Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

It was a tough transition last night, all of the kids were definitely excited and behavior was off. Ultimately Logan, Addison and Matthew went to bed crying. Riley ended up crying because Matthew was so loud he couldn't sleep. I ended up eating a hershey bar (and I haven't done that in a long time) because of the stress. Then, I put the presents out, wrapped the last couple and filled the stockings. I was in bed by 12:30 and only had 2 people in my bed this morning when I woke up.
...Speaking of waking up...Riley did - at 7:30! - I think a personal late record for him! He came into my room and laid next to me and said,..."know what?...Santa came!" I asked him how he knew and he said...cuz I saw that the cookies were gone. "I asked him to write a note back to me on the cookie note so I want to see if he did" - (score one for the tired Santa cuz I had - at the last minute written a note on the back of the cookie note! - there was no sign of asking for it but I thought it would be cute so, whew!)

...I got up and made them wait till I got dressed before they went downstairs and then, there was a mad dash down the stairs to the living room where the tree and presents were. By the time I got there, the packages were separated into piles and they were waiting patiently for me. ...It took all of about 5 minutes but mostly there was squeals of happiness and excitement. all of the packaging (and you know how hard that is) was undone by about 1 hour after we were up and they were happily playing with new toys...the first broken toy occured at 9:30 and there was some consternation (and squabbling) but again Santa scored by (accidentally) choosing two radio control cars with the same frequency! - so the one whose antenna broke could use his brothers control panel to run his car!!!

...Wendy and Pat arrived around 1:00 just as I was getting the girls down for a nap. And I started finishing the cooking. Dinner (and the girls) were ready by 3:00 and we opened presents from Pat and Wendy...and (score again) the boys got another radio control car and guess what? the one whose first control panel was broken got the one that has the same frequency as his first car! now he can use both cars at the same time?!

...We all sat down to dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, mixed vegetables, and these "to die for" pumpkin dinner rolls that I made. Boy I ate about 4 of them and I am stuffed!! The ham was the moistest one I have ever eaten.

...all of the kids ate (first miracle), talked about what was great about their Christmas in turns (second miracle) and thoroughly enjoyed themselves( and so did I).

Merry Christmas to All...I hope your day was good too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ready, set, go...

...went to the car repair place and finally found someone who understood why I didn't want to leave the Tahoe...I will have it repaired the week we get back...then the Pathfinder will be big enough! we did some last minute end of the year stuff...delivered 5 more bags of clothes we've outgrown to Goodwill...went to the Library to get some new DVD's and books on CD for the trip...went to Dollar Tree for the kids to buy presents for each other. It was a disaster but I think we have everything... we are doing quiet time and naps and I'll decide if we are going to try to go to Walmart to return a tablecloth I bought there which doesn't fit my table (cause I am mathematically challenged!)...

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last minute details...

I decided to take today off to complete some last minute details for Christmas.

It all started out well enough...drop kids off at daycare...stop at WaWa and pick up a free coffee (with a coupon that was due to expire on 12/31/08) to Dominion Chevrolet to drop off Tahoe to get speedometer repaired and the 2nd seat seat belt latches replaced since they have been broken for a couple of months... is where the trouble started...waited over an hour for the courtesy van to get back from its first run to drive me home...called Pediatrician and begged to get Matt's meds refilled even though I didn't give 2 day notice...went upstairs and went through all of the presents I've bought ...answer cell's Dominion Chevrolet - did I forget my pocketbook in the courtesy van?...curse!...they will drop it off on the way back from their next drop off...wrapped all of the presents...determined what I still needed to buy and made a list of places I needed to go to...walked outside to the minivan to do some was out of gas!...curse!...curse again...answer cell...Tahoe is done...Good! can they send the van to pick me up?...40 minutes later get back to Dominion and pick up Tahoe and head to a few things...go out to lunch with Debra...get call from Ped office - Rxs are written and I can pick up...head out after lunch to Ped office and pick up Rx's...head back down Broad St and stop at CVS along way cuz I didn't get all I needed...

...get into a fender bender in parking lot leaving...curse!...curse again!! to insurance agency to report it...they want me to bring it tomorrow to be repaired...need it for trip to Disney...promise me they will give me a comparable car to rent (first $600 is on the insurance company)...head to last minute gifts and 2 gallons of to insurance investigator...he also assures me I will get a comparable car (but will it fit the trailer?!!)...

...go to Walgreen's and drop off prescription...go home and read email and order pizza for dinner...go back to Walgreens and pick up prescriptions...pick up Pizza...pick up kids at pizza in Family room in front of television.

I'm tired...anyone else?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Blessings

It has been a rough couple of weeks, but I think I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (and am hoping it isn't a TRAIN!)...I do feel blessed this Christmas season despite this and want to take the time to make sure that I comment on them.

First, my Matthew. He has taught me so much about unconditional love and facing adversity. He has grown up a lot in the last year and though he still makes a lot of impulsive, poor choices - I definitely can hear him - on occasion - at least saying the right things. He is a sweet older brother who gets along great with his youngest sister and loves to make her laugh.

Next, there is Riley. I can't believe how much he has struggled and how far he has come this year. He definitely continues to be my sensitive one as evidenced by his struggles with back-to-school and his behavior at times. He worries alot about how people see him and wants to be good. He has become so helpful around the house - last week cleaning his bedroom and "labelling" his drawers for his clothes. This morning he got up with the two girls and played with them for 15 minutes and then took his youngest sister to the potty and got them both dressed for the day. I laid in bed smiling the whole time imagining him as a teenager and hoping that he remains so helpful and wonderful.

Logan continues to be the princess of the family though she is showing signs of an impending Barbie obsession (oh no!). She is silly and mischievious and sweet and outgoing...everything that I am not. I am told almost on a daily basis that she is the life of the party at her daycare class. And even at 3y11m I know that we are in for a lot of "girl drama" as she gets to be a tween. She has the most amazing imagination and tells me stories of her and her frineds every day...of course I don't know which to believe and which to not but that is part of her charm.

Addison has become a Lavoie in record time. She is feisty with a dramatic flair and has more melodrama than the other 3 combined - any booboo is met with tears and screams - that disappear with one word..."fine"...I are fine...she says "fine?" and I say are fine and she is off. She loves music and dancing and being the baby of the family. She is sweet and loves kisses and hugs and taking her shoes off in the car. She also has a mind of her own that gets her into trouble but has a great way of saying "I'm sorry" and you know she means it.

I also am blessed by a career that I continue to love and feel privileged to have. I am blessed to have a wonderful extended family who I don't get to see enough and friends who are there when I need support. I am blessed with good health and the good health of my children, to live in a country where we are free and have amazing plentitude.

Merry Christmas to all who know me and I hope your next year will be full of blessings and wonder.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Buncha stuff going on here...

Not much time (and too emotionally raw) to write about it. But thought I could share some of the pictures we took the other day. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

trip from...

...well, you know where...
We arrived home at 2:30 pm, nearly 23 hours after we left Denise's house on Sunday. I should have known it was going to be bad when at noon it started hailing in MA as we left for a trip to the mall to see if the kids could run off some of their energy. We actually entered the mall right next to the Santa display and there was one family on his lap so we slipped right in. Matthew asked for a WALL*E toy, Logan - a princess computer, Addison - nothing in particular and Riley asked for a Go-Kart (to which Santa - bless him - said he would think about it!). Addison was not scared in the least and I actually thought she did great.
So, we started out at around 4PM. It was dark and raining pretty hard. First thing I did wrong was\ go the wrong way on the first interstate which took us about 12 miles out of our way. When we finally were appropriately headed South we started going. We made pretty good time considering it was pouring rain until we got into Connecticut. At this point, we started hitting random 10 mile sections of complete gridlock. I had this goal of getting to the NJ Turnpike but the kids started getting anxious and even Matthew started bugging me about eating dinner. Finally around 7 pm we got into NY and we stopped at the first rest area. IT WAS PACKED. The kids were crazy and were trying to run around and (did I mention) it was pouring rain. Okay, the lines for food were like 75 people deep at each of the restaurants so I elected not to eat. There was a lot of grumbling but we got back into the car. So, we continued like that with these random 10-15 mile back ups and then open road through the George Washington Bridge to the NJ Tpk. By now it was really dark and there are few lights and my eyes were dry and tired. We got to around the Newark Airport and I decided to try and stop for the night. I could see about 10 hotels ...but could I get to them? No way...we were driving around random clover leafs and finally I took a wrong turn that was taking me back to NY City and I got off ...oops onto another semi-highway and there was no way to turn around and finally I got off of that and was traveling in this (how shall I say this) less than affluent area of Newark (and I was scared!) for about 45 minutes until I happened to get back onto the semi-highway going south and almost got turned around again but finally found my way back to the NJ Tpk. Now I wasn't going to stop for a while and we went about 1/2 down the Tpk and I got off and we got to a hotel around 10:30. By this time the kids were starving...including Matthew who was very cute but could definitely see that there was no McD's at this hotel. I reached out into the back and grabbed the first bag in the bread that my brother Steve gave me (shout out - you saved the day!!!) and grabbed a bag of bagels. Matthew saw them and said the famous words..."Are those bagels...I want a bagel!!!" (for those of you who know him, know that a bagel is like poison to his mouth! a texture he just doesn't do! so for him to want it was a testimony to how hungry he really was!) a bonus they had apples at the front desk and I took 5 of them and he ate one of those too...and she gave the kids pretzels and he ate two small bags of them too!
Day 2 dawned at around 6:30 for the family and we were up and in the restaurant (with Matthew leading the cry for food!)...and out on the road by 8 am. We made pretty good time in NJ but Delaware, MD and Virginia were all randomly stop-and-go. As we got toward Richmond, we saw some black clouds (and a rainbow!) and I just knew that it would rain on me as I was unpacking and wouldn't you know, we got a huge downpour as we were trying to clean out the stuff out of the seats.
So, all-in-all, it was a good trip, but it will be a long time before I attempt to drive it again.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Part 1 of trip down...

