Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Last night, for the first time in five years and ten months - one of my children actually puked in the potty. That's right - not on me, not on the bed, not on some disgusting combination of me and the bed - but actually in the potty. All the way. Not on his clothes, not on the back of the potty, not just in the bathroom - but in the potty. This is HUGE in my world. My little Sam was coughing and coughing and I sensed (with that mama intuition thing) that it was coming and called him over, led him to the toilet and BOOM - it happened. I rubbed his little back and murmured encouragement as he puked his little heart out.

And then Jess stayed dry all night again last night - with underwear. Amazing stuff happening here every day ;-)

On a cute side note - sometimes Sam learns things from his sister that I don't particularly appreciate - he was literally storming around the dining room while I was folding laundry, with his arms crossed in front of him, and muttering to himself "I have nuffin ta do!" in a most aggrieved tone. It was adorable - but somewhat disconcerting - what with the fact that's he's not yet two and a half...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The importance of a father

I had a conversation with a friend earlier today. He's a parent, has a fourteen year old son that he hasn't been much involved with. He pays child support, but for various reasons, his visitation has always been haphazard. He'd like to get more involved, and believes that the best way to do that would be to file for full custody. His son lives in NH, and getting up there is a pain. I advised against that, and in the course of the conversation realized a couple of things that I hadn't fully articulated to myself before.

1 - I believe that children fare best with two loving, involved parents.

2 - I believe that children fare better with one loving committed parent and one that's never there than with one loving committed parent and one that is unreliable. In other words, if you aren't going to do it right, don't bother. Don't show up sometimes, take a few months or a year off, dance in and out of your child's life. Either commit for the long haul, or don't do it at all. Don't get me wrong - I believe that if you have a child, you have the obligation to parent. Not negotiable - this is your child, and he/she NEEDS YOU. But having a parent you can't trust or count on is incredibly damaging to a child's psyche. Either do it or don't - but don't pretend to do it halfway.

3 - Staying together for the sake of the children isn't enough of a reason to stay in a crappy marriage, but once you have a child, you don't EVER walk away. You live as close as you can, you get joint legal and physical custody, if not primary physical custody. You make your children the focus of your life, whether you stay with their mother or not. You live in the same town, you know their friends, their friend's parents, their teachers and their homework. Don't make a child pay the price of your bad choices.

I grew up as a child of a "broken home." That's not a term that's politically correct now, and thank God for that. I had an actual single mother, no child support, no help, no nothing. My father... well, he just wasn't cut out to be a parent. Although I guess he tried for several years, he wasn't ever able to actually do it, and when he disappeared when I was fourteen, I was a little bit relieved. When he called me when I was nineteen, I just wasn't interested. I had lived for so long without him, and it was much easier to live with just a mother, than to have a mother and a father sometimes.

I married a man with children. I have two stepdaughters - and one consistent thing about my husband, one of his MOST attractive qualities to me, is that he's a parent. A GOOD parent. We live in Worcester - which is a horrible city. City - with crime and dirt and drugs and I have lived here for five years and still feel like a visitor. I left my hometown, an itty bitty town, where I had roots that stretched back for generations, and would LOVE to have raised my children there. But my step kids live in Worcester, and so this is where I'll stay for at least another ten years. Because they are my kids too - and they love their dad, they love me, and they love their brother and sister. Because this is where my husband's ex lives and works, and because it's crucial that we see them as often as possible. That we attend school functions, and help with homework, and go to birthday parties, and all the other stuff that goes along with having kids.

I told my friend to move to NH.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy, happy, happy

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, and all is well in my world. Marc is off playing D&D with his friends, both my kids are fed and relaxed, watching Disney and munching on some frosted mini-wheats. I've found huge sections of my house, and am optimistic about clearing out the rest of it by the time Marc gets home. I'm taking Jess and going out shopping later, I think, while Sam naps and Marc watches the game. It's the last night of Hanukkah, and I've got one more week of vacation before Jess goes back to school.

Christmas went really well, all things considered. It was REALLY hard not having a tree, but now that it's over, I can look back and say it could have been a lot worse. I'm still reserving the right to put one up next year, but I might feel differently 12 months from now. If nothing else, I've learned that there's no predicting what I'm going to do in the future - who'd have thought I'd have not put one up in the first place? The Christmas Eve party at Becky's was lovely - nobody showed up, which actually made for a very nice night. Everyone could sit and talk, Christmas Day - I managed to time it perfectly so that Scott and I didn't see each other at all, my goal was to make it thru the day without screaming at him, and all I ended up having to do was wave as we passed each other on the road. The kids were good, I got to see Eric and Witch, it was perfect.

Friday, Marc and I went out to do more Christmas/Hanukkah shopping - and it was just a really nice date. We'll be together seven years in February, and it's so nice to realize that I LIKE him just as much as I did in the beginning. When you're married to someone (or at least, when I'm married...), there's lots keeping you together, habit, children, a million little complications - but I legitimately like hanging out with him. He's still the one person I'd rather be with - and I love that fact.

Had our annual Hanukkah party last night for friends - and it went... not great. We made funnel cakes, which, in retrospect, was not a wise choice, they don't taste all that good, and ended up ordering out for pizza later on. We had one guest who was slightly buzzed when he arrived, and continued drinking his way thru the night, making for a crappy time for everyone. But all in all, I'm just relieved that it's all over and done with, and we can move on to January.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

Although my primary feeling is one of just relief that it's almost over. This has been a crappy little Christmas season for me... but at the end of it, I know that skipping it will make it possible for the rabbi to officially convert the kids, which was critical for me. So no regrets - but a nagging suspicion that next year, I'm putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving and celebrating the hell out it :-)

It's been an off sort of month... with no school FOREVER and lots and lots of kids over here, it's been crazy and hectic and stressful, even before adding on the disappointment from my family over my not getting a tree. Plus I'm worried about Becky and there are issues with one of Marc's friends... it's been a not entirely pleasant time.

Kids are both doing well - Jess is still so amazing to me, and I find something new and exciting to love about her all the time. She's in the middle of so many 'firsts' - her first shower all by herself was a momentous occasion, the first time she changed a diaper, the first time she read a book. The reading thing is HUGE for me... I think it's my favorite milestone of all time, other than talking. I'm so proud of her. We had a ginormous fight the other night, with tears and hysteria resulting in vomit all over her booster seat. There's almost nobody who can infuriate me as much as my daughter... and when it was all over, and I had cleaned her up, gotten her into jammies and rocked her to sleep in my arms, it was such a sweet, tender time for the two of us. It's a magical thing, the relationship between Jessica and I. I can't imagine how I ever existed without her.

And my Sam - now that he's talking, it's so MUCH FUN. He was such a miserable baby, with the colic and the reflux, I feel like he's making up for all of it by being this utterly amazing little creature. He's such a joy, so happy and calm. As long as I don't bring him to parties (he literally screamed "Get me out of here" over and over again when we went to the Backiel's Christmas party - and threw a forty five minute screaming fit at the Hanukkah party), he's really just always a source of happiness for me. He's Marc... just exactly like him. Jess is a little mini-me, all emotional intensity and drama, and Sam just clicks along, just like his father, nothing really bothers him, he's always up for a smile or a little chat. He's so earnest and funny and sweet. I adore him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I hate this

I can't do it. I tried to give up Christmas - but I'm getting more and more irritable and depressed as the day gets closer. It just sucks.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chipper, chipper, chipper

I'm much happier today - yesterday was just awful. Marc and I had a huge screaming fight, which, fortunately, is exceptionally rare for both of us. And we were both wrecked for the rest of the day. I was miserable, the kids were HORRIBLE and Marc was sunk deep in the depths of depression when he came home. But today is ever so much better, and I'm back to being grateful for what I have, and not pissed off and angry about it.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me with all that he has. He truly wants my happiness above all else, thinks I'm beautiful and sexy and wonderful, and tells me so all the time. How many women really have that? Have someone that's their bestest friend, the one they turn to for solace, cheering up, and is simultaneously the one person they want to be with when the sun is shining? He's fabulous - brilliant, kind, loving, truly the smartest, NICEST person I've ever met, and I'm so incredibly lucky to have him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peel an onion

Wicked cool questionaire I found on-line...

LAYER 1: (I'm going to be very vague about these, for privacy reasons):Tell us your...*

Name: Melissa

Birthday (month, day): January 25

Birthplace: Concord, Massachusetts

Current location: Worcester, MA

Eye color: brown

Hair color: brown

Height: 5'7

Righty or lefty: Righty

Zodiac sign: Aquarius (with Gemini rising, if you're interested)

LAYER 2:What's...*

Your heritage: English/Irish/Scottish

The shoes you wore today: pink and blue slipper socks until I showered, now I'm barefoot

Your weakness: cookie dough and a good book

Your fears: getting really, really sick, dying, someone I love getting really, really sick or dying

Your perfect pizza: mushrooms, hamburger, and onions, deep dish

Goals you’d like to achieve: to raise happy, healthy children who love each other and care about the world around them - to have a marriage that's as vital and loving fifty years from now as it is today

Your first waking thoughts: Where's my coffee?

Your best physical feature: I think my eyes or my legs

Your most missed memory: I don't really miss anything - I pretty much just like where I am :-)

LAYER 3:Do you...*

Smoke: Nope, never

Cuss: All the time

Sing: loudly and often, frequently to the tune of You are My Sunshine

Do you think you’ve been in love: Yes, definitely. I'm in love with my husband right now. *

Did you go to college: Yes. Although I dropped out after a year

Liked high school: I really did

Want to get/stay married: I did, although never really thought about marriage until I met my husband. I'm staying married forever :-)

Believe in yourself: depends on the situation

Think you’re attractive: depends on the day

Think you’re a health freak: not even a little bit

Get along with your parent(s): I love and adore my mother. I haven't seen my father in fifteen years, I'm okay with it.

