Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

We've had some very busy days but now all is quiet. The kiddos have tracked Santa's progress across the globe and they are now in bed, soon to be asleep. Here's some pics from our day (courtesy of our new camera)!


The kids participated in a Christmas pageant at church tonight. The boys were shepherds; my oldest was Mary and my younger daughter was an angel. This pic was taken as they were getting into costume.


Here's a pic of the boys as they headed to the front of the church on cue.


Here's the whole cast at the end of the pageant.


When it was over, they brought out a cupcake tree with cakes for Baby Jesus' birthday.


The kids really enjoyed the birthday cupcakes . . .




This is my nephew, Liam, thoroughly enjoying his sugar-load:


We always give the kids matching jammies on Christmas Eve. We gave a pair to my nephew too but he was too tired to pose for pictures. (Shortly after this photo was taken my sister and her family headed back to NJ to celebrate Christmas at home.)


Lastly, here is a picture of the milk, cookies, and carrots (for the reindeer) that the kids put out for Santa before they went up to bed.


A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good-night!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Slumber Party

Last night we had a Christmas party to attend. The party was held in a very old house (1700s) with lots of fireplaces and candles. Not exactly the kind of place for rambunctious little boys.

So, our favorite neighbors offered to keep the boys for the evening. It turned into a sleepover. The boys had a FABULOUS time. You can see some pics here, on the Kerper's blog. They got to eat a cookie while watching a dinosaur movie. They got to borrow Ry's jammies. They got to sleep with "spaceship flashlights". And then, this morning, even though Ryan has cereal at his house, they got to eat pancakes! They have been sooo excited all morning, talking non-stop about the sleepover.

I am so proud of them for being such big boys: not peeing in the bed, not waking up at night with scary dreams, and not missing mom and dad.

I asked them if they remembered their "pleases and thank yous" and my 5 year old said, "Uh. No. My brain kind of forgets about that stuff when I'm having fun."

I think this is probably the first of many, many sleepovers in the years to come.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Emma Joy

Emma should be named Emma Joy instead of Emma Jean. She brings us so much joy. It's been a long time since I've had a puppy, and the first time that my kids have had the chance to live with a puppy. It is sooo much fun (not the pooping in the house part, but pretty much everything else.)

Emma got her first official haircut the other day. She looks adorable. If only I had a camera I could share a picture with you! (We did order one online and hopefully it will arrive before Christmas.)

Emma seems to have a special bond with my 5 year old son. He really, really loves her. He takes time out of his day, at least 5 or 6 times a day, to go over to her and pet her, cuddle her, hug her, love her. He also includes her in his play; she is a sheep or a horse or a cow, (or a dog), depending on what he is pretending. He uses her leash as a lasso and she LOVES that. They play tug of war and fetch and I can tell she really loves him too because when he was sick a few weeks ago, I found them asleep on the couch and she was laying ON TOP OF HIM. Like she had to get as close as she could to make sure he was ok. And when I check on the kids before going to bed, I will sometimes find Emma cuddled next to him in his bed. It is so sweet that they love each other so much.

We had a day early in the week where it was about 64 degrees outside. (Of course it snowed the next day!) But I was so thrilled by the warm weather that I decided to take the kids to the park. (I'm pretty sure its the first time in 9 years of parenting that I took the kids to the park in December.) We took Emma with us. We had the park to ourselves so I let Emma off her leash and she was a CRAZY DOG!!! She chased the kids around and ran up on the play equipment with them. When they climbed the Very Tall Slide, she kept trying to run UP the slide to meet them at the top. She would get about half way up and then slide down backwards. After about 10 failed attempts, she decided to scale the steps of the slide, which she did quite successfully, and then she slid down the slide!!! The kids thought this was HILARIOUS. I think they had more fun watching Emma than they did playing.

She is a very special little dog and we are looking forward to her first Christmas with her. We bought her a stuffed squirrel that squeaks. It looks real, so I think it is going to be a hit as she is always chasing squirrels out of our yard.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baby Joy

I had an ultrasound today so we got to see the baby!!! Everything appears to be growing as it should. It is so amazing to see this little tiny person (11 ounces and about 16 cm) moving around, with a functioning heart and all the fingers, toes and vertebrae that grown-ups have!

