Monday, October 30, 2006

Joining the ranks.

It looks like I join the ranks of parents who suck this Halloween.

My crime? I failed to get the girls there pumpkins so they could carve them into Jack O'Lanterns. I don't know what was going through my mind as I procrastinated all week in buying them. Or what I was thinking as I drove to the orchard to buy some this evening. Or the two grocery stores after we discovered the orchard was out of pumpkins. Of course, my waiting until the evening before Halloween to buy pumpkins had nothing to do with it. I should have known! It's like waiting until the night before Easter to get white eggs to color. All week, as I was bringing them for their costume fittings at grandma's house, I didn't think once about slipping out to get them a pumpkin.

If I wasn't going at this parenting thing alone, my husband would have made sure they were up to their elbows in pumpkin pulp and seeds. He would have been right there making elaborate designs to carve on the face of the pumpkins with them. He would have been roasting the seeds for a snack. He would have got the job done. But me, flying solo, failed to make this Halloween complete.

So now I have three little girls without Jack O'Lanterns.

Thankfully, they at least have pumpkins from other events this autumn. They have the small pumpkins they colored at the corn maze last week. And the big pumpkins they painted and put stickers and glitter on at the Halloween Party they went to with my in laws.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Moe's New Trick

Moe learned a new trick tonight.

She has always been somewhat connected to Houdini in that she could get out of any space. And I swear she is part monkey. She can get her upper body out of a carseat, even when the straps are so tight you can't get any fingers between them and her body. Shopping carts? She mastered getting out of those straps months ago. Her highchair? That was her newest conquest. Last month I was in the other room grabbing a drink when she came walking behind me. I knew minutes before, she had been safely strapped into her highchair with the tray pressed so close to her body, it left a red mark. Her stroller? She likes to stand and force me to stop walking so I can struggle to get her back in the buckle.

The newest conquest? Tonight I put her in her crib for bed and came down stairs. A few minutes later she walks into the living room and says "Good Morning". Now, I didn't here a thud so she didn't fall. My only guess is she finally managed to climb out.

Now you are probably saying "So, she's two, that's nothing. She should be in a toddler bed now anyway". But for me it's everything. The crib was the last safe place I had for her. It was the sanctuary. A place I could keep her so I could take a shower. Or fold/put laundry away. A place where she could go when I needed a few minutes to myself. Now I am doomed!

Monday, October 16, 2006

School Picture Day

Today was the first of two school picture days for Einey. Apparently they do the whole class on day one and individual on day two. This is for a school of 175 kids. When I grew up and went to public school, I remember them doing the whole class and individual all in one day for a school of over 600 kids.

Today, Einey chose to wear a white shirt with green and pink flowers (a hand-me-down from her best friend in Virginia) and a new green and pink skirt I picked up on clearance at Sears along with pink tights with dark pink flowers and a pink headband. She looked very cute! For my kindergarten pictures, I wore a Winnie-the-Pooh dress. And yes, they still only have 4 backgrounds, a bluish-pink splash, autumn trees, blue and blue clouds.

This is the only year it will be like that. Next year, when she has to wear a uniform to school every day, the pictures will all be of here wearing a red plaid jumper and then, in the 7th and 8th grades, a light blue polo shirt and dark blue skirt. Hopefully we can come up with a way for her to keep her individuality!

Some things I remember about school picture day were the little black combs they gave everyone while waiting in line to get their picture taken, wearing a dress (I never wore dresses) and the line waiting. Our pictures were taken in the special ed room across the hall from the kindergarten classes and as we grew older, the gymnasium.

One memory I have of school pictures was not from me, but my sister. One year, my younger sister wore her pajamas under her clothes and it showed in her pictures.

So, what are your school picture memories?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I've had this thing with feet lately. It is probably because Moe insists on wearing shoes in the house, any shoes. Mommy's shoes, Daddy's shoes, Einey's shoes, Meenie's shoes, her shoes, it doesn't matter as long as she has shoes on. Even if she strips butt naked (like she's been doing everyday) she insists on having shoes on. But the minute you step out the door and into the van, the shoes need to come off. I don't understand the logic of toddler thinking.