Like thunderstorms: adore them

Play an instrument: I can play Doe A Deer on a piano, that's about it

LAYER 4:In the past month have you…*

Drank alcohol: No - I think the last time I drank was at my cousin's wedding in September

Smoked: No*

Done a drug: Well, if Tylenol counts as a drug, then yes.*

Made out: Yes*

Gone on a date: No*

Gone to the mall: Yes

Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Sadly, no - I love Oreos, just haven't run into any

Eaten sushi: No.*

Been on stage: No.*

Been dumped: No.*

Gone skating: No.*

Gone skinny dipping: No*

Stolen anything: No

LAYER 5:Have you ever…*

Played a game that required removal of clothing: No*

Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Yes, but not in years

Been caught “doing something”: yes - the perils of an unlocked door and small cherubs

Been called a tease: No*

Gotten beaten up: No*

Shoplifted: no

LAYER 6:* Age you did
get/hope to be married: 28 - I always planned on 28. Jess was born two weeks after I turned 29. We didn't get married until I was almost 30 - but in all reality, Marc and I were functionally married when we met ;-)

Numbers and names of children (either you have or want): Jessica Mary and Samuel Earl. We're hoping for #3 next summer - I'm thinking Benjamin or Julianna or Megan

Describe your dream mate: My husband is everything I ever wanted in a man. He is brilliant, loving, sensitive, funny, a phenominal parent, responsible, can rewire a dryer and install a light fixture, and a good provider. He cleans the bathroom and does the trash all the time. He's also tall, dark, and very handsome ;)*

How do you want to die: I really don't want to. Ever.

What did you want to be when you grow up: A mom, and also a writer.

What country would you most like to visit: Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Russia... there's really nowhere I don't want to go.

LAYER 7: Now tell...*

Name a person you could trust with your life: My husband*

Name a favorite CD that you own: probably the Eagles or Bonnie Raitt

Number of piercings: I actually have three, two in one ear, one in the other. I don't wear earrings though, I always get infections and they bug me.

Number of tattoos: none

Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: I have no idea. *

Name a past experience that you regret: Going to college - in retrospect, it didn't really change my life course at all, and I really couldn't afford it. So I ended up dropping out and now am saddled with student loans.

Apple muffins

There are moments, fortunately for me, they happen with a reassuring frequency, when I stop and think to myself - this, right here, this is one of the best moments of my life. This morning, baking apple muffins with my little girl and my little boy, was one of them. We peeled, cored and diced two apples, mixed all the ingredients together, and then made muffins. They taste terrible, with chunks of soft apple all mixed up in this gluey sort of mess, but Jessie says they're wonderful and she'd like to take them to school. If they ever have school again (we're going on day three of snow days, with Saturday and Sunday in the middle).

I've had cherubs here pretty much non-stop since Friday, and today is glorious in that I only have my two. Sam's playing with firetrucks and animal figurines and Jess is watching Polly Pocket. My house is reasonably clean, my kids are healthy and happy and not fighting, my husband is loving me and safe at work, and my life is pretty much exactly what I always wanted it to be.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fatigue - just overwhelming fatigue

It's been a non-stop play date here since Friday morning, and I'm so unbelievably tired right now. I stayed up too late reading and then the kids took turns waking me up every couple of hours. They alternated, with each one taking only one turn (except for Sam, who volunteered not only do it once on his own, but to piggy back onto everyone else, so that once I'd get a girl back to sleep, I'd then have to get him to sleep again). They all appear well rested and content, meanwhile, I've been up for about two hours and am still struggling to open my eyes all the way.

Much, much going on - too much for my little brain to handle this early, and while I'm going to attempt to blog about them all, it'll probably be all disjointed and incoherent.

Marc was a phenominal husband and father Friday and Saturday. Really - can't rave enough about it. He was up, he was focused, he was involved, it was so lovely. He did the dishes, he cooked, he cleaned the bathroom, all on his own and with no prompting. FABULOUS. Then on Sunday - it all fell apart - and it was so sad and frustrating, especially after two days of such highlights. He sat and watched football or played on the computer while the hordes of children ran wild in my house and yelled and screamed and stomped. It was terrible - and I'm still mad at him because of it. I'm a firm believer that when we're both here, we both work. At least with the childcare. I'll do the vast majority of housework and cooking, it's my job now - but being cast as Cinderella and the massive evil stepmother just pisses me off... I have to be that much more of a bad guy because he's chilling and enjoying himself. Makes me crazy...

The vendor fair on Saturday went great - it was LOVELY to step outside of the Mommy role and be a fully functional adult, in charge and responsible. I really, really enjoyed it. I am so very happy with my life right now, being the stay at home mommy, and wouldn't change it for the world, but it's very nice to remember that there was a time when I had a whole other life that was complete and whole without kids. I wouldn't ever want to live there again, but it's nice to visit every once and a while...

And now... onto the biggest dilemma in my little world... Christmas. I miss it. A lot. And I feel tremendously guilty about not having a tree this year... I do feel as though I'm depriving my kids of an incredible experience for no real reason. Like they deserve to have this tradition, I deserve to be able to give it to my children and I'm not doing it... for no reason that makes any sense at all to me. It doesn't conflict with converting to Judaism for me at all. I can see where people who have grown up Jewish would think there was a conflict, but for me, it seems like a punishment for a crime that I committed by being born not Jewish, and it's just so unfair and WRONG. I'm trying hard, but the closer I get to Christmas, the more I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing, and that if this is the price I have to pay, to deny myself and my children of my favorite time of the year, then perhaps that price is too high.

I think my children are as much mine as Marc's. And that to ignore my traditions is monumentally unfair to me and to them. And I think it's entirely possible that you're going to find a very small, very tasteful tree in my living room before too long.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maybe she'll be a writer

It's hard not to try and get your kids not to live out your dreams. I always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I remember wanting to be anything. Other than a mom. I wanted that as soon as I figured out that it was an option :-). But all thru junior high and high school, that was my dream. I say dream on purpose, because it wasn't a goal, I never really tried to do it, but it was always my dream... and I thought today, that perhaps that's what my Jessica will do.

She creates stories ALL the time. She doesn't lie, because that's done usually with malicious intentions, and she's not making stuff up to get out of trouble - she just likes to create stories and present them as fact. For no apparent reason that I can discern - other than that it's just fun to make stuff up. The most recent example was when she told me that on Friday, Trevor had said that she pushed him and she hadn't. She said she had been punished by having to miss out on going to the library. Upon further investigation (I emailed her teacher), not only was Jessie never in trouble, she's never been in trouble, and there is, in fact, no child named Trevor in the either kindergarten class.

Okay, so I look like an idiot, and my child looks like a lunatic - but I'm proud of her, and impressed at her creativity... and secretly dreaming of having her first book dedicated to me :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Calming down

I'm more relaxed about it. The whole Christmas/Judaism thing. It's not an easy situation, but given how incredibly lucky I am in so many ways - this is really a good problem to have. My kids are healthy and happy, my marriage is vibrant and strong, and I'm going to do my very best to focus on that. On making sure that I'm happy with my decision, not making sure that everyone around me is. As long as Marc and I are on the same page (and we are) and presenting a united front to the kids, then the kids are thrilled and happy - and that's what matters. At least that's what I'm going to continue telling myself :-)

Moving on... I'm home today with just my little boy. Jordyn will be here tonight and Jess is missing dance because we don't have a way to get her there. Annie is working, John is working, and I don't want to have Yvonne out driving in the rain. So we'll have a nice, peaceful afternoon. I'm making a lovely dinner, perhaps I'll even bake a cookie or two. Clean the house, mop the floor, do some laundry, it'll be very relaxed and peaceful today. Laundry is spinning, I just finished my second cup of coffee, Sam's eating fruit and cereal for breakfast (as opposed to the chocolate and cheerios I sent Jess off to school with). I gave Jess carrot sticks for lunch, so I'm counting on that to make up for the candy for breakfast. I've discovered that a touch of chocolate will cut off a temper tantrum, and honestly, it's a price I'm willing to pay sometimes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's official - Sam is as dramatic as his sister

I was running a bit late this morning (which doesn't have much to do with the story), Marc had gotten a ride into work early, and I had to drop Jess off at school. I made the challah this morning, and wanted to get it done before I left the house, so I didn't rush Jess or Sam and we had a peaceful, relaxed morning. Everyone was dressed, fed and cheerful before we started out. We dropped Jessica off, and she got there before the attendance was taken, so she wasn't actually late, which was lovely, and then I crossed the street with Sam to go to the grocery store. Which was where I ran into the first temper tantrum. Sammy likes to 'click' himself in. He likes to get into his car seat by himself, and then click the top of it while I click in the bottom. Only this time, it all went awry. I clicked him in all the way, and he started screaming. He screamed while I walked around the car, got inside, and reached back to unclick him. At which point he started screaming that he wanted to take his jacket off.

I didn't let him do that, and when he didn't stop screaming and click himself, I reached back and did it myself. So he cried the whole way to the grocery store. He cried all the way thru the store, culminating in an out and out knock down fit in aisle nine when I refused to buy the little thing of flour. I only needed a little bit for the challah, and didn't really want to spend any money on it, but the five pound bag was twenty cents more than the one pound bag, and Marc would KILL me if I bought the little one. I left him in the aisle, did the self check out, retrieved my screaming toddler (although I would have preferred to pretend I didn't know him - I've been there enough so that everyone recognizes he's mine), brought him out the car, buckled him in, still screaming (although he did manage to click himself that time) and brought him home. At which point, he snapped out of it, and is now happily having a snack and milk.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Merry Sunshines

Not all the time, but mostly, I really like mornings. I like getting everyone up and out of bed, picking out clothes, fixing breakfast, brushing hair and kissing people goodbye as they dash out the door. And even better, after everyone has left and it's just me and Sam and whatever toddler I've got for the day, I fix another cup of coffee and smile to myself. Life is good.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I love my family. I do, really. I have, hands down, the best relationship with my mother - far exceeding that of anyone else I know. I love her, absolutely, respect so much about what she's done and how she's done it, and I know that she thinks I'm the bees' knees. But my siblings? Whole other situation - and nothing drives that home faster than spending the holidays with them.

