Tuesday, September 30, 2008


on sunday, lily surprised me by choosing to wear an april cornell petticoat and dress. what? an outfit that was meant to go together and nothing odd to go with it (like adult sized velvet sock covers she had worn a previous week). then yesterday for school, she chose one shirt and one pair of pants to wear with no dress or skirt to go on top. i started to think maybe seeing other kids dressed "normally" at school was starting to rub off on her, until we did her hair.

yeah, that's right. she chose three ponytails, one of which (and only one) to be in a "nobby" (our family word for bun like ponytail) style, and i knew my lily was still in there. today she was back to her normal dressing routine. (i think we started out with five outfits layered on top of each other and she narrowed it down to leggings, shirt, knee socks and skirt by the time we left for school - i still stand by my too much laundry to do rule.)
sorry for the blurry pics; i'm struggling with my camera lately. help, annie!
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Monday, September 29, 2008

sept. 26th

last friday was pat's birthday. he turned 25 a month after we were married and so i remember putting happy "quarter" of a century old notes all over our apartment. (i would stick a real quarter instead of using the word quarter; i know i'm so funny.) last month, i told you that we have been married for 13 years, so i'll let you do the math on how old patrick is.

for his birthday, the kids made cards and i decorated with pom-poms and a banner. lily picked out the shirt that he was wearing in picture above as his gift. we went out to dinner with our good friends (pictured below) while their daughter watched our kids and then we all enjoyed cheesecake (which is what i always make pat on his birthday.)

now for the mush. i was fortunate to marry a man with a heart of gold that really could be nominated for sainthood and that's not just because his name is patrick. (not that i don't gripe or complain from time to time.) as luck would have it, pat probably has less patience as a result of being married to me (yeah, i'm a little intense) than the inverse (wouldn't it have been nice for me to be more patient?) sometimes when i think of our relationship, i am reminded of the final scene of zorba the greek. [go here and then get to 1:10 if you want to watch yourself, but you must watch the dancing as well - it's the best part.] zorba tells the british guy (i forget his name) that he lacks only one thing: "madness." well, pat's the type of guy who never locks his keys in the car (i've done it twice w/kids - who knows how many times sans kids), thinks things through, never had a ticket, etc.... but hopefully, i've helped him embrace a little "madness" over the years.
so a very, happy, belated blog birthday, my love. oh and thank you for the good credit and more controlled driving (at least let's hope i drive a little slower due to you)! someday, i will make you re-enact that scene with me, dancing and all. i'll let you guess which one of us will be zorba.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

first days

yeah, even though i haven't blogged about it, my kids are all back in school. i only got a pic of lily's first day though.
grace started back on august 25th. the magnet school opened up its doors to a lot more kids from the suburbs this year and as a result grace only has two boys from her class last year in her current class. this hasn't phased her at all; the first day, she came home having made new friends and has adjusted well to fourth grade (minus the first week of school where she is always super crabby and tired and i never seem to have enough patience, but we're through that and on a routine again).
lily started preschool one week after labor day (sept. 8th). when we got to her classroom door, she just waved good-bye to me and went right in. she was more than ready for school and has adjusted just fine. she picked out her first day of school outfit at the store; she wanted it to be all yellow which is her favorite color. she continues to pick out her own clothes for school and is queen of layering. her outfits often include pants and a shirt with a dress over it. i did put my foot down one day when she wanted to wear three outfits layered on top of each other (i didn't want the laundry), but in general i give her freedom and she definitely marches (quite insistently) to her own fashion drum.

