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!