I actually managed to get thru the day without an all out brawl with my brother. Okay, he was violently ill, and was only at my mother's house for about an hour. I managed to not speak to him at all, and we got thru the first Thanksgiving in living memory without the two of us screaming at each other. But lest I get too cocky and start to think I have one of those happy, peaceful families, my sister and I got into a fight. Or I should say, my sister got into a fight, my having learned painfully that the best way to keep the peace was to remain perfectly silent. So she yelled at me, and my mother (because you know that everything is always the mother's fault) and then stormed out. But even though I stayed quiet, I was SO mad, and stressed and it just cast a shadow over the whole day. She came back, of course, being blessed with one of those tempers that blow up and over quickly, and it was as though nothing had happened. Meanwhile, it's four days later and I'm still pretty pissed off about it.

It's strange to me, how even as adults, we continue to fight the same fights we did thirty years ago. Or twenty five, I guess, since she's only just turned thirty, and it's unlikely that we were arguing over who was more important when she was two months old. Maybe we were. I just know that she reacted as though her child was being bitterly abused and stifled and I reacted as though my child's thoughts and feelings weren't being given their full importance. I still think I was right... but mostly, I think it's sad that we can't move past being little girls with each other, even to the extent of continuing the fight thru our own small daughters.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I love Tuesdays

Just my favorite day. And it's bright and sunshiney outside (freezing cold, so I'm not actually going outside, but the sight of the sun still makes me smile) and all is right in my world. The boys are getting along wonderfully, Harrison is singing away to himself and Sam is very focused on eating. He asked for a glass of water, not a sippie cup, but a BIG cup, and then immediately dumped it into Marc's coffee cup and is very happy with himself. He's fallen hard for Marc - he talks about him all day, waits up for him at night, it's awesome. I can't express how much I enjoy watching that relationship grow.

Jess and I have such an intense relationship. The connection is so strong, and she's such a strong personality, I think she and I have such a close, intimate bond. Intimate, intense... all these I words keep coming to mind when I think about my daughter. Sometimes we are all sweetness and light, a mutual admiration society. But she can make me crazier than almost anyone else. I recognize myself in her so much... and now I fully understand why so many people talk about the mother/daughter connection. I have a really good relationship with my mother, I always have, but my connection with Jessica is so unbelievably... intimate and intense :-). It's hard to articulate - suffice it to say that I am pleased that my husband and son have a similiar connection to each other. Sammy loves me, don't get me wrong, but he WORSHIPS Marc, like a God.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm a healthy girl

I am. I swear it. And my kids are healthy as well. But this winter, it's not living up to the standards that I have set. I feel like I've had a cold, not a bad one, but a persistent one, for several weeks, and so has Sam. Sam runs a fever when he's sick (which Jessica never did) and the poor kid was up all last night, not unhappily, just couldn't breathe when he was laying down. He's been running around and happy all day, but I've got the headache that won't quit and I know it's a sinus infection. I just took some cold meds, and you know it has to be bad for me to voluntarily take that stuff.

I'm taking a break from folding the fifteen loads of laundry that I did over the weekend (okay, it's only four, but it feels like fifteen), and listening to Jessie read to herself and Sam repeat over and over again 'Dessi, play wit me!' in an ever increasingly urgent tone. Soon, he'll start screaming or whacking her (let's be honest, he'll do both), and she'll start howling - and the headache will intensify. Good times...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Am I a hermit?

I've honestly thought about this for a couple of years now. Basically, ever since I had Sam. With Jess, I was still pretty mobile. With one child, you can pretty much go and do everything with her. One child is cute and a fun addition to most activities. Shopping with friends? Check. Going out to dinner? Check. Even the movies was possible with just one. But with two... the whole landscape is different, especially because somewhere between having Jess and having Sam, I started having Lilli and Sarah every weekend.

And while it sounds as though I'm complaining. I'm not. Really. In fact, part of what's puzzling me is that I don't really WANT to go anywhere. Do anything sans cherubs. I don't know if it's inertia, just the mere fact that it takes such effort to line up a sitter (or talk Marc into taking all of them by himself), and convince the kids to be okay with having no Mommy (or be able to just saunter out of the apartment, impervious to the howling and anguish I'm leaving behind). But whatever it is, I find myself more and more reluctant to make plans with other people. I'm still pretty good at dragging them places, to the library, or the Ecotarium, or out food shopping, and I'll haul them all to my mother's house for the afternoon, but more often than not, Saturdays and Sundays, you'll find me sitting at home with the kids playing. Or at least they're playing, mostly I'm cleaning.

And it's not just that - I don't go out without them much either. I don't get my nails done, or get haircuts, or go see friends, or volunteer, or anything, really. I stay at home. All the time. And I don't think I'm all that unhappy about it. On more than one occasion, I find myself cancelling plans, just so that I can stay at home. I like my comfy chair, I like whatever book I'm in the middle of, I like spending time with Marc (when he's available for hanging out with me, which isn't all that often, honestly). That might be part of it, I feel as though the time we have together is so limited anyway - adding on a busy social life on my part might push it over the edge.

I don't know... I just know that I'm home A LOT and not all that miserable about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The cherubs

This is what I call my children. When I'm speaking of them, or calling them to go somewhere... and today I had all four of them. I find it fascinating - there are four children, two of them by one woman, and two from another. They have the same father, but different everything else. My step children are much less involved with my in-laws, have a completely different home environment, different educational background, different holidays and traditions in a lot of ways. I make sure that my step kids are a part of my extended family - in that I bring them to my mothers, and refer to them as Grammy and Auntie this and Auntie that. And the girls do spend a lot of time with us - we have them the majority of every weekend. Lilli and Sarah obviously have Lisa's whole extended family that they are close to as well. It seems as though they are two totally separate families in so many ways.

And yet these four kids are so intimately connected and so close. They have the obvious bonds, Lilli and Sarah and then Jess and Sam - but when all of them are together, it's amazing to watch. Jess and Lilli were close from the beginning - Lilli bonded immediately with baby Jessica and Sarah was totally uninterested in her for a long time. And that's still there, the bond with Lilli and Jessie. Those are the two that will play together in Jessie's room, or hang out on the computer. And my little Sam - while Jessie still holds this dominant place in his life because she's here all the time - he LOVES his Sarah. He lets her carry him around the house (and he hates it when kids pick him up usually) and spends most of his time following her around like he's a little puppy. And she's so patient with him - and so willing to play with him. And then they'll switch the whole thing up - in the car, we have assigned seating. Jessie and Sarah sit in the way back and they LOVE it. They have a secret language they communicate in (it consists mostly of spitting at the window and screaming with laughter) and Sam and Lilli will sit and play together - she'll read to him or play with little toys.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When Mommy's not happy, nobody is happy

This apparently rings true even if you are almost 35 and live two towns away. My mother is having a crappy day, no real reason, she's just grouchy. And unfortunately... talked to me this morning, and now I'm all grumpy and out of sorts.

Actually, I'm working hard on improving my mood. Although I'm freaking out about an appalling lack of money, and am tired and my feet are cold, we're not destitute, and we can pay a lot of our bills. I have two toddlers who nap during the day, so I can hopefully sneak in a little doze as well - and oh, lookee here, some socks right next to the desk. It's like the universe is looking out for me :-)

MAJOR MILESTONE ALERT!!! Samuel Earl slept in his very own bed last night ALL NIGHT LONG. Well, mostly, until about 4:30, but that counts as all day in my world. And it's lovely - I have my husband back in bed at night, for cuddles and warmth (and the snoring - oh, the snoring in my ear but I'm more than willing to pay the price).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


When you have kids, or rather, when I had Jessica, my identity changed. Becoming a mother just superceded everything. And because it happened so closely to the time when Marc and I became a couple, I don't always feel like that aspect of my life, that of a wife, really gets enough attention. Then after Sam was born, and I quit my job (actually, if I'm being honest, after I got pregnant with Jess, and my whole outlook changed, my committment to a professional career went right out the window), my whole world became Mommy World. And it's a lovely place, unconditional love and joy, it's fun and sweet, and so hard sometimes. Frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming as well. But there's not a lot of room left for anything else.

Maybe I do it wrong? Maybe I need more balance, more time for me, more time for me and Marc together as a couple. Maybe I need to be able to see myself as a wife, as a lover, a partner to him. But I think that I need to have more a sense of myself, separate from being just Mama, before I'm able to give that role, that of wife, the attention that I need. Because to be Mama, that's all need that I fulfill. It's all immediate - Mama, I need this, I need that, I fell and hurt my leg, I need oobies, I wet the bed and need to crawl in with you, I'm hungry, Can I have a drink, read me this story, etc. I just do - without a lot of thought. Without a sense of me in it - it's easy to get lost.

I don't know that I feel all that lost (could this post be any more rambling and disjointed?). It feels right and somehow normal to just relax into this role. I read. That's my thing I do for my sanity. I don't get really any alone time, but I've always got a stack of three or four books to read and am in the middle of one. I can escape with a book and for a period of time, not be thinking about the next load of laundry, the dishes that need to be done, the toddler that needs his diaper changed, or the five year old who needs a story. Not for long, because (and it keeps coming back to this), those needs are immediate. I don't go to the bathroom unless it's at a convenient time. If the dishes need to be done, I do them. I change the diapers, and I can't see refusing to read to a child because I'm reading myself.