We left right on time at 2:00 am on Wednesday. We had gotten everything packed and all of the kids and I went to bed around 9:00 pm. I was getting my coffee and the last few things together and went out to start and warm up the truck.
I turned around and the au pair cam walking into the house through the open garage door! Okay, a little annoying...I was hoping that she would help me to stay awake but since she was walking in the door at 1:45, that idea went away.
We got the kids into the car and I started driving. I filled up the gas tank down the street for $1.66 a gallon (have I said that I LOVE these gas prices!)...
Sometime around the time I was merging from 295 onto 95 N, I looked down and noticed that my speedometer read 55 and the speed limit was 65 so I sped up. After a few minutes, the car was really loud and I was trying to get my speed up and...that was when I realized that my speedometer was STUCK on 55...I pulled off the highway and it stayed at 55! So, now I had the majority of the trip to travel without knowing how fast or slow I was going. For the next 3.5 hours, I travelled at 55 and passed many many people. We stopped for breakfast on the NJ Turnpike and when I got back on the road, the needle went to 130 mph and varied between 50 and 130 depending on my speed the last 3 hours.
Despite (or because of) the broken speedometer I arrived at Jean's house at 9:00 (with a stop at Dunkin Donuts).
Wednesday was a slow day. I took the 4 boys bowling at the local lanes and after we checked into the hotel, we had lasagna and came home to sleep. Today we woke up at around 7 am and go to Jean's around 9 am. We ate Jean's "famous" French Toast and Riley, Addison and I went outside and played. After a great Thanksgiving dinner, we came back to the hotel and the kids went to the hotel pool. After the pool, we went back to Jean's for dessert. Now we are lying in the beds, watching Zack and Cody and getting ready for bed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The car is (mostly) packed.

The kids are settling down.

The au pair is out on a date.

And I am trying to psych myself up for this trip.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally looking forward to Thanksgiving (with the exception of the drive from LI to MA on Friday...and the drive from MA to VA on Sunday). I love spending time with my sister Jean who I think is the coolest (and calmest) mom going. She gives me strength and we haven't seen her since May looking forward to it. I wish that I could spend the entire time at her house...aside from the driving it just is more stressful for me to go visit the entire family.
But, Logan is really on a "grandpa" kick. It started about 2 months ago or so...she just randomly started asking when we were going to visit her grandpa...then, everytime she was sad, she would cry and say..."I miss my grandpa" and lately, everytime she doesn't get her way or something doesn't go her way she says..."My grandpa would get that for me (or let me do that!)".
Now, for those of you who know my father (and clearly Logan doesn't), he isn't (usually) the warm-and-fuzzy-bake-cookies-with-you type. Logan hasn't seen him since 2 summers ago when we spent a week with him (kind of) in Maine (well, maybe a lunch sometime in between that and now).

So, she has been really looking forward to this trip and I am going to do it so that I can get some pictures of her and him for the future. It is so sweet and I hope I can get her some

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting ready for the holiday...

Well, we have had a busy day. I went to bed last night with a headache at around 9:00 pm and woke up at 1:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. Finally I fell back to sleep around 3:00 am and still had my headache when I got up at 6:30. After breakfast, I brought the kids to River City and then made a little detour to pick up the food that I ordered through this program called Angel Food Ministry. This is the second month I have used this program.
After the girls went down for their nap I was able to re-hang all of the kitchen cabinet doors. The kitchen looks great...even if I do say so myself!...I just have to do two more doors and a couple of drawer fronts and it is DONE...finito...over!
This afternoon, I finished culling through my closet for shoes and we went to donate them on our way to the local gas station. $3.25 (at $0.75 each 4 minutes) later worth of vacuuming and the truck is empty and ready for our trip to Long Island and Massachusetts! Tomorrow we will put the trailer on the truck and get everything ready to be loaded Tuesday afternoon so we can leave around 1:00 am Wednesday morning.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You forgot to remind me...

..." forgot to remind me to put on a long-sleeved shirt this morning...umm...can you ask your boss if you can come home and bring me one to school?"...



Yup, that's me...mother-of-the-year...who forgets to tell her son to wear a sleeved (never mind a long-sleeved) shirt on a day when the morning temp is below freezing...also, I fought with him when he wanted to wear a coat and told him that he just needed to wear a sweatshirt!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lazy Saturday...

I was hoping to have one of these and so far it is...the kids woke up pretty early but I was able to stay in bed until around 7. After showering (with Addison screaming outside the door totally pissed bc I wouldn't let her in)...we got dressed and ate breakfast. After a little cleaning and re-cleaning up the toys, we all got in the car and went to River City for gymnastics and dance class. I was running on empty and so I filled up the car for $42 ...over 23 gallons at $1.789!!!! (have to say I am loving these low gas prices and really dreading when they go back up).
There was actually very little fighting and bickering at River City (Addison got a little feisty at the end of the two hours) and we came home and I made lunch and then set up Nastia's computer in her room.
She had been using mine, but wants to be able to instant message at 4 am cuz that is the time her parents are up...because of the time zone. I decided to give her one of the two that I had bought for the boys. But, I haven't had the $ to buy a replacement wireless receiver (since the boys had broken both of theirs) last week while we were looking for her camera, I picked one up (which was only $39.99 - compared to the $60 ea I had spent on the other two)...any how, it is up and working so hopefully that will help with her happiness and with me keeping people out of my room.
Now, the girls are in bed, the boys are watching disney channel and I am about to take a little nap. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making your home a haven - Inviting and giving - Day 5

...Day 5 of the Making your home a haven is inviting and giving. I was struggling trying to think of what to do for this part of the challenge yesterday but events of the night have taken that struggle away...

My oldest son came into my bed in the night and was moaning in his sleep. Finally, he snuggled up to me and said those fateful words "I think I have to throw up!"

The rest of the night consisted of washing sheets and blankets (he had already thrown up)...rubbing his stomach and head...and worrying about when the rest of them would get it! I had planned on going out to dinner with Wendy and Pat (our surrogate Grandmother and aunt) but that will be cancelled for a quiet family night. Hopefully we can get some sleep tonight and will feel better tomorrow cuz it looks like it will rain all weekend and having 4 kids in various stages of stomach sickness stuck in a house because of the rain might just send me completely over the deep end.

So, I'll leave you with a quote that I love...

You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.- Winston Churchill

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making your home a haven - FUN (Day 4)

"We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun"
- William Glasser

So, today the challenge is to add some fun to our house. Isn't it so true that relationships within our families and houses are what make our homes havens? Against the outside? I have already had a morning where my plans have changed several times so I hope to - most of all - be flexible and try and insert fun wherever I can.

I went to bed last night after telling Riley that I couldn't drive him to school after all. Last weekend I had told him that I would drive him on Tuesdays and Thursdays - if he wanted. Well, when I realized that I needed to come in to work for a 7:30 am meeting and then be home by 9:00 am for my post-placement social work visit, I realized that I needed to leave the house at 7 (and I can't drop the boys off before 7:20)...He was mad and accused me of "lying"...ugh.
After dinner, I was tired so ended up going to bed at 9:30 or so and really fell asleep. I was awakened twice during the night by the girls coming into my room but must have fallen back asleep quickly because when I woke this morning (at 4:50 am), I felt more rested than I have in several weeks. As I lay there thinking about the day, I decided that the stress of trying to get to my work and back was too much for me and made the decision that I couldn't make the 7:30 meeting. Woke the boys and Logan at around 6 and started getting breakfast ready. I got to tell Riley that I had changed my mind and that I would drive him to school (and we can stop at the Library on the way to return the books! This is the start of FUN cuz he loves to put the books into the automatic feeder while sitting in my lap in the drivers seat!).
While we were getting ready to leave, I got a call from my SW who said that she was feeling ill and couldn't come this morning (ugh, this makes the 3rd time she has changed this visit!)
but, the deed was done, I was missing the meeting and off we went.

