31 May 2010

It shouldn't EVER be all about me, but....

And it's not. Trust me. I vent here far more than I do in real life. Actually, hubby gets most of it. Olivia gets a fair amount too. But .... I keep a lot to myself. Until this blog, I would journal. The journal can get pretty ugly - and did.... all through my Dad's cancer, my one after the other surprise pregnancies ;-), and... other difficulties. Some great, warm, lovey entries that I love reading, but... others - yukky -and we all have those days AND we all need to read and remember and learn, right?

Anyway, I feel such a closeness to Olivia. I mean - it was just she and I for a while - and now, I am fiercely protective of her. I also want the absolute best for her, and I want her to experience so much in life. I've been thinking about that a bit this evening. I've always put her in the best schools, bought her the best clothes, exposed her to all sorts of academic, sports, performance, social and personal opportunities. If she needs a laptop, she gets one - if she wants to shop, we shop. You get the picture. I do make her do some chores - we expect good grades - we expect honesty, and..... we make it clear to her that her opportunities are privileges and that she is deserving, but.. lucky to have what she does.

It's funny, but... in all her activities, she does excel, and she really relishes the opportunities and the experiences. She has fantastic close friends, she puts her all into sports, she expects the best from herself in academics, and ... she embraces everything - from camp to vacations to getting braces to dealing with difficult people in her life, etc. - really remarkable (when we were out the other night, we saw friends who asked if their daughter's school, Shadyside Academy, would be getting Olivia, and... we said that she had actually chosen Oakland Catholic. They were disappointed - had hoped Olivia would be going to Shadyside. I thought, then, it is nice how many people do remark that she is such a sweet, thoughtful, interesting girl - totally her own person. That makes us proud). It's "funny" that she excels (odd word choice, I suppose) because.... well - we must be doing something right, right ;-)?

I noticed today that she forgot to put cross country in her 8th grade bio in the yearbook. I was surprised because she did SO well in it for years - five, I think. This last year, her coach really wanted her to run, but she wanted to do yearbook and focus on preparing for high school lacrosse - more - basketball, soccer, confirmation, etc. Anyway, she said she thought she was only supposed to put her last year of activities in the yearbook. This was funny to me because my senior year of high school, I thought the same thing and, so, left off gymnastics and cheerleading (yeah - you won't hear me mention that again :-). Gymnastics had been HUGE for me, and yet, I forgot it - just like Olivia and her cross country. I think it does show a bit of a humble, honest, "want to do the right thing" side of both of us. I feel like I'm in good company. Oh - and I have to mention here that I did a swimming rematch with her today (a couple years ago - six months pregnant with Lil, I beat her - I thought freestyle - turns out it was butterfly), and this time - she beat me! Freestyle. Good for her (cuz I'm still a pretty good swimmer - though not sure I want to try fly again :-).

So... while I wish so much for her - so many adventures, etc. - I do feel protective and nervous for what she might encounter. I also can't help but reminisce about my own past adventures - rock climbing, hiking and cliff diving ;-) in Maine - hangin' with movie stars and jumping off tour boats in Newport RI - weeks in Chicago trolling bars with drag queens / crazy performances and the best restaurants with friends - weeks in New York seeing shows, shopping then taking in some downtime on Montauk Pt. - dinner atop high-end restaurant terraces in Rome with international corporate leaders - standing in a sweaty tank dress on that same trip on a street in Rome watching a fashion show - London, Paris, Los Angeles, Vail - too much fun in this life. I am a lucky girl too.

So ... we'll keep working on her - making her the best person we can and leaving the rest to her. I think she's in good hands. Sigh. Think I'm done here tonight :-).

Photo: Olivia in her cross country uniform a year or two ago. Good times.

Today ...

So .. yesterday ... we opted out of our pool party at the club - instead, took a long walk to an open field to launch a toy rocket with the neighbors - bought some frozen treats to enjoy - cooked out and tried to keep organizing our clothes for Good Will, our toys, our ski clothes from the winter that needed a home. I quite like walking the neighborhood, barefoot - hanging out, doing cartwheels - watching the kids play duck duck goose - sitting on the grass talking to hubby and friends - like I don't have a care in the world. I think I had three fudgscicles :-).

I'm still worried about my Mom - had intended to have a chat with her about my challenges with Lil (who, yesterday alone, got into Olivia's old American Girl stuff - Milo's preschool bag that he brought home last day and more - in fact, we're still looking for the little ladybug that bore his name in his "cubby" all year. Love it that she's so independent, but...... she's a tricky one). So.. wondering if my Mom will be thinking today, as I am, of years past - watermelon, brownies, fresh tomatoes and corn - eating burgers and hot dogs and playing badmitten and wiffle ball in their sloped, shady yard - sitting on the wraparound porch until well past dark.... Geez... REALLY bittersweet for me today - brings tears and smiles, ya know? I know she'll miss my Dad, and I know she doesn't feel well. All that makes me feel bad. I wish things were the way they used to be.

I'm being rushed today because we are going to see hubby's family. I am not on my own timeline today, and I will kinda "hang" by myself for part of the day. Not a problem. We have herb and tomato purchasing plans later ;-). Maybe Shrek the Final Chapter (watched The Princess and the Frog last night for family movie night - I really like it. Digressing again .....All good, right?

Stay safe - remember the reason for the day - and have fun!

30 May 2010

There are things that concern me, but...

... my hands are tied. And that frustrates me. I'm worried about my Mom right now. She isn't feeling well - high fever - they suspect pneumonia or H1N1. She is getting better - although she still sounds horrible. I made sure today, on the phone, that she did see a doctor - that my brothers are checking on her - and that she is on some kind of antibiotic (just in case they've missed the pneumonia). I worry because she is Type II Diabetes (on her Mom's side - southerners who cook Southern - and... on her Dad's side - Native American and, therefore, prone to such illnesses...). Anyway, she can't check her blood sugar this week because her diet has been a steady one of chicken soup, crackers and 7Up. I'll call her tomorrow to check in. Hopefully, she'll answer her phone. Earlier this week, Olivia and Enzo called her with their respective graduation stories and to thank her for cards, etc. (invitations to come see the ceremonies and stay with us were declined - phone calls, texts, emails to my brothers were - from one, not returned / ignored - from another - another polite decline - though Olivia did get a text on her big day), but she didn't answer - two days in a row! She now tells me she must have been on the phone with my youngest brother. I know that means that she will not click over to get my call. Just how it is with my family.

Maybe you're wondering why I didn't even know she was sick. No one told me. In fact, we invited everyone for Easter - for graduation and for Memorial Day. My brother's son turned one. We sent a gift - inquired about a party - heard nothing back. All invitations were declined. I called my Mom several times this week. No return call - no email or other message from my brothers saying she was sick.

Maybe you've guessed by now that this is how we roll - this is par for the course with my family, so to speak - this is normal for me. Over the years, my Dad's warm, loving, noisy, interesting, big family kept us occupied with bigger than life holiday dinners, picnics, gift exchanges, hiking vacations to the Canaan Valley or Disney vacations together, etc. They are responsible for most of my happy memories. My Mom's family was more sedate. I had my dance, and that kept my Mom's interest (and my brothers, to this day, like to tease me about it, so that's fun for them). My Dad was my champion - praised my grades, loved all my activities, listened to my stories, really liked who I was. I loved him, and I miss him.

