Feeling Wishy Washy…

Not so sure I am really happy over here at WordPress. I kinda miss my old Blogger ways. Neither site is perfect, and this one is not so bad that I want to jump ship, but every now and then I have a feeling of longing… it’s like homesickness… as though I am not sure sure I belong here. And would it be so completely wishy-washy to drag all of you all the way back to the old site? You all think I am mad. A blog is a blog is a blog. But it ain’t so. For example, I wanted to show you all this amazing picture that Alexander drew the other day.

It’s his first decipherable picture. It was the first thing he has produced that was not scribbles. It was a picture of his father and he was just so proud especially because it was anatomically correct! (Not sure where the arms are though! And could that be chest hair just beneath his neck?)

So at Blogger I could have easily embedded this image directly from Picassa or uploaded it from my computer. But I can’t here and I am so maddened and frustrated. Anyhow if you click on the link below you will see my little Picasso!

 

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qpva5-yjzqnwVzaandVspQ?feat=directlink

Parenting with a sense of humor

The only way I can communicate with Don during the day is via email or text messaging. He can not be on the phone while in the OR. Earlier I sent him a text asking if he would be home in time for me to take Becca to skating so that I would not have to drag the boys and risk a 5 or 6pm nap from Alexander. I then went on to tell him that the kids were driving me bonkers. I am overtired and really need more of a break than the two hours a week I get. I went on to explain that I would have driven them to school in this… or in an ice storm just to get them the hell away. Sadly, this is not one of those I-am-so-overjoyed-to-have-the-kids-around-all-over-and-on-top-of-me snow days. It’s one of those I may break-into-school-and-deposit-the-kids-there kind-of days. Don’t gasp. If you haven’t had one you are either The Greatest Mother in The World, or you are inhuman. Or you are lying. A big fat LIAR!

So after whining over a text message this is what Don told me to do!

Under my desk on the right are pre-paid FedEx bar code stickers.

Firmly attach one sticker to each child then dial 1-800-GoFedEx for ground service pickup.

 

show of hands if you think it is OK to wash three year old’s mouth out with soap!

Seriously, this kid has a problem. He might look all cute and preppy but boy oh boy does this kid have a sailor’s mouth! Incessant bickering from older brother and sister does not help matters. I have tried to get to the root of the problem (siblings) and scold them for saying unkind words that younger brother should not be repeating. But I know that the minute I walk out of the room they are hurling insulting words at each other behind my back.  So really, I should not be surprised at what does come out of Alexander’s mouth. And yet, it never ceases to amaze me.

Yesterday we were in the kitchen getting Rebecca’s Birthday dinner ready while she was out at ice skating with Grandma, Grandpa and Dad. Alexander was a bit overtired and giddy and fresh.

Me: Alexander stop doing that, please?

Alex: No.

Me: Please, I wish you would stop. You are going to break it. (Refering to my aerolatte frother.)

Alex: No you big Jerk. You are an idiot! (I know exactly where he picked this up from.)

Me: Alexander, that is a terrible thing to say. We don’t say words like that and you know it.

Alex: But Becca and Griffie do.

Me: But they shouldn’t and neither should you.

Alex: You big Jerk!

Me: I should wash your mouth out with soap, young man.

Alexander is quiet as he is clearly trying to visualize how I would do this.

Me: You want me to?

Alex: Yes!

Me: You had better watch it or I will, Mister!

A few minutes pass and he does something else he shouldn’t have and I reprimand him again. He gets off his stool and gives me a kiss.

Me: I don’t want your kisses, Alexander. I want an appology. You are not being a very nice boy right now.

Alex: But Mommy, kisses make everything better!

I swear, if he wasn’t so darned cute…

hello CUPCAKE!

rebecca-class-cupcakes

Because my large derriere was not planted in front of the computer screen yesterday I was able to be productive! I made these slumbering children cupcakes with Rebecca yesterday. I am so happy (as is Rebecca) with the end result. Hours of work will be devoured in a minute or two!

I got the idea from the book Hello Cupcake. If you love to bake and have children this book is an absolute MUST have in your cook book collection.

I will not be blogging tomorrow, January 21st as it is Rebecca’s 10th Birthday and we will be spending the day, celebrating together!

