Wednesday, November 26, 2008


So, I haven't been feeling very thankful about much lately. My kids have been driving me completely berserk, I barely have the energy to blog and I've had a migraine for three days. Doesn't that make you just want to snuggle up and read what I have to say? Ugh.

However, I really am thankful for what I have. My kids are healthy. Doug has a good job that allows us to live in this lovely home. Our families are healthy, I'm going to have a new sister-in-law (hi Eric and Alyssa!!!!) and I have wonderful friends. Really, while I may complain to my heart's content about my life, it is full.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Power of Paper

I am always looking for something to keep my kids occupied. Meg and Drew could watch tv until their eyes turned to goo and oozed out of their heads, so of course that is a big no-no in this house. As it is, when they do get an hour or so of tv, they turn into complete lunatics when it's over, literally rolling on the floor yelling for more, or running around the house screaming at the top of their lungs. Oh yes people, I've raised idiots.

Imagine my thrill when I discovered the power of paper. No, not reading (puhleeze) or drawing, but the power of the c-a-t-a-l-o-g. FAO Schwarz, Walmart, The Land of Nod, Fisher Price all hold amazing power over all of my kids. The FAO Schwarz catalog is so worn from constant reading by Annie and Izzie especially that I had to take it away from them, lest they completely ruin it. Today's mail brought another Fisher Price catalog and Drew was thrilled, until the contents were the EXACT same as the other catalog we already had. The kids sit on the floor and slowly turn the pages, looking at all the fantastical things that these catalogs hold. You would think that we have never taken them to a mall for crying out loud.

So thank you miss mail lady (yes, we have a FEMALEMAN) for bringing a few small moments of peace to my home. I shall miss those catalogs when they're shredded or in the recycle bins in the garage. Life will be back to my regularly scheduled chaos then.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

'Tis the Season

In case you've been living under a rock, we're coming upon the craziest, best time of the year~the holidays. I will have 11 people (NOT including my immediate family of 6) here on Thursday for Thanksgiving. We used to travel, but when I was pregnant with the twins and as big as a house at 7 months, I said no frickin' way am I leaving my house, so now we have everyone here. No really, check me out! While it's insane getting ready, it really is so much nicer to allow my kids to play with their own toys, nap in their own beds, and generally be more comfortable. It also takes my stress level down to Mach 496. How nice.

Christmas takes my stress level up to Mach 9809838 though. Here's why. When I had one child, I pretty much got every gift I could think of that said child would want/need/had to have. Ok, not that bad, but the presents under the tree were pretty substantial for said child. As our family has grown, getting everyone everything he/she may want is a financial impossibility. Child number one doesn't quite get that. I'll save that for another post though. This year we are scaling back quite a bit. I'm sure it will all work out fine, after I have some sort of a mental breakdown over it all.

However, immediately after Christmas we launch into birthday central. This is part of the reason we have to scale back for the holidays: all four children have their birthdays within the month following Christmas. Drew's is three days after Christmas, the twins are two weeks later, and Meg's birthday is two weeks to the day after the twins. Holy cow (and yes, springtime in Maine is BORING!). It can be a bit much to deal with right after Christmas.

I love making the holidays special for the kids. I play Christmas music all the time, watch The Grinch and Charlie Brown's Christmas on DVD until I want to puke, and try to decorate the house nicely. The twins are really going to be into all the decorations this year~they went bonkers when we put up Halloween decorations! But a part of me feels like Charlie Brown because Christmas is so commercialized. I would love for the holidays to be more about spending time with family and friends, and less about what is under the Christmas tree, but without taking the fun out of it for the kids. Maybe this year our scaling back will help accomplish that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who me, join the bandwagon?

I tend to be a little slow when it comes to the latest fad or "thing". I have only been blogging since February; before that, I didn't even really know what a blog was. I joined Twitter a little late in the game too. Doug and I started reading Harry Potter after the first few books had come out, because we wanted to keep up with our niece and nephew. To say that we are not trendsetters is an understatement.

So what am I sucked into now? Twilight. For the love of a good book, I cannot and will not put those books down. I know, I know, the fourth book came out this summer and I'm totally behind the times. I remember looking at my niece from Ohio with a little bit of confusion this summer when she was babbling incoherently about the fourth book, but now I totally GET IT! I asked my husband nicely yesterday to stop by Borders with a lovely Buy One Get One Half Off coupon that I got via email and get books 2 and 3, and he DID! Poor sucker. Actually, he knows that books make me so incredibly happy (I worked in my college and law school libraries) that he was willing to make the trip, out of his way, to get them for me. Good wife that I am, I refrained from reading until he left at 10 last night to go play hockey. Of course I was still reading when he got home after 12:30 this morning.

I will NOT be at the movie when it opens this weekend. I probably won't see it in the theater at all. I haven't been to a movie in many years; I tend to wait for it to come out on DVD, On Demand, or Netflix. This is one movie I actually want to go see, but my Twilight loving friends live too far away. So I'll live vicariously through them and see it when it's available next year. A little behind the times, but oh well, what can you do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

If I had just one wish

I blogged once before about my cravings and how much more stable and sane I would feel if those things were to come true. I feel incredibly unhinged the majority of the time. I want my life to be going in a certain direction, and as soon as I feel that it's the tiniest bit off, my emotions go berserk and I can't reign them in.

