About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Differences

"I love Chwisamas." says Talia

"No you don't!" says Elie

"It's only one day." says Isaac

We've been having lots of disscussions lately about the differences between Christmas and Hanukah. Elia has been asking about Santa ( which we have dodged due to her attending school with kids who ALL believe in him) and recently there was a dinner discussion about how many days the Christmas celebration lasts. Elie's opinion was that Christmas was boring due to it only being one day. We've discouraged her from saying those things, but it does seem interesting that they are making those connections.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Family Days!

What a lovely day it has been. We had a really nice Christmas Day. Some Jews get a little morose, depressed, and whiny around Christmas because everything is closed and there's not much for the Chanukah celebrating folk to do. I suppose this is really changing with the advent of superconsumerism in this country; while we were out today we saw that the movie theater was open and several restaurants that were either open or going to be open for dinner, but that's not really here or there. We decided not to sit around the house today, we decided that we were going to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do a day of caching! Last night Adam and I made a delicious picnic lunch and this morning we got up and headed out. We had a GREAT day! (Well, Talia did fall down and smash up her face something terrible. She was walking with her hands in her pockets and, in true Talia style, fell down and crashed her forehead and cheek into the pavement. But that happened on the first cache and she got calmed down pretty quick and had a great day after that.) We did a couple cache and dashes (where you do a quick grab) and some more take-a-walk-to-find-the-cache caches. There was a playground near one cache, some historical stuff near another and then we had our yummy picnic lunch at a fun amphitheater type place. It was a beautiful day and we had such a great time hunting our caches and being a family. After we were finished we came home and the kids had enough energy to go ride bikes on the sidewalk out front.

"When you are wearing *shades* that means you look cool. When you don't look cool they are just called *sunglasses*." - Isaac

Yesterday we had a quiet morning. I'm not really sure what we did. Oh yeah, Adam took the kids on some errands, I exercised, we did some laundry. In the afternoon we took a nice long walk. Elie rode her bike and the other three rode in strollers. We went and did the first stage of a multi cache. I think we walked about 2.5 miles. By the time we got home Elie was saying how much her legs were shaking. But she is really doing well riding her bike. She was starting herself very consistently and even took the bike down a couple of big hills. Last night Adam and I admitted that we were both a little nervous about one of the hills, but Elie just took it in stride and headed down with nary a blink.

On Saturday night we had some people we know over. I find it hard to qualify them as friends because we just know them, we aren't really involved with them. Does that make sense? Anyway, they also have four kids - three girls and a boy. There are twin girls who are in second grade, the boy is 3.5 and a little girl who was born in February. Their attitude toward parenting is, well, different. And it isn't the different parenting that bothers me, it is that the parenting is creating children that are downright unpleasant to be around. Now, I like this couple well enough. I could see Adam and I hanging around with them on a regular basis and having a good time. But I know that I will never have them, with their children, in my house again. The boy is absolutely out of control. He hits, bites, spits, smacks, pulls hair, punches and is physically violent towards just about anyone who attempts to get in his way. He punched Elie several times in the stomach when Elie was trying to get him to stop playing with the lights. (As an aside, we are still working with Elie to just come get help when someone is doing something that is unacceptable/harmful/against our rules. I'm not sure why she just can't ask the person to stop and then come get us if they won't. Of course, when it is just her and her siblings we can't get them to moderate their own disagreements. shrug) After that I spoke sharply to him and told him that hitting was not acceptable in my house and if he hit one of my kids again, he was going to answer to me. Following that he just hit his sisters. Part of the problem is that the parents are totally inconsistent. There is absolutely zero follow through. Part of the problem is that I am SURE that is the example he is getting at home; when they don't like his behavior, I am sure that they are physical with him. In addition to the boy and his extremely violent behavior, the older girls are whiny, rude, and extremely disrespectful. There were several instances that just left me with my mouth hanging open in disbelief. The mother kept saying how she didn't like her house and she was so tired, so worn out, how she just doesn't know what to do anymore. Well, I can see why she doesn't like her house. I didn't like having them all over for a few hours, I certainly wouldn't want to live there all the time. The worst part was, after they left, I felt all ratcheted up and tense. I felt like yelling, even though there was absolutely no reason to yell.

Truth is I'm tired and worn out a lot. But I LIKE my house. Adam and I work hard and make conscious decisions to parent in a way that, hopefully, will guide our children to behave in a positive manner and help create adults that we like and want to be around. There's a lot of thought that goes into that and sometimes we go down the wrong path and have to backtrack. I'm trying not to be judgmental, but I just can't imagine living in that house. I know that everyone parents differently and everyone has to figure out what their priorities are, but I just don't understand that family. It bums me out because I like the parents, but I don't want to be around kids like that. Which brings me to one of the hardest parts of being a parent and having other parent friends. Sometimes the differences in parenting styles are so vast that they just cannot be overcome. No matter how much you might like the other parent, the experience that your child is having and behaviors that your child is being exposed to and will try at home all makes a difference. It's a bummer, really, but there have to be limits.

Anyway, enough of that. I hope that you had a Merry Christmas, if you lean that way. I didn't blog much about it, but we had a lovely Chanukah with lots of latkes (potato pancakes), light, and love. I always love seeing the Menorah with all the candles, glowing so brightly in the dark. I'm looking forward to the New Year and all the adventures it will bring. Merry Family Days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is How We Do It

At Chanukah it is customary to give chocolate. Usually the chocolate is in gold and silver aluminum foil, made to look like little coins. It's called gelt. We had our fair share of gelt this year and so did the kids. However, someone generously gave us a GIANT chocolate/almond bar as well. I had put it away, but pulled it out tonight as a post dinner treat. Talia was done with her food first, so I quietly got up and got out the chocolate and gave her some pieces. Isaac said "What is that, Mom?" I was feeling like a smart-ass, so I said "A poke in the eye with a sharp stick." Isaac says "hmmm", takes a few bites of food, chews and then says "Talia, how is that poke in the eye with a sharp stick?" He was completely serious!!! I started to laugh and laugh. Then he said "Can I have some poke in the eye with a sharp stick?" Still completely serious. It is so funny how literal they are!

Last night I made a delicious (if I may say so myself) alphabet soup. There were nice chunks of potato, tomato, carrot and peas in it. I ground some up in the food grinder for Leila and she gobbled it down. Then I struck upon the idea (duh) to put some chunks on her tray. She LOVED it. Every time she would pincer-grasp some peas, she would proudly hold it up at arms length until someone, anyone made enthusiastic noise about her having picked it up. Then she would either try and put it in the closest sibling mouth or try and put it in her mouth. A couple of times she actually did get it in her mouth! It was so exciting and she just kept eating and eating and eating and eating. She's still nursing a ton (mostly at night), but she's well on her way to being a big kiddo! I think she was dancing in her high chair tonight and she can wave, clap, and make a touchdown to be a performing monkey. It's just going by so fast......

Adam has been gone this week, but this time I'm not feeling so completely overwhelmed. The kids have all been REALLY well behaved; lots of good listening, sharing and less bickering. I'm feeling much more zen about life in general and my outlook has definitely improved. Today the kids and I made snowflakes most of the afternoon, then they proceeded to decorate the basement with them. Yesterday we played and did some laundry. I don't quite know what the cause of it is, but I'm diggin' the change!

