Monday, October 31, 2011 take the kids Trick-or-treating

...nope; Will is not dressed up as a patient.

I know last week I said I was a grinch about Halloween. And that the costuming and pumpkins were annoying....

But I would certainly rather be preparing for a frigid evening walk with my four kids than sitting here waiting with Will for a CT scan.

I brought Will in for fluids today because he still hasn't stopped vomiting. However, he is running a low grade fever again and they are concerned it is appendicitis again and not just simply a stomach bug.

He is certainly more comfortable now than he was an hour ago. They have finally stopped the vomiting and have been giving him fluids...

As far as he is concerned we can go home now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Hospital Dr,Carthage,United States

Sunday, October 30, 2011 recover from our latest trip

...but not in the way that we are.  Not from a stomach bug running through our friends AND us.

To begin..

The trip was worth it.  Even if we had only stayed for five minutes.  Abbey and Audrey started squealing with excitement the moment we rounded the bend toward our old home at West Point.  So familiar and so exciting!  They love..loved seeing all of the Glen kids as they came to the door to meet us.  All of my kids were just beaming at arrival.

It was heart-melting to see the four of them so happy to be in such a familiar place.

We had an a fantastic time at West Point catching up with a few friends.  The weather wasn't cooperative enough to hang out at the Beth and Chris' tailgate or even take the little girls to the football game.

However, Andy was kind enough to take Will with him and Gabriel.  They bundled up in snow suits and gear and lasted until half-time!  Crazy...

I stole this photo from my friend Lisa on Facebook.  :)

It was very relaxing for me to sit and talk with friends throughout the day.  Drinking coffee.   Catching up while watching the snow come down.  It was an impressive sight to watch.  So lovely especially since it was so cozy and warm inside.

There certainly was not enough time to see everyone I would have liked.

The highlight of my weekend was finally getting to meet the newest love in my life...

Isn't he absolutely perfect!
I am smitten.  I wish he wasn't so far away and I could spend more time with him!  And big-brother Paddy is getting so grown up.  It was adorable watching him with Abbey and Audrey again.

The kids all had so much fun seeing their friends.  The little girls were champs being dragged all over Post yesterday visiting.  It was such a refreshing day for all of us.  We needed that little pick-me-up for sure.

I wish the weekend had ended on a happier note.  I have endured more than my share of road trips but I will say without reserve the trip home this afternoon was the worst one I have ever endured or put my children through.

Both Will and Audrey came down with a stomach bug on the way home.  I am not exaggerating when I say that they threw up 40 times or more.  

I have never felt so unsure about what to do in a situation.  I wanted to stop and get a hotel room.  I called Meghan crying...not knowing what to do. Stop?  Continue?  Another 3 hours!  Oh my.

I pressed on.  

Will and Audrey did the best that they could.  They were such troopers.  I can't imagine a worse place to be than the car when you feel as awful as they must have.  

I am quite certain that I never expected seeing Fort Drum's gate would be such a welcome site.

Now the laundry is running.  

The kids are all sleeping.  

And I'm going to say a few prayers to St. Timothy (I looked him up...he is the Patrol Saint of Stomach Ailments) that he help my kids (and the Glen kids) recover and that we didn't spread this around to all of the other people we spent time with!

And just in case...I am going to get some rest now.

Friday, October 28, 2011 learn a lesson

...the hard way.

Have you ever been scared?  Like so scared you freeze for a moment as your brain tries to figure out how to tell your body how to react.  For a split think everything is OK.  Then you realize something is very wrong.

Then as a transform into a bear; into survival model.

I was sitting by the fire finishing up some work...later than my new normal (about 11:30).  And my back door opened.  Then closed.  Quietly.

Someone was in my home.

I thought it was Amy.  Wanted to believe it was Amy.  But Amy would have knocked.

A stranger.

By god's grace...she walked right out into the next door she saw.  Into my garage.

And there she was stuck.  Locked in my garage.  Very drunk.  Probably high on something.  Sobbing, pleading with me to let her in, crying, yelling at me to 'let her out'.

She wasn't in a f&^%ing prison, all she had to do was push the garage door button.  Duh.

As I sit here writing this I see what all of my lessons are:

  • First, when I am inside at night I need to keep the doors locked.
  • Second, I need to do my best to know where my phone is.
  • Third, I need to keep it charged.
  • Finally, I need to get the phone numbers from the family next door and across the street.
Nope.  Nope.  And Nope.

