. And sometimes in my pajamas), student teaching 4 days a week, and keeping my job as the worst waitress in the history of the profession. Every few weeks my roommate and I would take what I felt was a much deserved break and do nothing but sleep past noon, watch movies, drink mountain dew, and eat pringles and peanut m&ms for a day. It was my Do Nothing Day, and it was glorious. College life was good.
Fast forward 11 years, today is Monday and Hayley and Ace are the only ones who have school and there are no extracurricular activities. So from 6-12:30, I have a Do Nothing Morning. Here is a little peek at my morning thus far:
6am-8am: Woke up to Lucy throwing up. Changed sheets. Bathed upset baby. Cuddled upset baby. Tried to convince upset baby that eating my apple cider doughnut may not be the best idea. Failed. Cleaned up regurgitated apple cider doughnut. Called pediatrician to report Lucy's status, pediatrician recommends pedialyte and cutting back on the doughnuts.
8am-10am: Breakfast for big kiddos, tried to keep baby occupied so she wouldn't notice the apple cider doughnuts. Failed. Wrestled doughnut out of baby's vice grip. Comforted angry, crying baby. Hayley off to school. Fancy Nancy tea party with Juju. Dinosaur tea party with Ace. Fold 2 loads of laundry. Turn my back for 1 minute. Refold 2 loads of laundry that Lucy has thrown across room. Remember that I haven't changed out of my pajamas the Lucy threw up on and decide I need to take a shower. Decide to go get computer instead and write about my morning.

So, no there are no movie marathons or potato chips in my Do Nothing Mornings anymore. Sometimes I miss the days when I thought I needed 12 hours of sleep to function and could actually get them. But nothing compares to my Do Nothing Mornings now. I don't even mind refolding the laundry because as I do it I get to watch Lucy entertain her brother and sister by pulling a pair of Ace's underwear over her head like a ski mask and giggle wildly. And I learned that dinosaurs discuss fire safety over tea and don't allow any unruly guests to try and bite the other dinosaurs' bottoms.

Life is good today. Life is very good today.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It is rainy, cold, and windy here in New England and Julia is sick so my mind just won't focus on a good blog subject. So, because I'm lazy, here's a wrap up of our week and other tidbits in no particular order of importance:

Hayley got an extra 3 hours of school this week thanks to a new program at her school where she gets to stay 2 days for an extra hour and a half. They have some homework and reading mentoring time and then an hour of active games and play. She loved it. I think if they offered her Saturday school, she would cry tears of joy.

We went to a Fire Safety event at the mall and Ace had the chance to point a fire extinguisher at a screen with a pretend fire and put it out. Do you ever have moments when you see your child do something and the look on their face tells you that they are doing what they were made to do? It was one of those moments. He was so focused, you could tell that in his mind, he was Firefighter Ace and he was saving the day.

Julia is sick and we don't know what it is. She keeps spiking a fever and gets super tired and just lays on the couch looking tiny and miserable but then within a few minutes of taking ibuprofen, she is up and running. Then 6 hours later she fades again and runs the fever. No other symptoms. If the same holds true tomorrow we will check in with the doctor.

Lucy just ran past me and I realized I put her diaper on crooked and her left cheekie is completely exposed. It's really cute. And it reminds me of my baby niece because the same thing kept happening to her last weekend and it was really cute too. And now I miss her and want to fly to California just to scoop her up and zerbert her belly.

Because Julia is sick and the weather here is icky, we have done nothing at all today. Except I had to run to the grocery store for more ibuprofen and football game watching food (I only watch football so I have an excuse to eat potato skins, chips and queso, taquitos, and bagel bites) and on the way home I stopped to get Andy a coffee at Dunkin Donuts. As I stepped through the door I fell. I didn't hurt anything but my pride and as I was getting up off the floor I looked at the Wet Floor warning sign right in front of me and realized that I had fallen in exactly the same shape as the figure on the sign. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wet_floor_-_piso_mojado.jpg

That is EXACTLY how I looked as I went down. Now I wonder if everyone falls in a similar fashion on wet floors or if this was a coincidence? Either way, I'll be steering clear of the Dunkin Donuts until my pride has had time to recuperate. I'll just send Andy to get my pumpkin donuts for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You CAN go home again.

Lucy and I had a wonderful trip back to my hometown this weekend. I think 31 is the magical age where it is possible to return and not feel anxiety rise up from the past. I still feel a happy nostalgia for my 18 years growing up there, but it isn't tainted by regrets and embarrassments from the past. Although if I ever were to come face to face with the skater guy I professed my love for back in the 10th grade, I would probably hide behind the nearest tree for, oh, maybe 5 years.

My newest niece is unbelievably precious, I've loved her since the moment she was born in May but I fell more in love with her this weekend. She is an "old soul" baby, she seems to understand more than the average 5 month old. She is interested in everything that is offered to her but never reveals too much of what she is thinking. It takes effort to draw one of her smiles and giggles out of her but when you do it is so worth it.

I also met the new baby of one of my dearest friends and she is also a beautiful girl. She was contentedly snoozing most of the time we were together so I resisted the urge to swoop her up and kiss her toes, but it was a strong impulse, let me tell you. Jodie and I talked about how in the 20 years since we've met, our lives have gone in so many directions and yet here we were, two mommies sitting back in our hometown with our baby girls.

And I got to laugh and talk with my 3 year old niece who is as smart as the day is long. My number one favorite thing about her this trip was her refusal to use contracted words. If you ask if she would like to go upstairs she will tell you "No, I am not going upstairs", if you have the Wiggles CD set at a booming 24 volume level she will tell you for the 4th time that "No, I can not hear this music", and if you ask if she would share her ice water she will tell you "No, I will not be sharing my ice water". The best thing is that she is not disagreeable in any way, I never once have heard her whine, she is simply very clear about her intentions. I love her.

