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!