But I would like time to be a wife. Time to be the woman he fell in love with, time to focus on his needs, on my needs... To be a whole person, have motherhood be just a part of my life, instead of my whole life. I remember reading somewhere that you look at your life as circles that intersect. And when you have children, your circle and theirs are almost entirely on top of each other, and the process of raising them is moving more and more of their circle out from under yours. If you look at life that way, my circle, the part that's just mine, is a pretty tiny fraction. And the part that's just shared between Marc's circle and mine isn't a lot bigger. But the part that encompassing both kids is still pretty big.

I wonder if it's something I really want. Do I want to change? Do I want to put more of a focus on the other? On me, on Marc? It takes effort and mostly, it's easier just to keep doing. Change the diaper, get the drink, crawl into bed and read for a few minutes before crashing out of sheer exhaustion. But I have a feeling that everyone, me, Marc, and the kids, would benefit if I was able to balance it out a little more. Just a feeling, a suspicion. I could be wrong - it certainly feels right to keep doing it the way that I have been. But maybe, just maybe, I'm wrong.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or Treat

Halloween was great this year - I really, really enjoyed it. Jessica was dressed up as Dorothy, with the dress and ruby slippers, and I put her hair in two little braids, she carried a basket with a stuffed dog in it. Sam was supposed to be Batman - but at the last minute, refused to dress up, so I told people he was dressed at Bruce Wayne. Jessie is at the PERFECT age for it - old enough to really understand what she's doing, and confident enough to do it without being scared or uncomfortable. Sam... it's just not his thing. He doesn't like people, in general. Not really, and especially not strangers. So having all that attention, dressed up with people commenting on him, going to strange houses, it's just completely the opposite of what he'd like to be doing. Plus - he doesn't like candy :-). Loves opening candy, and licks it, and hands it back (if I'm lucky, mostly he just drops it wherever he is) and says "Don't yike it."

We started off at the Auburn Mall, and again, Jess had a blast and Sam was miserable. Then we went to Marc's work to pick him up - and this was where Sam actually enjoyed himself. We've gone to bulbs.com enough so he's comfortable there, and he carried around his little pumpkin and got a lot of candy (still not dressed in the costume though). Then we met Lisa and the girls, which was GREAT for them - Jessie really enjoyed going with her big sisters, and I think they really loved having their little brother and sister to show off. Sam, again, really didn't have fun. The best part for him, was a bush that he enjoyed touching :-). Then we went up to Bonnie's house, and Sam and I stayed there and let Marc take Jess and go out with the girls. Sam played with Morgan's toys and really had fun. Then we went to visit Yvonne, and that went great. Sam had a banana and Yvonne was really happy to see us. Stopped at Nan and Howie's (both my kids LOVE Uncle Howie, strangely enough), and finished up with a visit to Jeff and Karen's house.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I'm officially ready for winter. Both my kids have hats and mittens, and today, I finally put away all of Jessie's summer stuff and put her winter stuff in her room. Because, really, what's the liklihood that she'll need that bikini in the next couple of months? I love switching around her clothes, I always find tons of stuff I forgot that she had. Jess isn't much into clothes, she's pretty content most days to wear whatever I pick out for her, and when she picks out her own clothes, she usually matches. Somewhat. Okay, not really, but I applaud the effort :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

My belly is rumbling

That's what my son said to me today. It was so cute, and such a random thing for him to say - his language skills are exploding all over the place, and he's got a phenominal amount of information to get out. It's like he's been stocking up, and now that he has the words, I can't shut him up :-). He's started groaning in frustration when things disappoint him, he's singing random snatches of songs and starting to count and recite the alphabet. He still believes that everything is blue (when asked what color something is, his inevitable answer is bwue) and won't actually say the whole alphabet, but he's getting there, he's getting his numbers down, able to tell me if I have one or two of something in my hand. He's so smart, really just brilliant. I know that every parent thinks that - but Marc's IQ is technically in the genius range, and I'm fairly bright - but these kids just blow me away. The memory - the other day, he asked if Jessie was going to blow the shofar when we were at the synagogue, because in his little mind, that's what she goes off to do when she's at Hebrew School.

Weekend was fairly crappy. There were serious high points, on Saturday afternoon, all four girls were occupied happily in Jessie's room with the door shut, and Sam and Marc were asleep. I had cleaned the whole house, made myself a cup of reheated coffee and settled onto the couch to read. It only lasted for a few minutes, but it was lovely. And most of Sunday was pretty good, but the morning was so unbelievably bad, that it colored the whole day.

Sometimes I just get overwhelmed. Too many kids, not enough help, constant cleaning and dishes and laundry and it all piles up and I just need to explode. A kick ass migraine did nothing to make the weekend any easier, but even without the mind blowing pain, I think it would have sucked. It's a tiny little apartment, and it's perfect, maybe a touch small, for Marc, me and the two kids. Adding any more (and we are never NOT adding more) and it's just ... utter chaos and it's so difficult to handle it sometimes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I like my daughter

And the older she gets, the more I like her. She's legitimately fun to hang around with. I know all the perils of thinking that you are your child's friend. She needs a parent, not a buddy, etc... but she's still just such an amazing person to be with. She's funny and wise and I get such a charge out of spending time with her and learning about the person she's becoming. Every day she grows up a little more, and I'm so enormously proud of the little girl she is, and the inklings I get of the type of woman she'll become.

I spent yesterday in Salem. And I went with Becky, Aimee, Annie, Glennys, my mother and my daughter. And it was wonderful and fun but the best part of it, for me, was spending time with my mom and my little girl. I love my mother, and am so lucky to have her for a parent. I see so many people with such crappy relationships with their mothers, so many mothers who just hurt their kids, unintentionally and without thinking, and there's still nobody who loves me like my mom loves me. And my little girl, I know she's not perfect, there are days when I think if she whines one more time, I might just lose my mind, but she's so exactly everything I ever wanted in a daughter, and so much more... I'm so enormously grateful and blessed to have those two in my life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bread of Idleness

That's what I'm dining on today. Even though I can make a list of all that I've accomplished today (folded two loads of laundry, changed two kids, washed two loads of dishes, fed three children, entertained my mother and Annie, put Sam down for a long nap, took a shower, cleaned off the dining room table, put away most of the laundry, listed out all of the parent volunteers for the fall festival), I still feel as though I've accomplished next to nothing.

Had a great weekend. I love my step daughters, and I love the family, the whole family, when we've got all four kids together and the chemistry that we all have... but there's something magical about spending the weekend with my husband and the children that we have created together. We went to Boston on Saturday - and my favorite part was the lunch at Wendy's. I know that sounds goofy, but meals together, just us, and no fighting is still so... magical. And we ate again Saturday night and last night, the four of us shared tacitos and it was so nice. We don't fight, we don't yell, there's no sighing and moaning, it's just the four of us and we're happy.

It wasn't like that when I was growing up. Meals were... busy, harried, and usually painfully uncomfortable with Paul, Scott and Mandi all brawling it out. Sometimes Eric would blow up... and there was always the weight of Mom's expectations, she wanted so badly for us to have... what I have now with Marc and Jessica and Sam.

Anyway - eating the bread of idleness... still. I have dishes to finish, laundry to put away, a living room to vacuum, a dining room to vacuum, two kids to bathe, dinner to make, etc. And I'm wishing I could just read instead :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is pizza ready yet?

This is what my two year old said to me this morning. At nine thirty. And I thought to myself, why not? So I popped in a frozen pizza to bake. I'm not a fanatic about what my kids eat. I don't give them artificial sweeteners, and I don't keep soda or ice cream in the house, rarely buy chips or junk, they never, never get dessert unless we're at a holiday party at Marc's family's house. But other than that - I figure everything in moderation works. And if Sam wants a handful of chips for breakfast once in a while, so be it.

I wish he'd stop nursing - and honestly, if I can bribe him to get off of me with a piece of cold pizza, then absolutely - I'll keep it in the house. It just works for him. I never anticipated I'd still be nursing a TWENTY SEVEN MONTH OLD but lo and behold, here we are... and I'm so incredibly ready for it to be done. I'm just not willing to make him cry and suffer without it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Several times, since Sam was born, I've found myself thinking that I'm glad I was able to give Marc a son. Even though I know it makes no logical sense, it's the sperm that determines the sex, and truly, Marc loves his girls as much as his boy. But there's something magical about his relationship with Sam and the older Sam gets, the more and more I see it. Sam is just in love with his Daddy. He hero worships him, Marc has the tools, he's big and tall and strong, he can kill bugs, fix stuff, wears cool clothes and goes pee in the potty. Sam loves nothing more than being told he's like Daddy - he likes wearing button up shirts, just like Daddy, wants boots just like Daddy, and lately - loves nothing more than sitting on Daddy's lap and watching violent cartoons about superheros. Last night, Marc told me that he felt like he'd finally found someone in his family who was his kindred spirit. Sam loves the kind of dare devil, be careful or you might kill yourself sort of activities that Marc likes, he just instinctively gravitates towards that sort of stuff. And as much as it confuses me, I have no desire to jump out of a plane or hurtle myself thru the air, and I really can't stand cartoons - it gives me enormous pride and pleasure to see my two guys loving each other so much :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Jess and I went out to the library last night. We purposely split the kids up, Marc stayed home for quality time with the boy and I took my girl to the library. So we're driving along and Jessie told me that she doesn't like to call me Mommy or Mama any more. "That's just for babies, I'm going to call you Mom. That's what the big kids do." And I literally had to catch my breath for a minute - and my eyes got a little misty, and I took a big breath and told her that I understood, but sometimes, could she just call me Mama once in a while, just so I could remember what it was like before she got to be such a big kid... I'm getting a little teary-eyed just remembering it - it all happens so damn fast. You get this perfect angel and then they start outgrowing you - way before you are ready for it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes it's just so simple

I like Mondays. It's such a good day now, one of my days off, now that Harrison is going to preschool, and after the hectic weekends, it's nice to have one day when it's calm and quiet and relaxing. Sam and I hang out, we talk, go for long walks, take naps, clean a lot, watch television :-). Marc goes to the gym mostly on Monday nights, so after Jess comes home, I have the kids play for a while, and they are missing each other because they'd been together all weekend, so they actually play together and not try to kill each other, and I make an easy dinner, let them have a picnic in the living room instead of a formal sit at the table dinner. Now, it's six o'clock, I have minimal dishes to do, Jessie's lunch is packed for tomorrow, her clothes laid out already. Jess is taking a "play bath" which is, as she explained to me earlier, different from a "hose you down bath." Sam is still hating all things aquatic, and is happy watching Dora and playing with his Batman figurine. And I'm... happy. Content, peaceful, relaxed.