So... I worry about my Mom. I'm sorry that she's alone, having lost her partner of many years. She was a good mother, all in all. Of course she was. I love her. I wish she thought more of me, but... I should know by now that boys are her favorite, and I really am Ok with that. I have concerns, though. I worry about my brothers and their finances, their life choices - a lot of things. I know they have her audience right now, and I .... well.... I worry. You would too. It is not good - this situation. My offer to come asap was declined. She is pretty direct about saying she's too old to deal with my wild brood, and it is hard for me to get away on my own. My brothers come into town (two hours away) for football games all winter long (Go Steelers), but... feel that I live too far to have a continued close relationship in other ways. I miss our holidays. I miss talking to my Mom without outside interference, and... like I said, I worry. And - yeah - I get sad. I have fond memories of living in Europe too, but... I already know that my brothers and my brother's son will get everything that was my Dad's - all our family memories from a life lived here, overseas and .... well - very well - rich, fulfilled you know... maybe you have similar childhood memories - mixed, good and bad, but... memories, nonetheless - times that people in your lives for less than a couple years couldn't fathom (admittedly, I don't know my brothers' latest wives / girlfriends that well - and what I do know.... well.... worries me - could ya guess ?;-).

Both my Mom's and Dad's families had relatives who fought in many World Wars - wars on US soil - Vietnam and more..... I'll think of them tomorrow, and I'll also think of the times I've had with family on this day - Memorial Day - over the years (and special prayers will also go to my Aunt, my Dad's sister, who has been ill lately). I will make the best of the day tomorrow. I will call my Mom (I feel just terrible that she is that sick - I'm a worrier - and I'm surprised by it). I will enjoy my family. I will remember my Dad who was also in the army for a bit. Stay safe! Spend a moment or two in reflection.

Still resting myself, but... I have a task for YOU :-).

If you've been reading Amy at Callapitter like I asked you to, you will know by now that the treehouse that she is trying to build in her kids' memory (Kate, 6, and Peter, 4, died last year in a car accident - Amy continues on with bravery, love and hope - currently, in culinary school, she is a world traveler AND, hopefully, an urban developer in a sense. Digressing...) is being temporarily halted by protests from, apparently, Regent Square residents (come on, neighbors) AND sharp-tongued, misinformed staffers in a certain city council office. So... please check out the link from my last post - read Callapitter and That's Church - both on my blog list .... AND, email this guy with your support of the project: doug.shields@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

Certainly, we don't want to encourage a mob mentality (because that rarely gets productive results), and... there are actually some valid points on both sides, so.... it would be nice for everyone to send some informed and rational thoughts on solutions, thoughts, concerns to this office.


29 May 2010


Pool. A new recipe. Olivia to last boys lacrosse game (go East End!). Enzo and Milo want to play outside. Lil is in love with her water table. Last night, hubby and I grabbed a hot dog (veggie Chicago style for me :-) at our neighborhood place, D's - then took a little drive and ended up wandering Squirrel Hill a bit and reminisced about back when Olivia was little and that was our 'hood - our relationship was newer - we would take long walks at night and look inside lighted windows and think about our future. Now, we have a bunch of kids, and... just a lot going on.... It really is all we've ever wanted. We talked a little about hubby's days as starving artist and musician - my brief stint as a dancer, and ... vowed to indulge out interests a bit more. Find something you like to do today, and.... do it!

Photo: My little ones like to pick flowers for me :-).

28 May 2010

Last Day of School

Enzo signs shirts (designed by Daddy) at today's big school party. Last day for kindergarten! Have a safe and happy summer, all!

Also, check out the Kate and Peter Memorial Playground effort that I've talked about before (and visit Amy at Callapitter - see my blog list). A great cause - needs some help to move forward. Worth a read here.

Best of the Bede

Today was Best of the Bede - a big school party - and my fundraiser. I hoped for a safe and rain-free day, and the weather gods obliged me. I was, for the record, the crazy person colorfully adorned in the purple skull and crossbones t-shirt - just in case my volunteers couldn't find me ;-).

With the big stuff that has been occupying my life lately behind me, I am now free to think about what I want to do for fun over the next few months (summer :-). So... here's a little something on my mind: If you're U2 fans, like we are in this house, here's an interesting tidbit about Bono and a back injury that is, at least, postponing the US tour (hope it's not canceled - has been a while since I saw them - think I was like 8 months pregnant with Milo last time - freaked the ushers out as I careened on the edge of the balcony and stairs trying to find my seat :-).

And on a lighter note.... we are supposed to have sun and no rain all weekend. Hello, pool at Edgewood Club! And... in keeping with the lovely weather theme, my Milo picked me a flower yesterday after Enzo's end of year show (during which Enzo waved at and pointed to me the whole time :-) - big sis, Olivia, looking on the whole time from the audience) - he picked it outside the school - in typical, thoughtful "Milo style" - roots, dirt clods and all :-).

One last thing ... whoever put the Deceptively Delicious book by Jessica Seinfeld on my porch this morning - thank you, but... I don't know who you are :-). I have talked about my challenges in getting Milo to eat ANYTHING healthy to so many people, I cannot think who it would be. Anyway - very thoughtful - thanks again, friend.

Photo: Me - as recently photographed by Milo (he is figuring prominently in this post, isn't he?).

In closing ..... thank you Olivia and friends for your help this morning, and.... so glad my sweet Enzo had a good time with his friends (his last day today :-). Thanks to hubby too for running soccer and t-ball a bit.... tres helpful :-). Thanks to all of you, friends and fellow Bede parents & teachers, for helping today - truly a successful event.

27 May 2010

Two things... and I will NOT let one ruin my day ...

Starting with something positive.... Thank you to my wonderful, sweet mail carrier who saw that my little Lil was coming home the other day with a skinned knee (my little drama queen cupcake spent the rest of the weekend being carried from place to place - to her dollhouse - to lunch - to the couch, etc.) and gave her a baggie full of delicious gingerbread cookies to make her feel better. SUCH a nice thing to do. Not many people are willing to reach out to strangers anymore. Although - as members of the same community, we should be doing that everyday for one another. Anyway.... what a great, supportive gesture. I meant to mention it earlier.

OK - Now - so the Pro-Life protesters with nothing better to do than stand where young, impressionable, innocent, preschool-age children going to the store or to lunch with their parents can see them should remember to - First, not show such graphic images (and - were they 8 feet tall? Ten feet? Doesn't matter - my kindergartner coming home from his fun, positive, end of year school show was near tears and will now have nightmares) to a presumably G-rated audience. I'm assuming you people are the same people who pontificate on the corruption of youth and the excessive violence, sexuality, etc. in society. I guess it's Ok then to show mutilated babies - AND pass them off as photos of early termination pregnancies. They are not - obviously. These are near full term babies who have been subjected to other horrible medical procedures and probably for reasons, obviously, not decided upon by parents but probably sadly impressed upon them - either late-term pregnancy issues or other awful problems OR - these photos are the result of some illegal procedures, which is a different matter entirely - AND agree or disagree, I still would not drag kids into it - and I mean like, again, kindergartners and preschoolers - inappropriate no matter how you look at it. Doing this makes light of other people's pain and it exploits the young lives lost to such tragedies. Second - and I say this neither Pro-Life nor Pro-Choice - please UNDERSTAND what you are protesting and what you are presenting. I respect everyone's opinion. I do not respect uninformed, ignorant propaganda enthusiasts with, obviously, no regard for the community they are trying to save. Pathetic. Thank you - you idiots at Edgewood Towne Centre have done nothing but hurt people today. Nothing else. Well... you did get me to mention it.... and maybe that is your ridiculous method... who knows.... I had to say something....

OK - AND I will also END on a positive note.... I got a shoe coupon today for DSW. B-day coming up (so happy, happy to all you other fellow Geminis :-). I love shoe coupons :-). Besides... the sound of my Enzo and Lil outside playing "zoo keeper" and tag with the neighbor kids AND my Olivia and Milo making cupcakes together in the kitchen - it's just like music to my ears... if you like music that involves a lot of yelling and mixer sounds, that is. So there ;-p.

I've even included some photos: Lil on a walk - just down the street - with Daddy... this afternoon. See... all good. My rants are harmless ;-).

