Wednesday, December 29, 2010

just for chatty cricket

I thought of Chatty Cricket when I took this! Also when it ate my 40 pence today while I was trying to make a phone call and I called it a "stupid bugger." Just because it sounded cooler.

I'm also going to say "rubbish" from now on instead of garbage. Additionally, I shall be going to the bathroom in the loo from now on. I asked for a restroom and they looked at me like I had two heads. Oh, and a skim coffee is a skinny- don't you love it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

four!

Big Ben! Parliament! Westminster Abbey! Buckingham Palace! The National Gallery! Hyde Park! It's all been stunning and fabulous and we are having the best time.

For now, though, I'm here to wish my beautiful sweet boy the happiest birthday ever! Worst mother ever, right? I went back and forth on whether or not we should be traveling over Gabe's birthday, and although I'd love to be with him today, truth be told, he doesn't even know today is his birthday. We celebrated it a few days early with cake and gifts and lots of hugs, and we'll celebrate it again on Friday, and then again in school, and then again with a small party in January. I think he'll get plenty of birthday fun, and a happy mom and dad is probably more important to him, so for now, I'll push my mother's guilt to the side.

So... onto more important things (written the night before I left for London)...

To My Dear Sweet Gabriel,

Happy Birthday!

Four years old! How is that possible? How can you be growing up so fast? I can almost believe it, though, because I see and hear the ways you are changing. Your speech is more complex, your mannerisms are more grown-up, you're getting taller, stronger, more coordinated
every day. You're wonderful and amazing and funny and the sweetest son we could ever wish for.

My favorite part of the day is when you come down the hall in the morning and climb into my bed. You snuggle up against my side and whisper, "Mama..." into my ear, and I just melt. For now, at least, you are so affectionate, so loving, so ridiculous disgustingly adorable, it just kills me. You hug and kiss me constantly, and want to climb onto my lap to snuggle with me. You love to be "comfy cozy" and we'll get under blankets and watch movies or read books, and
sometimes Josie will come and sit with us and you'll kiss her and say, "Hello baby girl!"

You love your sister to death, although since you two are interacting and playing together all the time now, there are also many moments where your screams and complaints drive me crazy. You love to run and laugh and tackle each other, and you are such an excellent big brother, teaching her, sharing with her, being (mostly) patient with her. You tell her you love her and get upset at bedtime if she won't give you your nightly besito and abrazo.

You adore your daddy too, and seeing him play with you and enjoy your company is such a treat. Last night you asked him if he missed you while he was at work, and when he said of course he did, you said, "yeah, I miss you too." You tickle each other and laugh until you can barely breathe, and you tell him stories about your day and of course, Buzz Lightyear.

What would we do without Buzz Lightyear? He is your one true obsession these days, and shopping for you has become the easiest thing ever because all you want is Toy Story All The Time. You're hilarious because you tell us complete stories about what Buzz said or did or what you think Buzz might do if he were here. You are growing up so fast and gaining this amazing imagination, it is such a pleasure to watch.

You are the most amazing blessing to us, Gabe, and I thank God every day that you're my son. You are so sweet and easy-going and happy, and I pray you stay this innocent and content forever. You are perfect and wonderful and gorgeous and brilliant. The things you learn every day astound me.

Tonight I told you that you were the most perfect Gabe to me, and I was so thankful that you were mine, and you told me you didn't want anyone else to be the same Gabe as you. You don't have to worry, my sweet boy, no one could ever be you. No one could ever take your place in my heart, and forever and ever and ever, you will be my baby.

I love you,
Mama

Saturday, December 25, 2010

happy chrismukkah!

Happy Holidays everyone!

We're off tomorrow morning, well, this morning actually, and I'm proceeding to freak out over planes going down and terrorist threats and well, pretty much everything.

I know I shouldn't be thinking about all of this, but since it's my first time leaving the kids for longer than 48 hours. And definitely my first time leaving them on an overseas flight with Josh on the same plane, I am giving myself a bit of leeway to have a little breakdown. I even wrote them each letters, morbidly, just in case.

I figure if I really plan for every possibility, then it won't happen. Right? That's totally the way it works, isn't it?

Here's to a wonderful holiday season for each of you! And a happy new year too! (although I plan to update before the new year) And here is to a safe and happy trip for Josh and I! At least London has called off the snow long enough for us to arrive! Hurray! Wish us luck!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

seriously Josh, go away

London! London! London!

That is pretty much what the inside of my head is looking like these days! London! London! London! I forget, and then I remember, and I'm bursting with excitement all over again.

If I manage to keep this a legitimate secret until Saturday, it'll be a freaking miracle. I was relatively safe because Josh was in Germany for his company's holiday party all this week, but still, I've already slipped on so many occasions because I want to talk about it all the time. I've already accidentally said that we are going on a non-stop flight, which totally narrows down the field. Then yesterday, he called me from Frankfurt because he was concerned his flight was going to be canceled due to snow, "Yes, I said, as a matter of fact... oh... nothing." "What?" he said. "No seriously, never mind," I insisted. "Were you going to say that the place where we're going is also closed due to snow?" he asked. "No, not at all," and then I changed the subject because that is EXACTLY what I was about to say. Ugh. Idiot.

I am very concerned about the snow situation, not because I care about being in London with snow. In fact, snow would make London more magical and beautiful, in my mind, but all London airports were closed for most of this weekend, and THAT, my friends, is alarming. I wouldn't mind being stuck in London once we're there, but I do not want to be delayed. I have pubs to be visited, changing of the guards to watch, teas to be drunk, markets to be explored, accents to be imitated.

I've rented a flat for us in an area not too far from the center of London. We rented an apartment in Prague and it worked out beautifully, so I'm trying it out again. Hopefully the apartment is as described, and the transportation is as easy as promised. I'm scouring the guidebooks for an itinerary that will work for us, and besides the must-sees, I plan on us spending lots of time people watching, relaxing, and enjoying the city.

London! London! London! Off to re-watch Notting Hill, Love Actually, and maybe The Holiday. Can I throw in any more movies set in England? Set in England at Christmas time, even better! Ack!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

josh, if you're reading this, step away from the computer

I don't need to tell you that being a parent is sometimes hard. Often times, draining, even frustrating. Staying connected to your spouse can be difficult. As one of my friends keeps reminding me, "those little suckers will take it all, if you let them!" Josh and I are not immune to that strain, although we both do our best to make our relationship a priority. Still, newborns and infants and toddlers are REALLY FREAKING DEMANDING, in case you didn't know.

Florida was great, warm, exciting, and I have so many stories to tell you about Disney World, and cute children, and of course, what vacation of ours would be complete without a trip to the Emergency Room? We're working on hospital "Platinum Status." After our 10th visit, the 11th co-pay is free. While it was crazy fun, it was crazy stressful too. Remember, we went to Sarasota for 4 days, Orlando for 5 days, Sarasota for 2 days, Orlando for 2 days, Sarasota for 2 days, and Fort Lauderdale for 3 days. Oh, and except for Thanksgiving day, and the two days we spent at Disney World, Josh worked every.single.day. sometimes from 7am until 9pm at night. I was ready to tear my hair out by the end, and I think the kids are still adjusting to life at home and regular schedules.

Josh and I were bickering, a lot. Spending the little bit of time we spent together not speaking because we didn't want to continue arguing in front of my in-laws or the kids. It stunk, in many ways. By the end of the trip, I felt so exhausted by the whole situation, I started counting the hours until I was back in my house. Thankfully, THANKFULLY, things have been great since we've been home. Back in our own environment, we reverted back to our regular non-stressed selves and things are fabulous. Everyone is thrilled to be home.

But, all that bickering reminded me that we need to spend time together, sans children, just us, staying connected as a couple, enjoying each other's company. So... I asked my parents if they would watch the kids for us if I could find a deal for us to get away for a couple of days. Even better, my mom said, I'll fund the whole thing if you two will get away. And so we are.

TO LONDON!!!!

I know! I know! I'm jumping up and down over here!!!!! I've always, always, always wanted to go to London. Always, seriously, it is on my "Life List" of things to do before I die (which reminds me I need to post my incomplete list and maybe you all can give me suggestions). Anyway, I spent 2 straight days researching packages and found an impossible to refuse, ridiculously inexpensive flight to London, and so WE'RE GOING!

But shhhhhh! Josh doesn't know! I'm planning the whole thing as a surprise getaway, and all he knows is that he needs to take off of work and be ready to go. Today he told me it was "totally obvious we were going on a boat." Um, what? Apparently because I told him he couldn't work while on vacation, and that there wouldn't be wi-fi where we were going, we're going on a cruise. I guess it doesn't occur to him that I just don't want him to work while we're on a romantic vacation. Go figure.

So throw your advice at me! Have you been to London? Do you have must-see tips? Our housing isn't totally cemented, but I'm looking at the Notting Hill/Kensington area, because HELLO? I'm obsessed with the movie. Big Ben! Parliament! Double decker buses! Here we come!