It was a great 48 hours in North Carolina, but it is also good to be home. I think Julia grew a foot since I left, she seems much, much bigger than she was Saturday. And Ace has been so nice to me since I got home, if I didn't know any better I would bet that he missed me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Little Splinters

I'm finding that one of the hardest parts of watching my kids grow up is learning to handle the everyday heartaches that THEY must endure. Not major heartbreaks, just little splinters that naturally come along when you are just beginning to make friends for the first time and every year seems to present a new social rule that no one clued you into.
Today I drove Ace and his 2 carpool buddies to school and we stopped at the park for a picnic. The park is called Armstrong Kelly park so Ace was telling his friends where we were headed. His speech delay is all but unnoticeable now but he has problems that many four year olds do with certain letter sounds. He kept pronouncing "Kelly" "Kerry" and his friend was correcting him. His friend certainly didn't intend to hurt Ace's feelings and I can't even be sure that Ace was hurt but as I looked in the rearview mirror and saw him struggling to get the word right, I gave him a little smile and wink and asked everyone what was in their lunchbox to change the subject. A few minutes later, Ace said "Some people are very strong. And some people know how to say a lot of words" And there was the little splinter. I fought back tears for him and dropped the boys off at school and went on with the day.
Later, when I went to pick him up, the teacher stopped me. She told me that Ace had bitten his friend on the playground (not the same friend from the carpool so I don't think it was related to what happened in the car). He had not bitten hard, and it seems to be that they just got carried away with a game and Ace took it a little too far. The teacher was worried that Ace had taken the incident too hard, because he had spent the rest of recess hiding under the slide crying and had kept talking about it with the boy he had bitten. I had him apologize again and talked to the mother, apologizing to her and making sure she knew that Ace was sorry. I talked a little about it with Ace in the car but let the subject drop after I saw his face, he was still fighting back tears and I could tell nothing I could say could make him feel any worse than he already did. Another splinter.
Julia had a cough this morning and missed school, she watched everyone leave and thought we were leaving because she hadn't gotten her shoes on fast enough, she was rushing and when I told her it was okay, she should lay down and watch cartoons until she felt all better, her little lip was quivering and her eyes were watery. Andy took Hayley to school so I could fix her a special breakfast and cuddle her. But still, another splinter.
I don't know if anything hurts worse than watching your child hurt and not knowing what to say or do to make it better. I know all these little daily hurts are no big deal and I do count our blessings. But it all piled up on me today and I am having a hard time brushing it off. I think it is because Lucy and I leave for 2 days on Saturday and I'm just going to miss the big kids so darn much. Because the one thing that is worse than being there to see your child hurt, it is not being there and wondering if they are hurting and if they need you and miss you as much as you need and miss them.
Ace is in my bed now, with his firefighting gear. I went in to tuck him in and told him how cool his new haircut is. I asked if he had a good day and he said yes. But that some things were bad, like biting. We talked about how everyone knows he is sorry and his friend isn't mad anymore so they can play more next week at school. Those little splinters will heal and tomorrow can be better than today.

And in other Ace related news, he is still a sleep talker. Around 5 am I was just getting to sleep after Lucy and Julia had finally fallen back to sleep when I heard this from a sound asleep Ace: "That's not a pirate ship. I don't know why there is a cat on the firetruck." I laughed myself to sleep.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October

Can you believe it is October? No? Me neither. Summer is over. Long gone, just a fading memory of days at the beach and nights that don't start at 4pm. And now Lucy is One. Not almost one, about to be one, or just turned one. She is ONE. Not a infant anymore but still a baby. MY baby, always.

Despite my woe at not being the mother of a newborn anymore and the being within spitting distance of not being pregnant and/or nursing for the first time in almost 5 years, I am terribly excited about Fall. I love Fall. And I'm even more excited about my trip next week to meet my newest never before seen (by me) niece.

Now we are enjoying a great visit with my aunt and uncle and tonight we had pumpkin muffins with dinner so my house smells like pumpkins and fall and Halloween and that makes me happy. And sad. Because every change of season makes me feel happy and sad together. I miss the moments that slipped so quickly out of my grasp but I have so much to look forward too and so very much to enjoy in this very moment. So being happy and sad at the same time isn't all together a bad emotion. I'll just sit in it for now and enjoy the smell of the pumpkin muffins, the sound of Lucy snorkling a little in her sleep, and the sight of Julia who looks like a string bean in her green feety pajamas. Ahh, there. There is the happiness.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lucy Claire is ONE



We celebrated Sunday at my parent's house with presents and cake. All the big kids were inside when I brought Lucy in and they all yelled "Happy Birthday LUCY!" when we walked in. From that moment on I think she knew this was HER special day. She had not had a good nap that afternoon so I expected she may be overwhelmed by everything but she was such a happy girl the whole night. Her presents thrilled her (for about 10 seconds each and then were quickly forgotten while she attacked the tissue paper and boxes), she loved her cake, and she loved having all eyes on her every move. She has learned to say "I One" and hold up her finger when we asked how old she was and she got so much attention and applause for it that now she does it randomly, just for kicks and giggles. Like yesterday at lunch I suggested she not try to stuff an entire muffin in her mouth and she just answered "I One" and held up her little finger at me.
Did I mention she LOVED her cake. Because, oh boy, she loved that cake. She will nod her head whenever she is happy about something and her head started nodding after her first bite and didn't stop. She seemed to figure out quickly that Grandma was responsible for this chocolatey miracle and whenever she locked eyes with Grandma she would nod her head emphatically and say "Mo!Mo!" (more, more).
On her actual birthday we got her up and sang to her and then after the big girls were at school, I took Lucy and Ace to the park. Later we had a picnic at the beach and more cake after dinner.
I hope Lucy enjoyed her special day, I hope it made her happy. Because she makes me happy every day. She is our dinosaur, our Wooz, our Baby Lucy. We love her so much, she adds so much laughter and joy to our house. She makes our family complete, she makes my heart overflow with love, and she makes every day funnier and brighter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lucy Claire

