Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

I'm way too tired to attempt a coherent post so here are my random Thursday Thoughts:

1. After complaining that we were having pizza for dinner, my older daughter (the Mote) then complained that it was cold. Instead of asking one of us to heat it up, she brought it over to the window and asked the sun to warm it for her.

2. The Mote really enjoyed "Cotton Fu Panda" this afternoon - followed by a real karate lesson at her friend's karate school. The Who enjoyed hearing her sister say "Hiya".

3. I've been working on a knitted lace shawl since BEFORE I was pregnant with The Who (she'll be 1 in August) and I have half a pattern repeat and a the top border left to do and it is done. I'm hoping to wear it this fall. I said that last summer too.

4. I finally started tackling the stack of magazines next to my bed. I'm caught up to April (2008) (yes, skimming the pictures counts as catching up).

5. I, like every other blogger that I faithfully read who is not going to Blogher, is going through some Blogher envy issues this week.

6. Who has cute 1st birthday ideas they want to share? Think 4 o'clock BBQ with a 1 year old, an 18 month old and 9 or 10 3-6 year olds and way too many adults.

Thanks and I promise, next week a real post with paragraphs and all.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

To Kiss the Boo Boos

It's been an interesting week around here. It's been a week were I spent a lot of time questioning the decisions my husband and I have made and considering our options. Before we had kids (ok, before we knew how much kids cost!) we made the decision that I would stay home with them, at least until they started school.

Well, soon enough financial reality hit and we realized that I had to work if those kids wanted food, clothing and dance lessons. So, I've started and stopped and restarted various businesses over the past few years. I am currently working on 4 of those businesses - albeit some more intensly than others. And, this week, all 4 required my attention. I am working as (1) a freelance writer for several different clients,(2) a legal researcher for an attorney (I was an attorney way back in my pre-kid life), (3) an independent contractor for the state - training foster parents about special education law; and (4) an independent contractor for a local boutique selling their overstock on Ebay. I really enjoy all of these positions and am so lucky to have them. Yet, this past week all of these jobs needed my attention and deserved to have priority. I found it hard to balance those demands with my children who are, for the most part, home with me this summer.

So, during this crazy week, I decided that I wanted to go back to work so that I could give my attention to my job during work hours and to my kids the rest of the time. I thought I might even be able to spend time with my patient husband again who most often gets neglected because of my schedule.

Then this morning, my daughter bumped her head. Lightly - no big injury, thank goodness. Her aunt, her father and her grandmother, all of whom she adores, were in the room. But, she came running to find me at my desk. She looked up and said, "I'm just so glad that you are always here to kiss my boo boos."

I kissed her head, fixed her pigtails and got back to work because I like being home with my kids and I enjoy my work. There's no need to change a thing - unless any of you know a good, reasonably priced babysitter who wants a part time job :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Can't Help It

I had three different blog posts floating around in my head this morning. I was going to update you on my (gasp!) knitting - with pictures (please don't faint.) I was going to ask you for help on learning to trust that my 4 year old will make good decisions. She's a great kid and I need to stop treating her like she's 2 and doesn't know how to keep herself safe. Or, I was going write about how every mom in this town drives a blue or silver SUV or minivan (myself included). Why? Don't they come in other colors? Oh, you don't care?

Well, don't worry because I can't write about any of those things today.

I'm stuck on this "news" article about how people with pets are going to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Really? Why did we even poll on this topic? Who cares? Oh, and I love my crazy dog but I'm not voting for McCain.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I just wrote a very dark, dramatic post called "how do you know it's the last time?" The last time you'd speak to a friend, kiss an elderly relative or have sex with an ex-boyfriend?

Then I deleted it because, well, it scared me.

So, I changed the title and theme of this post and I'd like to talk about saying goodbye with dignity and grace.

My husband's beloved grandmother is dying. She's been sick for a few months and over the weekend she made the very brave decision to stop all medical treatment and to die. Yesterday, my husband had the opportunity to say goodbye to her. She told him how at peace she was with the decision, how proud she was of him and his family and how much she loved all of us. He got to tell her that he loves her.

Her comments to the twenty something grandchildren were even lighter. She simply said "Adios. See you in the next life." (Adios is light and even funny when used by your eighty something year old Jewish grandmother).

At a time when we all want to comfort her, she continues to comfort us, to love us
and to teach us. She is teaching us to accept what we can't change and to find peace in it. She is teaching us to say what we mean and to love each other. She is teaching us how to end something bravely and gracefully.

And while she never knew what a "blog" was and most certainly will never read this, she did know that we love her. Very much.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why?

Why is it that I keep going to the doctor with healthy children and coming out with sick ones?

Over the winter, I took the Mote (4 year old)for a regularly scheduled appointment. Everyone was feeling fine. Two throat cultures later both my kids had strep throat.

Then, last month we go for the Who's (almost 10 month old!)regularly scheduled appointment. She's a happy baby and we go through the whole appointment with the doctor remarking on her good nature and (thank G-d!) good health. Then, the very last thing the doctor did was check the Who's ears. She had a double ear infection.

Yesterday, I took the Who for her ear recheck. Her ears look good but her throat is very red and she looks like she is at the beginning of "something". Then I talked to the doctor about the Mote's recent resurgence of potty accidents after a few great months. She wants her to pee in a cup again and test for a UTI. To the Mote there is no fate more horrible than peeing in a cup. The kid doesn't have a UTI. She has a "school's over and I'll make you pay for that" disease.

So, once again I went in with two healthy kids and left with two possibly sick kids. Oh, how I dread our August and September appointments.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dinner with the Boss

Last night my husband's new boss came for dinner. He is moving here from out of state and his wife and kids are still in New Jersey. They have questions about the area and he's living in a hotel all week so we thought he could use a homecooked meal and some conversation.

Seems we forgot we have children. Next time I tell you we're having company...please tell me to entertain at lunch, not dinner. The afternoon went well. The Mote (4 year old) and I made a pie. The steak was marinating. The salad, asparagus and couscous were ready to go.

Then 5 pm happened. I was putting the asparagus in the oven to roast and feeding the baby when I splattered carrots all over myself. Ok, costume change for mommy was not part of the plan but I can roll with the punches. No problem. I go do that. I come back and realize that I had left the baby's bowl of babyfood on her highchair tray. She decided to make me a masterpiece. She painted her face, her hair, her entire high chair and was starting a splatter paint piece on the floor when I came back in.

Her older sister appeared at that very minute and slipped on the splatter paint baby food artwork. Now, she needed to be changed. I helped her clean herself up and asked her to go change her clothes while I started cleaning up the baby food mess. It was then that I smelled somthing burning...damn. Forgot the asparagus.

As I was swearing at the asparagus (because that would make it better), the Mote comes back in the kitchen. She has chosen an orange and pink wool sweater and blue shorts to wear. I pleaded, I begged, I bribed her to go change again. Into something that was a)appropriate for summer and b)appropriate to meet Daddy's boss for the first time. I lost.

I went into supermom mode and got us all relatively clean and rescued what was left of the asparagus. Things were relatively calm when our company arrived. He got a nice chuckle out of the Mote's outfit.

The Mote was convinced that he was there just to visit her so my husband and I had trouble having a conversation. She had to show him her room, have a race, play Chutes and Ladders and dominate the conversation. He was patient but clearly wanted to take about where he should live, what doctors they should use and what kinds of activities his kids might enjoy in town.

Meanwhile, the baby wanted to be held and only by her Daddy.

And, so ended a crazy night. Oh, and I am not cooking again for a long time. Burgers tonight, I think.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Birth of a Who

Birth Days


Sorry things have gone dark here for a few days. It's been one of those beautiful summer weeks were a million posts have started in my head and never made it to the computer. School is out and we are starting to fall into a summer pattern around here. I'm finding the work from home part of that pattern darn near impossible but other than that life is good.

Since I can't seem to get my thoughts down on paper and because Alex Elliot has a great idea, I have decided to participate in her Happy Birthdays Carnival. The idea is that each woman gets to tell her birth story uninterrupted.

I could tell the story of my older daughter's birth but we were both pretty sick and my feverish middle of the night delivery after three hours of pushing is a blur. A delightful blur, but a blur.

My younger daughter's birth started pretty much the same. I had gestational diabetes and was ready to have a baby and a milkshake. Because of the gestational diabetes, my doctors agreed to induce me the day before my due date instead of a week after my due date like they did with my older daughter. We went to the hospital at 8 a.m. on August 30. I was on pitocin by 9. I was feeling pretty good and decided that I didn't want pain medication.

At 11 am, my doctor came in and said, how about we deliver you at 3? I laughed and said great!

The doctor broke my water around 1. I remember the pain after that really well. The nurse kept asking if I wanted to be checked and if I felt like I had to push. I kept saying "I have no idea, how bad does this get?" I sat in the rocking chair this whole time and found the rocking motion very comforting.

