Monday, October 29, 2012

Windy days

We are home today, riding out the superstorm in our pajamas. I slept as late as I possibly could while still remaining a responsible parent, threw on my robe and joined the kids on the couch for a movie. The storm isn't too intense here, a few gusts of wind and constant, steady rain. Now I have a few minutes with nothing that needs doing so I can finally get back to this blog, at least for a moment.
 Lucy is four. The last traces of baby-ness have slipped away and she is spending less time sitting on my hip as I carry her along beside her brother and sisters. Now she leaps forward to keep up with them and I sometimes am left behind to watch them run. Which isn't a bad thing, I think it just, once again, has caught me by surprise. How fast this all happens.
She talks to me all the time, non stop as we drive to school/work in the morning (which we do together. I teach either in her classroom or right down the hall while she goes to her "big girl" preschool). Then we get to school and she is suddenly quiet and intimidated by so many faces. She takes so much in but she struggles to keep up. The other kids in the class are mostly older and they are doing a lot of kindergarten prep stuff that she isn't quite ready for. But she is happy and making friends. And when we get back to the car at the end of the morning she is full of words just waiting to spill out for me.
We go home and wait for the rest of the kids and we nap and watch quiet tv while we wait for the bus. They we are all up and running again, playing outside for the afternoon, doing homework together, getting ready for scouts or other activities. Our evenings don't seem as rushed as they have in past years because I am not juggling everything alone. The big kids handle thier own showers and baths, the little ones pick out thier own pjs and then we meet on the couch for books. We don't watch any tv after dinner anymore which has made our house a lot calmer in that last hour before bedtime.
Our weekdays are fairly routine and I'm sure seem so boring when I write it all out. There is so much happening though, so many moments, big and small. Hayley was elected vice president of the fifth grade, Julia is learning to read and dealing with the huge world of grade school. Ace is obsessed with football and video games and sometimes closes his door when he dresses up like a firefighter and plays in a big cardboard box because he's not sure if that is cool when you are almost 8. Lucy writes her name (everywhere, and sometimes in a Sharpie). The moments are moving so fast and I feel like I am standing in the middle of it, trying to catch them and slow them down long enough to seal them up tightly in memory. It feels about as easy as trying to catch a handful of this wind.
So, instead I'm just going to go sit and watch another movie or play another board game and enjoy this moment where we are all together, safe from the storm.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The present

I keep waiting and waiting for the desire to blog to strike but it just isn't happening. I don't know what is to blame. The kids are as funny and entertaining as ever and I still have a desire to capture many moments to preserve in pictures or writing but something is missing. Maybe it is just that I have waited so long and feel like there is too much to sum up in a blog post and too many subjects that I completely skipped (Hayley's 10th! birthday for example) that picking up where I left off is impossible. Instead I'll do the next best thing, a fresh start. And hope that my precious memories from Spring 2012 don't fade because they weren't blogged (trust me, they won't). So, here is where we are now:

Lucy thinks winking is the coolest

Lucy: Finished her first year of preschool. She LOVED her teachers this year and jumped out of my arms into her teacher's arms after the end of year party and refused to leave. Adding 2 amazing teachers to her list of "dinosaur mamas" (the name she gives to women that she not-so-secretly would like to be her mom) is fine with me.

Julia: Graduated from preschool. Julia has changed so much from when she started preschool. That year I was terrified to send her to school because she was so nervous around anything unfamiliar. She would tremble and shake when faced with a social situation and I thought preschool would be too much for her. But, as she does, Julia proved that I worry too much and loved preschool. She made a friend and the were inseparable until we had to move. Again, Julia surprised me by how well she transitioned to a new place and a new school and she loved Ms. Ann and her preschool class this year. She made friends and as the last day of school approached she started crying at night because she was so sad it was over. It broke my heart and made me realize how much we have asked of Julia. So many changes in such a short time and I know she has been more scared and nervous than she shows. I know she is ready for kindergarten but part of me wishes we had more time to move more slowly through all these changes. For her sake AND mine.
Ace was showing off some dance moves and this happened. He was just excited that he face looked so huge in my picture.

Ace: 5 days away from finishing 1st grade. I am stressing to Ace that this is the summer of self control. He is starting to go off the rails a bit as the last week of school starts and I am hoping we can make it through a summer without daily tantrums from him. He is still learning how to keep his behavior in check when he is excited or frustrated or bored and it can drive me up the walls! But he is has such a kindness and vulnerability that it is difficult to stay mad. For at least a few minutes every day he is pure sweetness and it "bursts my heart" (a quote from his Mother's day card to me). Also, it can be difficult to follow through with consequences for his behavior when I see how genuinely bad he feels about losing control. That is something I have to work on before the summer so we don't spend the whole time yelling at each other like crazy people.

