Thursday, June 30, 2011

My niece is here this week. You might think that this would only add to the chaos, but Emma is an awesome girl. Of course - she's not mine, and so most likely is on her best behavior - but she is very mature for her age, helpful, prompt, and a pleasure to have around this week. This winter over New Years' I taught her to crochet, and this week she's learning to cross stitch. I'm wondering though, if girls of 9 or 10 ever finish a project they start? Evie now has begun 4 cross stitch projects and finished none, and Emma is making the longest scarf I've ever seen. Apparently she'd started one before but felt it was too short. Evie just keeps making chains & turning them into bookmarks, because she doesn't seem to be interested in learning the next step :) I'm really enjoying getting to know Emma better, as when we all get together for the holidays or a beach vacation, you don't get that one on one time with any of the kids, they're always together, giggling about something or whispering about something else. The girls, that is, I don't think I've ever seen my nephew giggle. Anywho.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for Sarah's friend at the lake at Cacapon State Park in WV. It's BEAUTIFUL there, and we had a perfect - albeit a little breezy - cloud-free day. Jason would have preferred to stay home with William (tummy ache) and play Lego Batman all day, but I dragged him along anyway...
Jason and the biggest sand shovel ever. Maybe.

Jonathan and Sarah playing with the most popular toys at the lake, our shark and crocodile.

Emma and Evie taking a pause from looking for fish

The crocodile has been around since Evie had to have it from the 5&10 store at the beach when she was 3. Croccy has been a hit ever since with any kid who can get there hands on it. Best $1.69 I ever spent.

Emma, Evie, and Katie

Wish I knew what they were talking about :)
This is the first summer I haven't had a napping child in the house, and it's a doozy of an adjustment. That hour or more of quiet time really does a lot to get you through the rest of the day. We're not tied to the house anymore, but the end of the day comes - later and later, as Evie gets bigger, and especially this week with Emma here - and I'm wiped out and ready for bed myself. And Matt and I have a feeling this is just a preview of what's coming down the road. It's a bit rocky right now, as the little two still need so much assistance throughout the day, and it seems most of the time William is unable to do what he's supposed to do without one of us standing on top of him, and Jason is becoming more and more stubborn, trying to exert his own will. Thankfully Evie is mostly cooperative and self-sufficient - if only she'd stop shedding bits of stuff in every room she passes through. There isn't a basket big enough to collect all the things she needs to put away...
And finally - last night William asked if I could teach him to cross stitch. Evie and Emma had found pictures online they wanted to make and I used this website to convert them into patterns. William's very intrigued by the symbols and colors on the chart, and would like to make - what else? - a lamb. Matt couldn't be more thrilled ;) I'll let you know how that goes....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Backyard Movie Night And Other Summer Fun

We had company this weekend, my sister brought her kids (minus one) and my mom down to visit Friday & they stayed through mid-Sunday. We had a beautiful weekend here & had lots of fun in the backyard with bubbles, swinging, a fire in the pit, and movie night under the stars...
We've been doing movie night outside for about a month now, and I sit there every time with the biggest smile on my face because it's so cool - we hang a screen (well - 2 shower curtains stitched together) from the deck canopy & sit out in the yard under the stars & watch a movie on an 11 foot screen. It's like the drive-in, but better! Saturday's feature was Alice in Wonderland.
It was chillier this weekend than it has been recently, so we were happy to have a fire to warm up around.
My sister Becky with Matt, keeping warm and bug free while watching the movie
We killed some time leading up to the 9pm movie (not dark enough until then right now) having some outdoor fun  - Sarah was thrilled to catch some fireflies all by herself, and had fun naming them girly names :) ....
William trying to set bubbles on fire.

Sarah pretending to be Tweety Bird
In an effort to give our kids something new to do outside, Matt had purchased a slack line . Supposedly you can eventually walk across it & even do tricks, but none of us are having much luck so far - the trees are pretty far apart, which makes it more difficult.