Had a scare earlier, Mom went in to get a couple of spots checked on her skin. I didn't think too much about it, for the simple reason that the the thought of her getting seriously ill, even deathly ill, and possibly dying scares me too much - I can't think about it. She's fine, had a full body scan, and not a spot of anything that might remotely resemble skin cancer. When my grandmother died, almost twenty five years ago, my mother promised me that she'd never die. And while logically, I get that it isn't true, I have to confess that I've always found enormous comfort in that promise. And the nice thing is that if she ever does, she won't be around for me to scream at for breaking a promise. Win/win for her, she gets to make me happy and not have to face the consequences. And I figure that in that eventuality, I'm going to be such a mess that I'd give anything to have her back to yell at her about it, so I won't waste my time being angry at her. I plan on promising Jess and Sam the same thing, if it ever comes up.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Maybe I'm not cut out to have a million children. Because all the yelling and the screaming and the fighting and the stress in a tiny apartment makes me crazy. I know I have more patience with my two, because they are mine, I'm sort of biologically prone to not wanting to kill them, but having all four tearing around here, yelling louder and louder each time they pass by me... in an itty bitty apartment with neighbors under us - I'm losing my mind. I've hollered at them effectively enough that they are all afraid to speak in anything louder than conversational tone - but this never lasts more than five or ten minutes... soon I'll have to scream at them again.

Not really the best lead in for what's supposed to be the most peaceful time of my week.

I'm trying to really embrace Shabbos - to make a big dinner, to spend my time relaxing and really enjoying my time with my husband, with my kids, not to stress out over money (huge stress around that these days), but to be grateful for what I have. My beautiful girl, she's so smart and so big, kindergarten has already started to change her. She's learning new songs, and new attitudes and she's becoming more confident and aware of who she is. My gorgeous baby, who's not a baby any more... he's growing into this little boy and I'm so lucky to be able to watch it every day, to be right there for all of it. And Marc - God, what I would have given to know that he was out there ten years ago - to have found someone so smart, so kind, so loving and to be able to just relax into what he and I are together - to know that he loves me as much as I love him, to trust that he's going to love me this much ten years from now... and my two step daughters - the blessings I got without asking for them... it's more complicated there, and I struggle sometimes with it. There are so many limits on what I can feel for them, it feels like. I'm very aware not stepping on Lisa's toes, of not being their mother - but they're mine too. And Lilli is growing up so fast, and I feel like as she gets older, she may want to have someone in her life who isn't her mother and isn't her father - I can be the one she turns to when she hates them :-). Sarah is so very smart, and so eager to learn and read and shine in her own right - and I think I provide that role for her as well - I see myself in her and in Lilli - and am looking forward to watching the women they become.

I'm calm now... The four kids are set up on the couch, playing some sort of intricate game - and really, that, in and of itself, is pretty cool. That four kids, ages spanning from two to nine, can all be together and involved and happy is lovely. My chicken is cooking, my veggies are ready to be microwaved, I've got a little more to do to get ready, but at least I'm in the right frame of mind now ;-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Finally heard from Jessie's teacher. I say finally because my husband finally got around to giving her the note I so painstakingly wrote three days ago - and she says that Jessica Mary is adjusting beautifully, participating in class, following directions, and completing assignments. I feel so much better - so much more relaxed about her going off every day with strangers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I just want a day off

She's been going to school for a grand total of five full days and already - she's had enough. She's done... yesterday I dropped her off (usually Marc does it) and she was clingy and weepy when it was time to go inside. Today, she was flat out hysterical before I even got her out the door, crying that she never gets a day off, she just wanted to stay home today, etc. She was crying and crying... it was bad. I held it together until I got back inside and then called my mother and started sobbing into the phone about what a horrible mother I was to ship my poor baby girl off to school when she really doesn't want to go.

I could homeschool. I totally could... I've got the time, the academic inclination, there's no reason not to do it, except... everyone in my family who already thinks I'm a lunatic crazy parent for holding them all the time and nursing a 26 month old would yell at me. I also wanted her to be "normal" and go off to school and have friends and playdates and birthday parties. She really wanted to go to 'big girl school' and it just seemed to be so many reasons to send her that I conceded and shipped her off. But now that she's miserable... I am rethinking everything.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

All is well in my little world

Marc's working today. On a Saturday. And I'm a little bitter, I miss him, my kids miss him, it feels as though we are being gipped (gypped??) in a major way. Especially (and I don't mean to get all religious on you) because it's Shabbos and that's gradually become the highlight of my week. Friday, I make four loaves of challah, a big dinner, and we have this elaborate meal, sometimes with guests, sometimes not, then Marc and I put the kids to bed together and Saturday we just... are. We don't watch television, we don't type, we don't do anything other than just hang out and spend time together. But last night, by the time dinner was ready, I was tired and worn out, and ended up letting the kids eat on the floor having a picnic and then put them to bed by watching CNN. It was still a lovely night, but it's not Shabbos. And this morning, all is perfectly well - the kids are getting along well, and it's a nice rainy day - but it's not Shabbos.

Jess seems to be adjusting to kindergarten perfectly. She's got a little group of friends, a friendship club, she calls it, and is dashing off happily each morning. She's so grown up, all of a sudden. It's amazing to watch, and just a tiny bit scary, because I feel like so much of her life is "hers" now, instead of mine. Normal, natural, the absolutely right way it's supposed to be moving, but it happened so fast. I miss having her with me all the time, being intimately aware of her moods and thoughts and feelings. I'm so lucky that I can be home with her after school, and so glad that we had the past two years together full time.

And I've still got my Sammy - who's so amazingly funny all the time. He's a little chatter box, and so earnest. He's realized that he can make people laugh, especially Harrison, and has developed several little routines he'll do just to incite the laughter. He pretends to fall, which cracks Harrison up every time. He'll also eat stuff, like pretend to eat the couch or the matchbox car... I guess you have to be here, but it's really sweet and cute. And I love the hand gestures, when he's really mad, he uses his hands to communicate - it's wonderful to watch. I feel so blessed to have him. I know it sounds corny, but really - when I think about how many people struggle to get pregnant and how many people aren't able to have kids - and as goofy as this sounds, the people who are stuck with kids who aren't mine... I know every mom thinks this, but mine really are just the most amazing, funny, sweet, loving creatures.

I know they aren't perfect, Sam likes to throw things around and still thinks whacking people is fun, Jessie is still prone to heart stopping screaming at the top of her lungs, and has developed an increasingly sarcastic little attitude (comes by it naturally). They don't always share, sometimes they're really rude and careless - but I do think that they are both exceptional human beings. My job is just to make sure they stay that way :-). Teach them kindness and self discipline and respect. I love my kids. I really, really do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm lonely

I know it's not a popular thing to say - and I know that I'm happily married, with two healthy children and that I should count my blessings. But dammit, I'm just flat out lonely. I don't have anyone to TALK to - not about converting to Judaism, not about this whole new weird conservative voting outlook that I'm adopting, not about anything. And it's making me sad and depressed. Somehow I managed to alienate everyone that I used to consider a friend, leaving me with people who love me a lot, and people who like me, but nobody that I can just say anything to. I've got Marc, thank God, and he's wonderful, but he's sick of listening to me.

Maybe I'm just having a sucky night. Jessie started school two days ago, and it's been hard on everyone. She's loving it, and seems to be fine about going - but I'm still having trouble adjusting to not KNOWING what's going on in her world. Who she's talking to, what she's doing, what her day is like. Maybe I'm just a weird overprotective mother, but this doesn't seem at all normal to me to ship your child, a five year old child, off to spend the majority of her day with strangers. I get little bits and pieces of her day, when she remembers to tell me, but she's only five, and just doesn't have the ability to sum up everything she's done in a neat little synopsis for me. Maybe there's a kindergarten mom support group somewhere??

Jess and Sam are not adjusting well to being without each other, they are alternately madly in love with each other and playing perfectly well or screaming at the top of their lungs at each other. And whirling from one to the other in rapid succession and I can't keep up.

It's a really crappy night.

Onward and upward, I guess. They're eating and vegging out in front of the television (I finally put it on when I couldn't get them to stop yelling at each other) and I'm going to shoot for a very early bedtime tonight. Maybe if everyone got more sleep, we'd be happier.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Family - and why it sucks

I grew up in what used to be known as a 'broken home.' My mom was a single mom, not a divorced mom who co-parented and received copious amounts of child support, but an actual single mom. My dad was nowhere around, and when he was, I mostly wished he'd go away again. I am the oldest of four children, and my mom had four sisters and a brother. We were, I thought, a really close, loving extended family. I loved my family. All of them. My cousins were all adorable and sweet and I was the babysitter extraordinaire. I was the favorite niece, the bestest granddaughter and the daughter that my mother counted on. And I loved it. I loved my family.

My aunt just reported my husband to the Department of Homeland Security for threatening to ... well, it's a long story. I still love my mother, a bunch of my cousins, most of my aunts, but mostly... I'm good without them. I'm hurt and angry and feel ashamed and betrayed.

