Thursday, December 31, 2009

its always something

Christmas was wonderful. Lots of presents and good cheer and an actual 24 hour period without a fight between my two oldest girls. Who could ask for more?

The day after Christmas, we hit the road for Pittsburgh to visit Pat's side of the family for Christmas #2. An annual tradition while we are up there, is a family reunion of sorts, that Pat's cousin Dee started years ago. Usually she hosts any where from 25-30 family members at her home about 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh (these are the same folks we went to the Outer Banks with this past summer). This year, her brother Dennis hosted the party since Dee's home is under some minor renovation.

We were really looking forward to this visit for a few reasons, 1- we have never been to Dennis' house and were anxious to see it. and 2- Dennis lives in the town where Pat went to college, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in Indiana, PA. Sarah was so excited to see where Pat went to school. Unfortunately, the college was all shut for the winter break but we were able to drive around and check everything out. Pat and his brother Brian, reminisced and tried to recall where certain buildings from their past were. We heard lots of stories, it was fun.

The Steeler game was on, and ALL the cousins (there were a total of 14 1st and 2nd cousins ages 20 months to 2o years) were having a ball running around. Sarah, of course, was in the middle of the fray. The 4th quarter of the Steeler/Ravens game was on and it was a close game (I think it was tied up at this point). All of a sudden, Sarah comes bounding down the stairs and jumps off from about the 4th step up (she'd done this a few times already despite my telling her not to). she let out a yelp and hit the floor with a tremendous force, right on her tailbone. She shot back up off the floor, yelped again and flopped down on to her right side and rolls on her back. She immediately called for help saying she couldn't breathe. All of us in the room knew what it felt like to have the wind knocked out of you so there was no sense of urgency, we just needed to get her to calm down and breathe. Pat got to her before I did, and tried to get her to relax and take small breaths. It seemed to be taking a lot longer than it should for her to catch her breath. I got up to take a look and her face was bright red, except for around her mouth. She had a panicked look about her and I began to worry. My sister in law Shannon, a nurse, came over and did a quick once over. Sarah could move her legs but was complaining about her back and not being able to breathe. She could squeeze our hand and bend her left elbow, but could not move it from the shoulder. When Shannon moved aside the collar of Sarah's shirt, it was immediately evident what the problem was. There was definite bruising and swelling near her left clavicle. Without saying a word, Pat and I looked at each other and knew we were headed to the ER. He scooped her up and carried her to the car and we drove the short 3-4 miles to the Indiana Regional Medical Center.

We were seen fairly quickly and Sarah was pleased that her father chose to sit with her and wait, rather than go watch the end of the Steeler's game on the TV in the waiting room. We were brought back to our room and were soon surprised by my brother-in-law, Brian and his middle child, Colin. Sarah and Colin are like brother and sister, in that they can fight like cats and dogs, but get along really well too. Evidently, Colin was so worried about his cousin, that he asked Brian to take him to see her. They helped us pass the time while we waited for the results of the x-rays. They giggled with us as Sarah's pain medication kicked in and she was laughing at every silly thing Colin did.

We received the diagnosis of a broken clavicle and possible fractured scapula, given a sling and brace, 6 doses of happy juice and sent on our way. We arrived back at the party just 2.5 hours after we had left. Not too bad! Unfortunately, while we were gone, all the yummy food had been packed up and put away. Pat helped himself to a few Black and Tans, and I had a couple of cups of coffee & we headed back to Pittsburgh with a miserable little girl.

Sarah after the trip to the ER:

After a difficult night of sleep, Sarah was still feeling miserable. Once the happy juice (Lortab/Vicodin) kicked in, she was much better. I had to run out and fill her prescription as well as find some button down shirts that she could kind-of wear, despite the injury. I headed to CVS first, since their parent company runs my prescription plan. I gave them all the important info and just before I turned to leave, I asked "you do have the medication in stock right?" She hesitated and then decided to ask. Thank goodness I asked, because "NO, They were out of it" and "do you want us to check at another pharmacy for you". YES! The girl had to call to 2 other pharmacies before she found it in the right strength! Did I mention that it was snowing out? AND I'm in an unfamiliar area and have no idea where I'm going?

As I'm fuming about the whole prescription issue, I'm texting the situation to Pat as I'm walking out of the store. Stupid-ass me forgets that it is snowing and 22 degrees outside and I totally fall on my ass the minute I step out of the store. To make matters worse, I drop my phone and some young (college-aged) couple behind me say, "Ma'am are you ok?" I brush myself off and mutter something dumb about looking where I'm going, and try to look as if I didn't just bust my ass in the CVS parking lot. My ass hurts, but my ego hurts worse...Did he just call me "ma'am"? Am I really a "ma'am" now?!?!

Well, both Sarah and I survived our traumatic experiences. Thanks to some wonderful friends with connections at an Orthopaedic office, we got in to see the specialist yesterday and there really is no treatment, other than the sling and time. She should heal fast and be back to new within 6 weeks. We'll get new x-rays in 4 weeks, but for now, we just continue to do what we are doing. She is not pleased to be missing swimming and basketball, but there isn't a whole lot we can do about that.

I guess I was too quick to say we had a wonderful Christmas. But hey, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday update

This holiday season seemed to really sneak up on me. It seems that Christmas comes faster and faster every year. My shopping was not finished until Christmas Eve and my Christmas cards were finally mailed on the 23rd, but we did manage to finish things up just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, what really derailed me this year was the surprise snow storm last weekend.

I guess I can't really call it a surprise when all the news forecasts clearly called for snow. However, I had no clue it was coming until the day before it was scheduled. Snow is not out of the ordinary in the metro DC area, but a raging blizzard in December is. What started out as a forecast of probably 5-8 inches, became 8-12 and then 12-15 and then 18+. When all was said and done, it was 23 inches in my neck of the woods.

The kids loved it, but I knew it meant days and days of clean up. We shoveled twice during the day on Saturday, while it was snowing. I first went out around 10 am and there were probably 10 inches on the ground. By the time I finished, there were another 1.5-2 inches down again.

The girls had a great time, but the snow on Saturday led to schools being closed for Monday, then Tuesday, and then finally Wednesday. Great! I'm always up for a snow day. But, we now have used up 3 of our 4 allotted days off AND I was stuck with my kids for 5 whole days!!! I love em, but their fighting was driving me crazy!

Those days with the kids prevented me from finishing shopping, and wrapping gifts. I did manage to get some baking done...the last thing my waistline needed!

All the preparation that did, or didn't, get done no longer matters. The day is done and the kids were thrilled. Emma didn't know what to make of it all, but enjoyed playing with the toys that "Dinty Claus" brought. Sarah claimed that Band Hero and her Zhu Zhu pet were her favorite gifts. Megan loves her Pillow Pal, Zhu Zhu pet, and her Crayon Maker. I was thrilled to get a lovely cashmere scarf and some handmade gifts from the girls.

The BEST present of all...not a single fight all day long!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Did you know that warts come from a virus? Did you know that little kids can get them? Did you know they were painful?

I had absolutely no clue about any of that. Once again, parenting fail!

Sarah, my oldest, has had a boo boo on her pinkie toe for quite sometime. At the beginning, it looked as if she had scraped it right on the tip-as if she had stubbed it on cement. She often runs around outside without shoes on or is just wearing flip flops and the weather was still warm when we noticed it, so I thought nothing of it. It never seemed to heal and I just figured she was re-injuring it.

Well, on Thanksgiving, she tells me she has a black spot on her other foot. Off comes the shoes and socks and between my parent, my husband and I we deduce that both are warts. Nasty, disgusting, contagious warts. The toe wart has worsened and actually looks like a few warts clustered together and that they are under the toenail. Gross.