Head above water ... barely...:-)

Ok - so - deeeeep breath - today.... we get up late - having dealt with late nights for all kids last night - grad party (all had a great time - thanks, Caroline) and kindergarten show (fabulous - Enzo stole the show with his theatrics during the Italian song - one teacher said he was "really feeling his Italian" - my little guy would gesture, throw back his head when they sand certain words, etc. - so funny - though, some other mothers / friends and I had to wrangle little ones outside, rolling down the hill, running getting sweaty...).

Anyway - it is Milo's last day of P3, so we gather some stuffed animals to peruse in order to choose one to be his companion for the Teddy Bear Picnic. He chooses a stuffed dog - we get Enzo properly suited up in a tie-dye-ish shirt and casual shorts / sneaks for his End of Year Show. Lil and I go to gymnastics then deliver ALL of the fund-raising t-shirts to the school (I saw Milo and his class with their picnic gear and stuffed animals in the grassy shade as we drove by - so cute. It's always a little sad leaving the 3 year old room - both my boys loved each teacher in the room, but... Mrs. Hartman, one who understands boys inherently, will not be in P4 - quite an adjustment ;-). Olivia now tells me she wants to go to the End of Year Show, so... we're back to get her. I am going through the PILES of beautiful artwork from my Milo - I am basking in the warm glow of the t-shirts working out well AND hearing many little friendly voices calling to my Enzo on the playground as I left the school this am.

Good day. Really good day. I am always overwhelmed by remnants of a busy week - discarded cups of whole grain goldfish crackers, dirty socks, bath toys, etc. all over the house. A brownie pan picked clean but left on the stove - a sauce-y pasta bowl left in the sink..... ugh. But.... I got a wonderful email from one of my co-workers on my recent freelance project (we put together a freakin' book!), and it was very nice - along the lines of "honor to work with you", and I absolutely feel the same and must return one asap. Also, I found this morning that my kids' beloved Miss Beth in gymnastics is also a dancer like me. We had a little chat this morning - nice to connect with other dancers (a lot of my former dancer friends read me here - love that I've reconnected with you guys, btw :-). Anyway, Beth dances with The Pillow Project. Nice to talk to someone with mutual friends / acquaintances in the area.... always a good thing.

Anyway - my Lil beckons - wants me to play with sea creatures in our water table in the backyard (I know - I know - like 2,000 degrees outside, but... what fun, right?). So.... I'm not concentrating on the mundane today - I'm concentrating on my new connections and my newfound sense of self. Cuz... remember, it IS the little things - like this morning as I made Enzo's lunch, I noticed that his lunch box is really dirty, and I thought..... just one more day - this lunch box needs to make it one more day, and... it hit me that I could remember buying it for the new school year like it was YESTERDAY! So... time passing....

Hope you guys are having good days / weeks too. Enjoy yourselves - enjoy your families today!

Photo: A message from my 14 year old :-).

26 May 2010

Donuts with M & this may be as "crazy" as E gets ...

Ok - so starting off a post with the word "donuts" does not bode well for someone who has just declared a big time workout and diet plan as part of her life. However.... this donuts thing is actually just a little tradition / ritual that Milo and I have developed over the long winter. I think I've mentioned before that Milo is my gymnast - a boy following in the footsteps of his equally limber, spazzy and hyper Mommy (that would be me). Many stories have floated around for years in my family of me climbing trees, swing sets, tennis fences, etc. - flipping when I was only three years old - so "spirited" that my Mom sought help from child psychologist friends not wanting to "break my spirit", but... freaking out because she had trouble controlling me (Sound familiar? I have relayed many a similar story about Milo.). Anyway, I spent years in gymnastics - 12 or more - half of that as a serious competitor - more years after that as a coach (as recently as six years ago or so - lifetime love. Digressing....). So... Milo is the only of my children to follow in my footsteps.

Every Wed. for well over a year now, we have been attending class with Miss Beth - executing perfect dive rolls on the crash mats, front limbers on the floor, and straddle jumps on the trampoline (and he really can do all that and more at four - totally cool :-). Afterwards, rain or shine - snow or rain (and I really do remember navigating the difficult, not at all plowed, city parking lot to keep our ritual alive during "snowmagedon 2010" (how do you spell that anyway?).

Here's how it goes: We hit Dunkin Donuts. I get coffee and Milo gets either a white cake donut with white icing and rainbow sprinkles or the same chocolate version. Sometimes two. We sit in front of the fake fireplace on metal chairs in this busy Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and.... "have a conversation" as Milo says. "You sit there, Mommy, and I'll sit here." He likes to sit across from me so he can talk to me (I think this stems from once, when he wanted me to sit on a greasy, sticky part of the "pleather" couch, and I told him I should sit across from him to enjoy our conversation. He remembered this, apparently. It became important to him. This was our time together. And.... it still is. Now, it is hot and humid - sometimes it rains so hard, we have to run for it, but..... we always stop for our donuts and conversation. Me and my Milo.

Now today is Enzo's kindergarten graduation. It is more of a silly show. I saw it once when he performed for the incoming kindergarten class (which will also be his new class - and is the reason I attended that performance too). It is actually pretty great - he plays a musical instrument (chosen to do so - I'm so proud) - he sings in Italian (Old MacDonald, but... hey... I can't do it - and, so, remain impressed) - his teacher plays the guitar and they do these exceedingly cute arm gestures and.... well, I love this kind of thing. The assignment is to dress crazy, and... as you can see in the photo I've included (the other is a self-portrait of me and Milo), my Enzo is calm and cool in front - wearing a striped shirt and plaid tie, he is still well-dressed in nice jeans, Adidas sneaks. In fact, the other kids have feathers and underpants on their heads, and..... Enzo is lookin' pretty conservative. He says he wants to go a little crazier tonight (I'm thinking snowman pj bottoms), but... we'll see :-).

So... off we'll go to watch Enzo. Olivia has a close friend's graduation party (she has seen Enzo perform so can miss tonight) - plus she has spent a good portion of the day working out at Club One with another friend. My Mom sent "Master Enzo" a graduation card (too funny) and included a ten dollar bill. He will be thrilled. Hubby is picking up our fundraiser t-shirts this afternoon, so we'll spend a portion of the evening sorting those. For now, I feel calm - Milo, Lil and friend, Finley, are playing with the water table out back - I am looking forward to tonight - 8th grade dinners and picnic behind me - billed my freelance project - fundraiser looking good for Friday...... Sigh.

25 May 2010

Go Enzo!

We need a break :-)!

Hubby and I grabbing some rare, recent hot tub time (spring break-ish time period maybe?). Busy lately .... will need some relaxation again soon :-).

24 May 2010

A day off.

8th grade class picnic today at Wheeling Park. So.... taking a break from rambling and pontificating, but... have a few tidbits to share...

Interesting story on Facebook and privacy or the lack thereof, that is.

Mindless but fun fashion story / spotlight.

And... that's it today!

23 May 2010

Morning at our house...

Sunday mornings are pancakes, bacon and coffee. We watch CBS Sunday Morning, and we wrangle kids (don't hit your brother, who spilled syrup?, you can have juice NOT orange soda, etc.). Mornings are NOT quiet in our house - not restful - not organized, but... they are OUR mornings. Anyway, here are some photos - Morning in our bedroom and hubby and I and our kids in our "Sunday best" :-).

Thoughts and prayers today to the many friends and family members going through difficult times today. It has been an odd week - news of surgeries, terrible illnesses and other traumatic events. It has all sort of made me reflect on way back when my Milo was in the NICU as a newborn. A nun (Sister Lisa :-) asked us if we wanted her to pray for Milo before his surgery (he was in renal failure - though his problem had been identified and it was going to be solved - thankfully). Anyway, I listened to her - as I sat there, surrounded by other worried parents and babies far sicker than mine - some who wouldn't make it, and I noted that she did not pray for recovery. As a religious person, of course, she asked for Jesus to be with Milo on his journey, wherever that would take him. She was young and approachable and so sincere. And... as I sat there, a worried parent, a lifetime skeptic raised in a deeply religious environment, I thought it is interesting how we are all united in helplessness as well as the desire to help - to offer support and comfort to those who so need someone to lean on or to tell them that, whatever happens, it will be OK. So... send good thoughts - no matter what you believe or don't believe.... to those who need your support or comfort of any kind. Even take 30 seconds today to do that. My two cents... again.... take it for what it's worth....