Monday, December 13, 2010

happy birthday josie!

To My Sweet Baby Girl,

I find myself at a loss tonight, on the eve of your second birthday, trying to find the words to tell you what joy you have brought to our lives.

You are wonderful. Funny. Beautiful. Smart. Charming. Fierce. Stubborn. Loving. Joyful. And more, much much more. Several times every day, I wish I had a video camera to capture that look, your lilting little voice, the hilarious things you do. You are such a devil and so sweet, all wrapped up in one person.

Your brother loves you, even when you follow him around stealing toys from under his nose. He'll turn to you and say, "Oh baby girl, I love you!" just two minutes later.

Your father is utterly charmed by you, and I catch him sneaking hugs and kisses all the time.

And me, well, you make me crazy on a regular basis because you are so strong-willed and curious and busy, but I am so proud of you, it almost hurts. You are my little muffin, my Jo Jo, my Josephine Jellybean, my littlest monster, my love, my baby. I am so stinking lucky to be your mom.

You are amazing.

I love you with every fiber of my being. Remember that always.
Mommy

[Pictures to Follow]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

even more of a gleek

I still walk around the house yelling "HIT IT!" to Josh, who still looks at me like I'm crazy when I bust into song.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should.

I also want those boots. And that skirt. And those legs. And maybe the hair too.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

on being thankful

Remember a year ago? When I admitted I hated our neighborhood and hated living here, and felt like the house was out to get me with the illnesses and the accidents and the breaking stuff? I forget, did I tell you that part? Let's pretend I didn't actually believe that. My husband, because he is a saint, told me that if I gave it a year and I was still miserable, we would move, even if it was a crazy thing to do.

Amazingly enough, just knowing that we could move in a year if I still felt awful was enough to make me feel better. Not perfect, but better. And then I gave it time, and effort, and patience, and things actually did start to get better. Gabe stopped going to school in our old town so I wasn't driving an hour every day to preschool, and I started spending time in our own community. Over the summer I walked around the neighborhood and took the kids to the park and the beach and met people and came out of my shell and made friends. I asked perfect strangers if they'd like to do a playdate or grab coffee, and with time, I found a little circle of friends. Josie and I joined a playgroup, I started a book club, I came to love our neighborhood. I came to be incredibly grateful for the move and the house and the changes we've made.

Don't get me wrong, I still occasionally go to our old neighborhood and look at the smaller houses, closer together, right on the subway line, with sushi and ice cream in walking distance, and I feel a tiny pang of sadness, but I am positive that this move was the right thing for our family. The right thing for my children, who already have so much more than I ever had in my life.

Just remind me of this the next time I sound like an ungrateful bitch, okay?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

maybe I should use the Hanukkah bush for kindling?

You guys. OH MY GOODNESS, you guys. Josh is going to kick. my. ass.

Yesterday, a friend called me to say she was ordering some firewood and it was far cheaper to just split it and pay one delivery fee, so did I want to go in on her firewood with her. Greenhouse dried, very reputable guy, popular in our town firewood, so I said, "um, sure!"

I love fires, but if I'm telling the honest to goodness truth, I only buy Duraflame-type logs. Or actually not even Duraflame, but some even more ridiculously expensive Whole Foods brand of coffee grounds compressed logs. Needless to say, these logs are so expensive, we don't burn a lot of fires.

Anyway, we have our new house which has two working fireplaces (which reminds me, I owe you some pictures) and I thought, now is the time to start buying real firewood. Our garage is also large enough to house the wood, so what the hell. We'll try it.

She said we would be splitting a cord of wood, and bless her heart, it turns out she similarly had no idea quite how much wood a cord of wood is but she assured me it wasn't much. Until 3:30pm today when she called and I answered and she said, "you're going to kill me." A cord of wood is a SHITLOAD of wood, it turns out. And half a cord of wood is really only marginally less than a shitload of wood, and we're back to the above- Josh is going to kick. my. ass. when he gets home and sees this insane amount of wood sitting in the middle of our garage. The pile literally comes up to my waist and takes up half the garage. Is this right? Is half a cord of wood really this much?

Anyway, the man who sold us the wood was lovely and kind and gave me several pointers on how to stack the wood and how to burn the wood and when I told him I'd planned to stack it on a tarp, he told me in exquisite detail why that was totally incorrect. And then we pulled out a wooden pallet from my basement and he cut it in half with his chainsaw (for free) so I'd have two firewood width pallets for the wood. I've spent 3 hours stacking it (so far) and we're still not even halfway done. I am in so much trouble. I actually considered going to my neighbors trying to get them to buy some wood from us, but it was too cold and I think I'm in denial.

I don't even know how to make a freaking fire with real firewood! I tried tonight, with the kids watching over my shoulder exclaiming over my every move, and it just puttered out pitifully. I even watched some instructional videos, and no luck. Anyone want to exchange firewood for fire-burning tips?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

some firsts

I know we've discussed before that Josh is Jewish and I'm Catholic, and not surprisingly, December is a tough time of year for us. Or well, a tough time of year for me. When we were dating and it became abundantly clear very early on that this relationship was for the long haul, we agreed we would pick one religion for our children rather than have the kids attempt to celebrate both Christianity and Judaism. For many different reasons, we ended up choosing Judaism, so the kids are being raised Jewish. Since Judaism passes through the mother, they were both converted when they were a few months old with a ceremony and a party and a dunking under water at a traditional Jewish bath.

It has worked out for us, and it turns out I am an excellent fake Jew. One of my friends works at a temple and she says regularly that I'm more Jewish than most of the Jews she knows, so my kids seem to be doing just fine. The real trouble is, however, you don't realize how much of your childhood memories are tied up in religion until you can't celebrate those things anymore. No Easter baskets, no references to Santa Claus, no Christmas trees, no advent wreaths, no midnight masses. When I was a practicing Catholic, I went to church every week, did youth group, was a lector at church, participated in tons of holiday events. It has been a huge change for me to raise children who aren't Catholic.

Last year, I found myself feeling particularly sad as the holidays approached. I felt as if none of my childhood rituals were being passed down to my kids, as if I had nothing to share. It was a difficult December, especially with the multiple hits of the stomach flu and ear infections. As December came to a close, I sat down with Josh and told him something had to change. I cannot feel this way for the rest of my life, and as we often do when issues come up, we talked about what changes we can make.

After much gnashing of teeth and discussion, we are going to incorporate some of my traditions and call them by different names. Last year we colored Passover eggs with the kids, and although I suspect Josh was a little uncomfortable, it worked, the kids had fun, and I was happy. This year, for the first time ever, we are trying out a "Hanukkah bush". We will be decorating a small tree with silver and blue Hanukkah ornaments, most of which I suspect we will make with the kids. Doing something like this is controversial, for sure, and I expect to hear some negative comments from our Jewish friends and family, but I feel strongly that everyone has to do what works for their family. We'll try it this year and see whether it works or not, and maybe do things differently next year.

We'll also be celebrating Hanukkah, of course, with songs and cookies and community events and latkes and stories. I'm not too worried about the kids, especially because that's why we're here. If there is ever any confusion, we'll explain it. And then we'll explain it again. And again, if we need to. Hopefully this year will be a happier year for everyone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

gleeked out

Did you watch Glee tonight? And if you didn't, why the heck not? Holy smokes! Glee is awesome!

Well, their final song reminds me of my all-time favorite wedding moment EVER! My BFF from law school, let's call her M, was dying to dance to Umbrella as her wedding song with her husband. He looked at her like she was a lunatic, so she told her dad about how disappointed she was. Of course, because her dad is awesome, he said, "well, then we'll do it ourselves!"

So for her father-daughter dance, they started off with a regular old slow dancing dance, and about halfway through, BUSTED A MOVE to Umbrella. None of us knew, and I am not kidding you when I say, I laughed until I cried. It was awesome, on so many levels. Not the least of which both M and her dad are unbelievable dancers. It was crazy and amazing and so much fun. Just like my wonderful friend!

Ok, now go watch tonight's episode of Glee! Love love love!

Monday, November 15, 2010

at-ti-tude

Josie spilled her cereal snack on the living room floor tonight and as I surveyed the mess, I said, "Uh-oh, you need to pick up all that cereal, Josie."

She answered, "No, mommy pick up my cereal. I no wanna pick up my cereal. Mommy pick it up."

Um, excuse me? I assured her that I would NOT be picking up anyone's cereal and she could either pick it up right that minute, or go up to her crib for some quiet time. Without responding, and without making eye contact, she walked over and started picking up the cereal. But I swear, she refused to acknowledge that I'd asked her to pick it up! It was as if she was willing to do it, but didn't want to let me know she was doing it just because I was making her do it!

Oh, the teenage years are going to be SO MUCH FUN.

Friday, November 12, 2010

buzz better be on his best behavior

In other AMAZING news, we are leaving for Florida on Thursday! For 2.5 weeks! I know! Crazy! I am slightly concerned about the whole staying with in-laws for 2.5 weeks thing, not because I don't love my in-laws (because I do), but because staying with ANYONE for 2.5 weeks could be challenging.

