Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm Still Standing, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

It's been a crazy few days. Let's see if I can manage to get it all down, bullet style.
  • We put our house on the market last Monday. We had a ton of showings. It was almost obscene the amount of people who wanted to see our house because it was at such a low price. We had an offer on Friday night. It was a LOUSY offer and they wanted the moon. We put in a counter offer on Saturday, which was accepted with a minor change on Sunday. Barring any complications from the home inspection on Friday, we close at the end of March. Cross fingers, toes, etc. for us please, as this will end a very long three year ordeal with this house. We first tried to sell it in May of 2006.
  • Sunday night Old Man Winter smacked us with just about TWO FEET of new snow. It wasn't light fluffy snow, but instead wet, heavy snow that caused a tree to fall on our power lines early Monday morning. We woke up at 3am to Meg and Drew in our room because we had no power. No power for us means no water (no flushing toilets) too since we have a septic system and a well. We spent Monday hoping the power company would come, but no such luck. We warmed up at my brother-in-law's house Monday night, then came home to a house that was 55 degrees.
  • Yesterday we were up at 3 with the twins who were so cold they just kept crying. It was 50 degrees in here when we managed to crawl downstairs. My father-in-law arrived with a propane heater at 7 am that we put in the basement and after a few hours the house was 60. Right after lunch my dad arrived with his generator and our friend Brian, who's an electrician, helped Doug hook it up to power our furnace and water heater.
  • Our main saving grace was having a gas range. We were able to melt snow to flush the toilets, and once Doug went into his office and got water, I could make cocoa or instant coffee. Thank goodness!
  • Central Maine Power Company got our power restored at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon. I was quite pleased that they CALLED US to make sure that our power was indeed up and running, so that they could clear us off their list of homes without power. At one point in time this week, there were 100,000 Mainers without power. There are still those without power. I totally feel for them.
  • Today was a normal morning. Meg and Drew were bickering at 7 am. Meg went to school (which she did yesterday and it was good she was warm) and the girls and Drew are playing. As much as this "normal" can be annoying, I'll take it over what we've had to deal with the last two days.
So I think that covers where the heck I've been lately. What's new with everyone else? I'm quite behind on my Google Reader and have plenty to do here to play catch up. I'll get with everyone real soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Please, Please, PLEASE!

I'm coming off the end of a very long school vacation week. I am literally counting the minutes until I don't have to parent all four children by myself for two whole days. We haven't left the house (ok, not true, Meg and Drew have gone outside to play and I shoveled the front step) all week and we're all a bit stir crazy.

This week I have had to say the following to my kids:

Please clean up your room

Please don't stand on the heat

Please don't throw toys

Please don't touch your sister's poopy diaper

Please don't walk on your sister with your boots on

Please ______ (fill in the blank with a child's name) hug/kiss/apologize to your sister/brother for hitting/kicking/knocking down/throwing toys at said sister/brother

Please stop touching the computer

Please don't touch Mama's coffee

No you may not have candy for a snack

No, you just ate breakfast/lunch it's not snack time yet

No, you are not allowed to play hockey in the house/run up and down the hallways/touch my computer

No, you cannot watch tv at 6:30 am

No, you cannot watch tv because you were rude to Mama/sister/brother/haven't cleaned your room/just watched tv

School vacations are NOT my favorite. We have another one in exactly 8 weeks. Luckily Doug is supposed to be taking that vacation week off so I won't be flying solo. Otherwise I might go completely off the deep end. I am teetering on the edge as I type. And there's no chocolate in the house.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TV is a curse, not a blessing

I have had numerous comments on my blog posts lately about putting on the tv as distraction for my kids. Unfortunately in my house, tv is a curse, not a blessing. Let me explain.

Meg and Drew would watch tv all day if I let them. Well, that's not true; Meg would watch tv all day. Drew really can't sit still that long. The twins don't sit still unless strapped up in their high chairs. That is not the issue though. The issue stems from what happens AFTER a movie or short show is over. The kids are fine during their movie. As soon as it ends, the insanity begins. First, they fight over who is going to turn off the tv and/or DVD player. Inevitably there is pushing and shoving involved. Or there is lots of screaming (and not just by me) over whose turn it is to turn off the tv.

After that situation gets resolved by lots of yelling by me, Meg and Drew resort to antics that are indescribable. The refuse to do ANYTHING. They don't get up off the floor, they don't go play, they don't do anything. If they do manage to go play, they fight. Constantly. They're rude to us. They're rude to each other. It's unbelievable. It's frustrating.