Here is the rest of my list for today:
  1. Get to work and complete a couple of projects that I need to do (make hotel reservations for our trip up north over T'giving and email a patient list to my colleagues who are doing clinic with me this afternoon)
  2. Blog (oh yeah, that is fun!) - and keeps me from working!
  3. Do my afternoon clinic
  4. Since I only have 2 patients this afternoon, hopefully I will finish early and if it isn't raining too much, I will ask my colleagues to join me in a cup of coffee at Starbucks across the street from the clinic space in the Mall (fun for the mommy who never gets out with her friends)
  5. Go home and feed the kids dinner. Eggs and garlic toast with fruit.
  6. Make cookies with the kids (and let them eat one before bed!)

Check out how others are putting "fun" into their days today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Okay, this is addictive...and scary...and hilarious...and another one of those crazy things that are on the internet...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Make your home a haven - CARED FOR (Day 3)

First, here is my quote for the day...

"You are willing to go anywhere, but are you willing to stay where you are?"

I plan on reflecting on this today with the idea of caring for myself will ultimately help me to care for my family and those around me and I tend to be the type of person who has to be moving, not exactly "ADD-like" but as if I am so important that if I am not doing 3 things at once I will be not working.

Today I woke up at 5:30 and was able to get myself ready and go choose clothes for the kids before anyone (including Riley) awoke. This was such a blessing and allowed me to be much more relaxed as I woke each of them up with a little song about what they were going to be doing today. This was (relatively) easy since they were all sleeping in my bed (had arrived at various times during the night).

The plan for today is very busy and so I am going to care for myself in that I am going to just try and take one thing at a time and remain calm.

1) Up and eat breakfast and get the boys ready for school and the girls ready for pre-school
2) Make and pack lunches for the boys (calzones I had made a couple days ago)
3) Today I allowed them to watch a video for "exactly" 5 minutes because we had made such good time getting ready. It worked to help Matthew out the door when the bus arrived...not so much with Riley who wanted to dawdle over putting on his sweatshirt (vs wearing a T-shirt in 30 degree weather)!
4) At work today, we are interviewing again and I will try and arrive early to meet with the applicants and mingle (something I am not good at) and then interview several of them later in the morning.
5) After the interviews, I will go home and pick up Nastia to bring her to the European Deli in town. She is missing (I think) Russian food and can pick up some of the supplies. I hope by caring for her, my kids will reap the benefits of her presence in our home This was successful though I got there a little late, we were both able to get some food shopping in and back to the house 15 minutes before the bus arrived. What good timing because I had just enough time to take the bread out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter to rise and to put the food away.
6) After this, I will be home for the boys to get off the bus. We have an appointment for the 4 kids to go get the flu shot today. (I have offered to pay for Nastia to get one too since I think it will make me less anxious if she doesn't get sick this winter either). It was nice to be home for the boys. They both ran and gave me a big hug. I think they miss their mom being there when they get home ...that ol' working guilt...but what choice do I have?...I am going to try and do this a couple times a month to try and keep in touch with them as they get home from very busy school days. After they dropped off their stuff in the house, we jetted to pick the girls up and drive to the pharmacy to get our flu shots. They were all really brave (but got the nasal flu mist so no real bravery was required)...and were great for the pharmacist.
7) After the flu shots we will try and do something fun... I haven't decided yet what but I will plan on being there with my kids in whatever we decide. So, across the street from the pharmacy is a Dollar Tree so I took them there to pick out a toy and I bought a package of "oreo's"...we had a nice little jaunt to climb on the nearby "chick fil a" climbing place and eat a package of french fries and go home...but wait...oh darn, Mamma forgot that we have Logan's 3 year post-placement visit from the social worker tomorrow at 9 am. So we made a detour to the local Walgreen's ...luckily I had my camera in my purse so I could print out 6 pictures to go with the report. We arrived home just in time to eat left-over spaghetti and meatballs and for me to put the garlic bread in the oven. The house smells so great right now I might just fall asleep.

8) Dinner will be left-0vers ...we have pizza, spaghetti and some chicken

Overall I think today was a successful day in our haven (home). I really did a good job of trying to block out the competing influences and spend an enjoyable time with my kids...this was made even easier since I left my cell phone/beeper at work trying to get out on time!

Good Luck to all who are making their homes haven's today.

Making your home a haven - CLEAN (Day 2)

Here is my second installment in the Making your home a haven segment. The theme today is CLEAN...(okay, everyone who knows me needs to get up off the floor!)

Here is my quote that I found to reflect on during the day...

Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them

...Benjamen Disraeli

Here's my timeline...

1) up at 6:00 am...(Riley was already downstairs, and luckily I was able to get showered, dressed, made up and ready for the day before the other 3 were awake). DONE
2) get girls dressed and help boys get dressed for school DONE
3) breakfast of cereal and pumpkin oatmeal bread (homemade) for the kids; make my coffee and breakfast to bring with me DONE
4) take completed (yeah) kitchen cabinet doors off of the dining room table and get the next ones prepped so I can work on them after supper (1/2 DONE...finished with the first set, but didn't get to do the next part)
5) clean breakfast dishes (thanks Nastia for the help)
6) drive the boys to school DONE
7) Work...I have both morning and afternoon clinics today so will be running from the time I get there. ACTUALLY NOT AS BAD AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD PM patient came in the morning and 2 PM patient's cancelled so was out by 4 PM
8) Hopefully I will finish by around 4 and can get home to make dinner and complete the "clean portion.
9) During dinner prep, I am hoping to spend some time with the kids (if it is still light) playing outside Didn't get to go outside, but we had a good time in the house while I was cooking.
10) Paint (prime) the next set of cabinet doors
11) Do homework with the boys and cuddle the girls and get everyone to bed by 8 pm OK, this is where I had some trouble. Forgot that this was my WW meeting night. So, instead of this, I went to my WW meeting and spent some quality time with my friends Wendy and Pat. It was a good night.
11) Go through my closet and bag up the shoes that I haven't worn for > 1 year for Goodwill. I have been meaning to do this. (for those of you who don't know me, I have about 200 pairs of shoes and most of them just sit in my closet...since the beginning of the re-model this summer, I have been planning on really culling them)...Tonight is the night! I am still planning on trying to do this before bed.

Dinner tonight will be spaghetti and meatballs with left over cling peaches and homemade italian bread (garlic toast)

I'll post back pictures from the last two days tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making your home a haven - Tidy (Day 1)

Today is the start of the Making your home a haven challenge. The theme is tidy (Whaaaa, you laugh) but I do have something to contribute here...
1) First, I spent about 15 minutes this morning as I was getting ready where I allowed the kids to watch television while lying in my bed and it gave me a few minutes to think and welcome the day. Once I got my coffee made, I sat at the computer and looked for quotes that I might be able to use to reflect on today. It might be too much of a chance for bringing lightning bolts so I won't be using a bible quote...

Instead, I give you this:
"You were made perfectly to be loved - and surely I have loved you, in the idea of you, my whole life long." by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

This is how I want to be with my kids, free to give unconditional love - love that is -free from expectations and judgements. I hope that I can try and achieve this for 15 30 an hour or two or three. If I can do that, then I can string a day and then two together...

2) My plans for the day were ...
...go to work...we are interviewing for residency applicants today and I have two meetings and a mid-year evaluation to do this afternoon. I hope to be done by about 4 and then hope to do a little shopping on the way home...
...dinner is pizza (homemade pizza dough is in the fridge ready to go) and cling peaches and going to make a couple of calzones so that I can send those in for school lunches later in the week...
...after dinner it will be a little quiet play time with the kids and starting homework with the older boys...
...finally, to get to the "tidy" theme, my goal is to complete the painting of several of the cabinet doors and get them ready to be hung up tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will try and get pictures posted of the days chores.

Making your home a haven...

I am going to try and participate in this Challenge from Monica at The Homespun Heart called Making your home a haven...and while many of the posters are women who are SAH or homeschooling, I think that the premise of trying to make your house a welcoming and peaceful and family oriented place are right up my alley right now. I definitely could use some of the calming influence of a haven - and I'm thinking if I don't do it, it won't get done.

So, the themes for the week are going to be...Tidy, Clean, Cared For, Fun, and finally Inviting & Giving. As I understand it is, the plan for the day should be to get up and spend some quality time with yourself reading and contemplating. Then, you plan the day (because planning is part of the development of a haven) and then, you complete your plans for the day...incorporating part of the theme and post pictures of your completed projects - or before and after shots.

