Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Review

Admittedly, I'm a shitty blogger. I'm sorry. However, here's 2009 in review. What a year it's been...

January:

Generally speaking, I loathe January. Call it a post-Holiday slump or whatever you like, but it's always been my least favorite month, with March coming in a close second. I've always found January to be a drag of a month, but it started out on a high note, with Cait and JP becoming engaged on New Year's Day.

I think they're closer to settling on a date, which means I need to keep on track with shaping up and losing some more weight, as I'm the matron of honor, thank you very much. I'm very proud of both Cait and Jeeps and am very much looking forward to their wedding.

I watched the inauguration of President Obama with immense pride. What a great day for our country!

The saddest part of January, which made life difficult for pretty much the rest of the year, was the passing of naptime. Ella arbitrarily decided that she no longer needed to nap and, because her brother will not sleep without her in the room and despite valiant efforts on my part, naptime was pretty much a thing of the past by the end of the month. You cannot begin to imagine the depths of my envy when I hear other Moms talk about how their children still nap.

February:

The highlight of February was finally convincing J to get DVR. Oh, how we've snowballed that one! It took forever to get him to agree to it and now we're all super high-tech in the living room. Flat screen TV, HD DVR, Blu-ray player...we're goofs.


I don't know if they fully get it, but these kids are going to get away with so much in life because they are so damn cute. Here's an example of naptime being avoided and a moment of random adorableness. They were playing in a box that Mom had brought over for them.

March:

I was pretty productive in March. Getting stuff done around the house and planning for Easter and the kids' 3rd birthday party in early April. On a warm Sunday, we took an impromptu trip to the coast and introduced the kids to the ocean.


Little did we know that our lives would be turned upside down a couple of weeks later.

At the end of the month, very early on the morning of March 28th to be exact, my cell phone rang. It was my mother telling me that my brother-in-law had just committed suicide. The shock still hasn't worn off and the rest of the year has been clouded by the shadow of Mark's death. It's been truly amazing to see how my family came together - and still rallies - to support my sister, N, my nieces and nephew, but the overwhelming tragedy of it all still engulfs many of us to a great extent.

April:

April was pretty much a blur of sadness, but Liam and Ella had their first Easter egg hunt, turned 3, and we went to see a Thomas the Tank Engine show (which was a good deal of fun, I'll admit).



Mom was very ill with a terrible case of pneumonia (courtesy of my sister showing up to Easter dinner sick...but, hey!, it was her birthday and she just had to celebrate with someone - nevermind the fact that no one was in a mood to celebrate and we were all just going through the motions), but the month ended on a positive parenting note, with Ella making great strides in potty training (find the silver linings where you will, right?).

May:

After corresponding for a few months, I met my long lost sister. It was a wonderful time and we've stayed in touch since (though we've both been very busy lately and it hasn't been as often as I'd like, but we know the other is out there and that's what matters).

June:

Life settled into a new pattern, post-Mark, and I made it a priority to try and make good memories for the kids. Mom and I took them to The Butterfly Place and had a lovely visit.



We visited York's Wild Animal Kingdom and had a nice time overall, despite a major meltdown on she-child's part.

Cait and I undertook The Great Basement Cleanout and organized the unfinished side of the basement and fully cleared out the finished side so that it could be redone. I know, I know I haven't posted "after" pictures yet. Trust me when I say that it's been a fabulous improvement and that having a third floor of living space has been a hugely great thing.

July:

As part of the basement renovation, we moved the futon out of the kids' room and they moved into big kid beds! That was a big day in our house!

For the second year in a row, we ventured up North for A Day Out With Thomas (yes, it's been a big Thomas year). It was so much better than last year! The kids had a blast and really enjoyed the day. I don't know if we'll do it again in 2010, but it is a fun event.


July saw Mom turn 76 and Cait turn 23. It was a sucky wet summer for the most part and we were stuck indoors most of the time. We didn't get to use the deck much, but we did have a very nice July 5th celebration with Cait, Jeeps, Mom and "friend Katie" (as Ella calls her to distinguish her from Caitlin).

I became a pretty decent baseball fan in July and got really into the Red Sox. Am very much looking forward to next baseball season with the new TV!

August:

We finally had some real summer weather in August and actually had to make use of our air conditioners. The rain continued, though, and we didn't do much. The weekend before Labor Day, however, we visited Clark's Trading Post and had an amazing day. It was just fabulous all around and filled with memories that melt my heart.


August was significant, because I hit a major milestone.

September:

Uhm....don't have much for September. This is where I really gave up any pretense of calling myself a blogger. Life just started to get in the way in a big way. I switched gyms and that's been alright. I was happy to get out of the insanity that was the Concord Gold's, but my new gym is a bit of a downgrade. However, they have a franchise up near Mom and, on Sundays, we head up there and she watches the kids while J and I have gym dates and workout together. Then we wrap it up with a nice family dinner. Now that the insanity of the Holidays has passed, I'm most looking forward to that routine starting up again.

October:

Ah...my favorite time of year! J turned 36 and we celebrated our 13th anniversary (go, us!). We had a little escape up North, which really turned out to be almost more trouble than it was worth. But, any alone time is good time, right?

Early in the month, J and I signed a contract to completely remodel the kitchen. Little did I know that it would mean the work would be done 11 days before Christmas! All of the stress and hassle was entirely worth it, though.

On October 18th, Cait, Katie and I participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and it was great. It snowed the entire time and was freezing! On a whim, I brought the kids (who had the best seat in the house, snuggled in under wool blankets and protected by their weather shield), so I pushed 70+ pounds of kids in a double stroller in the snow and freezing rain for 5 miles. The walk meant a lot to me, as I did it to honor Mom, who will mark 5 years cancer-free next week and, really, it was a wonderful day!

At the end of the month, J's family came to visit and we had a nice time. I framed the two pictures below and gave them to both his sister and his parents for Christmas. Believe it or not, the family picture is the first one that we've taken in the 13 years that I've been a part of his family.


The kids celebrated the first Halloween that they'd remember. We went trick-or-treating for the first time, and Ella was Tinkerbell and Liam was Thomas the Tank Engine. It was a fun night. Ever since, Els has been obsessed with fairies and princesses. I'm not really a fairy and princess kind of chick, so it's been an adjustment on my part (she does, however, like to dress up in her princess clothes and appropriate her brother's tools....also, it's quite the sight to see her all dressed up and kicking ass at Wii Sports Resort swordfighting).

ETA: How could I forget that I became a Pampered Chef Consultant in October?! I'm really enjoying it! If you ever want to host a catalog show, let me know and I'd be happy to help you have a great time!