Monday, December 17, 2007

There is too much...let me sum up

It is ten pm. I ought to be in bed. Yet every time I sit down I think of how I haven't updated my bloggity blog in a gazillion years...or three weeks. Uncool. Completely uncool. I keep going over in my head, trying to hold on to all the tiny stories and fragments of things that have happened, thoughts I have had and stories I want to tell, in some hope that I can regurgitate them back out for public consumption. And now I feel I must write something down...even if it is bullet style, bare bones summation of the last few weeks! So here goes:

- Now has two top teeth
- Likes to bite me
- Doesn't want to sleep in her own bed because she likes mine better. I like her in my bed BUT I want to get up at five am and excercise and cannot seem to do this w/out waking her up. big conundrum because I like her cosleeping and enjoy having her there w/me.
- Related to above, I can no longer leave her alone in my bed because she will crawl off of it. I have empirical proof that this will happen and now leaving her in the bed, even while asleep, makes me very, very nervous.
- Continues to love love love love big people food. when I get out the food grinder she about squirms out of my arms trying to reach for it. is starting to enjoy feeding herself bits, but wants me to keep stuffing it in with a spoon at the same time. tonight she enjoyed a meal of black beans and rice, yummy!

- Is experimenting with physical temper tantrums. The other day I put her in the shopping cart when she did not want to be there and she started kicking her feet and arching her back.
- Is hilarious! "I do not like the thunder. It wakes me up. But I like the rain. The rain pats me back to sleep." The other day she was trying to get down from the table and we had a whole seven minute exchange regarding her getting down, excusing herself and being stuck. I can't even appropriately sum it up, but Adam and I were wiping tears from our faces when the whole thing was done.
- Has had nother language explosion and now talks my ear off even more than before. But it is sooo cute!

- "Please close the door when you are using the bathroom and guests are over." I said to him. "The door is closed...halfway." was his response.
- Is doing a GREAT job reading. He's probably on the same level that Elie was when she started school. Language development/Reading skills are sooooo coooool.
- Can't seem to keep track of his gloves/mittens. I found them the last two times they were lost sitting on the the playground at school. Apparently he gets too hot and just takes them off and throws them on the ground. ARHGHGHGHGHGH. I'm going to staple them to him. I swear I am.
- Got a hair cut after trying to grow out his hair for a pony ala GranDude. He picked the style and it is SHORT. But so cute. Post haircut G-Daddy admits that he liked it long. Adam and I gasp!

- Is experimenting with some not following the rules behavior at school. Has a "yellow" day. (Green is a day w/no problems, yellow one, blue a few and red...well you understand.) Doesn't tell me about it when I ask, waits for me to find the note the teacher sent home! I make her explain, then I make her write a note of apology to the teacher. Hopefully I've managed to make an impression. We'll see. (yellow day was just last Thursday - shrug)
- Has decided reading is a decidedly cool thing. Is now voluntarily reading books, over my shoulder at the computer, words on food labels etc. Does a really good job, if she's not trying to guess.
- Is love, love, loving her hair cut. She brushes it herself, can put it in a pony by herself and is generally thrilled with it!
- Has moved into her own room! We moved Talia and Isaac into the bunk bed, put the crib in with Talia and Isaac and moved the twin bed that Talia was in, into the old crib room. Make sense? This was all so that Elie could get an alarm clock, so that she could get out of bed on her own. I was tired of the whining - I'm still tired, I need to sleep more, I don't want to get up etc - that was occuring when I would attempt to awaken sleeping beauty in the morning. Now she has her own alarm and it is working smashingly!

Whew...I'm sure I've missed things. And dumb windows internet explorer has crashed THREE TIMES while I was writing this. Maybe tomorrow more hours will appear in the day...but for now I must sleep!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two for the Price of One

In addition to the momentous occasion of the hair cut (see post below), there have been other goings on this week. Adam is gone and so that means: The TDY Curse. Oh yeah, it hit again. On Tuesday evening I was doing the dishes and I turned on the garbage disposal. The vibrations made the cell phone jump off the windowsill, where it was plugged in to the wall charging and sitting behind a decorative rock, and into the garbage disposal. There was a brief blue flash, a whiff of smoke and then some grinding noises. I managed to recover from the shock and turn off the garbage disposal to retrieve my now seven pieces of cell phone. Lovely. The garbage disposal is still non functioning, but I've managed to come up with a solution to the phone problem using an old phone. Blah.

Last night Leila fell asleep in the wrap while I was making dinner. She slept peacefully and then I took her upstairs after dinner to put her in bed. I told the big kids to go into their room and play quietly until I was done making sure Leila was asleep. They went in their room, I got Leila down, and when I was done I went in to get them ready for bed. There they all were, dressed for bed! I hadn't even asked them and they were all dressed. Oh they are so cute and so big. So responsible!

Speaking of Leila I was feeding her lunch today and she was falling over trying to get my Indian food. So I gave her some palak paneer (spinach and cheese). She LOVED it. That kid is hilarious, I swear.

In other news, Talia got her own scissors today. She is so excited. She's been borrowing Elie and Isaac's for a month now and she was totally jonesing for her own pair. So she picked the color and then she spent the whole morning cutting pieces of paper in to itty bitty bits for Leila to eat. So helpful. AND I'm really going to have to watch her because after I cut Elie's hair, she said that she was going to use her scissors to cut her OWN hair. Watch this space for an update to THAT announcement!

Rapunzel Gets a Cut

Here is Elie's beautiful head of really, really long hair. She had only had trims (and that was only twice) before today......

When she decided that she wanted me to cut it. She has been talking for a while now about how she wanted to cut her hair and give it to Locks of Love (this is a program that takes hair donations and turns them into wigs for kids who have lost their hair because of sickness). Then today she finally said she wanted me to cut it. And I DID AND she LOVES it! Holy cow it was a scary moment. And part of me is really, really sad. In fact, I've cried several times since I started writing this. She looks so grown up now (a fact that is hard to discern from pictures of her back). She's not my little baby anymore; I don't dress her, I don't wipe her bum, or even brush her teeth very much. And now she's gone and made her own decisions about her own hair. She's so excited about the chance to do it, brush it by herself and make it look how she wants it to. It's such a big step. One that I am so proud of her for making, but one that is difficult to watch. She's growing up. I feel a bit trivial for being so sad, it is just hair and it will grow back. Her hair was beautiful long and it is incredibly cute shorter. But the truth is she is taking responsibility for herself; I'm not the responsibile one any longer (at least about her hair) and that is a hard thing to let go of.

I believe that as parents we have to allow our children space to do and be the people they want to be. I truly believe that it is her head and that she ought to be the one making the decisions about it. In part, I am relieved that she wanted to cut it (is that part of the sadness?). It was becoming a battle and a hassle. All of a sudden, when she started kindergarten, she would only wear it in a ponytail and then everday it was a rats nest of tangles and food particles. Everytime we washed it there was tons of work we had to do. And she didn't want to hold still or sit through it. So maybe it is a good thing. She sure is happy about it. I think I might be too. It is her head and, oh, does she look grown up. She knew what she wanted, she made a decision and she trusted me to believe that she knew what she wanted AND she trusted me enough to do what she asked. It's hard to believe that there was so much wrapped up in the ends of that golden hair.

As an aside, I totally butchered her hair and I think we've got to take her to a salon and get it properly trimmed. But when I was talking to her about it this evening she said "We don't need to get it fixed, mommy. You did an awesome job and I love it!" What a kiddo that one is!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Big BIG Catch-up Post

I know it's been forever since I last wrote. There have been some pretty momentous happenings around these parts and some ordinary, but totally fun, things too. So this will be a major catchup post. Then I'm reaffirming my dedication to posting more - like at least once a week (okay, okay, don't hold your breath, but I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you).