Hayley: One week away from the end of 4th grade. Did I mention this girl is 10 now? That completely floors me. I wake up in a sweat when I realize that the summers of her childhood are flying by us at such a pace and it makes me want to savor this one more than ever. I hope she isn't noticing that some of her friends are doing sleep away camps and trips away from their parents because I don't want to answer why she is not. Because I selfishly don't want to miss a week or two weeks or even a weekend of this time together. There just isn't enough of it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lucy and Hayley

Lucy seems to be 100 percent recovered from her eye injury and has even stopped using it to guilt us all to bow down to her supreme power. Although the other day she bumped her head on the wall and got a big goose egg and when I told her I was sorry that happened she said "You didn't do it this time. You scratched my eye, memember?" The incident may be forgiven but not forgotten. She is one hundred percent potty trained, even at night. She loves to announce this to everyone. Her aunt, her teacher, the cashier at the grocery store all have to applaud her when she announces at full volume "I am in the potty club! I pee all the times!"
Being 3 and a half is hard work!

Hayley and I are both struggling again with finding our balance. I am constantly pulling her to slow down, stop trying to grow up so fast and keep up with all of her friends and she is pulling away, determined to go her own way, even if she is unsure which way that she wants to go. She reminds me so much of myself at 13 or 14, even though she is only (almost) 10. She wants to find a way to fit in with everyone that I am afraid she will lose a sense of who she is. But every time I think I can't take one more eye roll or fresh remark from her, she does something like this
Yes, she's smarter than me, we knew this long ago.

And reminds me what I love so much about her. Her creative, sweet, and kind spirit. And I remember that this is all part of growing up and I try to pull a little less and worry a little less and listen a little more.
And I also remember that she is my oldest, which means that I have to go through all of this four more times. And then I need to take a little nap.

Coming up: What is up with these yahoos?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I waited a few days to post this story because I didn't want to read it again. I almost deleted it.  But I want to remember it so here it is. Lucy's eye is all better now and she has decided that now is the time to cash in on my guilt. She has replaced the word "Please" with the word "Now" and yesterday told Andy and I that we were not allowed to enter the kitchen when she was eating or playing or using the table. She is a diva. And I love her......
February 28:
Today was so busy and I was so rushed. We were late with 3 errands to run and a basketball game to attend that I didn't know about until the last minute. I was cranky and impatient and oh so tired.

In the parking lot after our second errand Lucy turned her head right as I reached down to pick her up and I accidentally poked her eye. If I had been moving slower and paying attention, it probably wouldn't have happened. There wasn't any big reason for my rush, it was a silly errand that easily could have waited until tomorrow.

She seemed okay until after bath, when we noticed she was closing her eye even more and it looked really irritated. I took her the the ER, hoping they would say nothing had happened and she was fine.

She has a big scratch right on her eyeball. It is painful (though it heals fast) and there is not much we can do to make her feel better. She was so freaked out by the goop they had to put in her eye that they had to hold her down to get the drops in.

It was all my fault. All I was thinking of was how much I had to do. Even though it was an accident,  I caused Lucy that pain, and if I had just been more patient, slower to get angry and rushed, it probably wouldn't have happened.

We sat on the hospital bed and read her penguin book:

"These things are big and long and deep,
and strong and high and far and steep....
and I am small.
But you are big and you are kind.
When I'm with you I do not mind."**

Lucy looks up at me

"You are big, Mommy.
And I am small."

"Yep, Lucy, you are small and I am big."

"And when I'm with you you are kind to me, Mommy."

"You are kind to me, Lucy."

"Yep, we are big and small and kind."

She didn't get stay mad at me for poking her eye. She didn't even let it ruin her day. She forgave me, she called me kind, she moved on. She was excited to have me all to herself in the ER room. They gave us our own little room and she kept saying "We is all alone, this is our room just for me and you." She just enjoyed the moment.

I have so much to learn from Lucy.