I wish I could say that those antics happen every so often. But I can't. They happen every single time the kids watch tv. The kids rarely watch tv anymore because of it, but they don't seem to understand WHY they can't watch tv as much as they'd like. And on the days when I forget myself and let them watch a couple of things, I end up paying.

It's sad, really. The kids have great movies that they could watch if they could BEHAVE when they were over. Even Drew acts up after some Little Bill and Meg isn't even around. I have no idea why they act the way they do. I'm at a loss as to how to handle it besides keep up my ban on tv. (However, when I don't get ANY break from them at all because they can't watch tv, the fighting is even worse, but that's beside the point, right?). Annie and Izzie are deprived of their Sesame Street video that they LOVE because their older brother and sister haven't figured out that their actions affect everyone around them. And honestly, I feel like a bitch most of the time because I have to say no so often.

Parenting kids is tricky territory. There is a fine line that you have to tightrope walk on~the line between punishment and setting a good example. Unfortunately with my kids, I spend too much time on that line. I'm not saying I want to be a parent who lets their kids rule the roost, but I would love to be parent who doesn't have to constantly punish her kids. So far I haven't managed to find a happy medium. Maybe when I do my house will be a happier place to live.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goodbye and good riddance.

When we moved to our current home in 2006, we left behind another home that we couldn't sell. It's an older (1942), smaller home, and of course we put it on the market just as the market was starting to tank. The home remained vacant from August 2006 to April 2007 when we finally found a tenant who loved the home and asked for an option to purchase in the lease. A two year lease. We were thrilled to have someone covering our mortgage payments. Those charmers gave notice and moved out April 2008. After a couple months of repainting, cleaning and fretting, we found another tenant. She moved in with her kids on June 1, 2008. And she moved out on January 31, 2009. Yes, we are totally getting screwed by this house. It's like an albatross hanging over our heads.

While we were at the house on Saturday doing our final cleaning, we talked a bit about how we don't miss it, even though there were so many memories there. Meg was just 1 1/2 when we moved in, so she grew up in that house. Drew was born while we lived there. The twins were conceived there. We had great Christmas Eve dinners with our families there. We had a big family reunion around our pool and met our new nieces and nephew that Doug's brother and sister-in-law adopted. We had our tough times there too. We endured two miscarriages while we were there. My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers while we lived there. That house saw a lot.

Today we're putting the house back on the market. We're no longer looking at making any money on the sale. In fact, we're taking a huge loss just listing it at the price the broker suggested we list it for. I know we're not the only people going thru this; I read every day about foreclosures, short sales and the depressed economy. I scan Craigslist for what others are listing their homes for and think "well, maybe our house will sell because we aren't asking so much for it". Doug created a spreadsheet for us so that if and when an offer comes in, we can determine if we can financially afford it. The house is a good little house for a small family, or a couple just starting out. It treated us well while we were there. Now we just want it sold. We said goodbye 2 1/2 years ago. Now we're ready to say good riddance. Cross your fingers for us that something good happens.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

V Day

I am quite fond of Valentine's Day. I love all the red and pink, and the hearts and the mushy, smushy cards that make you throw up just a little bit in your mouth when you read them. I love buying little gifts for my kids (this year it was socks~Hannah Montana for Meg, Cars for Drew, Elmo for Izzie and Abby Cadabby for Annie). Doug and I don't go overboard with gifts for each other. He got me a Pajama Gram with very lovely Valentine Day pajamas covered in conversation hearts and I got him a couple of movies that he likes (National Treasure and The Saint).

This year we did send the kids to their grandparents so that we could have some quiet time. We didn't have plans except to finish cleaning at our other house (it goes on the market tomorrow, again, wish us luck that we sell it, asap), which we did after Drew had hockey and we drove the kids to their grandparents' houses and got them settled. We grabbed some lunch at our favorite little breakfast/lunch place up the road where the owners are friends of ours. Brian, the owner, is a singer and sang at our wedding. It's that kind of place. He knows what Doug likes to eat and they always make my veggie sandwich just right. We haven't been there much since we moved, so it was nice to stop in. We took our lunch back to our vacant house and had a quiet meal before cleaning and then heading home.

Unbeknown to us, poor Drew was having an awful Valentine's Day. Apparently the poor kid spent Valentine's Day throwing up at my in-law's house. He just lounged around there, napping on the couch when he wasn't throwing up. So while we were blissfully enjoying the silence, he was sick. No one called us to come get him, because they felt we deserved a break. Hopefully it was a one-time thing and no one else gets sick.