Leila is eating AND crawling. I know, I know, wait a gosh darn minute. Wasn't she just born in April? But, and I remind myself of this all the time, that was 7.5 months ago! It wasn't yesterday, or even last month! My babe of sweetness and light is mobile and craving big people food. About three weeks ago she started to push up on all fours regularly. A week later she was rocking back and forth - a LOT. Then she started to attempt to push herself into a sitting position. After quite a few face dives she caught on to sitting up and has been doing that reliably for a week and a half or so. (We were so excited about Leila learning to sit that we started announcing to everyone when we saw her doing so. Now ALL the kids give a PSA (public safety announcement) whenever she sits up on her own. "Leila actually sat up BY HERSELF!!!") She was scooting backwards quite a bit, but whenever she would put one hand forward while she was on all fours, she would collapse. Then today, she put it all together and crawled forward. Oh it was AMAZING! She would put one hand out, then scoot the opposite knee. Then she'd put the other hand out and scoot two knees together. Then she got more coordinated and all of a sudden she was crawling. She is now officially Trouble; like any good baby she loves cords, electrical outlets, and all things that are forbidden. Pre-crawling these forbidden items were just a dream, an unattainable goal, but now she can get them and get them she shall.

In addition to the crawling she is LOVING table food. I was being sort of lazy and haphazard about it. I started giving her some banana and sweet potato to play with occasionally. Then I tried giving her some bites and she opened her mouth, swallowed, and then opened her mouth again!

Quick aside here: Elie was a masterful eater. When we started solids with her, she was READY. From the first bite she ate and ate well. Isaac and Talia, well, they were a completely different story. Neither one wanted to eat. They didn't like the texture, the taste, the fact that what they were consuming was not mommamilk. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it just made our lives a bit more challenging because their tummies get bigger and they need nursing more often. I remember we were camping with GranEde and GranDude and GranEde was trying to feed Isaac. I warned her that he would likely take two or three bites and refuse to eat any more. She said "we'll see about that." Lo and behold he would NOT eat for her and she said "Wow, I see what you mean about him not eating." He just wasn't that interested. Isaac and Talia both had some weight loss and the drs hassled me (one told me I might have to wean when Talia was 12 mths and I said "oh no way") it was kind of a pain in the patootie. So I was fully expecting Leila to be the same kind of thing.

However, she's NOT. She loves food. She dives for food. She makes squealing, grunting, air raid siren noises when we're eating and she wants some. I made rolls on Thanksgiving and I was holding one in my hand. All of a sudden she was diving out of my arms. I couldn't figure out what she wanted. Then I thought that maybe she wanted the roll, so I gave her a tiny crumb. She was in heaven! She did the diving thing again on the roll, but this time she opened her mouth so she fell mouth first on the thing. She loves bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, food, food, food, food, food! Of course, she still looooooves the mamamilk which is just fine with me. I'm not ready for that to go away - it's waaaaaay to early.

Elie did say, the other day, "Won't it be nice when Leila weans?" I thought this was a hard question to answer. I don't think it will be nice when Leila weans. I love breastfeeding. I love my breastfeeding relationships. I have loved breastfeeding each of my children. I am so happy that we were able to breastfeed, so glad that I had support and love from my family and husband. I will be sad when my time of breastfeeding is over. Yet I recognize and understand the process. My babe will grow up. There will be a time when she doesn't need to breastfeed anymore. That is okay with me. But it isn't really *nice* it's just the rhythm and of life and growth. But explaining all that to a five year old is, well, difficult.

Speaking of that five year old, she's dynamic, she's amazing, she's motivated and smart and funny. I am in looooove with that five year old! Not to say we still aren't having our bumps. We're experimenting with the pout, the whine, and (still) the argument. However, she is growing into such a cool person, it puts a smile on my face. At the end of October I went to her parent/teacher conference. It went really well. The teacher says Elie is sweet, kind, attentive and smart. She tested at an end of kindergarten reading level. The teacher also gave me some more ideas about challenging her further when we do her enrichment (aka homework). At the end of the conference she said there was one thing that she thought was odd and wanted to mention. She told me she had debated saying anything at all, but finally decided to say something about. She said that Elie sometimes zones out in class. She gets a far away look and doesn't seem to be paying attention, she said. I was totally puzzled. What the heck is she doing, I was thinking to myself. The teacher said that Elie always knows the answer when she is called on, but she does zone out. I came home and I told Adam. I was completely befuddled. He looked at me with a funny look on his face. "You know what it is, right?" he said to me. No, I said I had no idea. "She's bored. She zones out because she's bored." And I knew he was right. I didn't/don't really know what to do about this. I'm sad and concerned. I want her to be challenged and happy and stimulated. I know she won't be those things all the time, but.....I'm not really sure what to do. So we're working at home and she's catching on and all of a sudden she is LOVING to read. For the very first time last week she sat down with a book, all by herself, and started reading out loud. She asked for help sounding somethings out, but for the most part SHE did it. Then she picked up another book and read it. It was marvelous, amazing, astounding and outstanding!

Elie also gives me the report from school everyday. In the beginning of the year she came home and told us about a little boy who has no left hand and only two fingers on his right hand. She was slightly sad about it. "He can't play like the other kids. How does he do anything?" I asked if she knew his name and she told me that he was in the other kindergarten class and she only saw him on the playground. I encouraged her to introduce herself, ask him his name and then ask him if he wanted to play. So she did! In the beginning Patrick just smiled and hid himself from her, then she started to tell him hi and that she was going to be playing such and such and he could join her if he liked. Just last week they actually had a conversation! I want her to explore how we're all different AND we're all the same. It is so important to realize that different isn't wrong, just different. She now counts him as her friend at school and she's learned that he CAN play, just differently, but he likes to do the same things she does. She also talks about her other friends and I get the report about who had a good day and who had a not so good day.

I am so proud of her. She is such a cool kid.

Isaac is doing amazing things as well. He's decided that he's going to keep up with Elie in the reading department. He can sound lots of words out, as well as straight up read words. He amazes me on a daily basis about what he can read. Of course, he suffers from distracteditis and makeupworditis, but that seems to be something that afflicts all early readers. The whole situation is made slightly more challenging by the fact that Elie tries to shout out the answer when he is reading, which often confuses the situation. Adam went to his parent/teacher conference and the report was shining and positive. Isaac's teacher praised Isaac for his ability to play well with other kiddos and his ability to follow instructions. She even told a really cute story about how they were talking about "e" and asked the students to name words that started with that letter. They were getting answers like "kitty" and "duck" and Isaac raised his hand and said "emu". The teachers told us they were blown away. He is growing and changing too. He's started writing words all the time. Every time he sits down at the art table, he is trying to sound out and write down words. He also has started exploring imaginary play about shooting, killing, and dying. I'm not a giant fan of that situation, but that's what playing is for, right? Boys are different and he is definitely picking up some *boy* play at school. So, we're working on guiding that in a positive direction.

Isaac recently did a questionnaire at school and they asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a garbage truck man and a football player. What a combo, eh?

The other night they were all at the dining room table. Adam and I were in and out, putting away food and clearing the table. There was some sort of ruckus and I asked what was going on. "We're talking," says Elie. "We're talking about killing," says Isaac. Adam and I glanced at each other and I said "What about killing?" "Thanksgiving killing," answers Isaac again. Lovely. Turns out they were talking about the Native Americans killing turkeys and buffalo. Actually they were arguing, but that's nothing out of the ordinary these days anyway.