At 2:50 pm, the doctor checked me and said I was 10 centimeters and I could push. I did and I seriously decided that I could not do it. I told her that I was either going to stay pregnant forever or they needed to get me drugs. She said no - to both requests. Thankfully, my younger daughter has an incredibly agreeable nature and was born in just two pushes - at 3 pm just as the doctor had predicted.

30 minutes later I was off the pitocin and fluids IV and I felt great. Unlike with my first (also vaginal) delivery, I could move around easily and really felt better than I had in months.

My hospital stay was just horrible (unlike my other delivery at a different hospital which was wonderful) but I didn't care. 36 hours after her birth, I was home with my husband and both my girls and, of course, our trusty pup.

While the births of my daughters were different, I really believe they were both as they were meant to be. My older daughter despite her 9 lbs 2 oz size and difficult delivery was born safely. We didn't know if she was a boy or a girl before she was born and when the doctor said "girl" that is one of the most memorable moments of my life - even though I don't remember much else from that night.

In the end, I don't care how they got here. I'm blessed to have them and so thankful for the chance to be their mom.

Monday, June 16, 2008

2008 Summer Knitting Goals Contest

So, Ali got me thinking about my summer knitting goals and I thought I would enter the contest.

Here are my knitting goals:

Finish:
1. The Big Brown Sweater for my husband.

2. Finish the Tilted Duster for myself. All I have left to do is add a sleeve and block the thing. First sleeve went well. Second one doesn't fit. I'm in denial.

3. Finish the lace rectangular shawl. Loving this right now. I've completed 4 1/3 of the 5 repeats and then it needs to be blocked. Hoping to finish this before the end of the month.

Start:
1. A lace scarf. I have lots of beautiful lace and I find it a great summer knit. I haven't decided yet which pattern or lace to use.

2. Mittens for me. I bought the yarn a year ago.

3. Hats for my girls. I bought the yarn last Thanksgiving and can't wait to use it.

And, no, the list does not include the second sock but could possibly include a whole different pair.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Relay for Life

On Saturday, the 4 of us participated in Relay for Life. By "participated", I mean that my husband chased our four year old around and around while she visited with friends and got her face painted, the baby slept in her stroller and I had some time to walk and reflect.
This year Relay was very personal for our family. I lost a friend last spring to cancer just two weeks after she was diagnosed. She left her husband and four children - the baby wasn't five months old when his mom died. I also have a friend who beat the odds this year and is in remission for the third time. She is watching her son grow up. It was for both of them that I walked.
Our team raised over $13,000.
Next year, we hope to raise more money and we hope to not have anyone new to walk for.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Proud to be a WAHM



Dana brings up a good point and one that I've been meaning to blog about. I've talked a lot about my kids (and random other things) on this blog but I haven't mentioned that work at home thing I do that is supposed to be part of this blog.

I do, currently, work at home. In my post-law school life, I've had a few different careers. First, as an attorney. Then, as an education specialist for the MA Department of Education. After that, I was an education surrogate parent. Now, I am a freelance writer. There were parts of all of my jobs that I really enjoyed and I don't regret any of them. However, there are some things I really enjoy about being a work at home mom in general and a freelance writer specifically:

* I make my own schedule. I am available for all school events, birthday parties, playground trips and doctor's appointments. It means that I work well into the night and on weekends but, for me, it is worth it.
* I get to hear all the funny things my kids say and watch them play all day long. I really enjoy being with them and I'm all too aware that they are only young for a short time. I feel like I need to soak up every minute of that.
* I feel like I'm still in school (which was my goal all along). I work for several different clients and write on a variety of topics. The work is interesting and rewarding.
*Ok, since I'm always honest with you my loyal blog readers, let's not forget my pajamas. I love them and now I can wear them whenever I want :)

Thanks to Dana and to Kelly for making me focus on why I love to work from home. The lifestyle isn't for everyone and, trust me, now that we're talking about work, you are sure to hear about some of the difficulties in the near future.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Outsmarted..Again.

I hate stuffed animals. There, I've said it and now you know. I can't stand them. I don't mind my daughters' dolls so much but the countless bunnies, dogs, ducks, monkeys, cats, unicorns and other stuffies irritate me. And my kids have a lot A LOT of them.

So, one night last week as I was straightening up my daughter's room (stop laughing, I didn't say cleaning, I said straightening) I asked my daughter if we should give some of the dozens of animals to kids who have no stuffed animals. She looked at me and said no.

The next morning she asked for the one turquoise bunny I managed to smuggle out of her room and into the trash. Of course. She had never played with it before but now it was critical to her very being. Being the good mom that I am, I lied and told her that I would look for it.

No more was said about stuffed animals or giving them away. Until this morning.

On the way to school this morning, my daughter said, "Mommy? You know all those shoes in your closet? Do you know how many shoes you have? More than you could ever use! So, I've been thinking we should give some of your shoes to people who have no shoes. Ok? It would a really nice thing to do...."

And once again, I am outsmarted by a preschooler.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My House Circa 1:30 pm

Scene - Me on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor with a Clorox wipe (I clean everything with Clorox wipes).

The Mote - Mommy, what do you think you're doing?
Me - Cleaning the floor.
The Mote (preschooler)- But why?
Me - Because we can't live in dirt.
The Mote - Why? We ALWAYS live in dirt, Mommy.
The Goose (dog)- Good point. Going back to my busy day of napping now.
The Who (baby) - Ha Ha Ha

I give up. Going to the playground now.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reflections on the School Year

"School" has ended and "camp" begins on Monday. Those words are in quotes because it is a 1 week camp at school and for the life of me I can't figure out the difference between school and camp for 4 year olds. Anyway, I thought this might be a good time for some reflection.

It is no secret to those who know us that the Mote and I have had a difficult transition to organized programs. When she was 7 months old I had to move her out of a daycare because the provider was drinking heavily during the day. The next placement was great but we moved when she was 13 months old so it was short lived.

When she was two she went to yet another in home daycare (her 3rd) and it was not what I hoped it would be for her. I was anxious every time I dropped her there. The same thing happened when she started preschool this year. By February of this year, I was sure there was something very wrong with her and me because we couldn't seem to get along anywhere. I dreaded school days and the Mote's behavior was horrible.

In February she started at a new school. I'd like to say that decision was mine but it wasn't. Her old school asked her to take time off because of potty accidents (do you see why I don't use my children's real names in this blog?!). So, we moved her to her new school. And get this. It is the very end of May and I don't have any concerns, complaints or anxiety. NONE. NOTHING. NADA. We are both excited about school (and camp?) days. I've been so pleased with the Mote's progress in the past few months and the activities at the school. The communication with the school has been fabulous and the Mote has not had an accident there in months. So, Sheryl, Nancy and Lisa, thank you for making this such a happy time for all of us. Even at the incredibly high price of gas (I have to complain about something!) we are so happy to be with you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Did I Turn the Oven Off?

Seriously, what is it with me and the oven? As soon as I get in my car I begin wondering if I turned off the {insert appliance: hairdryer, coffee maker, oven etc}.

So, this morning I was multitasking. I was working, taking care of the baby and making meatballs, chicken and marinara sauce for the freezer. I have a crazy month of deadlines ahead of me and decided to get ahead in my cooking. Things were going along well until I got in the car to go pick up the big child at school - from school we go to my parents house for a bit and then to swimming. 5 minutes from home I started wondering if I turned the oven off. I worked myself into quite a frenzy but didn't have time to go home and check. My husband works nearby and I asked him to go home and check. He is used to this by now. Of course, being the organized, on top if it multitasking queen that I am (stop laughing) the oven was turned off and the dog and house were safe and sound.

On to the next task.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting to Know Each Other

I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to send me e-mails or comment on my blog. I really appreciate your input and you often make me laugh with your comments on my crazy little life.

So, I thought you might all enjoy learning a bit about each other...now, don't worry, I am not sharing names or even any parts of e-mails that have been sent to me directly. I'm not trying to create any stalker type situations here.

Instead I thought I would let you know that the readers of this blog are coming from almost every state in the U.S. as well as the countries of Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy and Japan.

Some of my readers I knew long before I started to blog and some others have found me through searches that have turned up this blog.

Some of the search terms included:

*What happens if you break passover?
Sorry - I have no idea what happens. You enjoy some bread?

*Love boutique
Um - not here sorry.

*Big yucks
I don't think that post was about the "yucks" you were looking for.

*Goose singing happy birthday
As talented as my pup is, he doesn't sing.

*My daughter hates the taste of her antibiotics
MINE TOO! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

*fancy dress up pirate birthday party
YEAH! We're not the only ones!! Joint party next year?!

*Consider yourself goose
'nuf said

Again, thanks for reading and commenting!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Packing

Seriously people. We're going away for two days. TWO DAYS. I can't believe the amount of stuff we're bringing.
We need:
Several outfits per child (spilling, accidents, change in weather)
Pajamas and favorite blankets
Nightlights
Thermometers and medicine (I am paranoid)
Sunscreen and bugspray
Snacks
Toys
Books
DVDs
Sippy Cups
Baby Food
And oh so much more that I haven't even thought of yet.
It will be worth it, right?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Am That Mother

You know the mother. The one who can't control her kid? Yep, that's me. The one who cried at her kid's dance recital? Me again.