22 May 2010

East End Varsity Girls Lacrosse - undefeated!!!

They beat Upper St. Clair, 12 - 2 today. Here they are (Olivia and team mates):

Just a day....

Enjoy your Saturday, all. I have two of my kids and a sleepover friend sleeping in today (my little Milo is sick - the other two are lazy 8th graders :-) - first of many grad parties last night) - and, truthfully, the other night, I scrambled to make spaghetti and meatballs then ran off to lacrosse game at our home field, Winchester Thurston, and ... the kids found playmates, team played well, but.... we were there sooo late - literally after dark! Though the girls did win, and... if they win today in Upper St. Clair, they are UNDEFEATED!! - So.... my point? Everyone is way tired! Milo even told me he got too tired at "the cross" the other night. Everyone liked my spag and meatballs, though - think I hit on a good meatball recipe - if I can duplicate it, I'll post it :-) - OR, by all means, if any of you have one to share, please do! I'm always looking for the elusive "best meatball recipe ever" :-).

Hubby took Lil to one of our neighborhood haunts, Square Cafe, for breakfast with his brother, who is in town briefly (yesterday, when hubby put car seats back in his car, Lil said she was going on a trip with Daddy, so he had to ride her around the block. She was so happy :-). I'm back in that space today where I've got more project wrap-up, too much laundry, messy bedrooms and dirty dishes (plus, Milo is going through a stage where he'll reject the first 4 or 5 shirts I present to him in the morning - and now, he's begun doing the same with pants. I pick my battles, so he has been leaving the house in odd combinations like thermal snowboarder shirts and micro mini shorts one size too small. Awesome). Anyway .....

In closing, here is a helpful blog article on what to do if your gmail account is hacked (which has happened to me recently - and others I know).

AND ... here is a story on Enterprise Rent a Car that is very similar to something that recently happened to us (car inspected when turned in - company rep drives it away - THEN we get a call saying there are scratches on it that we have to pay for a couple of hours later - hmmm....).

Lastly.... As you know, I am a chef and food show fan, so.... next season of The Next Food Network Star starts 6 June! Fun. Can't wait.

Photo: Lil "jiggin' it" (dancing :-) on the dining room table (and if you thinks that's bad, you should see the "tatoo" that Enzo drew on the wall in the same room - cute, hieroglyph-y - a couple of little egg men with legs. I photographed him with it and will the photo share later. Daddy is going to freak :-) - although... maybe he'll be off the hook; he did, after all, get highly coveted "ignoring a classmate trying to disturb you in math" award / "well done certificate" yesterday at school, so....;-).

21 May 2010

These girls ...

... have been at my house all week, and I'm loving it. Today, I have a meeting to sort of wrap up this book project I'm on. Also, everything is done for my fundraiser - just need to actually have it next Friday. And.... the 8th grade class picnic is coming together - one final email tonight, some Costco shopping over the weekend, and we should be good to go.

I've truly been a little out of it these days. How'bout you guys?

Photo: From the Athletic Banquet a few weeks ago. These are all tough runners, basketball, soccer and lacrosse players.

20 May 2010

Spending time with Lil.

My little beauty.

Some sweet, funny notes: After preschool, Milo told me that he wanted to play "blubird" when we got home. I was holding his hand, walking through the halls of the school, listening to his banter. He sang me part of the song that goes with the game and told me how we have to fly (but he says, "fwy") under each other's arms. Then, he also told me the teachers gave him a jet pack and told him to "rescue" some of the other kids, so....

I didn't know it was going to be warm today so sent Enzo to school in long sleeves. When I saw him earlier, he was on the playground, making the best of it, sleeves rolled up, down in the dirt with his friends :-). Mrs. K told me that he put himself in after school today (he loves Mrs. K :-).

19 May 2010

A bit of last night, and.... some fashion fun.

Someone sent me this photo (I, of course, am still downloading so thanks, Chris - and... more to come... :-). Love it! It's from the graduation after-party dinner, and.... I've known all these kids forever :-).

And... someone shared this truly fun article on retro fashion from The New York Times with me (WITH images... cool.... thank you, thank you, Sue).

Graduation Recap

Ok - so the three pictured here were up laughing and texting and looking at yearbooks and goofing around.... all night long at my house :-). We returned from Dunnings in Regent Square (thanks, George, for pulling it all together for us - love having such support when you need it in your own 'hood :-), having just left friends and neighbors there for the post-graduation party (and the ceremony was so nice - could not believe these kids were finally "the 8th graders" - could NOT believe it... and... had my Dad's ring on, per usual - needed to feel him there - he would have been so proud of Olivia). It was so much fun. The kids were happy with chicken and fries (although, I'm a former vegetarian, so my co-planner and I - thank you, thank you, Lynda - were mindful of our class vegetarians - kids today ;-) - we had a beautiful spread of pastries and cookies (thanks Gina and Julie) - people who had known one another for years were talking and laughing over wine and homey food. It felt good.

Way after midnight, once home and winding down, I went outside to put some riding toys away and check the potted plants, and I looked up at our house from the brick patio out back, knowing I had three happy girls - close friends forever - in the one lighted window - my little boys and their glowing fish tank in the other - and... hubby lying fireside with our little two year old (who insisted on falling asleep on the couch for the babysitter) somewhere beyond the dim light shining through the screen door in our kitchen. I said Olivia was a lucky girl yesterday.... but I think I'm really the lucky girl. Really.

18 May 2010

Check us out!

Here we are on Libby's site / blog.

Today is all about Olivia.

So Enzo snuggled with me this morning - on the couch, under a comforter, fireside. He has a habit of rubbing ears and backs to soothe himself. I think he's tired - don't want another one sick, so... kept him home today. Lil put her own jeans on this morning, and... for the first time, actually wanted to get dressed. Milo went off to school, happily, with Daddy and Olivia; he really has grown this year - and looked so grown-up in his fleecy jacket, blue "Milo" back pack and Adidas Sambas (just like Daddy's) - silly boy - ran around the car (a rental while our Jetta is serviced) all excited, trying to open the doors like a "big boy".

Olivia is off to graduation practice and her awards ceremony this morning. She has an early day. And .... today is all about her, actually. Her 8th grade graduation is tonight. We'll watch her get her certificate from Fr. Bryce, hug her Principal of so many years goodbye, and get her class photo from her favorite teacher. We'll go to dinner as group - the class and parents we've known forever. We'll have some dinner & wine, eat cupcakes and talk. The kids will hug and sign yearbooks - all dressed up (Olivia is in all white with metallic gladiator sandals and a gorgeous pedicure - had to give the outfit a nod). Sigh.

So far, Grandma has called and sent money, and my brother is going to call and send a gift (they are all in another city). Tio Manuel tried to be here but can't make it until the weekend (from DC). Tia Chiara, Tio Matt and Clara will come to the ceremony tonight (maybe Oscar and Sofia). There will be other well-wishers, I'm sure (Aunt Kim always says hello - sometimes here! :-) - cousins from nearby..... like Megan or far like Eliza - and... it will all be over the next few months as Olivia discloses more of her big high school plans too). Anyway, tonight will be low-key and nice (and, it's not like it's one of those invitation - worthy events anyway - middle of the week - and .... more of a passage or a "moving on " ceremony as opposed to a "graduation" - more sentimental for Mommy and Big Daddy M, I think ;-). Next week, we have the class picnic and many, many graduation parties (new outfits for those too :-). All my projects in check, I have hired a babysitter tonight so hubby and I can concentrate on our Olivia. We'll give her some spending money and a sentimental letter tonight - for her actual graduation gifts - lucky girl gets her own gym membership (key fob, photo ID and all), a laptop or an iPad (for high school) and a very cool scrapbook from me. We are also going to hold her to breakfast or dinner with us (just the three of us like in the old days). I'm rambling.... time to sign off....