And Loo-loo. Little Miss Talia. Oh what a princess, what a pest, what a 2.5 year old. She has finally realized that Leila is not going away. And worse is that Leila is now a moving, entertaining entity that will steal the attention that Talia used to be getting. In addition, we are exploring the use of temper tantrum as a negotiating technique. Thrilling. She doesn't seem to be aggressive towards Leila, it's just the rest of us that are on the receiving end. But she'll grow out of that. Meanwhile, she's talking hilariously like a grownup and getting more and more opinionated. She can swing herself, get on the swing herself and thinks she can do most everything else BY HERSELF. But she does love a snuggle and she is funny as get out. We are both enjoying the time we have when it is just her and Leila and me. We do puzzles, read, and (her favorite) build tall towers with the blocks.

We were at the National Naval Medical Center for Leila's checkup the other day. Talia has taken to snorting when she feels obstinate. She was sitting behind an elderly couple while I waited in line. I told her not to do something and she made this enormous, very loud snort. The man of the couple looked around frowing and made some comment to his wife. Talia just smiled at me. Lovely, times two.

Elie asked me, while we were out at Costco the other day, "When does Santa come?" ARGHGHGH more of these questions. Santa doesn't come. Santa isn't real. But I can't tell her that. In fact, I've gone out of my way to make sure she knows that Santa is something other people believe in, but he doesn't come to our house because we don't celebrate Christmas. The reason for that being so that she doesn't become the least popular kid at school when she goes there and says "Santa isn't real" the next time the subject comesup. So I repeat that he doesn't come to our house and she says "I KNOW that. When does he come to other people's houses?" Okay, so I tell the story. She says "Does that REALLY happen?" Time for the old standby, say it with me now, "Well, what do you think?" "I think it really does." "Okay," I say. Whew. The looks I was getting from strangers when I said Santa doesn't come to our house were totally stern. I'd like a sign, preferrably a big one, that says "We're Jewish!"

We didn't have turkey on Thanksgiving. Adam's parents and grandfather came over and I made fish. When I announced to the kids that we weren't having turkey, you'd have thought I told them Santa wasn't real. Oh wait, bad analogy. You'd have thought I told them we weren't having birthdays any more. There was whining "Whyyyyyy? You HAVE to have turkey on Thanksgiving!" Calls that I was thumping tradition, "We ALWAYS have turkey on Thanksgiving." And general displeasure. We had the fish, it was a great Thanksgiving. A nice time was had by all. Then Adam's Dad invited us over for turkey tonight. This afternoon Elie said to me "What are we having at GDaddy's?" And I said "Turkey. Aren't you happy? You get to have turkey." And she said "I'm not sure if I really like turkey."

Thursday, November 8, 2007


It's that time of year again. The time of year when the plague hits and never really goes away until springtime (or later). Oh yeah, we are ALL sick. For the last two weeks some representative members of our family have been battling a fever/cough/sore throat/runny nose/hoarse voice/lots of phlegm. Elie is on antibiotics, Isaac has been coughing so hard he gags himself, Talia is not only sick but she is currently going through a mommy-and-I-are-attached-at-the-hip stage soooo she isn't sleeping through the night, Leila is not only sick (which makes nursing awfully hard) but she is getting four or so teeth all AT THE SAME TIME. Adam and I have managed to catch the plague too and so we are feeling the burn. In fact, I felt so terrible on Tuesday that I made Adam come home from work early. Then yesterday I fell asleep while nursing Leila to sleep and couldn't manage to motivate myself to consciousness when I finally did wake up at nine or so.

Can't we just live in a bubble? Conversely - Can't we just get the world to stop for a few days so we can get better?

P.S. Daylight Saving Time is messing with the wake up schedule something fierce. Don't those lawmakers know that my babies need their sleep? When the time changes they get up at o'dark-thirty. And that is NOT COOL.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Doubty Mustafah

A while back (before kindergarten started) Elie posed a shocking question while we were driving in the car (oh yeah, the car is where the most painful of conversations take place, it's like a vacuum where children are only allowed to ask hard questions, seriously). She asked if the tooth fairy was real. WHAT??? Oh yeah, out of the mouth of a little girl who hasn't even LOST a tooth yet, a little girl who witnessed the magic that a house full of adults created for her cousin when he lost his first tooth, a little girl who just a few months ago was PLANNING on being a tooth fairy when she grew up. She had it all lined up. She was going to be a teacher during the day and at night she was going to go to fairy school where she would learn to make herself so small she could sneak into houses at night and gather teeth. Then we she was done with school, being a tooth fairy would be her nightime job.

When she asked me this question I was shocked. I was amazed. Why is she asking this?? Why can't she be asking about why the sky is blue? How do cars work? Where do babies come from?????? I hemmed, I hawed, I finally reached back to my parents' wisdom and said "What do you think?" "I don't think she really exsists. I think she's imaginary. Am I right?" HOLY COW! It's come to this!!! "I think we'll have to see what happens when you loose your first tooth." "Yeah, we'll just have to see."

So she doubts the tooth fairy. But then, just last week they talked about Noah's Ark in Religious school. I happen not to believe that every single story in the Torah really happened. Call me a heretic if you like, but I just don't. She came home in quite a funk and when she started talking she told about a video they watched, told the whole story of the flood, and says "And it REALLY happened." Oh. My. Gosh. It didn't happen, God didn't flood the earth, Noah didn't have a giant boat with all the animals, I'm pretty darn sure it didn't go down like that AT ALL. The worst part was she was in tears. So I talked with her about how it is a story with a moral and that it didn't really happen. I'm not sure she really believes me, but I sure hope she does.

Am I the doubter or is she? Who knows? Life is so complicated and hard to explain. It's so clear to me how my beliefs and perceptions shape what she is going to see and do for the rest of her life, but I don't want them to over ride her thoughts and experiences. Do I insert my own beliefs? Do I always give her the whole truth? How do I teach her to question and challenge, without becoming someone who believes in nothing? What do I believe in? Magic? God? Science? Who are all these questions really about? Do I not know the answers because I don't know what I believe in? That might be part of it. I want her to believe in the tooth fairy, magic is, well, magical. Maybe her belief in the tooth fairy today might spark in her a desire to seek magic in everyday occurences later. But will NOT believing that God flooded the earth, in anger and dislike, cause her to later doubt the exsistence of a being with higher powers?

What the hell are the answers to all these questions? Can I push pause, go on a spiritual search and then come back to the game?

I believe in love. I believe in a higher power. I believe in the power of nature. I believe in the power of science. I believe in the power of questions and of knowledge. I believe I can give my children the tools they need to live good, fufilling, amazing lives. And I might just, still, believe in the tooth fairy.

One is the Loneliest Number

Last night things were a bit chaotic, as you can probably imagine, with three kids running around supposedly getting ready for bed and one pre-crawler rolling around shrieking. In addition, Adam is gone and so I'm all by myself in the adult department. I was in the crib room with the girls and asked Isaac to go in and get his toothbrush ready for brushing. It was awfully quiet and so I poked my head into the bathroom to see what was going on. As I stuck my head around the corner I saw Isaac put a GIANT glob of toothpaste on his toothbrush, pop it in his mouth, and SWALLOW. That's right: he was eating the toothpaste. GAH! BLAH! ARHGHGHGH! I am a TERRIBLE mother. My son is eating fluoride filled toothpaste. He is going to have stunted growth and discolored teeth. He'll be deformed for life; all because I am the frenzied, harried, discombobulated mother of four kiddos. Why, I asked him, are you eating the toothpaste?!?!?! "It was too much!"he responded with some fear. As I tried not to laugh about the ill-logic of the situation (we say it's too much because too much is bad for him, but he's consuming it when it's too much, make sense?), I told him that toothpaste isn't food and that it isn't good for him to eat and so when it is too much he should dump it off in the sink. BLAH!