The Mote (4 year old) had her dance recital rehearsal on Friday. At 2:15 I told her it was time to get ready. We needed make up, hair in a bun and tights on. Costume could be done at the rehearsal.

Well, the kid put on her yellow hard hat and her fairy wings and dug in those heels. She was not letting me near her hair. She screamed. She cried. She fell asleep. I panicked. My husband hovered looking shell shocked.

For a few minutes, I decided to scrap the whole thing. I've had so many battles with her the past few weeks over non-negotiable stuff like taking medicine and going to the doctor. I was going to drop the issue of the rehearsal and recital and just accept that she has a fun year in dance and that was that.

Then, I came to and decided that she needed to learn something here and I should try parenting. I woke her up. I calmly told her that she could either participate in the recital or tell her teacher that she wasn't going to participate but that the teacher needed to be told and I wasn't doing it for her. With that, my husband carried a screaming, kicking, hysterical child and got her belted in her car seat.

She was calm by the time we got to the rehearsal (I did bribe her with ice cream...I didn't say I was a good parent...just that I was giving this parenting thing a whirl).

So, in we walk. Every (E-V-E-R-Y) other little girl is prepared with her hair and make up done and is holding her mom's hand with all of their stuff in a neat little bag. My kid's face is swollen and blotchy and her hair looks she's running off to join the circus. I'm holding her little dance bag, her costume, my camera, my keys, my cell phone, her shoes and I look like a bag lady who forgot her bag. Our stuff is all over the place. She's whining.

That's when I became that mother. Neither one of us could get it together so I yanked her into the bathroom with all of our stuff falling out of my arms and yelled something about getting it together RIGHT NOW. Didn't work.

Some other mom got her hair in a ballerina bun. I got her costume on. And she looked at me, apologized and ran up on stage with an 18 year old who is her new BFF. G-d help me.

They practiced the finale first and she kept up with all the big kids, looking adorable. I was ok then. Even when she bowed by herself.

Then came time for her class to do their number. And I became that mom again. The one who goes up to video her kid while she is crying and shaking with pride. The one who forgets that every other mother in the place is feeling the same thing and is sure that she is the only one so choked up and so proud. The one who wants to run up on stage and get her little girl and bring her down again and go home and play blocks and just keep her a baby a little while longer because I don't think I can handle this growing up thing...

The one who is so proud of her girl and can't wait to see the recital on Sunday (oh- and have a few months off from dance class and payments too :))

Great Grandma Bess's Strawberry Pie

When I cook (which is not nearly as much as I should) I do it from respectable, copyrighted recipes. Thank you Food TV.

Anyway, since this is rarity - both me cooking AND having a non-copyrighted recipe - I thought I would share with you our family favorite Strawberry Pie. It is a favorite among all 4 generations of my family.

I didn't know Grandma Bess but from what I hear she did not speak English well, she did not measure ingredients and she was one hell of a cook. So, this is the best I can recreate her recipe. Sorry, Bubbe Bess for any variations.

Great Grandma Bess Strawberry Pie

1. Prepare a pie crust (for me, that means defrost a pie crust but make your own if you are so inclined)
2. Fill pie crust with vanilla pudding (instant is fine).
3. After pudding sets, put sliced strawberries on top.
4. Make filling. In a medium pot, mix together 1 cup crushed strawberries, 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons corn starch. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until mixture is thick. Let cool completely. Spread on top of pie.
5. Let pie set in refrigerator for several hours.
6. Whip up some fresh whip cream (no cans here people, make the real thing) and add to pie just before serving.

Yum.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Farmer I am Not


If you love me...ok, if you want me or my kid to come to your birthday party then please for the love of G-d do not have it at a farm. Please.

As you can probably guess, my 4 year old and I recently attended a party at a farm. I was all excited about the afternoon. I dropped the baby off at my mother's house and took my older daughter and her friend to the party. Most of her class was there and I was looking forward to hanging out with some of the other moms while the children had themselves a fine time at the farm. The weather was perfect. 68 degrees and sunny. Apparently, I missed the idea that this event was at a farm and not a country club.

So we arrive at the farm and begin the trek out to the stream to see the natural spring. After the little boy I was watching stuck his hand in a pile of compost, my daughter decided to see if she could balance on a rock in front of the stream. I caught her on her way down and only her feet got wet.

After that, our 16 year old farm guide let the children into an enclosed fruit and vegetable garden with instructions "not to run" and "not to step on the beds". Wanna guess what happened next? It is going to be a very poor strawberry crop this year on the farm, I'm afraid.

Not heeding the lesson of the berries, our fearless (or high) tour guide then brought us in to the chicken coop with the same "do not run" instruction. In all fairness the kids were pretty good about the do not run rule and the nice lady said nothing like "don't try to pluck feathers off the live chickens". Two of the other mothers were conducting business on their cell phones. In the chicken coop. Another one, was texting her husband about her sudden desire for wings for dinner.

After that, the children headed into a big pen with 2 goats and a sheep. The mothers decided to hang back this time. Wrong choice. My child lost her footing and slipped and rolled down the hill. Yes, there was poop involved. No, I'm not ready to say more. Clothes have been thrown out. Another child angered a goat who went after him. This activity was short lived.

From there, they brought the kids to an herb garden and let them taste different kinds of herbs. Except it was 5 pm and the guide lady called it a vegetable garden. One of the kids wanted corn, mine wanted celery and so the hungry, tired, smelly children began to wail. All 15 of them.

After applying copious amounts of Purrell, we gave each child a chocolate cupcake and went on our merry way. And that, my friends, was the farm party.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights

I've known about this for a few weeks now and have gone back and forth about what to write. I talk to myself a lot about these kind of things. You should know that about me. Anyway, This is a subject that I take very seriously.

So, I thought about a long post on Darfur. I thought about China. I thought about many places around the world where people don't have the right to live as they chose.

But, instead of focusing on those topics, I've picked another. I think we need to talk more about what can be done to help those who are denied basic human rights. Yes, awareness of the problem is the first step and it is an important one. But, for the moment, let's assume that we all know about the problems in Darfur. Now what?

Now, we tell people that these problems are important. We contact our Congressional Representatives and Senators and we tell them that we think these problems are important. We work with organizations such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch or others to help bring about change.

Most importantly, we teach our own children that the world can not stay silent when other people are being denied the most basic human rights that we enjoy. We teach them to be good and responsible citizens of the world and to help those in need. And, we are proud of them when they join groups such as Youth for Human Rights or local school groups focused on protecting human rights.

The human rights crises that exist in the world today can not be solved by any one person. We need to act as a community and we need to help those who are not in a position to help themselves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Children's Book Week

This week is Children's Book Week.

So, I thought I'd list some of my very favorite children's books:

1. The Little Engine That Could
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
3. Paddington Bear
4. Fancy Nancy
5. Five Little Gefiltes (yes, really...that book cracks me up)

And some of my kids' favorite books:

1. Anything Dora
2. Fancy Nancy (at least we agree on something)
3. The Disney Princess Collection
4. All of the Sandra Boynton books (Good to chew, says the baby)
5. Fox in Socks (as of yesterday)

Please share some of your favorites in the comments...I'm always looking for new ones.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My First Meme

Well, isn't this exciting? Ok, maybe it is only exciting to me since I was having a hard time thinking of a post for today.

Anyway, here are 8 Random Things About Me:

1. I have always slept with a blankie. In my adult years, my blankie is actually an afghan but it serves the same purpose. I can not sleep without it.

2. One of the things I miss most about living in Massachusetts is seeing the ocean every single day. There are days that I miss it so much that it hurts.

3. I sometimes miss my kids when they are sleeping. I sometimes want to miss them when they are awake.

4. I talk to my dog like he's a person. No, he doesn't talk back but I know he understands me.

5. I like to eat dry chicken and turkey. Overcooked poultry is my friend.

6. I really like to color in coloring books. My 4 year old doesn't.

7. I like to drink my morning coffee in a travel mug, rather than an open mug, even if I'm not going anywhere.

8. If I'm wearing my hair down then I need to have a hair elastic in my pocket in case I neet to put it up at any time. Always. Can not be without hair elastic. Ever.

I'm not going to tag anyone specific because I'm not sure who has done this before but if you're interested then consider yourself tagged and I look forward to reading your post.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dreams

I may have changed my college major after 1 semester as a Psych major but even I can figure this dream out.

Last night I had the strangest dream (isn't that the beginning of a Simon & Garfunkel song? Love them!).

Anyway, I had this dream where I was with my family at a resort in Mexico. It was the resort my husband and I went to when I was 6 weeks pregnant with my first child. I was so sick. I didn't get off my beach chair much. I read and I slept. Thinking back on it, it was a wonderful vacation.