I had no idea that all warts are contagious. This girl has been showering in MY shower for years! Ewwww. Being that she is 8, we figured a round of compound W might not be the best solution and I made a call to the pediatrician. Pat adjusted his schedule to take her the next Friday for the appointment. The doctor barely even saw her before she declared that it was a job for a podiatrist. Don't get me started on the wasted appointment- they could have told me that on the phone when I made the appointment and I could have saved us a trip! Thankfully, the office didn't charge us a co-pay.

This past Friday, Pat to Sarah to his podiatrist. (They had a dual appointment so that he could get an ingrown toenail dealt with at the same time.) Well, the doctor whipped out some razor-like tool and got down to scraping away at the warts. Poor Sarah had no anesthesia, but evidently the doctor was pretty skilled and didn't cause her much discomfort. She came home with some distinct holes in her pinkie toe. The instructions were to get a freeze-away wart kit and NOT to use Compound-W. She is also supposed to wear shower shoes at the indoor pool. Gross.

Last night we broke out the wart remover kit. We are pretty sure that the first wart we tried to "freeze" didn't take. When we did the second wart and it turned the skin white and caused Sarah some discomfort (pain) we realized the first, that just tickled, probably didn't work. Tonight we are supposed to add the liquid remover. I'm not sure what we do if none of this works.

Things Pat learned about warts:

Each little tiny black dot is a wart. The roots of the wart are attached to the dot and are trying to get into the blood stream. When they do, the warts can pop up anywhere. Gross. All warts are viral and are contagious, but not everyone is susceptible to them (since I have never had one, I consider myself immune-same goes for poison ivy too).

Warts are gross (but we aren't supposed to say that to Sarah).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The end

[Disclaimer: I am truly a breastfeeding advocate, but do realize that it is not ideal for everyone. I pass no judgement on those who chose not to, or could not breastfeed. This is just my experience. One for which I am grateful for choosing.]

I've been formulating this post in my mind for months. It has been almost two full weeks since Emma nursed. Seeing that she is 19 months old, many would consider it well past due. There is a large part of me that weeps inside knowing that I will never get the opportunity to enjoy that wonderful bonding experience again. A few weeks ago, I read a wonderful post about another mother's experience with breastfeeding. Anymommy is most definitely a gifted writer and I am sure that my post will pale in comparison.

When I began the journey of breastfeeding almost 9 years ago with my first child, I had hoped that I would be able to nurse her for a while, but was so unsure of what that really would mean. I had no preconceived ideas of how long was the right amount and what I would do if I needed to formula feed. I just fed her and it worked. She had no difficulty latching on and even with a slight bout of jaundice, we were able to nurse with little fanfare. As she was born in February, it was so nice to just snuggle in and get cozy in bed or on the couch and spend uninterrupted time providing for my baby the way nature intended.

When I returned to work, I pumped. I felt like a cow and struggled mightily with supply problems. I took pills and drank teas and tried all I could do. It got to the point where I had no "freezer stash" and was living day to day hoping that nothing would happen. I can't tell you how painful it was to discover that I had forgotten to put my milk in the fridge one day and found it the next morning still in the cooler compartment of the breast pump. I'm sure I violated some tenet of breastfeeding when I poured that precious liquid gold right into a bottle and NOT down the drain. It smelled and tasted fine to me, so I just banked on the magical properties of breast milk to keep it safe. Thankfully, Sarah came out of that just fine and we were able to make it 12 months of nursing and pumping. She finally weaned herself around 15 months and I was fine with it. Part of me missed it as we snuggled at bedtime, but I also enjoyed having my body back.

When Sarah's younger sister Megan was born, we (my ta-ta's and I) were able to fall right back into the rhythm they learned a few years earlier. The time spent actually nursing her was wonderful, the time spent hooked up to a breast pump-not so much! The same supply issues I had with Sarah were still there. Megan always seemed to enjoy the nursing more than her sister and that was painfully evident in the almost 20 months we spent joined at the mouth/breast. I had to force Megan to wean and it was not a pretty sight. But, again part of me was a little sad to be done with it.

When Emma was born, my job situation had changed some and I knew I wasn't going to be able to nurse her in the morning when she woke. Which meant she was going to drink one more bottle a day than the other girls had, and knowing how my supply was with the other girls, I had a sinking suspicion that I would have some real problems keeping up. Emma was definitely a bigger eater than her sister, it didn't hurt she was born 1.5 lbs heavier. Nursing was not an issue, but of course, supply while pumping was. I posted last fall about my meltdown and my realization that Emma was going to be my first child to have formula. At the time, I felt like a failure. Thank God for friends and family who kept me from losing my mind and helped me to realize it was far more healthier for my child to have me sane, than to insist upon breast milk only.

Emma and I both made it to 12 months and lived to tell about it. When one of her first words was "nurse", I knew I had another addict on my hands. (It was adorable when she would walk up to me at bedtime saying "Nurse? Nurse? Peas, peas, nurse?") I knew it was time, but I couldn't bring myself to wean her. Over the past few months I had gotten her nursing down to just at bedtime and then the last few weeks, I've been slowly using other means of getting her to sleep. I would nurse her for a little and then take her up to her room to read Goodnight Moon and then down she would go. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I decided this would be a good time to try to wean. Her bedtime routine that night consisted of just the book and nothing else and no complaints. Thanksgiving night, the same. And now we are going on almost two full weeks. Now that doesn't mean she still doesn't ask, but after I tell her a few times that its "all gone" she seems to give up. That also doesn't mean that I don't miss it.

I miss the feel of a baby nestled in my arms and rooting for a familiar smell. I miss the tell-tale feel of the good latch of a hungry baby. I miss the sight of a sleeping baby drunk on mother's milk. I miss the warmth and bonding of skin on skin contact. I miss the sweet sweet smell of baby breath. I miss the joy of knowing that I was the sole source of food for my child. I miss the feeling of total contentment and an indescribable emotion when I would look into the eyes of my nursing child; a feeling only another nursing mother can fully understand.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To Do: Revisited

Back in January, I posted my To Do list in lieu of a resolution. In February, I managed to post an update. I haven't revisited it since. Yesterday, I found myself making a new To Do list and realized, I ought to check the old one to see how I've done.

  • Refinance house/take out HELOC
  • Steam clean carpets- This an always ongoing project (with 3 kids and a dog)
  • Organize closets
  • Re-do Closet (buy system from container store in Feb on sale)
  • Find time to work out I did great this summer, but need to step up on this ASAP
  • Paint Family room/kitchen/dining room
  • Burn home movies on to DVD's still haven't done
  • buy curtains for Dining room can't decide on what I want
  • Go through girls clothes and pack/give away On-going
  • Book Sarah's bday party
  • Storm door Haven't done, but REALLY need to.
  • Landscape side of garage we decided to wait until next spring
  • bulletin board for kitchen
  • screens repaired can't figure out how to remove the screens for repair without damaging them. AARRGGHH
  • thank you notes written
  • figure out camp schedule
  • buy and install new baby gates
  • buy new car seat

We did buy new carpeting for the family room and new light fixtures for the Kitchen. The carpet was not on the original list because I hadn't yet gotten so disgusted by it yet! (On a side note--I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY NEW CARPET and wished I had done it sooner! )The builder's Berber carpet in the family room was so gross, it stunk and was no longer able to be steam cleaned any more. There are other parts of the house that need new carpet too, but I can wait a few years on that. We got new light fixtures when we painted. We figured it would look SO much better if we replaced the hideously out dated fixtures at the same time we painted the ceiling- we were right. We've only hung the one over the table so far. We tried to do the island light, but need an electrician for that one (the wires were not centered properly from the old fluorescent light).

Here is my new To-Do list. Don't worry, I'll have a new-er one on New Year's Day-as always!