This should be interesting....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

...Weekend from (double hockey sticks)

...where did I leave off?...oh yeah, Saturday afternoon going home to dinner...Riley lasted about 1 hour and then started mouthing off and everytime I stopped him he would swing at me. Culminated in him hitting my hand (as I was blocking it) and twisting my pinky finger can imagine that didn't go over too well and he was sent to bed! After much balleyhooing he fell asleep in his bed.
...This morning he woke at 6:00 and came into my bed and kissed me and said that he was sorry about last night. Afterward, he was downstairs watching television when I got up. He had gotten Logan breakfast (donuts) and as I got out of the shower, Matthew and Addison were sitting at the table eating donuts too. Meanwhile, I made some high fiber, whole wheat pancakes and later all of the kids came to the table to try those too!...
...then I started working...I had primed 4 of the cabinet doors yesterday and so I painted them a first coat and started trying to hang the 4 that were done. There was much cursing and I got the island doors on. Then...I went to get the ladder cuz the next two were over the fridge...unfortunately, there is a large soffit next to this one and it was a complete BEAR to hang. let me just say that it was a good thing the kids were outside cuz they would have learned some new words...
...Finally, I got that one and the other two hung and the new hardware holes drilled and the new hardware screwed on...I am very happy how they are coming out but I (as I said earlier) don't have a lot of the enthusiasm for it right now. I am going to try and finish the next 4 (painting) tomorrow night and maybe take part of Thursday off to do it this week.
...after naps, I told the kids that I would take them to a McD's play place. Riley was just a BEAR and was talking back and being a pill. We were there for 10 minutes and had to leave cuz I just couldn't stand him anymore. We got home and everyone took a bath and we had about 15 minutes of peace but then he started in again...making fun of everyone...saying he could do what he wanted...I was putting dinner on the table and he said one more thing and I chased him to his room. He knew he was in trouble this time and didn't say a word...when I checked about 10 minutes later, he was sound asleep!'s amazing how quiet it is now, with him asleep, the kids are all building a train track and cooperating and the television is off and ...well, peaceful. Riley is going to have a tough time growing up if tonight was any indication.

Long weekend...

It has been a long weekend. I'm hoping it gets a little better but at least for now, I am more than 2/3rd's through it...(is that an actual word?)...yesterday we all got up early and I needed to take them with me to Lowes and Walmart. I purposefully left before the au pair woke up because I just needed some time away...
...We made it to Lowes - I had to get extra keys made (after the being locked out two times debacle last week) and I needed some paint tray liners so I could finish working on the cabinet painting!...I know, I know...I haven't done anything with it for over 2 months...I have been ambivalent-this is what happens to me. I do about 3/4 of a project, get totally excited about it and then ...get interrupted and I can't get the enthusiasm for it back and so it sits for months until I am pushed and then I resentedly do it. So, I have about 1/2 of the cabinet doors painted and need to paint the other half and need to re-hang them...I had about 4 doors done that have been sitting on the floor waiting for me to re-hang them too...The behavior in Lowes was well...unbelievable. Matthew had to touch everything that was within his reach and Addison was running around and touching and when I said "no touch" she would look me in the eye and say..."yes". And then Logan was walking away and I would turn around and she was down two other rows. So, we made it back to the car and I read them the riot act...also decided that they would all sit in a basket in Walmart. I needed to get Logan a leotard for her dance class cuz she lost her other two. I can't find them anywhere and it was totally annoying for me that I have been having her wear a bathing suit the last two weeks...but I still can't find it so...and I also needed diapers. We made it there pretty well and then got to River City (where their dance and gymnastics classes are)...
...things went downhill fast. Riley was an absolute bear during Logan's class...ultimately had me dragging him out of the building by his hair and screaming at him outside...Then Addison got bored during the boys class and she just kept screaming and having melt down temper tantrums...and since I was already mother-of-the-year with Riley, I really had no patience for her...
...the afternoon was taken up with naps and picking up all of the broken toys in the back yard. When the girls woke up, we took Nastia to the store because she needed to buy a new camera and is not the type of shopping the kids were into...first store, I finally put all of them into the basket...Then they didn't have the one the guy talked us into...we finally went to the store down the street and bought it (same price)...then we went to dollar tree and I let them all pick out a toy and by the time we were done, it was dark and we went home to eat dinner.
...okay, i am too tired to continue ...maybe I'll post a little later...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interesting day...

...I got up this morning at 5:00 to get to the polls and vote at the time they opened. I had told Riley he could come with me (after he was crying because he wanted to vote himself)...and so we got up early and i made him hot chocholate and I made coffee and we got ready to brave the rain. He was so cute and he was so excited and proud that I was allowing him this special opportunity (and he was doing it alone with me).
...We drove up to the school where we vote and the entire parking lot was filled and there was already a line of 150 people outside with umbrellas out. We made our way back to the main road and parked on the side and got our position in line just as they were opening. All in all, we waited only about 25 minutes and we were in the building. Riley was very excited to see the computerized voting machines and got to "practice vote". He was cute and so patient and I was proud to have him standing next to me. I let him touch the screen to register my votes.
...Then we got back to the car and were home all before 6:40. After a LOOOONNNGGGG and busy Tuesday clinic where I saw too many patients in too short a period of time. After several more meetings, I headed home to relieve the au pair who was home all day with all 4 of them. She seemed in better spirits though to be cooped up all day with 4 kids in the rain clearly was hard on her. Once home I took her to the European Deli where they speak Russian and left her while I took the kids to the nearby play place at Chick-fil-A. What a joke! I was planning on getting them dinner but the line to the counter was out the door! turns out they were giving away a chicken sandwich to everyone with an "I Voted" sticker and for the nearly 40 minutes we were playing, the line just got longer. I, personally, wasnt going to get in that line. So, we went to pick up the au pair and I went to the McD drive through. Even though it was only 5:45, the kids were famished and all of them ate their entire happy meals in the 10 minutes we waited outside CVS while the au pair went in to buy a couple of things---yes, even Matthew!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The eve of a major political event... it is the night before election day and I am definitely NOT sitting in front of the TV trying to get some last minute information about the two candidates. In fact my two boys are playing/alternately with a Superman plug-n-play game and being so good I almost don't want to disturb it even though it is past their bedtime and ...what the heck, there is no school tomorrow...

Speaking of tomorrow, Riley came home last week and told me that "Obama is for the environment"...Without revealing my political leanings, I wasn't sure what that meant, but over the next several days he came home and told me things like "John McCain doesn't give money to the environment" and "Barack Obama gives money to the environment" and "who are you voting for mommy because you need to vote for Barack Obama because he is for the environment"

It was cute except in the very inappropriate way that I have no idea who was feeding him this stuff!!! and how NOT black and white these issues are. I was able to reassure him that neither candidate really were taking money from the environment and assured, my 6 year old will be happy with my choice of candidates...even if it isn't for exactly the reasons he envisions!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Well, it was a good night here. I have been back from my conference for 3 nights now and I spent the first two screaming at the kids even though I didn't want to. I found myself losing it with everything. (Of course they really upped the ante last night...particularly Riley)... as I was driving home tonight I tried to put myself in the happy place and practice all of my good thoughts and determined I wasn't going to nag or yell tonight...Well, one out of two isn't bad!...I picked the girls up at 3:45 pm (a little late) and as we were going home, I got a call from Riley at one of the neighbors houses because they were locked out. They had gone on a nature hunt and locked all of the doors. So, I got home and found them outside and neither boy had one his shoes. Next started about 10 minutes of ultra excitement and me trying to corral them into the car and finally we arrived at the restaurant where we were meeting Wendy and her mom. We had a nice dinner and all of the kids were really well behaved.
...we got home and I rushed upstairs to put pants on so we could go out. The 6 of us started trick or treating at right about 6 pm. Matthew was the Transformer "Bumble Bee"; Riley was Dearth Vader; Logan was Ariel and Addison was Snow White. The boys were really excited and Logan also got into it but the most amazing thing is how Addison totally picked it up!
...after the first house when she saw that she was getting CANDY, it was like she was born to trick or treat! She started saying Trick or Treat and was just so cute that everyone said it was okay for her to take a HANDFUL (even though I kept saying "just one" - okay, nagging!)...she RAN full speed from one house to the next and when she fell (and she fell frequently) would just get up laughing and start running again. of our neighbors had their entire garage set up like a party...complete with a projection TV playing Tim Burton's "The Nightmare after Christmas"...and hay bales for seats in front of it. Matthew saw it from about a block away...he loves that movie and even after we had sat and watched it for 10 minutes, he was done with "Trick or Treat"...amazingly, so were everyone else. We did a few more houses of our close neighbors and then went back to the garage and watched for another 10 minutes and came home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One more day...

Well, the ICAAC/IDSA conference is over and ...overall, I'd say that it was a good conference and I am glad that I went. Today I ran into 3 different people that I have been looking for the last 3-4 days. Usually the last day of the meeting is not that great but I went to a fascinating session this morning on emerging viruses. And I got to see a few people I haven't seen in several years and catch up with them both on a professional and personal level.

...I had lunch today with Anne Marie (hey Anne Marie) who adopted her daughter from the same orphanage as Addison (she brought her daughter home 2 months before I brought Addi home). Anyway, it was a nice lunch and I enjoyed hearing about the amazing gains her daughter has made.