Photo: Olivia - so much in life ahead of her :-).

17 May 2010

Dork Clothes (and some non-dork moments :-)

Yes - I am getting rid of all my dork clothes this week (because, every now and then...I am tempted to put them on - oh, I'll just run to the store in my shabby sweatshirt with the neck cut out a la 1983 like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance - cuz, yeah, I did look up to that fashion trend at one time in my formative years - or - put on my baggy Levis, bought when I had first had one or all of my babies and needed something huge to wear comfortably until I was healed and the weight gone - of course, now, I have to use one of my husband's belts or a scarf to cinch them tight enough around my waist.. ugh). All my college sweatshirts with holes in them - my complimentary t-shirts from 8Ks run years ago - some of my old dance clothes like ballet sweaters and leg warmers that I do not use anymore... Some will hurt to see go - other stuff will leave welcome space in my armoire.

Lil alternately sitting on steps eating peanut butter and climbing all over me (I was not feeling well yesterday so.... smell of pb kinda getting to me this am - I am admiring her layered wooden bead necklace look this morning, though ;-)... Milo snuggled up in big chair, playing his Didj (still a little under the weather). Enzo off to school with Daddy today - excited for Reading Club and piano. Olivia gets to sleep in - no school for 8th grade today (only nail appointments :-). My partner in 8th grade event planning and I got all of our gift photos framed and wrapped for the class yesterday (after a gauntlet of photos sized wrong - grad dress shopping - and a grade school scuffle while playing outside). I have many fundraiser t-shirt orders to count and a book summary for my client to write today. Plus - I think hot chocolate is on our agenda this am (cuz, as Milo said, it's raining outside).

Happy that we finally got our St. Bede church pew refinished and sitting in our front hall. It looks great. I remember when we bid on it and got it at the school fundraiser dinner a few years ago, Olivia was thrilled. It was removed from the church when it was renovated and was in a little disrepair. The sad state of the pew made her a little sad (she was in 6th grade, I think); she said, "Please fix it. I remember sitting on them every school mass..." She trailed off, and I knew, then, she was savoring and feeling a little 11 year old sentiment for what, one day, would be one of those tactile memories that take a looong time to fade - if they ever do fade. So - here it sits - a little piece of her childhood memories - in time for her big graduation :-).

Thank you, everybody, for your words of encouragement and support regarding my decision to keep Enzo in kindergarten. Meant a lot that you took the time to comment, email, etc. Thank you - thank you!!!

Also, visit Joely at Neverending Story (see my blog list); she has a recent post that I promise you will conjure some bittersweet memories for all of you. I was able to reflect on something that I had not thought of in years.....

Photo: Fickle Lil (she was very difficult the day of our family photo shoot) runs to Daddy (I have to be mindful not to lose her in the shuffle this week ;-). Precious.

16 May 2010

A decision.

So - I think we've decided to stick to our original plan and have Enzo repeat kindergarten. Just as we suspected, he really enjoyed his year. He loves his uniform, his back pack, his Transformers lunchbox and riding the bus. He looks forward to library and Italian and Science, and... always remembers something for show n tell. They tell us he is a hard worker who has no problem paying attention. He makes friends easily, and he is one of the sweetest kids in the class. He's just the youngest one in there - doesn't even make the public school cut-off. At first, he wanted to "stay with his friends" when we asked him what he wanted to do - Now, however, he says he wants to stay with his teachers and be in kindergarten again. I love kindergarten, and I don't mind at all. We sent him because we knew he would like it a lot; we also knew he would benefit from another year. It is common in this school for kids to repeat kindergarten on purpose, so we're not so strange :-). Anyway, I know he's done well - learns fast - has made huge progress, but... like I said, I'm going to stick to the original plan for my little guy.

Photo: Sweet Enzo, of coure.

15 May 2010

Saturday in the sun.

Big lacrosse tournament today at St. Vincent College. Our girls came in second. Got lots of great action shots of Olivia and friends -their last year as teammates. Tonight, she's going to Shadyside Academy's Untucked spring party. Just cannot believe how mature she is now.

Signed the paperwork for our very cool gym today (feel my old self coming back!). Plus, hubby and I spend some brief quality time chatting, shopping, walking.

We have lettuce, beans, onions and peas sprouting up in the garden!

Enzo a little tantrum-y today, but.... was a sheer joy watching him play and wrestle with Daddy across the field today. The perfect clouds in the perfect sky were beautiful. Took me right back to my own kindergarten spring :-).

Milo was interested in the lacrosse game today. Go figure. I pointed out the action and where the ball was, and he watched and listened.

Lil was just content to play with some friends' golden retriever puppy and eat hotdogs and nachos and kettle corn.

Grilling asparagus now and eating fresh guacamole (and we do a tasty and QUICK recipe - mash avocados, onion, salt and fresh lime juice together - chop tomatoes and stir them in - voila!).

Movie night (Up) and "snuggle buggle" under the big comforter later! Paradise.

Photo: Olivia and friends (and Lil) laughing and laughing at May Crowning last week.

14 May 2010

Today is shaky.

Olivia's last school mass at her beloved school :-(. We'll probably shop for graduation dresses later. Hubby very busy at work. Milo is throwing up sick - had a fever all day yesterday that is gone now (on the bright side, we were listening to the Pixies in the car the other day, and Milo said he "liked those songs". Figures, but.. in a good way :-). Lilliana wants to play, but... I am at a critical stage in my graduation dinner planning, class gift gathering, giant fundraiser final numbers and print coordination (so she is playing indoor hide n seek by herself with the plastic owl we leave on the deck to scare squirrels - like he's a real playmate - alternately sad and adorable ;-). Wow. Need to pick Enzo up later today too (and I think I may have sent him to school in one of Olivia's uniform shirts... he looked good, though). All good - all good.....

Speaking of good - as in "yum - GOOD". Have you ever tried Trader Joe's frozen mini croissants and / or chocolate croissants? They rise overnight - you bake - and they are so good - flaky, buttery, melty chocolate-y (though, of course, the mini croissants are just very flaky, no choc. - tres tres French - pretty authentic tasting). I highly recommend both! We have been loving them here. Olivia makes this great honey butter mixture and has hers that way..... tasty.

Good seems to be my theme here, so... maybe we're not so shaky today.

Photo: Olivia!

13 May 2010

OK - OK - a Family Photo!

With me in it. Maybe I don't look SO bad...

Field trip with Enzo today - Milo off to school. Olivia home with Lil (who gave me the sweetest little potted plant yesterday - she had sponged the terra cotta pot and her morning out teachers had put a little photo of her with a gold tinsel halo on her head in it. My little "garden angel" - for Mother's Day! I really should have gone to the little tea that they had with her.... hindsight....;-).

12 May 2010

Everything to Everybody

This is how I feel lately. Groceries fully stocked (from healthy veggies to favorite snacks), hot homecooked dinner every night, homework done, beds made, fresh linens in bathrooms and bedrooms, uniforms washed and ready to go (school and sports), lunches made daily, house dusted and vacuumed - plus we play Simon Says, X-Men, hide n seek, duck - duck - goose, checkers, Trouble, etc. daily. I get my edits done on time plus I write more than is required of me on this project - working into the wee hours. The big school fundraiser I do looks like it's going to be extremely successful this year but still have lots of t-shirt orders, etc. to count. 8th grade grad dinner coming together nicely - photo prints ready to be made and wrapped for distribution. The picnic a week later has a huge volunteer list. All good. But... I'm tired.