For any would-be home robbers out there, Josh is staying here for a huge chunk of that time and then we have house guests for the rest, so don't even think about it.

Anyway, our schedule is psychotic for the trip. We are going to Sarasota for 3 days, then Orlando for 6 days, then back to Sarasota for 2 days, then back to Orlando for DISNEY (more on that later) for 2 days, then back to Sarasota for 3 days, then on to Fort Lauderdale for 3 days. And then home. Phew. I'm exhausted just writing that. I'm hoping for good weather and well-behaved kids. If I have the well-behaved kids part, it can rain every single freaking day for all I care.

Most exciting out of that whole trip is that rite of passage for parents and their children- Disney! I am ridiculously excited. RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED! I keep picturing Gabe's little face when he sees the castle, when he rides It's a Small World, when he sees BUZZ LIGHTYEAR! He may pee his pants. Seriously. We decided, after not much consideration at all, to leave Josie with my in-laws. I've been shocked, honestly, at the amount of flack we've gotten about that decision, when to us it was a no brainer. Josie would think it was fun, she definitely would, and you know, maybe she'd be great. But in our minds, we are going for 2 days, and trying to make the most out of those 48 hours. This means non-stop walking, rides, long and possibly hot days, and crowds. Josie won't remember, and she doesn't know characters and she is hesitant about rides. She isn't going to love it the way we KNOW Gabe is going to love it.

We never get to spend one on one time with Gabe, and I am looking forward to every little second I get to spend alone with him. I plan on inhaling that tiny little person, holding the tiny little hand, eating up every word he says. I cannot wait. He is at this perfect age where he is excited about everything, but scared of nothing. He doesn't get spooked by scary rides or pirates or ghosts, and he loves all characters, girly or boyish or in-between. It's going to be awesome.

I have my encyclopedia of Disney information, and we're going at what should be one of the best and least crowded times of the year (first week in December), and we're making all our final reservations and plans now, but I'm still looking for more advice. We've done Disney without kids before, but never before with little ones. Please do share all your tips! In return, I'll share any secrets I learn while we're away! In particular, did you have a favorite hotel that didn't cost a fortune? Also, is there a way to get cheaper park tickets? Those suckers cost a fortune!

Oh also, did anyone take preschoolers to Disney Hollywood Studios? We're considering it just because of the Toy Story ride, but I hadn't planned on it initially. Should we just do Magic Kingdom for 2 days?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

am I going to start talking to myself soon too?

A couple of weeks ago, October 22nd to be exact, I found myself looking at opening night of Paranormal Activity 2 and no one to go with. I tried to convince my college roommate to go with me, since she and I go to all the scary movies, but she refused. Something about babies in the movie and her being pregnant blah blah blah. I asked around, but most people met my question with a horrified stare akin to me asking them if they ate puppies for breakfast.

So, I went alone.

It was my first solo movie ever, and I was a little nervous, but I'd recently seen this cute little video about learning to embrace being alone without being lonely, so I thought, what the hell. I'll try it.

It was, well, great! I did feel a little bit like I had leprosy, if I'm being honest, because of that whole ridiculous buffer we put between us and other people in movie theaters, so while the theater was packed, I had several empty seats around me because no one would sit next to me. And there were a couple of scary parts in the movie where I pulled my knees up to my chest and glanced around me wondering if anyone would try to kill me. And I did sprint, actually SPRINT, to my car afterward in case anyone decided to attack me. But besides that, it was great!

So great that I decided to do it again tonight. I was bummed because I mistakenly made plans to go see a musical with friends on the same day that I am throwing a baby shower. I know, DUH. I'm not entirely sure how it happened because I was the main planner of the musical outing, and went to pick up tickets at the theater and planned lunch with friends and didn't realize until today that the shower was Saturday rather than Sunday. The DATE I PICKED FOR THE SHOWER. I know, I know, I don't know how this happened either. Obviously the shower is light years more important, but still, I was seriously disappointed.

Anyway, I called Josh and told him about my foul mood and he suggested I go out tonight. Grab a coffee, go read a book, see a friend, whatever. I started to call a couple of people, and then remembered that I'd been dying to go see The Town, and figured, why not go see it alone? I got a cherry Pepsi, a popcorn with gobs of butter, and some fruit snacks. A dark theater, no one asking for anything, and it was PARADISE. A margarita would have helped, but this was pretty darn perfect.

I might be getting addicted to solo movies! It was so much fun! And since Josh hates movies, it lets me see what I want to see but then spend my friend time chatting with friends rather than sitting in a dark theater. Win win situation! The Town was good, too, in case you're wondering. I highly recommend.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

life as I know it

This is going to sound crazy, but sometimes I look at my life and feel surprised. Isn't that strange?

I mean, I met this man when I was 19. He was more boy than man, if I'm telling the truth. I fell in love with him, and we did the typical dating/engagement/marriage by the time I'd turned 24. Twenty-four! And now it's been 12 years we've been together, 8 married, and I can't believe this is my life. In a few short years I will have been with him longer than I was without him, and I cannot imagine my life without him. I don't even remember what it was like without him, and that is crazy.

I wonder sometimes, how did I know? How could I have known that this boy would become this wonderful husband? This amazing partner? This loving father? I wonder how I could have known that we would get along so well, love to spend time together, have shared values, be able to make it work. Was it just luck?

Don't get me wrong, he drives me crazy sometimes. Sometimes a lot crazy. Sometimes I feel like checking into a hotel and taking a vacation from everything, but that feeling always passes and I'm back to thanking my lucky stars for this life. These beautiful children. This unbelievable friendship. This person who tells me all he wants out of life is for me to be happy. That he'll do anything to make sure we're all happy. Isn't that nuts? And I always wonder- What did I do to deserve this?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

josie jellybean

I neeeed idea help, pretty pretty please!

I need to think of a theme, asap, for Josie's birthday. The problem is, this girl doesn't really play with toys or watch television. I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but I swear it is true. She will occasionally look at baby dolls in passing, but besides that, she floats all over the house throughout the day, not playing with anything in earnest.

My friend was saying this wasn't possible, but I narrated for her what a 15 minute span looks like:

Josie climbs on the coffee table, leans over the side, figures out she can do somersaults this way. (2 minutes)

Leaves for kitchen, drags chair over to counter, climbs up until mom takes chair away. (30 seconds)

Goes upstairs, disconnects noise machine. Brings noise machine down. Returns upstairs, retrieves cord for noise machine, brings it downstairs. (1.5 minutes)

Investigates what Gabe is doing, disrupts his play, gets yelled at by him, runs away with key piece of equipment, Gabe chases her down and steals it back. (2 minutes)

Goes into bathroom, turns on water, attempts to "wash hands" while really splashing water all over the bathroom. (1 minute)

Scales front hall closet cubbies, gets a hold of Mommy's purse hanging from high hook. Hides behind chairs in living room, removes all items silently. Distributes credit cards into the heating vents. (4 minutes)

Time out. (2 minutes)

Wait, did I already do that coffee table thing? Let me try it from the kitchen table too. (1 minute)

Time out. (2 minutes)

Seriously, this is what OUR WHOLE DAY is like. The thing is, I UNDERSTAND she is likely bored, but what am I supposed to do? Crafts aren't appealing, cooking neither, toys don't cut it, and television- don't even bother. Unless we are outside, she is causing mischief. It is lucky this little bugger is sooooo cute and funny or else she might be out on the curb.

But back to my original problem, what am I going to do for her birthday? I was originally going to do a monster theme- sort of cute and funny monsters. Mainly because I call her my little monster. I had lots of ideas for making primary colored monsters, and sewing little monsters for favors for the kids and having "me want cake" posters around the food table and stuff like that. Could be cute, right?

Then I thought, what about Sesame Street monsters? She does know who Elmo is, so I'm tempted to go with the regular old tried and true toddler theme. She only knows Elmo, though, no other characters, and really only in passing. It isn't like she'll watch him for longer than 2 minutes. She will call his name out when she sees a picture of him, so she does like him. And Elmo themes are really cute and easy with lots of cute games.

Maybe a cupcake theme? The birthday invites could say "our little cupcake is turning two" but where else would I go with that theme? Games? Decorations? I don't feel like I can run with it.

Lastly, her lovey is a mermaid. I could do an under the ocean theme with mermaids, but she totally won't get it and a mermaid party when she's a bigger kid could be super fun so I'd hate to waste it.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

awesomely awesome halloween

Behold! Some pictures!

This year was a crazy Halloween weekend for us, which was a change from our boring normal life. We ended up having 4 parties in one weekend, one Friday afternoon, one Friday night, one Saturday afternoon, and another Saturday night. Plus a visit with friends on Sunday morning and then a dinner with friends on Sunday evening before trick or treating. Isn't that absurd? I am a definite anti-over-scheduling person, and this weekend was beyond ridiculous for everyone involved. We were all exhausted by the time Sunday night rolled around. Exhausted, but happy, because it was a super fun weekend.