If my doors had been locked in the first place she wouldn't have gotten in.
The next two things added 15 minutes to me getting the help here to my house that I needed.

After I realized she (an no one else) was coming into my house I moved into action mode.  First, locate my phone.  Which was still upstairs in the little girls room.  Of course the phone died while Abbey was talking on it so I had to located my charger, get the phone to turn on (this take F-O-R-E-V-E-R when you are in a hurry) and told Amy that I needed Donny to come.  Right away.  That some stranger was locked in my garage.

Donny came very quickly.  To my rescue again.  Seeing him pull into my driveway gave me such a relief.  He opened the door to the garage with my truck opener and the three of us just stared at each other for  a few minutes.  She, not wanting to get into trouble.  Us, not knowing what to do with her.

She was young.  25.  Wearing flip flops and a t-shirt.  It is 30 degrees.

I drove her home.  About three miles from here.  A long way in a t-shirt and flip flops on a night like tonight.

When I was driving back home I felt the kind of relief that you feel when you have just been so consumed, so worried about something, and finally so relieved.  I just wanted to sit and have a good cry.

I learned a lot about her in the time she was yelling at me through the garage door and on the short drive to her home.  I hope she is going to be okay.  I hope that her four children are going to be okay.  I learned several good lessons from her tonight.  And I am thankful that it was her and not and he.

I am fine.  Shaken.  Pretty wired..I won't be asleep for a while.  And the kids are fine too.

We'll be much safer tomorrow than we were today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 talk discipline



 [dis-uh-plin]  Show IPA noun, verb, -plined, -plin·ing.
training to act in accordance with rules; drill: militarydiscipline.
activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves askill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellentdiscipline for a writer.
punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.:the harsh discipline of poverty.
behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and ordermaintained by training and control: good discipline in anarmy.

I could dissect some of the words up there even more like act in accordance (You said stay in didn't say whose bed to stay in.)

But instead, let me be succinct people...there is no discipline this in this house!
They wear me out.  There are four of them.  And only one of me.

I am just saying I want a little control.  A little r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Will says I need "easier consequences".  Meaning: do not take away things like DS, Wii, or TV time instead make him "not read or something".

Abbey and Audrey might as well flip their hair and say "Whatever!" when I punish them.

And let's not forget about Isabella.  Yes, she is sweet.  But you have to keep an eye on that #1 of ours...she is a sneaky one.  Never outwardly trouble or sullen but if she thinks she might be able to get away with something than 'whoosh' in a blink, her crime is complete!

I just read an interesting book called, "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Parent is More Fun and Less Work than You Think ".  His theory: Parents put too much pressure on themselves; they should sit back and enjoy the ride while they are raising their kids.

The argument he makes is that children will turn out to be who they are going to be in the long run in spite of their upbringing.  Research suggests while parenting surely has immediate, short-term effects on children's behavior; in the long run, kids are going to be who they are, because that is how they were wired.

I am about ready to put his theory into practice.  While I would love for my cherubs to be disciplined for me now; if they are going to be upstanding citizens regardless of how many times I go upstairs and put them back into bed...then I say, "Let them be sleepy in the morning!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 celebrate the season

...of my beloved fall!

So without carving pumpkins or creative costumes?  What's left...

First, I must let you know that I am quite certain it hasn't quit raining since Mark left.  So the autumn Norman Rockwell portraits of the kids that I had planned haven't happened.

We have been to the cider mill, eaten our hot donuts and warm cider!  We have picked out gourds and even some pumpkins and today's activity was to embrace the pumpkins!

Just not carve them.

You should know I don't pull the "Daddy's not here trump card much" but I admit I have caved this time. I have embraced my new mantra that "Daddy's carve pumpkins and Mommy's decorate them". 

Soooo...we painted pumpkins 

Will is being very careful.

Audrey is concentrating!
and stuck in these delightful Mr. Potato Head creations that make it look as if I love the pumpkin holiday tradition!
Isabella did the witch all on her own.
Abbey insists on sleeping next to her creation!
That is what Halloween is about...a charade of sorts?  I actually do love activities like this; I just do not like the ones that require true talent.