  • Hang Kitchen light fixture
  • paint ceiling area around old light fixture
  • Pick artwork for family room & hang (can't afford to get real art work, so I'm going to frame some of the kids stuff)
  • clean and organize computer desk area
  • organize craft cabinet and create a "Family Center" (like the one seen here)
  • find end/sofa tables for family room
  • get brackets for wooden blind valances
  • dining room curtains
  • steam clean upstairs/living room curtains
  • write Christmas letter
  • paint or find replacement powder room cabinet

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is there a problem?

Last week we had our Parent Teacher Conferences for both of the girls.  I wasn't too worried going into them, but when I got an email from Sarah's teacher indicating that she wanted Sarah there and that "We all need to talk", I got a bit nervous.

Megan's conference was first.  Sarah had the same teacher three years ago, so I knew what to expect.  The county has changed the curriculum somewhat since then, with regards to math. They are presenting the first grade curriculum and if the kids don't get it, they work backwards.  So, Megan is doing WAY more math than Sarah did at the same age.  And you know what?  She gets it.  They are doing tally marks and graphing and she totally gets it!  She recognizes all her letters, lower and uppercase.  She can do almost all the sounds that correspond with the appropriate letter and is plugging right along. Socially, she is doing ok.  Her teacher wants her to be able to stand up for herself.  My Megan?  Evidently she looks up to another girl in the class who is older and more advanced.  Megan kind of lets her tell her what to do and she seems to be content with it.  It hasn't been a real problem, but Mrs. F wants her to be more confident in the class and be able to tell her friend "No".  I was totally flummoxed hearing all of this.  Megan has absolutely NO problem standing up for herself at home.  We almost have to step in and prevent her from standing up too much and bullying her older sister!

Sarah's conference did not go as well.  She is a helper and is rushing through her own work in order to help others in the class.  She has been given more Red Apples (Rewards for good character) than any other 3rd grader.  However, the teacher has concerns about her reading comprehension and math fact retention.  I have had my own concerns as well, but was secretly hoping it was just due to high expectations.  I was wrong.  We are going to try and get Sarah to calm down and focus and take her time to do her work correctly.  I am going to work with her on reading comprehension at home.  We will both monitor the situation and take a look at things in a few weeks.

Toward the end of our meeting, Sarah's teacher sent her off so we could talk alone.  Mrs. T was concerned that she had scared me, by the look on my face.  As an educator, I was fully aware of the implications of what she was telling me.  But clearly there was a look of shock on my face.  I was upset, only because I know that IF there are problems, that would make things much more difficult for Sarah.

I debriefed with Pat later in the night and began to think that maybe I was overreacting.  Maybe things aren't as I fear.  My girlfriend at work, who used to be an Elementary School teacher gave me some tips and pointers on how to work with Sarah and her reading. We will just plug away and keep reading and reminding Sarah to put effort and time into her work.  I am hoping that when we review the situation in December or January that things will have improved.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DC Sniper

If you lived in the Washington DC region during the fall of 2002, then I know you remember the horrible when John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were terrorizing then entire area.
On October 2, 2002, James Martin was shot to death in the parking lot of a Shopper's Food Warehouse in Wheaton, MD. On October 3, six more people were killed in a matter of hours, setting off a frenzied man-hunt for a serial killer. There was a lot of speculation as to the type of person may be committing the crimes. It was thought that the individual may be driving a white box-type truck.

The entire area was paralyzed with fear. A few of the random killings took place at gas stations and almost all happened in broad daylight. People were afraid to go to the gas station, or even leave there homes. Police were stopping every white-box truck they could find.

On October 7, 2002, the unthinkable happened. A student was shot as he was dropped off at his middle school. His Aunt quickly pulled him back into the car and drove directly to an urgent care facility, saving his life. Authorities linked his shooting with the others and a tarot card was found at the scene saying, "I am God".

If the hysteria wasn't bad before, it certainly was afterwards. My school (which was in the same system as the boy's) had a number of portable classrooms out back. For a time, students were walked out to the classrooms. After the student was shot, classes were moved inside. There was a level of fear that was just unspoken.

The terror continued with another killing on October 9th and another shooting that wounded the victim on October 19th. On October 22, the final victim, Conrad Johnson, a bus driver, was shot and killed while standing on the steps of his bus.

John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested in nearby Frederick, MD on October 24th. They did not have a White box truck, but instead had a Chevy Caprice that had been modified so that a person could lay down in the back seat and shoot out of a hole the trunk.

It was a terrifying time that no one in the area will soon forget. The killings were so random, that everyone felt like a target. Personally, I remember fearing the worst that October 3rd morning. It was a Thursday and my father volunteers at a library near the shooting in Kensington. He often got gas at the Shell station because it usually was the cheapest around. Little details were immediately released, but when the news came out that a person was killed pumping gas at the Shell, I got worried. My father had no cell phone at the time and I could not get a hold of him. I found out later in the day that particular victim was a woman.

Everyone has a similar story from that three week period in October. Every day I drive through the area where the majority of these shootings took place and have shopped in some of the shopping centers where he committed these heinous crimes. Tonight at 9pm, John Allen Mohammad is scheduled to be executed in Virginia as punishment for his crimes. Whether or not you believe in the death penalty, whether or not you feel as though his lawyers didn't do their job (he defended himself with some legal assistance), whether or not you feel he is mentally ill, Muhammad turned a young man (Malvo) into a monster, killed 10 and wounded 3 others and terrorized the entire Metro DC region. It is hard to think that life in prison would be enough to make up for all he has done.


Evidently, October didn't exist.

Obviously, that is not exactly correct. It did exist, and was jam-packed with a million things to do. But, I really have no idea where the time went, but here we are almost a third of the way through November already-how the hell did that happen?!

I read a few blogs and thoroughly enjoy being able to keep up with the lives of others or read about controversial topics, but I seemed to have been barely able to do that in the past month or so. I started this blog as a way to chronicle my life and memories, not really caring how many people read it, or even if anyone reads it. I am sure that memorable things have happened in the past few weeks, but I just couldn't find the energy to write about it. So if there is anyone out there reading this, I am sorry that I have not updated since September!

In case you were interested, Megan recovered from her UTI-only after needing to go back for a second prescription of hard-core antibiotics (don't get me started on how inept the CVS by my house is). Sarah's soccer season just finished (they tied for 3rd place) and Winter Swimming started 2 weeks ago. Sarah also took classes to be able to receive her first communion and was thrilled to finally be able to partake last Sunday. Emma is now 18 months old and we still can only understand about 30% of what she is saying. The commitment to being on the Elementary School PTA has not been as bad as I thought it would, but it does often conflict with Sarah's choir practice. Pat tells me that I have Sarah in too many activities. I just want her to be able to enjoy her time with her friends. I haven't forced her to do any of these things. As soon as things begin to be a chore for her, we will revisit the situation. I just want her to be able to build a good friend base and keep active. I can't do the "after school play-date" that so many work/stay at home moms in our neighborhood do, so I have to keep her in activities where she sees her friends this way.

In conversation with an upset and stressed out student this afternoon, it became clear that she wasn't spending enough time on herself. She was internalizing her parents marital issues, her mom's battles with her younger sister, and her brother's early education (she was taking it upon herself to teach him his letters and to convince her sister to apply to the middle school magnet program). She has taken on fixing everyone's problems without caring for herself. She is now distracted, grades are suffering and she is crying a lot. Among other things we talked about, I suggested that she find time for herself, she needs to realize that she cannot solve some of the issues in the lives of those around her and focus on what she can do. She needs to find time to recharge her batteries, so to speak, and de-stress and she may find that things get easier.