We all dressed up for our family party, and Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk have really expanded their family since we last saw them 6 years ago. Gabe was Buzz Lightyear, of course, and Josie (in case you can't tell) was Mr. Potato Head. Her costume was homemade, a fact of which I was inordinately proud. I initially wanted to make her costume, then with all the accidents and Josie's surgery, I finally accepted my own limitations and decided to buy her costume instead. I ordered the cutest little ladybug costume, it arrived last week and I hated it. I tried to make it work, but in the end, I made an emergency run to the fabric store on Friday afternoon and spent naptime sewing it up.




I'm shockingly thrilled with the results, and she got the most compliments of any of the kids around. As we were walking around the neighborhood on Sunday night, several women referred to her as an "adorable little tater tot". I'd have to agree.






And then we have our "angry" pumpkin that magically appeared at our house on Sunday morning. Or at least, that is what Gabe thinks. My right hand begs to differ after it took me 2 hours to carve it. We went to this fabulous pumpkin patch to purchase our pumpkins, but those stinking pumpkins are made of steel. Good lord, they were hard to carve.

Last, but not least, we had a milestone around here. Gabe carved a pumpkin! And loved it! That's my boy!


So now tell me, what did you all do for Halloween?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

voting for preschoolers

Have you guys explained voting to preschoolers? I sat down with Gabe and made a good attempt, but I'm not sure the message got through.

The best I could do was that we get one day to tell our leaders who we'd like to be our leaders (i.e. the people in charge) and how we'd like them to do things. So we go down to the school and write what we want them to know on paper and turn it in (i.e. voting). Then they count everyone's votes and see what we think.

Is there a better explanation? So confusing! When we got to the school, though, he was super bummed when he realized he wasn't going to get to vote, although what the heck did he think he was voting for anyway? I told him he needed to be able to read to vote (we'll deal with the age thing later) and he cracked me up when he said, "Yeah, because I can't read the instructions now. I definitely need to be able to read the instructions."

Thoughts?

Monday, November 01, 2010

11 months to go

Gabe came downstairs to find a huge pile of Halloween decorations on the living room floor. It takes me a whole day to pull everything from the corners of the house, organize it, and then pack it all up into their orange and black containers (we have a LOT of Halloween decorations). He surveyed the pile and asked what I was doing with everything out, and I told him it was all going away because Halloween was over and wouldn't be back until next year.

"But I want it to stay!" he said sadly, "I love Halloween!"

Me too, buddy. Me too.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween!

In a moment of bravery, I took the kids out on Thursday night to a Halloween event at a cute little farm sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It was called Tales of the Night, from 6-9pm, and was perfect for kids. We wore costumes, brought flashlights, and wandered around the dark farm on a moonlit night, exploring the different exhibits for kids.

There were owls, spiders, and scorpions on display, along with your typical farm animals like chickens and goats, most of whom were looking at us as if to say, "who are you? Why are you dressed like that? And what are you doing here so late?" The stars were out, the night was warm, and the paths were lined with carved pumpkins and white lights. Besides interesting animals, we saw old Mother Goose plays like the Three Little Pigs and Miss Muffett and Little Bo Peep. The kids LOVED it, and I had a pretty good time too.

There was even a haunted hayride, which I didn't realize was haunted until we were already on and it was too late for us to get off. Thankfully, a continuous pep talk from me kept either Josie or Gabe from freaking out, even as characters dressed in costume jumped out at the tractor and pull. Poor Josie kept looking up at me from my lap and asking, "Eees pretend? Mommy, eees pretend? Eees scary, Mommy!" It was adorable, honestly, even though I was a little worried both kids would be up at night with nightmares.

We had only one moment of worry from Gabe, when we passed one of the haunted scenes, and a girl was trapped in a spider web and a man dressed as a spider circled around her as she screamed for help. I told them over and over that it was just pretend, not real, but Gabe whispered as we passed them, "But Mommy, it's not pretend, it was MOVING." Poor little thing, it took a lot of convincing for him to believe it was a man in a costume.

Luckily, everyone had a great time, no one had any nightmares, and the whole trip was a success. As we were leaving, though, in our final moments at the farm, of course Gabe informed me he had to pee with 30 seconds of anticipation. I ran full speed with him, the stroller and Josie to the bathroom, but just as we opened the door, he said "uh oh" and I turned to see pee spreading across the front of the costume. His non-washable Buzz Lightyear costume. The non-washable WHITE Buzz Lightyear costume we went to multiple different stores to find. Sigh. I wish I could say I had a fabulous parenting moment where I totally kept my cool and didn't freak out or anything, but I'd be lying. I was, for better or worse, really pissed, and ended up yelling most of the way home. Of course, I feel horribly guilty about it now, because logically I know he is only 3, and he hasn't had an accident in months, and he was having such a great time he didn't want to interrupt it by going to the bathroom, but regardless, it was frustrating, and spending the rest of the evening hand-washing his costume and hoping it would survive didn't make things any better.

The costume survived, the night was salvaged, and lesson learned, I will force him to pee when we're doing super fun things, even if he insists he doesn't need to go. The farm was super cute, though, and definitely put us in the mood for more Halloween fun. We've been carving pumpkins, attending costume parties, and of course, tomorrow (or I should say, today) is the big day with tons of candy to be eaten and fun to be had. I'm watching my fill of scary movies, and the kids are eating their body weight in treats.

I'll post costume pictures as soon as possible!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

can 22 month olds have attitude problems?

Um, wow. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to learn that the IRS has determined breast pumps don't fall under a "medical expense," even though acne cream and denture adhesive counts. But I AM surprised. Go ahead, take a few minutes to read the article.

I breastfed my kids for almost 12 months and 18 months, respectively, and it was a huge commitment, both emotionally, time-wise, and financially. A pump, different sized pump pieces, storage bags and more storage bags and more storage bags, not to mention the herbal remedies I purchased to try to increase my supply. I can totally understand why not everyone would want to or be able to breastfeed, because holy smokes, it is very challenging.

I'm shocked, therefore, to find that even though the American Academy of Pediatrics would advise them otherwise, that the IRS wouldn't deem a breast pump worthy of a tax break under the flexible spending plan. I don't think breastfeeding is right for everyone, but I do think it is worth supporting and definitely should be covered as a medical expense. Well, at least my insurance paid for my pump for Josie, and hopefully it'll be covered next time.
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In other, totally unrelated news, Josie's repeat hearing test was today and 100% normal hearing! YIPPEEEEEE!

I'm not sure about the balance issues, though, for the last few days she's been falling as much as usual, but I'm still keeping fingers crossed. Speaking of breastfeeding, it apparently didn't help my kids with their ear infections, even though it was supposed to.

She's also had a couple of nose bleeds, which the ENT said must be related to her adenoid spot healing. Isn't that kind of odd? Has anyone else experienced this?
_______________________________________________

Thanks for the advice on the leash. I'm hoping this is just a stage and she will eventually start listening, or else it is Baby Boot Camp for her. Well, it is probably Baby Boot Camp for her regardless, because this child is a little pistol. During her hearing test, she was pointedly ignoring the audiology technician when she was asking her to look at the puppet or at the light. Finally, without lifting her head, Josie snarled "NO" when the woman asked if she could hear her.

So positive result on the hearing, negative result on the attitude. I am not looking forward to the teenage years, I'll tell you that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

maybe she'll be an olympic sprinter, hopefully not a thief

Folks, I have a problem. Well, I guess I have more than one, but let's focus on the one.

Josie is a bolter. She runs. All the time. Everywhere. And she also doesn't stop when you call her.

One would think the obvious solution is to never let her out of the stroller, and I do agree, this is a reasonable solution and one I employ most of the time. There are times, however, when it is inconvenient or difficult to bring a stroller along. She also has learned how to undo straps and slither out of her stroller, no matter how tight we tie the straps. It is a skill we did NOT encourage.

I try to hold her hand all the time too, but given her propensity for dislocating her elbow, I can't hold onto her hand very tightly, and if she makes her body go slack, I have to let go because I'm so scared of another dislocation. This means that we've had a couple of instances where she was able to get me to let go and then took off running, and that little sucker is FAST.

Tonight, we were walking from the library to the car, and I let go of her hand when library books started sliding out of my arms and she began running straight toward the street. I dropped the books and took off after her, screaming her name, while Gabe tried to grab her dress and pull her down (he's used to trying to stop her). I caught her, but she was close to running into the street. And I FREAKED.

I am always firm about the running. I've tried being calm. I've tried positive reinforcement. I've tried yelling. I've tried talking to her. I've even tried spanking out of desperation. None of it works and I'm at a loss for what to do! This is too serious of an issue for me to mess around with. Running away from me in a store is one thing, but in the street?