While I was away last weekend at Blogvention2008, Doug gave the twins a bit more freedom in the house. I don't blame him for doing it, because it would be nice for them to learn that no, they cannot climb on the piano bench and that the computer is NOT for them to bang on. At their age, Drew had complete freedom in the house. Anyway, since I have come home, I haven't been able to deal with them having that freedom. They're sitting here in the computer room right now, looking at books that they really shouldn't be touching and it's all I can do not to go put them back into the living room. They shove the baby gates aside because they can (with the configuration of our house, we have no way of attaching gates to anything at all) and basically do whatever they please. The word no means nothing to them at all.

If I had just one wish, it would be that either I can deal with them tearing apart my house, or in the alternative, that they would listen to me. The lack of control that I feel daily is killing me. I am constantly yelling to get someone to listen, but it doesn't work. I try to let them have their freedom and they do things like pull all the things off the fridge, take food out of the pantry, or chase the poor kittens. They climb the stairs, which is a BIG no-no here due to Annie's cast and the fact that they aren't good coming down them yet. So I spend my days literally hovering; I have to stay in the room they're in or they run rampant. If I try to go brush my teeth, I catch them banging on the computer (no laptop here), and going to the bathroom is right out unless someone is here to watch their every move, or they're in their highchairs. Never mind the fact that Drew is an absolute NIGHTMARE with them these days, knocking them down, taking their toys and running around like an idiot himself. I have even less control with him it seems.

So I'll breathe a little, have more coffee and try to deal. But what I really want to do is go away. I want to run away and let someone else have this life for awhile. It really is becoming too much for me to handle.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bruised and Battered

Here are some pictures of my walking wounded. Call this Wordless Wednesday a day late.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I really hope bad luck just comes in pairs

My life feels incredibly apocalyptic right now. I've spent the last twenty four hours worrying about Annie and her broken arm. I don't think I slept much last night because I feared she woke wake in pain. Of course, she didn't. I was afraid she'd get her splint off again (she did at dinner last night) before we got into her room this morning. Of course, she didn't. She was running around like a normal almost-two year old this morning, splint and all. After lunch she received her incredibly awesome hot pink cast, which runs from just below her elbow to the palm of her hand, and wraps around her thumb. The ortho doctor told Doug that she has a "bend" in her bone, not a "break" so the cast is actually just to keep her arm safe, and not to set the bone. She'll recover just fine, and I'm sure I will too in about 10 years.

For a change of scenery this afternoon, we walked down our road to get Meg from the bus. It was quite chilly, but the air felt good and I was hoping the freshness would change some sour moods. All was fine and dandy until Izzie became intimate friends with the gravel road, face first. When I picked her up, she was covered in blood, but I couldn't figure out from where. Once I removed her hat, I found out; she took a good chunk out of her forehead and blood was pouring down her face. She scraped her tiny nose and ate a mouthful of gravel. I'm sure she'll recover just fine too, and is sporting a Barbie bandaid on her forehead, which she thinks is quite fashionable.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Meg and Drew stay out of harm's way for a few more days so I can regain my sanity. Our visit with Annie to the emergency room was the first one since we had kids, so I'm thankful for that. I'm pretty sure we're not going to get away with just one visit during our kids' childhoods, so I need to find a way to prepare myself. It's horrible when there isn't a damn thing you can do to protect your children from accidents. I understand that is the meaning of accident, but as a parent, I feel horrible that my children got hurt. I also understand that I can't live in a bubble to protect them either, although that could solve some of my problems. So, I'll just do what I can to protect them and hope we're in for a stretch of good luck for awhile.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And a partridge in a pear tree (updated)

Ever since I returned from Blogvention 2008, my children have been AWFUL. They were thrilled to see me on Sunday night and that felt great. They had cleaned their rooms and had a good weekend without me.

These last two days though have been so amazingly craptastic (I love that word) that I'm ready to turn tail and head to Bora Bora. I've never felt like I've had much control over my kids' behavior, no matter how hard I try. I have rules, and limits, but feel like I spend the majority of my time yelling because my older children don't listen. Timeouts don't work, and taking things away from the kids is always pretty useless. It leaves me feeling a tad bit lost.

Today is a holiday, which means I have the four children home with me. After a long morning of listening to all the loud noises and the banging of toys, I sent the four to play nicely in the playroom upstairs. They did play nicely for quite awhile, but then I heard Annie screaming and crying. Upon investigation I was informed that Drew had jumped on Annie and hurt her arm. She usually bounces back pretty quickly, so I wasn't too alarmed. However, when I tried to give her her lunch, she couldn't use her right arm to lift her fork and she was crying. Doug came home to join us for lunch and she was just miserable. She managed to eat with her left hand and is now en route to the hospital to have her arm checked out. We're not sure if she dislocated her shoulder, her elbow, or if she just bruised it. Needless to say, I'd rather be with her but Doug took her so I could let Izzie nap.