...I got lost trying to head north to Baltimore after the meeting, but ultimately was able to backtrack to the 495/395/95 interchange and head back up north. Arrived in Baltimore a little while ago and well...aside from the directions which had me going right on a one-way street (the wrong way)...I was able to get here. It is unbelievably windy out today and I don't know that I will go out walking much today but the meeting here doesn't start till 10 am tomorrow so maybe then...I need to find something for Riley!

...Looking forward to seeing my kids tomorrow. Hoping the meeting ends a little early tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Night 3

Heard back from the kids a couple of times today ...Riley called when they got home from school and then again to tell me that he had "taken" his own temperature and he was sick...I told him to call me back when Michelle arrives and have her take his temperature.

I spent the afternoon relaxing and responding to email. I decided that there weren't too many things that I wanted to hear about. Only problem...wanted to take a LONG bath - but my hotel room only has a shower! UGH


Well, the weekend is over and that means roughly 1/3 of my away time is over. I'm anxiously awaiting the bus coming to pick the boys up (have already called to remind the babysitter and au pair about Matthew's medicine) and the girls going off to daycare so I will have a "relaxing" 6 or 7 hours of not worrying! I guess if they are in their routine then they should be good!

In the nothing good is ever free category, we had dinner last night at this really funky restaurant called PS7. The last year or so, the Virginia Infectious Diseases Society hasn't met and so it was decided to have a reception at IDSA to try and poll people about what they wanted out of / from the local society. Well, we got an offer from a company that works with one of the pharmaceutical companies and does wine tasting to host it so we said sure. It turned out to be only a small group of people and the pharm company had hired a pharmacist to give a "brief" talk (we were told 15 minutes).

dunno, this guy thought he was the master of ceremonies or something. His presentation was a case that he (a pharmacist - even a pharm D) shouldn't be trying to lead ID "DOCS" through!!! It was awkward, it was painful, and (well except for the snide comments from Bill K, Greg C, and Steve D who were sitting near me) a not very well thought out plan. Turned a very pleasant night into a long, awkward, painful affair - did I say that already?

Had a chance to talk to all of the kids last night ...Logan started crying when I said I would be home in 2 days...Addison said "I LUB BOOOO"...Mattew said "Hi Mom" and Riley said..."Hey mom, um can I ask you something?...what are you going to be bringing me back? ...okay, bye love you!" The babysitter who is helping the au pair at night told me that they had a great day and that they were all happy and dirty! Guess that is all I can ask for - but, can you tell, I miss them?!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


So, the annual ICAAC-IDSA meeting is in Washington DC this weekend. It is also the first year in probably a decade (not sure of the numbers but a long time) where the two associations (Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy) and (Infectious Disease Society of America) have held a joint conference. When I first started my fellowship, the annual meeting was a 5.5 day affair of debauchery and learning! Then, somewhere along the lines the two associations had a fall out - over - guess what? - money. So, for a number of years now, there have been two competing meetings in the fall. Not a good move cuz nearly no one could do both. Personally, I think I last attended either in the fall before I adopted the a long time ago.
I've been anxious about this trip. Already paid > $800 and so wasn't really looking forward to cancelling it but... the au pair has only been here a few weeks and was afraid of overwhelming her. Still not sure it will all work out but I keep telling myself that it is only Washington and I can be home in 2 hours if necessary (more about that later).
It is a dreary day in the Mid-Atlantic; rain and fog and cool weather. I left my house around 2 and realized that I didn't have my email confirmation (from which they scan your bar code to prove that you paid the registration fee), I had to go 1/2 hour out of my way to go to my office and find it on my desktop computer and print it. In the meantime, I picked up this laptop because my laptop, my precious laptop, my poor poor laptop...had coffee spilled directly onto it this morning and it no longer comes on (boo, hoo, boo, hoo). [like a good non-nerdy computer person, I'm hoping it will dry out over the next few days and start up again!]
So, I start up here with my handy dandy "Google Maps" emailed to my smart phone so I can get on the road (don't I sound all hi-techy?). Well, the combination of weather and traffic and it takes me nearly 2.5 hours to make it to Northern VA. Then, I promptly get lost as I am coming off of Memorial Bridge!!! ugh! So, I pull over and call the hotel. Well, 3 phone calls, several U-Turns and much cussing later, I am here.
Well, you say, that is not too stressful, what are you complaining about? Well, while I am on the phone the first time with the hotel (the time they kept me on hold for 7 minutes - I timed it!)...Riley calls me and leaves a message. I'm not savvy enough (nor calm enough) to put it here in it's entirety but it goes something like this...

"Mom...Matthew cut Wall-e's cord...yup, he really did...and Addison and Logan are up and they were crying and...well, I think you need to come home cuz its an emergency, well I don't know if it is an emergency you, bye"

So, over the next half hour I tried my home phone no fewer than 10 times and the au pairs cell no fewer than 6 times and kept getting the answering machine. (also interspersed in with calls to the hotel and trying to find the dam place) and well, I need a drink!

Finally got through and the au pair said ..."everything is good...we are cleaning!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have a conference in Washington DC this weekend and next week. This is going to be a stretch for all of us. I have arranged for people to stay overnight to give support to the au pair and to take the girls to daycare and to get the boys on the bus. We talked about it today and she had some good questions and seemed pretty realistic about the work and what will happen- asked me what we would cook and feed them. Makes me feel better about it.

Meanwhile in other ulcer producing a call from the boys' school on Monday - it was the Principal. She said that the county central office had called her and told her that the variance she had approved for Riley to come to the same school as Matthew was not appropriate and that she had 3 choices: to send him back to our neighborhood school after the term, after the semester or at the end of the year. But that he wouldn't be able to continue in the same school "just because his brother is in a developmentally delayed class".

I was crazy...besides the unbelievable inconvenience it would cause for me to have them in two different schools, it made me mad that someone who was not involved could make this decision - when the Principal was okay with it, when the school is not overcrowded, when he had already attended the school for a year (last year).

Also, part of the reason I allowed Matthew to be moved to this school in the first place was because I was assured that they would be together and I really feel like it is beneficial to Matthew to have someone with him. It helps him to be calmer on the bus, it helps his anxiety and I just think it is wrong to separate two boys who are so close!

So, I called and made an appointment with the principal to discuss what my options for appealing this would be and that was today.

Well, first, she has NOOOO idea why I made an appointment with her. (Great those two sleepness nights for me and not even a problem registered on her side!)

Then as I explained why I was there, she explained (what I had assumed but it didn't help)...that she had been chastised for giving the variance...she had made the call without looking into who exactly the child was (and who his brother was) and she had just done it as one of a list of things she had to do that morning without thinking. [Okay, I guess I have to give her a kudos or two for telling me the truth about that!]

"I could tell you were cold on the phone, but I wasn't really sure what it was about and I thought that I was giving you the best I could - to stay thru the school year" - "now that I talk to you, I realize that there is always more to these stories". [Um...ya think?]

We ended up calling the head of the exceptional education in this region (who was the one who convinced me to enroll Matthew in this school and assured me that Riley could go too). They were on the phone while I was in the room and she is supposed to try and take care of it - I hate it though, because the principal wouldn't give me this woman's direct phone number and wanted me to call her next week if I don't hear back from her by then! You can be dam___ sure I will.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I finished my last in-hospital service stint today ...until March! Of course there is so much going on at home and work that it really isn't a break.

I am trying to get the house in order and arranged - it has been pretty topsy turvy since September when I had the upstairs re-carpeted and painted. I am almost done putting all of the boxed stuff away//separated into stuff to give away to Goodwill //separated clothes for the kids into summer and winter//all of the laundry done.
Yesterday I hung some of the pictures and the white boards that I had used to organize the school days. Also put back up the plastic hanging folders to organize all of the papers and books. Today I went through the basket of shoes and separated out the ones that won't fit next year (summer sandles/flip flops/crocs) and the ones that will. Then made a full bag of shoes to go to Goodwill and another bag to go in the trash. So, the two things I had on my list for this weekend.

I have been on a cooking jag. I love to make bread and I had seen this book called "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day" on a blog I read. It really is a neat way to make / have fresh bread almost daily without having to take 2-3 hours to make a loaf ---and no kneading! Last week I made this dough for cheese bread and I had made two loafs last week. Today I finished up that dough and made three loaves (one to freeze, one to eat, and one to bring in to work).

Last night I decided to try one of the sweet bread recipes and made this "brioche" dough. I then made donuts out of it for the kids this morning. It was fast and easy and I froze a bunch of the dough so I should be able to do it again. Matthew was a little hesitant when he saw them (I don't have a donut cutter so they looked more like "munchkins" with powdered sugar on them as they came out of the frying oil. But, he was convinced to try and then ended up eating about 10!