So lately I've been watching and it's not just her. Einey takes time deciding what shoes to wear to school each day. Will it be cowboy boots, her brown shoes or sneakers? Meenie insists on wearing sandal's even though the mornings are a tad chilly, hovering around 50 degrees when we bring Einey to school. Can we wear sandals for soccer? What about our rain boots and a skirt?

So here are some feet pictures seen through the eyes of mom.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Autumn Continued

Autumn means apple picking and pumpkins. We went to a local orchard the other day to get some apples. This is the only time the girls will actually eat and apple without me cutting it up and taking off the peels. And we've already made an Apple-Banana Bread. Yummy!

Matt, these are also for you!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Autumn in New England

Autumn in New England is a magical time. The nights turn cold, the mornings are crisp and the days are getting shorter. Outside, there is change all around. The leaves burst with color - reds, oranges, yellows and even a hint of purple. Then they slowly fall, carpeting the ground with color. The air is usually aflight with Monarchs, before they make their migration to Mexico. Canadian Geese honk noisily overhead while flying in V-formation to whatever available waterway they can find. The nights carry a scent of woodsmoke to try and ward of the chill. The mornings are spent watching the kids play soccer in the grass wet with dew. And little wolly bear caterpillars curl up in balls in the hands of the children.

And then there are seasonal things. Going apple picking and then coming home to make apples pie, baked apples, candy apples, apple bread and apple crisp. Wandering through a corn maze trying to find your way out. Hayrides! Trips to the pumpkin patch. We love making pumpkin pancakes in the fall. Yum!

Matt, these are for you! One of these days you'll have to leave Texas and come up North to experience the real changing of seasons.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Seven years ago, I married my best friend. We became partners in life, friends forever.

Husband proposed to me a few weeks after I graduated from high school. We got married when I was just 19, he was 22. We met when I was 14, a freshman in high school. He was 17 and a senior. We dated all through my high school years and got married after my first year of college. By then he had graduated college an was working full time. The week before we were married, we signed on for the condo we would then live in for the next 18 months and started to move in.

The day of our wedding. dawned cloudy with a chill in the air, as most October mornings do. This was a little unsettling as we planned an outside wedding on top of a hill, overlooking the splendor of a New England autumn. I woke early to go over to the hairdressers with all my bridesmaids in tow. It took 3 hours to get everyone finished. Then it was home to get dressed and meet the photographer. Then it was off to the church, where we waited while all the guests who were busy milling around outside, preceded to move indoors. My husband was getting nervous waiting for me, while all the while, I was outside waiting to come in. By this time, the sun was pushing its way through the clouds.

The ceremony was nice, although I have to admit, I don't remember much of it. We didn't have a flower girl, but we did have an extra little guy. He presented both of our mothers with a bouquet of roses. Apparently, in all the excitement, someone forgot to feed the little guys because during the ceremony, one of them was trying to eat his corsage! We were being pressed for time by the limo driver so we made our way to the reception, delaying our receiving line until the end of the reception.

We arrived at the reception location and took over an hours worth of pictures. Then made our way to where the guests were waiting. I'd like to say dinner was nice, but I didn't get to eat most of it. Halfway through dinner, my 15 year old sister fell down the stair and needed to be taken to the emergency room. Unfortunately my mom had to go with her. This is the first of many act that we are unable to ever forgive her for. I hated not having my mom share this special time with me. It was my one and only special day and I will never get that time back.

My husband and I wandered amongst the guests thanking them for coming. Somehow, we did this apart, both starting on opposite sides of the room! We danced and before we knew it, it was time for cake. The cake was delicious! My mother-in-law saved the cake top as the traditional "first anniversary" dessert. I think it is still in their freezer.

Right as we were getting ready to leave, my mom arrived back. I was able to say goodbye before we left for our honeymoon.

We spent the first night as man and wife in a hotel across from the airport. We had a 5 am flight to sunny St. Thomas! Our honeymoon was unforgettable. We soaked up the sun on the white sand beaches, we snorkeled amongst private coral reefs, we went underwater in a submarine. We visited nearby St. Johns and took a tour of an old sugar cane factory. We dined on true Caribbean fare. We drank the most amazing Banana Daiquiris (and for that reason alone, I would go back in a heartbeat!). The weather was sunny everyday with a few afternoon storms. Our hotel room over looked the crystal clear bay. I was sad to leave when our 10 days was through. One of these days, we will go back to the most beautiful place I've ever been.