From October 3, 2008:

I can't believe it has been 2 weeks since we first checked into the hospital, thinking we were going to meet our Wild Card Lucy within a few hours (turns out my cervix wasn't in on that plan and it was almost 4 days later that we finally met her). In that time, there were some memorable moments, some of which are only funny a full 2 weeks later! Here they are so you can laugh with (or, more accurately, at) me:

My doctor is, ahem, well, old. Throughout the pregnancy we would joke that he better not retire before my due date. As I was in the hospital that first day he came in a few times to check on me and update us on what was going on. At one point he talked to us for a few minutes and turned to leave and ran smack into the door. Another time he got tangled in the curtain as he was trying to push it aside to walk out. After the second mishap, I looked at Andy (after the doctor was out the door and down the hall) and said "Um, that is the man that will be delivering our baby." Andy looked back and said "Let's hope he has a spotter". We found this incredibly funny. In my defense, it had been a long, long day and we needed some comic relief. As it turned out, our doctor was not on call Monday and Lucy was delivered safely into the hands of some complete stranger. I didn't see my doctor again until Tuesday morning.

*The following stories were so incredibly NOT funny to me at the time but looking back, I can laugh*

I mentioned in my birth story how miserably itchy I was during the last stages of labor (a common side effect of the epidural that no one really warns you about). I kept sitting bolt upright in the bed and yelling at Andy that I couldn't take it anymore. Often I would make my point clear by throwing up after yelling. I told him I needed him to come scratch me. So there we were, I was squirming and moaning because every time he scratched somewhere, another part of me itched more and I wasn't getting any relief. I kept slapping his hand away and then immediately asking why he stopped and demanding he scratched me again. The nurse never even batted an eye, she must be used to seeing irrational women and helpless dads. I give Andy major labor coach points for not telling me I was acting like a crackhead.

Once I realized the epidural had worn off (another common thing that no one warns you is likely to happen) I totally flipped out. In a matter of minutes my bottom half had gone from comfortably numb to, as closely as I can describe it, on fire. I was in such pain and in my mind, I felt like the solution was as easy as changing locations. I kept looking at the floor and thinking how cool and soothing it looked and I honestly wanted to get down on the floor to have the baby. Then I thought gravity would be a help and I wanted to stand up. Then I thought that I really had to pee (turns out I just really had to push a baby out), and I wanted to be on the toilet. During all of this, I'm trying to get Andy to help me with my escape from the damned bed that I was starting to hate. Of course, the downside of a standard hospital deliver (supposedly medicated) is that I'm hooked up to all sorts of machines and my legs are the only part of me that is still numb so it is not possible to get up. But this is not acceptable to me and I keep whispering to Andy that he has to help me get up and go to the bathroom. As the pain progressed, my demands got more unreasonable and at one point I told him I just wanted to get the *blank* out of the hospital. Again, he gets more points for not calling me crazy, he just keeps looking desperately at the nurse and telling me calmly that I need to stay on the bed. When the nurse left the room to get the doctor so I could start pushing I thought this was our opportunity to put my brilliant plan of delivering a baby by myself, in another location into action and I told Andy to help me get up and out of the bed. I've never seen him look so relieved as when the nurse came back in the room to help him calm me down.


Originally from September 28, 2008
I've found plenty of time to just sit and hold her and soak in that baby love. I still feel like she is literally a part of me, the way I felt when I was pregnant. The nurse at the hospital described the mother/baby bond as being a couplet and that is the most accurate way I can describe it. When I'm not holding her I feel like I'm missing a part of me and when I do hold her I feel so at peace. We breathe each other in and soothe each other. I've been feeling twinges of the baby blues (see tub crying incident above) but it melts off me when she's nursing or cuddled close to me. I sometimes want to go back to the hospital where it was just the two of us and have a few more days to do nothing but be with her, without all the distractions of home but then I remember how I ached to be home with my other babies and I just try to recreate that quiet bond here during the moments when the other kids are occupied or sleeping.

Happy First Birthday, Wooz. We love you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sad Day

One of my favorite songs ever.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Julia's Day in Numbers

3: Hours spent in school

1: Picnic lunch and long walk along the beach with Grandma, Mommy, and Lucy.

8: Number of times she had to get in/out of the car for school pickups and errands.

900: Estimated number of laps she ran around the front/back yard with Hayley and Ace after school today

.5: Number of bites she ate out of her chicken salad and bagel at dinner.

12: Chunks of honeydew melon she ate that made up 99 percent of her dinner instead of the rejected bagel and chicken salad.

4: Number of times she got out of bed and asked for milk, iCarly, a vitamin, toothpaste, and a bagel because she just wasn't tired at all.

3: Minutes it took her to fall asleep once her head touched the pillow.

