Friday, October 31, 2008

#3 hinckleys reunited

hinckley circle time (explanation to follow - jeanie - i couldn't download the pic you sent me of "pat leading the music." could you resend it?)

despite the sad circumstances, it was very nice to gather with pat's family this past july. every night we would gather outside for what pat eventually coined "circle time." i only seem to have gotten the camera out for one of these (and it might have been day, not evening cause little ones around), and have put together a slide show from the pictures i took. my nephews were especially photogenic that day/evening/whatever. i also enjoy the pics of our surroundings. my mother-in-law lives on such a beautiful, secluded (for being in a city) piece of property. it always feels like a haven away from the world when i visit.

# 8 misc. summer fun

i promised myself that i would be all caught up with my summer posts by halloween. so here it is halloween and i'm finally getting around to it (can we say procrastination?). i'm mainly doing this for my own record so feel free to skip the next myriad of posts.

summer would not be complete without swimming. every one of my kids loves the water as do i. we could all spend hours in the pool and greatly appreciate our friends' who have pools and allow us an escape on those hot summer days.

history was made this summer when grace actually let me pull out one of her "hanging by a thread" loose teeth. i just love these pics because you can see how scared she was to let me do it. we also had an incident this fall where i had to pull out an in-grown eyelash with a pair of tweezers. it took her a couple of days and many attempts, but she finally was able to compose herself enough for me to have the 10 seconds that i needed to pull it out.

we did do a few outings with a playgroup from our local ward (congregation). here are the kids seeing the animals at the U Conn. the next stop for this particular outing was to get ice cream from the dairy bar (yum!).

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pat and grace revisited the spot of gracie's "infamous" bike accident from summer 2007. she lost control after going down that hill and went into the ditch. luckily, there was no water in it the previous summer.
pat and grace before a daddy/daughter activity at church. (note our old green van in background).

no summer is complete without family walks and snuggles from older siblings.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

by grace

gracie's art teacher at school uses this site to post some of her artwork. pretty fun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

hinckley happenings

setting: grace's room, just before bed.
grace (lamenting): "why hasn't the tooth fairy come? it's been four days; usually it only takes her a couple of days."
yes, we are the world's lamest parents; (it had only been 3 nights - not that makes a much of a difference). i actually think grace must know the truth about the tooth fairy, but i think she wisely pretends not to know so that she can assure the visits (read money) still happen.

setting: i am in the living room with fritz and jake. from my vantage point, i can see lily in the dining room with her hands behind her back and a mischievious look on her face.
me: "lily, what are you doing?"
lily: "nothing."
lily (after some thought and recognizing that i'm not buying it): "praying."
oh yeah, we are in trouble with this one. what she was doing was sneaking halloween candy.

setting: pat is on his way to work. i'm looking at a picture of how i want to cut my hair (after a year and a half of growing it out, i think i finally have enough to donate.)
me (to pat): "so how bad am i going to look being fat with short hair?"
pat: [pause, silence]
me: "i guess that's one of those loaded questions that husbands shouldn't answer."
pat: "good-bye. i love you."
this is where pat not being the most talkative being is a very good thing.

finally, this morning when i woke up, i realized that i forgot (oh, the horror) to place my garnet hill order last night! i heart garnet hill, but it's out of my price range, so i usually just drool. but yesterday i got an email for an additional 20% off their october sale AND i had a $20 off coupon i could use. alas, sorrow, the sale ended last night and now the what would have been $20 skirt for grace is now $29, the what would have been $17 dress for lily is $40 and the what would have been $8 lunch bag is $16. oh well, there's usually clearances again in january. my husband is pretty happy that i didn't spend money that we don't really have.
yes, i do realize that i'm pathetic and that there are starving children in the world.