In this picture, you can see the baby's profile. It looks like the baby has the same nose as my oldest daughter. But that doesn't meant the baby is a girl -- my nephew has the same nose.


The baby was exercising or practicing some kind of sport during the ultrasound because here he or she is, laying on his or her back, stretching legs overhead and blowing bubbles.


The official due date is May 8, 2009 so you will all have to stay-tuned to see if this is a boy or girl.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

PreK and Turkey Day

My 5 year old son is in PreK, otherwise known as the "Fives Class". We decided not to send him to kindergarten, even though he was old enough, because he just didn't seem developmentally ready. We were able to secure a spot in the 5s class at his preschool (nothing like waiting until the last minute!) and I could not be happier. He loves going to school, loves to learn, is developing confidence and reading-readiness skills. He is in a class of 13 kids (12 boys and only 1 girl!) If he were in kindergarten, he would have at least 20 kids in his class, so I think the PreK environment is much better for him at this point in time. It is so much fun to see him blossom. I love the 5s program, love his teacher and am really glad we made the decision not to send him to kindergarten this year.

Anyway, we just got his school pictures yesterday; preschool is on a different picture-taking schedule than the elementary school. What a handsome little guy!

He sure has changed a lot since last year.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our camera is broken. We will get a new one for Christmas. In the meantime, I have to rely on other people to take pictures and forward them to me. We spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey at my sister's house. The pictures below were taken (courtesy of my sister) on Thanksgiving Day. My 5 year old really, really, really wanted the turkey leg. I didn't think he would actually eat it, but he did! He LOVED acting like a pirate (or some other make-believe manly character) as he tore into the leg. He THOROUGHLY enjoyed the turkey (and the stuffing.)


Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Santa

I found a letter to Santa today. It was written by my oldest daughter:

November 28, 2008

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would like anything you can get me. I would really like a make-up kit and a Wii. I would also like a spell checker but not a Franklin one please. I would also like a make-over. But my budget is $100. (PS: I really know that Santa is your mom and dad.) But I already know about the northpole.com. But I forgot my username and password. I'm not sure if I already have an account. Please send me an email at (my email address) or to (my mom's email address).

OK, so now we are done with the email stuff! Santa, can I have a lip balm in my stocking? Anyway, I believe in this Santa (the one on the internet) and I believe in northpole.com. Anyway, I know who Santa really is -- your mom and dad. You don't have to keep any secrets from me.

By the way, I am in fourth grade.

How cute is she?!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby, Baby

I had a dream last night about the baby. In my dream the baby was a boy; its the second "boy" dream that I've had (and in the past, my dreams were a strong predictor of the gender of the baby.) ANYWAY, he was very, very cute and cuddly and was about 6 months old. He was driving me crazy though because he kept taking off his diaper and peeing on the rugs. There was pee EVERYWHERE and it was impossible for me to tell if the pee was from the baby or from Emma and I was losing my mind. I'm sure it was a dream about my anxiety concerning Emma not being completely housebroken and knowing that a baby is on the way.

In other baby bytes, my youngest son is really interested in the baby, hugs and kisses my belly daily and is always wanting to know how the baby is growing and changing. It is very cute and sweet. (Although I should add that when he got angry with me last week -- I think it was because I said he could not have a granola bar -- he shouted at me, "I don't like you and I don't like your baby anymore either!" Which completely cracked me up but got him into some trouble nonetheless. He did apologize later and said he really does love me AND the baby, which I knew he did.) ANYWAY, when I picked-up my youngest son from bible study today, he had created a placemat for Thanksgiving. He had drawn a picture of what he was thankful for. He was beaming when he showed me the placemat and I asked what he drew a picture of (because it was not obvious) and he said, "It is a picture of your baby. I am thankful for our baby." My heart melted. How sweet. I love this kid. I'll order another just like him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Knew It Would Happen

I should have kept my mouth shut. But I whispered to my husband this morning: 9 days. Emma has gone 9 days without going in the house.

Not even 2 hours later . . . she peed in the kitchen in the very spot where I whispered to him.

What the heck?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Let It Snow

We woke up this morning to 2-3 inches of snow -- which was completely unexpected! It is the really beautiful snow, the kind that just lays on the tree limbs like powdered sugar. Of course pandemonium ensued and I had 4 little crazy kids scrambling to get dressed to play in the snow (this was at 7:20am).