This is what it has come to. I'm officially the mom of too many. I don't know what my kids are doing, what they are consuming and/or what is really going on because there is just too much to keep up with. To top it off, Isaac and Elie are increasingly concious of the LACK of attention they are recieving from their mother. Both of them, seperately and at different times, this very evening asked to have special "mommy time" tomorrow. Elie wants to snuggle and get a chance to read books. Isaac wants to sit on the counter and hang out with me. Leila crys when I put her down and Talia was walking around half the day today with her sandals on the wrong feet because she did it herself.

Of course, there's nothing I can do about all the children. And truth is, I'm not sure I would change it. I love having such a big family. Today when we stopped for a potty break during our crazy busy afternoon, we had a dance party in the bathroom. Everyone was clapping and dancing, it was GREAT! Then after we got Elie all caught up on her immunizations we had a Dunkin' Doughnuts treat and were silly and had such a good time. Whenever we do something that is fun, to me, it is fun magnified. But I am busy and stuff does fall through the cracks. I just hope I'm not deforming them for life by making them wait in line for each other.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leila Noodle

Wow. Leila is six months old. She is actually six months and one day. The time has gone by so very, very fast. It is so strange to think of never dealing with the infant stage again. In some ways I am sad, but mostly I'm not. For instance: currently we are in the throwing oneself backwards and arching the back when oneself is not happy about random and mysterious goings on in oneself's world. Oh, I dislike this stage. I dislike it immensely. We'll be happily sitting while I read to the olders or help Elie with homework (WOW!) and all of a sudden life will turn ugly and the arching of back, screaming and throwing of body will commence. BLAH. I usually just put her down until she seems to calm down a little (or until she screams louder) and she's ready to be held or nursed again. And then there's the waking in the middle of the night. There's also the pulling mommy's hair, scratching and biting that is going on right now.

But it's not all bad. Really. There's tons and tons of cool stuff. Leila loves to smile and laugh. She has started to babble almost constantly. The olders love to make her laugh and she loves to catch their eye and get them to slow down for half a second and talk to her. She's been rolling around to get places for a while now, but has recently been trying to push herself up on to all fours. She managed to do it for about 1/2 a second the other day, but since then she can only get one knee underneath her and then she does a face plant to the floor.

The other developmental stage she's into now is feeling her world. I actually LOVE this stage because it is so fun to watch her little hands explore. She takes a piece of fabric (usually my shirt while she's nursing) and holds it in her fist. Then she deliberately takes her pointer and thumb and pinches a bit of shirt. After she has her pinch, she slowly rubs her fingers together, feeling the fabric AND learning about control of her digits. Then she lets go and does the whole experiment again. Of course sometimes her extremity control experiments wander into the wilds and she waves her hands up and down vigorously hitting whatever is foolish enough to be in close proximity: my breasts, her own head, her siblings' heads, the cats...you get the picture.

But she really is such a sweet babe. She is soft and smells delicious. Her eyes light up in a most amazing way when you are talking to her. She loves to laugh and be tickled and she is even starting to play games. (I was pretending to eat her hand the other day and she was giggling and giggling....plus she LOVES peekaboo.) It is amazing to see the little personality coming out of the nursing, pooping, demanding constant attention and holding machine. I love it and I am in love with seeing my kiddos grow and change.

TaTaForEver Infant stage, we're moving on. See you later baby lumps and urp rags. Catch you 'round tiny, sweet, miraculous brand new little people. We're moving up to the entirely potty learned, totally mobile, question askin', food eatin', sleepin' through the night (okay okay these aren't happening RIGHT away, but they sure seem close) land of the Big Kids and Toddlers. But I won't forget you and I'll visit, however briefly, whenever a wee one enchants me for a few short whiles.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now He Is Four

Happy Birthday, Isaac! Here is the birthday boy with his birthday cake. He asked for a pirate ship birthday cake and so we whipped one up! Actually, it was tons of fun and Adam and I had a great time doing it. (More closeup pics in a bit.) Isaac had a great day today. He woke up and asked me if it was his birthday and we responded by singing to him. We got ready and went to school. At lunchtime the whole family came, bringing Chipotle and books to donate to his class in honor of his birthday. We read one of the books to the class and got to eat lunch with them. Then we sang happy birthday and had a special birthday treat. What fun! We had a nice afternoon and then after Daddy got home Isaac opened his birthday presents. Boy did he rake it in!!! ; ) He loved all of his gifts and it is totally adorable how he wants to play with each thing immediately after he opens it. Adam and I gave him a three wheeled scooter and he was riding around and around on it. What a kick!

The funniest part of the whole day was that the pirate toys I put on the cake were a runaway hit. They were even more exciting than eating the cake itself, I do believe. I purchased three pirates to put on the cake.

They came with a little cannon that has cannonballs that actually fire! The kids were so excited about playing with the pirates that they each had a few bites of cake and then were desperate to get down so they could play with them! Anyway, here's a picture of the whole cake.

I have to say that I was petrified when Isaac was born. I did not want a boy child. I wanted Elie to have a sister. People around me (you know who you are) kept trying to prepare me for the possibility of a boy and I would have none of it. His delivery was so quick, hard work, but very quick. And there he was, a little read-headed boy child, waiting for me to love him. I always loved him, but in the beginning I didn't really like that he was a boy. He was such a difficult baby, screaming for hours on end, refusing solid food until he weaned, refusing to be cajoled into anything. Then I had mother's guilt for feeling like I didn't love him properly in the beginning. But for a long while now, I've seen his place in our family and loved it. Boys are different, but they are also little human beings, learning and experiencing. Isaac is everything that a boy should be; sweet, funny, smart and adorable! I can only hope that Adam and I can help him grow into a sensitive, smart, funny man. Happy Birthday, Isaac, you will always be my special boy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mother Nature Comes to Call

(A picture of our watermelon/pepper enclosure.)
This summer, for the first time, we planted three different kinds of food bearing plants. It was really a grand experiment. I really expected nothing but some green plants that were fun to look at. The way I saw it, if they actually bore fruit (or veggies) it would be an added bonus. So we planted tomatoes, green peppers and watermelons. I am happy to report that all three types of plant have given us fantastic dividends. Not only have we been able to eat (well, we've eaten peppers and tomatoes, the watermelons are still growing) but we've also witnessed some very interesting insect life. But first some pictures of our harvest/current growth: These are the munchkins we grew. Didn't they turn out nicely? Okay, okay, it's the peppers that are hiding in the munchkins' hands that are of interest. And the pepper plant is still producing. The green peppers are delicious and the kids LOVE to eat them for snack. Elie got to use a sharp knife and cut one up, all by herself, the other day. Sometimes I forget how big she is and how she needs to start learning about doing these things. Anyhoo, on to more pictures.
This is a picture of our *big* watermelon. It is about the size of a cantaloupe. We are VERY excited and I get daily reports from the children about its size. Actually, what I get are reports of its existence. They charge up to the screen door and yell, "Mom, you HAVE to come here RIGHT NOW and look at this!!!!!" Then we all march out to the watermelon enclosure and peek at our watermelon. One of the children will ask if it is ripe yet and I'll shake my head and say, "I don't think so." This happens at least once every other day or so. There is one other watermelon and it is about the size of a largish grapefruit. That one also gets the same attention and excitement. I find it difficult not to be excited when I see how excited they are about the whole situation. Growing food is just sooooo cool and tons of fun!