November:


I turned 34 and began noticing a significant amount of grey hairs. I really don't want to be one of those people who stresses about going grey, but it's bothering me much more than I'd like.

We ventured down to Boston to see The Imagination Movers (Smitty, how I love thee!) and it was a great show! It takes a lot for me to go into the city, but it was so worth it! The kids had a great time and I can honestly say that it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

After a last minute change of plans, Thanksgiving was held at my sister N's house and I think it was just the right thing for everyone. We had been planning a huge gathering at Mom's, like last year, but there was a lot of ambivalence as it was the first major Holiday since Mark died (not counting Easter, since that was only 2 weeks post-shock) and an emerging health crisis clipped plans severely at the last minute. I think, though, that hosting Thanksgiving was great for N and the kids and it ended up being a nice, though bittersweet, celebration.

November saw a lot of prep work for the kitchen remodel.

Most significantly, though, one of my nephews became very ill. They think they've found the proper diagnosis, but I think it may actually be multiple sclerosis. It's been a dreadful time for my sister, A, and my nephew has deteriorated very quickly. Once again, my family is rallying. Please pray for my sister and her family.

December:

December was a blur or planning for the kitchen remodel and keeping tabs on my sister and nephew. We stayed with Mom for 10 days and I ran back and forth to the house most days to manage the contractors. It was pure insanity! The kitchen was done on the 23rd and I spent Christmas Eve and most of Christmas morning setting the kitchen up and hosted Christmas here. It was a lovely day, though, and I finally had my "ahhhh" moment the day after Christmas when I literally stepped back and was able to take it all in. I am in love.

Hey look! It's the new TV!

Phew! That's really only a mere snapshot of the year. As I was going through the year's posts, I was struck by the little things that I'd forgotten. I am truly blessed with an amazing family, a wonderful husband and fabulous, funny and incredible children. Yes, it has been year of sorrow and grief, but there have been good times and new traditions, too. The Christmas card says it all:

Wishing you peace, joy, hope and love at Christmas and always.

If you're still out there, thank you. I'll try to do better in 2010. May the New Year bring you great happiness and health.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heading Out

J and I are running away tonight for a little get away. We celebrated our 13th anniversary on Monday (how I forgot to mention that in the last post, I'm not quite sure), so we're heading North for some MUCH needed R & R.

Cait and Mom will be taking care of Liam and Ella. I'm putting my money on the kids being fabulous the majority of the time that we're gone. Anyone who isn't Mumma is a treat and, magically, behavior end up being stellar.

Hmmm...maybe I should get away more often (except for, you know, that whole guilt thing).

Cait and I, and our friend Katie, are participating in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday. We're walking as part of a group from chuch and our team name is Miracle Walkers - I love it! I'm really looking forward to this event. I hope the weather is good.

Now...if only the next 48 hours could go by verrrrry slowly. Mumma and Daddy need to recharge their batteries in a big way!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Am, In Fact, Still Alive

So much has been going on. I just don't know where to begin.

  • I've decided to homeschool the kids for at least preschool and kingergarten. I feel very good about this choice. The adventure formally begins in January.
  • After much discussion, we're going to renovate our kitchen! I cannot even begin to convey how damn excited I am about this. The first place we got an estimate from was local and very good, but their contractor was pretty much soaking us for the other work that needed to be done. I went to Lowe's, was very afraid that they'd have outrageous prices, and was so happy when they came in more than $6000.00 less than the other place (and that includes more work than the original contractor gave us an estimate for...painting, for example was going to be nearly $1000.00 in addition to the crazy double-digit proposal that we received). Work won't begin until mid-November, which is fine-ish since Thanksgiving won't be here, and I am so thrilled to think of having Christmas in my new kitchen! Wahoo! (Bonus: the first place was going to have us without a kitchen for at least 4-5 weeks; even with the Holiday at the end of November, we should be all set within 2 1/2 to 3 weeks at most with Lowe's - awesome!)
  • Speaking of the Holidays, I'm feeling rather blah about them. I think this has more to do with the fact that it's the first set of Holidays since my brother-in-law died and no one really wants to address that fact and there's a lot of tip-toeing around grief and the fact that things, especially at Thanksgiving, just won't be as great as they were last year (last Thanksgiving happened to be the best. one. ever. and everyone had a fabulous time)...so I'm not really looking forward to facing the festivities.
  • In other really big news, I've decided to become a Pampered Chef consultant. I am so excited about this! I'm a little anxious about getting the first few shows booked, since I need to establish more of a network (and two good friends have already had shows in the past couple of months, so I can't ask them to host another so soon), but I'm really looking forward to this opportunity. It's time to get out a little bit and interact with more adults, but I still get to be here for Liam and Ella. It's a product I really believe in, and there isn't the pressure to sell, sell, sell. Wish me luck on my first few shows!
I think that's all I can muster up for now. I hope you're all well (if you're still out there!) and I promise to be better about blogging. As part of the Pampered Chef gig, I'm going to get a new computer, so I'll be around/online more than I am now - the only real drawback to the basement being redone is that the computer is now downstairs 24/7 and I'm not (before it was right in the middle of the action upstairs).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Triple Digits

I've known this was coming for quite some time, but the fact that I've finally reached a major milestone is still rather mind blowing.

I joined the gym when Liam and Ella were 22 months old for a variety of reasons, but never thought that I'd end up hitting a mark so huge. I've been working out diligently ever since, hitting a couple of decent plateaus that required some intense hard work to break through. I had a bit of a set back with my brother-in-law's death at the end of March - April was pretty much a whirlwind of emotional eating and an inability to get the gym frequently - but got back on track.

Through it all, I've gotten stronger and am slowly reshaping my body. I'm building muscle and definition where previously there was none and I adore the feeling of exhausted exhilaration when I've completed a tough workout. In fact, I can't go more than a day without working out, because I just don't like how it makes me feel. I'm continuously challenging myself and finding new and interesting ways to exercise. I love myself a lot more than I ever thought was possible (which isn't to say that I didn't like myself before, but I really, truly love myself now). I appreciate and embrace my strength and am so thrilled that I'm setting a positive example of healthy living for Liam and Ella.

As of today, I have lost 103 pounds since the day my children were born.

And I'm still on the way down.

Go me!

End Of An Era

God rest your soul, Ted Kennedy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frustrationbook

Is facebook being wonky for anyone else? It's driving me batty...

And Now For Something New

Last night I became a shredder.

Loving it!