Any advice? Thoughts? I do realize this post puts me at risk for my favorite commenter coming out to berate me, but whatever. I need the help! Throw all your ideas at me, please!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

getting into the spirit of things

Ahhh, look! Another week of no injuries! What a relief to be able to post something happy for a change!

We had a lovely weekend of Halloween parties, dinners with friends and family, and a fun little outing to downtown Boston. We loaded the kids onto the train into the city and walked around Boston Common for an hour or so, before loading the kids up and coming back home. It was short, but perfect for a 3 year old and 1 year old who are thrilled with the excitement of trains and hot chocolate. What could be better?

This week I'm just trying to gear up for my all-time favorite holiday, of course! To tell you the truth, I've never been less excited for Halloween, and I suspect it has to do with the events from the past few months. I have been in a constant state of overwhelmedness since June, I think, and it took me forever to find my excitement for bats and witches and pumpkins, oh my! Finally, FINALLY, though, it is here, and I plan on living it up until Sunday night.

Tonight we're all carving pumpkins, and I have Halloween/Fall activities planned for pretty much every day this week. Gabe is thrilled because he's been asking me if he can start celebrating Halloween, um, YESTERDAY. I've clearly been slacking in my parental duties. I literally just ordered Josie's Halloween costume. Oh, the horror! (I'd actually planned on making her costume, but yesterday I finally threw in the towel and admitted it wasn't going to get done. I'm pushing aside the guilt because really, I am cutting myself some slack)


Plus, you guys, Boston is showing her COLORS right now, and it is stunning. Who wouldn't feel autumn happy and Halloween excited?

















Do you see the bride with the red balloons in the background? Adorable! Plus, the kids aren't bad either.









Friday, October 22, 2010

maybe I can pretend it is an ornament

The Good News: Josie (fingers crossed) has STOPPED FALLING. I know, I know, too soon to tell, but really, the change has been rather dramatic. I've had several people comment on the change because she is really and truly falling far less than she was. She has even managed to correct herself from falling when she does start to teeter. That never happened. Never.

The Bad News: Of course, another injury. At least it wasn't one of the children! I have to take my blessings where I can get them.

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On Friday, I took my parents to Salem, Massachusetts so we could experience some of the Halloween/crazy people who love to roam the streets in the witch trial city. It was surprisingly tame for being only a couple of weeks away from Halloween, but regardless, we had a good time.

At one of the kitschy witchcraft shops we browsed through, they happened to be selling something called "witch's balls." Wikipedia has a better description than I can provide, but it was basically a pretty colorful hand-blown glass ball, with strands of glass criss-crossing the inside of the ball. It looked a bit like a spider web inside, and was rather pretty. The description on the display said that witch's balls were traditionally hung in windows and were thought to attract evil spirits with their beauty and those evil spirits would get trapped inside the strands of glass.

Is it terrible that the first thing I thought was, "Oh geez, I need one of these."? I mean, I think we can ALL acknowledge, we have had more than our fair share of bad luck. Things have been a little bit crazy, a little bit frenzied, a tiny bit STRESSFUL, maybe? I do keep reminding myself that although upsetting and annoying, we have (thus far) avoided serious or long-term illness. It could always be worse. We are very very lucky in so many ways.

Anyway, the glass ball cost $20, which I guess wasn't soooo much money, but it was too much for me to be spending on a random strange superstitious probably piece of junk, so I didn't get it. But I lingered over it, and thought about it, and kept wondering- could it hurt? Why not?

I chuckled over it, laughed a bit with my parents, and then dismissed the glass ball as silly and unnecessary. After Sunday, however, I'm thinking a drive back to Salem may be in order. $20 or not, I'm willing to try anything at this point. Josh called me from work today and said he'd done a survey at the office and 100% of his coworkers said GET THE BALL. My girlfriends said ha ha ha, no seriously. GET THE BALL. My parents said, GET THE BALL. So what the hell. I may end up GETTING THE BALL.

I'll let you know how it goes. I'll also be doing some serious research for house/people cleansings. And buying stock in Percocet. Sigh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

keeping the sanity

Theoretically, if I were thinking about being super pro-active and buying birthday and holiday presents up front, do you have any ideas for the following individuals?
- Four year old boy
- Two year old girl
- Husband who doesn't like anything
I'm thinking maybe Playmobil and Lego stuff for the boy, and doll stuff for the girl? I don't know, she isn't super impressed by dolls yet, to be honest. She likes them fine, but she isn't fawning over them. My gratitude runneth over for your always excellent ideas!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

another day, another ER

Sunday, at his soccer game, Josh dislocated his shoulder.

Yes. Let me give you some time to process that pretty tidbit.

For those of you keeping score, that is 9 traumatic injuries since June. NINE.

I am selling my whole family on Ebay. Clearly, these folks are defective.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

recovering

We survived!

I will admit, however, the whole day was far worse than I'd anticipated. The preparation and actual surgery weren't as bad as I'd thought they would be, although having to hold her down while they put her under was painful and sad. I found myself fighting back tears when I took the elevator back up to the pediatric floor to meet Josh, but the hour passed quickly and before I knew it, the ENT called me from the operating room to let me know the surgery was a success.

I walked down to the recovery floor and encountered a hysterical baby who continued to scream for the next 4 hours without stopping. Worse still, there was another family on the pediatric ENT floor who was prepped at the same time, went down to surgery at the same time, and sat with us in the surgery waiting room while we waited to be called in to the OR. While I was holding my screaming baby, their baby was wheeled into the recovery room, and STOPPED BREATHING. It was a horrific, terrifying few minutes, while the anesthesiologist screamed at all the nurses and they reintubated him and began a whole series of procedures to get him stable again. I stood in my little cubicle with a screaming Josie in my arms and cried as I thought of his parents waiting upstairs. Parents who had no idea what was happening with their baby.

It was one of those moments, you know? Where you realize that your whole life can change in an instant? The crying was awful and heartbreaking, but things could be SO MUCH WORSE. I was wheeled up to the main floor where Gabe was waiting, and I told Josh the story while we watched the parents through the glass in the waiting room. Another 20 minutes passed before a doctor came up in person to talk to them, and they left to go to a private room where I assume their son was admitted. We stayed for another 3 hours and didn't see them again. I've been sending up some prayers today that their son is safe and sound and totally fine tonight.

Josie has been slowly improving throughout the day, although it has been rough. Lots of tears, a bit of blood, a decent amount of coughing, and complaints of pain. She's finally asleep now, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be way better. Regardless, though, my sweet girl is sleeping peacefully upstairs, safe and sound and healthy, and I couldn't ask for more than that. Thanks for all your positive thoughts!

Monday, October 11, 2010

my sweet girl

I was feeling totally Zen about the surgery tomorrow, until NOW. I'm freaking out a bit and feeling totally anxious and stressed. I think it has quite a bit to do with the fact that I just finished a call with the ENT's pediatric nurse and she gave me all the pre-op instructions and a description of everything that is going to happen.

I know it sounds silly, but as I was rocking her tonight and kissing her forehead, I kept thinking this was her last night with adenoids. Tomorrow she'll be changed for good. Crazy, I know. I've never thought about adenoids before in my life!

I keep telling myself this is all for the better, but right about now, only the reasons NOT to have the surgery are on my mind. Too late to back out now, right?

Sigh. Some positive thoughts and prayers would be much appreciated, pretty please!!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

hopefully, it is the right answer

Over the past several months, I've posted about our ear infection situation. We've had lots. Maybe 10-15 over the last year, probably close to 20 since Josie was born. The obvious answer would be tubes, but the thing is, her ears seem to clear between infections, so she hasn't seemed to be a great candidate for tubes. We've just been hoping she would outgrow the ear infection situation as her ears mature and the Eustachian tubes change position.

On Wednesday, I had an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor because a friend of mine finally pointed out the list of Josie's symptoms that could all point to the same area:
Repeat ear infections
Endless illnesses
Poor weight gain
Severely enlarged tonsils and adenoids (did I mention this?)
Noisy breathing
Loud talking and lots of screaming
Terrible balance (DING DING DING DING)
The doctor looked at my list of symptoms, blinked twice, and asked why we hadn't been referred sooner. Then we did a hearing test, and shock of the century for me, Josie has mild hearing loss. She also tested terribly when it came to fluid in her ears. Apparently her ear drum is totally firm with fluid, even though she hasn't been sick in months.

All of this added up to a scheduled surgery for Tuesday morning to remove her adenoids and put tubes in her ears. I'm not thrilled with this diagnosis, but I do feel relatively peaceful about it. Something has to change. I think we can all agree that the repeat accidents for Josie (the falls, the breaks, the dislocations, the FREAKING stitches), it HAS TO END. The balance situation has to change. None of us can face another winter full of ear infections, pain, crying, and antibiotics. I resisted this as long as I could, and now it is time to face the reality of the situation.