(I thank Mrs. B for letting Miss C. interrupt class to take this picture… and Miss C. thanks for taking them and emailing them to me since my computer is down!)

a selfish shallow ass

Don wasn’t even trying to be quiet when he came storming in, with his coffee cup in hand, through the bedroom on the way to the bathroom this morning at 6:00. Somehow the little blond boy who crawled in next to me in the middle of the night was still asleep. Don wasn’t even trying to be quiet as he opened and slammed the shower door and all the drawers in the bathroom. Nor was he even attempting a whisper when he spoke. Ok, so the little blond boy shouldn’t be sneaking into bed with me in the middle of the night, and yes I should put a stop to it but I can’t because putting a stop to it means getting up out of bed and dragging myself and little blond sleepyhead back into his bed and most likely singing him a song or two before trudging back into my room and repeating steps 1 through 3 several more times. And, I kind of like it when the littlest one comes in and burrows his cold body into mine for warmth. And I like his quiet little snores and his sweet baby breath on my back. And even if Alexander was to spend an entire night in his room, in his bed, it’s not like he would actually be able to sleep through the Six O’Clock Racket for crying out loud. And so Alexander woke up all tired and groggy and not really ready to be awake. He wanted milk and Blue’s Clues. He started to cry because I told him no. I had the news on, I explained, and in 15 minutes I would let him watch. Poor tired baby cried some more. I tried to be sympathetic to him without giving in. It’s tough sometimes. Anyhow I knew at that point the day hadn’t gotten off to such a glorious start. Alexander would go to school in the morning and then, somehow, I would deal with a very cranky little boy in the afternoon. The phone rang then. It was the school, again. And again, we were going to have a delayed start. I had wanted the delayed start the day before, but not today. Today I wanted them all out. Well, all but the one who would be stuck at home with me. The cleaning lady would be arriving in a couple of hours to clean and disinfect the house. What a long morning it was too. Those two extra hours felt like an eternity. By 10:00 I was rushing the boys out the door. Rebecca stayed home. We were not going to be a second late for school. Alexander would have a whole hour of school. Yep, you read that right! Honestly, had I not so terribly desperately needed to get to the grocery store I would have kept Alexander home too. But I had to go anyway to get Christopher there. On the upside I could at least go to the grocery store without children. I did my shopping in record time and went back to collect Alexander before going home to Rebecca. 

I was sitting upstairs on my bed on this laptop and the kids were in Rebecca’s room. We were waiting for the housekeeper to finish her stuff so we could all go back downstairs. And then the unthinkable happened. Don came home. Sick. Fuck, I thought. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I didn’t worry about his wellbeing and wish him well. I am a selfish and shallow ass. Instead I swore up and down. I grabbed a duvet cover (we have two) and a pillow and went downstairs. I should have been more sympathetic but in all honesty I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. Because I am exhausted. Because I am drained. Because I know. I know that after practically no breaks in 3 weeks I am not going to come up for air again any time soon. I know that despite my aches and pains the morning after I was at Death’s door I still had to get the kids ready for school, make them breakfast and actually physically get them there. And while my body ached from head to toe I still had to entertain a 3 year old, and then go back to school at the end of the day to get the other two. And make dinner, and do laundry and tuck them into bed… And then the following day operating at 50% capacity I would have to take care of three children, one with the stomach flu, all stuck inside as a result of an ice storm.

It’s 10:00 pm and the children are now asleep. But bedtime was not easy. Never is. And I am downstairs on the couch with my pillow and duvet. I’ve been munching on leftover Christmas sugar cookies, not really even tasting them and sipping a Diet Coke. If I smoked I would have smoked a pack by now, surely. Easily. I won’t sleep (again) tonight. The alarm is on and the doors are all locked and bolted. I have checked. Over and over again. But we never found drapes for this room and there are two very large windows and the sliders that look out over the back yard. The very dark back yard. The very dark and vast back yard. We have a very large house but we have no guest room. We had a guest room at the small house. So I will sleep down here tonight. With my eyes wide open. Positive that I have seen something out there. A bump in the night. I could sleep in Rebecca’s room. She has a great big bed. But she kicks and like her brothers she sleeps like a human pinwheel. So I will stay down here and feel sorry for myself. And maybe I’ll swear a little bit more. Because in a few hours it’ll all be over and another day will be upon us and I’ll go through the motions and do what I can to keep my head above water.