So, last night I had this dream that we were all there. It was the day before the trip was to end and I realized that I had not been to the beach yet..not once...even though I could see it from my hotel window. Why? Because I was too busy going to Stop and Shop in Playa del Carmen. Yes, I'm aware that Stop and Shop doesn't actually have stores in Mexico. And, if they did, it probably wouldn't take me all day every day to get what we needed. But that was my dream.

All Stop and Shop and no beach makes for a cranky mommy. I think I need a vacation. Pronto.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Proposed Merger

There's going to be a little bit of change around here. As some of you know, I love to knit and I started a knit blog called Everywhere a Knit Knit. I'd like to keep it up. Really, I would. But the pressures of parenting and work are preventing me from knitting enough to maintain a blog about it. Accordingly, I am merging the two blogs. I'm hoping that by merging the two blogs I will be be able to post more regularly and knit more often.

So, occassionally you will see pictures and hear talk of knitting around here.

My other blog www.educationlaw.today.com will remain a separate blog.

Business meeting adjourned. Carry on.

I'm Back

Sorry for the lack of updates around here, my friends. The Mote has been sick and we have all been paying the price. It's been horrible. She got sick Saturday and it's been like one long tantrum ever since. Not pretty.

Anyway, today was her first good day all week.

So, tonight we hung up her new canopy. It's pink and it has butterflies. She was beside herself excited.

I was sitting on the floor directing my husband where to hang the canopy on the ceiling (what, you're surprised?). The Mote came and sat in my lap and said, "Oh Mommy. Oh Daddy. Just what I've always wanted. A canopy. And nice warm sheets."

The drama! I promise we give the child nice warm sheets every single night. Sometimes we forget other niceties (like today...socks? who needs socks with frog rain boots on a perfectly sunny day?) but sheets...those are always on the bed. I don't mess with things that might mess with her sleep!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Blog

My plan for today was to tell you about the excitement and joy of going to Israel after spending a week touring Poland's concentration camps. There's been a change in plans. I didn't keep much of a journal in Israel except to write things like "having so much fun" "wow!" and "great party". Not exactly blog worthy 16 years later. Seems that I wrote more in Poland and told my Israel experience more in pictures (long before I had a digital camera so no photos to share on this here blog).

So, we are going back to the regularly scheduled important topics of my blog.



Let's start with summer camp.

There is a wide open 12 weeks between the last day of school and the first day of school. 12 weeks. We will be away for 1 week. That leaves 11 weeks to fill. The Mote (4 year old) has been through too many transitions this year. While she transitions remarkably well at school, according to her preschool progress report that I received yesterday, that is not always the case at home. So, I don't want to enroll her in camp or start anything new. We all need a break from that.

So, imagine my excitement when I received an envelope from her current dance school and discovered they are doing a 1 week camp. It's called Pretty Princess Camp. Seriously. My kid could probably teach Princess camp since she is the very definition of a princess but is she ever excited. The only thing I had to explain is why her favorite boyfriend could not attend Pretty Princess camp with her.

Now to fill the other 10 weeks.

P.S. photo is(c) Linusb4, www.sxc.hu

Thursday, May 1, 2008

WARNING: This post is very different from my usual posts about parenthood and other important topics such as TV. It has nothing and, yet everything, to do with my children. When I was a senior in high school, I was privileged to go on the 1992 March of the Living trip to Poland and Israel. Since Holocaust Remembrance Day begins tonight, I have decided to share excerpts from my journal that I wrote on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 1992. Please, feel free to skip today's post. It is hard subject to deal with. However, I feel that it is my obligation to write about it.


It is now eleven o'clock after a full day. It is hard to write now but I'm afraid that I will forget some of the things I so badly want to express.

The entire day was spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz has a campus feeling which disturbed me. In my mind now I picture the trees and the brick building and they seem, sick as it is to say, pretty.

The feeling of the day was disbelief. I think this is partly because Auschwitz is now a museum. Everything was behind glass. Everything was seen through the eyes of a tour guide - not my own. The numbers are unbelievably large. From 1942-1943, 1,300,000 prisoners died. This is approximately 20,000 people a day.

The March itself was delayed for quite a while. There were security concerns. That is not new on our trip through Poland but it is especially terrifying here in Auschwitz.

Once the March started, it was an amazing experience. 6,000 Jews walking together from Auschwitz to Birkenau as free people. When we arrived in Birkenau there as a long memorial service. Members of the Israeli cabinet and others spoke. 6,000 voices sang Hatikvah in Birkenau. In hell. It was an act of triumph.

We didn't have much time to look around Birkenau. We went into one barrack, however, that really upset me. This was the only building I have seen that has not been touched in fifty years. It stands exactly how it was during the War - to the nail.

All of the gas chambers and crematoria have been destroyed. The horror though is still very real. You can see where everything was. You can hear the 1 million children crying. You can hear the silence.

Shabbat in Poland is just one day away. I can not wait. After Shabbat we will leave for Israel.

I thank you for indulging me if you made it through my out of the ordinary post. One more, although a very happy one, to come tomorrow and then we will be back to the regularly scheduled nonsense of disco balls, TV and (gasp!) Pretty Princess Camp.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Think I've Lost the Love

I admit it. I have been a TV addict for my entire life. In the early years it was Romper Room and the Magic Garden. Followed by a very intense period of The Brady Brunch and Little House on the Prairie. My school years were defined by the evening sitcoms including Kate and Allie, the Cosby Show and Family Ties. Even in college, my suitemates and I made it a point to arrange our busy busy important schedules around the Thursday night line up so as not to miss a single episode of Friends.

At the beginning of this season, I was faithfully watching Brothers and Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice. Of course, that was supplemented by my CNN, TLC and FOOD TV shows. Yes, I even admit to watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight because, well, I am amazed that Kate makes it through each and every episode.

So, here's the problem. I've tried watching Brothers and Sisters and Grey's Anatomy since the strike ended and I think I've lost the love. There are nights that I don't even put the TV on anymore. Notice that I said nights. Noggin, PBS and Playhouse Disney are alive and well in my home, thank you very much.

I'd like to say I'm more productive but really I'm just spending more time online and less time knitting in front of the TV than I was. I've just transferred the obsession.

So, what about you? Are you enjoying the new episodes of your favorite shows? Is there a new (to me) show that I should try?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Second Child Syndrome

In the routine (read: chaos) of our daily lives, there is not a lot of time of extra activities. When my first daughter was 8 months old I had her enrolled in swimming lessons (I do not recommend that in the winter with a baby, by the way), music lessons and she was in daycare part time.

My second daughter does nothing. She is enrolled in nothing. Worse than that, I don't do as much with her as I did with my first child. The Who (the baby) is an easy baby and happy to amuse herself which is good since we spend most of the day in the car, or so it seems. Maybe now that gas has hit $3.79 for regular that will change.

Anyway, by the end of the day it is all that I can do to nurse the Who, sing a quick song and, run from the nursery. However, tonight I was feeling pretty comfortable in the glider so I picked up a book and started to read. Holy crap, that kid was excited. She started kicking her legs and belly laughing at the little rabbit in the story. She turned the pages and kept looking up at me like,"Really? We're really doing this? Praise the Lord, I've been waiting for you to read to me for like 8 months now."

So, Little Who, I am asking the internet to hold me responsible for my new resolution. I'm tickled that you enjoy reading like your mom, dad and big sister and I will make it a part of the daily routine.

Just don't go expecting kids at your birthday party or anything because you poor thing, you don't even know that kids under 3 exist, do you? Better go hide the pictures from older child's first birthday party before The Who catches on that her sister had tons of baby friends while we are raising her to be a loner.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4 Years and 2 Days Later

Since this blog is just months old and each birthday and anniversary has a story to tell, I thought I was going to share my oldest daughter's birth story with you this week as it is her birthday and all.

Once upon a time I was pregnant. The baby was a week late. I cried until the doctor agreed to induce me. Things were not smooth during my labor and delivery. I didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl. I have a beautiful and healthy daughter. The end.

Moving on.

What I've decided to focus on instead is the day I brought her home from the hospital. I'm still not sure the hospital made a wise decision letting us leave with the baby and no qualified personnel. I mean, we had tried to adopt a dog from the shelter a year before and we were turned down but the baby - sure, go ahead, take her. (Oh, and before you get all nervous, we love animals and our dog is alive, well and I think pretty damn happy. Screw those shelter people.)

I remember waking up that morning in the hospital and realizing that I needed to actually get both of dressed and out of there by 11 am. The task seemed insurmountable. Huh. That was kind of how I felt this morning trying to get out of the house. Clearly, not much has changed and this whole parenting thing is best done in pajamas. But I digress...

We did finally get dressed and even managed to get the baby buckled in to the carseat (with help from the nurse). I sat in the backseat with the baby while my husband drove us home. The baby slept peacefully the whole way. I thought this was going to be easy.

We went home and introduced the baby to our dog who immediately fell in love. We opened presents, visited with family and played around in the nursery. It was a wonderful, magical kind of day. The baby slept most of the day. She nursed well enough.