Obviously, this is good advice for everyone, but definitely for me. It is near impossible to get "me time", but I need to find it. Also, I really enjoyed writing about our experiences as a family here on the blog, and I think I need to begin to do that more often. I won't promise daily, but I am definitely going to make more of an effort.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No time to pee?

I don't seem to have enough time these days. I know that is a common rant of a mother, but seriously, where the hell has the time gone. It is essentially October already and I can't believe it. I don't have time for anything any more. Clearly, since I haven't written anything on here since September 5! The only reason I am writing now is that I am home with Megan who has a Urinary Tract Infection and I am procrastinating folding the laundry.

The start of the school year has gone well. Sarah is involved in many things this year: Soccer (of course), Brownies, & now she is singing in our church's children's choir. Winter swim will start at the end of October, thankfully Soccer will almost be over by then. She is loving school (as much as any kid can) this year and is thrilled with her teacher (so am I). There is definitely more work this year and she is feeling the pinch. It is still a major struggle some nights to get her to finish it, but I know she is being challenged and not just coasting through (I've got to remember to write up our first major HW battle about the thesaurus)

Megan is not involved in any activities (no surprise there). She fights anything like that. She does want to join Daisy Scouts, but I don't think anyone wants to be the troop leader. She won't admit that she likes Kindergarten, but I'm pretty sure that she does. However, I did recently realize that she hasn't been using the bathroom at school. Last Thursday when I picked her up from aftercare, She told me she had a bad day. I shrugged it off as her usual complaining until she mentioned it again and I looked at her face. She had an accident and didn't tell anyone about it. She managed to finish up the school day, go to aftercare, play and sit down to start her homework without anyone realizing she had wet pants. I got her home and cleaned up and we talked. It turns out that she has been reluctant to use the classroom potty and has been holding it all day, every day. We talked about the importance of using the potty and I sent an email to her teacher. Friday, she came home and let me know that she had used the potty. I thought we were home free.

Monday night, after a weekend trip to grandmas, she complained that it hurt to go to the bathroom. I quickly called Pat who was already at the store and told him to buy some cranberry juice. I think we were too late. She drank some, and seemed OK Tuesday morning. Yesterday afternoon I picked her up from aftercare to find out that she had another accident right at the end of the school day. This time, she was taken to the nurse's office and given a change of clothes. She proceeded to be in a great deal of pain and cried out every time she used the potty. Damn, I knew it!

Pat took her to the Dr this morning for confirmation-UTI! She is still in pain, doesn't want to drink the cranberry juice and I had to bribe her to take the antibiotic. This girl has serious control issues, to the point of self destruction!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

EA Sports Active Week 1

A few weeks ago I won a copy of EA Sports Active for the Wii from my buds at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. One stipulation of winning was that I participate in the 30 Day Challenge beginning August 31.

I tried out the game the day before the challenge began and I am soooo glad that I did. I didn't realize how much I had to prep-work I had to do before I could even start it. Of course the obligatory 15 minutes to open the package and deal with the security tape before I could even get the case open. I managed to figure out how to assemble the resistance band and then to strap on the leg thing (for the life of me I can't remember what it is actually called).

I was all set to work out. I created my profile and chose a 30 minute medium intensity workout. It was good to get a chance to try out some of the excercises before the "big day", especially since I spent the first 10 minutes trying to figure out how to put the nunchuck remote in the pocket on the leg thing the right way. My trainer kept yelling at me that I had it in backwards, but I swear it wouldn't it the way it was supposed to!

Monday morning was the first day of school for the big girls and me. I had already planned to take a few hours off in the morning to escort Megan to her first day of Kindergarten. so, I woke up almost at my usual time and I turned on the Wii for day one of the 30 Day Challenge.

Holy squats! My legs were killing my later in the day and on Tuesday, but it was a good hurt. I love the resistance band and a lot of the exercises, but I still feel as though I need more cardio than it provides. So far I've done 5 days of the challenge and I like it a lot. Here's hoping the next 25 days keep me burning!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where does she get this stuff

Pat had the following conversation with Megan in the car on the way to the eye doctor. Seriously, she cracks me up sometimes.

The DJ on the car radio was talking to people who had undergone surgery for amputation. A gentleman called in who mentioned he had to have a leg amputated after he was wounded in the Gulf War.

Megan: Daddy, that guy had to have his leg cut off when he played golf. But, you play golf.

Pat: No Megan, he was hurt in the War, the Gulf War and had to have his leg amputated because of the injury.

Megan: How did he get home then, hop?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

30 Day Challenge

A few weeks ago I won a copy of EA Sports Active for the Wii from my buds over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. One of the stipulations of the contest was the participation in the 30 Day Challenge that it set to begin on Aug 31. As a participant in the 30 Day Challenge, here is my profile for The Sisterhood:

30 Day Challenge Profile

Name: Sue
Age: 37
Hometown: Olney MD

Family: Me, Hubby, 3 energetic girls (8, 5, & 1) and 1 large black lab (she's a girl too)

1) Complete the following sentence – “When I look in the mirror I see a woman in her late 30's who is running out of time to get in better shape.

2) What exercise do you take? What’s your current level of fitness? I walk and play with my girls, as well as hit the gym a few days a week. I love the elliptical machine as well as using the weight machines.

3) How do you relax? I wish I could say reading, but I rarely have the mental energy to read on the rare occasion I have the actual time to. Usually, I sit in front of the TV or flip through a magazine.

4) Do you watch your weight? I have always watched my weight. It has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. Of course, sometimes I don't watch it as well as I could :).

5) What’s your favorite body part? Since I'm still nursing my little one, at the moment, I love my boobs.

6) What’s your least favorite body part? without a hesitation, my booty! I am a pear shape with some definite junk in my trunk.

7) What’s your favorite way to workout? I like the fact that I can get a great cardio workout on the elliptical. I don't have a ton of time to workout, so I can hit the gym, spend 30 or so min on the elliptical, then spend some time on the weighs and be out of there in an hour.

Its time to work out, we’re most likely to find you decked out in? Exercise Capri's and an old t-shirt.

9) You’re due to workout, but it’s pouring rain. What do you do? I go anyway, I'll only be wet walking from my car to the gym, no biggie!

10) What’s the one item you wouldn’t be without when working out? Water!

11) What do you hope to get from the 30 Day Challenge? I hope to get myself into a better pattern of working out and increase my stamina for longer periods of cardio activity.

12) What are you apprehensive about going in? Being able to find the time every day to work out. September is my busiest time at work (I'm a high school counselor) and my kids exhaust me and don't let me have much time to myself.

13) How will you reward yourself after the challenge? thinking about a girls weekend or a massage.

14) Complete the following sentence – “I’m Active for … me and my girls!”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's a jungle out there


I love to garden. It is a love that I inherited from my mother. Ever since I can remember she has toiled in her garden, planting tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, zucchini, herbs and I'm sure plenty of other things I'm forgetting. As a child she often let us plant our own beds to tend throughout the summer.

Well, in my adulthood, I have managed to continue the gardening bug. At each house we have owned, Pat and I have built a raised garden bed to make it easier to garden (our soil is so full of clay, it makes it hard to grow anything but weeds sometimes).

I don't know what happens to my garden every year. I start out with my plants so carefully spaced and end up with a raging jungle. I weed and tend, but the plants get out of control. Here you see them growing up and over the railing of the staircase to the basement door. This year, I planted even less seedlings than I normally do and I still have a mess. Part of the problem is that my cherry tomatoes keep re-seeding themselves and I can't bring myself to pull the volunteer plants out. We even have some tomato plants growing in the grass and at the bottom of the stairs to the basement!

Here are a few pictures of my garden about a week ago. One of the cherry tomato plants is starting to die and the zucchini is on it's last legs(Pat actually pulled out the zucchini plants about 2 days after I took the picture).