It can also be quite educational. Last week I noticed a green tomato had been nibbled on. I was a little bummed, but we all realized that we share the planet and so we could stand to share some unripe tomatoes. Then I found something that I identified as excrement, but I couldn't identify what type of living being it came from. Finally, a few days ago we noticed this guy, hanging out and devouring our tomato plant:
This is a tomato horn worm. His head is at the bottom and from his bottom there is a large horn. Tomato horn worms DEVOUR tomato plants. However, Mother Nature does have a sense of justice. The white tubes on the back of the worm are pupa - wasp larva to be exact. When the wasps hatch, they then devour the horn worm. Cool, eh? Thank goodness for google, it made giving that entomology lesson much, MUCH easier.

In addition to finding interesting bugs on our plants, we've found some really cool animals in the backyard. After mowing the other day we found this beautiful turtle:

He was hanging out chewing the freshly mown grass. The kids came out and touched him, which was really cool. Then the next week we found a snake! Actually, Elie found the snake. She was swinging in the backyard and then I heard her scream bloody murder and then she was on the deck, hollering and screaming about how she had seen a snake. I was doubtful that was what she had seen, but I headed out in to the backyard (after/while being admonished to be VERY careful and not touch the snake by my safety officers aka children) to check it out. There it was, gliding along in the grass, a bright green snake. It was wholly uninterested in me and so I called all the kids out to look at it closer. We then went inside and googled it to discover it was a smooth green snake (yes, really, couldn't they have come up w/a better name??) and that it is non-poisonous and eats insects. We haven't seen it since, but there are lots of holes in the trees and yard where it could be living. I hope we see it again, it'd be nice to let the kids see it again.

It's really nice to be able to give the kids a backyard to explore, nature to see and experience and fresh fruit and veggies that we grew. Mother Nature is welcome here anytime!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another First Day!

On Monday I sent Isaac off to his first day of school. Here he is looking so grown up. Isaac's first day was a less dramatic transition than Elie's. Last year he went to the same school, just three days. And it's the same program that Elie went through for two years, so we are very comfortable there. We know the director and all of the admin people. It is at our synagogue, so we are there quite a bit outside of school. I was a bit nervous for the first day though, but not for what I would describe as usual reasons. Isaac is a kiddo who likes "The Plan". He likes to make plans (or have plans announced) and then follow through with them. Now when I say *likes* I mean that if The Plan doesn't work out (for whatever reason) he tends to meltdown/have issues. So, Isaac decided that The Plan for this school year would be that he would have the same teacher that Elie had last year. Elie was a monkey....so Isaac was going to be a monky. Elie had Morah D.....Isaac was going to have Morah D. (As an aside, "morah" means "teacher" in hebrew.) And I think that Isaac repeated The Plan every single time that school came up the whole summer. I knew that Isaac most likely would NOT be a monkey because I had requested he have a different teacher. It wasn't because Elie had a bad year, in fact, she had a wonderful year. However, Morah D made me, as the parent, crazy. I really did not want to deal with her another year.

A week before school started we got our teacher assignments and Isaac was NOT a monkey....he was going to be a frog. And not only was he a frog, but he had the NEW teacher Morah T. All was not going according to The Plan. When we went for meet the teacher and see your classroom day, he would not even go IN the classroom. He even started to cry! I was really at a loss and tried to engage him and be sensitive to the difficulty changing, while not pandering to him. We struggled through the meet and see and went home. He declared several times, though only to me, that he would go to school but "he was not excited to be a froggy." Although to other people he said he was excited for school. I was sure that we were going to have tears and drama the first day. I talked with him about giving Morah T a chance and about how much fun being a froggy was going to be. We drove up on the first day, he declared he wanted to go to drop off line, and out he went making a beeline for the door. He didn't blink! I was so proud of him. And he had a great day. He is LOVING school and having a great time.

I was sure that he was going to meltdown and he didn't. It seems that he, too, has grown up in ways that I could not see. He is the youngest in his class, just turning four this year when his classmates will, for the most part, turn five. I have been doubtful that he will be ready for kindergarten next year, but for the first time I'm starting to see that he probably will be ready. We were out on the playground yesterday after school and I saw him running around with his friends. I realized that he's not a baby anymore and he's not even a toddler. He's really growing into a little boy. Look Mom, I'm a real boy! Proving everyday that he's growing to take on the world, happy and excited even when it doesn't follow The Plan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten!!!

Oh my goodness. Today I sent Miss Elie on the school bus for the Very First Time. Here's how she looked before we sent her. She got all dressed up in her new shoes and a new outfit. She looked so grown up. We went out for the bus and waited. When it came, she walked across the street, around the front of the bus and got right on. I don't think she even looked back. Yes, there were some tears on my part. And Talia did not understand that Elie had gotten on the bus and wasn't coming home until later. She kept asking where Elie was and was a bit upset when we walked back to the house and Elie wasn't with us. The four of us had a nice quiet morning; playing outside and reading. Then all of a sudden it was time to go out and pick up Elie from the bus. And it felt mostly normal.

When we came inside she was crying because the little boy she happened to be sitting next to had not been able to get off the bus because his mommy had not been there to get him. "Eric was crying because his mommy was not there. He said he thought maybe she was out shopping." She was so very upset because Eric was so upset. I told her that they would take him back to school and they would call his mommy on her cell phone and she would go to the school and get him. When I explained what would happen, she calmed down. Then she let little bits of description about her day fall out, trailing around and describing activities and experiences. Somethings she would get halfway through and stop "We said the pledge of allegiance, but it was shorter. I'm not sure, I don't know." And other things she explained in great detail, "First you pull one side out and then you pull out the other side. Then you take two opposite corners and pull them gently and then the other two opposite corners. That makes a just right, perfect hole to put a straw in! I can't quite make a small hole yet, but I'm learning. I'm learning." She is excited and ready. Tomorrow holds all sorts of new adventures and experiences. There are people to meet, places to go, lots and lots of information to hoover up and store forever.

However, I'm still feeling sort of ambivalent, laid back and anxious about school and Kindergarten for Elie. One part of my mind is saying, "Kids are their jobs. They get paid to take care of children and teach them. I haven't heard one bad thing about that school during the two and a half years we've been here. It's not such a big deal for my oldest to be going to kindergarten. It's the natural progression of life. She's ready." The other part of my mind is sitting and crying, shell shocked at how fast the last five years of my life have blown past me. "This is my big girl! She's not ready to be out there without me!!! How will I know what she's been exposed to? How will I know what she's seeing, experiencing and learning? I know she knows what the right thing to do is, but will the world do the right thing to/for her? Have I done enough to get her ready for all this? I'm not ready for all this!"