Very Big Post coming tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quandry

When I first learned that I was expecting twins, I knew the inevitable question of whether or not to place them in separate classrooms would arise. You know, when the time came.

I'm a strong advocate of parental choice when it comes to multiples in the classroom and feel that, if faced with the decision, parents should be given the opportunity to choose whether or not their children stay together or are placed in separate classes.

Little did I know that I'd be facing a similar question a few years earlier than I anticipated.

The past couple of months have been very stressful in our house. Liam is going through some sort of ultra-needy/high anxiety phase and really, really doesn't like it if I leave the house. It started out gradually; he'd only throw a fit once or twice a week and be extremely difficult at bedtime. Soon, though, it escalated to every night. Finally, it culminated with a neighbor (a particularly nosey neighbor) calling us one night at quarter to 11 to complain about Liam's crying (little did we know that he had opened a window near the foot of Ella's bed and was essentially screaming, across the lawn, directly into the neighbor's bedroom window - he has this amazingly loud, torturous cry/scream that can drive you to the point of wanting to tear the skin from your face which, miraculously, he can stop in an instant once he's satisfied). [Note: lest you think he behaves like this all the time, let me assure you that he doesn't; this was extreme behavior that has since been remedied...I don't want you thinking I've got the screaming kid from hell; he's an amazingly sweet, loving boy.]

The next day, nosey neighbor, who claimed not to have slept at all the night before (despite absolute silence from our house the moment she called until the next morning), "helpfully" brought over some resources that might help us. She's one of these "it takes a village" people, and while I'm all about reaching out to people and asking for help, I generally go to my mother or siblings, not my crazy, nosey neighbor who has far too many opinions on how J and I should be raising our children (hey, lady, thanks, but no thanks and raise your own kid!). Once I recovered from absolute mortification and frustration, I decided that I needed to change my routine in order to better suit the kids' needs, even though the kids are with me all day long and the bedtime routine that we'd been going with provided them nice time with J, and it was really the only time he got to spend with them during the week.

Gone are my nightly workouts at the gym and Daddy-centered bedtimes. In are outrageously early morning workouts for me and Mommy-cenetered bedtimes. I changed up the bedtime routine and now all is well in our world. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a morning person I AM NOT. Our new routine has been working well, but now Liam has started these middle of the night wakings that are killing me. Fear not, I'll figure this out, too.

This is all a really long intro into my real quandry. Liam has always been more emotionally needy than Ella. She's fiercely independent and far more emotionally mature than he is (I think this is pretty typical of girls at this age...the emotional maturity, that is). Since Liam started exhibiting this behavior, I began toying around with the idea of perhaps sending Ella to some sort of preschool program and having special "Mumma and Liam" time while she's at school. Mind you, I'm not keen to send either child off to school for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is that I'm not quite ready to start the 12-14 year cycle of incoming sickness each fall), and Liam and Ella have yet to be taken care of by anyone other than family. I don't use babysitters by design. We rely on and trust family and that's how it's going to be...until it comes time for school.

Ella is ready for school. I know that. I also know that Liam is not. At a very basic level, he's not potty trained, and most preschools have that as a requirement. My plan for this year was to homeschool them for preschool and send them off to pre-K next year. Ideally, the school I want to send them to is small enough that the question of whether or not to separate them doesn't exist. In the meantime, I've stumbled upon a local preschool program that I like and feel really good about. Ella (and, alas, Liam) seemed to really like the place and the teacher we met yesterday and, get this, it's actually run out of a gymnastics center and I know that kid is bound for gymnastics...so it seems kind of perfect.

I think my greatest concern is that she'll have a hard time leaving him, and/or that he'll have a hard time seeing her go. Liam and Ella are fabulously, sweetly, uniquely connected (if you'll recall, that's how naptime became a thing of the past in our house...he won't sleep in their room without her and she won't nap!) and do not like spending time apart from each other. Even if it's taking one for a quick run to the grocery store, the other is asking when (s)he'll be back. It's really quite sweet. I also know that separation coould be a very good thing for them. He could potentially benefit greatly from having one-on-one time with me (but how do I balance that out for Ella?). It may make him develop more confidence, for example. Although I'm not terribly concerned about his not being potty trained yet, seeing her go off to school may motivate him to finally get it done.

I know that, though they are twins, they are absolutely distinctly individual people who have their own needs. I just don't know yet how to meet those when it comes to school. Is it a good idea to separate them? Will he be jealous? How will I handle drop-off if he doesn't want to leave her there? What if she says she wants to go now, but when the time comes she won't leave him? How many, if any, mothers of twins do this? Should I just keep her home this year and send them off together next year, as planned?

There's so much more I could write about this...but I think I'll just stop here. Needless to say, it's not an easy decision, but I'm more than open to suggestions. What would you do?

ps - Let's not even go into whether or not I'm concerned about the H1N1 stuff. (I am to some degree, but am not an alarmist...but there's an argument to not send her to school this year...)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bedtime Questions

While tucking the kids in tonight, I asked them each about their day and then, thinking I knew the answer, asked them who their favorite person in the entire world is.

(I thought for sure it would be Nana...the person whose house they ask to visit every. single. day. Whose house we were just at today, after much cajoling and pressuring of the Mumma.)

The answers?

Liam: "Daddy." (OK, that's awesome. He then thought for a moment and told me "Nana's not a person and she doesn't have pink hair. Alrighty then. Glad that's cleared up.)

Ella: "Smitty." (I actually can almost understand this, since we think Smitty is very similar to Daddy. Made me laugh, though.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ugh Blah Ick

Kinda down.

So much has been going on, but I can't find the time/words to express it.

Will return to blogging soon, I promise. That is, if anyone's still out there.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More From A Proud Aunt

Check it out! That's my niece, Nurse!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kid Stuff

I can generally be found in a pair of black pants (full-length or capri) and a v-neck shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. As the mother of two active young children, I dress for comfort, not style (though I don't think I look particularly bad in my everyday wear).

I guess, though, that I never really thought about how uniform my look is until I walked into the kids' room yesterday, wearing a khaki pair of capris and a pink short-sleeved shirt. The kids were playing on Liam's bed and when they noticed me, he leaped up and immediately asked me, "Mumma why are you wearing that?!" I was a little surprised and asked him what he meant. He said, "you don't wear that! You wear black! What's wrong with your shirt?! I can see your arms!"

Think I need to change up my wardrobe?