for a fleeting moment

there was quiet and calm. All three kids were back in school yesterday. I was back home by 9:00 and the house was still. Dirty but still. The hustle and bustle and chaos from the holidays was behind us but the remnants left in the wake were still there. I vowed to get the house all tidied before Alexander got home from school. In a madwoman pace I cleaned all the downstairs floors, vacuumed and Swiffered (I’d leave the real mopping for the housekeeper to do on Thursday.) I put away all the bottles of wine and champagne and sodas and seltzers and mixers. I brought all the bowls and platters back down to the basement. I emptied the dishwasher. I loaded the dishwasher. I did many, many, many loads of laundry throughout the day. By 10:15 the house looked halfway decent and I decided that with an hour of freedom left I would stop everything and enjoy it. I made myself an English muffin and a fresh pot of coffee so that I could indulge in a cappuccino. Martha Stewart was on television. I half paid attention to her as I scanned my emails and read my friends blogs. When the coffee maker let me know she was all done percolating I made my beverage and brought my warm mug and hot buttered English muffin into the family room and settled in to the couch. The English muffin was divine. The hot melted butter seeped deep into the crannies and was the perfect salty flavor. Each bite a perfect amount of crunchy and soft. My coffee was super hot. I like it that way. I like it almost too hot to drink. I sip it and linger over it and really enjoy it. I like my coffee sweet in contrast to the salty muffin. I was sad when my breakfast was over. There was one English muffin left and I knew exactly what I was going to have for breakfast the following day. Eventually my hour ran out. And while Alexander and I had a perfectly enjoyable afternoon my hour had run out. My first hour of freedom in over two weeks. Gone like that. In a blink of an eye. And spending the day on Sunday in bed sick unable to move doesn’t count. Well it does in that it could have been a workday and I would have had to have looked after the kids (one at least) while at death’s door. So it counts. But it doesn’t really.

 

My kids went to bed with their pajamas on backwards and inside-out. They flushed ice cubes down the toilet and slept with spoons under their beds. Yes they are strange children. But apparently this is the universal code for creating a snow day. It is? It is! Where have you been? I assured them there would be no snow day and they were just being silly. The ice cubes had been flushed. I let them sleep in what looked to me to be very uncomfortable bed ensembles. But I took the spoons. I did not want my good spoons missing. I kissed them all good night and headed downstairs. As much as my kids wanted a snow day I, admittedly, wanted a delayed start. I wanted my kids, all three of them, out of the house, but I wanted to get them ready at a more leisurely pace. And I too went upstairs with some ice cubes… Well, not really!

 

I was up into the wee hours of the morning composing emails to important people and chatting via email with my friends — mostly those on the West Coast who were still awake. Eventually I crawled under the covers only to be awakened a few hours later by the high pitched shrill of the phone. It was a message generated from the Head of the children’s school telling me there would be no school today. Ah good. Back to bed. What? No school? As in none at all? Surely this was some mistake. I turned the TV on to our local Channel 12. Alas, it was no mistake. It seemed that the towns directly on the coast all had delayed openings and those towns further inland did not. Children come from a great many towns to attend this school. I am grateful for my Head’s caution and care of the safety and wellbeing of her students, but… but… but what if I pretended I didn’t know school was closed and just, well, drove there and left them?

 

Oy vey.

 

And isn’t it funny that on those days when there is no school that everyone is up before the roosters? Amusing, I know. Alexander was begging to watch children’s television. So there I was snuggled up in my bed with my warm coffee and I was stuck watching not Joe as I would have loved, but Blue! I had the feeling that this was going to be the start of a very, very long day. By 10:00 Rebecca was telling me that her stomach hurt. I told her to go to sleep. An hour later I was in her room on my hands and knees cleaning up after what would be many messes today. Outside everything was coated in ice. It was spectacular, each small branch, each blade of glass seemed to be enclosed in its own special Waterford case. I could have stared at the magnificent beauty outside my window all day long. But I couldn’t. I had to keep Alexander away from Rebecca. And I had to keep Christopher away from the TV. And I had to get him to finish his book report and math homework and spelling homework.And I never did get my English Muffin. Christopher had it with Nutella slathered, warm and gooey, all over it.  And I had to change sheets and do yet more laundry. And I had to make lunches for those who were eating. Tonight those who are eating can have leftovers. And now that Christopher is downstairs with his father working on his many thousand piece Lego project and Rebecca seems to be a little better I can sit and relax. I am so proud of Christopher for doing all that work, a good bit for just being in second grade. I know he must have been bored today. Good, he’ll be excited to go back tomorrow! I have been sharing some apple slices with Alexander and once again Blue’s Clue’s rules the roost. But it’s okay because the day is almost over. Rebecca will have to stay home again tomorrow but the boys will be back in school. It’ll be just Rebecca and me in the morning before Alexander comes home. That’ll be nice. We’ll enjoy our time together. And then maybe, maybe on Friday there will be some peace and quiet around here again, if just for a little while! Friday’s not so far away. And a glass of red wine is a lot less far than that!