Of course an expected snow means that my 5 year old son is wearing a pink snowsuit and 3 year old son has no snow gloves. And my 7 year old daughter has no snowsuit at all. But hey, at least everyone has boots that fit!

In other news, I am on antibiotics and feeling 100x better.

And, my dryer is still not working.

Oh, and Emma LOVES LOVES LOVES the snow. I was sort of worried that snow would be like rain for her and that she'd start peeing in the house instead of the snow. But she has been outside most of the morning just running and jumping and playing. Then she comes in the house and lays in front of the forced-air heating vent to dry off. And then back out again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

7 Days

I am almost afraid to say it . . . because every time I do I think she hears me and deliberately does it just to spite me . . . but here it goes:

Emma has not pooped or peed in the house for 7 days in a row. This is BIG news. You probably thought she was house-trained. So did I. She was doing fairly well, going for about 2 weeks without an accident. But then it would rain and she hates rain so she'd go in the house instead of outside. So then it would take a day or two to get her back on track. But overall she was doing well, as long as there was no rain to contend with.

But then we went to Florida. And she fell apart. I think it was a combination of being completely out of her routine and the fact that she struggled with her IBD while we were gone. Getting her back on track has been a MAJOR challenge.

I have been keeping track of her accidents. (Yes, if you came to my house and looked at my calendar, in addition to seeing ortho appointments and piano lessons, you would also see poop and pee and tally marks. During the month of October she had 23 accidents in the house. 23!!! That is WAAAAYYYYY too many. So far she is doing better in November with 9 accidents so far (and we are 2/3 of the way through the month!)

I feel like we have turned the corner but I won't say it out loud just yet. My oldest daughter even noticed that as soon as I say how well Emma is doing, she has an accident just hours later. So I will keep my thoughts in my head for another few days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happenings

Not much has been happening here lately, so much for my idea to post daily for the month of November.

Here's a rundown of the mundane things that have occurred since our camera broke (ie, no pics included).

PS: These are not listed in any specific order.

1. My husband and younger daughter just returned from a trip to Ireland. They went over for 5 days because my husband's cousin was getting married. (Many people have asked how we decided which kid got to go. Well my oldest has traveled over twice with my husband and twice with my husband and other daughter. Also, my oldest missed 6 days of school due to pneumonia so we didn't think she should miss any more school. My younger daughter seemed like a good candidate as she has not traveled over just with dad. My older son is a home-body and would most likely be homesick and my youngest is just too young. So we settled on my younger daughter.) They had a fabulous time and my husband had the opportunity to see his siblings and to celebrate his dad's 70th birthday while in Ireland.

2. I didn't have to cook for 5 days. We had Lucky Charms Night; pizza night; soup night; Wendy's night; and then on Sunday I took them to a local fav, Jimmy John's for a late lunch/early dinner. However, now that they are home, I am back to cooking.

3. My dryer was broken for 2-3 days. As a result, I swear every piece of clothing in our house is in the process of being laundered. Which means that I have a LOT of folding to do.

4. Except that I am sick. This is my 3rd day of a fever, cough, feeling miserable. So I called the doctor at 8:04am (they open at 8) and was told there are no more appointments today. So I will have to muddle through one more day and go tomorrow and hopefully get some antibiotics. The problem is that being pregnant, it is painful to cough AND the good OTC meds, the ones that actually work, are restricted when you are pregnant.

5. I saved over $70 at the grocery store this week. I was very proud of myself. I took a Coupon Class last month and feel like I am finally in the groove of using the circular to plan meals and coordinating my coupons with the store sales. Do I think I will keep up with this when the baby comes? Probably not, it takes up at least an hour a week. But for now, I am saving money, which is good because it cost $136.40 to get the dryer fixed.

6. I felt the baby moving last night. Pretty cool. I love that feeling; will never tire of it and it will be a feeling I covet until the day I die.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bouncing the Camera

Let me set the scene for you:

My daughters were at playdates at friends' houses. I was at the grocery store. My husband was in the shower.

The boys were unsupervised.