I remember having pictures taken. I remember celebrating the day with family and my childhood friends. I remember my nephews playing in the sandbox and husbands cousins playing horseshoes.

Our first anniversary, we spent the week in Niagara Falls. We visited both sides of the falls and had a magical time. We stayed in the US, but made daily trips to the Canadian side. Next time we go back, we will stay on the Canadian side. We visited the falls, too a boat under the falls, walked through the Cave of the Winds, and visited several historic forts in the area. We celebrated our anniversary with dinner in the revolving Skylon Tower. We also had another reason to celebrate. We were just leaving our first trimester of pregnancy behind.

Sadly, three weeks after we returned home, we found out that we miscarried our first child. We spent the next few weeks mourning our unborn child. To this day, I still wonder if it would be the son I never had. But all things happen for a reason. This pregnancy was an uncommon condition called a partial molar pregnancy. We had to wait 6 months before even considering trying again.

Two months after the loss of our unborn, we brought our first house. It was much bigger than what we needed and had plenty of room to grow. And grow we did. We still live in that same house and some days it seems like we are busting at the seams.

As my due date approached, we were given the go ahead to try again. We conceived Einey the same month our unborn was due, our first month of trying. Because of the first pregnancy, we received extra prenatal care the first months. We waited to tell our friends and family. The next eight months passed uneventfully and I had a perfect pregnancy. Then at 36 weeks, my water broke. Eight hours later, on Christmas Day, Einey was born. A beautiful, brown haired, gray eyed 6 1/2 pund bundle of little girl. The next morning, husband told me how easy it was and he wanted to "try again"!

Six months later, we decided to try again. It took us 3 months of trying. One month after finding out we were pregnant, I was sent to the Emergency Room with severe stomach pains. Pains I had experience occasionally in the past, but silently ignored. They were the worst pains I had ever experience in my life! I was diagnosed with gallstones, but due to my pregnancy, my OB decided to hold off surgery. We agreed to his decision and followed his instructions to a T. I was put on a strict no-fat diet which was unbearable. But I did it. I did it because I knew my unborn child's life depended on it. To have surgery was risky. To ignore the Dr.'s warning was opening up the possibility for preterm labor. Even so, I went into labor at 32 weeks. This was trip to L&D #1. It took a long time to stop labor and I was very close to being transferred to a neonatal intensive care facility an hour away to await the rest of my pregnancy. They were able to stop it and I was put on turbutaline for the month and told to take it easy. This seemed to help. I was given 2 doses of steroids for the baby in case she decided to come early. At this popoint, I was 2 1/2 cm, 80% effected and at zero station. Trip #2 happened at about 35 weeks along. I experienced a gallbladder attack and this triggered labor. It was eventually under control and I was released a few hours later. The middle of the night, I was back at L&D. This trip lasted another day. My OB scheduled an induction at 37 weeks, 2 days to help me out. The baby would be past the critical stage at this point. Baby didn't want to wait! At exactly 37 weeks, baby wanted out! Husband had just come home from working night shift and went to bed. An hour later I woke him and told him it was time. He tried to brush me off, but I knew it was different. It felt like right before Einey was born. We went to the hospital again where we discovered I was only 6 cm. He threatened not to leave the hospital without a baby this last time! But baby was right there and the water was buldeging. My OB broke the water and said we would have about 1/2 hour. He left to do some paper work and get our room ready. Not true. Meenie wanted out! We called our doctor in and the nurses came running. The wheeled me out of triage and down to our room. They were prepping the room still and my doctor was washing his hands when Meenie started to appear. My doctor literally dove across the room, cursing all the way. Total time I was in actual labor with her: 15 minutes. She was a scrawny 6 pounds at birth. Because of her fast entry into the world, she swallowed some meconium as the nurses and doctor didn't have the suction right there. So they had to suction her out and she was on oxygen overnight as a precaution. Right after she was born, we were notified that my in-laws and daughter had arrived to bring husband lunch as we called before the excitement began. So the two sisters were able to meet within five minutes of her birth! Six weeks later, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder.