When I know more, I'll update.

Update: My poor little baby has a broken forearm, just above her right wrist. We'll be hearing from our doctor about a peds appointment for a cast this week. I am so incredibly sad for her right now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friendship Part Deux

I have a daily calendar that sits by my desk. Friday's quote said "true life is lived when tiny changes occur". I couldn't agree more.

On Friday morning I kissed my wonderful husband and kids goodbye and hopped in my mommy mobile (aka my Ford Freestar) and headed west to New York. After a 6 hour drive I arrived at the doorstep of my dear friend Auntie Nettie for a much overdue visit. Our visit, while much too brief, was exactly what I needed. Old friends are truly the best. She has since been tagged to make a visit to Maine, and I'm holding her to it.

Yesterday I met AndreAnna, Cass and Robyn. We've been reading each other's blogs and emailing and to meet in person was truly exceptional. We ate, we drank, we talked, and it was like we'd been friends for years. I am not nearly as outgoing a person as I come across in this blog, so for me to travel to Jersey to meet these women was a huge step. My true life was lived this weekend. I can't wait to see them again and I am hoping it will happen sooner rather than later. Summer in Maine is a lovely time of year if I do say so myself.

Robyn, me, AndreAnna, Cass

Thank you to my friends old and new for a great weekend. I miss you all already.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hitting the Road

I am about to head out for Road Trip 2008!!!! I am so incredibly excited!

First stop, New York to visit Auntie Nettie for a much overdue visit.

Tomorrow I head to New Jersey for Blogvention08 with Cass, AndreAnna and Robyn. We're going to eat, drink, talk, eat, drink and have fun.

I'll update upon my return Sunday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've got friends in high places

Well, just friends in the blogosphere actually.

Check out my new blog design. I LOVE it. Cass from Cass Just Curious designed it for me. I couldn't be happier.

Thank you Cass! You're wonderful! I'll give you big hugs on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A book review

I thought I'd mix things up a bit, and volunteered to review a book written by Megan Calhoun, who is the driving force behind TwitterMoms a social networking and community site for moms (of which I'm a member). The book is called Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work and is the first in a series. It's published by Silly String Media, a new publishing company. You can find the book on for between $16-$18, or at OscarThePig.

Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work focuses on something that most moms (or dads as the case may be) have dealt with in some fashion~separation anxiety. While it's true that most children have some separation anxiety when they're quite a bit younger, it can rear its ugly head again during the preschool years. That is the focus of Oscar the Pig.

We meet our friend Oscar the pig on his mom's first day back to work. He is worried about what it all means for him: who will take care of him, when will she be back, and most importantly, does she still love him? Oscar's mother brings in Mrs. Tutu, Oscar's nanny. Mrs. Tutu had visited with Oscar the previous week and was back to start taking care of him. Mrs. Tutu remembered that Oscar loved trains, and promised him a special surprise after his mother went to work. Oscar and his mom shared a special "piggy kiss" and she went to work.

Seeing that Oscar was saddened by his mother's departure, Mrs. Tutu brought out her special surprise~a magic egg that transported the two of them to China. While in China, Oscar meets a panda named Chow Chow, who loves trains, has a mother that works and a caregiver of his own. The two talk of their sadness when their mothers go to work, and of the joy that awaits them at the end of the day when their mothers return. After a day of play, Mrs. Tutu and Oscar return home. Oscar's mother soon joins them, and he regales her with his escapades in China, happy at her return.

Despite the quickness of the story, I enjoyed this book. I have a preschooler who has some separation anxiety when he goes to school (as I am a stay-at-home-mom) and the ideas that the book sets forth are extremely important in helping a child cope when mom is away. Rituals for children are incredibly helpful, and having Oscar and his mom give their "piggy kisses" when it's time for her to leave help him know that it's time to transition to his playtime with Mrs. Tutu. It is also important for a child to meet his or her caregiver before the big day arrives in order to put the child at ease. Oscar's mom reminded him that he had already met Mrs. Tutu, which also helped put him at ease. It's not always easy for a young child to be with a caregiver, but having introduced that caregiver ahead of time can certainly help.

Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work is a great starting point for moms with preschool aged children who are thinking of going back to work, or who are scheduled to go back to work. It's an easy read-aloud book that allows conversations to develop about the who/what/when of mommy going to work and the care being provided their child. The illustrations are delightful and help gently tell the story of Oscar and his mom.

Monday, November 3, 2008

So much to say, so little time

We've had a very busy few days. I've been trying to blog all weekend (which I should be doing since I joined NaBloPoMo) but it just hasn't worked in my favor. So, instead of writing blah blah blah, it's a Monday Photo Show:

The money cat is Lira. She's been our kitty for 11 years. These little guys are our newest additions, which Lira isn't fond of quite yet. Leonard is on the left; Sheldon is on the right. And yes, we named them after the protagonists from The Big Bang Theory.