Right now my foursome is fooled by my charade that I love tolerate enjoy the traditions of Halloween.  I guess that what is important, is that we are creating our own traditions.  And they had a lot of fun with it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 be a grouch about costumes

...who thought of this anyway?

I know how Halloween came to be.  But tell me why was this tradition continued...because I am sorry, Halloween the way we know it now, ain't nothing like why it started.

So was it Mr. Walmart?  Mr. Halloween Central Store?  Maybe Nestle?  That kept it going....
I am all about the candy; but why couldn't the person who wanted to collect treats have dropped the costuming piece?

It may have come as a surprise to you to know that I am a scrooge about Halloween.  There is no question that I love fall, and leaves, and pumpkins and gourds.  However, I despise figuring out costumes.   And for the record, I hate pumpkin carving even more.  I mean really...who likes to stick their hand in one and come up with a sticky gooey mess of seeds and slime!  More about this tomorrow.

Somewhere in the depths of the 'picture drawer' of my childhood home there is proof that dressing up isn't my forte.  (In the particular photo I am thinking of, I am an unusually large, pink rabbit and my brother is a hobo ghost?  Ever heard of that one? Really?  A hobo ghost?  If I come across the photo I will post it.)  Frankly I (and my brother too) am traumatized by the costuming skills of my mother.

could have embraced this reality and have tried to break-the-cycle to make up for my scarred past.  Which consisted of costumes of hobo's, babies, and even worse...a bunny.  I could create costumes for my children and come up with clever ways to paint and cut boxes but you'll see in a few photos where that got my poor Isabella.  Instead, I sit back, complain and repeat the terrible cycle of throwing together my kids costumes.

I have no doubts that my children are going to be scarred by Halloween like myself...check out some these costumes for proof ....

I actually still think this one is cute....guess I should have stopped here.
Dumbo and a flower.  Isabella tells me this was her worst costume...
but surely the heart is a close second?
Have you seen Nemo er Will smile yet?
Will told me today he 'forgot' about this costume.  Forgot?  or Repressed the memory?  I can see my little man lying on the 'psycho sofa' now...

These costumes are pretty good.  Yes?
Sadly...I think my costuming skills peaked here! 
Slash, Princess, Pippi, Butterfly, and Power Ranger (reincarnated!)

This year, you'll see I caved and opted to let them purchase their costumes at Walmart.  Isabella picked a Mario guy and Will picked one of the Star Wars characters.  Poor Abbey and Audrey have to dig through the costume yep, you'll probably see both the alligator and the butterfly again.

To make up for my shortcomings, I'll let them eat as much candy as they want next week just like my parents did.  And I'll offer to pay for their therapy later...

Monday, October 24, 2011 read a few Halloween books

...over and over again.

Books...the seasonal ones are my favorite.  I have had several years to collect books over the holidays and since Isabella was small I have been faithful about putting them away and taking them out for each season.

Now that we have so many titles for ourselves, I have had fun sending new toddler titles to my niece and nephew and little Paddy each season.

We have tons of Halloween and pumpkin books but this week has found us reading:

The Boxcar Children Halloween Special.  I try, most every night to read to Isabella and William.  I think they have come to enjoy this time each evening when the three of us can hang out in Will's room together.  This is as spooky as we get around here...

A new family favorite is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything sent by Aunt Sandy and Uncle Andy one year for Halloween (I love when the books are signed and I can remember the giver!).  Each kiddos takes a part as the story continues...
Boo Who? is one of my favorites...especially when I am working.  It is great for kids working on speech and language skills; the kids get to guess who the description is of!

And of course we have to have a few character favorites

Diego Halloween

Dora Halloween

If I wasn't on a book buying hiatus (for obvious reasons) I would buy:

Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts for the big kids

And for the little girls, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin since I love, love, love this cute series of books.  This one could even stay out through Thanksgiving!

Maybe I'll go to the library.

Sunday, October 23, 2011 snap a few pictures for Audrey's high school graduation party

...I am hoping that there is no comparison between her behavior today and what her behavior will be in 15 years.

If so, we may be looking into nudist colonies instead of colleges.

For the record, it was all of 43 degrees this morning.  And cloudy.  And breezy.

At least she put her boots on.

P.S.  A good mom would when she found her child in this predicament would have grabbed her child and ran inside where it was warm.  I ran inside and grabbed my camera.

