Monday, June 30, 2008

There's Always a First Time

So, guess how my dear husband spent his morning off? Taking care of Matthew. Yesterday our baby boy decided it would be fun to ride his sister's bike. It stands by itself because of training wheels and in an attempt to climb on, it tackled him. And so the adventure began. . .

From the 1st, he carried his arm up against his body. But I was able to calm him down and he was playing and laughing so I hoped that was the end. But he still was holding his arm a little oddly. Last night he fell asleep in our bed (after falling and whacking his head, a totally different issue), but right about my bedtime he woke up screaming. I calmed him down again and he slept with only small whimpers through the night.

In the morning he woke up completely happy. He was even putting weight on it (although not as much as with his other arm). I thought maybe it would be ok. But he was still carrying it against his body and cried when Elise dressed him. So Peter took him in to the ED. Both lower arm bones were broken and had to be reduced (aka shoved back into place). Peter called the orthopedist who agreed to cast it right away. Here is the result (Matthew must have a high pain tolerance because he is still happy and laughing and doesn't really want held)

Now I think Peter thought it was broken the whole time and just knew that there wasn't much that could be done. "Just watch, and see how it goes," he kept telling me. He just waited till the orthopedist office was open before he took Matthew in for an Xray. Why wait in the ED if they were just going to splint and make you wait to see the bone doc anyway? This morning he was willing to let me monitor the arm one more day, until Matthew started crying while dressing. I don't think he expected both bones to be broken as badly as they were, and maybe he wasn't absolutely positive, but I think he was pretty sure from the first. Luckily he has a lot of practice at work holding down screaming, pained babies because that is exactly what he had to do while they put Matthew's bones back into the proper place!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Missing Post 5- Father's Day Tribute

Missing Post 4- Father's Day in Reality

June 15th

Pater gave me one of the best Mother's Days ever this year and I really wanted Father's Day to be spectacular. I even bought one of his gifts a couple weeks early. I spent a lot of time thinking about what gifts he would enjoy. When I asked him if there was anything he wanted in particular, he said he intended to get a plasma TV for Father's Day. (He has been saving bonus checks for a while to pay for a TV when we move.) Well that put an end to my Father's Day buying~ a plasma was way past what I was going to spend. My idea had been a hammock.

The problem was that life stubbornly refused to stay out of the way. We had to be out of the old house by June 15th. Since that was a Sunday, we really needed to be out by the 14th. Plus, our things came from the movers the Thursday before and I had to be at the new house the whole day. I was bringing stuff back and forth between houses the whole week. Plus, if you look back, that was the week of Kirsti's field trip (I really am a sucker) and Ethan's school play. We're talking 10 hours + running around, packing, unpacking, or cleaning the entire week. I barely took time off to buy Kirsti her birthday presents on Friday, the day before her birthday! Peter was working every day until that Saturday (cleaning) and Sunday (Sabbath) so he couldn't even go pick out a TV- and I wasn't buying that without spousal input!

By the end of the week I was starting to realize that Father's Day was not going to be as great as a I hoped. In desperation I even looked for a hammock to buy when I went present shopping for Kirsti, but due to limited time constraints, I couldn't find what I wanted (I was taking one of the last loads from one house to the other and fit shopping between that and going to Ethan's school play at 12:30). So Father's Day came and all I had was the one gift I had bought ahead of time. We had eaten some cookies at our friends', the Patches, house and Peter had liked them so much he had gotten the name of the cookie cookbook she had used. So I had jumped online and ordered it. This was Peter's sole present:

We did get a TV the next week:

And out of guilt, I am still looking for hammocks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Missing Post 3- Kirsti's Birthday

June 14-16th

So, if you remember from a previous post, Kirsti's birthday was spent cleaning the rental house. All day. Without breaks. So, her birthday celebration was stretched to a 3 day deal. On Saturday, birthday proper, we celebrated by opening presents (after getting home from cleaning). Sunday, which was Father's Day, we ate birthday cake. Monday we did the birthday dinner; each birthday the celebrating kid gets to choose where we go out to eat.
On Saturday while we were cleaning, Kirsti asked Peter if she could still turn 6, even if we didn't celebrate it. Now you would think that my kids would be used to alternate days. With a ED doctor's schedule, we rarely celebrate on the correct day, just pick a day that is close and works best. Normally, if we change the date, we do it before their birthday and lately we have been lucky to celebrate on the right day, so this was really traumatic for her.

Some interesting notes~

  • Yes, the "wrapping paper" was the packing paper from all those boxes you see behind her in the picture. I intended to let the kids decorate the paper before we gave it to her, but we decided better to let her just open them instead of postponing and totally ruining the big day. And to explain the outfit- don't forget we were cleaning all day!