**From her book titled I Am Small (I can't find the name of the author, sorry)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


You are  7, can you believe it? You did so much as a 6 year old, I can't begin to remember it all, but here are some of the biggest moments:
This year you moved from Cape Cod all the way down to North Carolina. I know you were sad to leave your friends and a little scared about what life would be like in a new town with a new school and new house. You were so brave and you looked for the good in the situation and were a comfort to Julia and Lucy. You walked into your new school with so much confidence and excitement, I think everyone in the room knew they wanted to get to know you, the cool new kid! I got so many messages from your friends back in Cape Cod and they remember that tomorrow is your birthday! They love you so much that they still think about you all the time, even though you have moved many miles away.
You started first grade and you learned to read. Your teachers are so impressed with your sweet personality. I think you spend more time at school enjoying your time with your friends than focusing on learning but you do your best and you are learning so much. You are an excellent reader and I love listening to you read every night. I love that you are reading Warriors so you can keep up with your big sister but remember to choose "just right" books like Grandma taught you so you don't get too frustrated.
You had your first sleepover this year with your new friend. You camped out in his living room, played games and watched movies. I was afraid you might miss us and maybe you did, but you were happy to be with your friends. We sure missed you!
You made a lot of new friends at school and in the neighborhood.
You went to the aquarium and spent the night there with Daddy and your Cub Scout troop. That was one of the highlights of your year.
At New Year's you told us your favorite part of the year was becoming a bobcat in scouts. You have done so well as a boyscout, you are learning so much responsibility.
You wake up everyday excited about what excitement the day holds. Sometimes you get upset because some days just don't measure up to your expectations of greatness. I wish I could make everyday as awesome as you expect it to be but I'm also proud that you are learning to find the awesome in the ordinary. You are teaching me to see it too.
You want to do a lot when you are seven. You want Daddy to get you a dirtbike so you can go with him to the dirtbike track. You want to go back to Cape Cod to visit your friends. You want to go to Busch Gardens, and you would LOVE to go to Florida. You want to go bass fishing and try and catch a bass with a tag on it so you can get five dollars and a tee shirt.
I am not sure if we will do every single thing on your list but I hope we do a lot. I can't wait for more adventures with you!
I love you, Baby Ace, you make everyone of my days awesome.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sorry to say it but January was pretty much a dud as far as months go. I slept too much, exercised not much at all, ate very very much, and did nothing of great importance. I'm going to go right ahead and blame January instead of taking any responsibilty for my actions because, well, this is my blog and I can do what I want. *snap, snap, snap for added sassiness*
A few good things were sprinkled into the mix. I did start a walking routine with some friends. I think we burnt more calories laughing than walking and there was the day that I convinced everyone to go "just one more time around" only to get us caught in a huge rainstorm. But it was fun.
Hayley cheered in her first basketball game, she was surprisingly good. I was surprised because I have never in all the 10 years I've known him see Andy even attempt a dance move and I dance often and enthusiastically but not well at all. So I was a little taken aback to see that our eldest has some smooth moves. But then again, I am often surprised by how great my kids are, it is one of the joys of my life.
And of course, there was JuJu's birthday which was terrific. And a girls' night out with some friends.
(as a sidenote I hate the term "Girls' night out". It is so cheesy and I feel like a dork anytime I use it but I can't think of a better term). And we went to a Tarheel basketball game. That was awesome.
Okay, so maybe January wasn't such a dud. But I'm still not sorry to see it end. I'm ready to start fresh in February.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Because I am chronically late for everything, I waited till a week into the year before deciding what my resolutions are. I don't really have many but the ones I have are important to me so here they are:
**By the way, I'm sorry that my return to blogging has startedwith a bunch of lists that are not important to anyone but me. I'm rethinking what I'll blog about since Ace and Hayley are getting older. My main purpose in keeping a blog is so at some point the kids can go back and read it and now that they are older I feel like they should be the ones to decide what stories to tell. I'm trying to work out a way to still share my memories and moments without stealing theirs, if that makes sense. So, for now, my writing is pretty blah. Sorry.

1. Travel. I want to see at least 3 new places this year or revisit old places that the kids haven't seen or don't remember. (Washington DC and Savannah are the top of my list). Since Andy is focusing more on home improvement projects, this may be tricky but I'm determined to make it happen. It may include some camping which is so out of my comfort zone.

2. Embrace my homebody-ness. Besides the traveling, I'd like to stop wasting my time on errands and pointless activities just to fill time and instead, enjoy time at home. It is the last year that Julia will be home most days with me and I don't want to spend it shuttling her to the the grocery store three times a week. I've found that my favorite moments with the kids are the unscheduled times. Like doing a puzzle with Ace, watching the girls create a city with their figurines, reading with Hayley on one side of the couch and me on the other. I love those times and want more of them.

3. Grow our own vegetables. More Andy's goal than mine, we are trying our hand at gardening and hoping that it leads to healthier eating. I'll update that in the Spring.