Sleep tight, sweet Juju, tomorrow will be another busy day.
I am starting off my Tuesday morning agonizing over Julia's homework assignment. Yes, Julia, the two year old. She has homework. She goes to school for 6 hours a week and I've already spent close to that amount of time worrying over her homework. She brought home a small paper bag with the instructions to fill it with a few small objects that will help her teachers and classmates learn a little about her. One small bag will only fit about 3 items. I just don't know how I will be able to fit Julia's very big personality into such a small bag. Julia has many layers, like a parfait. Maybe I should put a parfait in there? Last year I went through a similar process with Ace, I spent an hour printing out some favorite family pictures, another hour going through our toy box to find 2 of his favorite toys and his favorite book, then I made a special trip to Dunkin Donuts so I could get a bag and cut out the logo. I helped Ace decorate the bag with stickers and markers and placed it carefully by the door so it would not be forgotten on the third day of school. Two minutes before we left the house that morning Ace poured the contents of the bag onto the floor, grabbed a random Power Ranger toy that he had found under his bed that morning, stuck that in the bag, and proudly proclaimed he was ready to go. Maybe I shouldn't invest so much time in the project this time around.

*The countdown has begun, ONE WEEK until Lucy's first birthday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saying Hello to Second Grade


We watched Obama's back to school speech after dinner last night and halfway through Hayley turned to me and said
"I bet this guy is FAMOUS"

She had a fabulous first day of Second Grade and I hope she is now having a fabulous second day of Second grade.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saying goodbye to Summer





Saturday was our Back to School Feast with Grandma and Grandpa. We ate burgers and homemade fries and saved room for a Boston cream pie for dessert. We shared our favorite memories of the summer and what we were looking forward to most as the school year starts.

Sunday we had a fire in the fire pit and had a weenie and marshmallow roast. One by one the kids got sleepy and I gave them each a bath and tucked them in. When they were all asleep Andy and I watched the last logs burn and enjoyed a cool September night (I even had to go inside for a jacket).

Today we played outside and met Grandma at the beach for one more afternoon at the beach.

Tomorrow? Watch out Second Grade, Hayley is on her way!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Memories

I wrote this in March 2006 and reading it today made me smile. In fact, anytime I think about Ace's chubby little baby feet I smile. You may not believe this but I remember exactly what they looked like when he was a baby. I can conjure them up in my mind at any moment, he had the chubbiest, pinkest feet with 10 monkey toes. He loved to chew on his feet and loved to push them into my face while he nursed so I would kiss and pretend to eat them. Now Lucy loves to do the same thing. She loves nursing and laughing while I kiss her toes, it is in the top 10 list of her favorite things to do. And, by they way, Lucy does have shoes but has never worn them.

Originally from March 30, 2006:
Ace has no shoes. Poor baby, he lives in South Texas where it is rarely below 70 so he spends 90% of his time barefoot. Sometimes he has socks but he likes to eat them so he takes them off. Shoes confuse him and he walks really funny with them on or else he runs into things because he can't stop staring at the foreign objects on his feet. I shared this with the priest at the church where I teach and he told me that his acupunturist says it is very important to walk directly on the earth to keep our equilibrium correct. So Ace will have extraordinary equilibrium. My baby still needs some shoes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Last of the Summer Whine

The kids have been fighting a lot this week, the last week of summer vacation. It is understandable, they have been together all day, every day, for almost 3 months now. The house can seem very small, and they all feel like they need a little space now and then.






Everyone is looking forward to school. Ace and Julia will be at the same school but different days and hours. Lucy will have some time without her 3 personal assistants. I think they are all ready for that.

But they will miss each other. They are four very unique little people but we are one big family, and we need each other.



You Go Girl,


....just don't go too fast.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dreams

Early this morning I had a lovely dream. I was shopping at the local CVS and they had Charmin toilet paper on sale, 99 cents for one of those big packages with 12 double rolls. I filled the cart and triumphantly returned home with trunk full of toilet paper. Then I woke up and realized it was all just a dream. We were still down to our last roll of toilet paper. I was very sad. Then, I was even sadder when I realized that that was the most exciting dream I had all week.
Even earlier this morning I had a nightmare. It was Christmas, which is splendid. Except the problem was, it was suddenly Christmas. We had somehow time-warped 3 months ahead, Lucy was 15 months and we had missed all the fun of Labor day, her first birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, all the things between now and then. I was very happy to wake up and find it to be August 30th.
Late last night I had a funny dream. Ace sleep-walked into my room with very floppy hair and no sense of direction. He stumbled around, ran into the dresser (not too hard, that wouldn't be funny), and finally made his way to my bed where he announced "I'm tired". Oh wait, that one wasn't a dream, that really happened.

Here, for no particular reason, is a very silly picture Ace took of Julia. I'm not sure what she is so happy about but I think she was up to something. That is usually when she has that look on her face, when she is up to some mischief.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

And now, for something much less poetic...

I'm preparing for next Sunday's Back To School Feast (idea courtesy of NieNie, Suburban Turmoil, and other fantastic bloggers)

I'm making cards for each of our school-goers and including a little poem in them.

Here they are:

Julia (entering her first year of Preschool:

You are bold and you are clever
And we will love you for ever and ever

You will go to school and see Ms. Maureen
You will do things undone and see sights unseen.
You'll have so much fun, sweet JuJu Bean.

Ace (entering last year of preschool, moving from the 2 day to the 4 day program)

Last year you were three, now you are four
You will go back to the same school, but now even more

You will see old friends like Ellie and Mandy
And make lots of new friends, cause you are as sweet as candy.

Hayley (entering 2nd Grade)

It's time to go back to school, it's already September
I know second grade will be a year to remember

You will make new friends and learn something new every day.
And you will have our love with you, all the way!

Quote of the Day

From Barack Obama's eulogy of Senator Ted Kennedy:

"We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God’s plan for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings."