***************

I decided to try and tackle some of the basement organization yesterday, even though it would mean constantly wrangling the kids out of the unfinished side. I managed to accomplish quite a bit (I'm almost ready to post before and after pics, I promise!) and set up a cute kids' corner and my crafting area. Even though the TV was directly hooked into the wall, I was eager to get DVR installed downstairs. I went online to set up an appointment for the installation and the final step is that you have to chat with a comcast analyst before finalizing your purchase. Little did I know that because we already have DVR, I didn't need a technician to come out to the house to add another box. The woman told me that I could just pick up a unit at the nearest office and install it myself.

Bonus!

So...I take the kids to the office, pick up the DVR and eagerly head home to hook it up. I happily set it up, found the code to synch the remote with the TV, and called into the autmoated line to activate the DVR. As I'm waiting for the call to finish, Ella pops over my left shoulder and asks me, "are you being a man?"

Interesting, eh?

I said no and then she asked me if I was being a "girl-man." I laughed and said no, I was just being me and that I was hooking up the DVR. It's a fascinating peak into a developing mind, isn't it? We've never generalized about gender differences, but she clearly extrapolated that all of the people we've had come to the house to do work have happened to be men and I was doing a "man thing" so I must have been a man in that moment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In!

The carpet has been installed! Wahoo!

Now...who wants to watch the kids while I organize the basement?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bullet Updates...All Over The Place

  • I was telling someone the other day that I've been busier than usual lately, but I can't really articulate what's been going on. It seems as though I get up in the morning and go go go until it's time to crawl back in bed. A large part of it has been the work to redo the basement, but that's been in a holding pattern for the past week or so. We were all set to have the carpet installed last Thursday, when the installers discovered wetness under the existing carpet and declared that they wouldn't put in the new carpet until we took care of the wetness. After much research, J caulked and sealed the areas that were wet and they held up under a pretty heavy storm the other afternoon. We're all set for the carpet to be put in on Monday. I. can't. wait. I'm eager to post before and after photos!
  • Our weekends have been very full lately, too. That's certainly not helping me to feel as though time isn't slipping away. A few weeks ago, we had my nephew's graduation party. Two weekends ago, we were in northern Vermont for KL's daughters' birthday (the baby turned 1 on June 30th and S turns 4 on July 12th, so KL and her husband decided to just throw a joint party. It was a lovely time, and it was fabulous to see everyone and for the kids to play. I have to say that the 4th didn't really feel like a holiday, but we did get out and enjoy the nice weather. The fireworks display for Concord, though short, was a really good show and the kids loved it. All the way home, Ella kept saying, "that was so amazing!" It was quite sweet. On Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and we had a cookout with Mom, Cait and Jeeps and Katie. It was such a nice day to just relax on the deck with family and friends...and it was the first time we'd been able to enjoy the deck since Memorial Day! The weather, for the record, seems to have finally taken a turn for the better. All of that rain was INSANE!
  • I've been hitting the gym a lot lately. I'm definitely back in my 6 day routine and am loving it. Once again, there's a new trainer, but this guy is GOOD. He works for the Gold's in Manchester, too and he really knows his stuff. I'm loving the new routines he's given me and have broken through my plateau.
  • In a bizarre twist of jockiness, I've totally become a true Red Sox fan. Previously, I would only really care if they made it into the playoffs, but now I watch the games at the gym and be sure to tune into them when I'm at home (I'm even listening to games on the radio when in the car!); I'm learning about the players and am interested trying to get to a game with the kids when they're a little older; last night I was overheard to say, "too bad he couldn't get a little more heat on that" to which J replied, "who are you?"
  • Last but not least, in anticipation of removing the futon out of the kids' room (to be used as the couch for the basement once it's finished), Liam and Ella are now in big beds! Since last Thursday, my monkeys have been tiny little fish in the ocean of their full-size beds. So far, so good, though. Ella had a couple of rough nights, during which she declared that she wanted us to throw away her new bed and that she was going to sleep on the moon (she gets points for her imagination, eh?). After receiving several compliments on their beds, though, she now professes deep love for her new bed and they've fially been getting some much needed rest.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's The Little Things

Got a random text from my brother tonight saying that he and his youngest son wanted to go to Story Land with the kids and me.

I thought that was nice.

Now, to find the time...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Procrastination

The only problem with knowing that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is pretty much a modern day retelling of Hamlet is that I kind of conveniently forgot that Hamlet dies in the end.

Given my tendency to skip ahead and read the ending, I already know how it happens and Idon't really want to finish the book.

I love Edgar.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boo-Boo

The kids have been into band aids lately, even for the slightest scratch.

This morning, while getting dressed, Liam had a mini freak-out and demanded I put a band aid on the boo-boo on his chest.

File this under things I never thought I'd say:

"Oh, love, that's not a boo-boo, that's your nipple."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lax

I'm not ignoring you, I promise. I've been buuuuuuuuuuuuuuusy.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. I've been dreaming and talking about and planning The Great Basement Cleanout for so long now that I still can't believe that it's finally happening. Not only is it getting done, but it will all have happened within one month...ONE MONTH! The heat is in and J painted last week - it looks great. The carpet is going in on Thursday and then I can begin to load stuff back and set the basement up the way I want.

I am so excited. So much stuff had accumulated down there over the years that I forgot how large of a space we really have down there and there will be plenty of room for a dedicated workout space, quilting area and, most importantly, more play space for the kids. I can't wait to post before and after pictures!

Some other projects, which were on my to-do list have kind of been side effects of the Cleanout and I'm happy to report that our bedroom has had a massive floor to ceiling cleaning and is now looking fabulous and the downstairs bathroom wallpaper has been steamed off and we know what we're going to do in there in terms of painting. That'll be next.

So, aside from being caught up with all of the work with redoing the basement, we also daytriped is to Vermont yesterday for KL's daughters' birthday. I had been wondering how she was going to handle it. S will be 4 on July 12th and the baby turns 1 on Tuesday. KL decided to have a joint party and it was such a nice time. It was a smaller crowd than usual, but we had a lovely time and oh God it was so cute to see the kids all play together. KL's sister got some fabulous pictures that I'll sort through and post when I have a moment (I know, I know, you're thinking you'll most likely see them sometime next year...not true, I promise!).

Also, I've begun something pretty major that I'm not ready to write about yet, but will when the time is right.

So, all in all, life has been busier than usual, which is saying a lot. We've been having a crappy, cool (that's not a bad thing, really) rainy summer and it's not been any fun for the kids. In fact, J just put our a/c in last week and that the latest that's ever happened. I can't believe that next weekend is the 4th of July. What are your plans?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crossover

I'm not a fan of country music, but while at the gym yesterday I saw a commercial for the upcoming CMT Music Awards. The dude on the commercial listed off the performers to be seen at the show and I'm just wondering...Def Leppard?