Both Josh and I were shocked and upset by the hearing loss diagnosis, because her speech is so great, we never assumed the ear infections were affecting her hearing. The audiology technician said, however, she never seen a kid with this much hearing loss who didn't have a speech delay. Huh. So who knows what is going on with Josie? Maybe she compensates by yelling, maybe my voice happens to be in the range she hears, maybe she hears as if she is under water? Who knows!

We're pinning a lot of hopes on Tuesday, though. Hopefully we'll have less illnesses, less infections, less screaming, less pain, and please dear G-d, less falls. I'd like for her to stop walking like a drunken sailor, my goodness. It has been almost a full year since she started walking! I'd like to have one afternoon without a near miss accident. I'd also like for her to stop suffering from ear pain and start gaining some weight (she hasn't gained in months).

Now I just have to make it through the actual surgery, which the surgeon said will take about 45 minutes. She'll have to have general anesthesia and be intubated, so I'm a bit anxious, but trying to keep calm about it. She's a tough little girl, so I have no doubt she'll come out of it swinging. Wish us luck, pretty please!

those sedatives she got at the hospital look pretty good

We have remained injury-free for a whopping 4 days, and I am starting to be able to catch my breath again. My shoulders were so tense, they were almost touching my ears over the weekend.

Thankfully, now my parents are visiting too (first time in 10 months!) so I have another 2 sets of hands and eyes to watch out for injuries. Keeping these two kids safe is a multi-person full-time job. My mom keeps asking me breathlessly, "How do you do this alone?" It doesn't help that Josie NEVER STOPS. Never ever, never.

My daily running commentary goes something like this:

"Josie, get down from that chair."

"Josie, don't climb the desk."

"Josie, stop hanging on the oven handles (or dishwasher handles, or fridge handles)."

"Josie, get out of the toilet."

"Josie, stop running. No, stop running. STOP RUNNING!" (rinse and repeat 10,000 times per day)

"Josie, get off the table. Get out from under the table."

"Josie, leave the front door alone."

"Josie, don't climb out of the stroller/high chair/grocery cart."

Did I tell you we call her Houdini? It doesn't matter how or where or what you tie her into, this girl gets out. She is a master at undoing straps and slithering out of any restraint situation. A MASTER.

Just yesterday, she was safely strapped into a restaurant high chair, and my mom had the nerve to say to me, "Oh, she definitely can't get out of this one." Not 5 minutes later, Josie says, "Mommy, look at me!" and she had slid out of the restraints, hoisted herself out of her seat, and was holding herself up over the seat (kind of like a gymnast on the saddlehorse thing) and dangling her body in mid-air.

The thing is, she does all of this in seconds, so if you divert your gaze from her for even a moment, like perhaps when you turn to Gabe to ask him to finish eating his quesadilla, that is long enough for her to climb out of her seat and perform circus tricks.

It is a real gift.

I am really and truly considering getting some kind of harness for her to tie around my wrist, and only the worry that people will think I'm some kind of child abuser keeps me from purchasing it. I'm wondering, though, what if I put a sign on her that says:

One broken wrist.
Two dislocated elbows.
Stitches between my eyes.
My harness keeps me safe and my parents sane.


Or something like that, will people still judge me? I wouldn't change her for the world, but I'm hoping her balance improves as time goes on. I'm also hoping she develops a healthy fear of falling, and SOON.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

if he says "sh*t," then I'll take responsibility, but this time it wasn't me

I'm not sure where Gabe heard it, but we've had some episodes of him saying the word "stupid". It has been a totally incorrect usage, although one time he did call his sister a "stupid dog," but he said it in an affectionate tone. Almost as if he thought it was a term of endearment. Anyway, regardless of the usage, I've made it clear that it isn't a nice word, and is totally unacceptable.

Last night, we were getting ready for bed and he was playing with some little figurines, and one of the men referred to his toothbrush (I know, random) as stupid.

Me: What did you say?

Gabe: I didn't say it, the man did.

Me: Did you say stupid?

Gabe: The man said it, not me.

Me: Remember when we talked about how stupid isn't a nice word and we don't say it?

Gabe: (exasperated) I told you, it was the man.

Me: Well, the man is going to have to go away for a while if I hear that again. We don't say stupid, it isn't nice. It isn't a word we use.

Gabe: I'll talk to the man about it. I'll let you know what he says.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I may never leave the house again

In another plot twist entitled OF COURSE THIS HAPPENED TO US... we spent another whole entire day in the EMERGENCY ROOM.

We stopped by a Gymboree store for the start of one of their sales, and Josie kept running away from me in the store. I told her to stop several times and finally said I was going to strap her into the stroller, so she ran behind the counter, tripped, and fell straight into the corner of an open drawer.

The extraordinarily sharp, razor edged, metal corner of the open drawer.

RIGHT BETWEEN HER EYES. On the bridge of her nose.

I heard the employee say, "Oh she fell!" and I heard Josie start crying. And then I heard another woman say, "Oh God, her face!" and my heart sank, and then my friend turned to me and said, "She definitely needs stitches."

By the time I made it around the counter, blood was pouring down her face. Everyone started handing me towels and tissues and bandages, but one look at her nose and I knew we needed an emergency room. It was disgusting. A huge open gash, indented in the center and then several cuts radiating outward with blood pouring down her face. And possibly a broken nose, from the site of impact.

I thought I might throw up for a minute, as blood dripped through my hands and down her shirt, and then I pulled it together, asked the woman to remove everything from my stroller where I'd been piling possible outfits, and rushed out the door.

Josh gave me directions to the closest hospital since we'd met a friend at a faraway mall, and I sobbed the whole way, and tried not to freak out as Gabe offered helpful narration from the backseat about how Josie was touching the gash and rubbing blood all over her face.

By the time I went to pull her out of the car seat, her face and hands were covered in blood, which in retrospect, got us checked into the ER rather quickly. Josh was on his way, so I fielded the initial check-in, and before we'd even been examined, he arrived to help with Gabe. I demanded that plastic surgery be paged, because this was a serious cut. In face, it was many different cuts, and right smack in the middle of her face.

The nurse was rather rude initially, even though I asked VERY nicely, and it was more of a suggestion really. He said it would be up to plastics whether they would come or not, and they might not think it was "worth it" to come down, and they might not respond to the pages, and it would be up to them. Josh and I said we'd really feel much better if they'd at least look at the cut, and he was super dismissive and insistent that they might or might not come. When Josh finally got a little annoyed and said that plastics refusing to come to even look at her face was unacceptable, the nurse just stood up and walked out before repeating again that it was up to them. Umm, okay? The resident and his attending agreed with us, though, thankfully, and agreed to page plastics since "we don't like to mess around with cuts like that."

Plastics, however, didn't answer the first FOUR pages from the ER, which oh my goodness! Are you really allowed to do that? In the meantime, Josie wasn't allowed to eat or drink. The poor thing was exhausted since we were missing her nap, and after 4+ hours waiting, I finally turned off all the lights and rocked her to sleep. Of course, 15 minutes after she'd fallen asleep, the nurse arrived to put in her iv. 10 minutes later, plastics FINALLY arrived- hurray! And said they were going to sedate her to put in the stitches.

From then on out, things went smoothly. Plastics was great, the attending had a baby girl about the same age and knew exactly how to talk to Josie. I was allowed to stay until they put her under, while Josh and Gabe waited in the waiting room, and 20 minutes later, we were done. The sedation wasn't bad at all, although seeing her go under, with her eyes looking all twitchy and strange, and then her coming out of it and acting totally drunk, was uncomfortable and not exactly something you love to see as a parent. The actual process, however, was not as terrible as I'd anticipated and she seemed most bothered by the blood pressure cuff, and then later, by the removal of the tape and heart monitors.

Another couple of hours later, and we were finally dismissed, 7+ hours after we'd arrived. It was a long, awful, no good, horrible day, and I suspect that tomorrow I will collapse into a sobbing disastrous heap. So many emotions are competing for space- relief, horror, sadness, gratitude, anger, where to even begin.

Tonight, though, I will be thankful for my safe, sleeping children in their beds. Tomorrow I will worry about scars and follow-up visits, and how the heck I'm going to keep her from touching the stitches. Tonight I'll just be grateful for those tiny stitches and nothing more. And I'll be closing all our open drawers. And buying some bubble wrap.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I wonder who McSteamy is

A coworker of Josh's heard some women in the bathroom referring to Josh as "McDreamy".

Now, on the one hand, of course I'm flattered on his behalf. I too think my husband is hot.

On the other hand, shouldn't I be somewhat alarmed? Do I need to spend a little more time visiting his office?

Monday, September 27, 2010

done. through. finished.

What was I saying about feeling relaxed and refreshed and Zen and all that? Apparently, I needed it, because Josie dislocated her OTHER ELBOW tonight.

I took the kids to the mall with a friend tonight to get out of the rain and let them run around a bit. All 4 kids (both of mine and both of my friend's) were acting crazy. Really batshit nuts and running all over the place and yelling and tickling each other and acting generally hyper. We asked them to calm down several times and threatened a bit and took away privileges, but something was in the air, so finally we packed them all up and left.

