Tuesday, November 25, 2008

another milestone

jake also hit a milestone this month when he turned 12 years old!!!

what to say about jake? he melts my heart everytime he smiles, giggles or seems to understand something. this year, i discovered he likes "The Beatles" and that it helps if we sing snippets of songs to make him aware of what's happening next. he willingly gives rides to his younger siblings by letting them sit on his lap. he loves outings as much as his siblings do (which is a lot).

on his birthday, we went and celebrated with my family in new york.

we had a celebration later with my mom (grandma ellie). jake unfortunately couldn't eat his piece of cake until the next day because he was sick.

my mom gave jake these therapy balls. nanna jean, aunt annie and uncle brian sent jake a great black pea coat with a zipper in the back. i'll have to post a picture of him in it. he looks so handsome. my friend, shirlene, helped me turn a throw blanket into a poncho with a hood for him. (not a super hard task, but as my sewing maching had a cobweb on it when i brought it up from the basement, you can imagine how grateful i was to have shirlene helping me.)
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happy 60th, dad!

my dad turned 60 at the beginning of this month. i thought i should acknowledge this milestone on my blog. my dad would walk to the ends of the earth to help any of his children or grandchildren. i am blessed to have him for a dad.
i've always loved this pic of my dad and gracie. my dad is a magnet to all the grandkids. he runs around and plays with them; they all just flock to him when were together. lily recently had a dream where a shark was after her, but she told me that "poppa monster saved her" from the shark. i think poppa will always be a safe place/person to land on for all my kids (as my grandparents were for me).

i always thought that my sister and i inherited our ability to make complete fools of ourselves from my mom. but it looks like we had no choice in the matter as both sides of the family seem to have this gene.

fritzy does look a little scared, eh?

so a very, happy, belated birthday to dad and all his aliases: poppa jim/ poppa monster/ padre! we still love you despite your attempts to spoil my kids rotten and drop the word "parent" from "grandparent"!
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car show

we took the kids to the car show in hartford this past saturday. who knew how much fun getting in cars (especially trunks), dancing in trucks, looking out sunroofs (sometimes hanging) and sitting on motorcycles could be. everyone had a great time.

this was a "how many hinckleys can you fit in a trunk" picture. yes, i do realize it is not a flattering picture of me; but as i mentioned in previous post, i learned from my dad that it was ok to make a fool of yourself. so it's really all my dad's fault.

this video game at the volkswagon station was a big hit with the kids. note that my hands on were on my lap. i was just needed to push the gas pedal; there was to be no help with the steering especially for a little two year old boy.

pat and i think we might be a dying breed of those who prefer manual or stick-shift cars. we were loving the toyota Rav4 until we found out it only comes with an automatic transmission.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

reasons to smile

i thought after my last post, it would be good to list some of the things that have made me smile recently.

* REASON #1: conversation and antics at the dinner table last night:

grace: "can i have another roll?"

me: "not until you eat more soup. it's actually the soup that is good for you."

grace: "maybe that's why i want more bread."

later on:

lily (after she's taken a spoonful of her juice and puts it in her mouth): "mmmm, drum punch!"

she actually should be saying "rum punch." bonus points if you can name the (kids') movie that she is quoting from.

*REASON #2: reading this: "anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." - oscar wilde. glad to know this; so now when my husband tries to pay all the bills, i can just remind how lucky he is to have such an imaginative wife.

*REASON #3: this recent conversation that i had with a dear person in my life who also happens to suffer from a delusional disorder. we were in the car listening to ABBA. (yes, i probably just embarassed my husband by admitting to listening to ABBA. i also danced and sang along to the songs in the credits at the movie theatre when i saw "mamma mia", but enough confessions for one post.)

my "friend": "so sad, i can't believe it's all gone."

me: "what?"

"friend": "sweden. it's gone now. just got overcome with floods and water."

me: "i've never heard that."

"friend": "yeah, it's gone. no more ABBA."

please tell me you find that funny too! (at least just a little bit. i learned years ago that you have to laugh at some of these delusions.) this story might also help you understand why i was in tears (from laughter) when i watched this. (thanks for the link, lindsey).

*REASON #4: I HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS EVAH!!!! friends who forgive you when you flood three floors of their house (this is an oldie, but too classic not to mention), friends who make you the most divine birthday cake and calls just to check up on you, friends who remember your birthday with handmade green earrings, friends who tell you that the dent you just added to the rear of her car gives it character, and friends who write thoughtful notes and bring you the yummiest chicken soup when you're family is sick (even though her husband is out of town). see, i told you they were the best!

birthday cake (yes, my birthday was in may. i'm a little late mentioning this.)
soup and rolls
bonus smile: after seeing skylos (our dog) was eating some cereal that spilled on the floor: "is cereal poison for skylos?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

my morning

warning: this post contains graphic content.

4:00 am wake up to fritz vomiting. clean up sheets and go back to bed. (amazingly, fritz wasn't a mess. tried to brush his teeth without success as he was already trying to go back to sleep.)

4:30 am hear jake over the monitor. come downstairs and start to tell him how it is too early to wake up (he's been struggling with the time change still) only to see when i come in his room that he is in the middle of vomiting. clean up jake.

4:45 am bathe jake. get him re-dressed. put him in his wheelchair and start giving him pedialyte through his feeding tube pump.

5:00 am lily gets up and has had an accident in her bed. change lily and put mary poppins on for her.

5:15 am take a shower.

5:30 am clean mattress. put bedding with vomit in the washing machine (on sanitary cycle).

5:45 am make gracie's lunch for school and finish dishes from last night.

6:00 am fritz wakes up.

6:15 am fritz starts with diarrhea.

6:30 am bathe a screaming fritz and wake up grace for school.