Olivia has lunch with friends today after finals. They are going to a girl's house nearby. I notice she put "goodbye st bede" on her Facebook page. They are sad -these 8th grade girls. This is a passing of sorts. They won't get those years back, and ... they loved them - the good and the bad. They have known one another since kindergarten in most cases (we even moved away and came back). Enzo is happy - anxious for after school with Mrs. K again. I chaperone his hiking field trip to Beechwood Farms tomorrow rain or shine (Enzo will love it - a nature reserve!). Hubby is meeting with his teacher today; I will do so later in the week. Milo has gymnastics today - Lil morning out. The routine comforts me :-).

Photo: Big sis Olivia and little Lil.

11 May 2010

Another "boring" ;-) recap.

Well ... not too boring. It is just a day, after all.

Fantastic time at Olivia's lacrosse game last night (despite CHILLY temperatures) - saw and talked to friends I haven't in a while - watched the girls play SO WELL.

Had a little one on one time with Enzo when I picked him up from Reading Club at school - though he said he "wasn't feeling well" (usually means he was afraid to use the potties at school). We did some quick shopping - I put on a favorite movie of his, Ratatouille, in the car, and.... we just tooled around and talked (bought milk, returned library books, got some stickers, a balloon).

Feeling guilty about my poor little Milo. For the past week now, he has been begging me to play with him, asking again and again, "Are you done with your work?" And... I do grab little snippets of time to play with him, but, truthfully, I have been busy with this editing / ghostwriting thing (almost done - this week! hurray!). Milo is just such a volatile but, alternately, SUCH a sweet boy (very sensitive - tears well up in his eyes over the smallest things - we have to be careful because Olivia was always so tough - and Enzo so laid back - we could joke with them, tell them to wait a minute, etc. - no prob). It makes me feel bad because he does have these tantrums and requires some discipline (to the degree that we have to hold him down while he thrashes, threaten to take all sorts of privileges away, sometimes he hurts me or himself - awful - hope he grows out of it), so... I feel like when I have my sweet boy, I need to cherish it and really nurture that side of him. Anyway...

Lil up at 3:30 am last night - ready to play (had gone to bed too early - missed dinner, etc.). She also started coughing, which made her throw up - really bad - all over me (who was with her downstairs - can't have her disrupting the schoolkids upstairs), the couch, the floor. I was scrubbing at around 4:15 am - finally got her to try to sleep again at 5 am or so. Anyway... I am extremely tired (and ALL this editing work to do today :-(. Needless to say, she is still asleep (and actually looks pretty cozy - fireside in a tangle of blankets on the couch), so I am going to selfishly grab some tea time for me :-).

Plans to meet hubby this am - though if Lil is sick, no "morning out" for her. Everyone left the house free of anxiety. Hubby running late - primping, brushing teeth, so.... to make sure Olivia didn't panic (another BIG exam day - and I did just get a call from her saying I need to bring her science dvd to school - whoops), I ran everyone outside with lunches, backpacks, breakfast "on the go" in hand, and locked everyone into carseats, started the car (and heater - brrrr...).

Have a good day. And I mean that.

Photo: A study in Milo (another from Libby). My beautiful boy.

10 May 2010

This week.

Olivia has intense finals all week - half days for her. We have a meeting with Enzo's kindergarten teacher on his progress - am hoping we are not pressed to make our "big decision" regarding whether he goes to first grade or not on the spot. Going to try and get Milo to do some kung-fu classes with me - such natural talent - such reluctance to leave me in the waiting area. Finally getting a new video camera to continue capturing Lilliana and her sweet baby self (though the iPhone has served us well lately - convenient - nice,close footage).

Grateful to my family for my photos and treats yesterday. In awe that my boys were mindful of being "good" all day because of Mother's Day. Thrilled with Olivia's photo collage she made for me. Happy that Lil got to spend time outside while Daddy finished all his yard work, etc.(and, important to note that I am grateful to hubby for the wooden planting bins that he made for my herbs and veggies to grow in safe, organically treated soil :-).

Photo: The brothers (who I enjoy watching because of their constant support of one another - their special closeness. When Milo was tiny, Enzo called him "Baby" and would talk for him. One quick "yeah" from Baby and Enzo could tell us what he wanted for lunch, if he needed to be changed, etc. Enzo would also direct him - "You put that cup in your cup holder, Baby" - "It's time for bed, Baby." I miss hearing about "Baby" :-).

09 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Hope everyone has a great day. Please try for some peace today - spend time with the ones you love - do something for yourself.

I do know this today... No matter how under-appreciated I feel - no matter how little my feelings might matter to others ... I do know that I love my kids and that it is an honor to be their mother. I will never put my feelings before them. I accept and welcome every little thing that comes with this journey of "motherhood". My heart, too, is with my Mom today and others who are missing people in their lives. My Dad should be here with her; he always made sure that the people close to him knew how important they were in his life. Such an admirable quality... self-less. I strive to live in that example.

08 May 2010

Countdown to Mother's Day

Enzo gave me a lovely little clay pendant necklace yesterday - accompanied by a card "with letters in it" :-). Both boys and I indulged in a couple of self-portraits on the deck (and, of course, we got out the handprints that Milo had already given me). We love our self-portraits.

Went to the school fund-raising dinner last night and had a great time. Talked a lot to other 8th grade parents also experiencing the last bus ride, the last full day, the last lunch in the cafeteria, the last day in the art room (and the art teacher was a new teacher when this class was in kindergarten so she is getting weepy too) - sniff. Olivia and her beloved St. Bede.

Got our photos back from Libby. They look amazing. I, of course, never look good in photos, but... I am glad that everyone else turned out FANTASTIC! So happy. This really does erase the fact that cute photos we had taken last year were lost by the photographer before we got prints - the fact that I never have time to print and group the photos I take, etc.

We have decided not to do the Race for the Cure because our little ones are too much to manage these days, but... will make a donation and... will encourage you now... to go - register or cheer people on, and... while you're at it, check out this list of other things to do 'round town this weekend.

Today? Well... swim class went well - Enzo put his face in the water, a good thing. Lilliana is splashing around in the puddles in the backyard right now, "helping" Daddy plant (having recovered from her first REAL scraped knee yesterday - she came running down the sidewalk in her Kate Mack ballerina tutu bathing suit, crying :-(. We have a lacrosse game away today (and we are driving Olivia and friends). Milo told me he's going to be my "super special helper" again today ... Editing / ghost-writing project going really well now - we've really hit our stride (designer and I) - the end product is going to be great!

Indulging in one piece of crusty bread with fresh mozzarella and homemade marinara today. Happy to report that I am staying on workout schedule and .... the whole family has joined a new gym - Urban Active Fitness at Bakery Square - childcare, classes (I miss my Pilates), shopping area - happy, happy, joy, joy ....

Photo: Olivia (photographed by Libby Jones)

07 May 2010

Another Morning

Only today is Olivia's last time to ride the bus (finals and early dismissals next week followed by graduation after that). Enzo, though in love with his routine, will only have three more weeks of school after this (art show today - plus his beloved library and show n tell - his favorite day - in fact, he really wants to do kindergarten again but will miss a few of his friends - what to do? what to do?). For the rest of us, it is business as usual today (lots of business for me, as I am in the home stretch of this editing project). Thinking today, though.... I can remember Olivia in kindergarten so clearly, and now... off she goes to high school. Unbelievable.

Enjoy the day before the rain and cold hits us! Oh - and, as we transition to another season, you may be wondering if one of those shows you watch all the time will be coming back (we have a few in this house :-), so read here to find out.

