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!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why we're not yet Ready for Disneyworld

Yesterday my mother and I took the Mote to Stew Leonard's grocery store. For those unfamiliar with this wonderful place, it is a great place to grocery shop with kids. They have displays above the food that have singing cartons of milk, chickens, eggs etc. Over the bananas is a Chiquita banana and the kids get to push a button to make her sing and dance. They love it! And the quality of the dairy, produce and meat is fabulous, so I like to go there too.
But never before have I gone to Stew Leonard's on a Sunday. At noon. It was crazy. the Mote insisted on walking next to us rather than riding in the cart. She's done this before but during the week when the crowds aren't so bad. She sort of zoned out with all the people and would wander wherever she wanted. Thank goodness my mom was there because I had to keep my eyes on the Mote all the time and couldn't find the perfect watermelon that Mote so badly needed in January.
So, I've decided we need more crowd practice before I can even entertain the thought of Disneyworld. Since Stew Leonard's has some good prepared foods at reasonable prices I think we may need to practice there so we get in our crowd practice AND I don't have to cook...

Friday, January 25, 2008


What a difference 20 years makes!

Teen Self: Waits anxiously for U2 tickets to go on sale and stays on the phone for hours to get tickets. SO excited when she gets tickets.
30-something Self: Waits anxiously for Laurie Berkner tickets to go on sale. Gets through immediately. SO excited when she gets tickets.

Teen Self: Can't wait for the next party!
30-something self: Dreads the next birthday party with cupcakes and crafts.

Teen Self: Has great hair with natural highlights
30-something self: Has great hair with expensive highlights.

Teen Self: Babysits a lot and often thinks that it would be easier to be the parent because you'd be in your own home and could do your own thing.
30-something self: Laughs hard at Teen Self

Teen Self: Looks forward to the weekend because there's no school.
30-something self: Still enjoys the weekend but admits to looking forward to the week because there is school.

Teen Self: Can't get the latest hit song out of her head
30-something Self: Can't get that song Moose A. Moose sings on Noggin out of her head

All jokes aside, my priorities and interests are remarkably unchanged in 20 hours. And I am proud of that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sports Overload

My kids seem to bring us luck when it comes to baseball. My husband and I have both been die-hard, fanatic, frustrated and ever-so-loyal Red Sox fans since we were little. Then in 2004, the year my older daughter was born, they FINALLY won the World Series for the first time in modern history. They did it again in 2007, the year my younger daughter was born. And, yes, I do have to explain to my husband repeatedly that this coincidence alone is not a good enough reason to have a third child.

Anyway, baseball season is long over and while we count the days until spring training we busy ourselves with our other two favorite sports. College basketball and football.

And let's talk about football. We both grew up Giants fans. I remember watching games with my dad and my uncle and even my grandfather. I didn't understand the game but looked forward to them all the same. I remain a proud Giants fan. But my "second" team is the Patriots. We lived in Massachusetts when we began dating, got married, bought our first house and had our first baby. We got the Patriots fever. So, my husband likes to view this year's Superbowl as a "no lose" game for us. And I agree. I'll be cheering for the Giants but I won't be disappointed to see the Patriots have an undefeated season.

And now I must go yell at the TV as I watch my beloved UConn Huskies basketball team play Cincinnati.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pre-Primary Presidential Election Thoughts

I'm one of those citizens who thinks the 2008 presidential election started way too early. That said, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and I'm going to talk about "the" election. But I'm not going to talk about issues or even who I am voting for on Feb. 5 (that would be Senator Clinton).

I'm going to talk about what I want to hear and see from these candidates. If we are going to listen to all of these debates I want to continue to hear about the war in Iraq but I also want to hear about the war in Afghanistan. I want to hear about what matters to me as a middle class American. I want to hear about how I am going to continue to afford health care and home heating oil. I want to hear about the quality of my girls' education. I want to hear less criticizing of the current economic policy (I understand it's hard not to criticize...) and I want to hear more about economic policies that are going to make my family more secure. AND I want details on all of these policies. I don't want the candidates to stand at the podium at say, "I support the middle class". I want to know HOW. I want them to have more than 1 minute to answer. We've got lots of time until November and, due to the Writer's Strike, not too much else to watch. So, I say let the candidates talk....I'm listening.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This is why I do what I do....

It was one of those mornings in my house.

Everyone was cranky. The baby didn't want to nap, the three old wanted to play outside in the her bathing suit and googles...and my husband was complaining that he never has any time to himself. There was bickering. There was crying. There was yelling.

The afternoon was better because we all played with our friends. They left and the morning problems returned. (As in, no, chocolate pudding is not a balanced dinner)

And then it was time for the kids to go to bed. That can be a tricky time on a good day and I braced myself for it. I vowed to remain calm and not yell at anyone. I sat in the rocker and nursed the baby while my husband bathed our older daughter, the Mote. After her bath, the Mote came into the nursery to say goodnight to her sister. The Mote sneezed and the baby laughed hard. So, the Mote kept sneezing and the baby kept laughing. I mean those yummy baby laughs where her whole little body laughs. We all laughed. It was a wonderful moment. And then, the Mote reached over and hugged the baby and said, "I am just so glad you are my little sister. I love you so much" And that makes the hard work of parenting all worth it... (at least until tomorrow's breakfast fight....)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Who are these people?