It might be messy, but it produces such yummy fruit

Friday, August 21, 2009


Megan, my middle child, is a stubborn child. I love her to death, but she will kill me I am sure! She is a creature of habit and has serious issues if things do not go her way. She is predictable in an unpredictable way. Or maybe I mean that the other way around. I never know when she is going to act up, but she usually does, but sometimes doesn't when I thought she would. Confused yet? Me too.

We finished daycare for her back in June and she was slated for 2 weeks of summer camp to begin the transition to being a "big girl" and getting ready for Kindergarten in the fall. Her older sister LOVES camp and looks forward to any camp experience with abandon. Megan, on the other hand, had convinced herself before even setting foot at the camp that it sucked and she didn't want to go. Well, she had no choice, "Mommy has to work and I've already paid for camp."

The first day of camp was a rough drop off for my dear husband. when I picked her up and asked her about her day, she melted and said she hated it (not a surprise). She told me she wasn't going to swim the next day at the pool either. When I picked her up on day two and asked her if she had fun, she told me no (meanwhile there was a teeny tiny smile on her face). The rest of the two weeks continued like that. I am pretty sure she had some fun, but would never admit to it and complain ALL. THE. TIME.

Then we began swim lessons. I wrote about it here. It was pure torture. I've discovered that this stubborn kid cannot be swayed easily at all.

Two weeks ago, my girls were invited by their Aunt to attend a week long evening Vacation Bible School at their church with their cousins. Sarah was on board as soon as it was mentioned. Megan wasn't sure. I didn't push it. They were having a party to kick off the program and Megan agreed, to my surprise, to go. She came home talking about moon bounces and games. On Monday, I asked her if she wanted to go and she said she would (not enthusiastically though). It was a little different when she came home that night, there was no moon bounce or Popsicles. I asked her if she had fun and was told,. "NO". I let her know that she didn't have to go again if she didn't want to and left it at that.

Tuesday night, I was hurrying Sarah along in getting ready to go when I asked Megan if she wanted to go. To my surprise, she said yes. Huh? Really? OK, lets go!

When she got home that evening I ask, "Megan, did you have fun?"

Looking down at the floor with a disappointed face, she sheepishly said "Yes".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In

Holding pretty steady for now. I did put on .8 lbs this week, but I don't care too much about that...It's just a number, right!

I am back at work this week and like 5 people have commented on how great I look. I don't think it is that noticeable, but I'll take what ever compliment I can get.

I do need to work on a schedule for getting my butt to the gym now that I' back to work and school is starting soon. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up a decent routine. The start of the school year is so busy, both personally and professionally, that it will be tough.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Remember in the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch when the mad scientist is describing his Experiment 626 (Stitch) and how he was designed for mass destruction? Well, that is Emma. She is absolutely adorable, yet thoroughly destructive. She is the most daring, destructive an inquisitive of our three girls.

I feel like I am constantly going around and picking things up. She figured out how to pull the Child-safety caps off of the electrical outlets on her first try...months ago! When the other girls attempted to mess with them I'd yell, maybe a slight swat on the hand and a firm NO! and they never touched them again. Emma is attracted to them and is constantly messing with them. We must now upgrade to a more secure plug cover

Here you see how she has learned how to climb up on the chairs in the kitchen.

She managed to push the chair from the desk area over to the island, and then proceeded to push everything onto the floor.

If she had enough upper body strength, she would have probably climbed up onto the island.

She figured out how to climb on the table. She pulls herself up on the bench and then right up onto the table ALL.THE.TIME! Yesterday we moved the bench to the basement where it will have to stay for probably another year. We don't have enough matching chairs for the kitchen table at the moment, but it will have to do. Now if I can just get the big girls to push in their chairs, we should be able to keep Emma off of the table

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In

I’ve been doing a Low-Carb diet for a smidge over a week now. It is hard, but it has gotten easier. I never realized how much my diet consisted of carbs until I couldn't eat them. I miss my milk products (thank goodness I can have the cream for my coffee though-go figure) and crunch snacks and FRUIT! It is weird not to be able to just pick up what I want and eat it with moderation (what I've been used to). I can say that right before I started this two-week program, I had regained a few pounds I had lost. So total I've lost (doing low carb) 7.6 lbs, but since last weigh-in 4.8.

I am very pleased with the results. There were a few days where I re-gained a pound and I think it was because I ate too many tomatoes (they are a fruit after all.) I can have some, but not the amount I was eating. My garden has been pumping out the tomatoes, especially the super sweet and yummy cherry tomatoes that I’ve been eating a ton of daily!

As of this morning, I’ve lost 11lbs since I started checking in with the folks at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. It has been a slow process, but I am thrilled to have FINALLY earned my 10lb button!

I am SO THRILLED to have won a copy of EA Sports Active for the Wii through the Sisterood and will now be particpating in the next challenge beginning Sept 1!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two weeks

My weight loss journey has brought me back to where I was before my vacation almost 2weeks ago! But I feel as though I have hit a wall. My girlfriend at work has been frustrted that she hasn't lost all her "baby weight" either. She has encouraged me to do a 2week low carb diet to jump start things.

I've never been a fan of the low carb or fad diets, but I figured it couldn't hurt. This is day two and it has been pretty manageable. Except for the fact that we had dinner at my parents and I couldn't even eat the dishes I brought (Zucchini casserole and a peach tart). The plan is to do this for 2 weeks and that slowly and MODERATLEY return carbs back into a reasonable and low fat diet. We shall see. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

outer banks

Our week vacation was incredible. We spent the week at the very end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Hatteras Island. Believe me, it was not an easy trip to make (it took 12 hours when it should have only been 7), but well worth it.

We have vacationed on the outer banks once before, and loved it then. But, to be honest, living only 2 hours away from the Delaware beaches, it's very hard to find the rational for driving such a long distance.

Well, last week totally reminded me why it's worth it. The beach house was amazing. 6 bedrooms and plenty of living space. Unless it's meal time, you didn't even realize that there were 23 people living in the house. We had a large bedroom and our own bathroom. Emma slept with us, but the big girls slept dorm style with the other kids on bunks down stairs. There were plenty of TVs and a pool table on the bottom floor. I was able to get some reading done on the decks and the loft area. A bonus was that the house (as many here have) had a pool. It was not large, but it worked for us and the kids. Megan, who has never been a beach bum, enjoyed hanging out at the pool (especially since we got her a life vest to wear..she can now swim all over the place). Emma enjoyed both the beach and the pool. She showed no fear of the water and actually enjoyed digging in the sand as much as she liked jumping into the pool. I swear, she thinks she can swim and tried to squirm out of my arms all the time. She wanted no parts of her "baby float" but wants to swim like the big kids.

The beach was awesome. It is actually part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are not a gazillion people around and you don't have to worry about someone stealing your prime spot on the beach. One drawback is that there is also no lifeguard (something I do wish we had, especially with the rip current that seemed to hang around for a few days mid-week). On Wednesday, the water was so clear, it was amazing. You would have though we were in Florida or the Bahamas. I tried to capture it with a few pictures, but I am not sure that it really translates the way it should. The kids all had such a ball trying to catch the fish that you could see swimming in the tide. Amazing!

The company was wonderful. We managed to get invited to join a group of Pat's family that goes on vacation every year. The group includes Pat's Uncle Ralph and Aunt Ann, their two kids, Dee and Dennis along with their families, us and my in laws. The boyfriend of Dennis' oldest daughter and the girlfriend and Dee's oldest son were there as well. It made for 23 people total. I know that sounds like a daunting group, but it really wasn't bad at all. We already knew that we got along well with everyone, we had just never been together for longer than a day with any of them. What helped is that all the kids seem to get along as well. There were a few squabbles, but they were usually between siblings.