In the car, I lectured Gabe for a few minutes about appropriate behavior and why he was losing his Buzz Lightyear toy for the rest of the night and why he wouldn't be allowed to read any books, and blah blah blah. He acted all apologetic and understanding, so I decided I could risk a quick stop at the Container Store for some drawer organizers. It would be 5 minutes, I reasoned. It'd be okay.

Everything seemed fine, and I spent a few minutes picking out the drawer organizers, while Josie and Gabe chatted and laughed. Josie was strapped into the cart and Gabe was standing next to her. All of a sudden, Josie began shrieking in a bloodcurdling manner, and I looked up to see Gabe let go of her arm from the other side of the cart where he'd been pulling on it. She cradled her elbow in her other arm as the tears began pouring down her cheeks and she screamed, "Gabe broke arm! Gabe broke arm!"

I stood there, stunned, and literally seeing red. I was SO mad, I was actually afraid of what I might do in that moment. I just couldn't believe it. I threw what I had in my hands into the cart, while Josie continued to scream, "Gabe broke arm!" and in a moment of what I assume was shock, I PAID FOR THE STUFF (which seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?) and then walked out. As I was walking, I called the pediatrician and left a frantic message asking whether there was anyone still in the office (it was evening, by this time) or whether we should go to the emergency room. Then I called Josh and told him to meet me at the hospital. I spent a horrid few minutes slowing inching Josie into her car seat while she screamed, and then I strapped Gabe into his seat and then screamed at him like a crazy person as I started driving to the hospital.

It was not my finest parenting moment.

A few minutes later, my savior of a pediatrician called back and told me to bring her to his house. Did you read that correctly? He told me to bring her to his house so we wouldn't have to go to the hospital. He gave me directions, and 15 minutes later we were there, and 15 seconds after that, her elbow was fixed. She didn't even cry after that, although she repeated approximately 87 times, "Gabe broke arm! Sorry Josie. Eees okay. Gabe broke arm."

Sigh.

So much for feeling ready to take on the world. I may be booking another trip to Myrtle Beach for next weekend. Right after I wrap both kids in bubble wrap.

the zombie look is totally in

In a moment of pure and glorious selfishness, I decided to attend a dear friend's wedding this weekend ALONE. Totally and utterly alone, as in sans husband and children.

It was... well... FABULOUS.

The wedding was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I left on Thursday afternoon and returned Sunday morning. Josh's mom was kind enough to come out on Wednesday to watch the kids while Josh worked, and then he took over on Friday night and Saturday until my return on Sunday morning.

My outrageously fun law school girlfriends were there, and we had the best time. I haven't laughed that hard or that often since our ridiculously crazy girlfriend's bachelorette party in April in Vegas. Remember? The crazy bride who made me take seductive dance classes?

We did an impromptu bachelorette party on Thursday night with hibachi, a karaoke bar, a piano bar, and a dance club, and stayed out until 3am. On Friday, we had a small shower and bridal lunch, then I spent most of the day sitting by the pool overlooking the ocean, reading a book and drinking pina coladas. I know, I hate me too. We followed up with dinner, miniature golf, and then another crazy night at the Myrtle Beach dance clubs until 4:30am. That same ridiculously crazy friend from above (T), did her signature seductive dance moves up on a platform at the club, and ensured that I was LITERALLY beating all the guys off of us with a stick. I flashed my ring and told guys I was married so many times, I actually scolded her and told her to stop attracting so much attention to us.

When we returned to the hotel at 4:30am, we learned the hotel had given away our room reservation (insanity, I know), so after using our combined legal expertise, T finagled a free upgrade to a 2 bedroom suite, with a living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry room, a gigantic terrace, and even a doorbell! It was so huge, our other friends went ahead and canceled their own reservations and moved in for Saturday night.

After waking up at NOON on Saturday, we ate pancakes at a local greasy diner and then took a swim in the ocean. The water was gorgeous and warm and the sand was soft and the company was lovely. We pulled ourselves away from the beach with no time to spare to get dressed and attend our friend's wedding. It was intimate and fun and I've never seen her look happier, and we danced until we were beyond sweaty, and then I stole every last sea star and sand dollar from the decorations and brought them home with me.

The rest of the night was spent down at the tiki bar, laughing, enjoying beachy drinks, and ordering pizzas. We finally retired to our room, where we decided to stay up for the rest of the night (yes, I'm still yawning), until it was time to drive me to the airport for my 6:30am flight. We sat out on the giant terrace and talked, and talked, and TALKED about anything and everything until it was time to go. We definitely soaked up every last bit of friendship during the time we had. It was amazing.

I was, however, totally fried all day yesterday. I basically stumbled through the airports in Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C. and Boston. I fell asleep before the plane took off and woke up when it landed, and could barely stay awake during layovers. Josh and the kids were sweetly excited to see me and had planned out a fun breakfast, and I barely kept my eyes open while eating before collapsing at home for a multi-hour nap.

It is great to be home, and I did miss Josh and the kids, but man, it was so nice to get away and worry about only myself for 3 whole days. I feel so peaceful and happy and relaxed, and ready to get back to my regular life. And best of all, I feel like me. Fun, and funny, and energetic, and interesting, and refreshed. I spent 3+ years never leaving Josh or the kids, and finally taking a little bit of time for myself feels really great. And thank goodness, being home feels even better. And best of all, this weekend, my parents come to visit for the first time in 10 months! Now I just need to recover enough to finish all these house projects before they arrive!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

josielicious

Josie gets a bit of the shaft around here these days. It is just that three and a half year olds are very demanding, it turns out, and so her delicious adorableness gets undocumented. That is unacceptable, though, because she is really and truly deliciously adorable and I want to remember these times for always.

Here are the top ten ways Josie is ridiculously cute:

1. Josie is a beautiful sleeper. An AMAZING sleeper. She takes (at least) one two hour nap per day, and sleeps an average of 12 hours a night without a peep. We go into her room with a sippy cup of milk, sit in her rocker while she drinks her milk and I sing her 3 songs. I tell her I love her and her daddy loves her and her Gabe loves her and God loves her and then I tuck her under my chin and breathe in the scent of her sweet baby smell. After a couple of minutes, she'll give some indication she's ready for bed- maybe a little restlessness, maybe a kiss for me, maybe a tiny little "bye bye Mommy" and she's off to bed. I tuck her in with all her "babies" and she bids me goodbye as I walk out. As I'm leaning over to pull the blankets over her, she'll say, "ah yub you" before I go, and it melts my heart every time.

2. Josie talks. Oh, this girl can TALK. Sentences, vocabulary, actual conversations, it is absurd the quantity of talking we are doing for 21 months. The other day I asked her why she'd taken off her shoes in the car and she said "ummm, because I no wanna." (she didn't want to wear them, I assume.) She narrates everything for me, "Gabe no no, Gabe crying, Gabe time-out." or "Mommy take a showah?" or "ah (I) want some yum yum." Yesterday as friends were walking up the sidewalk she yelled, "Hi Jane! Hi Steven! Come on!" She is all "please" and "thank yous" and "here you gos" and "ah help yous" and other general cuteness. The language explosion seems to have helped with some of the screaming, too. Instead of generally screaming at me, she'll scream "please please please more Mommy please please more" which is, um, an improvement I guess.

3. Josie's smiles. She is BIG personality. Big loud, big grumpy, big thrilled, and big happy. When Josie is pleased, though, she is really really pleased. She smiles up a storm. She is chatty and funny and charming and sweet and people tell us how adorable she is. She has two big dimples and they are stinking adorable.

4. Josie's hair. She has this totally crazy curly hair that is straight(ish) on top but then flips up into curls on the ends, and it makes her look like one of those old-fashioned Kewpie dolls. I swear her hair must be growing, but the more it grows, the more it curls, and it ends up looking like it is the same length. I'm a little bit at a loss for what to do with curly hair since mine is so straight, but there is no denying this crazy hair fits with her personality and adds to her cuteness.

5. Josie's snuggliness. She is a big cuddle bug and will come over to sit on my lap or fling herself across my body or wrap her arms around my neck. She'll press her cheek up against my cheek and then sigh, as if all she needs in life is this moment. She'll grab Josh's chin and turn his face from side to side as she plants tiny kisses on each of his cheeks with an audible little smack and then smiles shyly, because she is so proud of herself. She wraps her little arms around people's legs to give them little hugs and she calls out a "buh-bye, see you later" as we leave. She hugs Gabe constantly and tells us all she loves us often.

6. Josie's independence. I wouldn't think that such independence would come along with such snuggliness, but it does. She is crazy independent, much like her brother, and I have to watch the two of them like a hawk because at any moment one of them will wander off. I can walk into a room full of people she has never met, and she will say hello to everyone and then walk over to start playing with other kids. I joke that all I ever wanted was one shy timid child and I got the absolute opposite, but I couldn't imagine it any other way. She is fierce and brave and ready to take on the world (or as much of the world as 21 month olds can take on).