Really?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

9 Days

Since last Saturday, Cait and I have done a MASSIVE cleanout of the basement. First cleaning and organizing the unfinished side and then hauling a ton of stuff over from the finished side. This project - which I've been dreaming and talking about for years - is finally coming to fruition and I can't believe it. I've picked out and ordered the carpet, the baseboard heat was installed on Friday (previosuly there'd never been heat down there), Caitlin did the majority of the wallpaper steaming, and there are just a few boxes for J to sort through. The refrigerator is the only big thing left to move, and we'll do that once we know when the carpet's going in for certain.

Yesterday, J and I cleaned out the garage while another niece entertained Liam and Ella and it was fabulous to move more stuff over and out. Between donating items to Goodwill, the church yard sale and just generally throwing things away, we've gotten rid of a ton of stuff, and I'm in awe of how much we still have. When I first ordered the dumpster, I though for sure that we wouldn't come close to filling it. I. was. so. wrong. That puppy is FULL.

At the church yard sale yesterday, Cait scored some great pieces of furniture. I picked up another wooden bin organizer (to put in the basement once it's done, natch) for just $5 (and it's in perfect condition!). We inherited one organizer from N and the kids, and it works well upstairs. I was thrilled to get another one and for such a steal! I'm not normally a yard sale type of person, but Cait and I checked out a couple of other sales on the way home yesterday morning, and I picked up some great kids' books and a step (with risers!). Cait also found a cute pair of lamps for a great deal and I was happy that we decided to check out what else was going on in the neighborhood.

So...in a nutshell, life has been busy, busy, busy and dirty, dirty, dirty.

The Great Basement Cleanout took me on several walks down memory lane, most of which I would rather have left alone, but it's been a cathartic experience overall and it's liberating to be free of so much stuff. Of course, the entire point of redoing the basement is so that the kids have more space to play, I have a dedicated quilting area and also a decent place to workout at home, so I know there's more stuff in our future.

I'm wiped out, but so excited! I couldn't have done any of it without Cait's help and support. A GINORMOUS public thank you to her for taking time off from work to get down and dirty with me and clean our lives out. We love you, chicken head.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Musical Me

I made an almost obscene amount of mix tapes during the '90s.

They're pretty good, actually. So good, that Cait and I went out the other night in search of a stereo that had a tape player and finally managed to find one (yes, ONE...every system out there is made for damn iPods now). I've been breezing through themas we work on the basement, forcing Caitlin to glimpse into the mind of a late teen/early 20something Heather. I hope it's not too traumatic.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Days One and Two

The Great Basement Cleanout is well underway and man are we making progress. There is a ton left to do, but we're knee-deep in making headway. An unintentional side effect of all of this is that I cleaned out my bedroom closet and sorted through an embarrassingly overwhelming amount of clothes. I honestly had no idea how much clothing I owned. Today, I dropped off two and half ginormous bags of clothes at Goodwill - 72 pieces! The best part is that it was all stuff I'm too small for since I've lost weight. Bonus!

While I'm not crazy enough to share the state of my bedroom, here are some before and in progress shots of the unfinished side of the basement.


Deplorable, I know! Check out the horrible "storage" door thingies that were left behind by the "handyman" former owner. I HATE THEM. I call them the refrigerator doors. Finally, they've been removed and are currently residing in the dumpster.


That horrendous, useless, storage unit in the middle there? (The one with the paint cans?) I never would have thought to try and take it out, but Cait suggested it and we discovered that it wasn't attached to anything, so J went to town taking it apart and holy hell what a difference! Excellent idea, Cait!


Check it out! The ugly storage doors and center unit are now gone! I'm so happy! We have so much more space now to sort and haul everything over from the finished side to store while the carpet is installed/wallpaper is stripped/painting is done/baseboard heat is installed. This may not look like an improvement over the "before" shots, but trust me it so is (and it's even better now).

Tomorrow and Tuesday, the kids are off to Mom's so Cait and I can work uninterrupted and J is going to prime and paint the porch (which is still the crap brown color of the original house...after Tuesday it will be a lovely almond to match the siding). That was the other big project for this summer and since J was already taking the next two days off (originally for child minding while Cait and I worked downstairs), I came up with the brilliant idea that he could bring the kids to Mom's and do the porch! Do I know how to plan his time or what? I'm sure he'll be thrilled to get back into the office on Wednesday.

I've been talking about doing this for so long, that I'm still a little in shock that it's finally happening. We'll keep on keeping on and I think that, within 4-6 weeks (depending on how long it takes to get estimates and the baseboard installed), I will finally have the third floor of living space that I've been dreaming about.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Proud Aunt


Mom and I went to an art show that my nephew's work was in for his AP art class. He only decided about two years ago that he wanted to go to art school and we were all a bit skeptical that he'd be able to pull it off since he'd never really expressed an interest in art until after his sophomore year of high school.

The kid is pretty damn good! (No, I'm not biased.)

He's posted scans of a lot of his work on facebook, so I was familiar with most of his portfolio. It was nice to go and support him, though, and Mom got a kick out of seeing his stuff (since she just doesn't grasp the concept of "facepage" and therefore hasn't seen any of his stuff).

As I was walking around the room, admiring works by other students, I came upon a painting that I was drawn to. Lo and behold, it was done by my nephew! I went over and asked him about and it turns out that he hates that particular painting and asked that it be put on the other side of the room nowhere near his collection because he didn't want to see it during the show ("it doesn't fit with [his] style").

Well...I love the painting and now it's mine!


For the record, this is the painting that's now mine. The painting at the top of the post is one of my nephew's self portraits. He's just getting to be so great that I wanted to post more than one painting (and, you can see his "style" in the self portrait...it's "chunky," as he calls it, and "in the style of Lucien Frued").

And, yes, he's going to art school in the fall.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How Could I Forget?!?



My own little butterflies!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Something Different

Mom's been dying to take the kids to The Butterfly Place for well over a year now. As the weather gets warmer, she's more eager to "make memories that will keep [her] warm during the cold winter." Add to that the fact that she's just plain stircrazy and she's pretty much always asking me to do "something different." Last night she came up with the idea of finally going to The Butterfly Place.

I was a little skeptical, concerned that Liam and Ella would be a tad unmanageable. I forgot to mention our plans to J entirely and he had the back to front stroller in his car. I almost packed the side by side into the van as we set out, but decided to take my chances and explain to the kids that they must hold hands with Nana and Mumma or we were going to leave "the butterfly show" (as they called it) immediately.

