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'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


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.


Monday, May 11, 2009


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?!


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!


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?