Ok, I readily admit to being a little paranoid about this whole internet thing. (Not that I don't have an addiction to it...I most certainly do....but that's another conversation). Even though it bothers me when other bloggers don't use their kids names, I decided to follow suit and use nicknames only. Don't worry...I'm sure I'll slip up soon and this annoying nickname thing will be all over.

In the meantime, I thought you might wonder where the Mote, the Who and the Goose got their nicknames.

The Goose (our dog who I treat like a child) is easy. He was a funny puppy and got nicknamed Silly Goose....shortened to Goose.

The Mote (our older daughter). When I was in the hospital just after giving birth to her, my mom came to visit. During the visit my mom's cell phone rang with the "Hellow Moto" ring tone. The baby's head went swiveling around to find that thing. Not even 24 hours old and our older daughter wanted to talk on the phone....this fills me with dread at the thought of her teenage years. Anyway, her grandmother thought she was so advanced that she nicknamed her Moto which was shortened to Mote.

The Who (our younger daughter). No good story here, folks. Mommy (that would be me) had trouble remembering the baby's name a few times and called her other names we were considering and the names of our friends' kids. So, she became known as "Who"

And there you have it, in all it's glory.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Seriously, I can't make this up....

My older daughter was a big pain in the buttski yesterday. She was overtired and slightly bored. I was tired. It was ugly. Then I remembered my secret weapon to tone things down...a 1/2 hour of TV. So, she watched Super Why and I cleaned the kitchen. Here is the conversation we had when Super Why ended:

Daughter: Mommy, we need to chat.
Me: Ok, great idea.
Daughter: I know that sometimes I'm frustrating. And when I'm frustrating you need to stop, take a deep breath and think.
Me: Great advice and you need to use your words to tell me why you're frustrated.
Daughter: Or I could just keep being frustrating....
Me: But wouldn't it be better if you told me what you were feeling so we could fix it and move on to fun thing?
Daughter: No thanks Mommy. Excuse me, I have to go now.

And off she trotted to her room to play with her dollhouse. I don't think that was as productive as I would've liked. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was out manuevered by a 3 year old. So much for that law school degree....I want a refund.

The Big Yucks....

My older daughter was never a big "thrower-upper". Her illness of choice was more of a run-a-high-fever-have-a-seizure-no-tylenol-won't-bring-it-down-go-to-the-ER type of illness.

But this year seems to be the year of the "Big Yucks" (also known as vomiting) for her. I don't know what it is about the Big Yucks that makes me feel so bad for her. Don't get me wrong - I don't do clean up if I can help it. Luckily, it doesn't bother my husband so much so he does it while I cuddle and soothe the child.

Anyway, today was a Big Yuck day. I had to run out to do some errands and of course pick up treats for the sick one. Normally my treats are bubbles or 99 cent crayons. Today I came home with a Disney princess coloring book the size of me (for $6.99!) and a princess diary and pencil set ($4.99). Poor thing didn't even care.

However, not to worry, her stomach and mood is greatly improved. We found one last Dora popsicle in the freezer - left from December's Big Yucks. I am convinced Dora has superpowers even in her frozen treats because things seem back to their normal levels of insane around here. Please keep your fingers crossed that the Big Yucks have left the house.

Friday, January 11, 2008

To Grandma's House We Went.....

Is it just me or is traveling with young children a physical sport?

Last week we went to visit my in-laws who live about 2 hours away. We visited with them for about 5 hours. It took me about 5 hours to prepare and travel for that 5 hour visit. Our kids come with a lot of stuff. For the older one, pajamas, a change of clothes, a few toys, a favorite book and a leaf. Yes, a leaf. She has a thing about bringing everyone she's going to see a leaf. It was beautiful in October but now people are getting brown crunchy leaves from the floor of my garage. Not so pretty. The younger one needs pajamas, a change of clothes, a place to sleep, diapers, wipes, an extra blanket, toys, and a strolle. So, we pack. We drive two hours. We visit.

We leave an hour after we wanted to leave. Everyone cries because they are tired (myself included). We get in the car and drive 10 minutes. My older daughter needs a potty break. We park as far away from the women's bathroom as we can (you know, because it's dark, raining and 1 hour past bedtime). I drag her across the travel center to the bathroom, clean the whole stall, get her on the potty but, ha ha mommy, she doesn't really have to go potty. Twenty minutes later we get back in the car where the baby is wide awake. We drive another hour to find the ramp to the next highway closed. We have to go 10 minutes in the wrong direction to turn around and get on the interstate going the right way. We roll in to the garage and both children are refreshed from their nap and think it's time to play...