The house smells great with the scent of baking bread, taco soup & home made corn tortilla chips (baked not fried!).

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Okay, so what can make a day like yesterday end on a good note...

Laying down next to Addison at bedtime, she usually takes that time to practice her face parts (and poke me in the eye while doing "eye")...and she starts saying...

eyelubboooo...eyelubbbooooo....eyelubbbboooo...EYE LUB OOOOO

(enough said!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

High Anxiety...

So, yesterday was day two with the au pair and I got a call from Riley at 3:30 seemingly doing well. I was late getting out of the clinic so didn't get the girls until seconds before the 6:00 deadline and we rushed home. The boys were outside in the back yard playing with Nastia. I started putting the dinner on the table so I could go to my 7:00 meeting.

Of course there was a ton of flurry about why I was going back out again and I know I probably shouldn't have tried but...

So, after the 4th or 5th time someone jumped up from the table to kiss or push me out the door, I lost it and brought them all back to the table and snapped that they needed to stay and rushed out.

As I was shutting the door, I glanced at my pager/email on my PDA. There was a note from Matthew's teacher with a litany of his sins that day and asking me if I knew what might have gotten him off to a bad start (as if, he needs something to get him off to a bad start!). At this point, my anxiety is high cuz I can't stand being yelled at / chastised for things that I have no control over (which is what the email basically was doing) - oh and ..."I tried to call several times this afternoon and there was no answer..." - so I am doubly bad cuz I was working! -Makes no difference that she didn't call the number that is CLEARLY marked as my preferred method of communication (my cell) and that I didn't even know that she had an email address until 4 days prior when she decided to try and make the fact that she hadn't done her job with the bus change stuff my problem!

But, I decided I needed some distance between me and Matthew to calm down and off I drove. I was in the meeting for 3 minutes when I got a call on my cell from home so I rushed outside to find it was Riley who wanted to tell me that "THE SOUND ON OUR TV ISN'T WORKING" - Oh the catastrophe of it all!! ...but by that time, I was so done that I left and ran to Food Lion for a few things before going home. I walked into the garage to put some of the food in the freezer that I have there and found ...unplugged!!!

So, after I screamed for the two boys to come out to the garage and had a feeble attempt at denial, Matthew admitted that he was playing with the plugs! Ugh! luckily the stuff hadn't defrosted as it had probably been less than 2 hours but I almost blew my head off holding in the screaming I wanted to do cuz...

...well, he had had a bad day at school and I needed to have him at least be able to have some ability to focus when I talked to him about it
...and I know he just can't help himself with some of these things
...and he told the truth nearly without any prompting (which is very unusual)

So, I sent a long note back to the teacher after laying with him and trying to get him to talk about what happened at school. So here I sit, at the end of the next school day with nary an acknowledgement of my email. Have I said ...I hate people today yet?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

First day...

Riley...Can I come home on the bus every day? till June?

Matthew...I like riding the bus home...

Mom...boys happy, house clean, homework done...B+

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What is the deal...

...with gas prices? I mean less than 2 weeks ago, the prices were > $3.50 and tonight I look on-line and the price at several of the local stations is $2.599!!! With all of the economic stuff going on, is this the 1st sign of the Apocalypse?????

If it gets under $1 then I will start building the bomb shelter in the back yard!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I think the au-pair... worried she is going to become fat like us Americans.

Now we definitely have an American child diet in this house...pasta (because Matthew will eat nearly any kind of sauce or cheese covered pasta)...mac & cheese (again pasta but of the cheesy variety)...carbs (chicken nuggets, tater tots)...cereal or donuts for breakfast...and (because I need to fatten Matthew up) an assortment of cookies,candies, snack foods.

Earlier this week she had her first glazed donut...then, tonight I made waffles cuz Matthew has been asking for them. Now this is not like a 15 ingredient, home made waffles...they could only be easier if they were the frozen EGGO brand. But, pre-bought, COSTCO mix in the large bag, mixed with water and oil and plop into the waffle iron and drizzle (smother in Matthew's case) with Maple syrup.
When I sat the kids down, she initially said she didn't want any. Then, she was intrigued by what I was making (I usually triple the batch so I can freeze some for a quick breakfast for the kids on school mornings). I turned around and she started taking over for me in making in them and then I saw her trying a piece of one (without syrup so she hasn't gotten the total effect!).

She turns to me and with this distressed tone in her voice says..."it is soooo delicious!".
(I tried to reassure her that if she continues to keep trying to keep up with Riley and all of his walking / bike riding, she should be okay).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Mary of Owlhaven posted this challenge today and I thought I would play along...go to your pictures folder on your computer and find the 6th file folder and then post the 6th picture and tell about it...

This is from this summer when we went to the beach in Corolla NC to visit my sister Teresa and her family who were vacationing there. I love how my oldest son (in the foreground) is actually looking at me and it captures my growing girl (facing away) the background is my nephew Max who was doing some fishing. He dutifully brought all that he caught to the shore for all the little kids to ooh and aah over.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

She's here...

and seems really nice. She is still very unsure of her English and so I went out and bought a Russian/English dictionary. At least I can find the English words in it and let her read the Russia. I think she is going to learn fast and she definitely has already picked up some things. The best thing is that tonight, she was out in the front yard with Riley and started kicking the soccer ball with him and he was having a ball. Guess you don't need language to play. Its gonna be a tough few weeks to get going though.

Friday, October 3, 2008


For those of you who know my son Matthew, you know how far he has come in his time with me. We have been struggling with school and I have had some issues with his teacher (who is currently on extended leave until November). This morning I found 10 "spelling" words in a baggie in his folder. The note said to review them because he would have a test today! Ugh. now I have to say that I am not even sure at this time that Matthew understands what a word is! He has really exploded over the summer with writing letters but it usually is a page of random letters in no order (and certainly not on the lines!).

So, with a heavy heart this morning I pull out the cards and ask him to do them with me. (Now, he already is starting off badly because he had completed 2 homework papers and thought he would get to play a little DS before the bus).

I pull out the first card and show it to him and he gets it right! Now picture me going through the cards faster and faster and trying to make sure they are right side up and him getting all of the words correctly and now picture me starting to cry and carrying him all over the kitchen. Yep, he has come so far.

I know he will always struggle. But it's amazing how small successes can be so big! And I can only hope that poor Riley who tried to throw in a "but those are easy words" while Matthew and I were dancing will someday get that sometimes, these things we take for granted, are really important!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Body Image...

My friend Beth gave me a big "shout out" here about how "I" led her to wearing high heels despite being a tall girl through my example. The whole post was great in her very self-deprecating way and it got me thinking about my body image and how it has changed through my life.

First of all, being a tall girl has been part of me since I can remember. I remember my first embarassing time where I recognized that I was not your "typical" girl. I was in First Grade and in Catholic school. There was an annual festival for Mary (mother of God) in May and they usually had the youngest girls in the school participate by being some sort of "princesses" - all I remember is getting to wear these really pretty dresses that they passed along each year. Anyway, they chose the youngest so that the dresses would fit...unfortunately they didn't count on me! I started Kindergarten at 4 years of age (at the time, you only had to be 5 by Jan 1st of the year you were in it and seeing how my birthday was end of November...) so I was always one of the youngest in my class. Anyway, I was designated to being in this festival and I was (literally) a foot taller and 20 pounds heavier than any of the other girls. Of course, the dress didn't fit! and I, being the mature 6 year old at the time had a huge FIT when they tried to convince me that I shouldn't be in the procession! So, I had to be "wedged" into the dress and I remember lots of comments about how I didn't let the other (smaller) girl take my place.

Okay, can you say trauma!

Throughout my grade school career, I was consistently the tallest (and though looking back on it now I realize that at 5'10" and 140 pounds in high school I was far from FAT), I always interpreted my tallness as "bigness" as "fattness!". Didn't help that I always had curves and never that stick straight body habitus of the adolescent boy/girl.

So, somewhere in residency, I lost weight and was exercising alot and got down to one of the lowest weights I had been since high school - and I was accused of being SICK. Not once, but repeatedly!! For me, it finally hit home that I just couldn't see what others did. At the same time, I was able to wear clothes that looked good on me and ...well, they looked good with high heels. Heels became my way to feel better about myself. No matter what my weight, no matter if I was tired or anxious...the way I felt and held myself with heels was much better than when I wore flats...maybe it was the dressed up feeling they gave/give me...maybe it was the change in posture they afford.

I still struggle with my body image...heels don't take that away...but they certainly give me an edge and I like that!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rain,rain, go AWAY!

Well, the old joke goes, as soon as the State Fair of Virginia begins, the rains will come. It certainly has been the case this year. Fair started Thursday...rain started thursday...rained (hard) Friday...rained (off and on) Saturday...and today when it was supposed to be nice...rained again. Even though my house is large, it is NOT large enough for 4 kids and a grumpy mom.