So there it is. Like most of life's transitions I find myself completely taken unawares. Even though, since the moment she was born, she's been moving away from me. And I know that we've got many more, much bigger transitions to go through, but seeing her walk away from me and get on that big yellow school bus is a transition that has taken me by surprise with its bittersweet taste. She is so big. Does she need me? Oh wait, there's the small, warm hand in mine, the gaze upwards from her large brown doe eyes, and a hug, a kiss - there she goes, off into the great big world. Off on the big yellow school bus.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Of Boys and Girls

The differences between the sexes grows more and more obvious to me as time goes by. There is a distinct and fascinating difference between Isaac and (as we call them) "The Girls". The outlook on the world and the way they all deal with it is just, well, different. Take Isaac's deep seated need (and I do mean need) to throw things. Just the other day we were purchasing yarn at a local craft store. (I'm doing some felting and boy is it fun!) I picked out three skeins of yarn, just right, one for each child to carry. We get up to the counter and I ask the kids to place their yarn on the counter. Elie takes two steps up, puts the yarn down and steps back. Talia takes two steps up, puts the yarn down and steps back. Isaac takes two steps BACKWARDS and throws his yarn like a QB throwing a hail mary. The yarn flies over the counter and lands at the feet of the bemused cashier. ARGHGHGHGHGH Why does he need to THROW things? I truly believe there is some sort of constant physics experiment going on, that only he is aware of. Well, the rest of us are aware of it, but only because random, non-throwing objects are being heaved around. He's also different in those stereotypical ways. He has a harder time just sitting still, he views conflict so much differently than The Girls, and of course, there are the physical difference that he is becoming more and more, concretely aware of. In our family we have a story that if you can kiss your elbow, right on the tip (which is, of course, impossible), you'll turn into the opposite gender. This story comes from my mother's father, who told it to my mother when she was a kid. So it's been passed down. The other day I was using the restroom and he came in and sighed, "Why do I always have to point down when I pee?" "Well," I responded "what happens if you don't?" "I spray pee pee all over the place." (he sighs again) The he announces, "When I kiss my elbow and turn into a girl I will not have to point down anymore." Oh poor Isaac, so aware that he is not the same. I wanted to wax poetic about the positives of being able to stand up and take care of business, I wanted to tell him that he could do all sorts of fascinating things that girls, one day, will be in awe of, I wanted him to know that being a boy is a good and cool thing. I did say, "Well, don't you like being a boy?" And he did respond in the affirmative. But I sure hope that being in a family of girls doesn't totally emasculate him.

And on the other side, Elie has been demonstrating some very stereotypical girl behaviors as of late. She was having the worst behavior, talking back, bossing EXCESSIVELY, and crying at the drop of a hat about EVERYTHING. I was seriously about to pull out my hair. The worst part was, even she didn't like the way she was acting, it had a compulsive quality to it. Finally we had a really terrible day and I started talking to her about school. We laid down on the bed, while Leila was nursing and Adam was taking care of the other two, and just chatted about what school (and riding the bus) were going to be like. Magically her behavior cleared up! She had lots of good questions and I realized how much she was going to be experiencing that was completely new! So everyday since then we have "talk about school" time. She asks questions and makes statements about what school will be. "We'll do computers everyday." "I'll probably make friends with the girls first." "I will sit all the way in the back of the school bus." She is much more comfortable and a much happier kid. Thank goodness! I am sure, now, that she is really excited to go. We meet her teacher and see her classroom on Friday and she cannot wait. We've answered all the questions we know answers to and now we just need to get started experiencing!

Talia has also been noticing differences. She's mostly just interested in peeing standing up because she idolizes Isaac. "When I am a big boy, I will pee standing up." It is interesting to see her interactions with the other two. Whatever they are doing, she wants to do. But if Elie is not paying her any attention, she will go and find something else to do. If Isaac isn't paying her any attention, then she torments him until he chases her or fusses at her. She is also convinced that she will be going to school this year, as a panda. Problem is, even if I was sending her, she wouldn't be a panda because that is a three year old class. I'm not sending her to school, for a variety of reasons and we'll see if it turns out to be a good thing or not! Regardless of what happens this year, I think she'll be ready to go next year for sure.

The other day the kids were sitting at the table eating lunch. Elie was sitting next to Isaac, but from where I was, she was blocking my view of his plate. He was supposed to be finishing his macaroni and cheese so that he could get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was turned away from them and he said "Mom, I'm done with my mac and cheese." I was looking and assumed that he was telling me the truth and I said "Okay, what did you want?" And I started talking through the options for his next course. All of a sudden I hear Elie, she's saying "Moooooommmmy, I'm leaning forward so you can see. Moooom, I'm leaning forward. Do you see?" And I turn around and see her leaning forward, so that I can see that Isaac is NOT finished with is mac and cheese. She wanted me to be aware that he was not done, but she knew that I wouldn't want her to tattle. Then I asked Isaac what was still on his plate, if he was finished with his mac and cheese and he said "kitty litter?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's too early!

Truth is, it's too early for LOTS of things. Currently the time is 7:01. For those of you who know me, I'm not a giant fan of the morning. But with children I have learned that an early rising time is inevitable. However, as of late, Leila's rising times have been INSANELY early. Last week she was awake (ie chattering, grunting, fussing, non-nursing AWAKE) at around two or three each morning. She would generously get sleepy around eight or nine am (by which time everyone else was awake), but she was fussy and refusing to nurse the entire time she was awake. The other problem is that her grunting (and I mean loud grunting) would wake up and keep awake lots of people in this household, big and small, who need/want/absolutely must have more sleep. I kept thinking to myself, "gosh, I'm so glad that this is the last babe." This is the last time I'll be going through this stage of mystery fussiness and waking/staying awake at ungodly hours of the wee, wee morn. But then I discovered the reason for the early waking time.

My four and a half month old, babe of sweetness and light is getting her first TEETH!!!!!!

Yeah, four and a half months old. UNCOOL. And I know they are teeth. I can put my finger in her mouth, rub on her gum and feel the teeth bumps. I can also see them, if she holds still long enough and allows me to torture her for a few minutes. There they are, little pearly whites. Undeniable truth, in the form of two white lines on her gums, that my baby is working hard on growing up as fast as she can. Of course, that she is *getting* teeth on purpose is a completely ridiculous idea. She didn't wake up one day and think to herself, "Gosh, look at that fun food! Look at my brother and sisters running around and having fun. I so want to be big. I'll grow teeth today." I know she didn't. But somehow, with this being THE LAST TIME, it feels a little deliberate and a lot rushed. The other three did not start teething until somewhere in their eighth month. Elie's teeth came in painfully slow, one at a time, for a year and a half. Isaac was still missing his eye teeth when he turned two. (People used to rudely ask what was wrong with his teeth before they came in.) Talia turned two in May and is just NOW breaking through her two year molars. I do not understand! Yes, this is my last babe and yes, there are so many reasons I'm okay with that. But I am not, let me repeat, NOT okay with my last babe growing up so very fast before my eyes.

It so happens that in addition to teeth, she seems to be in a great hurry to accomplish locomotion. She started rolling over front to back/back to front a week before her fourth month birthday. Now she's a rollin' fool. She pops over, willy nilly, to visit other portions of our bed, the floor, or whatever area she happens to be drooling all over at the time. Of course, it is pretty random and not at all purposeful. She just pops over to visit the world from a different point of view and then she pops back over to roll away.

And with this stage comes all sort of other developmental fun-ness. She grabs things quite effeciently now, including her feet. (Which actually, is a personal fave of mine. There is nothing cuter than a little naked bootie waving around while adorable baby toes are being grabbed by said babe!) She also uses her hands to grab for the other hand. So she often has them clasped in a little self hand holding. This ball of hands then requires deep and complete contemplation, as she attempts to examine them from all angles (as it turns out, when your hands are holding each other, there aren't many ways you can move them). Leila also loves to small, laugh and giggle at any human face passing by. Her eyes light up and she clasps her hands together, while she grins and giggles. Sometimes she even makes her favorite vocal greeting and gasps at whatever face is hanging around.

However, all this locomotion and development also creates some challenges while we're nursing. I like to call it the circus nurse. She'll latch on and immediately begin kicking; one foot, knee to chest, two feet in a bicycle motion. She makes a pointer and pokes it into her mouth WHILE she's trying to nurse. She spreads her hand out wide and rubs my breast, her face, her ear. She grabs her ear and twists it around. She pops off to see what that noise was, she gets back on. She tries to roll over. She pulls both legs up to her chest and thrusts them back down again. She twists my shirt over her nose. I hold on to one hand while holding her body, pinning the down arm under my arm or breast. When we lay down to nurse, sometimes I have to put my leg over her legs, hold on to the top hand/arm, and then use my other hand to pat her. Wow. The skills I have are INVALUABLE for nursing, I'm just not sure they are marketable anywhere else.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Home again...at long last!