Friday, August 28, 2009

I am woman hear me...curl up in a ball and whimper like a little puppy.

Andy is on his way home today after being out of town for 8 days. After a short "I am an independent woman and I'm doing it for myself" phase, I crumbled and admitted defeat. I even hid from the kids one day. They were driving me up the wall so when I heard them barreling up the stairs after playing happily without me for exactly 3 minutes and 32 seconds, I ran into my room and hid behind the bed. I would have had a moment of peace if Lucy hadn't given me away by saying "Hi! Hi Mama!" and giving away my location. That was a low point, I admit.
It hasn't been all bad. As long as I kept the kids busy, we were all happy. The tour of the fire station was the highlight of the week (perhaps the whole summer) for Ace. Fireman Frank could not have been nicer. He took an hour and a half out of his day to give us a great tour, he answered all of our questions and he gave all the kids helmets and coloring books and crayons. Ace floated out of the fire station on cloud 9. He has not taken his firefighter pants off yet.
Hayley had her last swimming lesson and was very proud to graduate from the Pollywogs with honors.
Julia enjoyed riding Ace's bike around the track at Hayley's school, she is so confident now that I can't keep up with her. At the beginning of the summer she went so slowly that I could stand in one spot for a few minutes before I had to take a step to catch up to her. Now she leaves me in the dust.
Lucy has been kind enough to save her official first steps for when Andy returns, but we've had a lot of close calls. She takes a step or two and then a stumble before she plops down and decides it is faster to crawl. If she weren't always in such a hurry, I bet she would be walking by now.
Honestly, the worst part of the week was trying to keep up with all the things that Andy does around the house that I take for granted. He does a lot of big things, like calm Ace down after he has a nightmare about lobsters, or watch Bill Dance Outdoors with Lucy at 3am when she has teething trouble. But there are also so many small things that I don't even notice. For example, our hot water heater leaks so we have to keep a pickle jar under it to catch the overflow. If we forget to empty it, we end up with a puddle of water on the basement floor. Guess who never remembers to empty it? Yep, I had to mop the floor twice while Andy was gone. I really missed him when I found a dead mole by the back door. You see, my plan of action when I find a dead rodent near my house is to go inside and alert Andy to the situation. This time I had to get out the snow shovel and move the little twerp myself. I stepped on a snake in the process. I'm still shuddering from that experience. So, Andy, come home soon, I kind of like having you around.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh what a night

It has been an exciting weekend around here. Lucy turned 11 months, Hayley went to a birthday party where she and Julia went down a huge water slide, Grandpa went home to NC for the start of the school year, a hurricane is nearby. But nothing, NO. THING, compares to our dinner at the 99 last night. It was a night that Ace will talk about for months. An event that, less than 24 hours later, has already been told and retold by Ace at least 30 times.
What could have been so legendary you ask? I have 2 words for you: Fireman. Frank.

We saw him leaving the restaurant just as we were going in. Ace froze in his spot and, I'm 90 percent sure, peed a little.

I know Fireman Frank's wife so they stopped to say hello. She is somewhat aware of Ace's deep obsession *ahem*, I mean admiration, for her husband so she wasn't completely weirded out by our encounter. Then again, maybe she was. Here's how it happened:

Me: "Oh! Mom! Dad! This is him! This is Fireman Frank!"

Ace: (Complete Silence, huge goofy smile and googly eyes at Fireman Frank)

Grandma: Oh! We have heard SO MUCH about you.

Me: "You have no idea! Ace pretends to be you. Every day. All day. All the time. We hear about you all the time. Seriously, all the time. I mean it. All the time."

Ace: (Complete Silence, huge goofy smile and googly eyes at Fireman Frank)

Fireman Frank. "Wow."

It goes on like this for quite some time, my mom describes to F.F how Ace imitates him by lining up all his fireman gear and putting on a presentation, Ace stands there with the same googly-eyed expression, and just nods his head at every word F.F says. Fireman Frank graciously invites us to come by the fire station anytime for a tour with him and we say our goodbyes.

Looking back it is possible we looked like complete wackadoos but I also think Fireman Frank may be accustomed to hero worship from 4 year olds. I have no excuse for my own behavior, maybe they will just assume I'm a heavy drinker.

This Fireman Frank sighting and invitation to the station would be enough to make Ace happy for the entire weekend but the night was not over yet. As we walked into the restaurant, Ace was telling everyone in sight that he had a personal invitation to the fire station. One of the hostesses stopped at our table about 20 minutes later and said that there was a fire rescue truck picking up a to go order outside if we wanted to catch a look, she had mentioned to them that we had a future firefighter at the table. I took Ace outside to see and the firefighter waved him over and let him sit up in the truck. Ace was literally shaking with excitement when we got back to the table.

When I got home and everyone was settled in bed, I called Aunt Katherine. Katherine loves Ace so much and she worries that he has such high hopes that there is no way reality can live up to his expectations. I know she's right, I know there will be days that real life just isn't all he'd hope it would be. But my wish for him is that there will also be plenty of nights like last night. Nights when his hero does show up and life does feel like a dream come true.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

News from the Weird

It's almost midnight and I should be trying to get in my usual 3 hours of sleep before Lucy wakes up for our nightly 3am party. Instead I feel like I need to update because even I am sick of looking at that whiny post every day.