When we pulled up, there were 3 school buses and Mom's heart sank a little. It's not a huge place, and we were concerned that it was just going to be overrun with school kids. One of the buses was leaving as we parked and the other two groups cleared out a little while after our arrival. We walked through the display area, where they have various (live) life stages of the butterfly for visitors to observe, and then stood at the window of the atrium in awe of the butterflies. Finally, we went into the atrium and it was so magical! It's a bit tropical, as butterflies and moths need the warmth to fly, but it wasn't unbearable. The kids did a great job, and I eventually slackened my hand holding rule once we were all comfortable in the area and I knew the layout of the path. Liam was a bit intimidated of all of the butterflies. Ella was in awe and Mom was so happy. The blue morphos are stunning and we had such a lovely visit.

The highlight of the entire day, at least for Liam and Ella? Moxie, the talking moose at Bugaboo Creek (a restaurant we'd never been to before and decided to try in Nashua - we liked it!).

All in all, it was a much needed and very lovely change of scenery.




Monday, June 1, 2009

Inherited?

My son eats lemon wedges. Rind and all.

Apparently, my father did the same thing (and it totally skeeved Mom out!). It doesn't skeeve us out, but it is rather amazing to watch.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heard Around Here Recently

Liam: "I'm drawing God, Mumma."
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Liam: "Yep. Does God have shoes?"

*******

Ella: "These people are crazy!"
Me: "What?"
Ella: "These people are driving me crazy, Mumma!"
Me: "Where'd you learn that?"
Ella: "Oh, I just knowed it forever."

*******

Liam: "Mumma, are you fusterated?" (I was indeed, perceptive boy...)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bits & Pieces

  • We had a lovely long weekend. J took Friday off, and the four days together were very nice. Yesterday, Mom, Cait and Jeeps were over and we enjoyed a cookout and good company.
  • I tried to take Liam to church on Sunday, but it didn't go well. He was so excited about being there that he just couldn't be quiet. He narrated everything that was going on, and we ended up leaving before Mass even began. I think it'll be a while before I try to bring him again.
  • Cait watched the kids today so Mom and I could go see Angels and Demons. I really enjoyed it. Overall, I liked the book a lot more than I liked The DaVinci Code, so I was hoping the movie would be good. When it was first announced that Tom Hanks had landed the role of Robert Langdon, I was none too pleased. While I don't have a problem with him usually, he just isn't Langdon. I didn't like him in TDC, and was generally disappointed with that movie all told. Hanks impressed me more in this incarnation and it helped the movie, too. Although, I could go the rest of my life not having to see Tom Hanks (or his swimming body double, if that's who it was) in a speedo. I just don't need that image in my mind. Thanks for making the afternoon out possible, Cait!
  • J and I watched the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus 8. It was so sad and I felt a little guilty for witnessing the implosion of their relationship. I think reality has gone a step too far with this one, and my heart goes out to the kids.
  • I am by no means a fan of Mike Tyson, but I'm sorry for the tragic loss of his daughter. The death of a child is something no one should have to suffer.
  • I'm pleased with the choice of Sonia Sotomayor.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spontaneous Date

The idea to see if Mom could watch the kids so J and I could hit an afternoon showing of Star Trek popped into my head sometime around 10 this morning.

It was such a great idea!

I know that it tends to work out better when I spring something like this one Mom. She tends to get a bit flustered if I give her any sort of heads up about what we might like to do. Honestly, I wasn't even interested in seeing the movie, but practically everyone I know is raving about it and I heard that even people who don't like Trek (that's me!) are loving the film, so I thought we should give it a try. We so have to buy it when it's out on DVD.

The last movie J and I were able to get out to was Persepolis and that was well over a year ago, so we were overdue for a movie date. (We have managed to get out for a few meals as a couple, but not to the movies.)

All in all, the day was great. As a family, we went out for a leisurely, late lunch and then went to Mom's. The kids were thrilled to have the run of the place (literally, there's so much more space for them to play outside) and J and I stopped by a local ice cream shop in Gilford for a little treat before hitting the movie.

We both enjoyed the movie, not to mention the time together, immensely and it was a fabulous start to our long weekend.

Plus? That Zachary Quinto is H-O-T!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Pay For This

I must admit, I was wrong about the new trainer at the gym. I may have speculated that he only had aspirations to be a gym teacher or, you know, something along those lines. Dude definitely wants to be a personal trainer and is taking it very seriously.

He kicked my ass today. Kicked it. Stomped on it. Pretty much tried to drive it into the grave.

I haven't met with him for about a month, but he'd already given me three variations of my weight routine to work with so, for the most part, I've had some good variety to choose from on the days I do weights. I was getting a little tired of the tricep pulldowns and mentioned it to him at the beginning of our meeting today. I apparently unwittingly issued him a challenge. Woo boy did he decide to take "hey, can we change up the tricep routine?" and turn it into "hey, Gary, let's change it up and why don't you torture me for a while and I'll pay you for it...I know! How about we do something where I basically have to crawl out to my car when we're through?"

He knows his stuff and he's actually whipped the training program at the gym into great shape. Hopefully, he'll stick around (it's no secret that the owner of the gym tends to turn her staff over with great rapidity). I'm most definitely feeling my workout, but it's a very good pain.

Totally worth it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Can't See You

The kids are at the phase where, if they cover their eyes, they think you can't see them.

Last night, as I was making dinner, Ella became fascinated with the bottle of worcestershire sauce. She was carrying it around, trying to fit it into the refrigerator of her play kitchen, holding it while she looked out the window waiting for J and Liam to come back from their stroller ride. It was pretty much her new best friend for the moment. It was pretty funny, but I kept asking her to put it back and explained that it should stay in the fridge.

Finally, once dinner was in the oven, I sat down at the computer to catch up on some email and, out of the corner of my eye, I see Ella silently, slowly stalking by me with the worcestershire bottle in her left hand and right hand covering her eyes. The little monkey was trying to make it into the living room - walking right past me - convinced that I couldn't see her because she couldn't see me.

The look of surprise on her face when I asked her what she was doing was priceless!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Check Up!

Liam and Ella had the 3 year check-ups today and it was pretty great. Last year, Ella was such a screaming mass of toddler that she upset Liam and the nurse couldn't get weights or heights on either of them and the entire appointment was a mess. Yes, they're a year older, but Ella still has a great amount of anxiety when it comes to going to the doctor.