My 5 year old thought he would tackle his homework: observe the moon and then draw a picture of it. Except that he thought it would also be great to take a picture of it. So he got out the digital camera and started to take pictures. This is where the story gets a little fuzzy. My 3 year old decided that he wanted the camera; I'm not sure if it was a peaceful surrender or hostile takeover, but my 3 year old ended up with the camera and thought it would be fun to bounce it. Yes, he was throwing it up in the air and enjoying the bounce it made when it hit the ground. (I think my 5 year old was enjoying this as well). This is what was going on when my husband discovered the situation.

So he immediately put both boys in bed (it was probably 7:30 anyway) and when I came home from the store I discovered 2 very unhappy little boys and a very broken camera.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Very Happy Voter

I heard there was a long line. So I waited a while. And the line got longer. So I decided to make a day of it: packed a picnic lunch, blanket, drinks, books, and we headed out to vote.

The line was out the door, down the sidewalk and to the curb and threatening to go around the corner.


So we waited. And snacked. And chatted with people in line. It really wasn't too bad. They brought out treats and toys for the kids. And sandwiches for the grown-ups. People were stopping by handing out homemade sandwiches and a woman pulled out her laptop and started playing a movie for the kids. It was kind of fun, festive, like being part of something. But then it started raining and then the fun was OVER. With no umbrella, lots of wind and 4 kids in tow, I was no longer enjoying my voting experience and neither were the kiddos.

You might be wondering why I took the kids with me. The main reason is because my husband is not a citizen (he has a Green Card) and therefore he cannot vote. So I feel that it is my duty to take the kids with me when I vote so they can experience it and hopefully internalize the importance of voting, since not everyone is afforded the privilege of voting.

Anyway, back to the story. As the kids were huddling under the blanket to keep dry,
our local councilwoman came to me and asked if I would like to move up in line, since I had 4 kids with me.

YES!!!!

I really just wanted to get inside where it was dry. But once we got inside she kept going and took me right to the front of the line! Which I felt badly about. I wasn't looking to cut in line, only to get dry. But I decided to graciously accept, knowing that most of the time, having 4 kids slows me down and for once, having 4 kids was actually saving me time.

So when it was all said and done, I waited for 1.5 hours to vote. But would have waited for at least 3 if I had not been moved to the front of the line.

When we walked out of there, my oldest declared that it "wasn't worth it" because we "waited in line forever to be in there for like 2 minutes." I was trying to tell her that it wasn't about the amount of time but about the privilege of voting. Not sure she "gets it" but hopefully she will someday.


I'm happy that I voted.

Milestone

We took the girls to the mall the other day to take part in a milestone that every girl remembers for the rest of her life: the day she gets her ears pierced.


My younger daughter chose gold turtle earrings and my older daughter chose blue metallic ball earrings.

My oldest daughter got her ears pierced when she was 5 but the holes closed-up last year during our month-long battle with lice. She has been asking to have them pierced again and my husband thought it was an appropriate reward for a job well-done at school. However, we had to wait until the end of the soccer season (players are not allowed to wear earrings during games.) My younger daughter has been wanting to get hers pierced but has been too afraid. But she finally put her fears aside and took the plunge.

There were no tears for either girl and they both seem to be enjoying having earrings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The VSP

My son is the Very Special Person this week at school. Basically, he is king of the class for a week.

His teacher sent home a questionnaire for us to complete prior to being VSP. So today she gave him a special seat in the class, with me on one side and his younger brother on the other side. She proceeded to ask him the questions (which he answered previously at home with me) and then she had the kids in the class give a thumbs-up if the answer also applied to them. (For example, my son answered that he has 2 dogs. If anyone else in the class has 2 dogs, they are to give a thumbs-up.)

Let me just start by saying that five year-olds are fickle. Either his teacher thinks that I don't know my son at all OR she thinks I answered the questions based on what I think.

On the original questionnaire, my son answered all the questions and I recorded his answers. Of course I expected that he would give the same answers today to his teacher. WRONG!!!! His teacher read the questions and then asked my son to answer them; of course his answers were entirely different from what he told me last week!

Teacher: Where do you live?
Son: I don't know.
Teacher: What house number? Or do you know the street name?
Son: No. Nope.
Teacher: What town do you live in?
Son: I don't know (as he shrugs his shoulders).

Now is it me, or would you be embarressed too??? The kid knows where he lives, house number, street name AND town. Maybe even knows his phone number too.