Jason and John in one of the moments they weren't fighting over something
Matt doing his favorite thing, entertaining people and making drinks!
Connie this is for you :)
I went a little crazy buying lanterns for the fire pit this spring, but I love them :)

Evie and my mom

We really had a fabulous weekend & I'm so glad they were able to come down. My niece Emma is staying with us for the week & I'm driving her home next weekend, so we'll be busy here having more fun I hope. I know Evie's going to love having her here :)
Matt picked up some Loony Tunes DVDs at Costco recently, and this weekend after we took down the baby swing & put up a bar in its place, I found Sarah pretending to be Tweety Bird. If you can, turn up the volume to hear her singing - she's my singer (especially in the bathroom when she doesn't think anyone can hear) and I'm amazed that she remembers the whole song. Silly girl :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Better Living Through Chemistry? Maybe.

I'm not sure where to start with this one, other than to say I try to be honest here - or as honest as one can really be in a public forum where you don't use a pseudonym  - believe me, there are plenty of things I think in my head that I don't share with ANYONE (but we all do that, right?)  - so I'm just going to say that life can be overwhelming. I'm sure we would all agree on that. But when you feel like you want to jump out of your skin with rage at times, and the littlest thing can set you off, it may be time to seek out some help.

Earlier this year I started thinking maybe I have PMDD, as my emotions and moods seemed somewhat associated with the monthly hormone cycle - but honestly, more and more often, I'd be crying over ridiculous things at any given time. I wasn't happy, Matt wasn't happy, and my kids were getting a mommy who yelled a lot. If Mommy isn't happy, nobody's happy.

Exercise helped some, but with the little two not napping anymore, it was hard to fit that in, and it seems like this year, with 3 kids in 3 different schools, someone was sick all the time, and I caught all of it. FUN!

In early March I called to make an appointment for a physical, with the express purpose of asking for a prescription for Zoloft. I'd taken it back in college when my parents got divorced, and found it to be pretty helpful. The earliest they could schedule me was late April, and in the meantime life went on. We went away for spring break, and as vacations will do, we got away from our daily life & stress & I was feeling really great! We were driving home & I remember thinking about my upcoming appointment & saying to Matt, maybe I don't need anything after all! Well - we weren't home 40 minutes before I was looking around at everything, almost hyperventilating and near tears. Apparently my type A personality doesn't handle being a harried mom of four very well. So off to the doctor I went.

Now let me say this: I am not depressed. At all. The box I checked on the medical history form was 'anxiety', because I think that's really the best descriptor of what's going on. I felt overwhelmed, and would wander around doing what absolutely had to be done, but not much else was getting accomplished, and I felt really disconnected and somewhat resentful of my kids. Those 10 lbs I kept talking about trying to lose? An impossible task, as I was stuffing my face with chocolate when the stress got to be too much, and I was drinking an increasing amount of wine at night. I told the doctor I was headed down the path of becoming a fat alcoholic :) She suggested we start with Zoloft because I'd had it before, and as it can take up to 6 weeks to kick in fully, I had a follow-up appointment 2 weeks ago.

How are things now? I haven't burst into tears over the state of my house since I started taking it. I feel a lot calmer, and more tolerant of my exuberant kids and their nonsense :) My fuse is DEFINITELY longer than it was, and I'm not yelling as much. Honestly? I watch Matt losing his temper with the kids - Matt, the man with the longest fuse I know - and I'll wonder to myself 'why are you yelling at them?' I'm not gorging on chocolate and carbs in the afternoons, and my wine can wait until 8pm instead of when I'm cooking dinner. I've lost 4 lbs, and aside from catching every cold the kids have (which has nothing to do with the topic at hand) am feeling really good. I'm not saying antidepressants are for everyone and the answer to everything, but if you feel constantly out of control, like I did, maybe they can help. It's worth a shot.
We're in full-on summer mode this week, swim team practice started Tuesday, and Evie had evening Girls Scout Camp while William & the little two went to Vacation Bible School (which they LOVED! I'm really excited for Jason to go to preschool in September, I think he's going to love it!) Now do you think Matt and I relaxed for the brief time all four of them were out of the house this week? Um, no. What better time to catch up on things around the house with no interruption? Although Matt went out to meet a friend tonight so I did all the taxi-cabbing myself, and I actually did just SIT for the hour I had the house to myself. Bliss!
This week Matt read an article about a fireworks competition in Montreal every summer, and we've decided we MUST GO! I've put a note on the calendar to remind us about it for next year, as we're ready to start traveling & seeing more of what the world has to offer, now that the little kids are more enjoyable out and about. Toting strollers and baby gear to museums and amusement parks has never been high on my list of fun things to do, and I'm glad to say those days are pretty much over. Look out world, here we come!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ready, Set, Summer!