now to jake's first day. ugh. (for those who know the story, just skip this). jake transitioned from fifth to sixth grade this year. this year also marked the opening of the brand new sixth grade academy in our town (i.e. new not so friendly wheelchair building, completely new staff - his teacher was officially signed the week before school started, etc). jake's aid/para of seven years decided not to continue to middle school with him. i decided to personally bring him to school the first day of school which was august 27th. basically, there was no aid for jake when i arrived and no one knew why there wasn't or who was suppose to be his aid. while the nurse tried to (unsuccessfully) figure out what was going on, i was left in a room by myself with jake for about 40 minutes. while in this room, fear started to overwhelm me. i had recently learned that most of the good paras/aids like to stay in elementary schools and decide not to move on with their child(ren). i started to worry about what caliber of person we would be able to find to work with jake? i worried who would be willing to diaper him as he got big? who would be willing to lift him? this combined with the frustration of being at a school where the teachers and staff did not know who jake was and remembering how utterly overwhelmed jake's teacher looked (trust me, he was that first day), i found myself not able to keep it together and began crying. never a good thing because i usually can't remain composed once the tears start. this was the case and i ended up being sent home with jake hardly able to utter a word as i left the building.
now for the tender mercies. thankfully, my dad was in town that morning on business and had my two youngest kids. i was able to go on a walk with jake when i got home and listened to this talk by president monson where he talked about how important it was to build strong foundations in our homes. then i listened to my brother-in-law's demo tape that he sent us that has a rendition of "how firm a foundation." i was struck by the following words: "...i will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress." when it comes to taking care of jake, i think you start to get to the deepest parts of my heart. i took great comfort that if i trusted in the Lord that he could and would sanctify this distress. i need not be overwhelmed with worry for things i had no control (like who jake's para would be), but rather need to worry about making my foundations strong at home and providing a safe haven for my family. (this is becoming more evident as grace gets older and has to deal with more stress at school). then another tender mercy was a loving note that arrived the next day from a friend who moved away a couple of years ago. the note was just written because she was thinking of me and felt the need to write. this served as a reminder that the Lord was personally aware of me.
now for the sanctification of my deepest distress. the new special ed. director called me back that afternoon and explained to me that the school had hired someone to be with jake, but that the person chose not to continue with the job and didn't bother to notify the school of this decision. since then, we have found a wonderful para for jake. we've also had a huge team meeting and have another one in a couple of weeks. there is still much to be worked out, but i feel that i am on top of things in way i wouldn't have been if the start hadn't been so bad. we are getting there and through all of this i've seen the heart of a lot of the new staff that will be working with jake, and they really do have a lot of heart and love for jake, and so i feel blessed.
p.s. the students on that first day did know jake and lots of them said "hi" to him when we first arrived (melts your heart, right?). last night at the open house, jake's teacher had a bulletin board entitled: "our heroes" and he had put a picture of jake's face on batman and all of the other classmates on other superheroes. he said one of the paras suggested putting their faces on pumpkins, but he was like "no, we'll do something else." i do think it's fun that his teacher is a guy and he really does seem to love working with these kids.
p.p.s. @annie and brian - lily will request to listen to "brian singing" when we're in the car.
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not of the snot variety

the other day, i was bragging to pat how i bought a book light for only $2 at christmas tree shops (a fantastic northeast store - think upscale big lots). his response was something like "cheap isn't necessarily good." i just grumbled in my head about how i saved money, but sure enough, that night when i went to use the light, it fizzed out after about ten minutes of use. Booger.

i have taken to wearing my reading glasses some days for fun. previous to this, the only time i would wear glasses was when i had my sunglasses, and i have this bad habit of sometimes staring longer than normal at other drivers when i'm in sunglasses because i figure they can't see me looking. well, i've caught myself doing this a few times in my reading glasses. Booger.

finally, who do you think looks more pregnant.

A. cute six month preggie friend

B. me: mom of four kids who keeps getting asked if she's pregnant, but ISN'T (sorry i made grace take this with fancy camera and must have had it on wrong settings. didn't look so blurry after we took it).

yeah, you guessed it, BOOGER!
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Monday, September 15, 2008

for your viewing pleasure

when pat told me tha tina fey was returning to SNL to play sarah palin, we both wanted to stay up and watch it (tina fey just looks like sarah palin). alas parenting took over and we slept through it. luckily, we found the clip. enjoy!! you can thank me later. (oh, and "the michael phelps diet link" on the side is pretty funny too. it reminded me of your post, kaylene.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

air show

last saturday, we went to massachusettes to an air show. the highlight of the show was a performance by the air force thunderbirds. they surprised/scared all of us when they detract your attention to watching four planes performing a formation when all of a sudden a fifth plane goes screeching across the sky. lily got a little shaken up by it, but it was a pretty cool move and by far they got the majority of the audience with their trick.

the harrier plane (pictured below) can hover in the air and make vertical landings.

this is some of the kids with the thunderbirds doctor. if she grounds one pilot, it becomes are five man show and if she grounds the commander, the performance is cancelled. there are no back-up pilots since the training is continuous and intense.