Doug and I enjoyed some Chinese take-out that I got to eat HOT, we watched The Saint,then the Bruins game. It wasn't an over-the-top Valentine's Day. But it was quiet, and just lovely. It was our 17th Valentine's Day, although the first few we spent apart since I was in college in NY and he was in college in ME. I think our feelings about the day are the same as they were 17 years ago. We love each other. We love spending time together. Really, what more can you ask for?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Squee. Double Squee!

We're going on vacation! As a family! My in-laws have a timeshare and we're using a week in late June to go to Pennsylvania. And we're taking the kids to Sesame Place. It's a little young for Meg, but she'll have fun on the water rides and Annie, Izzie and even Drew will be CAH-RAZEE for the Sesame friends. And I was doubly excited to find out that my friend Robyn lives nearby! I am hopeful we'll be able to get together and our kids can visit for a bit and our husbands can meet.

To add to my happiness, Doug and I arranged for our parents to take our kids tomorrow for a bit and overnight so that we can just relax. Well, that was our original plan but we have to do a final cleaning at our other house as it hits the MLS on Monday. Once that is done though we'll have a quiet house for a few hours and we really need that.

I'm going to revel in my happiness today and eat my Hershey kisses filled with caramel and ponder what my husband says he got me for Valentine's Day because I don't have a clue.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WTF? Wednesday

Today I'm playing along. Here goes:

WTF Tenant

You moved out on January 31st. Your Ford Expedition is STILL sitting in my driveway. Stop telling my husband that "you're calling to get it towed today" or that "your son will pick it up". Get off your a** and get rid of your truck. Otherwise, I get to send you a very nasty letter and if you don't pick it up, I get to SELL YOUR TRUCK. I want to sell my damn house, so get rid of the truck. ASAP.

Hugs and Kisses, Your Landlord


If you tell me one more time that I don't do anything for you and that I don't love you, I will seriously lose my mind. Drop the attitude. My entire life revolves around you. I really wish you would FIGURE THAT OUT and stop being such a brat.

Hugs and Kisses, Your Mama

WFT Kids

Why must you take out every toy and strew them all over the living room? Every toy? Really? I wouldn't mind so much if I could EVER put something away without you taking them right back out again. I'm tired of tripping over the toys.

Hugs and Kisses,Your Mama

So, if you want to play along, copy the badge from above.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Listen to the Band

I grew up listening to "easy listening" music at home. That was back in the day of 8 tracks and 45 and 33 LPs. We listened to folk music a lot~Smothers Brothers, Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary (I HATE Puff the Magic Dragon but that's a story for another day). My mom introduced me to Elvis, The Beatles, Mamas and the Papas, The Rolling Stones. My favorite Stones song is Paint it Black and I distinctly remember listening to it on one of my mom's 45s. Those were the days.

When Doug and I moved in together in 1997, we had to combine our musical tastes. His leaned toward the classic rock~Zeppelin, Queen, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd. I came with a classical music collection featuring Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. I have a collection of musical soundtracks too~Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Cats, The Music Man (my all time favorite), West Side Story. It's not easy to reconcile such differing musical tastes. At the time, my parents had a 250 CD changer in their house. We loved the idea of it, so we bought a 200 CD changer and filled it. The first two sections of CDs pretty much belong to Doug's genre of music~the first 6 CDs are Led Zeppelin (and if you remember, we danced to a Zeppelin song at our wedding, so I am a convert). I "own" the last two sections of the player and it's filled with Indigo Girls, 10,000 Maniacs and all my other music.

Owning this CD changer has exposed our kids to quite a variety of music. Sometimes we'll put the music on a block shuffle, so they'll hear a ton of different classical music, or enough classic rock to last them a lifetime. Meg now recognizes Ozzy Osbourne by a guitar riff (freaky, I know) and has requested both Ozzy and the Beatles on her Ipod shuffle. The best thing about the changer is that the kids can learn a lot about us by what we listen to. Our musical choices are not mutually exclusive anymore. Doug has taken to enjoy classical music a bit, and I love Aerosmith so much we've seen them in concert 3 times. I would kill to see Led Zeppelin in concert if Plant and Page can get their acts together.

I would rather listen to music than have the tv on during the day. I actually put the changer on today and turned to to 10,000 Maniacs. I haven't listened to them in a year. They were one of my favorites during college.

So, what is your favorite music?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Little Miss(es) Independent

I'm not a big fan of that Kelly Clarkson song, but the title does certainly accurately describe life with Annie and Izzie these days. Yes, we are in the throes of the "me do it" phase of their lives. I applaud their independence, I really do. I am thrilled when they want to put on their own boots, or get their mittens on by putting the "thumb in the thumbhole!!". When there are four children to get out the door, having each man fend for him or herself is helpful.