a big ‘ol truck ran her over

Vacations are tough. Holidays are tough. Especially when they immediately follow insanely crazy school schedules and snow days. What you want most is some time to rest and recuperate but there is so much to be done still. All the Christmas preparations and plans for family and friends and parties. Hardly a dull moment around here. And, as should be expected this time of year, colds run rampant and children do not cover their mouths and noses and spray germs all over the place. Don’t worry, my children are equally as irresponsible as yours are.  So, I knew to expect everyone to get sick the minute Christopher started hacking away. Families are like petrie dishes, no matter how much Purell you swim in. Alexander’s cold was worse. His cough would wake him at night and reduce him to tears. Not much sleep for mother and son. After a few days we went to the pediatrician to rule out asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis. It was just a virus, he told me and he would not see me back in a week. I was given permission to give him purple (as opposed to the other colors) Triaminic to ease the coughing and congestion. We gave it to him at night time and he slept marvellously. (As did I!) Perhaps we were moving past the colds and sleepless nights. We were already a week into vacation and we were all getting more and more exhausted by the second! But when one can sleep the world looks rosy again. The only thing starting to concern me was that Alexander was still extremely congested. I worried about what this could possibly result in. But he was feeling and acting fine so that when we got another snow storm on New Year’s Eve we didn’t think twice about sending the kids out with their sleds. They all came in red cheeked and drippy nosed. They came in smelling like outdoors in wintertime. On Friday evening I saw Alexander holding his ear in that way that instantly sends chills down your spine and sets off the ear infection alarms. This was what I worried about. His congestion had no place to drain. Another ear infection was the only possible outcome. I immediately gave him some Motrin and we had another terrible, very restless sleep that night. Even though he was chipper and in great spirits the following morning I made an appointment to see our pediatrician. We got a 9:30 appointment which still meant that we could head out to Massachusetts for Christmas number 3, if Alexander was up to it. A prescription was called in for his double ear infection and we went home, changed and headed out the door.

I settled in to bed at around 10:30 that night and didn’t feel so well.  I didn’t get that much sleep that night either. And Alexander was in bed with me. I don’t know when he joined me but he was in bed with me. I wondered if his cold has manifested itself differently in me, or if this was something else I would have to look forward to him getting. By early afternoon my stomach seemed better but every bone from my head to my toes throbbed. Luckily I slept the day away and was awakened only by the need to sip gingerale every now an then or a small child sneaking in to steal a kiss!  I was so glad that yesterday was Sunday and there was someone to look after the children. I was also grateful that today was Monday so that I would not have to look after all three kids. Though, shhh, don’t let them hear me say so, I miss them like crazy! Alexander is content to play with his Dad’s tools and watch Noggin on television. As for me I’m a bit sore and totally exhausted but I know I will be OK. I may have needed a nap after the arduous task of stripping my bed, but I know I will be OK. I’m lucky and grateful to have such an easy going kid to keep me company. I am grateful for Noggin on TV and Disney on Demand as I too have become a huge fan of Handy Manny!

I would rather be cleaning or putting away decorations or even putting laundry away, but I can’t and snuggling up next to a rather cute 3 year old is nothing to complain about!

Addendum: Within a couple of hours of writing this Alexander too succumbed to the terrible stomach bug. Poor kid just can’t get a break.

the party’s over…

and it was tremendous. and i will post more about our new year’s get together in a couple more days (and will start posting with more regularity again) but for now iwould like to share the first major lesson I have learned this year. do not. ever. leave bowls of Peppridge Goldfish in a playroom filled with preschoolers, not all of whom are constantly monitored by their parents. Goldfish belong in ponds. not smashed in rugs, under toys, under boxes, under tables, or in playhouses!

Warm Hearts, Warm Home!