It's 7am and Evie's been up since 6. She's dressed in her swimsuit AND cap, ready for swim team practice. For the next 35 weekdays, she and William will be at the pool burning off some kid energy right off the bat. I love swim team :) William took several private lessons prior to trying out, and this year they accepted him on the team. I'm convinced that nothing teaches kids to swim better than this, and at $80 for the summer, it's a bargain. (And since I'm a really, really, really awful swimmer, I'm so glad they're learning to do it well. Maybe I should take some lessons!)
William has decided he wants to play baseball this fall instead of soccer, because he thinks Wii Baseball is super fun. I've tried explaining to him that Wii Baseball is not the same as spending two hours at a game two or three times a week, waiting either for your turn to bat or for the ball to come your way so you can catch it, but he's not having any of it. So we've bought him a bat, and yesterday Matt took Evie and William to the batting cages (because now she wants to ditch soccer and play SOFTBALL!) I think he was impressed with how they did, but after swinging at over 100 balls, the blister on William's thumb brought on the waterworks. Do all young boys cry at the drop of a hat? I see a batting glove in our future, and many hours spent at the ball park waiting come this fall. (Have I told you that I played softball one summer in 7th grade? Right field, never caught a ball, stomach cramps every time it was my turn at bat. LOATHED it. But that's my issue, not theirs.)
William has also finally complained enough about practicing the piano that I've given up arguing with him over it. (William means 'strong-willed warrior' - not sure about the warrior part, but strong-willed is once again us hitting the nail on the head name-wise.) So both my kids have quit piano, but William's the one that bugs me, because he really has a lot of talent, however there is no sense wasting money & time if he's not going to practice. I've taken over his slot, and for the first time in 20 years am taking piano lessons! I've been wanting to do this forever, and am enjoying having a reason to sit down and practice. Maybe someone will get inspired & want to try again :)
Yesterday while Matt & company were at the batting cages, I took Sarah and Jason to play mini golf right next door. It was a perfect, overcast & not too hot day for mini golf, and they both had so much fun :) And yes, William complained loudly that he didn't get to play mini golf, never mind that we were there just so he could practice batting. Sometimes there is no pleasing people :)

A belated Happy Father's Day to the fathers in my life, my wonderful husband Matt, who is the best man I know & I'm so grateful to have in my life to call my own (why he chose me, I have no idea, but I won the husband jackpot & I know it!) and my dad Howard, who taught me right from wrong & is one of the most caring people I know. I love you both and hope you had a great day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sheepish; Killer Dinosaurs Who Like Cheese.

This is William (circa 2008, aged 5). William likes money, video games, and math. (William likes math A LOT). He also likes sheep.
 My sister gave me a Gund "Comfy Cozy Lamb" as a baby gift before he was born. It sat on the rail of his crib until he was big enough to pull it off, and from thereafter was almost always with him. We called it Buddy.
William and Buddy, Fall 2003
William and Buddy, Fall 2004
William with Mom and Buddy, Fall 2005, during one of many ear infections

William with Buddy, finally passing out after tearing his room apart at nap time, Fall 2006             

For his birthday one year early on, I found this book & picked it up on a whim for him - he LOVED it. I'd find him sitting and looking at it, and for a while it was a staple at story time.
The story of Timothy the lamb, and Annabeth
Fast forward to today, and William still has Buddy, as well as a Webkinz lamb and sheep. He also steals Jason's Lil'Kinz lamb when he can, but Jason isn't too crazy about that. This spring, while making room in my closet for Matt's stuff, I tried to give William the lamb my parents gave to me on my 8th birthday - he asked me to save it for him until his 8th birthday this summer. Sometimes he really surprises me :) He was also very disappointed on his 1st grade field trip to the zoo to discover that they didn't have any sheep. Go figure.
I've been keeping an eye out for sheep prints, and so far have hung two fabulous ones up over his bunk bed. Laura was kind enough to send me a copy of the fabulous bandana-wearing sheep she'd taken a picture of....