  • I had a hard time coming up with presents for Kirsti this year. I asked almost everyone. Almost all mom's with girls that age suggested Polly Pocket or the Disney Princess alternative. I know I balked at buying such small, easy to lose toys, but I gave in and bought both a Polly Pocket and 2 Disney Princesses (I needed one for the cake!) She absolutely loved them (in fact she says they were her favorite gift) so thanks for the suggestion. I'm glad I listened.

  • Thanks for the leap pad games mom and dad, all the kids played them till the batteries ran out and now I have to find where I put the batteries so I can replace them!

  • I totally stole the cake idea from my niece Kaylee's cake the week before. Don't blame me, blame the fact that they independently asked for the exact same cake and Brenda came up with a great, easy way to do it. This year I was all about great and easy (although I had to check 2 stores before I found the right Little Mermaid toy)

  • I didn't get any pictures of dinner. Surprise! She picked Chuck E. Cheese.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Missing Post 2- The School Year Ends

June 18th
  • Elise (5th) learned a lot about dealing with other strong personalities. Her writing has continued to be phenomenal and she enjoyed all the power point presentations they did in school. After getting her lowest grade in spelling, she has finally decided it is worth the effort and ended up with the highest grade possible! I give Jared kudos for working with 5th graders all the time (especially the girls). One year just about did me in!
  • Ryan (4th) learned a lot about being accountable for his own work. After several talking with his teacher, they agreed to let him go to the 5th grade for math and increased his reading level to closer to his actual level (although they never quite got him in the right group).
  • Ethan (1st) ended the school year as the top student in his class. He is reading all the time (he prefers nonfiction and magazines, but throws in some regular books for fun). He is great at math and can already do a lot of his multiplication and money facts.
  • Kirsti (Kindergarten) is really starting to get the whole reading thing. She can read by herself during scripture study (with a few helps if more than 3 syllables). She is also a great writer. We have been doing some writing at home and her stories are awesome! She is also getting really good at addition and subtraction.
The pictures are of each child with their teacher. There is also Ethan dressed as an ant for the 1st grade play and Elise dressed up for 5th grade graduation in front of the school.

This has been an interesting year for us. Moving two months into the school year threw us off our groove and I'm not sure we ever fully recovered. We didn't want to do anything drastic because we knew we were leaving as soon as our house sold (which it still hasn't done). Living in limbo is NOT fun. The school was an inner city school. We did that in PA and absolutely loved it, so we weren't too worried. But this school had some rough elements in it and not a lot of programs for above grade level kids. Anyway, Kirsti and Ethan had a great year and Elise and Ryan learned a lot about dealing with hard circumstances. Not a bad lesson to learn while still in elementary school. The bright spot was that they all had wonderful teachers. I am always thankful for those who teach my children~ they get bonus points if I feel like they also love them!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Missing Post 1- Matthew Chooses His Own Words

Tuesday, June 3rd

Most of you know that Matthew has been one of my slower speakers. He has finally started speaking without prompting. What does he choose to say? The following shows him speaking some of his first unsolicited words.

An interesting note~ apparently I tried too often to capture him "praying" on camera because as soon as he saw me pick up the camera, he ran over to me, knelt, and folded his arms.

*please only watch this if a messy house does not make you queasy*

I promise, the first time I heard him say it without any prompts. In the video I do help a little.

And I did warn you about the house.

And for those of you who remember, yes, Joseph's first song at that age was the theme song.

And in defense, they were showing a new episode every day that week so we watched it more than usual.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Death House, I wish!

My friend commented that the last time she moved they called it the death house, because they would rather die than have to move again. Well, after this move, I feel the same way. The only problem is that I know that we are only here for 13 months. Arrhg! This move has been one of the worst (and I have had many). Maybe it is because we finally have nice furniture to try to move. The fact that we moved to the furnished place and left our stuff for 7 months didn't make it any easier.

We couldn't go down for the move, so Tami and Jared were kind enough to drive over to meet the movers, but they couldn't stay the whole time. The movers came in a huge 18 wheeler that didn't fit in the driveway, so they "shuttled it" (rented a U-haul to load at the house and then reload into their truck). A pain? Yes. But the worse was yet to come. They only loaded half our stuff! The day before they were supposed to arrive, the company called and said they didn't have room for the garage items, they were going to load them the same day they were delivering our 1st load. No big deal, just the garage stuff. Except it was the garage stuff AND our piano, two couches, dresser, computer desk, TV, TV stand, and leather chair. That means all we have been shuttling our 19 inch TV up and down the stairs to watch in the family room during the day and our bedroom at night. Sitting on the floor because we had no couch. So, Tami and Jared drove over again to clean after the 2nd load and (surprise!), they had still missed our TV, a little recliner in our bedroom and all Peter's saws. And there were little toys, books and clothes scattered all over the house. The moving company is still trying to find someone to take the last load (no explanation why they didn't finish or why they left the door wide open with the air blasting). We are required to hold renters insurance (who wouldn't want it anyway) and liability and the day I went to sign the papers, State Farm gave me a "never-mind-we-can't-insure-because-of-the-home's- location." I had to scramble to find someplace the would insure me and it cost 50% more than State Farm's initial quote. The 1st lady we rented from thinks we should pay her another month's rent (she thinks the lease ended in May even though it was June). It took 12 hours to clean the old place after we left (this included moving all the furniture and beds to mop and sweep under- 10 beds and at least as many huge rugs and dressers). This was on Kirsti's birthday and the day before Father's Day. Couple that with the phone company managing to take an extra week to turn on the phone and internet, made for a stressful move. Did I mention Peter's only days off those two weeks were the day we cleaned for 12 hours and Father's Day?