Last Saturday I woke up to a cold house. As I trudged across the kitchen floor to make my coffee before the sun was up I thought the house felt cooler than usual. Not cool, but downright cold. The icy cold ceramic tiles pierced through my feet. As soon as I scooped out the right amount (Christmas Blend, of course!) I cranked the thermostat. A short while later we learned that the furnace was not working. Again. I feared we would be required to replace Furnace Number 2, the downstairs furnace, just after furnace Number 1 was replaced. “Here we go again,” I thought to myself. Later that afternoon we learned that the furnace would not need to be replaced, (Thank God!) but an integral part did. The part had to be ordered. And seeing it that it was early evening on a Saturday this was not going to happen until the following Monday. At the earliest, we would get our heat back on Tuesday. As the house entered the refrigeration zone the temperatures outside plummeted. The thermometer outside our window read 9 degrees, but the angry, howling winds told me that it was much colder. The downstairs soon turned from unpleasant to unbearable. We began to make our meals (sandwiches) downstairs and brought them upstairs. While I was eternally grateful to have a working furnace and a warm upstairs (where the bedrooms and playrooms are) I was getting tired of living in my bedroon. It was just too cold to do anything downstairs. It was even too cold to cook or bake. We did some. We had to. I had promised to make Santa’s cookies and since there wasn’t a minute to spare we did bake for him. We baked chocolate m&m cookies. It’s one of Martha’s recipes. Not the m&m part. The chocolate part. (We added the red and green m&ms ourselves.) Even with the oven on we couldn’t shake the cold. (The warm cookies sure felt and tasted good though!)

Throughout our four cold days I kept reminding myself how fortunate we were to have a half-heated house. While it was a nuisance and uncomfortable we had a house and we had some heat. The frigid first floor was sobering in the sense of reminding us of what we had as opposed to what we didn’t have. The kids were fine actually, happy to run around a 40 degree house in nothing but shorts and a Tshirt!

On Tuesday, the day before Christmas Eve, Don came home early and sent me out to finish my Christmas shopping. I had fallen behind due to a couple of snowstorms. I had started out well ahead of the game and had fallen seriously behind. I was eager to get out and finish up. I was eager to get out to a warm mall! I called the house periodically to check in on the kids, check on whether the groceries had been delivered and the status of the furnace. The heat company was due to come that day with our part, and barring any problems, we would have heat at some point that night.

By the time I arrived home, 5:30 pm, the furnace had been fixed and was working hard. The house was cold still and would take many hours to warm up but knowing that it would again be warm I was thrilled. Christmas Eve was the following day and we would have a warm home! Now really, I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

With our heat restored I began to work frantically to get everything done to get everything ready for Christmas. I wrapped and cooked and cleaned. I was busy all morning making up for lost time. I was so productive that by early afternoon I was all done. Don went out to finish up a few things and I had nothing to do but relax and enjoy the day! I had a long relaxing soak and a long mid afternoon nap. When I awoke it was already dark out. It was Christmas Eve. It was Christmas Eve and we had heat and food and presents that were all wrapped. We all snuggled together in the family room in front of the fire and watched The Santa Clause 2, the kids favorite movie of the week. We took breaks for dinner and dessert. It was a perfect Christmas Eve night.

We said goodnight and tucked the kids in at 9:30. We knew Christopher would be up for hours. We expected the others to as well, but Rebecca and Alexander could barely keep their eyes open. I went to work in the basement digging up all the wrapped gifts that I had tucked away here and there. Don was upstairs assembling the Polar Express Train we had gotten for under the train. As I was making piles for the children and checking the boxes off against my list I saw that Alexander’s pile was a great deal smaller than the other two. I began to panic. What would I do? How could my numbers be so far off? I had calculated the items. I reached for my list and it dawned on me that a bunch of toys were missing. Toys that I had wrapped. How could my youngest get less, and a good deal less, than his brother and sister? How could I let that happen? I couldn’t! Eventually a box was found with several large wrapped packages inside. One was for Rebecca and the rest were ALexander’s missing toys. Christmas could go on once more! Meanwhile I heard footsteps above. Little footsteps. Christopher was roaming the house. He could not sleep. It was 10:30. This meant we would have to wait further before putting all the items under the tree. Eventually he settled down and at 11:30 we began our treks up and downthe basement stairs. By midnight we were all done. And pooped. And 6 hours later 3 eager children could not contain their excitement!

 

No sneaking down!img_0882img_0883img_0885img_0887img_0884
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