All in all, it was a great vacation and we would absolutely do it again, if we are invited back. Pat and I have spent the last week trying to figure out if we can afford to do both a Delaware trip (and include my mom) as well as an Outer Banks one. If we start saving now, we just might be able to do it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, I was right. I managed to put on a few pounds while on vacation. Two to be exact. Thankfully, both Pat and I were both on board for the post vacation buckle-down and we got right back on the wagon. He put on a few more than I did (Six for him, I think), so for once, he has further to go this week than I do.

Since returning on Saturday, I've managed to lose 1.8 of my 2lb gain! Pretty good. It helps that we've got a TON of Zucchini from the garden to eat, and that I've been working this week (which means no mid day snacking)

Back on track!

I know I promised more Vacation stuff, just haven't gotten to it yet. Soon, I promise ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The view from the deck outside my bedroom

As I type this I am gazing out onto a beautiful beach from the deck of the beach house we have rented with family. It is an amazing place and am so sad that it is already Wednesday, which means we will have to head home soon.
No scales here on vacation (which is probably a good thing). However, I did weigh myself on Sat morning before we left. I managed to get back to where I was and then a smidge- for a loss of 1.2 lbs this week. Early Friday morning I figured out why I had gained a pound in a week despite all my efforts (TMI WARNING)- after 2 years, my cycle decided to come back! It was definitely not what I wanted the day before leaving on vacation!

Total lost so far...6.2 lbs. I know it is not a lot, but I feel good and have had my father-in-law, a coworker, and a neighbor all comment that it looks like I've3 lost weight.
I know that I will have gained on this vacation, lets hope I can get back on the program quickly once we return home!

I'll post more about the vacation later.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Win some, lose some

Unfortunately, my good fortune had to come to an end. I put on a pound this week, and I'm not sure why. I slacked off on keeping track of my points, so I will have to get better at that this week. Of course, we are heading to the beach on Sat, so I don't know how successful I'll be there either.

I will tell you that I feel good. I've also had a few people comment that it looks like I'm losing weight. That has been such a confidence boost!

I am determined to walk every day at the beach and hopefully counter-act the vacation yummies!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Good Cop Bad Cop

Why is it I am always the Bad Cop? Pat always gets to come in on his white horse and save the day (at least in the eyes of our girls). This weekend is no different.

For weeks, Pat has had plans to go to Pittsburgh this weekend to participate in a golf tournament put on by one of his high school buddies. He had planned on taking the big girls up with him for some alone time with him as well as an opportunity to see Grandma and Pappy without any cousins around to spoil their time.

As usual, we had to dangle this trip in front of the girls like a carrot in order to keep them on the straight and narrow. It worked for Sarah, but not so much for Megan. She refused to participate in pre-team swim practice (daily swim lessons with assistant coaches from Sarah's swim team). It didn't help that the main coach for her class was a tad bit impatient with the 4, 5 & 6 year-olds in the class. [Seriously, in a terse voice did you really have to threaten her that if she didn't start participating she would have to be removed from the water because she was holding back the whole class? If you had just let her get acclimated a bit by standing on the stairs, she probably would have been fine. Also, if you would have joked around with her instead of being all "coachy", it might have helped.]

All Megan had to do was participate in swim class. I usually don't issue ultimatums that I don't fully plan on following through with. So, when she refused to participate on Wednesday (the 3rd day in a row), I pulled the plug on the trip. As much as I wanted my "free" time, I was willing to sacrifice for the greater good. I knew that Pat was disappointed and that my mother-in-law would be VERY disappointed, but it had to be done....she has gotten out of control.

Wednesday, Pat informed me that my mother-in-law had already purchased tickets to the zoo and that their Aunt had gone out of her way to secure pool passes for them as well. He really wanted Megan to go so that this was not a waste. He got to play good cop. I think that he gave her a stern lecture Thursday morning and told her that she needed to apologize to me and that if she did, she would be able to go on the trip.

As I said goodbye to them later that afternoon, I reminded Megan that she had been given a gift. If I found out that she had behaved horribly on the trip she would be in trouble upon her return.

I'm sure she doesn't believe it though..not with Daddy always coming to her rescue.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Dog

Emma has really started to pick up words, thank goodness! If you can't understand her, tonight she had a hot dog and mixed vegetables. Evidently it was all "nom nommy" and she hasn't figured out hello from bye-bye just yet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


It is always hard to maintain healthy eating habits when you are celebrating a holiday with friends and family. This fourth of July was no different.

On the actual fourth, I think I did pretty well. Went to my parents house and headed over to their pool for the afternoon. We were joined by Grandma as well as Aunt Jan and Uncle Charles. The girls had fun swimming with Grandma and Aunt Jan and watching Uncle Charles go down the water slide! Afterwards we headed back to Grandma and Pappy's house for dinner. It was a lovely evening that ended with yummy cupcakes courtesy of Aunt Jan. We headed out to the fireworks and then home. All girls were in bed and asleep by 10:30.

Sunday, was another story. Some of Pat's coworkers wanted to have a crab feast but had no where to do it (they live in condos with no yard or balconies big enough). We happily offered our deck as a suitable location. It was so nice to have other people bring the party! All we had to do was provide a grill, some ice and a pasta salad! The rest came to us! There was lots of crabs (and some other food too, but I only cared about the crabs), and they were delicious. There was also lots of libations. I have to admit, I imbibed just a wee bit too much.

Monday morning I was extremely disappointed when I got on the scale. I had to make the next two day's really work for me if my Wednesday Weigh in was going to be decent.

No quite sure how I did it, but this morning the scale actually showed a loss of 1 lb from last week! I'll take it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

things are moving

Coming off my 3.6 lb loss last week, I was pretty motivated to make things work. With the kids in camp this week, working, and trying to get to swim practices, I haven't been able to get to the gym as often as I wanted to. So this morning, I was pleased to see that had lost another 1.4 lbs for a total of 5lbs!

I'll be home with the kids for a few weeks beginning on Friday, so hopefully I'll be able to get some walks in and hit the gym to get things moving a little faster! Clearly, I can't do this by diet or exercise alone, I MUST do both.

Hoping to lose another 5 lbs before we hit the beach in 2.5 weeks. If I stick to my guns, I should be able to!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today is the funeral for my Great Aunt Christine Sheetz. She was 97 years old. The women in my family tend to live a long time, so it is not surprising. What may be, to some, is that her husband Bill is still going strong at 103! Last year, the couple celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary, and her death came just one week before they would have celebrated 81 years of wedded bliss. They still lived in their own home and were amazingly still very independent. If I remember correctly, Uncle Bill may have still been driving.

Last year they profiled in Pennsylvania Families magazine last year and there was even talk of a visit to the Tonight Show, but Uncle Bill declined.

Their story is one that makes you truly honor the institution of marriage. I know that it is physically impossible for me to be married 80 years (I would be 107 years old), but I hope that my marriage can at least be as happy and fulfilling as theirs was.

As touching as their story is, my lovely husband remarks, "Man you're never going to die are you."

Friday, June 26, 2009


I swear Megan is a sponge, soaking up everything she sees and hears.

The big girls and I were driving in the car the other day when Megan chimes up from the back seat with this little gem:

Megan: Mom, did you know that sometimes goodbye is a second chance?
Me: What?
Megan: Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.
Me. A second chance? Oh, well yeah I guess so. Where did you get that from?
Sarah: No Mom, she means from the song?
Me: The song?...Oh, right. Yes, the song. Yes, sometimes goodbye can be a second chance.

I then went on about what that really meant. I don't think either of them cared though. Megan kinda got it, which made me proud.

We don't listed to a ton of radio, so I am not sure when she heard the song and I now have to start paying attention to lyrics so she doesn't pick up something completely inappropriate. Who knew she actually listened!?