Next question.

Teacher: What is your favorite food?
Son: Mac and cheese.
Teacher: Well mom says your favorite food is apples.
Son: Yeah! Apples too.

I am sure the teacher was thinking that I was trying to make it seem like I give my kid healthy snacks when in reality he eats boxed food. But he really did say apples!!! Now of course, it looks like I am a liar or possibly that I am living in denial.

Teacher: What is your favorite thing to do at home?
Son: Watch TV.
Teacher: Well mom says here that you like to jump on the trampoline with your brother.
Son: Yeah, I like to do that. And watch TV. Mostly TV.

I should point out here that he gets to watch ONE SHOW PER DAY. However, he was sick last week with an ear infection in both ears and had a fever for 3+ days. So I relax the TV rule when someone is sick; that person gets to lay on the couch and watch as much TV as they want. So he had just come off a TV high, which could explain his love affair with television.

I could go on but I think you get the idea of how the Very Special Person embarrassed his mom on his very special day.

It could have been worse. At least he said his favorite TV show was Zooboomafoo (a PBS show). He could have come out with something really awful that would have made me crawl under the kiddie-sized tables.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NBPM

November is National Blog Posting Month. So this means I am supposed to blog every single day for the month of November.

Hmmm. Not sure I have THAT much to say. So we'll see. Maybe I will (if I am feeling chatty) or maybe I won't (if life gets hectic.)

Anyway, there should be some good stuff this week as my 5 year old is Very Special Person this week in his class. This means that I get to stay in his classroom EVERY DAY and help with whatever is going on. I will also have my 3 year old with me so I'm not sure what I will be doing: helping 5 year olds or keeping my 3 year old from making chaos in the 5 year old classroom.

PS: No school Tuesday due to Election Day! Yay! I love a day off!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Soccer Season

My husband and oldest daughter

He was her coach. How CUTE is this picture????

The soccer season came to a close today. I know, I've been a terrible blogger, not even mentioning it until now. But that is a good thing because now you get an overview instead of a blow-by-blow description of the season.

My oldest and my 2 youngest played soccer this fall; it was the first time for all. The boys were part of the Little Player League, which means they mostly played skills-type games (kick, run, jump, etc.) They did not play a real soccer game until the very last day. I thought it would be a good idea to sign-up the boys to play together: they'd have each other and I could combine 2 practices into one. On the first day of practice they had a blast and were so excited to "tell Daddy" all about it. But by the second week, my younger son REFUSED to play. At all. Sat on the sideline for an HOUR, without complaint! I couldn't figure out what was going on with him, he seemed to just lose interest.

Well, as we were sitting on the sidelines about a month into it, he told me the reason he didn't want to play was because his older brother was better than he was; faster, could kick the ball more, and just a better soccer player. If he (youngest) couldn't be the best, he had no interest in playing! I just could NOT believe that I was hearing this from a 3 year old!! I tried to explain that his brother is 5 and therefore faster and more coordinated but my words were useless. He was NOT going to play. Nope. Nothing. I couldn't bribe him. I tried: Gatorade, pizza, withholding the team soccer shirt, etc. Nothing worked. The kid did not play again at all. What a waste of $80! However, my older son really enjoyed playing and really loves his team shirt and soccer socks and shin guards so the $80 was well spent on him.

Then there is my oldest. She's 9 and it was her first time playing soccer. Fortunately, there was another girl on the team who was also brand new to the game. It was not an easy season for my daughter, even though, or maybe because, my husband was her coach. It took a few weeks for them to "get it right" meaning, they (husband and daughter) had to find the balance between conversation and blame about what happened (or didn't happen) during practices and games. So between being a new player, hurricanes and tropical storms (raining out games and practices), and getting pneumonia, it was hard for my daughter to really get in enough field time to hone in on her game. But she didn't complain and persevered and they played a tournament game today and now the season is over. (Which is good because it is getting too cold to sit outside and listen to my 3 younger kids complain about not wanting to be at a soccer game.)

Today's game was quite unusual. I am not a sports fan so you can count on me to give you only the necessary details.