Then the sun went down, the visitors left and those baby eyes opened. She wailed. All. Night. Long. She did not nurse. She didn't do anything but cry. Neither did I.

Our days evened out from there and although she never went back to breastfeeding, we found our rhythym. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. That wonderful first day home with her was worth the horror of the first night. Yet, I'm glad we don't have to do it again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Happens at a Passover Seder? Or at Least at Our Seders.

So, here's what happened in my own words.

Seder 1: Timeline

3:30 pm: We arrive at my parents house.
5 pm: Everyone else arrives at my parents house.
5:45 pm: I manage to get everyone sitting down at the table for the seder.
5:50 pm: My 4 year old joins her grandmother in the blessing over the candles. Everyone is very pleased - especially her father and I who are paying for that Jewish preschool.
5:51: Auntie's stomach hurts - and there is one less at the seder.
5:55 pm: Baby starts to indicate that it is time for some of that nice warm mommy's milk and bed.
6 pm: I start to beg my father to get on with this whole leaving Egypt thing.
6:01 pm: Both children hungry. Wasn't the whole point to move out of Egypt QUICKLY?
6:02 pm: I do the 4 questions.
6:13 pm: We start the festive meal
6:15 pm: Festive meal is over for me and begins for the baby. I nurse her in the bedroom and she falls asleep.
6:45 pm: I make my husband and older daughter stop eating and we all leave.
6:50 pm: We listen to a Passover CD in the car and pretend it is the second part of the seder.

Seder 2: Timeline

3:00 pm: We arrive at my inlaws
3:30 pm: We sit down for Seder. There is assigned seating. My husband is seated with his father and his brother at the opposite end of a 26 person table from me and his daughters. I get to sit between my girls.
3:50 pm: My 4 year old asks the 4 questions in Hebrew with her cousin. Cute.
4-5 pm: Seder and LOOONG conversation about how there was no stick margarine available for Passover this year. PLEASE Mother's Margarine people...for the love of G-d, MAKE THE DAMN MARGARINE NEXT YEAR.
5-6 pm: Festive Meal. 4 year old can't eat...too much socializing to do.
6 pm: We clear table. 4 year old is hungry.
6:15 pm: I go to nurse baby in the other room.
6:17 pm: Apparently that would be the room where the afikomen is so mad children start banging on the door.
6:23 pm: Baby says in her almost 8 month old language "Fuck this. Milk is so not worth it. Hand me a cookie and let's call it a night"
6:24 pm: Afikomen found. My daughter's 86 year old uncle asks her what she wants for an afikomen present. My daughter answers without hesitation, "A disco ball." No one had one handy.
6:27 pm: We sing happy birthday to my daughter who would turn 4 the next day. Everyone asks how old she is. She insists that she is 3 and she is right. It is not until we ask how old she will be the next day that she will say 4.
6:30 pm: Dessert and finish the seder service.
7 pm: In the car!
7:10-7:17 pm: Baby and Mommy sleep.
7:17 pm: 3- not yet 4- year old decides enough of that and begins to wail. I want a bath. I want a book. I want my dog. Over and over and over again. If you were on the Tappan Zee Bridge Sunday night, I'm sorry. That loud noise was us. Same goes for Westchester and much of Connecticut.
9 pm: We get home with everyone still wide awake.
9:02 pm: Older daughter asleep.
10ish pm: Baby asleep.

And this is why the holiday won't happen again for a year.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Is In That Big Bag?

I am joining in the What's in Your Bag fun. Thanks Maggie

My most favorite Petunia Picklebottom Diaper Bag:



Some dirty socks and dirty spoons:




Oh, look there is a diaper (yes, just one) in there and some wipes:




Too many books for a 7 month old, a change of clothes that no longer fits and is not weather appropriate, my wallet and a toy:



Now let's talk about what's missing. I took these pictures Wednesday night after I took both kids on a day trip. Where are the snacks? Where is the change of clothes for the older child who is too stubborn to use the potty as she should? Sunscreen? Sippy cups? I'm going to repack right now in case we do this blog confessional thing again - um, I mean so that we can go out this afternoon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

10 Things I Love About Motherhood

I promised this post a while ago...

1. Goodnight kisses.
2. The way the baby smells right after a bath.
3. The excitement that a flower or rainbow sprinkles can add to the day.
4. Baby giggles.
5. Listening to an almost 4 year old voice singing songs with some of the words right. I am still trying to figure out why she thinks the word Walgreens is in the Miss Spider theme song...
6. Reliving some of my favorite childhood memories. We've been singing lots of songs about Pharaohs and Frogs with Pasover coming up this weekend.
7. Learning more about myself and how it really is possible to love my girls equally and yet, so differently.
8. Baby clothes - we're being honest here right?
9. Nuggles - also known as snuggles or cuddles. There is nothing in this whole world better than nuggling with my girls.
10. Reading with my girls. I love watching them learn.

Stay tuned for exciting things like exactly what is in my diaper bag and a proposed blogging merger...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mistakes

While we were driving home this afternoon my daughter called me Dad. Then she said, "Oops. Sorry, I made a mistake. Mistakes happen. No big deal." Of course, I quickly agreed with her and repeated, "Mistakes happen. No big deal." Meanwhile, my head was screaming that every mistake matters and mistakes are never a big deal.

What is wrong with me? I don't like mistakes and I don't like losing. I'm also not so great on seeing the middle ground. If my daughter has a no potty accidents all day then she must be fully trained. If my baby drinks a little bit of water from a sippy cup then she must be ready for 8 oz of milk from one. I realized, on our long trip home today, that in my mind there is no room for my girls to develop a skill gradually. Once they show that they can do something I expect it from them 100% of the time.

I expect the same from myself. If I can stay up writing until 11 pm one night then I should be able to do it every single night.

Maybe it's the warm spring air that is telling me to relax a little bit. Maybe it's the old friend whom I spent a lovely day with today, miss terribly and only get to see twice a year. I don't know and I don't really care.

What I do know is that I am going to try and calm down a little bit and spend a little more time enjoying my girls - mistakes (mostly mine) and all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coming Home Again

I lived away from my home town for 13 years. I moved away to go to college in upstate New York right after graduating from high school. I choose the University of Rochester for a lot of reasons. One of which was that it was a 6 hour car ride from my home town. At 18, I wanted to start over. At 22, I decided to go to law school in Boston. I was closer to home but I wasn't going to run into people in the supermarket, if you know what I mean. I stayed in the Boston area for 9 years.

When my older daughter was 13 months old, my husband and I moved our family back to my home town. I missed my parents and I wanted them to be a bigger part of our daughter's life. I didn't know it then but I missed my old friends too. Part of the reason that I didn't go to college closer to home or return home for the 9 years after college was, I thought, because I wanted to start over. I didn't.

I love having some of my friends from elementary - high school back in my life. I love the memories that we share and the trust that I have in them. If I need a doctor referral or someone to watch my girls then I know who to call without a second thought. I enjoy watching their children grow up and I am grateful that our children are friends.

I guess, when I think about, that it is not a surprise that I am friends with these old school friends again. We were friends for a reason way back when.

What I find interesting is how connected I feel with other people from the area. There's a shared history here. I'm comfortable. Today, I was talking to a friend I met about a year ago. She is not from this area but, it turns out that her mother is from this area. And her mom grew up with my mom and they were great friends. Now we are and so are our kids.

All of this - the family, the old friends and the new friends - were worth coming home for.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How To Have A GREAT Birthday Party for Your 4 Year Old

Those whole post can be summed up in 6 words: Don't Have It At Your House.

This is the first party we've had for one of our kids that has not been at our home. It cost me less money. I had (almost) no stress (keep reading). I didn't have to clean my house or entertain 15 four year olds. I spent time this weekend playing with my daughters instead of yelling at them while I struggled to get ready for the party. I spent the birthday party watching my daughter and her friends enjoy themselves and not painting or serving food. I can't think of one single downside.

That said, I don't regret having her first three parties at my house. I enjoyed thinking about the crafts we'd do and making fun invitations and themed goody bags. I am looking forward to doing the same for her sister.

Oh - and that little bit of stress I hinted at earlier would not have been avoided if the party at been at our house. This morning my darling daughter woke up and told me today was her birthday party and that it was going to be a "fancy dress up pirate party". Well, she had not mentioned that before so it wasn't a "fancy dress up pirate party" and when I told her that her eyes filled up with tears. She didn't have a tantrum that I could easily say no to. She was simply sad. So, her grandmother picked up some pirate paper goods and we added a "fancy dress up pirate" element to her party.

The Mote's actual birthday isn't until April 21 - so be prepared for some reflections, birth stories etc. in the coming days.

Friday, April 11, 2008

One Big Game of Luck

Do you ever feel like your parenting style is one big game of luck? I've read "the" books, I've followed advice from other moms whom I respect, and I've gone with my gut.
Yet, none of things have worked as well as plain old luck for me.