Now the up side-
  • My NC neighbor was kind enough to notice the door and turned down the air and shut it for us (if you see this, thanks April!)
  • Our 2nd load came yesterday and we have most of our things.
  • To make up for the missing TV, we bought a 50 inch plasma
  • I finished unpacking all the boxes from the first load!
  • I wasn't tempted to play on the computer or watch TV- that is how I got everything unloaded
  • When I got super stressed, all I had to do was walk outside and sit by the ocean for a minute :)

So with the kids finally out of school and being nearly settled in the new place, I am ready to get back into a routine. This week I hope to catch up on some missing posts. Expect posts on the last day of school, Kirsti's birthday, Father's Day, and my projected summer routine and projects. Summer has begun!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We're back!

If it seems as though we fell off the face of the earth for a while, it is because, technologically speaking, we did. Due to AT&T typoing the date to reconnect or phone twice, we didn't get our phone (and thus DSL) till yesterday. I can't take too long to post, it is the kids first day of summer and they are dying to take some turns online (I am not the only one to go through withdrawals!) Anyway, we are at the new house (with only half our furniture, but that is another story all together) and yesterday I finished unpacking the last box. Now I just have to put it all away! I always try to be done in a week and I am counting from the last day we were in the old house (which gives me until Saturday night). So I will be busy for the next couple of days. Then things should get back into a routine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I am such a Sucker

So with the move and everything, I have A LOT to do everyday. Which is why I told Kirsti I couldn't come on her field trip. This morning, she begged again. And I told her, "No." I explained I had to go grocery shopping. I explained that the beach costs money to get enter. I explained that I had to switch the phone and Directv to the new house. I explained all our belongings have to be moved to the new house and this house must be cleaned with just a few days left. I explained why I was too busy to chaperone her field trip. After I dropped her off, I started thinking. Does it matter if I do the shopping in the morning? Am I really too cheap to pay the $5 entrance fee? The beach they were going to is only 3 houses away from our home. How long goes it really take to make a few phone calls? Is it fair that I went to Ethan's field trip and skip hers? And then the kicker; her bus drives by the same time I am getting the kids ready to walk out the door. As Matthew waved madly at the bus and I could see her waving inside, I decided. I threw the boys into the stroller and headed for the pedestrian entrance. To my frugal joy, the gates were open but they weren't yet collecting the entrance fee. And the look on Kirsti's face was priceless when she saw us walk up the boardwalk. They played at the beach, the water area, and had ice cream cones and we were done by 12:30.

And now for the rest of the day- it was hot so I sat down to cool off and write my shopping list. I also swapped my boys' sandy, ice creamed clothes for clean ones. By the time I was done and headed out it was 1. I got 1/2 way to the store and stopped at McD for some lunch. While sitting in the drive through, I went to grab my wallet only to realize I had taken it out and left it in my camera case for the field trip. I had enough cash for dollar sandwiches, but not enough time to go home for the wallet and still go shopping. Now it is 1:30 and I spend the extra hour cleaning (aka taking a nap). Pick up the kids, kiss Peter good bye (still on nights), make the needed phone calls, and start cleaning out the 3rd floor. Remember, it is 90 degrees and this house has no air. The good news is I must have lost 5 pounds in sweat. I finished completely cleaning out the top floor with just enough time to run our belongings from that floor to the new house, load it into the right rooms, grab dinner (McD's twice in a day), and get to cub scouts on time (aka 20 minutes late). I enjoyed sitting in the air conditioned church for that hour. Now we are home. Now all I have to face is completely cleaning the house tonight and shopping and cleaning out the 2nd floor tomorrow (no biggie, right?). Isn't moving fun (and the look on Kirsti's face was STILL worth it)?
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

A long week

So this has been a very eventful week. Not only was there the usual housecleaning, errands, and running after kids; but also lots of fun with moving and end of school year stuff.