It was a tournament game that went into overtime because no one had scored. After overtime with still no score, the referee reduced the teams to 4 on 4 with no goalies. Still, no one scored. So for the next overtime period they cut the teams to 3 on 3, still no goalie and still no score! So for the NEXT overtime they cut the teams to 2 on 2, no goalie. It was starting to get dire. The poor girls were running all over that field, it is much too large for 2 on 2! They would kick the ball and there would be no one there to receive it. I was starting to think that this was going to go on forever. Yet another overtime period passed, still 2 on 2 and then FINALLY the other team scored a goal. While it was disappointing to lose after all that, it was a bit of a relief. Had they won, they'd be playing again at 12:30 today and they were already completely exhausted after such a long morning game.

So now that soccer and Halloween are behind us, we can look ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! Yipee!!! What is better than Thanksgiving dinner followed by weeks of baking Christmas cookies?!

The Phillies with Phil


Shane Victorino, Mike Schmidt, QVC Host, Cole Hamels

My next door neighbor, Bec, works in broadcasting for QVC and was working on a show selling Phillies memorabilia. The show aired last night and involved a live studio audience so my husband had a chance to go with Phil to see the Phillies. Phil got a baseball signed by Schmidt (Phillies MVP 1981 World Series) and Cole Hamels (2008 MVP). When my husband found out that Bec got the ball for Phil, he wanted to know what he was going to get -- I told him that just going to the show was gift enough.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick-or-Treat

It was a great night for Trick-or-Treat, not too cold, and it started with a neighborhood party to kick things off.

As we were heading to the party:

My daughter's friend dressed as Mrs. Dracula;
My oldest dressed as a hippie;
My youngest dressed as a dinosaur

Then:

My 5 year old crying because his older sister took the treat bag that HE wanted to carry. (As if it matters! What is more important? The treats or the bag???)

After the party my husband took the kids Trick-or-Treating (or Halloweening as we used to call it when I was a kid) while I stayed home to hand out candy. We started out with 125 pieces and ran out of candy at 7:30pm so I guess I need to buy more for next year.

My younger daughter went Trick-or-Treating with a friend so I took this pic when they came by for some candy.

My daughter is supposed to be a campfire. Note the flames, twigs and marshmallows. Unfortunately, the sweater somewhat obscures the effect of the outfit. Also, she took off the red/orange wig that looked like fire. I have to give credit for this costume to Bec, it was her idea and indeed her costume at one time. (Bec is the campfire, Phil is the girl scout, how clever is that?!)


After Trick-or-Treating for a while, we switched. My husband stayed home with the boys (who were tired) to hand out candy while I took my oldest daughter and her friend back out to get more candy. My daughter kept getting mistaken for Pocahontas, even with the Peace Symbol on her face, so I decided to take the braids out of her hair. Once I did that, people seemed to realize right away that she was a hippie.


When we got home, my daughter weighed her candy bag and it came in at over 6 pounds!!!!! Can you IMAGINE???? Here is just SOME of the loot:

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree . . .

In October (this would sound so much better if it were December):

5 pediatrician visits
4 kids
3 rounds of antibiotics
2 ear infections (3 ears infected, split between 2 different kids)
1 bout of pneumonia

Let's hope November is a healthier month!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Head Gear

I've written about the orthodontic appliances so I thought you might finally like to see what it looks like. The photos below are self portraits:




Check back over the weekend for updates and pics: Halloween parade and parties at school; Halloween party at our neighbor's house; Trick or Treat; and a soccer tournament. Should be a fun and sugar-filled weekend!

You Know You're Really Tired When . . .

. . . you fall asleep sitting up in the middle of the afternoon . . .



Poor guy has given up his afternoon nap (months ago) but sometimes he just runs out of steam and falls asleep at a moment's notice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home Alone

We had Family Movie Night recently and we watched a family fav: Home Alone.

Now my boys are obsessed with setting traps for would-be robbers:


I have tried to get over/under the tangle in the mudroom, to no avail, I've been stuck more than I'd like to admit. So then I tried disassembling the "trap". But it reappears again within an hour or so. As I type they are setting up a "pumpkin trap". This involves taking all of our pumpkins (8 or so) and assembling them on the floor in an obstacle-course type manner. Oh, and the other morning when I went to the gym at 5AM, I went out the back door but attempted to come in the front door. MISTAKE! There was a trap set and I banged right into it and woke the whole house. At least I know my house is somewhat burglar-proof now!