I hope that this means school will be easy for her, academically at least.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Thanks to the Sisterhood and my new prize, this lovely notebook. I actually started useing it right away to keep notes on my food intake.

Clearly it is working because I am down 3.6 lbs!! Didn't get a chance to work out as much this past week due to end of year activities, but still managed to keep active enough. What is even better is that for the first time in our relationhsip, I was able to actually lose weight on a visit to my in-laws this past weekend. There is always tons of good food and snacks to munch on, but I managed to stick to my diet. We also attended a really fun graduation party for Pat's cousin's oldest. It was a blast, but I avoided the adult beverages (just one glass of wine) and limited my food to just a taste of things!

I am so happy that I finally saw the scale move in the right direction. Just hoping I can keep this up!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I wish I had one of those

For the last two weeks, Pat was taking a class that required him to leave much earlier than normal. Thus, creating a dilemma in getting the kids to school. I have little leave as it is, and I would need to take 2 hours every morning in order to get all of them to school/daycare. Thankfully, my in-laws offered to help for a week. They came down and took the big girls to school and daycare in the morning and even watched the baby during the day.

I know a lot of people who would be inconvenienced by having their in-laws with them for that long. And I am fully aware of all the in-law jokes out there. Now my mother-in-law is certainly not perfect, but it is so nice having her there. She is a woman who likes to keep busy and found all sorts of things to do while she was here. I can't tell you how nice it is to come home to clean laundry and vacuumed carpets. My kitchen island never accumulated crap while she was there either. I would never have asked her to run a load of laundry or clean, lord no! But she did it anyways, and I am so grateful.

One afternoon while she was here I was picking up the girls from aftercare and we were talking about how great it was that Grandma was there to help with all these things. As we were talking, another mother walked past us and commented, "I wish I had one of those." We both chuckled and smiled.

I never thought I'd ever say it, but my mother-in-law can come and visit any time she wants to!!

Monday, June 22, 2009


School has been over for almost a week now and I am just getting to post about it. I really wish I could find more time in the day (without kids).

After a horrible year in first grade last year, Sarah couldn't run out of the building fast enough. She had absolutely no desire to say goodbye to her teacher, let alone give her a hug. I'll have to admit, I agreed with her. Mrs. F turned her love of school into pure torture after just two week. We spent the year in a constant state of frustration and tears. She hated going to school, she didn't understand homework, and there was little communication from the teacher. There was a bully in her class that gave Sarah such grief and Mrs. F had extremely poor classroom management skills.

However, being a counselor within the same school district, I didn't want to become that parent; the one who was always complaining and trying to blame their child's issues on others. So I worked with Sarah at home on how to deal with the teacher and the bully. She also worked with her counselor at school to develop some coping strategies as well. She managed to survive the year, and even had perfect attendance. But I knew something needed to change.

I wrote to the principal of the school at the end of last year detailing my concerns and hopes that Sarah would have a better year in 3rd grade. Thankfully, Sarah was placed with the only teacher she wanted.

This year was such a better year for her. We still have some of her own behaviors to deal with, but all in all, she had a very successful year. We had very little frustration and tears, in sharp contrast to last year. Once, again, I wrote a letter to the principal. However, this year, the letter was in praise of Mr. L and his way of bringing Sarah back to loving school. In fact, she didn't want the year to end. She was in tears over the whole thing for hours. Even at bedtime, she got weepy just thinking about the fact that she wouldn't be able to see Mr. L until school returned in the fall.

I couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Zero Game

I love the book The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer (a thriller involving a game played by Capitol Hill staffers that leads to murder and intrigue), however that is not what this post is about.

After weeks of working out regularly and watching my diet, the scale has moved no where. My husband and co-workers are stunned, and I am frustrated beyond belief. Clearly, something is not working right. I must now spend the time (of which I have little) writing down everything I eat, because I must be eating more than I think I am. eEther that, or I am destined to be fluffy!

My Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans Team Pink will probably revolt and kick me off the team after yet another week of contributing nothing to our percentage of weight lost.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I just don't get it

Yesterday afternoon I was checking my twitter account and saw the breaking news that there had been a shooting at the Holocaust Museum. Naturally, I was shocked and saddened by the report. At the time, I was too busy to go and check the news sites to read more about it.

Later, while at the gym, I was watching the monitor above my elliptical machine and was captivated by the reports.

I just don't get it.

I don't understand how people can feel so much hatred for a group of people solely based on their religious, ethnic, or racial background. So much hatred, that they feel the need to take radial action against that group.

I can understand situations where you would feel hatred toward an individual that has grievously harmed you personally, but the whole I hate you because you are [fill in the blank ethnic group] makes absolutely no sense to me.

I just don't get it.

I was crushed when the reports came out that the security guard died of his wounds. I'm sure the woman on the elliptical next to me was a bit perplexed when I let out an audible groan. Stephen T. Jones did what he could to protect the staff and visitors to the museum and died heroically trying to prevent further destruction. I am sure that James Wennecker von Brunn will be pleased to learn that he has killed an African American as well as impacted an amazing and moving museum dedicated to honoring the victims of the holocaust. What is more disgusting to me is that there are throngs of individuals who will now laud this man and his ideology; he will no doubt be placed on a pedestal by other hate groups.

I just don't get it.

After Dr. Tiller's death earlier this month, and now this, I am more and more confused by those out there that feel the need to push their beliefs onto others. I just had a conversation with my oldest the other day about this (the concept, not the specifics). We talked about how this country was founded by people who wanted the freedom to believe in their own ideas and religions. This is what makes this country great. I am so glad I live in a country where I can vote for who I want, believe in what I want and live free, yet RESPECT others for having their own, and even different beliefs. I don't understand intolerance and hatred. Most importantly, I hope that I have instilled this in my own children.

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why is this so hard?

I absolutely hate my husband.

Well, not really.

Last week I decided that I had to do something and I joined the gym near our house. I have gone to the gym almost every day since. I have been watching what I eat and doing pretty good, so I thought. I have lost a total of NOTHING!

My husband, who I love dearly, has decided to start exercising as well. In a week he has lost like 7 lbs.


Seriously, there is something wrong with this picture. I lose ounces and he loses serious weight.

It is a good thing that he loves me unconditionally, because at the rate I'm going, I'll never be his trophy wife!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Ok, I feel like I've been losing that same damn 2-3 lbs over the past few months. I've absolutely had it. I decided that trying to exercise and do this myself is not going to work. I CANNOT workout while my kids are home. Little Emma does not allow me the luxury of a few minutes of peace, let alone a few miles on the treadmill.

I broke down and joined the gym up the street. Thankfully, I get a discount for being a teacher. My plan is that I actually leave work on time (a novel thought, I know) and spend at least 45 minutes at the gym before I pick up the girls.

So far, so good. I've been able to go to the gym for the past 4 days in a row. I think one of those days I was only able to do 30 minutes, but I went!

I am hoping that I won't jinx myself by posting about this here, but I'll do it anyways. Now that school is ending for the year, I will hopefully have more time to dedicate to my commitment to myself. Thankfully, Pat is on this journey with me!

Where does she get this stuff

Overheard on the playground....

Little boy: I love Indiana Jones

Megan: Whatever (in the snottiest tone you can imagine)

Pat: Megan, you shouldn't talk to people that way.

Megan: What? I wasn't talking about him [the little boy]. I'm just not that big a fan of Indiana Jones

Saturday, May 9, 2009

if only

If only I had more time in the day, the week, the month.