just a final note about that whole mammagram post. thanks to those who pointed out it's not a big deal. (i was exagerrating for humor; i wasn't that freaked out about it - just thought whoa, i'm getting old). in all seriousness, my grandma got breast cancer in her 40's so early screening is good idea and i will be getting one soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


side note - when i was 11, i was at an amusement park with my grandparents. i chose to race the purple airplane (lavendar was my fave color at the time. this was the only time in my life where my favorite color wasn't green; it didn't last for more than a year). well, that plane must have been broken because i kept winning. and every time you won, you got to exchange for a bigger stuffed animal. since i was there with my grandparents not my parents, they kept paying for me to play until i had the biggest purple gorilla in my possession. there was also quite a big line behind my airplane by the time i was finished. the number of the airplane was 11 and ever since then it has been my favorite number.

the purpose of this post though is to recap the past eleven days, so without further rambling (although some bullets do tend to ramble), i give you highlights from the past 11 days:

  1. had a school team meeting for jake in which i had to bring fritz. i had the bright idea that if i dropped lily off at preschool at the top of main street, and then made fritzy walk down the, let's say, 11 blocks to jake's school that he would be tired/exhausted (i.e. sit still for meeting). well, after several pulling on legs, laying down on pavement moments, i ended up carrying him most of the way. not one of my more brilliant moves.
  2. paid $314 vet bill for a regular check-up ($150 of that was buying ahead on basic medicines and another $50 or so for vaccines). also took jake to his physiatrist which he has seen on a monthly basis since he had his baclofen pump put in last december. we are finally at the right levels and don't have to seem the physiatrist again to february. yeah!
  3. attended a big conference at perkins school for the blind about education of visually impaired and/or multi-handicapped kids. (once again, i now want to move to massachusettes so that jake can go to this school.) the key note speaker was a deaf/blind teacher from texas. she was amazing. maybe not the most organized speaker, but every other sentence was a pearl of wisdom. i could have listened to her all day.
  4. had two speech sessions for fritz. he's just talking more and more. some of my faves are when he comes in and says: "what you doing, mommy?", "i found ______" (whenever he sees something he wants to point out to you), "blankie gone." (said very dramatically and is his way of saying "where are my blankies?"), singing the alphabet song and, of course, the ever present "thank you, mommy" which is very clear now and whose charm comes mainly from the frequency and mundaneness of some of the things i do that warrant his thanks.
  5. found a new book club to join and attended my first meeting.
  6. got the whole family all dressed up for a spectacular halloween party.
  7. had to pull over about six times on a drive to my parents house because our van's fuel filter was clogged and it kept losing power. had to then leave my van in new york to be fixed and drove my dad's mazda 5 with satellite radio home. this was then my car for the next three days. became a huge fan of satellite radio. i especially loved the broadway channel and had fun remebering some songs i hadn't heard for years. (really, stacey, how could i have forgotten about "anthem" from chess. i think i'll start making itune download requests to pat.)
  8. took my youngest two kids to dondero orchards for apple picking and warm cider donuts. i heart. fall.
  9. started eating sugar (other than my lindt truffle reward) again. i do have a rule that i can't have one of my lindt truffle balls if i've eaten sugar that day. it's amazing how i really will hold off on sugar some days so i can have my truffle. and now at least when i eat my truffles, it's only one rather than three or so. i'm considering this progress. now if i could only convince my scale that it's progress too.
  10. was a little surprised that pat offered to take the girls to high school musical 3 (they went this afternoon.) but when he got home and said the best parts of the movie were seeing clips of wasatch mountains, i understood better.
  11. celebrated the birthday of a one year old and 30 year old (both of whom are very dear to me). at the 30 year old's celebration, we tried to re-enact that charlie's angels pose. the results were pretty good, but i'm feeling the need to perfect this shot. i might be making my friends continue to pose for me. kudos to tice natalie d. for having such a straight face.

pumpkin carving

my parents had my three youngest kids last saturday while pat and i went to a conference. they took my kids to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. pat, jake and i joined them on saturday night. sunday afternoon, we all carved pumpkins together. i was happy with how they turned out, but fear they will be rotten by halloween. thus, we took some pics last night.

grace chose the bat stencil and helped for about 3/4 of the time before turning it completely over to nanna nan to finish.

lily chose bits and pieces from different stencils to come up with her face.

i chose the ghost for fritz.

before sunset, all lit up.

after sunset, all lit up.

hurst farm

this past wednesday, we took a trip to hurst farm with lily's preschool class.

lily with her teachers.

first the tractor took us to the turnip field where lily and fritz got to each pick two turnips.

then the tractor took us to the fields to feed the cows...