7. Josie is eating! This is a huge milestone for us since this child was 10 times pickier than her brother, but lo and behold, about 2 months ago, she started eating. Now she'll eat everything, and with gusto and lots of "mmm, yum". It is fantastic, and all of a sudden she will try Thai food and Indian food and asks for bites of everything and wants to taste everything we are eating and is furious if you say no or try to tell her it isn't baby appropriate. Finally, a great eater! And right in time for the toddler pickiness, so we'll see how it goes.

8. Josie is super clumsy. this is both cute and a curse, I guess. She is all go-go-go all the time, always speeding along to the next thing, so she falls a lot. She stumbles a decent amount, trips quite a bit, and still walks like a drunken sailor, even though she's been walking for ALMOST A FREAKING YEAR! Still, although I'm a nervous wreck, the bruises are kind of cute. The clumsiness is also pretty cute.

9. Josie is enthusiastic. About EVERYTHING. She loves to do everything, go everywhere (except be in the car, of course), meet everyone. She will sit in a high chair in a restaurant and wave at every single person walking by and yell "hello! hi! hello! how are you?" She runs full tilt everywhere, leaning slightly forward as she runs down the sidewalk, eager to get wherever she thinks she is going. She answers almost every question with a big "yeah!" regardless of the question. It is pretty fun.

10. Josie just IS adorable. It is beyond words, I think, just something intrinsic in her Josieness- or Jo-Jo-ness, which is her favorite nickname for herself. I don't know exactly how to put into words how cute she is, how funny she is, how brave and interesting and scrumptious she is every single day. If I could, I'd bottle up a little bit of her to spread around.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

the beach! the shops! the food!

Yippee! Yippee! Yippee!

We're off to Nantucket for one glorious night!

I'm so excited, I could scream! But I won't, because the kids are sleeping and that won't help our early morning departure.

It's a long story, but I started pricing out all these different day trips, and we decided on Nantucket for the day. The fast ferry to Nantucket, though, is twice as expensive as the slow ferry, and for the price difference, we could basically pay for almost a whole night of a hotel! (cheap hotel prices thanks to a weekday arrival, and the not-really-a Hurricane Earl) Plus, leaving and coming in one day was turning out to be super stressful, and this will make for a much more relaxing couple of days.

Who cares the reason? I'm thrilled! And now I'm off to frantically pack for our quick little getaway! Hurray!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I hate the word staycation

Hypothetically speaking...

If you had no extra money, and your husband was taking the week off from work, and you had NO extra money, what would you do?

Would you try to scrape something together and take the kids away for one night somewhere fun? Or would you do day trips? Would you go to the beach? A pool? Miniature golfing? Thoughts?

Also, Gabe starts school on Wednesday of this hypothetical week, so we have intro classes on Wednesday and Friday for an hour and a half.

Ideas? Bonus if you have New England specific ideas! Double bonus if they are toddler and preschooler appropriate! (can you believe Gabe is almost a preschooler?)

***********************

I read each and every comment, of course, and I always take your comments to heart, even if I don't necessarily agree with them. When one anonymous commenter told me the situation with Tango and Murray was all my fault, I was initially hurt and then reconsidered and thought, "well, yes, probably." But whether it was my fault or not, the dogs were now stuck in this unhappy situation with crazy children and we had to come up with a solution.

But. But. But. The comments to this post made me laugh out loud! Disgraceful! I've been walking around the house exclaiming "disgraceful!" in a Southern accent and then cackling gleefully! I love it!

It's a good thing my anonymous commenter doesn't live here and hasn't met the many, many, MANY moms in my neighborhood who have a full-time nanny while they are full-time stay at home moms! GASP! Some of them only have one child! And have help! Holy smokes! I refuse to believe that pinching pennies to send my child to a top-notch preschool that happens to be a grand total of 15 hours a week is disgraceful.

Hee! Disgraceful, indeed!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I'm going to miss the little bugger

Gabe starts preschool next Wednesday (SOB), which deserves a post unto itself, but there's been a lot of questions from moms around my neighborhood about what activities Gabe will be participating in this Fall. Now, Gabe's preschool is (unfortunately, in my opinion) five days a week. I would have been thrilled with 3 or even 4 days a week, but the school only offers a 5 day a week option, and the school is amazing, so we're going to do it. Given the fact that we're going from no days a week of school since March (!!!), I'm slightly worried about the transition to 5 days a week.

On the one hand, I think he'll be fine, because Gabe always surprises me. He's more ready for life changes than I ever am. On the other hand, I think he is going to be Exhausted, with a capital E. I suspect we are going to have a resurgence of nap love and perhaps some grumpy days.

All of this led me to the decision that we aren't signing up for any additional activities because honestly, isn't 5 days of school sufficient? He is still only 3, for goodness sake! My thoughts on this, however, are clearly unpopular with several of my friends. Today one of these girlfriends told me her son is taking 3 classes in addition to his preschool- soccer, swimming, and t-ball. Another friend is putting her son in an activity every single afternoon, in addition to 5 days of school!

Is it me or does this sound insane to you? I get tired just thinking about doing this much driving.

I am considering maybe signing up for one class, after I see that Gabe is firmly and comfortably settled into the school schedule. I'm thinking perhaps by October, if I see that he is ready or interested in something else, then we'll look into one class. ONE CLASS. Not 3 or 5 or 7.

Now, if I thought my friends were horrified when I mentioned that we weren't signing him up for any classes, you should have heard what they said when I told them what classes Josh and I were considering for Gabe. Dance. Not just any dance, but a series of different dance classes that includes ballet. GASP! Yes, I was told today that ballet is inappropriate for boys. And that they'd never put their son in any dance classes, and even if they wanted to, their husbands would forbid it. In fact, I may actually "make him gay".

Hee! I'm still chuckling over that one.

I'm less worried about Gabe taking ballet than I am with the fact that Josie is OBSESSED with Rod Stewart. Obsessed. Every time she hears a Rod Stewart song she proclaims from the back seat, "I yike dis song!" This is her absolute favorite song, oddly appropriate, I thought.

So what do you think? Yay or nay on the ballet front?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

someone please send some workmen over

Things have got to change around here.

I love doing projects, don't get me wrong. I love the planning, and prepping, the doing, and especially, OH ESPECIALLY, the completion.

But I'm feeling like the projects are overtaking my life. I don't even mean the painting of rooms, although by gosh, I've been doing a lot of room painting lately. It is more the fact that I let those projects, big or small, get in the way of my treasuring every day with my children.

Since May of a year ago when we decided to sell our house, I spent that May and June prepping the house for sale and finishing the basement, then keeping the house neat and clean and organized for all of July and August and September (which nearly pushed me over the edge), and then the house hunting for September and October, and then the packing for October and November, and then the illnesses and unpacking and projects for December and January and February and March and April (and holy smokes, can you believe we haven't had an ear infection since APRIL?) and then the injuries this summer and the projects I've been working on, I have been letting life pass me by.

I adore my children, and I have no doubt that they know it. I shower them with hugs and kisses and take them to museums and zoos and parks and schedule playdates and all of that, but I think I'm missing the little things. I'm not sitting with them and watching them push the cars around. Or sitting at the table to color with them. Or relaxing on the bedroom floor while I hear the many, many, MANY details about Buzz Lightyear's life story (what did we do before Buzz Lightyear, I'd like to know).

I'm not soaking every moment in because I'm folding laundry and worrying about the paint colors or whether we should tile the basement floor or carpet it or staring around at the mess and thinking about who is stopping by later today. I have to stop. I don't want to look back on my Gabe and Josie's babyhoods and toddlerhoods and feel like I missed them. I don't want to look around at a beautiful and put together house, but then realize I didn't notice them getting so big.

Who needs a nice pretty clean house if you're missing out on life?

how 'bout actual "face-time" instead?

Am I the only one who is sick of Facebook?

I seem to have a different opinion of what the purpose of Facebook is than several of the people with whom I'm "friends", and that opinion is that it isn't your platform for spewing your hatred or bigotry or close-minded political thoughts. And when I voiced that opinion, it is apparently me who is intolerant and ignorant.

I guess I thought Facebook was for, oh, I don't know, keeping in touch with friends? Not for condemning other religions, or posting your long-winded Bible thumping prayers**, or being generally nasty to anyone who disagrees with your opinions.

Ugh, alright I'm stopping now before I start being the offending person to all my readers. I don't know, I'm just not into it anymore, and I'm finding that I don't care about reading the reports from those supposed "long lost friends" who aren't really my friends, and I'm annoyed when I have to read reports from my in-town friends on Facebook rather than hear about them in real life.

Of course Facebook has its benefits, I guess I'm just grumpy and can't see those benefits right now. Grrr.

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**Edited to add:

There are Biblical quotes, and then there are "Bible-thumping quotes". I consider those to be verses from the Bible that are very condemning of other religions or sexual orientations or the like. I think you know what I mean. Those are the Biblical quotes that bother me.