Some sweet thoughts that will help me get through my day (and maybe you guys have some too): Enzo standing at my elbow, looking at me with big green eyes, telling me how grateful he is that I make his lunch everyday for school with salad and cheese sandwiches - Milo's sweet, shining, anxious face bursting through the door at preschool yesterday, proudly holding the little handprint Mother's Day card he had made for me (his teacher told me that he worked very hard on writing his name, and he was fascinated by the "plastic machine" that laminated it :-) - Lilliana and I walked Squirrel Hill yesterday after gymnastics (where she sweetly does what Miss Beth asks her to do - bend and touch the beam - or "roll" down the mat at which time she rolls her hands like in the game "Patty Cake" and runs down the mat - so cute), which I had not done in a while - we visited the library and read books, window shopped, got iced coffee and little wafer cookies at Coffeetree Roasters then went to get "Bobo" (Milo :-) - Olivia is still one of the starting attack people on her lacrosse team and that team is winning - plus, she is one of only 6 or 7 people in her Social Studies class to be exempt from the final for good grades - AND one of only 4 people out of almost 40 to get an A on a difficult math test (I'm so proud).

We have a school fund-raising dinner and auction tonight. What are your plans?

06 May 2010

End of day musings...

So .. there is a pretty big lettuce recall (reports of e.coli - very serious). Read about it - hits close to home. Got two photos today - one of my boys from my hubby (though they were gently reprimanded for being on the neighbor's scooter shortly after the photo) - and one from a friend who got a good photo of my Olivia and her friends just after May Crowning. Check'em out :-).

And... don't forget to send your Moms from afar, new mommies you know, sisters, mother-in-laws, etc, gifts for this weekend. A lot of you will have brunch or other festivities planned with family, but... if you are far from loved ones and moms that you know and cherish.... just don't forget to send something :-). Might I suggest some practical gifts (I'll do a list o'five, per usual :-) -

1. Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Vanilla and Jasmine hand lotion
2. A subscription to Food and Wine Magazine
3. A windowsill herb garden
4. A personal chef a couple of nights a month
5. A Borders or Barnes and Noble gift certificate

For what it's worth... these are things that some people close to me are getting / asked for, etc. Of course, my Mom loves her daisy bouquets, Vera Bradley frames and Bob Evans gift certificates, though... she also loves books, nice handbags, sugar free candies, tea and tea "accessories", shortbread cookies, yellow roses and photos of my kids ;-).

See ya later! Happy warm spring evening :-).

Keeping up

Shocking. (noticed this because I have a lacrosse player and knew many people who went to UVA)

Sad. (that we have to be scared to go to Times Square or anywhere else, for that matter - that someone's life could spin so out of control that he seeks to kill people...)

Interesting.(article on "the anxous mind", referred to me by a friend - thanks M!)

Have a great day!

Photos: Peekaboo Ponytail

05 May 2010

THIS I know.... Another one of "these" posts....

I know:

That when Milo wants to have a tantrum... he can have a TAnTruM!!!! Knock down - drag out - I'm on my knees, in tears - stroller knocked over - lil's snack all over the ground - I lost my ring - the school principal asked him to leave ...sobbing, sobbing, roaring.....

That, despite tantrum, it was nice to go to my first May Crowning. My Olivia and her friends looked beautiful (May Queen and Court just the sweetest, kindest girls - the whole point of the Queen, etc.) - Enzo was THRILLED to see me - his sweet face peeks out over the church pew - sitting with all those little kindergartners - the nicest guy :-)...

That, when my boys take a shower or a bath, there is an inch of standing water in the bathroom, and... splashes on the ceiling... and the window is smudgy ... and the armoire and my towel are wet.... the snorkels were even out on the floor...

That my Lil loves the sand and mud. Our water table will never be the same again - filled with what she, Milo and our little neighbor, Finley, call "Magic Soup" - mud, leaves, rocks, sticks... You get the picture....

That I just ordered the cutest little somethin' for Lil here.

That hubby is home but still working, working, working.... When will the much-needed break actually come?!?!

Oooooh.... not five, but SIX things I know today :-)!

Bigtime workout plan starts today!

And I mean it. No more treats and lots of cardio and weights. AND that's all I got today ;-). Well.... that and May Crowning at school (Olivia all dressed up :-), gymnastics, fund-raising sponsor forms need to go out,in the home stretch in document editing, gymnastics, lacrosse, handwriting practice, potty training, yard work, home improvement, etc. All good.

04 May 2010

Proud ...

... of my brood. Reaffirming the good.... not mentioning the "trying" tonight. Did I mention that hubby is out of town? While he has dinner and wine, I am wrangling three little ones and their dinner, bath, bedtime routine, and... proofing music reports and getting the middle schooler off to a soccer game and lacrosse practice (thank you, thank you to my carpool posse - C & J - wouldn't survive without either of ya!) - big class photo tomorrow - and I coordinated the photo shoot :-) - though thank God for my partner in class event planning, Lynda - what would I do without her? Seriously. She is handling SO much too (and designed a beautiful invitation). Ugh. All good. Time for my new favorite Numi White Orange Spice Tea (organic midnight spice ... oooooh.... said to give me an "exquisite moment"... much needed AND it is tasty ;-). Also, check out the Libby Jones blog (my list :-) - photos of friends (hello Waits family) who look FABULOUS! Good night, all.

Photos (but not in this order - see if you can match the descriptor to the photo :-): Coach Daddy, Lil: Peace Out, my sweet Enzo, Olivia and friends do coffee, Lil all dressed up & nowhere to go, Milo likes to move it / move it (all this just a tribute to all that I love that is random in our lives ... the way Enzo comes home from the bus stop on Mondays with his gym shoes on the wrong feet, back pack all neatly packed, jacket in tow, but... the shoes... too funny - the way Lil has to rummage around in the art bin to find something to color when the older ones are doing homework or showing off school art projects, then she proudly holds it up, "Ta - dah!" - the way Milo acts everything out so dramatically with his waving arms and swaying side to side and facial expressions and funny voices, all to illustrate something that happened to him that day or to even sing a song about his day while he acts it out.... just great - and how pretty Olivia is and poised and gracious and forgiving and loyal and confident.... a far better person than I have ever been or will ever be :-).


Seems a neverending to do list around here..... homework, sports, laundry, dinner, yard work. Got the last of the seeds planted yesterday - worked on my freelance and my fundraising - made lemonade with the kids and played outside, grilled out, helped with homework... Worked out well. Hubby travels today so I am on my own for lacrosse, baseball, soccer intramurals and pick up from morning out, preschool, etc. - older two will ride bus. Attached footage of Lil "helping" with the giant pile o'dirt, which we have gotten rid of :-). I would have attached footage of she and Milo playing with bubbles, but.... I was blowing the bubbles and looked like a warthog in the footage. I'm wearing a tight yoga shirt and have a jelly gut that looks like I just had the baby - not that she's two and running around with me (plus the shirt is too tight and flattens my boobs out in this bizarre way - ok... digressing ;-). I had tucked my big, baggy sweats into my tall pink rain boots (we were digging in dirt, after all) and.... just look tacky, schlumpy and awful (shaggy hair, out of style sunglasses, floopy arms - man, when an old gymnast lets her arms go -they go - Hubby just asked me, jokingly, why I wasn't invited to a fashion party going on in NY and I said - that footage! My teenage self would have definitely thrown it away!). Such cute footage, and I ruin it. Oh well. Cranky. Enjoy our "toiler" and her dirt pile ;-) - I love how she is so precise - and this dirt clod goes here - that one there.... And.... note the church pew in the background that we bid on at a fundraiser a few years ago and.... are just refinishing it and figuring out what to do with it. Like I said, we are a little behind :-). Anyway.... loving all the birds singing.... loving all the green (and Milo has noticed the purple flowers blooming outside our front window). Time to go check on the baby squirrel on our deck who seems to have been abandoned. He is timid - but appears lost, hungry and thirsty. He isn't a tiny baby, but he is definitely not full grown. Poor little guy.....

03 May 2010

Children's Medication Recall

It doesn't appear to be serious, but it is odd. Recalls on Children's Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. Read here for the limited info. that has been released. Weird, but... worth a read.