In this photo Emma is sniffing the "trap" because her leash is part of the trap and she is trying to figure out if this means she is going for a walk or not.


And on a Completely Unrelated Note: I am SO TIRED of Political People coming to my door and asking me who I am going to vote for! I am now telling them that I refuse to answer. My grandmother used to tell me that there are 3 questions you should never ask anyone, and if you are asked, you should never answer:
1. Your political affiliation.
2. Your religion.
3. Your age.
I can't say as I am bothered by talking about any of the above but I do resent it when a stranger comes to my door demanding to know who I will vote for.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And Baby Makes Five . . .

Yes, you read that correctly! BABY! We are expecting our 5th child to arrive in May!! May 8 to be exact. However, I have been late with every baby so I don't expect this child to arrive until at least May 15.

The kids are SUPER EXCITED about having a new baby! Here's a sampling of the comments from them when we told them the news:

Oldest Daughter: Yay! Are you going to have the baby at home? Please say YES, Please say YES! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! (I had home births with my middle two children so she wants me to have another home birth since she is now old enough to want to participate.)

Younger Daughter: (Looks at both my husband and myself with a look of almost-disgust) and says, "That is just weird. I mean WEIRD. Well, I guess its good but its just weird."

Older Son: After jumping up and down and cheering and shouting and going nuts says, "Dad! Stop! You are tapping your foot and it is going to wake our baby! Our baby is sleeping and you have to be quiet!"

Younger Son: Is I going to be big brudder? (We tell him yes) and then he shouts, "Yes!" while doing a triumphant arm-pump. (He does not like being the Littlest Guy so he is VERY excited about becoming a Big Brudder.)

Very cute reactions. They are so sweet, always wanting to know what the baby is doing right now and how the baby is growing. They even talk to the baby even though he or she can't hear yet (and they know this) but they still like talking to and kissing my belly.

In addition to getting a new brother or sister, my children will also be getting a new cousin because my sister is due to have her second baby at the end of April. So it will be pandemonium at family holidays with 7 grandchildren under the age of 10.

My oldest daughter really loves babies and kids and wants to have lots more. Today she asked me how many more I think I could have. I was sort of being vague because I think that five is probably enough. But she kept pressing me. She asked if I could have 18 babies like the Duggar Family on tv. I told her that I definitely could NOT have 18 babies. So she said how about 12? Nope. 10? Doubtful. But she was pretty much set on 10, figuring it wouldn't be so hard to get to 10 if we have some twins. While I don't think I can give her 5 more siblings, I'm really happy that she wants to share everything she has with her current and future sibling(s)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Parade

Tonight we headed out to the Annual Halloween Parade. This is a MUCH ANTICIPATED event. Not only is it a sugar-rush, but it is a trial run for the Real Halloween Costume.

My little guy kept asking, "Mom? What is I again?" He couldn't remember if he was a dinosaur or a dragon . . . in case you can't tell . . . he is a dinosaur. My daughter's costume needs some explanation. She looks like Little Red (or Blue) Riding Hood but she is actually a Princess. It was cold so she is wearing a sweater over the costume. The Princess thing was last-minute. Her Real Halloween Costume is not ready yet so she had to settle for wearing last year's Princess costume. Tune in next week to see pics of her oh-so-unique Halloween costume that we are (or will soon be) working on.

And next we have the Power Ranger and the Hippie.

My daughter was too cute. I'm not sure she really knew what Hippie meant because she kept telling people she was going to be Hip Hop. Then Hippie Hop. In the end, she was mistaken for a Mexican Dancer. We most certainly need to work on this costume before October 31. A trip to the Salvation Army for some authentic 70s stuff should do the trick. If all else fails, I will paint peace signs on her cheeks.

We went to the parade with our next door neighbors, how cute is this little guy????


And his little brother is just as cute. He is dressed as a "Nurse In Training" which is pretty clever since his dad is a nurse.


My daughter was very proud of herself for doing her own make-up for the evening.