I don't know why I loved them all so much for so long, if it was all for... this. If my aunt can do this - can accuse my husband and the father of my children of being a TERRORIST and everyone just thinks it's funny, then I've wasted a lot of time and effort into trying to push them all into this picture of a loving close family that I guess I needed to believe that they were. There's no loyalty. This is just being portrayed as one lunatic aunt and my own specific problem. Everyone is going to stay out of it - and I find myself more and more wanting to opt out of the whole mess. Pull everything in, talk to my mother and my sister and one of my cousins, and the rest of them can all go to hell.

I'm really so unbelievably angry, and I don't see it changing. I don't think I need to get past it, or I need to forgive and forget. I feel like if you want to have me and my children in your life, than there has to be a level of loyalty. This is not acceptable behavior on her part. And I'll be damned if I'm going to sit back and allow it to continue. As of right now, she's out of my family. Actually, as of about three months ago, she was out - but I was willing to let it just be me. Not anymore - you want to have her at family functions, then I, and my children, will not be attending. It's just that simple. And if that means that I only talk to two or three members of what I always thought was such a loving, close extended family - then so be it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last Monday of Summer

Not technically, as Jess doesn't start school until next Tuesday or Wednesday (should probably figure that out) but next Monday is Labor Day - so this is my last official Monday of the summer (defining summer as the three months that the kids are out of school). It's been a GREAT summer. We've been unbelieveably broke, but it's still been wicked fun. We did lots of outdoor stuff, Jessie got to go to swimming lessons and camp, and Sammy started talking all the time. We started doing Shabbos a lot more seriously this summer, with formal dinners and no television and computer. Jessie grew up a lot this summer, she's reading. Slowly and not very much, but I can officially say that she was reading before she started kindergarten. Her hair is growing a lot longer and it feels as though her face is maturing as well. She just looks like a big girl now, not my tiny little Jess... Sam also matured a lot this summer. Not just with the talking, but also in his ability to fit in and play with the other kids. He's not the baby anymore. I don't have a baby anymore - I've got two kids. Which is wonderful and scary - I miss having a baby in my arms, and can see the end of it with Sam. He's still nursing, but not for too much longer, I hope. I really want him to stop on his own, but am pushing him as fast as I can without making it horribly hard on both of us.

All in all, I have to say that this may well have been one of the best summers ever. I got to really focus on my cherubs, spent lots of time running around the park and playing with them. Marc really got to enjoy Sam as a boy this year, playing ball and wrestling. It's been really nice.

And now I have to get ready to send my girl off to kindergarten... the first step. First kindergarten, then middle school, then college... it's all right there, in front of me, and I feel like I'm preparing to push her out of the nest. She'll be on her own at school, no hiding behind my legs or running to me for comfort. She'll develop her own personality, her own relationships, her own life, independent of me. Can you tell that I'm not ready?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

just checking in

End of the summer - and there's just not that much going on... we're counting down the days until Jessie starts kindergarten, and trying to work out transportation and Hebrew School issues. Marc is tired, of course, and overworked and under exercised. I'm happy and content as could be... Sam is getting bigger and bigger, becoming more and more of a huge presence in the family...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Much going on in my little world of child raising... we've been trying (unsuccessfully) to get Jess to stay dry at night - to the point where the poor kid was trying so hard and waking up soggy every morning. I've been getting up in the middle of the night to bring her to the potty, saying no drinks anytime after four o'clock... it was getting crazy... and nothing was working. So I called the pediatrician and spoke with a nurse there - I LOVE my pediatrician. The whole office is so wonderful, so helpful and supportive, and the nurse I spoke with told me that it was perfectly normal, not only is it totally okay that she's still wetting the bed - BUT THAT NOT LETTING HER DRINK AND HAULING HER POOR SCRAWNY BODY TO THE POTTY WON'T WORK AT ALL. I feel so much better. So Jess and I had a long talk, and we're not going back to pull ups, we're going to use "big girl pull ups," not the baby ones she was using and let her body grow up on her own.

Sam has fallen a little bit in love with Swiper. Seriously. (speaking of seriously - Jess has started saying it all the time - it's like living with Meredith Grey). And he screams "Oh Man" all the time now - it's so cute :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Have you ever watched a pot of water boil?

And am I lame because I have? I made myself a hot dog last night (PMS - I was eating everything that wasn't nailed down). And with nothing else to do for a few minutes, kids and husband all asleep, I stood there and watched the pot of water. It's magical, really it is. It's so cool... it happens really gradually and there's nothing in it, just the heat below making the bubbles start to form and then they start to rise to the top and it happens faster, faster, until all of a sudden, you've got this water that's steaming and bubbling and making all kinds of noise. It was great ;-).

Still struggling with bedwetting... today, I'm going to try no drinks after 4:00. I'm going to make sure she gets enough to drink the rest of the day, I'm afraid she'll get dehydrated ;-)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Still pretty tired

Not too much going on today, for a Monday. No Harrison still, so I'm just hanging with my two cherubs. Sam's asleep and Jessie's busy in her room. I'm loving that Jess can play for so long by herself, I think it's adorable.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Broken windows, marriage check up and "no, walk"

Jessica Mary, my precious little love, slammed her fist into a window yesterday and broke it... she was having a temper tantrum, I had put her in my room to calm down and she responded by pounding on the door. As luck would have it, half of the door is glass, and it broke. No injuries, thank God, but I was livid. I made sure she wasn't broken or cut and then sat her on my lap and yelled at her for a while.

Talked with Marc in the car on the way to our Marriage Check Up, figured out what we'd do (three days, no computer, no television, and she'd have to help repair the window - plus a chart where she can earn a reward for going so long without losing her freaking mind in a screaming fit). I told Marc yesterday that I'd been dealing with her tantrums for almost five years, and had yet to hit on a cure all technique for solving them. I've done time out in a chair, time out in her bedroom, my bedroom, time in - holding her and waiting until it passes, ignoring it, feeding into it by yelling back at her (this actually never works and manages to make me nuts as well), rewarding it by picking her up and cuddling her and reading to her once she calms down, punishing it by taking away the computer or the television... everything works some of the time, and some of the time, nothing works.

The broken glass immediately made me think of the number of times that Scott or Mandi would freak out in the car and slam their heads or fists into the windshield. I HAVE to get this under control asap.

The thing is - she's such a wonderful, smart, funny, nice kid. She's exceptionally well behaved with others, and when she's not a screaming mimi, she's awesome. She's just got a tendency to let herself get so emotionally caught up in her temper, it's like she chooses not to control it and just lets it go, as loud and as extreme as she can. It sucks for her, because I've had temper tantrums myself, and once they get bad, it's really hard to get it under control, you can tell that she's not enjoying it - and it sucks hard for everyone around her.

My marriage check up went really well too - it's a great program. We signed up for a study at Clark University and basically we fill out questionaires and every six months or so, we go in for a check up to make sure that the marriage is still healthy. Last night, we got the results of our first session - and it's all good. Really, there's no down side, she tells us how fabulous we are and how much we love each other and then gives us a check. The therapist says that we have a strong, loving marriage and that there are very few problem areas - one of them being, of course, lack of individual time together. I don't think it helped that I explained that our idea of a date was having only one child who was asleep in the back of the car. She actually suggested that we go to the thing in Providence that Becky and Greg went to - which sounded lovely - now I just need to find someone who wants to take on two cherubs. Jessie probably won't break any windows at someone else's house - and Sam didn't cry at all last night when I left (in the interest of full disclosure - he cried until he puked on Saturday when Jess and I went out with Mom).

Just got back from the bank, and then a long walk to the grocery store with my little cherub who says "no, walk" every time I try to put him in the carriage. And the walking takes a long time - because there's a TON of cool stuff out there. Like grass. He LOVES grass, likes to walk in it, name little patches of it, and touch it. And God help me if there's an ant. We have to stop and watch his progress for a while. And there's lots of rocks - they need to be touched, pushed around, and if they're extra pretty - he needs to pick them up and present them to me.

I bought 96 meatballs, tons of sauce, cheese, pasta and a bunch of cute little rolls for meatball sandwiches for tonight's game. I also bought some sugar because I was out and sugar for coffee is as critical as diapers for me. One of those things we MUST have in the house at all times. I also bought Hershey's kisses - as part of my new technique for rewarding time without a tantrum. If she goes all morning, she gets a kiss. All afternoon, a kiss. I'm not thrilled with this - rewarding with food - doesn't seem like the best idea... but on the same hand, it's a couple of kisses a day and it's not like I give her a lot of junk food.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


It's just my favorite day of the week. I mean, sure, I like Monday, because it's back to the routine, and I love my routine. And Wednesday is nice, because it's the middle of the week, the night that Marc is almost always home, and the day before the Office is on. Thursday, because that's the day I get paid, and the aforementioned Office is on. Friday is lovely, because I make challah and a big dinner and I really enjoy Shabbat. Saturday, now that we do no computer/television is this really odd, magical sort of day that lasts forever, so I really like that as well. And Sunday is generally the day I catch up on all the crap I missed on Shabbat, so that's kind of exciting as well. But Tuesday - that's my day.

Jessie is off to camp this morning, my big grown up girl. She's been a bit of an emotional wreck lately, but I'm hoping that the worst of it was yesterday and my normal sunshiney angel girl will be back. She was friendly this morning...

I'm adding a chore to her list. Cleaning off the table after dinner. I use plastic plates and cups so she can't break them, and I want her to have responsibilities around the house. Once Sam gets a little bigger, they can alternate nights. And on the weekends, Lilli can do one night and Sarah can do the other.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reasons I Love My Husband

(In no particular order)

- He always stops if there's a car on the side of the road... flat tire needs to be changed, car accident, people pulling over for a rest, doesn't matter, he stops to make sure that everyone is okay. Even when we're running late, and have a carful of children, and I'd much rather just keep going, he stops to make sure everyone is okay.

- He thinks football is a panacea. Doesn't matter what the problem is, if he could just get the game on, he's sure that it would make everything all better. This innocent faith is at times infuriating, but mostly, I'm impressed at the sincerity and purity of his love for the game.