6:45 am get everyone breakfast

6:55 am watch grace go off to school. call jake's bus company to say he won't be going to school today.

7:00 am write this post while fritz and lily are both in my lap and arguing over who gets to play with jake's new ball that he got for his birthday.

sounds like a promising day, eh? actually on days like this, i always think: "some days are like that, even in australia." if you don't know what that means, then you must read this; (it's one of my faves).

for the record, this is my second morning in a row with a 4 am wake-up call. at least yesterday's wake-up call didn't include any vomit.

post script - 7:10 am jake throws up again. change his shirt and wipe down wheelchair and floor. start wondering if i have enough clean towels to make it through the day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

lowell, mass

after the exhibit, we explored lowell, mass. i think my favorite trips are when we have one thing on the agenda (this time visit the art exhibit), but the rest of the day is just spent exploring - no agendas, no rushing from place to place, no expectations, etc.... just unawaited discoveries and time together.

the visitors' center had a hands on exhibit for the kids. gracie really enjoyed pretending to weave.

gears on the wall of visitors' center.

all the kids on the trolley at the visitors' center.

after the visitors' center, we ate lunch at a mexican restaurant (there was a HUGE selection of restaurants) and had YUMMY ice cream at another place. then we walked around town where we found this train.

crossing the train track bridge. we saw a HUGE fish in the creek/river.

the kids really enjoyed this trolley playset.

isn't he handsome?

me, goofing off, trying to figure out how my friends take good self-potraits. also trying to experiment on how i can look the least fat in a pic. (i also have to add that i can actually see how my sister and i look alike in this picture. usually i can't see any resemblance other than our mannerisms).
pat joining in the fun.

then we added the boys.

finally the girls clue in and join us.

this (below) ensures a return trip to lowell. we discovered the new england quilt museum. we saved going in for when my mother-in-law is in town. i think bringing her here will be a must.

what the kids did

here are the kids hanging out at the U of MASS at lowell campus while we took turns looking at the exhibit.

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blake's exhibit

the past saturday, we ventured up to lowell, mass. to see our good friend's exhibit. the curator (?) at the exhibit was very nice and patient as our whole family looked at his paintings (or rather after a cursory look, the kids ran around outside while pat and i took turns looking more closely). anyhoo, here's a quote from blake that i think describes his art as well as life:

“Each painting contains many possible associations, making the point that meaning is always in play, constantly rearranged by our own thoughts and associations. The paintings, as in life, contain moments of clarity, if only fleeting, while resounding of uncertainty.”

his paintings all had simple titles, often not more than three words (i.e. one was named "punch"). at first, i thought my camera did a pretty good job capturing the paintings. but looking at it now, i realize how poor these pics are. they do nothing to capture the texture, color and detail. oh well, at least it gives you a feel for his art.

without further adieu, here are the paintings (posted with permission):

i believe this is one of his "wall follower" paintings. i didn't get a pic of the other one that had a clear part of cubicles in it.
you gotta love the tartan print in this painting. i seem to remember every painting having a small (much smaller than that tartan print) detail of bold color.

this was called "wednesday".

he had a funky stop motion movie too. the best part was when this "man like" thing walking around with an "animated" photograph for a face rips out of the background until just an outline of face remains (hope that made sense). i also liked when he pinned a fly on a string to the wall, but not sure why i liked that part.

i also learned that blake is very prolific - only one painting was completed when U of MASS decided to display his work - all other paintings were new. his work has changed a lot in recent years (according to the curator); his early work was very "representational." unfortunately, i missed one large painting that was on the back of a wall. i found out about it at lunch when lily told me it was her favorite; she also liked the painting "with blocks."
blake & jennah: feel free to correct me on any mistakes. thanks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

pasta 101

pat likes to occasionally make our family guess what the pasta name means in italian (i.e. tortellini means "bellybutton.") the other night at dinner, he was asking grace what she thought "linguine" means. the answer: "little tongues." i told him next time to please wait until i'm finished eating if the name is something like that. ugh.

bonus quote:
grace: "you know how your food can go down the wrong pipe. well, air can go down the wrong way too!"

Note from Pat: Tortelli does not mean "belly button." What this story lost in translation (from me to April) is that the shape of the tortellini was inspired by a belly button.

for your viewing pleasure

got a great laugh out of this when i saw it on scrappycook's blog. enjoy.

p.s. yes, i did vote today. and at the perfect time i might add. no lines @ 2 pm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

trick or treat


mary poppins

mary poppins (who lost her parasol at the second halloween party we attended the tuesday before halloween and before mom ever got a picture) in the carousel dream-like sequence

...and the train engineers.

i liked this decoration at one of the houses we trick or treated.

things you would have heard if you went trick or treating with us:
  • "say thank you" to which fritz would say "your welcome" at almost every door.
  • "how does fishnet stockings and high heels constitute as a costume?" this was answered when i overheard the girl tell someone at one door that she was "britney spears."
  • me having way too much fun with the train whistle that accompanied the boys' costumes.
  • lily asking after only a block if we could go home because she had enough candy. (this made me happy until she's begged twice today to go trick or treating again.)
  • the girls saying things like: "candy, get your candy here" to all the passerby trick-or-treaters and fritz echoing their every phrase.
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other thing i learned this week was that you can't be cheap and add food coloring to chocolate squares. i learned this when i made these (only the pumpkins w/green stems) for gracie's class. luckily, kids like to eat candy no matter how nicely spread the chocolate is and orange sugar sprinkles do a pretty good job of covering the bumps. oh, and i also learned it's very hard to find a white sunhat when it's not easter time. we finally ended up spray painted one of my mom's straw hats white for gracie's costume.


"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."