Saturday, October 22, 2011 continue to the tour

...a small space filled with lots of stuff.

Our upstairs has four bedrooms and a bath with a wide hallway between them  I wanted to make the hallway a useable place for the kids; it has become a reading/work area for them.

Remember how the toy room was spilling into the hallway...not anymore.

This was another fun treasure I found at a thrift old library cart.  I might have painted it but I love the inscription on the bottom of the cart and didn't want to cover this up.

We hung the calendar (slightly out-of-reach-on-purpose) above the cart.  Abbey has fun changing the weather and date and she remembers to do this most every day.

Toy room to the left...bath to the right.
The bookshelf at the end between Will and Isabella's room.  This was a challenge too...

I organized all of the markers, crayons, drawing pencils, scissors (it is sinful how many pairs I have found), glue (ditto), erasers (yes a whole bucket dedicated to them), into buckets I picked up at target.  Then I labeled them.  Because thankfully my kids have learned to at least follow written directions!  And you could never put a marker in the crayon bucket!

Then I organized the books.  As you can tell children's books are an obsession of mine.

I sorted the books and put them on the shelf by genre, series, and age.  Those are the stacks that you between the stacks are different series that we don't have as many books of.  I even put some of the series in the back.  There was plenty of room.

On the middle shelf you see some smaller boxes.  I have always struggled with how to organize all of the paperback books that mostly come from scholastic book orders.  I found these small boxes (and had intended to cover them with contact paper) to sort our books.  Will has a box of 'boy' books.  These are titles like spiderman, poke man, and Scooby-Doo.  One box is filled with Berenstain Bear books.  Another has the leveled learn-to-read books, and finally one box is filled with non-fiction titles.  On the bottom is work books and titles that didn't really have a spot on the library cart or in the toy room.

The mice have earned a spot of honor in the house this time (as opposed to a life of shame on the third floor in our last house).  They gets lots of attention here at the top of the stairs.

The baskets hold scrap drawing papers for the little girls and notebooks.  The bottom basket (made from magazine papers) is for our library books.  Here's to hoping we don't lose any for a while!

Finally the workspace.  Look at this cutie.  Still in his PJ's but sportin' a new hair cut.  He set his desk up extra-special for himself today to do his homework.  Over a week's worth.  That's how long he has been out of school fighting his strep and pneumonia infections.  He looks as if he is finally beginning to perk up!

Friday, October 21, 2011 show another room

...since I went on a blogging hiatus during the time that Mark was home I never was able to finish showing the house to all you (fifteen) faithful readers (hee hee).

My plan had been to show all the photos to Mark before he came home so he wouldn't be surprised.  However, he came home a bit earlier than expected...

If you are wondering he absolutely loves this house.  He says it is his favorite home that we have lived in thus far!  He thinks it is cozy and warm and while it is surely missing some charm he does love that it is a newly constructed home for a change.

Me...I am still pining for my beautiful West Point place.

Tonight I'll show the The Toy Room.  This room deserves capital letters because it was an incredible challenge.  With four kids, my own addiction to toys, and overzealous grandparents you can imagine we have a lot of toys.

Here are a few before photos of the toy you notice how it is spilling out into the hallway!

Does "OH MY!!" come to mind?

It felt like we just stepped over this mess for weeks.
After hours of sorting, hauling, and purging (probably not as much as I should have) here are the after pictures...

In this picture is the first 'treasure' I found here in the area.  It is a set of lockers (square 3 rows by 5 across) and I love that I turned it on its side so the lockers open up.  I was able to store hide oodles of toys in these.  Surprisingly each one holds quite a bit!  I have one filled with all of their musical instruments, one filled with all of Will's Playmobile figurines, one filled with all of our Elmo/Sesame Street get the picture.

On top are a few treasures Mark has collected on some recent trips (Eqypt, Africa), a dancing hula girl, of course some light reading material for the kids (The New Universal World Atlas, Atlas of World History, and If America Were a Village).

Notice the locks?  These are Isabella and Will's own 'special' keeping places for their things.

The closet...while Mark was home he added a second shelf (not pictured) to fit all the way across the length of the closet for me.  This helped to make some of the toys, puzzles, and art project things a little easier to get at.  These wire shelves aren't pretty but they are pretty functional and inexpensive.  At around $20 it fit my requirements perfectly.