...and goats.

then back on the tractor again where we were too distracted to look at mom.
the final stop on the tractor ride was the pumpkin patch.
Posted by Picasa after a snack, the kiddos were able to walk around a mini corn maze (my battery had died by then). then time for home (after of course, mom went into the farm store; i just can't seem to resist them).

Monday, October 20, 2008

well played

well played #1
for dinner tonight, i made potatoe leek soup. grace, my picky eater / not a fan of onions daughter, walks in the kitchen when just the leek and butter are cooking in the pan.

grace: "what's for dinner?"

me: "potato soup."

grace: "what's that cooking in the pan?"

me: "it's a vegetable."

grace: "what kind of vegetable?"

me: "leek."

grace: "what does leek taste like?"

me, (very enthusiastically): "oh grace, wait and be surprised."

later at dinner:

grace: "i just love this soup."

yes, on occasion i can be capable of some brilliant parenting. i doubt grace would have loved the soup so much if she knew leek was in the onion family. oh, and it probably didn't hurt that dinner was really late tonight and she was starving.

well played #2
how fun was it to have phil's dad at the pit stop on amazing race last night? i still stand by my belief that phil is the best reality t.v. host.
the clip doesn't show the best part where phil's dad offers to give the last team a hug because he feels so bad for them. the dad is also crying with the team. so sweet.

well played #3
for whatever reasons, my youngest two love caillou. for those who haven't had the pleasure, caillou is "...just a kid whose four" (trust me, the theme song is going through my head as i write this) and also happens to have the whiniest voice to hit the planet. but today, as my kids were watching, i overheard a difference. sure enough there was a new episode, and "they" (producers, directors, voice animators, angels, godsends??) decided to have caillou speak in a voice about 30 DECIBELS lower than usual!!! hallelujah!! how sweet it is! so thank you, thank you PBS for listening to what i can only imagine was throngs of preschool parents begging for respite from that voice. (really isn't having to hear our own children when they whine enough?)
yes, i do realize that i could just say "no" to my kids watching this show; but alas, i have some weak parenting skills too. sometimes it's just easier to give them what they want, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

quote of the (yester)day

"i can be talkative!"* -Pat

*in fairness to pat, he did add a "sort of" after a brief pause (and maybe incredulous gasp from me). in actuality, i'm proud of him. he was telling me how in a recent business meeting, he had to be the one to keep the conversation going. i'm all for pat being talkative, and would even welcome more posts by him on this blog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2 hours 45 minutes and 50 seconds

She did it! April ran (and completed) the Hartford Half Marathon. I don't know if this is her official time, but according to the photo... Speaking for the family, we are all very proud of her determination (or is that stubborness?) in setting a goal and fulfilling it.

At risk of sharing an "unauthorized" photo, here is her cheering section that saw her just after mile 10.

Way to go April!!!