No - not me.... and definitely not the TV show. Yesterday, as I was feeling ultra-organized, having just attended a community event with all kids in tow and... throughout the lengthy event, I was able to produce whatever my restless kiddies needed - juice? got it. goldfish crackers? got those. multi-grain crackers? those too. In fact, I had little pretend play dollies, coloring books, electronic games, raisins, etc. all stuffed into my big black Kate Spade diaper bag (with which I have a love / hate relationship - too heavy, but ... man - does it hold a lot or what?!?!) - I was SET. At home, I efficiently made dinner and put away laundry - I began preparing back packs for school - dished out homework advice - worked on my own project - all with little to no chaos.... until I noticed that Lil had a big pile of photos laid out all over the stairs and was kissing some - folding others - just having a great time with them. I went about my business, thinking - how cute - until.... I realized that they were the photos I had spent HOURS organizing the other day. I ran to get them - only.... now.... there were only ten or so there - the others TOTALLY gone - I mean, we searched high and low. Gone.

Like the rest of you, I'm sure, I do NOT like losing things. Recently, I was getting ready to go out, and... one of my beloved silver hoop earrings flipped out of my hand and landed near my slippers next to my wardrobe. I knelt down and searched. Nothing. I had just seen it fall! Searched more - nothing. To this day - no earring (and it was a pair my Mom picked out just for me - which made me feel good - on the heels of another favorite pair breaking ... anyway, it just sucked). So... photos make me nuts. I get extremely nervous dealing with photos - downloading, burning CDs, moving them, copying them..... because I love them SO MUCH :-). My mind was racing - I even lost my appetite - WHERE were those photos? I thought about a story from when I was kid. My parents had a dinner party - lots of my Dad's work friends - an interesting group - had lived all over - were funny - had known us all forever.... Anyway, I was sitting around the kitchen table with a bunch of the kids there - my brothers, etc., and.... this boy I knew took one of my favorite dolls and jokingly threw her glasses (yes, she wore glasses - I accessorized my dolls in strange ways - some had braces - others had very short sporty haircuts... Anyway...) over his shoulder. We all saw them land next to a chair. I went to get them - no glasses. We all searched - no glasses. To this day - no glasses. Just weird. So.... the photos, right? Anyway - I found them behind a couch cushion at like midnight. so... I suppose all these lost things are somewhere - maybe right in front of us, and... for some reason, we just can't see them - maybe they just don't want to be found. Speaking of weird.... I digress....

OK - so the photo today is relevant to being lost because.... it was Mother's Day two years ago (and, as that date approaches again, I am reminded again of that time in my life). I should have been on top of the world - a new baby - a happy grade schooler and preschooler - one still at home with me .... All good, right? But... I had just lost a few people to illness, which was sad. I had another friend who was sick - plus I was feeling detached from my group of friends. Also, I didn't have a support group nearby. I was chubby so couldn't wear ANY of my clothes. My hubby was enjoying a great professional and personal life during the week without me, and ... on weekends, we were preoccupied with our respective lives. It was odd. AND it all exploded a few weeks after this. People got sicker -family members got meaner - hubby and I drifted further apart - I worked a fundraiser by myself - my hair got uglier .... And... to his day, it all bothers me. Why me, right? Why do other people enjoy support and love and I was so alone during this time? My kids kept me going. I love them so much. We took a Disney trip shortly after, and.... I did feel better (I don't know why that worked, but it did - though I do remember still feeling very shaky -but appreciative that, finally, people close to me did actually realize that I existed).

As Mother's Day approaches this year, I wonder what we'll do. Other people have to split their day with family, but... I doubt anyone will be interested. I'm feeling some detachment lately from those close to me, but.... I will NEVER let ANYONE make me feel like I did then. Not fair. I need to move on, but... I will not forget. It made me a different person. Digressing again. So... in past years, we've done the Race for the Cure (which I highly recommend) - we've done brunch with my mother-in-law - we've visited my Mom... We'll see.... my little Enzo has already starting shopping for me (like my Olivia used to... in fact, I'll probably look at photos of when it was just she and I and cry those bittersweet "memory tears" ;-)- we have a fundraiser to attend that weekend - probably lacrosse - so... maybe it'll be just like any other day - but I do take that day to remember how much I appreciate my kids every year, and I will do the same this year. Sometimes, they are my only comfort. I think we all feel that now and then.... I mean ... our hubbies try to understand, but.... it's hard .... different lives, different days..... Being a mom can be so many things at one time - isolating, rewarding, fantastic, trying..... up and down.... all the time. And ... we wouldn't trade it for the the world.... but... communicating that constant dichotomy - especially to our spouses - can be tricky.... Anyway, ladies.... weigh in on it / discuss amongst yourselves... You know your comments are always welcome here :-).

02 May 2010

Power Outage

So .. yeah - at 7:30 last night - didn't come on until nearly 1 am again. Happens all the time in our neighborhood - to this particular block, for some reason (and, at first, last night, after a hectic rushed meal with the kids AND a broken dishwasher - repair guys comes Wed - it seemed like it was going to be too much to take, but... turned out OK). In an evening reminiscent of the "big snow" back in Feb..... the whole street was out - kids hula hooping in the middle of the street watching the Duquesne Light trucks work on the lines (one of these n'er do wells was my kid :-) - people returning from dinner or the symphony, wondering why the power was still out - neighbors drinking wine or smoking cigarettes and chatting on porches, discussing next steps (should we call again? - anyone need a flashlight or candle?). My little ones ate their whole grain goldfish crackers and apple juice before bedtime on our porch steps, then acted like they were "flying" as it got darker outside (no street lights). Baby Lil and I wandered the sidewalks and visited for a while with our firefly that lights up in the garden (hubby and I call it the Vegas firefly - but Lil loves it); we were waiting for Olivia to return from a movie (until Lil sat on a neighbor's steps and announced, "I tired" - ALL the boys already safely in bed :-). It was a nice night despite the power outage - nice weather, friendly neighbors, a lot of laughing... just like today is a nice day despite rain (in fact, I may go out and plant some seeds that still need to go in). I did miss a movie party, but... next time. Always a next time, right? Sometimes it feels so good to live in the moment.

01 May 2010

Swimming Lessons

I INSIST that my kids learn to swim. I don't even care how they learn. I gave Olivia intense, constant swimming classes - dunked her underwater myself - took the opportunity every vacation, every visit to the pool - to TEACH her myself if necessary (after all, I swam on team, took diving, passed lifesaving, can still do butterfly if pressed :-). As a result, she took her deep water test at age 5 or 6 - began swimming on a team at 7 - and has enjoyed her water time ever since. I see other kids who can only swim around underwater with big goggles on - or doggy paddle - or hang on the side of the pool, and I feel sorry for them.... and I worry about them. I mean, I'm sure they're learning, so I guess I should say.... I hope they're progressing. Kids need to learn to swim!

So.... off we went this morning - me and Enzo (he is taking a class - since he responds to a group - Milo will take private because he kinda dunks himself anyway and I can supplement instruction to that - and Lil shows interest so we'll take a class together this year - or I'll give her private lessons). So... Enzo was in Level 1 today at the famed Woodland Hills Aquatic Team (WHAT) headquarters (WHHS). He did well - floated on his back - kicked while being held - jumped in - cheered his classmates on. We did have a few tentative weepy / clingy moments that passed, but... all in all - good. We are on our way!

Planting a cherry tree today (hello sour cherry pie, choc /cherry bread, cherries with walnuts - in salads - I LOVE cherries). I know it will drop fruit, and I know it will attract some bees, but... I have such great memories of our cherry trees in Michigan (and our apple tress in Ohio - maybe another summer for apple :-).... helping my mom bake and cook - the pretty flowers, etc. I don't know... something about finally having a fruit tree in my yard again makes me happy (and Milo, too - who had come home from school on Earth Day and announced that we needed to plant a tree). In fact.... we are planting a lot today - digging, digging... Bubbles and water table for kids .... big pile o 'dirt for us :-).

Photo: Enzo and Milo on the way to swimming class end of summer last year. Silly boys. We'll see what this year brings ;-).