We had a fun time this week, a much more relaxed week than last. Maybe too relaxed. This morning I was finishing up a book and I couldn't put it down. I took it into the bathroom with me while Julia took a bath and didn't realize until too late that she was scrubbing her entire body with her toothbrush (Don't worry, we got her a new one).
Another day I forgot to feed the kids. It was 2pm and they came upstairs whining and I got all set to send them on their way when Juila, in the most pitiful voice you've ever heard said "But Mama, I so huungeee". I realized they had been up since 8am and had only had a bowl of cheerios each. I guess that may have traumatized them because the next day for breakfast they each had 3 bowls of cereal and Ace even stole some of Lucy's dry cereal and put it in his pocket, you know, just in case.

One thing I love about spending all day with all 4 kids is that there is always something funny to look back on at the end of the day. Even if I'm exhausted and feel like I spent the day with a troop of monkeys who kept demanding cheddar bunnies and popsicles, I still fall asleep with a smile on my face, thinking of something outrageous that one of them did or said that day.
Such as....
Monday we went to meet Grandma at the beach and Julia refused to swim because she didn't want to get wet. She did, however, want to take 4 trips to the outdoor shower and play in it. I asked why she didn't want to get wet in the ocean but would get wet in the shower and she said "I not getting wet! I getting keeen!" (clean).
Tuesday, we had a picnic at the park, Ace ate half a ham and cheese sandwich and then said he was done and wanted to go play. We cleaned up and headed off to the playground. At one point, Ace came down the slide and left a trail of something behind him. It was gooey and mushy and I was afraid to get near it but people were watching so I couldn't just walk away. As I wiped it with my shirt I realized it was the other half of his sandwich, that he had crammed in his back pocket.
Wednesday. Hmm, I guess Wednesday my kids acted normal. Moving right along...
Thursday Ace was Frank The Firefighter. I was alerted to this fact when he called my Dad to make plans for later in the day and said "Hi Grandpa, it's Ac..Um, it's Fireman Frank. Then he got dressed in his Fireman costume and we set off for the library. He spoke to everyone there as if he were Fireman Frank (we were lucky that Frank's wife, who is a librarian, was not working that day, that would have been awkward*) and even told Ms. Penny to call him later, his number was 911. He also gave out this number to Julia's speech therapist, Hayley's friend, and the waitress at the 99.

See, a bunch of monkeys, that's what I've got.

The weekend was long and fun, Andy was home early Thursday and we all went to Coast Guard family day Friday. I rode a horse with Julia and I think I was more nervous than she was. She just kept asking "Are we going to ride dis hos" while we were riding. Saturday we went to the pool and out for pizza. Today, Andy took the Big 2 fishing while I took the Little 2 to Grandma and Grandpas. No fish were caught but they all came home excited because they had been run off the lake by a swan. Apparently, even to Big Tough Dad Andy, swans can be very frightening.


*Yes, Fireman Frank is an actual person. He came to Ace's school one day for a lesson on Fire Safety, at which point, Ace stole his identity.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The heat is on.

I'm always reluctant to blog when I've had a bad week. I'm afraid that I will sound like such a whiner (which I am) or as if I feel that the minor annoyances in my life are oh-so-awful and unjust (which I don't). But on the other hand, most of you know me so you are fully aware that I am no Suzy Sunshine and I don't want you to think that I am trying to come off as such. I'm keeping it real, sistas. Our family is completely nutso and sometimes we get on each other nerves. There are sometimes unidentified bad odors in our house. Oh, And Julia peed on the floor this week and didn't tell anyone until someone stepped in it. Twice. That someone was me.
I think my current bad mood can be attributed to the fact that we have entered the Dog Days of Summer. The heat is starting to get to us. We (meaning mostly, Ace and me) are irritable and cranky and the humidity does absurd thing to my hair. So, I find many excuses to stay home, close to my window ac and fans. 2 hours later as I pull out another handful or hair, lock myself in the bathroom to get a moment's peace, or say something snappish and mean to one of the kids I regret that decision immensely. It has just been a long, boring week. Even our day at the beach was no "day at the beach" thanks to my pissy attitude. I'm so happy it is Friday, I need Andy here for back up!
So, in summation, we are cranky. It is hot. I found something unidentifiable but certainly stinky under Ace's bed this week. Julia is not potty trained. We all feel a bit like this:



But I'm going to have a glass of wine and then I will feel more like this:





But I'll stop at one so I don't end up like this:


10 Months



"What?! 10 Months already?"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Julia's Law


Yesterday, as we were spending the evening playing tag on Grandma's front lawn:

Mommy: "Julia, did you have a good day?"

Julia: "Yes!"

Mommy: "What was your favorite part?"

Julia: "We're not done yet."

That is Julia in a nutshell, she truly believes that no matter how good, or bad, or great a day has been, it ain't over till it's over. And there is still room for more, bigger greatness to occur.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

If you give 4 children 23 dollars and 73 cents....

and let them choose whatever they want to do with the money,

chances are you will end up in a place like this





...where you will probably spend countless quarters riding rides like these



...and laughing at your reflection in mirrors like this





...and riding this for the first time with your 10 month old who hangs onto you for dear life and wonders why on earth you would pay 2 dollars to spin around for 6 minutes



...and you will most likely love every minute of it, because 4 smiling faces, an afternoon where all the siblings get along and laugh with each other, and beating your husband at skee ball by 10,000 points are well worth 23 dollars and 73 cents. In fact, I think they are priceless.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

After over a week of computer silence I kinda feel like I should churn out something read-worthy....
Friends, I got nothing.
I blame it on Summer Brain Shutdown Syndrome. I can think of nothing but the addictive smell of water from water guns (tell me I'm not the only one who notices the distinct smell of water gun water? Hello? Hello?), the joy of rinsing off the sand that is wedged in every crevice after a day at the beach, the late nights when my kids fall asleep before the end of the first song on their sleepytime CD because they have had such a full day and it is an hour past bedtime. Grandma's Barbeque sandwiches and potato salad, cherries, ice cream before dinner, PopIce popsicles for a snack. These are the things that are on my mind.
We had such a fun visit with Nifty Niece Naomi and Awesome Aunt Sara. We went to the beach, the pond, the park, the library, the 99. And multiple trips to the candy store. Naomi is 3 now and is so smart and self assured. I've decided to incorporate many of her habits into my own relationships. For example, when you offer Naomi 3 choices, she is most likely to choose option 17, which she came up with on her own. Example:
Waitress: "And what would you like on your sundae? Caramel, strawberries, or chocolate?"
Naomi: "I will be having blueberries."
Waitress: "Strawberries?"
Naomi: "I will be having the blueberries."