For example, my 7 1/2 month old is still hit and miss about night time sleeping. However, she sleeps much better if she's holding this:



Go figure. We obviously didn't say, hey, kid want to take the crab in the crib and see if that makes you sleep? We've tried substituting the crab for other sea life of similar proportions.




She won't have them. This, of course makes me dread what happens when said crab gets too disgusting to use or gets lost.

Then there is her sister who is 10 days shy of four years old. I will admit that we didn't fight over her hair for the first 18 months of her life. She had no hair. The past 2 1/2 years have been a different story. She battles with me every single morning about brushing her hair - never mind pigtails or a bow! However, if she can stand between Emily and Madison for dance pictures then she is willing to let me do this:


I wonder if Emily and Madison would pose for pictures with her before school every morning?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Curfew

Alternate Title: This Time I was Outsmarted by My Older Daughter

Maybe I should just start each post by telling you which child I was outdone by because these days it seems to be one or the other.

Here is my conversation with the soon to be 4 year old this morning.

Me: You are going on a special adventure with Nona (grandmother) this afternoon.
Her: What time do I have to be home?
Me: Around 6.
Her: I want to stay out later.
Me: It's a school night. You'll have dinner with Nona and then come home for bath and bed.
Her: I want to stay out until 10 o'clock.
Me: No.
Her: I want to stay out until zero o'clock.
Me: Giggles. Ok. (clearly I think I've won this battle)
Her: Great...the only o'clock that has a zero is 10. The rest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 do not. So, you said I can stay out until 10 o'clock.
Me: Stares at her and silently damns the preschool and all their fancy counting stuff.

And this is our conversation when she is about to be 4. I live in dread of our conversation when she is about to be 14.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Share Your Favorite Blog Day

Since what is clearly lacking in my life is spending time on the computer, I am always looking for fun new blogs to read. I've shared some of my favorite life / parenting blogs with you on the right and my knitting blog has some of my favorite knitting reads.

I'd love to check out some of yours. Come on, feed my procrastintion instinct. I promise to read them and I promise I will still vacuum so that the baby is not rolling in dirt.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

And Now I have to Vacuum (Oh, how I hate that)

So, the baby is now 7 months old. This week she has discovered that she can get wherever she needs to go by either rolling or slithering like a snake on her belly. That little old receiving blanket that I could put her on last Monday is just a joke now. She's off it before I stand back up.

In an effort to keep her clean I put a big blanket down on the rug. Ok, it was a little bit of an effort to keep her clean and a big effort to protect my rug from her spit up.

It didn't work.

First, she wrapped herself up in the blanket.




Then, she ended up on the rug anyway as the dog settled down for a long nap on the blanket.


I guess cleaning is the only option left.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Technologically Challenged

That's me.

I tried to subscribe to a whole bunch of RSS feeds on Wednesday. I admit I was slightly suspicious when even my MSNBC news feed wasn't updated in 48 hours. So, I checked the blogs and I missed a whole bunch of posts yesterday.

What am I missing? Seriously, I don't get it. Is it worth trying to figure out or should I just scroll through all of my blogs a few times a day like I do now?

Of course, now it feels like a challenge. It's me against these damn "REALLY Simple" Syndication feeds. Somewhere, someone is laughing about me not being able to figure out the REALLY SIMPLE YOU DUMB ASS computer function. I WILL figure this out (oh, and any and all assistance would be MUCH appreciated). Thanks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Love Is In the Art

When I picked The Mote up from school yesterday there were several masterpieces in her mailbox. I'd like to share two special ones with you.

1.

No longer will we use the age old "my dog ate my homework" excuse. Since, The Mote's little sister actually took a bite out of her artwork. It wasn't my fault Actually, it was all my fault. I was chatting with a parent and holding the baby and the artwork in my hand. When we got to the car The Who was covered in marker.

2.

A love letter? A ransom note? Any guesses?

The Mote was absent last Thursday and Friday. We came back this week to lots of love notes and other stuff some of her friends made for her. We loved them all including this one! The Mote has made some very special friends.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Kid Hates Horton

She has never read the book. Her grandparents drove 2 hours to take her to the movie and my daughter looked at them and said, "I'm not going. I hate him. If you would like to take me to Cinderella, that would be fine." She was not being obstinate and she was not in a mood. She was just telling it like it is. She has said the same thing about Horton for the past few months.

I respect that.

It's not easy to live with but I respect it and I can even enjoy it. In fact here are a few things that my girl has taught me to enjoy:

1. Antibiotics taste better when you add food coloring to make them rainbow color.
2. Lunch is more exciting if you arrange your food on your plate to make a lunch face.
3. Picnics of plastic food are quite yummy.
4. A rainbow pirate party - anywhere, anytime.
5. Earmuffs and bathing suits make a very special fashion statement.
6. The best way to watch TV is on a pillow mountain.

Now, I'm sending her to preschool so I can enjoy a few of these things in peace :)

I really do work at home with 2 girls and a pup

While I was awake with my 7 month old I-don't-want-to-sleep-between-3:01-5:14-a.m.-and-you-can't-make-me child, I was thinking about this blog.

One of the things I want this blog to be about is working from home with children. I've worked from home with and without children and I've worked outside the home with and without children and I've got to say there is nothing like working at home with your children. Not better, not worse...don't start sending me the hate mail...it is just unique.

My soon to be 4 year old can attest to the uniquness. When she was 6 months old I was working part time from home and part time in an office. On one of my home days she was in the playpen and I handed her a diet coke and put her bottle on my desk. Then I stared at her and couldn't figure out what was wrong with that picture...it's a wonder anyone hires me to work at all with deduction skills like mine!

3 1/2 year later she plays "working". She picks up the phone and says to me "Just wait a minute, Mommy's working. You will have to wait". My first reaction was guilt. Obviously, I was ignoring her needs to get my work done. Then I thought about it. My girls always come first and are always well cared for. I wasn't ignoring her, I was teaching her that I have interests and responsibilities and sometimes she needs to be independent. I am teaching her that it is okay for a mom to have other things to do - whether that is a hobby, job or taking care of the house - it doesn't matter. I hope I am teaching her to have a balanced life.

I also know I am teaching her that housework is optional and I'm working to improve that. The best thing about freelance writing from home and taking care of the children is that my husband expects nothing in terms of housework and I'm living up to that expectation. I'm working on it because I take pride in a clean, orderly home but I just can't seem to make the time to do it. Is March 30 too late for a New Years Resolution? Because I think working on this should be mine...

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Top 10 Not-So-Great Mothering Moments

In No Particular Order....

1. I took my 2 day old infant to the peditrician because her diapers weren't wet. Only they were. The doctor actually made me hold a wet one and a dry one to tell the difference.

2. I took my out of sorts toddler pumpkin picking. 2 hours later we were in the emergency room with a fever of 105.

3. I told my daughter that it is ok to climb the slides in chutes and ladder because I so badly wanted the game to end.

4. I told my daughter it was a mitzvah (good deed) to watch extra TV so that mommy could get some things done.

5. I told my daughter that our new computer just doesn't got Noggin, PBS or any other kids sites. Sorry.

6. I threw out all of the Mote's paint because I just can't stand the mess.

7. I allowed the Mote to have a playdate with the class bully at my house because she lives close by and most of her school friends live a half hour away.

8. The day we went to visit the Mote's new preschool, I forgot to feed the baby before we left. Poor thing was pretty hungry by the time we got home.

9. I banned Max and Ruby from my home. I don't like those bunnies.

10. I let the Goose clean his sisters' faces. They enjoy the attention, he enjoys the licks and it's one less thing for me to do.

Stay tuned for some of my good mothering moments...I'm going to try and think of some and post them this week :)

Going Out Postpartum

Last weekend my husband and I went out at night. After dark. Without children. Like adults.

It has been at least two years since we did that. And, it was SO MUCH FUN.

We went out to dinner at a real grown up restaurant that did not have a kids menu but did have an excellent martini menu. We went with friends who we've never been out with before. We talked and laughed and I didn't cut anyone's food or cajole anyone to stay at the table. I did, however, spit my second martini all over everyone when I was laughing. Apparently, I don't get out much.

Then we went to a Purim party at the synagogue. Ok, that wasn't our best move. It was like the 8th grade dance all over again. In fact, I think it was the same DJ. It was definitely the same music. We were the youngest there by a good 20 years. Luckily, this version of the 8th grade dance included an open bar so all was not lost.

So, now I need you all to hold me accountable. I NEED to get out more. I'm thinking 4 times a year is not too greedy, right? Now to line up those free babysitters....and maybe next time I won't spit on my friends.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Knew....

I took the Mote to the doctor today for a regularly scheduled appointment. The girls and I arrived healthy and happy. We left an hour later and each girl had strep throat.

Seriously, I would have NEVER taken them to the doctor today if we hadn't had an appointment for something else. No one had a fever, no one was complaining or even acting sick. There noses have been running since November - nothing new there.

So, since the power of suggestion is so strong, my husband and I have had two and only two conversations tonight (but we have them over and over so there is constant communication).