...and the other one I'd found in a post at Jones Design Company. Emily's parents (I think) had taken this picture in Italy, and she had a print hanging in her office. She was kind enough to let me buy a copy for William, which he LOVES!

As with anything kid-related, who knows how long his love-affair with sheep will last? But of all the things a boy could be fond of, I think sheep are sweet :)
Wednesday morning I discovered Evie laying in bed watching a video she and William had recorded on her iPod while I was in Austin last month.Apparently they were doing 'Sheep Chat', and this was one episode. She kills me. Girl may just have a career in film ahead of her :) Or maybe not.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some trivial stuff, and Glee, Live!

My kids are heading into the home stretch of the school year here, and are VERY excited to be finished on Wednesday! I'm pretty excited too - soccer is over, Sarah's finished preschool, and when Evie and William are done, the daily influx of school papers will STOP for a while. Maybe I can get caught up a bit then :)

A few things we did in the past few days:

I finally made homemade lemonade with William. He's been asking me to buy lemons to do this for weeks, and I actually did buy them a little bit ago, but we didn't get around to doing it until today. Matt was going to take them to the pool but a thunderstorm rolled in just as they were getting ready so we had chips & salsa, lemonade for the kids, and drinks for Mom and Dad!

William and Evie helped me squeeze six lemons, and then he mixed it with 2 quarts of water and 1 cup of sugar - poured over ice, it was one of the best things I've tasted in a long time! Fresh stuff really does taste better, if you have 20 minutes to kill squeezing lemons :)
Matt discovered a new iphone app, called Half Tone. He had some fun making cartoons of me and the kids. I haven't played around with it yet, but just IMAGINE the possibilities!!
And Thursday night last week my Gleek friends and I went into DC to see Glee Live at the Verizon Center! Now I have to say, a night out with these girls would have been fun no matter what we did, but we really had a great time at the show. Aside from the sauna that is the Orange Line metro on a 102 degree day, everything went according to plan - we got into the city around 5:30, and headed to Rosa Mexicano for dinner and drinks before the show at 7:30. Given that we'd called to make reservations the day before & were told they didn't have any, we weren't sure we'd get a seat, but happily the back bar had space for us to settle in to chat, dine and wait.
Kerri, Me, and Michelle
First I will say - if you live ANYWHERE NEAR one of these restaurants, you must go. And if you don't, try to find a reason to visit a city that has one! Oh my heck - Sangria by the pitcher, fresh-made guacamole (they make it right in front of you if you're lucky enough to sit in the dining room), and yummy yummy margaritas. I'd go back to DC just to eat there, as my salad and Crab Empanadas were amazing. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it :)

Your friendly bartender
A bit after 7, we headed over to get our seats, and proceeded to wait. And wait. and wait. 7:30 came and went, and then the lead-in act came out, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Maybe I'm too old to appreciate them, but I didn't really get it. I think I'd rather have stayed at the bar and had one more margarita. Moving on!
Michelle, Kerri, and Susan
Finally, at 8:30, the show started! Everyone was in character throughout the show, and Sue Sylvester and Will Schuster made appearances via video, but the entire Glee club was there, as well as the Warblers :) I wish I'd tried taking flash pictures earlier in the show, as some of them were turning out decent, but of course it was sucking the life out of my battery which wasn't all the way charged. Hence I do not have a picture of Puckerman with his guitar singing Fat Bottomed Girls RIGHT IN FRONT OF US on the small stage :( But here's what I did get, in no particular order:

The show was really, really great and Britney (Heather Morrison) danced her tail off the entire night. Everyone else seemed to come and go, but she seemed to be on stage most of the night (it's no wonder she's in such fantastic shape!) After the encore, we headed out and decided to have a drink and let the crowds ease up on the metro before we headed back.
We are very very lucky we left when we did, because when we pulled into our station, they shut the lights out and said the trains were no longer in service. I really would not have wanted to call Matt to drive an hour to come get us at Midnight :)

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