(Just to be clear, this is Pat writing (as you can tell by the use of Capitalization), not April writing about herself - that would be silly, and she would never do that.)

edits by april: my net time was 2:40:34! i'm the one in the pink shirt. i should have known when pat offered me to wear his running shirt that i looked bad (he never makes outfit suggestions), but instead i wore the XL shirt i had bought the day before and was too tight on me. hence no more pics, people. i'll be running again next year and i better be thinner by then! who wants to join me? if anything, i think i proved anyone can do it. (oh, and for the record, the man with one leg who used crutches came in faster than me. so again, anyone can do it.)

p.s. i must be silly since i'm writing about myself, but i think you all knew that anyway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

she can vote!

today i went to the federal court in hartford to watch my dear friend, chelsea, be naturalized as a citizen of the united states. it was a great experience. i loved seeing all the nicely dressed people ready to become u.s. citizens. i believe that there were 54 people receiving their citizenship, representing 26 countries. here's chelsea and her family waiting to go up and receive her certificate. her husband and baby are already american citizens and so i joked that her son could always rub it in that he was a citizen first. (yeah, once again, i know i'm so funny.)
here's chelsea with the judge (who had already taken off her zebra striped reading glasses). when she first came in, the judge asked the requests and the court officer said how many people were requesting citizenships and how many name changes. the judge than granted those requests. then all the nominees for citizenship were asked to stand and raise their right hands while the clerk read an oath of allegiance (which repeatedly mentioned being willing to bear arms and go to war when ordered to by law) to which all the nominees repsonded: "i will." then the judge stepped down and awarded the certificates and the clerk became the "court photographer". i loved hearing where all the individuals were from and seeing them gratefully come up and receive their citizenship. there were even a couple of shall we say "quite senior" nominees, and i was especially touched to see it mattered to them.
chelsea and her family with the judge.
chelsea and her cheering squad outside the court building. immediately after this picture, chelsea went to register to vote!!!
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i helped "americanize" chelsea more by making her do the charlie's angels pose with me. although in this picture, i think i was the only one really in character. i love how laurel looks like she's doing a "tina fey pose of sarah palin" (did that make sense? if not, watch this clip).
yeah, and i didn't quite remember the pose right. laurel was holding the "rifle"* but i guess she was suppose to be in the middle. next time i find someone crazy enough to do the pic with me, i'll do better. (for the record: my sister, cousin brit and i have done this pose on a couple of occasions now.)

*pat told me this morning that it's a walkie-talkie, not a rifle. i forget that charlie's angels was in the day when life was still sacred on t.v. and rather than being shot people were knocked out cold by a swift kick, a hefty punch or a strong whack over the head with a ceramic plate. i'm feeling the need to redo this pic; tice and nat - are you up for it on tuesday?

and so it begins...

i made this for pat's birthday, this (scroll down a little) for a social at my house, and this for my stepmother's birthday. i've bought raspberry herbal tea which my friend kristen has told me will get rid of my sugar cravings. now it's time for the diet to begin. my goal: no sweets until jake's birthday on nov. 15th (i will allow myself one of these each night if i have eaten no sugar that day), i will eat more fruits and vegetables (at least 3 servings daily), i will eat smaller portions, i will snack frequently so that i will not get too hungry and overeat.

I'm hoping that posting on this blog will actually commit me to start this regiment as leaving a comment on my sister-in-law's blog that i would start dieting has done nothing.

she's baaaack!!!

this what lily chose to wear to school the other day: polka dot tights, flowered shirt, flowered sundress, flowered sweater, striped capris, blue socks (on top of tights) and shoes. pat told me i was just feeding the fire when i suggested she wear her dalmation coat with it. yes, pat had the honor of bringing her to school that day.
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Friday, October 3, 2008

pray tell me

when, pray tell me, did i get so old that my doctor would just casually ask during a physical if i've had a mammogram??!! what?? are you kidding me??!! she explained that "they" recommend you have a mammogram by age forty as a baseline, but i am 3 1/2 (practically 4 - well, not really - but not quite 3 1/2 yet either) glorious years away from that dreaded number (30 really wasn't bad, but i have mixed feelings about 40). so i think i will be waiting a little while before i do that rite of passage.

i also had some regular blood work done and i am secretly hoping that they call back and tell me how low my thyroid is and give me medicines to just zap all this extra weight away. (i don't really want health problems; it's just sounds like a nice thought sometimes.) most likely, i will have to lose the weight the good old-fashioned way. more on this later.


"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."