The first is:
Does your throat hurt?
Kind of...maybe it's scratchy... (big swallow) oh, no I think it's ok.
Yeah, mine too.

The second is:
Do you think the girls will sleep tonight?
Who knows, maybe they'll be so tired that they will?
With that a child starts to whimper.....

We may be boring but we are effectively avoiding the 4 estimates we got this week to fix our basement. So, that is something.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Jewel, A Present and A Small Tuxedo

Here is how the conversation went at my house this afternoon:

Me: Do you want to go for a walk and collect treasures?
Mote: Yes, mommy. I'd like to collect a jewel, a present and a small tuxedo.

Huh. I was thinking the usual pinecones, branches, dead leaves and dirty rocks that she calls treasures.

The ironic part is that she did find a jewel, or more accurately, a turquoise plastic bead. She did find a present- well she found a package of brightly colored hairbands but I didn't let her pick them up.

The small tuxedo though - we didn't find that. It is, however, the very beginning of Spring and we have many more walks ahead of us. Wish us luck.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Goose!

My Pup turned 5 today.

Or as the Mote said, "5 years ago he hatched from his cocoon." She has butterflies in her classroom. I'm ok with her record of things.

So, 5 years ago today our boy hatched from his cocoon. He came into our life 6 months after that - in September 2003.

On September 17, 2003 (I remember the date because it was our 3rd wedding anniversary) one of my co-workers, Besty, asked me if my husband and I were still looking for a dog. She knew that we had been turned down by the animal shelter. Yep, you read that right...apparently DEATH is a better fate for a pet than living in our home. The official reason we were turned down was because we both worked full time then. But, I digress.

On September 17, 2003 Betsy asked if we would be intrested in a 6 month old free, house trained, neutured Bichon Frise. I grew up with Bichons and the only thing that I love more than a Bichon is a FREE Bichon. (And now that I'm a parent we know that medical stuff and potty training are not my thing, so that was lucky too!)

I immediately called my husband who gently reminded me that I was pregnant. That made me cry. To be fair, I was in the first trimester and everything made me cry. My co-workers didn't know that I was pregnant yet. I had a meeting with my boss the next day and planned to tell her then.

Well, things didn't work out as planned. At lunch time I went and met the Goose. To be honest, I met this little scrawny dog with a mohawk who was cowering in the corner. I just knew he was meant to be with us.

When I got back to the office, Betsy had covered my desk with "It's a Boy!" balloons. My boss came by to discuss a report and asked if there was anything I wanted to tell her. I blurted out, "We're gettting a dog tomorrow!!!! Oh, the balloons? Yeah, I'm pregnant".

It's good to know that my priorities are consistent. I love my goose.


Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Am Weird

I could care less about celebrities. In fact, I readily admit that I don't know 90% of the people in People magazine. I listen to music and watch TV and have NO IDEA who I'm listening to or who I am watching. It usually doesn't matter to me which celebrities are getting married, divorced or having babies. I can't keep track of my friends never mind celebrities.

But, today, I saw that Punky Brewster had a baby and I cared. Nostalgia, maybe? Strange, most definitely.

What can I tell you? I liked the way she dressed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cold Pizza

Strangely enough this is not a post about my college days but about my 3 year old daughter.

She is on her first "big girl" playdate today. You know the kind where I haven't known the mother since I was 3 or I'm not there with her. A girl at school wanted her to come play. The mother seems nice and we have many mutual friends so I sent her. She is going home from school with her friend and I'm going to get her in a little while.

I'm so nervous I could throw up. Instead I ate cold pizza. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Leave Her Alone

Much has been reported in the media and in blogland about Mrs. Spitzer. Some argue that she sould not have stood by her husband, Eliot Spitzer, this week as the story about his alleged relations with prostitutes broke and as he resigned his office as New York Governor. Others argue that she did the right thing by standing next to him during these difficult public speeches and that all of their personal issues should be addressed at home.

I say leave her alone.

It is not for any of us to judge how she should act. It is not for any of us to say what we would do in her situation, for none of us know all of the details. The information that we have indicates that she was the wronged party and one of the victims in this horrible story. We should not judge the actions of the victims.

She is suffering enough. Criticize soon to be former Governor Spitzer because there is plenty of reason to, no matter what your political leanings (and a former post makes clear that I am a Democrat). But leave his family alone. Completely.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ok...

Whenever I get stuck on a project I'm working on, I mindlessly go through my bookmarked blogs to see what's new. Today there was precious little that was new! My many thanks to Jodifur and Embee for giving me some material to read. All the others were old posts. All of my parenting blogs and all of my knitting blogs had material I'd read several times over the weekend. Hmmm...have I mentioned I have no life?
So, that got me to thinking about this blog. I realize I don't update often but many times nothing so "blog worthy" happens in my day. Today, we spent the morning at the library and had friends over in the afternoon. It was kind of a blah day. The highlight was trying to convince the Mote that the trees really are older than her father. She doesn't believe me.
We have a crazy busy few weeks coming up, so that should give me some blog material. In the meantime, my apologies. Hey, at least there's a new post now and you don't ahve to read the old one AGAIN :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hope and Change

No, I'm not a Democratic candidate for president. But, I did notice the beginning of Spring today...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sisterly Blessing, Take One

We met with our Rabbi on Sunday to discuss the Who's baby naming. Yes, I know that she is already 6 months. We're working on it, folks. Seriously, she is going to be named in May when my grandmother is able to make the trip up for CT. Oh, and by "named" I mean given a Hebrew name after two of her great-grandfathers. She already has an English name other than "Who", honest.

So, back to the point here. We met with the Rabbi and as part the ceremony our older daughter, the Mote, is going to make up a blessing to give her sister. Here's what the Mote has so far.

* I promise not to teach you any more bad words like pee and poop, hey, I just said pee and poop, ha ha ha

* You're going to be my sister forever and ever, and doesn't Mommy just deserve us? (I have no idea what is meant by that last part)

* I love you the best and I'm so glad you're my sister.

That last part may give us something to work with but I have a feeling we are going to need to go through many drafts before the actual ceremony.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm Older Than My Great-Grandpa

Hmm..that title sounds a little like my three year old's insistence that she is older than me but in this case it's true. Poppy Max would be 28 today. He was born on leap day, Feb. 29, 1896.
I'm thinking a birthday every 4 years is a great way to stay young. I hear a daily glass of wine and some hair color are too...maybe I'll try it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New School

Do you ever that Super Mom feeling? Every now and then something happens that can potentially be devestating to one of my girls and I am able to think on my feet and prevent disaester. Ok, most of the time it is dumb luck and everything just happens to go my way by accident...but still...

That's what happened here the past few days. The Mote was on school vacation last week. On Sunday night I received an e-mail from the school. They suggested that due to a medical condition of my daughter's that she take one month off from school. After the month we would reevaluate. This is not a contagious condition. She is 3. She is excited to go back to school on Tuesday. It's Sunday night already, what am I going to do on such short notice? And did I mention that they informed me by e-mail? And "hoped that I would find the proposal kind and respectful?" ARE THEY KIDDING ME? Cruel and disgusting, yes, kind and respectful most certainly not.

So, I called a friend and long story short, I got her in to the preschool I originally wanted. She started yesterday and WOW what a difference! I am so impressed with all of the activities and the Mote is so happy there. Her behavior is even better at home! I KNOW this is a blessing and a better fit for her but she is confused and upset about not going back to her "old school" and while that's to be expected I have this strong desire to pull the director's hair while screaming incessantly about how she hurt my kid....

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow Day Challah

Or "Jen learns to Add Pictures to Her Blog"....take your pick of Titles. I can't decide.

There will be no pictures of actual snow in this entry for a couple of reasons. Number one, I am sick of winter and pretending that it is not snowy outside. Number two, I didn't actually take my kids out to play in the snow. The thought of bundling them both up and getting all cold and wet...I just couldn't. So, when their dad came home he took the big one out to shovel..oops, I mean play :)

So, here is what we did do yesterday. We baked. I loving baking bread. Yesterday's project was challah. We kneaded for a bit by hand and then decided the Kitchen Aid did a better job:



This is a really fun project to do with preschoolers. There are many breaks in the action to do other things while the dough rises. And there are all kinds of math and science lessons involved.

I meant to take a picture of the finished project but I forgot (see why I said I was still learning to take blog pictures, LOL?). So, here is what's left of the finished project:

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Little Bit of Spring

I took the girls to the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show yesterday. It was heavenly! There were so many beautiful flowers to look at.



The theme was "Once Upon a Time" so the Mote was all into it. She also got to plant her own pepper plant and draw with sidewalk chalk on the floor of the convention center.



I got to see green....such a treat in February!! (Can you imagine what would happen if I actually took a vacation, somewhere warm in the winter? Just the thought is overwhelming...LOL). The Who was the good baby that she is and was content in her stroller.

I restrained myself and only bought a few things. I got the Mote a Butterfly Feeder. You put sugar water in the top and it attracts butterflies. My husband is worried it will attract bees but I say it's worth it :)

I also bought these.....