I must utter this at least once or twice a day. It has been a while since I posted (but really does anyone but my family even read this?). I have been so busy at work and with spring sports, I just haven't had time to post, catch up on twitter, facebook or even read the blogs I normally do. I feel as if I am running on empty at times. I CANNOT wait until June when work slows and summer takes over. Of course I still have camp and swim team schedules as well as work to deal with, but it is way more relaxed.

Today was a busy one. Pat had to work this morning so I had to handle all 3 girls by myself. Normally not a big deal, but we had 9:00 Tball for Megan, 10:30 soccer for Sarah. Then we had to prepare for a 3pm princess party for Megan at the house. We managed to get it all done and in good spirits, it was miraculous. Megan's Tball coach calls her a "Hitting Machine" and that has gotten her much more interested in the game. Sarah scored 7 goals (I actually only witnessed 5, so I am not 100% sure she has the number corrects) and is floating on a cloud!

The Party of 6 girls (ages 4 and 5) went quite well. We decorated goody bags, home made magic wands, and princess tiaras. We played on the swing set, played pin the tail on the unicorn, and had an awesome scavenger hunt for the princess castle pinata. The girls had so much fun and Sarah was such an awesome helper, I couldn't get over it.

I tucked the girls into bed tonight and felt so good about the day. So often I put them to bed and vow to myself to work hard to be a better mom tomorrow. I hate it when I feel like I've lost my patience with them and that I've yelled at them more than not. Tonight was NOT one of those nights. I kissed their sleeping heads and felt so great about how the day went. I'm not sure what worked today, but I hope I can replicate it over and over again.

Today was one of those days that makes me feel so happy to be their mom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday

It is hard to believe that my youngest and last child is turning one today. It is a bittersweet feeling to be saying goodbye to infancy and hello to toddler hood.

With every child, time seems to pass even more quickly. I look at my girls and wonder how I lost them to "big-girlness". Wasn't it just a few years ago that Sarah was born...can she really be 8? Megan has morphed into a surly pre-schooler who has outgrown pre-school quickly. Little Emma, who was born the size of the other two at 2 months, is walking and finding her Independence.

Despite all the stresses of a newborn, it is one of the stages I love the most. I love being the provider of sustenance and comfort that only I can give her. The utter helplessness surrendered to total love and care.

We have partially weaned and I long for, yet dread, the end of breastfeeding. It is an amazing bond that is indescribable.

What an amazing year this has been. There were times when I thought I would lose my mind, yet I wouldn't change a thing. My dear sweet Emma, I love you more than words can say (however I will say that I love you more when you sleep through the night). Your sisters, even Megan, have embraced you and love you more and more each day. You have made our family complete and I love you, little love bug.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Long lasting Aluminum

10 years ago today, I married my best friend.

Barf...I know it's terribly cliche, but in this case it is absolutely true.

The past 10 years of my life have been wonderful. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without Pat by my side. Believe me, he has his flaws just like everyone, but he has kept me laughing for the last 10 years and the 4.5 years of dating prior to that.

He is my confidant, my rock, my best friend, and my pain in the ass.

Over lunch today my coworkers and I were discussing marriage. One of my friends mentioned that they had heard that the 7th year of a marriage was the hardest. Another one agreed, but then her marriage ended in divorce. I thought and thought then stated that I couldn't recall a really bad year.

We have had our ups and downs, but I can't really remember any horrible fights or stressful times in our marriage. Other things in life may have been difficult, but they brought us together instead of tearing us apart.

The time has passed quickly, yet I feel like he and I have always been together. I can't imagine my life without him and I am glad we found each other.

By the way, evidently the traditional gift for a 10th anniversary is ALUMINUM! Nothing screams I love you more that a roll of tin foil or a can of soda!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I hate Jillian

Today is day 10 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. It is also Weigh in Wednesday. While I don't really hate Jillian, I do really hate today's weigh in. I don't quite understand what has happened. I have done the shred every day since day 1, I have been watching what I eat. I feel like I took it easy on Easter and did not overindulge. I have had unusual self-restraint when it comes to all the chocolate Easter candy that is in my house. yet, the scale this morning reported a .8lb weigh GAIN. WTF?!?! How the hell did that happen!? I was so depressed that for a brief moment this morning I contemplated giving up, I should just accept the fact that I will be "fluffy" for the rest of my life and deal with it.

By the time I got to work, I realized that my body is dealing with a lot of change (you know the not pumping and reducing breastfeeding to 1 or 2x a day) that I just need to be patient. I do feel as though I am seeing improvement in areas, just not on the scale. I have come to hate phase 1 of the workout though. the first few days I felt energized afterward and loved how sore I felt in the morning (that means it's working, right?). But by day 5, my knees starting hurting. the jumping jacks kill my knees! I am pretty sure the aerobic part of the jumping jacks is no problem, it's the pain that makes me want to stop.

I will forge ahead and keep doing phase 1 for a few more days and then bump up to phase 2. If I can managed to find a few more minutes to exercise, I'll hop on the treadmill too (I did that on Monday and it felt really good). I will also begin really tracking my food intake.

Here's hoping for a better week to come!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

The Easter Bunny made his appearance, as usual, bright and early this morning. I heard Zoe barking like mad trying to keep him from invading her space. He must have been running late because the dawn had already broken and as I glanced at the clock it already was pushing 6AM.

I tried to shower before anyone else woke up, but that did not go according to plan. The big girls knocked on the bathroom door as I was getting in the shower. I told them they had to wait and that they could crawl into bed with Pat (who had just gotten home from work about an hour before). Before I was done with my shower, Sarah was asking to get Emma who was up and crying in her crib.

We all went down to see what the Easter Bunny left for the girls. They had to find their baskets which were hidden all around, as well as the 15 eggs we dyed yesterday. They had a good time and we discovered that Emma loves marshmallow peeps!

Off to church and the second egg hunt of the day. Pat stayed home to sleep and we went to get more sugar! Emma decided to show off her lungs during church and was extremely loud. Then home to eat lunch and put the baby down for a nap.

I was able to work in a session of the 30 Day Shred (thankfully, I've been able to resist much of the candy laying around the house) and we leave in a bit to go to Grandma and Pappy's for dinner with Aunt Jan and Uncle Charles and Easter Hunt number 3!

Here are a few shots of the day:

At the house before church

After the Egg Hunt at Church

Emma is helping open the eggs

The girls with their loot from Easter Egg hunt #2


Egg Update

Here are a few pics of the dyeing process from yesterday afternoon.

By the way...The eggs peeled perfectly and were delicious! Must remember to boil them this way all the time!

Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Boil an Egg

This is a touchy subject in my in-law's home. Many a family reunion has been "ruined" by deviled eggs that even the devil couldn't peel. My father-in-law has many theories on the best way to boil an egg. I can't remember exactly what they are, but you are either supposed to use old eggs, or new eggs; peel them right away, or let them sit. I can't remember. One year he even conducted an experiment. He used both new and old eggs. I honestly don't think it mattered, both of the eggs ended up looking pitted and less than desirable.

Since it is that time of year again, I thought I would conduct my own experiment. Now, I didn't get all scientific and have a control group or anything, but I did try a new method found here. Here are a few photos of the process:

This goes against everything my mother's "boil an egg" recipe states, so I am reluctant. Who knew I needed salt and a pin?

Poking a hole in the wide end is supposed to help air escape during the boiling process so that you don't have that lovely air pocket at one end. Now, this will probably mean that my eggs are guaranteed to be pink and purple when I peel them after dying, but it's only food coloring, right?

This recipe calls for you to actually place the eggs into boiling water and then simmer them for a particular time based on their size. These are extra-large eggs, so they simmer for 13 minutes.

Covering them with cold water after boiling...that I knew!!

These eggs will be dyed either tonight or tomorrow morning. I'm sure I'll capture that as well. However, I won't be able to post about the effectiveness of this boiling method until Easter morning.