We began talking up the appointment a couple of weeks ago. We told the kids how nice Dr. Bill is and how impressed he would be with their growth (not to mention the fact that she's all potty trained!), but I was still concerned that we might have a repeat of last year. Fortunately, we didn't.

As for their stats, Liam is 31 pounds and 39 1/4 inches. Ella is 36 pounds and 38 7/8 inches.

Way to go, Muffins!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Make That 16

I've tried to begin this post so many different ways and I just can't find the right way to convey what I want to say...here's my final attempt.

Growing up, I was enormously proud of having a large family. When I was little, I would run off when we were out in public and the very first thing I told people was, "I'm the youngest of 10 children!" Oftentimes, I was met with underwhelming ooohs and ahhhs, but it never dampened my enthusiasm for declaring how awesome I think it is to be a part of a big family (craziness, in-fighting and, sometimes, all out battles included!).

But, here's the thing. I am the youngest of 10 children, but I'm also technically an only child. And, really, I'm the youngest of 16.

Confused yet?

Somewhere along the line, I discovered that I had more siblings than I knew about. I used to play at my father's desk, and one day I came upon a stack of Father's Day and birthday cards addressed to my father, but they were signed by someone whose name I didn't recognize. I must've been 5 or so at the time, but I eventually pieced together that my father had other children, ones that wasn't being raised with.

Later on, when I was 11, I discovered that my mother had been married before and that all of the siblings I was growing up with were actually my mother's children from her first marriage (I always wondered why two of my brothers had different last names!). Finally, I put together that one of my sisters, K, is my father's child from a previous marriage. I know, it's a bit of a soap opera.

Let me sum it up for you: my mother was married once before and had 8 children. My father had been married twice before. He had 6 children with his first wife and my sister K with his second wife. K's mother died when she was young and my mother raised her and later adopted her, and then I came along - a very unexpected event and the only child of my mother and father - and never knew anything other than the family of 10 that I was raised with (although the majority of my siblings are considerably older than I, but that is my norm; as a child, I just accepted it as part of the quirkiness of having a large family).

For the record, my brothers and sisters and I do not think of ourselves as "half" siblings. As far as I know, the distinction has never really been made (although, now that I'm older, we do talk about "my" father and "their" father, but N and P consider my father to be more of a father than their birth father and I know that my older siblings generally regard my father with affection). Simply, we are all family.

Over the years, I've thought about the brothers and sisters that I had "somewhere out there" - the ones from my father's first marriage. I was 6 when my father died and never had the chance to revisit the discovery of that stack of cards I found in his desk. My mind would wander, though, and I would wonder if my other siblings knew about K and me. If they wondered what we were like or how we were. I had some vague knowledge of their whereabouts (mostly in Massachusetts) and flirted with the idea of finding them when I got older. Nothing ever came of it, though. I did know that one brother, Frankie, died when I was young. He was quite popular with the siblings on my side and would apparently visit us frequently when I was little. Frankie was the only one I ever really heard anything about and, to this day, M, P and Mom recall him fondly.

As I grew older, my mother would talk more about my other siblings if I asked, but she didn't know much else about them, aside from their names. My maiden name is fairly common, so if I did search for the names I knew, a slew of hits came back and I could never be certain that I'd found an actual sibling. For the most part, though, I pretty much let it go.

Cut to January: J had been researching his family tree and found a website that he really liked. He got one of his aunts involved, and they proceeded to fill in a whole bunch of their family history. J got to feeling a little sad that I didn't know much about my other siblings, so he asked for one of their names just to see if anyone happened to have a family tree on the website. I gave him Frankie's name and...drum roll, please...within seconds he hit upon a tree! I couldn't view it in its entirety until I was invited by the person who'd made it, so I fired off a quick, somewhat awkward email to the woman who started the tree. Within half an hour, she responded!

After years of wondering, suddenly I was connected with one of my other siblings! It was amazing. Cyndee and I have been in contact since late January and, today, we met for the very first time. Her brothers and sisters are a little more wary about the situation and that's fine. It's been 27 years since our father died, so I can understand the apprehension. For her part, K's not particularly interested in establishing contact, but I've always been more family oriented than she is so I'm not at all surprised by her reaction.

It was a lovely meeting. Cyndee drove all the way up here to meet J, the kids and me. She even brought Liam and Ella gifts, which I thought was fabulously sweet. She shared some pictures of our father that she'd received from one of our paternal aunts and it was wonderful to see them. Ever since we made the date to meet, I've been frantically searching for my photo album so that I could share some pictures with her, but it's been misplaced in all of the random stashing of things that we've had to do since the kids were born. I will find it, though. Cyndee and I went out for a nice lunch and it was great to get to know one another a little more. I do worry that my contacting her has shaken up Cyndee's world, as well as her siblings', but, for my part, I'm very happy to have met one of my sisters and I hope that she enjoyed our meeting as much as I did.

There is a lot of insanity that comes along with being part of a large family, but I wouldn't have it any other way and I'm happy that mine is still growing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheating With A Picture Post

When he's not making me want to pull my hair out, he's making me die of laughter. Seriously, they are the two funniest people I know, but Liam takes the cake a lot of the time. (Sunglasses courtesy of Mumma putting them within toddler boy's reach.)

Ella's doing awesome with potty training and we're so proud of her. And, she likes to wear Thomas tablescape pieces on her head.

Guess who still managed to misplace her keys even after adding two reusable bags to the mess that is her keychain and joking that they should be impossible to lose now? Yep, I'm a moron. (Needless to say, I found them...)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sigh

Feeling blah, even though I've been rather productive lately.

Am kind of annoyed that neither Mike nor Tara won the Biggest Loser, but I suppose that's pretty catty.

I did squeeze a hair appointment in for this Friday, so that's something to look forward to, I guess.

Ugh.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goals

I'm going to try something new. I'm actually going to make a list of goals for the next month (who says you need to start on the 1st?!). I have a lot coming up that I want to accomplish, and listing it here will help me to stay focused. I'm going to revisit my list on June 11th and see how well I was able to stick to my goals.

  • Now that I'm back in the habit, maintain schedule of hitting the gym 6 days a week.
  • To that end, lose 5 lbs.
  • Cut back on Diet Coke intake (swear to God! I'm actually trying to cut it out completely...I know, who am I?!?)
  • Research dumpster rentals, choose one, rent it and clean basement and garage (Cait's helping with this one in a major way - she's taking time off from work to help me). This is the biggie for this month and is essential to my plan of redoing the basement before the Fall. If I can't report that this task has been completed, I just suck.
  • Blog at least every other day (this'll be a challenge).
  • Clean and organize the pantry.
OK, feel free to keep me on task and ask me how things are going!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

:)

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Breaking A Sweat Again

Since my brother-in-law's suicide, pretty much everything has been turned upside down.