I couldn't help myself....we need some spring on this Winter Storm Day :) It is brightening my whole house!

Now, we are off to bake some Challah bread. We may not get out of our pajamas today but we will be doing something productive :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Boppy: I Finally Get It

I am almost 6 months into life with my second child. I have owned a boppy since my first child was an infant, so for almost 4 years now.
Until last week, I never understood the popularity of this strange pillow type thing. I've bottle-fed and I've breast-fed but I couldn't do either effectively with a boppy. I have friends that swear by these things and I couldn't ever get it to work for me.
But, I am happy to report, that I finally get it!! I was nursing the Who this morning while playing Dora Memory with the Mote and I used the boppy. It was easy. The Who is just the right size. I was comfortable.
Yeah, I really do realize this is exciting only to me but I'm all excited that I finally figured out what the fuss is all about :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to Enjoy Winter Break Without Spending a Fortune

February vacation can be a long week. The kids are off from school and here in New England the weather is not suitable for playing outside. The museums are crowded, the mall is not worth the effort and the movies are not fun with an infant. So, what’s a family to do?

We try and have one activity outside of our house every day. It gives our days some structure and some excitement. It also makes our toys seem more fun when we get back. So, here is our schedule for this week:

Monday: The Mote had her bloodwork done. She was a brave girl and made many friends at the lab. So, she went out to breakfast with her dad and then we went to the toy store. All in all, a $20 morning and the bloodwork is done!

Tuesday: We visited the local library. They have a wonderful children’s area with a puppet theatre, blocks and a train table and we get books to take a home for later.

Wednesday: We are taking a trip to Stew Leonard’s grocery store. My preschooler loves it there! There are singing and dancing exhibits above the aisles and free samples as you walk along. I get my grocery shopping and my daughter is entertained. Brilliant!

Thursday: We are going to the CT Flower Show. We are all excited about this. Winter has us down and we are anxiously waiting for spring. So, in the meantime we are going to go look at the beautiful flowers and plan our garden. The theme is “Once Upon a Time”, so this should be fun!

Friday: We’re going to a friend’s house in the morning and then having lunch with Daddy. And then, what do you know, it’s the weekend again!

Now, I realize I could do all of this in one day but by spacing it out I give my kids some structure and we enjoy the week without a bad case of cabin fever and without spending a lot of money.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm a Big Chicken...

Or a bad mother...take your pick.

My three year old needs to go for a blood test tomorrow and I'm making my husband take her. I do all the vaccinations and doctor office visits but the thought of taking her to the lab for a blood test makes me physically ill. Or maybe it's waiting for the results that is making me ill.

I think I'll go take out some of this anxiety on one of my unsuspecting knitting projects. Better the knitting then my wonderful husband who is taking his little girl for the blood test with no complaining on his part. Right?

Out Maneuvered By a 5 Month Old - Again

I don't know how this baby did it but she seems to have out smarted her parents again. She is such an easy and good tempered baby. We don't expect these antics from her. From her older sister, most definetly. She was an intense and driven baby. But this one? She goes with the flow.

So, how is it that she is back to nursing during the night and sleeping in her carseat? We thought we had kicked both habits. From 3-4 months she rarely ate during the night...maybe once a week. Then we had a good month where she slept in her crib every night without a fuss. Now? She eats 1-2 times a night again and she only sleeps 5 hours in her crib and spends the rest of the time in her carseat.

We have no idea how or when this happened. She slowly wore us down. We're too tired to care on a nightly basis but now that we're on to her...we care...a lot. So, baby who, you may have tricked us but your mom (the lawyer) and your dad (the MBA) have finally figured you out. Now, if we could just figure out how to make you sleep in your crib...

Friday, February 15, 2008

A parade of "Not So Goods"

I am thankful that my family is happy and healthy and I know that I really have nothing to complain about but man, it's been one of those weeks!

Monday: I have a horrible sore throat that makes working and taking care of the kids an insurmontable challenge during the morning. My house looks like it was made without closets or cabinets since there are toys, clothes and dishes literally everywhere.

Tuesday: A blah day. The Mote goes to school in the morning and whines through the afternoon because none of her friends can come over to play.

Wednesday: The day I was waiting for. My mom is going to take the Mote to her sports class and to play for the afternoon. I am going to get some work done! We have an ice storm. At 10 am we lose power. At 2 pm I admit defeat and call the power company. Anticipated time of power recovery: midnight. I pack up the baby and the dog and off we go to my parents. I call the power company at 5 pm. We have power. I repack all of us and home we go to unpack what never needed to be packed in the first place. We order pizza, wait for the house to warm up and then I literally fall asleep sitting up in my living room chair.

Thursday: The baby throws up all morning. She can't keep anything down. The doctor gives me that wonderful 2 hour deadline to get pedialite into her or go to the hospital to prevent dehydration. I spend 2 hours spoon feeding pedialite to the baby who will not take a bottle. At dinner time I go downstairs to find water in the finished basement. I cry.

Today: The girls and I are all in our jammies. I'm cooking, writing and playing "Miss Spider"...any buggie want to play? We're going to see a friend of mine and her kids this afternoon and then my husband will be home for 5 days. YEAH!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Agility

My girls are finally tucked in for the night and the Goose and I just sat down to watch the American Kennel Club Agility National Championship.

I've had dogs before the Goose. My last dog, Phred, LOVED to watch animals on TV. Rodeos were his very favorite but a good agility competition was exciting too. He would sit on the floor (my dogs are more couch or bed sitters than floor sitters) and stare at the TV. He would ocassionally bark or go over to the TV, stand on his hind legs and lick the screen.

So, what's the Goose doing? Sleeping on my feet. Agility tires the boy. Why exert yourself when Mom is busy on the computer, the girls are sleeping and Dad is clearly not moving for a while? I can't say I blame him. And I can't say we will ever be competing in an agility competition...hey, we did finally graduate from puppy kindergarten but it was close. I saved his certificate in case it's ever questioned.

I mean really, does this boy look like he's ready for any kind of competition?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Woo Hoo!!

That is a woo hoo for the Superbowl being over. That was really hard for me (and yes, of course, the Superbowl is all about me, LOL). As I said last week, I am a lifelong die hard Giants fan but the Patriots are a really close second and there was that whole perfect season thing going on....

So, I ate my way through the first half and knitted my way through the second half. I have a stomachache and a few more rows done on my sweater and a very very happy husband, father, uncle and sister.

And the Who is two for two...first the Red Sox and now the Giants...life is good.

Nursery School Politics

Have you ever stood in the parking lot of your child's preschool and had the urge to put your fingers in your ears and scream, "I'm not listening!" to the other parents?

I do.

For the record, I am not interested in who has the most playdates, who has the most activities or who has the most kids at her birthday party. I am not interested in gossip about the school.

If you have recipes (or better yet knitting patterns!) to share, if you have cute stories about your kid or if you want to talk about the weather then come on over and chat by my car. But leave the competition out of it. We can get back to that when our kids join sports teams and apply to college. In the meantime, as long as your kid doesn't routinely bite, push or otherwise abuse my kid, we're good.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Night....

When I was little and had a bedtime of 8 or 8:30 and I remember thinking that it must be a lot of fun to be an adult. I mean, you just go to bed when you're tired and you get to make a lot of decisions for yourself. If you want to read an extra 15 minutes, no big deal.

I guess that some nights that is true. Then there are nights like last night.

Here's what happened:

10 pm: I am working. My husband asks if he should turn the heat back on. I look at him like he's crazy and ask why he thinks I might have turned it OFF in January.
10-10:30 pm: Not much happens here. My husband hits the heat reset button and on the third try admits defeat. Oh, and there's a lot of huffing and puffing and not nice words being said by both of us during this time.
10:30-10:45: We debate which would be worse. Staying home without heat and hot water or dragging the children to my parents' house 30 minutes from us. Our oldest is a very finnicky sleeper and is unlikely to go back to sleep at Nona and Pop's house. We decide freezing is the lesser of two evils.
10:45: I give the Mote an extra blanket and take the baby into bed with me while my husband calls the oil company. The baby who was sleeping soundly (and who we are trying to get to sleep through the night now that she is a big girl of 5 months old) decides that's time to eat at the Mommy Buffet and be wide awake for a bit. Great.
11:30: The oil company shows up. They fix the problem. By midnight we have heat. Our excitement is ridiculous. I mean we know we had heat when we bathed the children at 6:30 pm, so this hasn't been going on so long but man, did it feel like it.
Midnight: Everyone is back in their right beds or crib.
4 am: The oldest child wakes up FOR THE DAY. Apparently, she is suddenly very afraid of the dark and monsters and the wind and who knows what else.

We are all a little tired in my house today. I sent the Mote to school anyway and have her parent/teacher conference this afternoon (that's a little preview of tomorrow's post, I'm sure!).

Oh, and that thing about grown-ups being able to sleep when they want....I guess I wasn't so right about that!