- He cleans the bathroom.

- He's really tall - not that this is something he has any control over, but I really like it :-)

- He calls me his beautiful wife. All the time. I don't think he calls me by name all that often, mostly it's "my beautiful wife."

- He tells Jessica long, involved stories at bedtime. He's developed rituals and routines that she'll remember and hopefully, repeat with her own kids.

- He thinks my hair is prettiest when it's down, wild and out of control. He tells Jessie that she's beautiful when her hair is down. He loves us best when we're most ourselves.

- He wants me to be happy. That's all, and whatever it takes, that's his overall goal. If that means giving up his D&D game so I can go off for the day, or going out in the rain to get me ice cream, he'll do it. He'll actually want to do it, because he wants my happiness.

- He'll sit and play with Sam for as long as Sam wants to play. Throwing the ball, playing 'run, run, jump', throwing him up in the air, he'll do it. He'll read stories to him, and talk about trucks and guys and whatever else my little two year old wants to discuss, for as long as Sam can handle it.

- He's unfailingly honest. No matter what. I might not want to hear it, but I know that there's no game playing, he's telling me exactly what he means.

- He thinks. He doesn't know who he's voting for, and is willing to discuss and debate and analyze with me until we figure it out. He's always reading something - and is always happy to read books that I recommend to him.

- I can announce that we're having a thousand people over for the weekend, and he'd be thrilled. I never have to say the phrase "Marc won't let me." It's not something that would ever occur to him.

- He loves and respects and trusts me as much as I do him. He's on my side before anyone else it. He's my first call, the one I most want to be with and talk to.

- He lets me fight for him. When we are arguing, and he isn't saying what I want, he'll let me talk for him and then say "you said exactly what I mean." And mean it. Because the end goal is the two of us together and happy, and if I have to explain what I want to hear, he wants me to say it, because that's how the fight gets resolved quickest and happiest.

- His hands. Just.... his hands. He's got great hands :-)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Now I'm hot. And tired. And minus one chair in the living room.

The problem is that my rocking recliner that we got off of freecycle is so battered and beat up and just ugly I wanted to switch it out. I happen to have a lovely chair in my bedroom (yes, I keep extra living room chairs in my living room, got a problem with that?). But once I started shoving stuff around - I don't know what happened. It suddenly seemed as though we needed something new, a fresh vantage point... and now I had to move everything around, my arms are sore and we don't have room for the chair after all. Marc is not going to be happy about this - but hey, I'm the one who's home all the time and looking at it, right?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I've fallen in love with my little boy

Not that I didn't love him before, because of course I did, but he's TALKING now. We can have conversations and chat, and he's so fascinating to me. He's got this amazing sense of humor and he's so sweet... I remember Jessie at this age, and it's incredible to me that I lucked out to have not just one, but TWO kids who blow me away with their intelligence and sweetness.

With Jessie, her babyhood was so wonderful, she was such an angel baby for me. I loved it when she was so tiny and sweet and cuddly, and it just grew from there. But Sam was so colicy and fussy and so miserable, I remember thinking that he was bonded closer to the ceiling fan than me - at least he smiled more consistently at it. I think this is my favorite age with him. He's so relaxed and chipper all the time. Stubborn and insistent and emotional like his sister, but with this level of emotional stability like his dad :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

temper tantrums

At five and a half, shouldn't she be outgrowing this tendency? We just survived a major freak out fit, all starting because I couldn't take my baby girl to see the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert that was in Worcester last year sometime. She barely managed to get herself under control when all hell broke loose with screaming and crying because ... I don't actually know. It had something to do with the concert that I had so helpfully recorded for her, but she was crying too hard to actually get it out. Jumping up and down, screaming, shaking with rage... I sent her to her room twice, once she stormed off to my room... it was horrible. Confusing, because I've only had the one cup of coffee, and still can't figure out what set it off... she finally calmed down, and let me hold her, and she's crying so hard and her little face is so distraught, and I'm thinking "why on earth do you do this to yourself?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Why is it that when Marc's not here (like tonight) my house is perfectly clean, my dishes not only washed, but put away, coffee made for tomorrow, both children clean, read to, and asleep by eight o'clock? When Marc is here, in theory, with two adults, it should be a million times easier to run my little household. And I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have such an amazing husband and father to my children - but why, when he's here, are the kids running around fully dressed at nine with toys scattered around the living room? I speculate that perhaps it's because when he comes home, the kids get an adrenaline rush and are harder to settle, but fear it might be that I expect him to be another me, and then think that I only have to do half of my job. I think that's really what it is - I have this inflated expectation that when he's here, he should be able to be fully on-board with what I want to get done (not that it's selfish stuff, I want to get the house picked up and kids in bed at a reasonable hour). But the way it works out, when Marc is here, usually we squabble because I'm constantly expecting him to be right there, changing diapers and cleaning up toys, and he's trying to relax and chill out. Everything is tougher. Unless I pretend that he isn't here, which works out better - because then when he does step up and assist (and to be fair, unless he's trapped in the computer game and can't think beyond it, he always does), it's just a bonus.

Either way, he's not here tonight and I'm lonely and sad without him. As is my Jessica, she wants Daddy to wake her up when he gets home and take her to the bathroom and say shema with her. I'm probably spelling it wrong, but she really enjoys it and since I don't know the words, it's a Daddy/Jessie thing.

Jessie's staying dry thru the night. To be perfectly honest, she's still wetting the bed, but trying to stay dry - no more pull-ups at night. She really wants to - and I'm optimistic that it'll work. Plus she wants to do it - which is, in my extensive experience of potty training the one child - is the key. Trying to do it when you're the only one who wants to is monumentally pointless.

Sam went down to bed really early tonight, which was so lovely. Not only because he'll get a good night's sleep, but because I got to put my little girl to bed like I used to - when it was just the two of us. I read to her in her bed, switched off the light, we talked a little bit, and then I sang her to sleep with her special lullaby. I have one for each kid, Jessie's is sung to the tune of Mockingbird, but since I couldn't ever remember the words, I made some up "Mama's going to buy you a great big pig. If that piggie gets too fat, Mama's going to buy you a little cat..." Sam's is sung to the tune of My Little Sunshine - and the best part is that one has a million little versions. His favorite is "You are my Sammy, my baby Sammy..."

Friday, July 18, 2008

No conflict here...

Shabbat dinner is the part of Judaism I can really get behind... it was my favorite part from the very beginning. And I'm thrilled to betsy about it today... I have my challah rising, plans for everyone to get a nice bath and have the house clean and pretty in preparation. I think this is such a lovely tradition and it's so important to me, I think, because we didn't really do it all that often when I was little. Or when my poor mother tried, Scott usually managed to stage some huge drama that ruined the whole thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

She's only little for a little while

Okay, so I kept my girl home from camp today. All was going well, I got her dressed and off to school fine, brought her inside, and she was uncharacteristically clingy. Like, wouldn't get off my leg, clingy. But I presevered, gave her a kiss and put away her back pack and told her I'd come and get her in a few hours. I felt... not right about it, though. So I spied on her for a bit thru the window, like a stalker. She didn't know I was there, and I promised myself that I'd stay just until I knew that she was okay. She was standing all alone over by the window, looking lost and sad. Miss Beth came over and tried to talk to her for a bit, but she got distracted and poor Jess was still just standing up against the window, not talking to anyone.

I argued with myself, do I make her stay? We paid for her to attend, I want her to learn to be independent and brave and confident, she's a big girl now, going off to kindergarten, I can't let her stay home because she's too shy... but the other side of the argument was that I suspect she's getting sick, due to a phenominal amount of crying yesterday, it's not kindergarten yet, it's just summer camp and she's only five... The amount of time when I'd be able to rescue her and take her home with me is dwindling - once she starts school, it won't be an option, really, and the time when she rather be anywhere other than with her mother is fast approaching - the past five and half years went by fast enough for me to know that the next ten will fly by... twenty years from now, am I going to be happy that I left my little girl or that I let her come home with me?

The twenty years thing decided me - I just had a yucky feeling about leaving her there, and knew I'd regret it. So I poked my head in the door, and said her name, and she looked up at me with those big, big brown eyes filled up with tears, and I brought her home with me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

maybe I should just have another baby

Actually found myself thinking this earlier.

I'm bored. I'm never bored. Sometimes bored, but never lonely. But I don't have Harrison any more during the day, hopefully a temporary situation, and quite honestly, Sam is getting to be a lot bigger and more independent. By himself, and a lot of the time, he's the only one I have here, he's charming and funny and sweet, but not all that demanding. I've got time on my hands. And I don't know quite what to do with it all.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Converting to any religion should be a big deal, but it seems as though converting to Judaism is a bigger deal than most. And it's something that occupies my thoughts more and more these days, struggling to honor who I am and what I want to raise my children with and reconciling that with my husband. I feel as though I'm putting a lot more effort into this than he is, and sometimes it's so frustrating. Especially because it is such a lonely process, there's nobody who understands or supports what I'm doing. Not really. My family loves me but their main concern is that I not go too far, not lose what I am in this. My husband loves me as well, but his concern is that I go far enough, that I make the sacrifices and do it well enough so that our kids grow up as Jewish as my stepchildren do. There is nobody who I can talk to that really understands where I'm coming from, who understands the conflicting loyalties I feel, to my family, to my husband, to the Jewish people, to myself.

The overall goal is to have a Jewish household, with Jewish kids. 100%, totally committed, Jewish kids. But is that fair? To me, to them? After all, I'm not Jewish yet, and even after converting, I'm still not ever going to have had a Jewish childhood, I can't give them the traditional Jewish Bubbie. I give them my mother, and I think they're better off because of that. But that flies in the face of what Judaism is supposed to be - never, never have intermarriage, you must be all Jewish, all the time. If I accept that precept, I have to acknowlege that my marriage is wrong, that my children should never have been born. Marc should have stuck with his own kind, and I would have been better off not stealing Jewish seed to make non-Jewish children. I'm exaggerating for effect a little bit, but that's the way it feels sometimes.