I can't even begin to count the number of things I love about Naomi, but this is one of my favorites.

Now our visitors are gone and I am sad. But tomorrow the pool awaits, I'm just hoping for a hot day, today it barely broke 70 degrees!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lucy is...


Crawling
Cruising
Singing
Dancing
Playing Peekaboo
Laughing
Waving
Saying:
"Hi!"
"Mama"
"Dada"
"Bye"
Clapping
Brushing Mommy's Hair
Holding Hands of Many Siblings

Eating:
Meatballs
Eggs
Yogurt
Brown Rice
Fruit
Vegetables
Pasta
Key Lime mousse
Carrot Cake
But Mostly...
Mama's milk


Lucy is
9 months old

Lucy is
LOVED

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In honor of Father's Day may I just take a moment to point out how handsome my husband looks in the 2nd picture in my last post? And I think if you looked up "Proud Dad" in the dictionary, that picture would be next to it.



Today was awesome. I gave up on my quest to buy Andy the Best Father's Day Gift Ever and just gave him beer. He was happy and I could relax and focus on the fun of the day. Mostly, eating. We threw a big barbeque for all the Dads in the family, my dad, Andy's dad, and of course, Andy. I didn't do a lick of cooking unless you count pouring a big can of baked beans into a pot and stirring them. Oh, and I boiled water for iced tea, poured it over the tea bags and the forgot about it for about half an hour. I really can't be trusted to cook and socialize at the same time because I get started talking and forget about anything I may be responsible for cooking. Andy manned the grill and my mother in law had already prepared a cake and potato salad so I didn't have to worry about a thing. Niice.
The kids were so well behaved. They even put on an impromptu concert for for the adults and they each sang songs and danced. Until Ace pulled out his diva attitude, threw his guitar and stomped off because his sister interrupted his solo of "Bad to the Bone".
I suppose the weekend is over but it doesn't matter for us this week. Andy is on vacation and Hayley and Ace are done with school so we are just going to sit back and unwind. Because that's what DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince have taught me that Summertime is all about.
Oh, and with Grandpa Alvin in town, some fishing has been done. Ace is quick to point out that HE caught the biggest fish.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In case you've wondered why I have not chronicled Ace's rise to fame as the 4th Jonas Brother, it is because he broke the computer (because that's how rockers roll, baby).
I'm currently typing one handed while furiously jiggling the power cord to try to charge the battery. I can't even pat my head and rub my stomach so this is quite a stretch.
Summer is slowly creeping in around the edges here in New England. But today it is nowhere to be found. In fact, the entire week is predicted to be rainy and cold. This doesn't jive well with my plans to start our beach bumming and poolside days.
Hayley still has a week left of school but despite the uncooperative weather and school, my brain has already switched over to Summertime Mode. I crave ice cream every afternoon around 3 and have found myself wanting to head in the direction of the beach when I am supposed to be dropping Hayley off at school. I have resisted the impulse thus far and we are enjoying the last days of first grade. Friday is the highly anticipated First Grade Hat Parade and that will surely be a highlight of this rainy week.
Ace finishes his school year this Thursday. Today was his last Lunch Bunch group while Julia, Lucy, and I met Grandpa at our new breakfast spot for pancakes, sausage, and Julia's people watching session. She loves going places where she can sit and observe people. If you add a blueberry pancake shaped like a mouse, all the better.
This weekend is the party for the end of T-ball and next week our first summer visitors will arrive. Andy's Dad, Mom, and sister will be here for a few weeks. We are all excited to have family visit and are especially looking forward to going fishing with Grandpa R.
So many transitions, endings, and beginnings.
Lucy is cruising around these days with the help of whatever furniture she can reach or improvise a walker out of. We gave her the Sesame Street walker that Julia used but Lucy prefers a laundry basket because it moves faster. She found a bite of doughnut on the floor yesterday and as soon as I made eye contact and she realized I planned to take it from her, she started crawling at top speed towards her laundry basket, pulled up on it, set the treasured doughnut morsel in front of her and hauled diaper butt down the hallway. Pbbfting and laughing at me the whole time. I laughed about it for the rest of the afternoon (but I still didn't let her eat the doughnut.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend roundup