Six months later, we got the surprise of our lifetime, we were expecting baby number 3. This pregnancy was so different from the rest. I was tired all the time and had extreme morning sickness the whole pregnancy. And in the end, she was breech, so we needed to try to turn her. She wouldn't budge. We were able to deliver her vaginally (thanks to a wonderful doctor who let us try as opposed to the hospital's rule of c-section only for breech babies). 45 hours later she decided to enter the world. She too was only 6 pounds. She was my only blue eyed baby.

We had planned on going away for our fifth year anniversary, but the birth of Moe three weeks prior (she was due 2 days after our anniversary) took precedent over the trip. Maybe for our tenth!

We are thankful to have had the same doctor deliver all three of our daughters. Without him, we feel we would have had to have had a c-section with Moe.

Eight months after Moe was born, I had to have part of my thyroid removed. Thankfully, it was benign.

This past summer, we experienced the first hospitalization of one of our children. Meenie came down with viral enchephalitis. I hope you never have to experience a child being sick. Thankfully, she has recovered fully from this ordeal.

Luckly, I have never really had to work. I went to school full time after we were married and when I graduated, I worked part time. Eight months after Einey was born, I quit my job to became a stay at home mother. This arrangement has served us well the last 4 and a half years. This past fall, with the impending hospital bills and school tuition, I took a job as a substitute teachers aid at the public school system in the town that I live. It has worked out well as I tend to work mostly while my husband is home. It is nice to get out of the house, but I miss my girls. Growing up, I never even considered being a stay at home mother. I just assumed I would work. I have enjoyed spending time with my girls, nourishing their minds, their hearts, their bodies. I enjoy teaching them all I know about the world. I love exploring new things with them. Most of all, I love hearing them laugh. And I know this new time apart is good for them and each day I work, I am a little less sad. Hopefully tis is temporary, but who knows, I may decide to stay on one or two days a week, when we don't need it.

I know people don't understand our hectic schedule, and I don't expect them too. My husband works rotating shifts, days and nights. He doesn't always get holidays off. But we have learned to accept it as it is. It is one on many sacrifices we have made that are necessary for our family (one of them being foregoing vacations to exotic - and not so exotic- places). We don't think of holidays as the day, we think of it in terms of when we are all together. We will celebrate Christmas a few days late and as long as we are all together, that's all that counts. The kids have all accepted this, but it is all they know. We know that as they get older, it will be a bit harder for them, but we know that we can come up with a solution that fits.

Over the past seven years, we have experience joy at the births of our children, sorrow over the passing of his grandmother, laughter and tears. We have made many sacrifice for our family in hopes of providing of rour children the best that we can. We may not always see eye to eye, but we always know how to come to an agreement. I hope to spend many more years with the one I love!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Independence vs. Safety

As parents, how do you draw the line between keeping your kids safe versus nurturing their independence?

I thought I had it all figured out. At the playground, I have evolved from the over-protective mother hovering over my children at each stop on the playground to the relaxed mom who can see and react to her children while keeping an eye on all three no matter where they be. I no longer felt like I had to be on top of them. I've finally allowed them to quietly play soccer in the middle of the track where I walk every morning. At home, I've slowly started to let Einey and Meenie play outside on the deck alone and even more recently, down in the fenced in (but not completely gated) yard by themselves. At three and four, they've earned that independence. Now don't get me wrong, while they are technically outside by themselves, I am usually within sight of them and if not, I am peeking outside every few minutes to check on them. We live on a main road but the yard is away from the road. Their are no sidewalks or places for people to be walking by.

But earlier this week, less than a 1/2 mile from my house (closer if you make a direct line, there was an attempted kidnapping of a 6-year old little boy. This happened in the early evening, just before dinner time, while people were outside around the child. The area it happened in was an area with lots of sidewalks and houses. A place where kids freely roam. A place where there is always someone watching. Here is another article related to the attempted kidnapping.

So I ask again, how do we keep our kids safe? I don't want to hover. I want them to gain independence. I already scan the faces of the other playground patrons to see who is with who and if their are any "strange" (which is completely irrelevant as most people who live in this area would fall into that category) people hanging around. I try not to go to the most popular playground except in the "off-season" so as the avoid the crowds.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Goodbye Summer!

Goodbye summer. Goodbye sand. Goodbye gentle breezes through the hot air. Goodbye sandals. Goodbye garden. Goodbye beaches. Goodbye mosquitoes. Goodbye grill. Goodbye lazy days.
See you next year!