Don't you just love Halloween costumes that are warm and fuzzy and have built-in gloves? I guess you would not love that if you lived in a warm climate but I can't think of anything better for October in the Northeast!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to School

My oldest daughter has finally returned to school after 6 days off (7 if you count Yom Kippur but there was no school that day.) Long story, short version: she developed a fever that just wouldn't go away. On the third day of the fever I took her to the pediatrician and they said it was viral, "just wait it out." So the poor child laid on the couch for DAYS, not moving, not eating, just sleeping and watching TV. I took her to the doctor AGAIN on the sixth day of the fever but they still couldn't find anything wrong so they sent her for a chest x-ray and it turns out that she had pneumonia. So she started on antibiotics but it still took another 36 hours for the fever to go away. She has been resting and taking it easy and seems to be recovered.

So she went back to school on Monday. She was really anxious about returning after missing 6 days. She gets sick to her stomach when she is anxious so she was having stomach pains but I had no choice but to send her. She ended up having a GREAT DAY! She came home and was upbeat and enthusiastic and not at all stressed about missing schoolwork. Her teacher called me that afternoon to tell me that my daughter worked super-hard to get caught up and said they (classroom teacher and learning support teacher) had a plan for her to get 100% caught up and gave me a few things to follow-up on at home. Her teachers were amazing at getting her back on track and helping her feel good about the work she doing to help herself get caught-up. I cannot even believe this is my child! My daughter never feels confident about school but she seems to have matured recently and seems to be taking it all in stride. I am so very proud of her.

Anyway, sent her back to school on Monday only to get a call from the school (and of course my first thought when I saw it on the caller ID was that someone had lice!) later in the day. The secretary told me that I needed a doctor's note because my daughter had missed so much school. Fine, whatever. I told her I'd call the pediatrician and ask for the note. I explained that they would mail it because it is a 20 minute drive to the doctor's which is too far to go to get a note. The secretary asked if I could have the doctor fax the excuse. Ok, whatever. I didn't really see why the school needed the note ASAP. I mean its not like I was going to fabricate one. It's not like I took my daughter to Aruba for a week and now have to figure out a way to procure a doctor's note. But I said I'd ask them to fax it; afterall, I don't want to get a reputation as a Difficult Parent. So I hung up and called the pediatrician's office and explained the situation. They said it was no problem to write an excuse note but said it IS a problem to fax the note because it violates the HIPPA/privacy laws. So I had to then call the school and explain that they would have to wait for the note to be mailed as the doctor's office would not fax it. Is my doctor the ONLY one who refuses to fax these things???? Why would the school ask to have it faxed if it violates privacy laws to do so? Beaurocracy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One More Thing

I just want to point out that we have passed the 1 year anniversary of getting lice. That was a dreadful experience and I hope to NEVER have to go through it again. Thankfully we have not been plagued by them yet this year, despite plenty of other kids getting them. I am checking their heads DAILY and using Tea Tree Oil in their hair to ward off the lice. It seems to be working, but that could just be coincidence.

School Pictures

It's that time of year again! This year's pictures seemed to turn out much better than they have previous years. Not sure why, but it is nice to have a decent picture, for once!

My 2nd grade daughter:


My 4th grade daughter:


You can see how much they have changed since last year's photos by clicking here. You will probably be able to tell that my oldest daughter is now conscious of her looks, ie, the up-do in this year's photo versus wearing glasses in last year's. Just wait, she will be asking to wear make-up in next year's photo -- to which the answer will be NO!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Magnificent Planet

Ok, I know this might seem random, but sometimes I look around me and see so many beautiful things that I just can't help but feel thankful that we live on such a magnificent planet. Especially when things in the world seem like they are out of control, it is nice to appreciate things that don't cost money, you can enjoy them just by looking at them.

These photos were taken yesterday at the orchard. This is one of my favorite trees EVER. I know, most people don't have "favorite trees" but I do. This tree is unusual and really stunning when you see it from a distance. I am not a photographer so I know this photo does not capture the beauty of this tree. But I love it and enjoy driving past it and have been wanting to take a picture of it for a long time.



Another stunning sight yesterday were these mums:



And now that I have pondered the loveliness of life, I am going to go do something mundane, like laundry.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

The kids were home from school today (Yom Kippur) so we took advantage of the warm, sunny day and headed to the pumpkin patch.



But after mucking through the pumpkin patch,



they decided that they'd rather choose pumpkins from the bins:








Then, a group picture:



And then another, this time with me: