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!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The other shoe...

...just dropped. I can officially say that I have had one of the worst 2 weeks in history...I'll itemize it for you...
1) trip coming off the beach...break and sprain ankle

2) have to work for the next 14 days in a row without a break

3) totally overwhelmed at work but finally make it thru weekend one

4) come back to work on Monday and start to feel really bad...

5) remember at 12 that Addison has f/u eye doctor appointment...

6) rush to complete work that could take 4 hours in about 2 and run to pick her up and then drive across town to the eye doctor...

7) start to run fever...go back and pick up the other kids and drive Matthew to a birthday party...

8) get the BIG fever while at Burger King with the other 3 kids; spill one cup of Hi-C

9) DRAAGGG myself home after picking up Matthew (and having to wait an extra 1/2 hour for the party to be over)...

10) Addison becomes febrile during the night...

11) We stay home on Tuesday...have to cancel 10 patients and 2 lectures (not to mention arranging someone to round with team for me)

12) Feel a little better in evening only to get fever back overnight and SPLITTING headache and runny nose to go with it.

13) Addison wakes up with fever...we both stay home...

14) get a call from daycare about Matthew's "rash"...what rash? I only thought he had scraped himself on the pool wall.

15) start thinking about the distribution of his "scrapes"....DOGGONEIT!

16) take to pediatrician so I don't have to diagnose it

17) you guessed it!!!!....SHINGLES - now he has to stay out for at least a day...(and you know what that means....UGH!)...I'm going to take a nap!

Sleeping babies...

Some of my favorite sights (and pictures) are of sleeping babies. You can just see their innocence and the hand of God in it. Addison and I have been home with a bad summer cold with fevers for 2 days. This morning, after eating a handful of blueberries (and a rare cheerio thrown in!) we sat on the couch. She watched about 3 minutes of "the Little Einsteins" show and then fell asleep on the couch. If you could hear her sweet gurgling snore it would complete the picture - now, I think I will join her!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Visit to NC Outer Banks...

Teresa and Tom rented a house on the Outer Banks for 2 weeks and so we went out there for the weekend. The Outer Banks is about 3 1/2 hours drive from Richmond so we set out early Saturday and arrived around 10:30. The weather was beautiful, the house was beautiful and, since I haven't seen Teresa (and her new daughter Charlotte) since...before Charlotte was born. It was a nice visit. The kids loved the sun, the surf, and, especially the pool right in the yard. Have I told you how much they love to swim? well, they were in 7th Heaven with a pool in the yard. Here are some pictures from the beach on Sunday.

Riley is becoming a complete surfer boy! Look at him getting ready to tackle the waves! Logan and Addison loved playing in the surf at the edge of the waves.

The sand was a big hit for the kids as well.

So, it was a perfect weekend...until...well, while leaving the beach on Sunday I fell in a hole at the end of the beach stairs and TWISTED my ankle...okay, I have had sprains before, but this was the one to beat all. So, Tom drove me to the local Urgent Care center and we did an xray. The review by the ortho here confirms mostly a sprain with a tiny avulsion fracture of the tip of the fibula. He thinks I pulled the entire ligament off of the fibula with a piece of it! Treatment is like a sprain though...most important thing is getting back range of motion and strength. So I get an air cast for stability...PT referral (cuz his "women" physicians usually are too busy to do the exercise they need to do to get the range of motion and strength back)...a handicapped sticker for 6 weeks and ice!
It was pretty sore driving home last night but was better (a little) this am after sleeping with it on 5 pillows and a bag of ice on it all night. Going to be a busy week though...since I need to walk all over the hospital while I am on service. UGH!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Dirty (1/2) Dozen

Well, our vacation is officially over but we had a good time with Denise and her two girls. The 3 older kids are all separated by 6 months and they got along great. There were some tears as the girls drove away.

Here's Addison: Look how she has learned how to say "cheese"

These are from this large pool and waterpark near our house today. Matthew and Addison like playing in the sandy area!

These below are from our last night dinner at Friendlies...I doubt I will ever go back to that one ...but we left a good tip!

These ones show the "dynamic duos" that cropped up this week. Logan and Nina loved playing princess and make up together. Elena and Riley loved playing and riding bikes together.

Okay, here are the dirty (half) dozen!

Tomorrow the kids and I will drive to the beach in NC to visit with Teresa and her family who are staying there for 2 weeks. We (unfortunately) only get to spend 2 days with them but are excited about meeting baby Charlotte for the first time and seeing the boys!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


My kids are becoming fish (or fishlike)...this week while Denise has been here, we have had the opportunity to go swimming at the local pool. Matthew and Riley are getting better each day - though they have been "swimming" and not needing a floatation device for the last month or so...but, earlier in the week, I forgot the floats and so I let Logan go in without one. Well...bless my soul...she can SWIM!!! She turns around and swims underwater ...out into the pool and back! Addison also is getting into the act. She can "swim" while wearing a life jacket and LOVES it...

Saturday, August 2, 2008


My sister and her two kids are here visiting for the week and she brought down some bread from my brother who is a "Pepperidge Farm Breadman" ...We got a large supply of bread for Christmas and now we have more...lots of my favorite "soft oatmeal" which ...this time (apparently) is "fresh"! I just have one question? What am I going to do with fresh kids won't know what to do with it! (And why didn't I deserve fresh bread for Christmas?...okay that is two questions)...

So, shout out to my brother Steve. We will eat french toast all month!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Big News...

Well, I have been contemplating this for a long time but haven't been able to decide what would be the best for me and (especially) the kids. But, I just decided that I needed to make a change and try something new. I hate how anxious and crabby I am when I get home at night and have them descend on me with yelling and hungry faces...
So, I have decided and have signed with an Au Pair agency. After 2 weeks of talking to prospective candidates, I have decided on a young lady who is from the Far East in Russia near Vladivostok. I am really excited about having someone who can help me with some of the jobs that I have been trying to do (with increasing trouble) with 4 kids. I also really am looking forward to exposing the kids to someone from Russia and to some of Russia's heritage and culture.
She will be arriving in Richmond on October 3rd if all goes well. Now I just have to get her room together and the house (semi) clean!