4. Give Hayley more respect/responsiblity. She will be 10 in March and she is capable of so much, sometimes I feel like I hold her back by my parenting (smothering?) style.  For example, if I'm going to bug her about getting dressed on time, I need to respect her enough to let her pick out her own outfits. Some things I'm still on the fence about whether she is ready. Fixing her own snacks in the microwave? Choosing her own bedtime? Walking the dog?  I feel like I missed the chart where it tells you when it's time to let go and let your kids do these things. I tend to "baby" my kids a wee bit (I did spoon feed Julia her soup for a half hour yesterday which may have been bit extreme even for me) and I know Hayley is responsible and mature so, I've got to let go at least a little.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Before I throw out last year's calender, here are some memorable times from 2011 (note that I didn't actually buy a calender until mid February so I may be forgetting some from January and early Feb, that's what I get for procrastinating)
January: Julia turns 4, we take her out to the movies and her favorite resturaunt to celebrate. Ace starts Ice skating lessons, Hayley starts basketball.

February: Ace turns 6, we go to Friendly's for dinner and he later has a small party with his buddies.

March: Andy turns 39, Hayley marches in the St. Patrick's day parade, we celebrate her 9th birthday a week early with a trip to Boston to go the the American girl doll store and the cheesecake factory. We spend a week in E. City, househunting. Our first offer on a house is turned down but our second is accepted and we begin the process of buying our second home. Hayley has another small party to celebrate her birthday.

April: Hayley is in the robotics club at school, she "graduates" to being a Junior girl scout, Ace performs in the ice skating "Night of a Thousand Stars"

May: My last Mother's day tea at Julia (previously Ace's) preschool, we start to prepare for our move and finalize our house.

June: My mom, dad, Julia, and I travel to upstate NY for a wedding, we close on our house, Ace finishes kindergarten, Hayley graduates from 3rd grade (her previous school was k-3). We say goodbye to dear friends over dinner at our favorite pizza place, pack up our essentials, our family of 6 and 2 dogs and head down south to our new home.

July: We move into our new home, celebrate the fourth of July with a trip to the Outer Banks, I turn 33, we buy a small pool and spend the rest of the month in it to adjust to the heat. My sister visits and we get to meet my nephew for the first time, the kids and I spend a week at my parents house.

August: More adjusting to our new home, Andy starts his new job, my sister and niece visit and we go to the beach again, Hayley starts 4th grade, Ace starts 1st.

September: Julia and Lucy start preschool, Lucy turns 3 and we have a party with lots of new friends and (not new) family.

October: Julia goes on her first field trip to a fire safety show, we go to the pumpkin patch with their preschool, Ace stays overnight at an aquarium with his Cub scout troop, we go to the state fair with my sister, niece, and parents. We go trick or treating in our neighborhood with friends.

November: Hayley, Julia, and I go see a local theater group perform "Annie", We go to my parents' house for Thanksgiving and while there, we go to my 15 year high school reunion, my Aunt and uncle visit.

December: Ace is in the Christmas parade on a float with the boyscouts, Julia and Lucy are in a Christmas program at preschool, Hayley is in a concert at her school, Ace gets his bobcat badge at Cubscouts, my parents visit to see the concerts and boy scout ceremony. My sister and niece visit for Christmas, we throw a Christmas Eve open house, my parents come for Christmas dinner. We have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Julia is FIVE today. She is excited because five year olds take showers, not baths. Five year olds ride in the backseat of the van. Five year olds use phrases like "Seriously, guys?" and "Okay, okay, this is getting crazy".
Five year olds even, ready for this? KINDERGARTEN!
She is excited about presents, she keeps asking me if there are any wuggle pets in the wrapped packages by the couch. I say I don't know, we'll have to wait and see and be surprised. She says let's open them now and be surprised now. But we are patient because five year olds and their mommies are well known for their patience.
I catch her eyes and she curls up next to me in the morning (because one thing five year olds do not do quite yet is sleep all night in their own beds) and I remember one morning when she had a stomach bug. I was very pregnant with Lucy and I knew this would be one of the last mornings that Julia would be my smallest baby so, even though I was sad to see her sick, I was savoring this moment of cuddling her close and rocking her. I felt that way again this morning. I know soon she will be sleeping all night in her bed and we won't have that many more mornings of cuddling up while Lucy sleeps and the big kids are already in school. Soon she will be at school too. But this morning, I got a few precious minutes.
She still has never had a big big birthday party. I thought about it this year but at our Christmas Eve party I watched her sit at the snack table, a little nervous and overwhelmed by all the people. And on New Years at a friend's house she sat on the couch with her other quiet, introvert friend and they put on headphones and watched the DS together, silently but happily. I thought, no, not this year. I want to honor who she is and acknowledge what makes her comfortable and what does not. I want to make her happy. So we had a family party, with a pink cake made by my mom. Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sara, and cousin Naomi were our guests. It was a perfect day.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Julia. I love you just as you are and I always will.