friends of ours were also at the air show. evan kept trying to tackle (with good success) lily's friend, anabelle. anabelle was a great sport about it, but we chuckled about how many years until this would be inappropriate.

despite the clouds, it was a humid day and we all got sunburns. here are some of the kids cooling off on some ice that had been dumped out of a cooler.

my apologies

in regards to my last post, my apologies to any woman who has longed to hear the word "mom" and for whatever reason has not been able to. please know i am grateful to have children in my home and know this time will pass too quickly. know too that i would probably give my right arm to hear jake utter the word "mom." at the same time, there are moments (many) where i wish i could pretend my name was "penelope" and ignore the cries (and yes, they are cries/wails/whines, etc) of help/want/tattling, etc... or just wish they would ask dad.

my apologies also to any who don't have a cute, two year old in their home who slurs together the phrase: "thank you ma" (which sounds something like - tane - U -maa) every time you do something for him. (it just melts my heart every time; i need to get it on tape before he learns to annunciate better.)

dearer than any other

i'm currently taking applications for anyone who answers to the word "mom/mommy" and would like to spend a day with me. thanks nat, for reminding us why a name that is "dearer than other" can also be so infuriating and nails on a chalkboardish!

before you feel too bad for me, the hubster did let me go on an hour run last night. i have commitments tonight (whole family) and tomorrow night (sans kids). earlier this week i was feeling bad about being gone so many nights in a week, but now the idea is sounding grand.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

city folk go to the country

while in vermont, we stayed with my good friend from high school, darlene and her husband gerry. we felt that we were at a bed and breakfast, they took such good care of us. we woke to pancakes one morning and waffles with berries and whip cream the next. dinner too was usually quite the spread.

sunday night, we had a campfire and s'mores and then looked at the stars. the sky was so dark against the sky; it made me realize how urban my life is. it was so peaceful just being out in the country.

a big bonus was that dar's parents were there too. they're the only other people other than my parents that i've called "mom" and "dad"; so it was great to be around them as well.
dar has a pond on her property. the kids enjoyed walking down to it and looking for frogs.

i like this pic of lily.

gerry was willing to pose for me; just another sign that dar chose well.

yeah, yours truly fell into the pond while trying to catch a frog. the thing that bugged me the most is that i didn't get a frog.

here's the beaver dam we passed on a walk by their house. their property and surrounding area was so beautiful.
oh, and for those who read the "tagged" post, the picture of a nickname of a good friend was "DAR" for daughters of the american revolution.

labor day weekend

we went up to vermont on labor day weekend. we visited my niece, chelsea, and her husband, jake on sunday. we went to church with them and it was loads of fun (note huge sarcasm here) introducing myself as her aunt (my niece is in graduate school AND married). after church, we went back to their place. they live in the cute house pictured below. it used to be a hotel; their bedroom used to be a favorite suite for president theodore roosevelt. fun, huh?

here are my kids throwing dirt across the street from their place. this was one of those "stop that, but let me take a picture first" parenting moments.

here we are at the gazebo across from their house. yeah, that's me, just chatting away. typical.

here are my kids hanging out at the campus of the vermont law school where chelsea goes to school. the law school is just a five minute walk away and is on chelsea street. chelsea had included a handwritten note on her application saying something like "it's on chelsea street - it's meant to be."

after lunch, we went to the joseph smith birthplace memorial. the gardens are beautiful as was the weather.

our little poser.

susan - sorry i am late posting this. chelsea and jake looked great and they have a nice set-up there. it was fun to see them.


"is that lily holding baby lily?" -lily's response when i showed her a picture of gracie holding her when lily was a baby.

"drama class is actually a lot of fun." -gracie (this is only humorous in that grace seemed surprised by how much she likes drama class. this from my child who we refer to as "a drama queen" when she is not around.)

"mom, you can go with my teacher and i'll stay home with japie and evan. daddy can go to work, and i'll be the mommy" -lily, in response to learning that she would be going to preschool next year instead of this year.

"mom, if you don't get rid of that smell soon, you're going to have to buy a new car." -gracie when it took me a couple of days to clean out my car after returning from a road trip.

"mommy, they have dress-ups for you!" -lily while walking by the prom dress section at macy's.

"i said the prayer "last"-erday." -lily's replacement word for "yesterday."