With that said, the "me do it" phase is quite maddening when twins are involved. When Annie figured out how to climb up into her highchair, Izzie wanted to learn, quickly. Great, fine, excellent I thought. Well, then they wanted to learn how to strap themselves in. Ok, all well and good. Except that many times they get themselves halfway in, decide they want to get out to play, and screech. Loudly.

The girls have also taken to climbing into their own car seats. This too is helpful, if they cooperate, which lately they aren't doing. Once I get Annie in the car, I tell her to go climb into her seat. Usually she goes to the back row where Meg and Drew sits, thinking I can't get to her. This causes Izzie to run around the inside of the car instead of getting into her seat. So picture me climbing into the car after them (by car I mean a Ford Freetsar minivan) while they protest, loudly again. All he** breaks loose as I throw them (gently, of course) into their seats and hold their little bodies down while I MacGyver them into their seats. Ahh, independence.

As with all siblings, there is a leader and a follower. Annie is my leader, albeit a de facto one. She is bigger and stronger than Izzie, so she's figured out the physical aspects first, like stripping off her clothes, or climbing out of her crib. We all know how well that worked out for Izzie (No? Read here). I am eternally hopeful that as they get older, Annie will lead Izzie down a good path, instead of right into the street.

And now I must go put their clothes back on and remind them not to jump in their cribs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gracias. Merci. Danke. Thank You (edited)

On Monday, in the middle of a scream fest by Izzie, the doorbell rang. It was my mail lady, delivering me a wonderful giftie from my new friend Melissa at Glued2Paper as part of the Valentine Swap I talked about here. Check out the swag I got:

I LOVE Lindt Chocolate. YUMMY! And no, of course I didn't immediately eat the Lindt candy bar. That would be rude (ok, I really did eat it very quickly and it was heavenly). I love, love, love my new oven mitt and pot holder. Melissa MADE those note cards. They are very beautiful and I can't wait to use them. She also made the key chain and it is now sporting my keys.

Thank you Melissa. Your gift made my day! It quite possibly made my week!

(edit: Oh good lord. In my original post I said Melissa's name was Michelle. Apparently I need more chocolate. I'm so sorry!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Man to Man vs Zone Defense

When we just had one child, all those many years ago, she got so much attention that I would classify her as spoiled. Maybe more like SPOILED. She had sleepovers with her grandparents, both sets, every other week starting at like 6 months, for a couple of years. She didn't have to share anything at home with anyone, and she basically ruled the roost. For four years.

Even when Drew was born, despite Meg's need for 100% attention, we were able to play man to man and both of our children got the attention they needed. When Drew was napping, Meg and I played or read or watched tv together. At night, Doug gave her her bath or sometimes read to her. I was able to take both kids out somewhere without too much trouble. I was living the high life.

My life is all about the zone defense now. With four very mobile children with NEEDS and WANTS and dirty diapers (ok, not all of them), I have to deal with the most pressing issues at the moment. The child with the runny nose is going to get more attention than the child who wants to chat with me. The child who has fallen down the stairs is going to take precedence over the child who is talking about loving trash. When all four of them are in crisis at the same time, which happens a LOT here, my initial instincts are to deal with the twins because they're smaller, and in my mind, more fragile. I can tell you that this methodology has elicited comments from Meg to the tune of "no one pays attention to me here". It's heartbreaking.

I envy those parents who have help every day. I would love to give each of my children individual attention, every single day. However, that just doesn't happen here. Annie and Izzie get royally screwed in the attention department. They nap at the same time, and during their nap I do chores and try to give Drew some attention. I try to read to Meg every single night. It is the only time of the day that we get together. Annie and Izzie share my attention. I try to talk with each of them a bit separately, but that doesn't always work well, since they essentially do everything together.

I really don't know where I was going with this post. I miss being able to focus on one thing, or one child, for more than a minute or two.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pictures, pictures everywhere

Creative Kerfuffle tagged me for a fun game, and I decided that instead of blogging about what's really on my mind, I'll play along.


Go to your picture folder, find the fourth folder and the fourth picture within that folder. Display and describe.

My pictures are all organized by month. All 4 years worth. So, April 2005 came up with this little ditty:
This is Drew at a little over 3 months of age. He had the craziest hair, until Izzie came along. He was always content to hang out on the Pooh blanket, watch me and Meg, and be happy. He was a pretty laid back baby. He was one of those babies that would sleep in his bouncy seat and I could vacuum around him and he'd snooze through it. He really hasn't changed much since that picture. Thank goodness looking at baby pictures doesn't make me want more kids. I'm at the point now where those twinges are a thing of the past. Phew!

Ok, I'm supposed to tag people but you all know I don't do that. So, play along if you'd like!