Joseph had his final playgroup. We had gone a lot before our trip to North Carolina, but hadn't been back since. Out of the blue, Joseph asked if we could go to his playgroup this week. When I looked into it, I found out it was the last one before summer! I even took Ethan (who was home sick and forced to sit on the couch the whole time)

We got the keys to the new place. The owners did a walk through and showed us how the heat worked and all the little quirks of the house. There are so many light switches in the house, I pulled out my label maker and labeled them all! So far I have brought over 3 suburban loads of stuff over to the house.

My car died. I got in to run errands Tuesday and the engine wouldn't turn over. Luckily, my friend Heidi was kind enough to drive over and help me jump start it. I had never actually jump started a car before, but thanks to Google and my owner's manual, I was able to get the cables on right and nothing exploded. After looking back, I don't think it had been driven since the Wednesday before and I had every cigarette outlet hooked up with some kind of electronic charger. I must have drained the life right out of the battery.

I forgot to mention this before, but we were home sick last Sunday (2 throwup-ers). That helps explain why the suburban hadn't been driven. Also, Peter was able to drive the kids to school on his way out every morning and I had been walking with the little ones to pick them up after school. I guess trying to exercise and conserve gas has some drawbacks!

Peter was able to chaperone Elise's field trip to 6 flags on Thursday. It made his schedule a little more difficult (aka 6 night shifts in a row including the night of the field trip). He surprised me, though, and had gotten a friend to take the Thursday shift so he could go to pack meeting with us (and not be forced to stay awake an entire 24 hours). Pack meeting was a lot of fun. They did some track and field events and Ryan placed in several categories! I raced Peter on hurdles. I tripped on the 1st one and spent the race laughing on the ground. That's right, he won (even though I made him carry Joseph and Matthew to "make it fair").

Peter called me while Elise and her friend were on a ride. When I asked him how he wanted to handle his sleeping schedule for the week, he told me he had switched out that night's shift. "Why didn't you tell me before?" I asked with relief. "I wanted to surprise you." The funny thing is, this is our idea of a romantic surprise. A "you don't have to drag all the kids to pack meeting alone or worry about them being to loud in the afternoon while I'm trying to squeeze in a pre-work nap" surprise. It was better than flowers!

Saturday was Peter's work picnic. Peter woke up early (12:30- remember he is on nights this week) and we went to this dinosaur park place. They had a water area that was a lot of fun and everyone ended up with a sunburn (even though we used sunblock!)

Thanks a bunch to Tami and Jared, they drove over to the house in NC to be there when the movers showed up Saturday. Hopefully by this weekend, all our belongings will be in Connecticut! Turns out , moving is stressful, even 12 hours away. Maybe next week I will be up for sharing the whole ordeal they went through for us. Tami and Kim (and their hubbies) have been immeasurable help to us while waiting to sell our house. Thanks guys!

Today was regular Peter-not-there stress. I only had two sunbeams today and (for the 1st time) they were both singing and participating. That is a huge hurdle! Hopefully, it wasn't a fluke! Anyway, next week promises to be equally busy with field days, field trips, school musicals, moving, and whatever else happens to come our way. Better go to bed and start out refreshed!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hello House

Well, the lease has been signed, the utilities called, the movers scheduled and we should be in our new home by next week. Pretty exciting? The moment we walked through the door, Peter and I both knew this was the right place. For the next 13 months, this will be our home:

Monday, June 2, 2008


As most of you know, I am a creature of habit. Deeply, deeply, ingrained habit. After a lot of work, I was able to kick the worst of my to-do habits (i.e. writing something on after I finished it just so I could cross it off) and schedule regiments (having 6 kids made that more than difficult). In fact I don't always use a to-do list and keep to a loosely held schedule that I write down some weeks and just follow others.

Even though I don't always write it down anymore, and don't schedule my days down to the quarter hour anymore, I still hold to pretty strong routines. From the order I clean the house to the way I fold the laundry it is always done the same. And there is one routine that is as deeply ingrained as initials cut into a tree: when I do my shopping. For the last 12 years, I have always shopped on Mondays. Sure, I may skip a Monday holiday or happen to be sick, but I bet I could count those exceptions on my hands (maybe I would have to borrow a few toes, too!). In fact, last summer I brought all 6 kids with me (instead of waiting for a time when Peter was home and could help out).

Well, starting last week (Monday holiday, remember?) I have decided to throw caution to the wind and change my routine. One whole day. That's right, I am going to try to move my shopping day to the less busy, better stocked Tuesday. That way I can do my housecleaning Monday and shopping Tuesday and have two cleaner house days. The problem? I think I am in withdrawals. I feel jittery. Not myself. Things just feel out of sorts. From Peter asking me to pick something up when I went out to making sure the kids didn't finish off the food this weekend because it has to last one more day, it feels off-kilter. But I am determined. My to-do list today includes mopping and scrubbing, not grocery lists and bagging. How long will it take to erase a 12 year schedule? I guess I am about to find out!