 A few toys chests...

The white one was from my Grandmother several years ago.  I have it in the permanently open position housing the stuffed animals 'we' just cannot bear to part with.

The brown chest was made for me by a friend of the family a very long time ago (It still has my maiden monogram on it!).  This gem is the host for the babies that aren't as loved as the others and the dress-up clothes.

This is definitely not my favorite view of the toy room.  I love the photos of the kids but I feel like I hung them a bit too high...and maybe the chest needs a little makeover?  Maybe instead this wall should become a myriad of artwork?

A little collage of crosses we have collected from over the years from baptisms for the kids and some gifts from friends.  In the frame is a poem written by sisters who lived across the river from West Point.  It was a gift for Audrey when she was born from Mark's department.

 The best thing about the toy room...the girls actually play in it.  Often.  The next best thing: Everything has a it hasn't been overwhelming when it's clean-up time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011 begin a new countdown is a bit hard since we aren't completely sure of the finish line

But I am going to try to make the most of the next several months and now that the house is done I am ready to start a new routine.  The first thing I need to tackle is my daily early and late routines.

And that includes getting up at 0530: 

It is a challenge because:
1) It is still dark at out at the time
2) It is very warm in my bed
3) I would feel so much better just staying asleep

Reasons I actually drag myself out of bed:
1) I need an hour and a half to myself before I have to be 'on'.
2) I try to get Timber outside before the little girls wake up.
3) I feel so much better because I already have a run and a shower before I had to start the school-day rush.

and going to bed before 11:

Turning off the lights before 11 is a different story.  So here is the problem:

It has become a true challenge to get all of the hoodlums  my darlings into bed before 9.  After I finally get them all down I sit and begin to go through my mail, read up on a few blogs, write my blog, check the news (do you see where this is going), look at Facebook, send a few emails....

I read this on of my newer late-night-addictions (in addition to Words with Friends, Craigslist...)

"I don't have insomnia, I have internet".

I think I heard the "ahhhhaaaa" ding in my head when I read this.


Step-one for setting myself up for success:

I am not going to bring my phone to bed any more.   

Here's to tomorrow; day 1 of the new routine...

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 share some photos of our family time

Mark's time home was truly a vacation.

We didn't go anywhere special.  We didn't have any visitors.  We didn't do anything worth a headline.  And it was exactly the way we wanted the time to go.

It went as slowly as it could have.

We celebrated Will's birthday.  It was really wonderful to have him home for this.
Mark met him at the bus with balloons!

Shootin' hoops on his new net.

Opening gifts...
We drank a lot of coffee together.  On the couch, in the backyard, on our front porch while we watched the kids play and taunt one another.

We drank a lot of wine in the evenings while we watched lots of baseball, football on the weekends (the green and white have bragging rights for another year!), and an excellent Monday Night Football performance from the Lions.  

We went out to dinner, breakfast, and lunch several times.  The kids wanted to make sure they took him to all of their favorite places.  Places I am embarrassed to admit we sure have frequented since we have arrived here at Fort Drum.  Stellar restaurants for sure.  Places like McDonald's, Arby's, Panera, and their newest favorite CiCi's pizza (this was Will's birthday choice).

Even that ice-cream-truck jingle-guy came by.  Yum!  Perfect indian-summer day bliss!

He and I did break away for a really nice evening in Sackett's Harbor.  A lovely little town about 30 minutes from here.  We had a delicious meal with uninterrupted conversation...bliss for the two of us.

Mark was very sweet with Isabella and Will and took them to school every morning.  This was a very special treat since riding the bus is not their favorite thing to do.  He also picked each of them up on different days and took them to lunch all by themselves.

We went on several family runs.  Certainly not a favorite activity for our eldest two, but somehow they managed.  Pouting all the way.  But they managed nonetheless.  Not bliss.

We went to several parks around our new home.

And we went to a small cider mill...HOT CIDER DONUTS!  Need I say more...

I managed to finish the house while Mark was home.  He was so helpful with the big finishing the garage again and just helping to manage the kids for the rest.

A 'during' photo...but I can park in here again!

There were so many tickles, laughs, and quiet moments with him and the kids.  It was all our bliss.

I loved our time together.  Our family time was perfect for us.  Stay safe my love.