But still - I am trying. Because I love so much about Judaism, because the values and traditions are a part of who they are, I want to give them that. I just worry that I'm getting lost in the process, that what I think, and what I believe, and what I want for them to understand about the world, about the Divine, about other people, is not getting thru. Or won't get thru. If I do it this way, if I send Jessie to an Orthodox day school, if I teach her to respect a religion that sometimes can be very anti-woman, am I also teaching her that she's less than her brother? How am I honoring her when I do that? How am I teaching her that her mind is as valuable and as important as his, when the religion places so much more value on the woman as the center of the home, the washer of dishes and the changer of diapers, the keeper of all things domestic?

I don't want her to think it's her only option, I don't want her to believe there's only one definition of femininity, or for that matter, for Sam to grow up thinking that only women who dress modestly and don't speak unless they're spoken to are worthy. I want her to be opinionated and stubborn and to speak out. I want her to be whatever she wants, if that's a stay at home mom who bakes challah, great. But if it's a driven business woman who hates to cook, that's just as good for me. I don't want her to have to fit into a preconceived notion of what a woman should be, any more than I want Sam to feel as though being a man means following one path, and one path only.

I want them to believe that their lives are filled with wonder and magic. That each of them have been gifted with brilliant minds and caring hearts, and they have the responsibility to use their gifts. I want them to be responsible and considerate, but also confident and able to make their own decisions. I want them to feel as much kinship with my family as they do with Marc's. I want, I want, I want... I don't know what I want. Mostly, I want to feel better about this process that I'm going thru.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I don't get it

So I'm sitting on the comfy chair, nursing my mostly sleeping toddler when Jessie and her buddy Glennys come flying out of the bedroom. There's a bug in there, and they had to evacuate. So I say, go kill it. They both explain that they aren't going to do it, and I take a deep breath and say "your two year old brother can kill a bug, and you want to tell me that you two are such wimpy, wussy girls that you can't even kill a bug?" (completely ignoring the fact that I make Marc kill the bugs all the time - classic do as I say, not as a do moment). But anyway, I'm giving them a little feminist lecture - and Sam sits up, still groggy and half asleep, all sweaty and tired, and toddles off, gets himself a shoe and handles the situation.

Are gender roles really that ingrained? Or it is my fault? Is it because Marc kills all of my bugs? Will I have to start killing my own to make sure that my daughter can handle herself? And what about my boy? He's just two, already cast in the role of hero and savior.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How do you know you've made an impact?

At this very moment, my daughter is sitting in her chair, her baby doll nursing under a nursing blanket "because she needs privacy, Mommy." My son may be the only two year old boy in the world who walks around pretending to have a baby in his belly. He's folded a baby doll in half and came to me, frustrated that he couldn't get her to stay under his shirt. I explained that when you actually have a baby in your belly, the desire is to get them out, not keep shoving them back in. He was adamant, though, and is now walking around glowing with pregnancy ;-).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Daddy Nakie

I was just nursing Sam, and he paused, looked at me, grinned and said "Daddy Nakie Funny." Now that he's talking more, he can express what he's thinking and apparently he was remembering Saturday when Marc was getting ready for his shower while Sam and I were in the bedroom.


Yes, my son is officially a talking boy. He's chattering more and more, and coming up with so many words that I've lost count. He just started yelling "shark" at Word World on the television (there's a shark swimming about on screen). He's officially two years old, and so much fun I can't imagine how I lasted as long as I did without my boy. He's so smart and funny and earnest, and so incredibly different from my girl.

Back to normal around here, and I have to say, I'm loving it. I adore my husband, more than I ever thought possible, but I was happy to wave him off to work this morning. We had a major battle yesterday - details unimportant, except to say that I'm profoundly grateful that we fight as rarely as we do, because it's just miserable when we don't like each other. I had such a migraine last night, and can feel it sneaking back on me.

I was thinking about interfaith relationships (any clues on what we battled about?). It's one of the few topics that we both get really upset about, religion, spirituality and the ownership of what our kids are going to think/believe as adults. Which, when you think about it, is really foolish, they're both smart, capable people who will form their own thoughts and opinions. To assume that we have the ability to determine what they think thirty years from now is incredible arrogance, I think, on our parts, but it doesn't stop us from assuming that what we do now has life and death consequences. I wonder if couples who are of the same faith have it easier - but I have to say that they probably don't. They might not fight about whether to attend a synagogue or a church, but I bet they've got their own crisises in their marriages. Marc and I are so in sync on so many issues, it's baffling and frustrating to me that we fight about this as often or as intensely as we do...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hermit Island

Just got back from vacation - yes, that's right, I took two children and no husband to the beach for three days. Four days, three nights. I wasn't alone with them, my cousin Becky was camping on the same site with me, and my mother and sister were up there as well. And for the most part, it went really well. That being said, I'm beyond happy to be home, with my husband bathing my children, laundry in the dryer and washer and the news on the television in the next room.

Jess LOVED the ocean, she was on the beach from the moment we got up until I dragged her off each afternoon for a shower. She made a bestest friend, and spent her time digging tide pools, capturing hermit crabs and then making them race across the picnic table, searching for "beautiful" broken seashells, and chasing the waves. It was wonderful... and were it not for her, I'd have left yesterday :-). Sam was pretty happy up there as well, if you could discount the fact that he started nursing like a newborn. He didn't move more than a few feet away from me the entire time we were up there, prompting many comments on how much I spoil him, shouldn't still be nursing him, and etc... It's amazing how easy it is for everyone else to parent my children... or at least, to know how they'd do it so much better if they were their's.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yet another reason I love my husband

He fixed my vacuum cleaner. I'm a stay at home mom, with two kids under six, plus I baby sit for two more toddlers. My vacuum cleaner is my FAVORITE. I use it three or four times a day, it's my go to appliance. I can think of no other piece of household stuff that I rely on as much, except my coffee pot. I would also self destruct without that.

Anyway, I sucked up a chapstick and jammed the whole thing. Had no clue why it suddenly wasn't working, and was so sad that I had broken it. Marc took it apart, returned the chapstick (in perfect condition, no less) and then pulled all the hair and junk out of the brush so that it works like new.

I love this man.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sam's fashion sense

Earlier today, Sam picked out his outfit and announced he was ready to go outside. If you can picture an adorable little boy, with light brown hair, greyish green eyes and a huge smile, with a rainbow sun hat, topped with a princess tiara, white onesie that's so old it's all stretched out, blue and green swimming trunks, and rubber giraffe rain boots that are four sizes too big - that's my boy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How did this happen?

I think when I first had children, I expected them to be just like me. And with Jessie, it worked. She and I are very similiar, we process information in much the same way, we find the same sort of things interesting, we both whine a lot, and are prone to temper tantrums :-). And like me, Jessica is happy as a clam sitting inside, reading a book, coloring, or playing with her dollhouse (not that I frequently color or play with dollhouses left to my own devices, but you get the point). Then I had Sam.

And yesterday afternoon, he put on his rainboots and announced he was going "side." He's just an outside kid, happiest when he's at the park or even just hanging out in the driveway with a ball. It was pouring outside, but I took him out there and let him stomp in puddles. This morning, we were out there throwing around the soccer ball and watching a worm's progress down the road. My favorite place to be on a gorgeous day is inside, curled up on a comfy chair next to an open window with a good book. And if the weather is crappy, I want to be inside. No questions. Sam's favorite place to be, all the time, rain or shine, is outside.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Content as could be

All is well in my world - major thunderstorm this morning, which is my FAVORITE. I love the pounding rain, the booming thunder and the flashes of lightning. We kept Jess home today, she's just been such a wreck this weekend, actually, more like just yesterday, I think she needs a day when she can hang out with just her brother and stay in her pajamas all day, she can color and play in her bedroom and just vege out. So far, she's calm and happy, she's aware that she can't play on the computer and knows why, she's not arguing or fussing about it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Grounded my little girl tonight for the first time in her little life. She's been having a crappy day, lots of physical aggression, and she narrowly avoided kicking me upside the head in car because she started flailing her legs and screaming about me not understanding her. So she's off the computer all day tomorrow - which is a BIG deal, because we just got a brand new, huge computer with speakers. Marc was shooting for three days with no computer, but that sounded harsh to me, too harsh for a five year old when you consider that she's had a really busy weekend after a killer week. Maybe I'm just making excuses - it's hard to know. But I know how much she's going to hate having no computer tomorrow.

Thank goodness

Everyone is gone. It's just me, Jessica and Samuel right now, and I'm calm and relaxed. There's been a lot of chaos and confusion lately around here, I had Glennys over night Friday night, and then yesterday we went up to my cousin's graduation party in Rindge. I ended up taking two of my nieces home with me (how is it that I always end up taking extra kids home with me from family functions?). We didn't get home until 10:00 and the kids were all still awake. My mother just came to pick up my nieces and I popped my two into the tub and am feeling much more in control.

Kids are good, Jess is still having major issues when she's overtired. She's prone to huge screaming fits, and I have yet to discover a cure all technique for dealing with them. I'm doing the mediation thing, taking her hands and having her take three deep breaths to calm down, but that's not 100% effective, and today, she screamed for 45 minutes because she accidentally cut her pancake up before remembering that she didn't want to have it cut. I think that was what the problem was, but it was tough to decipher the screaming.

The party yesterday went really well, Marc and the other guys staged a baseball game for the little kids and they all had so much fun. Jess couldn't actually hit the ball by herself so my brother would hold the bat with her and when they actually connected, she'd take off, running in a big circle around the field, not actually hitting any of the bases, but absolutely confident that she'd scored a home run. And the guys in the field would purposely miss, overthrowing and undercatching to ensure that she could make it the whole way. It was so sweet, and she was so proud of herself.