It's early Monday morning and my house smells like Murphy's oil soap and Froot Loops. This combination makes me optimistic about the week.
Sunday was "spring cleaning day". I did some laundry in between chapters of my library book while Andy cleaned the rest of the house, the basement, the backyard, and the van. We are all about equal distribution of responsibilities in this house. The kids of course helped out. A good example of their contribution would be when I told Ace to put his bag of blocks in the playroom or I was going to throw them in the trash, he thought about it for a second and said "Okay, throw them in the trash then."
Anyway, the house is clean and Andy is still asleep on the couch where he passed out last night, perhaps because of inhaling too much oil soap.
Saturday was a big day as well. The base has a big community yard sale once a year and we went there in search of a highchair. We left with a tackle box, a bag of baby clothes, a stuffed loon, a robot, and a bumbo chair. But, of course no highchair. A successful yard sale in my opinion. Who doesn't need a stuffed loon, I ask you?
Later in the day we ventured a full hour away from home in search of bunkbeds. Because, seriously, Julia is done with the crib. We found a simple white wooden set that is pretty and sturdy and not too tall that will be delivered this weekend. I'm hoping that will begin a new era of everyone sleeping in their own beds through the whole night but I'm not betting on it. Friday night there were 5 of us sleeping in our bedroom, Hayley was the only one who stayed in her bed. That meant that when Ace woke up at 6:07am on Saturday morning yelling "I want to go back to the Children's museum" he woke up every member of the family except one.
Besides the 6:07 wake up call, it was a great weekend. And Sunday night was the icing on the cake. After dinner Andy took the 3 biggies downstairs to watch Star Wars on the big tv. Ace has been asking to watch it for at least 2 months so I let him check out the DVD from the library. He immediately called Andy at work and had this conversation "Hi Daddy, I was calling and hoping that you could come watch Star Wars with me. How about it?" So Sunday night was long awaited. Not a S.W fan myself, I opted to stay upstairs with Lucy but when I heard the end title music, I went downstairs to see who was still awake. I found Hayley, snoring away at one end of the couch with Julia sleeping on top of her. Ace and Andy both wide awake on the other end of the couch, still entranced by the screen.

Here is Ace's Review of the movie:

Mom: What happened in Star Wars Ace?
Ace:I don't know. Maybe the boys had their clothes and their pants and their shoes and guns. And the bad guy had the black clothes and the helmet. Can we go to Toys R Us?
Mom: Tell me more about the movie.
Ace: Well, guess what? The two guys were flying of a rocket ship and they were trying to fly to the moon first and they were fast but the rocket ship stopped. The bad guy was trying to win.
Mom: Did he win?
Ace: I think ya.
Mom: The bad guy?
Ace: The girl gave them hug at the end. Darp Bader was crying. Guess what happened to him? Because he wanted to win but he was on a different team. And he didn't win.
Mom: Did you like the movie?
Ace:Yay! Let's watch it again!*

So, there you go, two enthusiastic thumbs up from Ace.

*this is, by far, a more accurate plot summation than I could give of Star Wars and I've watched it at least 3 times with Andy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

* After Ace's Mother's Day performance he asked Andy from the backseat of the van "Hey Daddy, do you think I could be part of the Jonas Brothers?"


*After we watched Andy's softball game last night I took the kids to McD's. Ace was fussing because he wanted coke with his meal and I got him milk. Hayley looks at him and says "Ace, it's called a HAPPY meal. Why don't you think about that for a minute."

*Julia was jumping on the bed and, of course, fell off. She wasn't jumping very high or fast so the fall was pretty slow, she kind of fell on the bed and then slid to the floor. She had time to tell me "Uh-oh, I falling". Once she hit the floor she sat there for a minute and said "Juju jump, Juju fall down. Oh, Juju okay. I jump again?"

*Julia and Ace were playing and I overheard Ace say this from the other room: "Okay Julia, hit me. And then stand very still."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hey Katherine...

"..thanks for the baby"
-Julia

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lucky





10 years ago I was not someone who made big plans for the future. But Someone had a plan for me. Someone looked at me then, a 20 year old who really didn't know what she was doing with this life He had given her, and I think He may have had a good laugh at my low expectations. I still am not someone who makes big plans. I just thank God for the present.
Happy Mother's Day

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Worms and jetpacks...

I am enjoying a rare moment of silence in the house. The 3 bigger kids are off fishing with Andy and Lucy is taking a marathon nap. She is worn out from her morning exersaucing.
Before fishing Andy took the kids to the baitshop for supplies. Ace walked up to the counter and asked if they had any jetpacks. Then he pulled a dime out of his pocket and told the man he had plenty of money for one.
I think after Lucy wakes up we'll go for a walk, she has become a lover of the outdoors. This is somewhat surprising because in her first few months she didn't appreciate any place expect the comfort of our armchair. Now she is happy anywhere in the fresh air as long as the sun isn't in her eyes or the wind isn't blowing her hair out of place.
Pictures coming later, perhaps of some big fish!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photo..Shoot!

On Wednesday, Lucy turned 7 months old. I wanted to capture the day in photographs but unfortunatetly, the camera had gone missing. I found it yesterday in, I kid you not, the crisper drawer in my refrigerator. Who knows how long it's been there. Surprisingly, it was undamaged. I decided to take some pictures today instead. And seeing as we only live 5 minutes from the beach and it was a beautiful sunny evening, I took the kids to the beach after dinner to let them run off the sugar from 2 scoops each of mint chocolate chip ice cream and so I could get some great pictures of Lucy. I forgot, of course, that I don't really have a knack for photography. Here are the results of our photo shoot:



"Mom, are you sure you know what your doing, I feel a little silly with the Pooh ears and all, can we rethink this look?"




Okay, so the idea here was a really adorable sand between baby toes shot. I sprinkled a bit of sand and tried to capture the absolute cuteness of Lucy's little toes. But Lucy has unbelieveably smooth feet and the sand would not stick, no matter how many times I sprinkled it on. And, as I was focusing on the toe situation, this happened...



Lucy grabbed herself a heaping handful of sand. This is the after shot. After she opened her mouth and inserted the handful of sand. It all went down hill from there.

So, here they are, the 7 month pictures. A few days late, an little out of focus, and a little gritty. But, still precious. Because she's our Lucy, and she makes any day feel like a sunny, cool day at the beach.