Obviously, life has to go on and I've got two little people who know nothing of death and grief (thank God!), so something had to give in my attempts to maintain some sort of routine for the Muffins and trying to find a balance between taking care of others and myself. Guess whose needs were pushed aside? I feel as though I've been wading through mud for the past month or so.

Of course, the near-incapacitating sinus infection that I've been fighting for nearly 3 weeks hasn't helped much, either.

I'm happy to report that I'm now well on my way to being on the mend, so I reclaimed a part of my life and routine last night that I had no choice but to let slide over the five weeks: I went back to the gym for the first time in over three weeks.

God, it felt good.


The week after Mark's death, it was all hands on deck (and, thankfully, J was around a lot so that I could be up at Mom's to help), so the gym was definitely out. I attempted to go back the following week and did alright, even managing to keep my appointment with the trainer, but my heart wasn't really in it and then life got busy again. In the week leading up to Liam and Ella's birthday party, I willingly took a little hiatus from working out formally because I was doing hours of yard work and justified that that was enough of a workout. Then, the kids got sick and I came down with it too. On top of that, Mom's been on three rounds of antibiotics for her pneumonia and I've been doing a lot of running back and forth between my house and Mom's taking care of her and others. Even if I hadn't been sick, making the time to hit the gym would have been pretty much impossible.

Finding the time to take care of myself is, needless to say, something I still need to work on (I know, I know who doesn't?) and, although life is settling into a new groove (one in which I'm more "on call" and that's totally OK), I need to be more mindful of not pushing my needs too far aside because, cliche though it is, you can't take good care of others until you care for yourself.

I reclaimed my workouts last night and it feels so fabulous.

Yay me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How Can You Not Love This?!

Mud


Eldest Niece treated us to an Origins facial mask last night and made the whole house play along. Even Mom had fun!

The bonus? I found their website and they were offering 25% off AND free shipping. Happy Mother's Day to me!

@gratefulflea

I jokingly told J earlier today that I think I'd be a better tweeter than I am blogger.

I'm still going to blog, but I'm better at the one liners (I have SO MUCH I want to blog about but don't have the time for). So...if you're game, follow me on twitter too and feel free to laugh while I figure it all out.

Maybe twittering (tweeting?) will make me a better blogger?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Playing For Change

Last Tuesday, I took my niece out to buy a birthday gift for N. As we walked into Starbucks to pick up a bag of coffee (for the brand new programmable coffee maker, natch), I noticed a couple of CDs at the counter, near the register. I glanced at one, checked out the play list and asked the underwhelmingly enthusiastic dude behind the counter whether or not the disc was any good. He didn't know (I kind of thought he should have at least listened to it once, kind of like how servers at any halfway decent restaurant tries the dishes on the menu so they can honestly tell you about them), but I took a chance and purchased the disc I was most interested in.

I love it! It's by far my new favorite thing. I bought it because I liked more than half of the songs listed, so I suppose it wasn't too much of a risk, but of how I love this CD. After only listening to it once, I decided that I needed to buy a second copy for N's birthday. By all accounts she likes it, too.

And, PFC is a pretty awesome concept. How can you not love the idea of peace through music?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

On Valentine's Day, Ella peed on the potty for the very first time.

Since then...nothing. Nada.

Today, she peed twice! Definite progress!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sicknesses

Mom has pneumonia (more on that to come), but at least my nephew doesn't have the swine flu (although he did get to call into work today due to being quarantined...I kid you not).

As for us? The kids are on the mend, but I'm still crumbling under the sinus pressure. I should be back up to speed by the end of the week (fingers crossed!), but am still feeling like crud.

Curious

If, say, you come to this blog looking for a specific post, or two, that you can no longer find, you can always email me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Life

Congratulations, Lorraine and family!

Welcome to the world, Sean Daniel Robert :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Whirlwind

The past couple of weeks have been a complete blur. After a somewhat last minute change of plans, I made a traditional Easter dinner up at Mom's. We had the kids' first egg hunt, and their first official delivery from the Easter Bunny. It went over very well. Then it was full-on birthday planning mode. My sister, M, had been sick before Easter but miraculously recovered enough to make it to dinner. And to infect most of us. Ella, Liam, Caitlin and Mom are all sick now and somehow my body knew to hold off until the end of the insanity. As I laid down with the kids last night to tuck them in, I felt the sore throat creeping on. I am totally sick now and none too pleased with M, who "realized" after crashing Easter dinner that she wasn't well enough to go to work last Monday or Tuesday. Ugh! She actually didn't come to the party yesterday, claiming that she "didn't want to be infected." Can you believe it?!

That said, here are some shots of Easter and the birthday party. Yesterday was a fabulous day. Everything came together so nicely - the food, the crowd, the weather, just everything - and J and I were so happy with how the day went. The weather was wonderful enough that everyone spent most of the time outside, soaking up the sun and enjoying each other's company. J's parents surprised the kids with classic Radio Flyer trikes (which actually worked out very well, because we haven't had a chance to purchase their bikes, so we'll just hold off on those for now and let the kids enjoy the trikes). N and her kids surprised Liam and Ella with a basketball hoop, which was a BIG hit. A and P, Liam and Ella's Godparents (as well as their aunt and uncle), surprised me by getting the Muffins a sand and water table for them to play with on the deck. P's wife gave the kids a great batch of homemade goodies, including a cute felt soccer ball, adorable little stuffed mice and some nice play dough. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I'm glad for the exhaustion at the end of it, because it was so worth it.

All in all, it's been a total whirlwind but it all just reminds me how blessed I am with amazing children, a wonderful husband and a great family.


Quick! Find those eggs!


She was quite good at finding more than one at a time.

Oooh...check out those goodies!


The only decent shot of the two of them together on Easter. It's so hard to get Ella to pose for a picture now.


Chilling out on the kitchen floor, muching on some of the loot from the egg hunt.



The trikes! (And, yes, my son did wear the same outfit for Easter and the party - isn't he so handsome?!)


Ahhh! The cake that caused me so much stress. It was quite good, albeit a bit green, but the kids loved it I think I'm over my cake ordering anxiety (although, I still prefer to make my own, but this worked out quite nicely).


Ella blowing out the candle.


Then it's Liam's turn.


I have no idea what they're doing here or even who took the shot, but I think it's super cute.


2 points!


He was trying to pretend that I wasn't taking his picture. Seriously.