Today we went out a couple times because we have nothing (relatively) in the house to eat and since my kids have started to drink 2 Gallons of milk a week, we had none of that so it was dire circumstances.

First we went to Costco. I neede to get some milk ($3.30 a gallon v $4.25 a gallon at Walmart). I needed some snacks for lunches for school and since Matthew won't eat very much, I need to get the good stuff. We made it about 1/2 way through the trip before Logan and Matthew started chasing each other up and down the aisles. We finally finished and checked out and it was lunchtime so I bought a hot dog for Addison and Riley and a piece of pizza for Matthew and Addison. Matthew was too revved up to eat and Logan kept getting up so it was time to leave and get naps.

I finally unpacked everything by 2 and the girls were asleep so I had some time to fold 4 loads of laundry and sort some of the summer clothes into tupperware to go away till next year.

After naps we went to Walmart...okay, not smart but I needed some weird things (like a bicycle inner tube for Matthew's bike) and so decided to combine it into one trip. What a MISTAKE...the two who were running earlier ...started again. I was so mad. Plus, Addison was scratching me because apparently I'm not allowed to hold onto "my basket" while I am pushing it!!! Geez. We finally left without 1/4 of the things I need for this month but I just will hope to do it when the au pair is here and I can leave the majority of them home.

Dinner is cooking and Logan is upstairs playing with her stuffed animals. A little while ago she brought down this monkey named "Emily" and told me she was sick and could I watch her while she (Logan) went to work...because she (Logan) was her mommy. So when I asked what I was, she said...her "grandma" ...OF COURSE!


I'm feeling overwhelmed with things both at home and work these days so little energy to, I am adapting from several blogs I read pretty well...have I said I love RSS feeds? It allows me to find and keep blogs that I read close and get notified when there are new posts...

Anyway, one of them put a post to this cool site which makes a word picture of the most frequently used words on your blog. Mine looks like this...

You can make your own here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is that really what I was meant to do?

I don't remember going through the "princess" stage as a kid, but Logan definitely has it bad! This morning she was just chattering away during the drive to is becoming one of my favorite times because she is just so much more willing to share what she is thinking than the boys., today it went something like this....
"When I get big I am going to live in a castle."
"I will be a princess and live in a big castle"
mmm...who else will be in this castle...can Addison come?
"Yes, she can be a princess too"
"And Taylor (her best girlfriend) is going to have big muscles and she will fight and kill the monsters"..."Taylor and Max will have big muscles and fight"
(smiling now...)mmm... what about me, will I be living in the castle?
"Yes, mommy you can be a princess, you will be a queen!"
(smiling again)...thank you...I would like to be a queen
"Yes, you will be a queen and you will keep the castle clean and make sure that everything is put away in it's place"
(now laughing) mean I have to clean the castle!!? [for those of you who know me, I don't clean the house very much...can't imaging cleaning the castle!...and certainly don't think I would be doing castle cleaning if I was the QUEEN!!!]


(Picture is from - Kilkenny Castle)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Reading about all of the trouble caused by Hurricane Ike in Galveston TX reminds me of a trip I made there in 1993.

It was February and I was completing my fellowship and trying to decide what to do with my life after my fellowship. So, I applied for a job at UT Galveston and went down there to interview. Meanwhile, my sister used to go to TX for a vacation each February to go to the Houston Rodeo and she decided to join me for a few days while I was there. The second day of the interview, was horrible. It was raining cats and dogs. I remember they had one of the secretaries drive me from interviews and from building to building. At one point, I fell in a puddle with my interview dress on! I spent the next half hour in the ladies room blowing on my dress with the hand dryer!

But, that wasn't the worst part of it. As the night went on, the weather got worse. We were staying in this hotel on the beachfront of Galveston. the hotel was directly across the street from the beach! It had these open stairs on either side of the hotel and the wind was HOWLING up the stairs. Our room was right at the end of the building and there was no heat! We called down to the main desk several times and at one point, I think they brought us a couple of extra blankets but it was freezing in the room. The seal at the bottom of the door was horrible and so the wind was coming in through the door. We tried to block it with towels and the wind was so strong, it would push the towel across the floor into the room! Finally, we hunkered down in the beds trying to get warm and were greeted by the outside door at the top of the stairs opening and slamming closed repeatedly from the wind. We asked the main desk to come and lock the door but they wouldn't because it was a "fire" door - some good that would do in a fire!!! It wouldn't stay shut.

I think we finally had a little sleep but the next day was a nightmare trying to get our flights out of Houston. I think I finally got out of Houston International but my sister had to get a flight out of Hobby.

All this to say, that we endured a "Non-hurricane" on Galveston island. I can not imagine enduring one that was as strong as Hurricane Ike. I pray for those who made the poor decision to stay and see what would happen. I hope that the number of people dead is less than we expect and I hope that Galveston Island (what I remember as a beautiful place) can survive.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


...what no big catastrophes? well the weekend isn't over yet! No, really, things have been pretty quiet (well no sicknesses)...
Yesterday was Logan's first dance class and then 15 minutes later the boys first gymnastics class. Everything went pretty well. Logan loved it. Looks like there will only be 3 or 4 other girls in the class and they did pretty simple things. she looked so cute in her leotards and ballet shoes. As for the boys, well they did pretty well too. the hour we had to wait for their class to start was a little rough. this place is pretty big and has a huge play area but the toys are mostly for the 12-18 month set...not exactly entertaining for my boys. Next week I'll need to remember to bring something more for them to do. When they finally got in there, they were in a class of 8 boys with one teacher. I'm not sure that is a good ratio but we'll see. Matthew was pretty distracted by all that was going on (even medicated) but he was pretty good about staying in line and following. And what was the favorite parts of the adventure?

Logan: dancing to itsy bitsy spider
Matthew: doing the (high bar) monkey bars with chalk on my hands
Riley: doing the rings and turning upside down

I think the next 8 weeks our Saturday mornings will be pretty full!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weekend coming...

Can't wait for the weekend. Today Logan and I went to Walmart and bought some snacks for school and night; some fruit for mom and most importantly...leotards and tights for BALLET. Logan has been asking to take ballet almost on a daily basis for the past 6 months. She is finally going to start those lessons on Saturday. She is so excited...and I am pretty sure that her chicken pox will pretty much be gone by then.

Speaking of chicken pox, we are doing well. The pox are drying up and I am just waiting for next week. I think if the other two kids don't get it by Thursday, we should be okay.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First day of school...

Here is the homework Riley did today at afterschool care (the words in Red are what he wrote in)...

My First Day of School...

...Today, TosDay was my first day of school. When I woke up this morning, I felt neRvis about going to school. The weather was CoLD. I wore shoRTs to school. My teacher's name is Misvon (Ms. Vaughan). The first thing we did in class was Red Books. I made friends with JahDen. At play time I liked Monkey BaR. At lunch time I ate Samwith. The best think I liked doing today was Resess. I did not like Music. At the end of my first day of school, I felt good.

I think he is off to a good start. He was happy when I picked him up from daycare and he got a green mark on his calendar. Tonight as he was falling asleep he asked me to put a note in his lunch box with "I love you" on it so he could look at it during the day (awwww).

The saga continues...

On Saturday night we were outside late and I got a bunch of mosquito bites. So, when Logan came in and showed me her bumps on Sunday I was sure that was what it was. When she complained later in the day and on Monday of more itching I told her she must be " very sweet"!
When we were riding to the pool yesterday and she started scratching her head, I thought for sure that she had the "L" word (since last week there was someone in the other 3 year old class with it!) and groaned inward about how that would be a pain.

When we got to the pool I checked her head but she didn't have lice...what I did see was a "bug bite" in her scalp where she was scratching (phew...dodged that bullet!).
It wasn't until last night after dinner when she was scratching more and I found a few more bug bites on her stomach (which was covered when she was out) that it slowly dawned on me....


It can't be, shingles isn't contageous...she got the can I be out of work for a week?!!! Tomorrow is Tuesday (my busy day at work which I have missed for the last 3 weeks because of illness of some sort and my nurse is going to KILL me)...

but it's the POX...ugh! All I can say is the rest of them (the kids) better get them soon...not spaced out over the next 2 months...but within the next couple of days!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shaping up to be a long weekend...