I'm glad my girls love their grandparents and enjoy the trip. And I'm also glad I have a few weeks to rest up before we do it again :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Second Child

I wasn't prepared for this.

Our family is complete. My husband and I knew that we wanted two children and we are blessed to have them. I don't want a third child. (Maybe another dog though...) But I wasn't prepared to be a little sad as my baby begins to hit her milestones. Don't get me wrong, I'm as proud of her as I was of my older daughter. And I'm just as grateful that she is progressing so well. But I'm a little sad. A little sad that she had her first bite of rice cereal and is no longer exclusively breastfed. I'm a little sad that she is close to rolling over. I'm more than a little sad that she is 4 months old already. I love the baby stage, so I will continue to soak up every minute of her yummy babyness and look forward to her next milestone and I will allow myself to be just a little sad and a lot proud and a lot happy.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cheshire Lights of Hope

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words but I'm hoping my words tonight will suffice. I tried to take pictures for you but none could capture the essence of what happened in Cheshire this evening. (Although seemed to be able to capture what I could not, if you are interested).

Last July a horrible tragedy occurred in my suburban town. During the night, a home wsa invaded and a mother and 2 daughters were brutally murdered. I did not know them. I have heard only wonderful things about them but since I did not know them in life, this post is about the lessons their horrific deaths have provided this town.

Tonight at sundown, approximately 14,000 families and countless businesses each lit 10 luminaries at the edge of their property. Around 4 pm everyone began coming out of their homes. In January. Everyone. Entire households. I live in a neighborhood where all you do is wave to your neighbors. For a while it was silent, even the kids were running around the yards without speaking. We were all reflective and selfishly thankful that it was not our home that was randomly invaded that July night. After a while, we piled the kids in the car to take a drive through town. It was unbelievable. Everyone was outside. Block parties were forming. (Did I mention it is January in Connecticut?) The town was unified, peaceful, and reflective.

It should not take death to bring communities together but sometimes it does. I sat between my girls in the car and squeezed them each a bit tighter because I am so thankful to be with them. We arrived home and I spoke with my neighbor instead of waving and rushing out of the cold. I sit now and watch the flames flicker on the street and I cry because I am so thankful that my girls are safely sleeping in their bedrooms.

It is my hope that these luminaries can allow this town to begin to heal without losing sight of the special people that we lost. People have asked why residents of the town didn't simply make a donation to the charity the luminary purchases supported. The answer is clear this evening. While the town raised over $100,000 for the MS charity that was important to this family, we all gained something that writing a check couldn't accomplish on it's own. We gained a sense of community. It is my hope that brings whatever little comfort it can to the surviving family members who remain in our daily prayers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Organizing Stuff is one of my all time favorite things to do. Seriously. It doesn't matter what kind of stuff it is. Just give me some space, time, supplies and stuff and oh-organizing I will go! So, since I am such a little geek I thought I'd share some of my favorite organizing tips today.

  • Magazines: I love to read magazines but I have a serious panic attack when they start accumulating in my house. Most of my magazines are about parenting (ok - 4 subscriptions here because I need all the help I can get), knitting (no subscriptions but lots of individual purchases, cooking (2 subscriptions) and just general life stuff (2 subscriptions). The knitting and cooking ones are easy. Me, who hates clutter, keeps all of them. They have nice tables of contents that make finding a recipe or pattern easy, so why mess with it? Also, if you are looking for something you know where to start. For example, you are much more likely to find a pumpkin recipe in a Fall issue than a Summer issue. The others are much more complicated. Potty training doesn't have a season. So, as I am reading my parenting and general life magazines I clip the articles I find interesting and might want in the future. As soon as I am done reading the issue it goes in the trash. The clipped articles go in a binder separated with labeled dividers. Some of my labels include: gardening, crafts, potty training, learning to read, and peer pressure. It works for me.
  • Toys: Wow. Wish someone had told me about this before I had a kid. They overtake the house. They are everywhere. Here is my method to combat the clutter. In the playroom everything has an area...the kitchen area, the art area, the music area etc. Within each area are small baskets for the toys. Since I live in reality and realize that a clean playroom is my fantasy, not my children's, I have one BIG bucket that holds all of the toys that don't make it to the right home by the end of the day. A few times a week we make a game out of putting everything back in it's right place. I try and only keep a few toys in the living room and rotate them. The bedrooms are really just a smaller scale of the playroom. Except for the bookshelves which are sorted by category (holiday, Dr. Suess, Princess stories etc.)....C'mon, I warned you at the beginning that I was crazy.
  • Paperwork: I think I hate the paper that the bills generate even more than paying them! I have a filing system where we throw out the old bill as soon as the new one comes in. Those are all in one folder. I then have separate folders for insurance, tax information, nursery school, student loans, bank statements and medical records. Yes, I admit that they are color coded. And yes, I admit that I am a little bit sad that in real life you are not graded on notebook organization.

I hope those were helpful...feel free to share your favorite organizational tip with me. You know I want to hear it :)