Well, half way thru the long weekend and it is shaping up to be a very long weekend indeed. Started thursday with the contractor coming to the house and pulling up all of the carpet upstairs in order for it to be ready for the next day. He also boxed up our entire upstairs life - clothes, beds, TV, cable and put it into one of the rooms so we all slept in my bed and (luckily) were able to find clean clothes in the dryer that hadn't been folded yet! (one of the few benefits of my unorganized lifestyle!)
Then comes Friday...we leave the house at 9:00 am to go to the school and meet Matthew and Riley's teachers and drop off the 2 bags of supplies we brought! Luckily Wendy came with us and took the girls to the playground to play while we went in. Unfortunately, we were getting the end of Hurricane Fay and the playground was soaked so the girls were soaked by the time we got back to them an hour later.
I liked Matthew's teacher (he has a substitute for several months because his regular teacher is out on Maternity leave). Riley was very shy but I liked his teacher. She has her room set up like a beach which was pretty cool and I think she will be good for him.
So, we had planned to keep the kids with us for the morning and then they were to go to a babysitter's for the afternoon. we were under strict orders not to come home till about 6:00 pm so that all of the painting and carpeting could be done with few distractions! The babysitter cancelled at 11:30 because she was home with her son who had broken his arm playing football the day before. So, now I couldn't go to work and had to entertain 4 kids in a wet environment for 6 hours. We went to the library and to LOWES and rode the tractors while I picked out paint colors for the 1/2 bath downstairs and my bedroom upstairs. Then we walked around the mall a little, bought ballet slippers (an adventure in itself) and finally went home at 6:30. Unfortunately, the painters didn't show so the contractor was left to do all of the painting himself...this set us up for the long weekend ahead!!!
Finally, the contractor left at around 7:30 with all of the house in disarray and all of the kids sleeping on my mattress in one of the bedrooms and me sent to sleep downstairs on the couch. Oh was HOT! Luckily I opened windows and it brought the temperature down to about 78 all night but...dang, did I really need to pay for an airconditioner visit on a long weekend?!
Saturday morning...temperature 80 degrees (...I open more windows cuz it is cooler outside than inside)...we wake at 7:40 and I get off of the couch to make coffee and look up and the contractor is back. He heads upstairs and starts what was a long day of painting. By noon, the temp is 84 in the house and I make the dreaded call to the air conditioning company...not so much for us because there still is some cool air in the downstairs and the fans are recirculating it okay so that if you don't move you can actually stop sweating...but for the painter upstairs where all of the hot air is going! We eat lunch and I get the girls upstairs in their sweltering (but newly pink and gorgeous!) room for nap. They put Logans bed upside down and the mattress is crooked. After trying (unsuccessfully) to turn it myself I get one of the 2 guys to help...Success and we lay down (sweating) for naps.
The airconditioner repair(wo)man calls and says she will be there in 1/2 hour so I go to the garage to clean out the access...contractor comes out and don't think I didn't turn on all of the fuses after I shut it off to fix that light do you?...yup! guess what...fuse to airconditioner is off...DANG! so I call her back and you don't need to come...she is like..."GREAT"...!!!hope I don't get charged for the call!
After naps, while the air was definitely one, the house was still HOT so we went to the pool. When we got back, they were working on my bedroom and had finished putting the boys beds back together. They finally finished around 9:00 pm last night. We all got to sleep in our own beds, but I now have to go through about 40 boxes in the au pairs room to put our upstairs back together! Don't think it will be done this weekend ...and getting the oven finally delivered this afternoon.
Happy Labor Day indeed!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

almost 24 hours...

without a major catastrophe. I'm not sure I should drive home but maybe this is a sign of good things to come!
Matthew had his 7th birthday party at a local haunt called Kangaroo Jac's. This is another inflatable party and play center. It was fun but...having that many kids running around at breakneck speed and then being fed pizza and cake is a recipe for some very difficult kids in the afternoon. At one point, Matthew got bored so I gave him my camera to take pictures of his is some of his artwork!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Going back to bed...

Ever have one of those times where you just think that maybe if you just went back to bed and put the covers over your head you would be better than trying to keep plugging along...

This weekend our microwave died...I have been planning on getting a new microwave and stove (to match the other appliances) sometime in the future I am re-doing the kitchen. But, was kind of hoping to do it a little later. Well, this weekend, I had to turn down the request for instant mac and cheese because when I push the buttons...well, the timer counts down...but nothing else. UGH!!!

So, I took the 4 of them to Lowes cuz we CANNOT live without a microwave and ordered them. Hopefully the microwave will be delivered and installed by Wednesday! In the meantime, I'm going back to bed!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not my finest moment...

I admit it...I make mistakes. Some are easy to get over, some aren't. Today I made a big one and I probably won't let myself off the hook for a while about it.

My son M has a problem with biting. It has gone one since he was really small. I think it is a combination of his sensory issues, his impulsiveness, and his limited social and communication skills. When he was 2-3 it was a big problem in his daycare...luckily, I had the support of the very great administrators and teachers of the daycare who loved him almost as much as I and truly understood the developmental issues he was dealing with at the time.

He improved...but it never went away. So, in the last month at his summer camp/daycare, he has bitten someone on 3 separate occasions. On two the times, the recipient was his best friend who had been teasing him about something and, because he can't understand or can't verbally retaliate...well, he responded the way he can! Now, a child biting at 2 years old is very different than one who bites at 7 and the daycare (not the same one) called asking for some help...God, I wish I knew what I could do! To their credit, they didn't immediately ask me to remove him and I think they want to work with him because they, too, recognize how he is special - even when he is doing unacceptable things.

So, he and I had a long talk a week ago...his DS was taken away until he could show that he wouldn't bite for > 1 week...I started him on a different med for his ADD to try and help his impulse control...and we talk on a daily basis using social stories to try and help him with his repsonses to (how shall I put it) less than ideal scenarios...

I know, you're thinking...what does this have to do about a big mistake...

So, today, the 3 older kids went outside and they were sitting on the deck setting up an UNO game. I thought it was so cute that I actually took a picture of them since I haven't seen them start such a cooperative game without adult prompting before (a milestone)...

Pretty soon, L got bored and I saw her walking around the deck playing with other things but about 3 minutes later, I heard her go to the two boys and a few seconds later, scream and come running into the house saying...."_____ BIT ME!!!!!"

Well, I was up, screaming, ranting...grabbed Matthew by the arm and chased him up to his room all the while looking like a complete maniac..."BITING IS NOT EVER ACCEPTABLE...YOU WILL NOT GET YOUR DS FOR ANOTHER WEEK...YOU WILL STAY IN YOUR ROOM...I AM GOING TO CANCEL YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY...I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT..."

Meanwhile, he is yelling that he didn't do it (and I'm ignoring him because he says I didn't do it about anything...even if I see him doing it)...and I start yelling "DON'T YOU LIE TO ME AND MAKE IT WORSE...I CAN SEE THE BITE MARKS ON HER ARM...I KNOW YOU DID IT..."

And he keeps yelling that he didn't and something about it makes me STOP...I scream at Logan to tell me the truth about who bit her and she says "R_" and I ask R to tell me if he did it...and he says..."yes, mom" ((because I am sure he is anticipating the raving maniac to re-appear).

So...R went to his room without me even asking...and I grabbed my lovely, sweet, falsely accused boy and held him tight and begged for his forgiveness...which he gave way too easily...and I'm not sure I deserve it...

I can only hope that I can use this experience to become a much better who doesn't jump to conclusions and who can believe (and believe in) my kids...even when they are not acting quite as society would want them to be. UGH. I have a lot of work to do!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

They definitely don't think the way we do...

Today is my eldest son's 7th birthday. It is hard to imagine that he has now officially been mine for 5 1/2 years and it is hard for me to remember how hurt and damaged he was when I brought him home and more importantly, how far he has come in those 5 1/2 years! He has learned to Eat solid foods (a feat that took nearly 2 years) and has learned to talk and has learned to count and spell and be a good brother to his younger siblings. He still struggles with things, he makes some poor choices, he frustrates me more than I like, but he can make me laugh like no one else. He has a sweet innocence to him that makes me want to hold him and protect him and believe in him and fight for him.

A I lay with him tonight, him drifting off to sleep in a cupcake induced stupor we had this conversation:

Mom: I like to think today about what was going on 7 years ago when you were born. It makes me think about your birth mother. I bet she is thinking about you today.
M: Who? my birth mother?
Mom: Yes...the lady whose tummy you came out of.
M: You?
Mom: no, you know that another lady carried you in her tummy and had you in the hospital and then left you with the doctors and nurses so they could find you a mommy who could take care of you forever.
M: What was her name?
Mom: Her name was _____ . You know that, we read about her in your book.
M: Where is my birth mother?
Mom: In Russia.
M: What is R's (my six year old son) birth mother's name?
Mom: Well, we are talking about your birth mother because it is your birthday and I'm sure she was thinking about you sometime today
M: Did she get shots?
Mom: What?
M: my birthmother, when she was in the hospital?
Mom: Yes, I guess she probably got shots.
M: did she get a needle?
Mom: (a little exasperated now) yes, I'm sure she got a needle in the hospital. but I want to talk about how we are lucky that she left you with the doctors and nurses and that I could find you and bring you home.
R (who has been quietly lying [listening] in the top bunk): Did my birth mother get shots?
Mom: Okay, bedtime! Let's say a prayer for both of your birth mothers- who are no longer in the hospital and are not getting shots!

Maybe the next time I try and discuss the hard subjects I will remember to not to bring up the hospital and derail the discussion to the current obsession of my 6 & 7 year olds - Shots!!