Well, after our trip to Oregon, 10 days at home, a trip to Colorado, then a trip to PA, we are FINALLY home! Our tomatoes are producing edible vegies (our watermelon and pepper plants are not, but still growing strong), our kitties are thrilled to finally have us back in the house, the kids are happy to be home with their toys (although Talia did ask where GranEde was and if she was riding in our car, just yesterday) and I am happy to be home again and working on various 'round the house projects. Not that we didn't have a wonderful time. We did. Oregon was a blast and I am so happy that the kids had a chance to just *live* with GranEde and GranDude. We had such fun adventures. Colorado was also a great time. We all had such a good time visiting with everyone who lives there and the visitors who were around too! We got to go to the cabin.

And to the zoo (we fed the giraffes and as Talia said excitedly "We feed the giraffes and one dust (just) licked me!" We saw Alan and Lisa get married and it was a wonderful thing. There is absolutely nothing like being in a room of 200 people, all of whom are bursting with happiness for two absolutely amazing people! We also had a good time in Pennsylvania, where we met Ben and the kids' cousins, Alec and Jack, for three fun-filled days at a huge waterpark resort thingy. But now we are home. And home we are staying for a long, long time. There is so much going on here!

During our ten days home in July, we made sour cherry jam and blueberry jam. The kids just LOVE to help out. They are now professional cherry pitters....

(Yes, they are all in their undies, I figured it would be easier to clean them if they were naked. Cherry pitting is a MESSY business!)
And professional blueberry smashers, they can even operate the smashing machinery all by themselves!

The jam we made is delicious and it was so much fun to make too! During the month of August I am planning to do more canning. The kids just love pb and homemade jam!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Detachment Parenting Device ALERT!

I know it's been a while since I've written. And there are lots of fun stories to share, but I had to take a time out and rant about a ridiculous thing I saw in a catalogue the other day.

CAN YOU FREAKIN' BELIEVE THIS THING??!?!?!?!?!? Here we have a mom breaking her back to carry her child in her plastic bucket. And now you can get a special harness so that your arm doesn't get tired. snort Let's just do a little math here, shall we? Let's say your baby weighs 15 lbs, that car seat HAS to weigh another 10lbs (at least). Why would you opt to carry your baby in a plastic shell and add 10 lbs to what you already have to carry around? That is 25 lbs as opposed to just 15lbs! If the math doesn't convince you, then lets talk about how babies learn by listening to the voices around them. What could be better for your childs development than to have them right up against your chest like they were for nine months in utero. Or lets talk about why our biology screams out for us to hold them. Everytime we look at their little faces some tiny evolutionary voice screams out at us from our days past to PICK. UP. OUR. BABIES. Why is it not MORE convienient (and fun and just all around nicer) to put your babe ON YOUR BODY where they can smell you and be comforted by your closeness and be up against you? Okay, yeah, it does get a bit hot and sweaty, but the babe never grinds uncomfortably into my hip like that plastic car seat must. And the baby is just SO. MUCH. HAPPIER.

Whew. I just cannot stand detachement parenting devices. Message for this blog: HOLD YOUR BABE!

Tomorrow night: Fun pictures of fun activities with cute kids and even funnier stories. I promise.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Holy Busy Visit, Batman!

I can hardly believe we've been here three weeks tomorrow! Time has just flown by. We've been having tons of magnificent adventures with GranEde and GranDude, as well as having some really nice hanging out time. The first week we procured some ride on toys. GranEde and GranDude have a not so small house, with a not so small driveway/parking area that is PERFECT for riding around on. We got two trikes and one push with your feet toy. The driveway has a small slope that is just enough to get the kids going pretty fast. On the first few days, they were pretty cautious about it, but they have since learned that they can zoom down the slope and turn to make a full circle at high speed. Thanfully we've only had one moving accident and that was a minor one. We've actually had several more serious accidents, but those were low speed, head to pavement ones. It is certainly nice to sit outside with the kids, nursing Leila, in the beautiful weather, on vacation!

I've really felt like its vacation because I've had very little house running or errands to do. I mostly take care of the kids (even that I'm getting some vacay from) and the laundry for my heathen horde. GranDude and GranEde have pretty much been taking care of all the choosing what's for dinner and then the emplimentation of said meal. I have to say, I seriously LOVE this part of being on vacay. I really enjoy cooking at home and the kids eat really well, ie there is generally very little complaining about what we're eating, BUT it is soooooo nice not to have to think about it at all (if I don't want to)! We join GranEde for lunch when she isn't crazy busy, which has been most days. Then we get dinner fixin's and run errands. We've been to the library, down to play in the river, down to the playground and done other fun 'round the city activities.

On the weekends we've also had a chance to do some more sightseeing type things. We hiked to a waterfall one Sunday afternoon and had a GREAT time. The waterfall was beautiful and the kids had a blast playing in the water. Talia kept wanting me to take her all the way out to stand under the water fall. I was not really keen on this idea as 1) the water is from snowmelt and is COLD 2) I thought she'd probably flip out when she got soaked and wet and then I'd be stuck with a screaming Talia! I finally convinced her that wading was just as good. Isaac, on the other hand, was more than content to stand with his toes barely in the water. He wanted to throw rocks. No wait, he NEEDED to throw rocks. We got down to the water and the first thing he does is picks up a rock and looks up at me to check if it was alright. I thought it would be fine because there was noone else in the water. But GranDude had witnessed some adolescent boys throwing rocks (one nearly hit Talia) whose parents had made them stop. So we thought it wasn't a good idea to allow Isaac to throw rocks and possible encourage the older boys. I told Isaac no and he said "What if I throw them underhand?" And I said "No, we aren't throwing rocks." Then he looks down and looks up at me, "Well, can I drop them?" Oh my gosh. He just HAD to do something involving rocks falling through the air. I did consent to allow him to drop the rocks because I figured the only person he could hurt would be himself, when he dropped the rock on his own toe. It was amazing how content he was to pick up handfuls of rocks and drop them in the water. The hikes that we go on to see the waterfalls are so nice because they are all relatively short. There are longer hikes to take, but the shorter ones are just perfect for little legs and short attention spans.

GranEde had last weekend off call, which meant that we could go anywhere and do anything since she wasn't in danger of being called in! Yippee! She has no office hours on Friday, so we took the day and went to a place called Wildlife Safari, just south of where GranEde and GranDude live. It is a giant wildlife refuge that is drive through! That's right: a super cool, really nice to animals, driving zoo. My big bone with zoos is that the animals are kept in relatively small cages. Now I don't know if this bothers them, but it always seems a little sad to me. This refuge is huge and has tons and tons of space for all the animals. We saw lions, ostriches, bears, cheetas, buffalo (we even saw a buffalo baby that had just been born, it was still wobbly and the mom still had afterbirth stuff hanging out), giraffes, hippos, elephants etc. The kids had a blast. They really enjoyed looking out and seeing the animals. Plus they got to be unbuckled from their carseats and move around to get a better view.

On Saturday we had a fantastic and fabu visit to the ocean! The day was sunny and warm, the breeze was light (sometimes at the coast the wind just howls and makes a visit pretty miserable) and it was a perfect day for walking on the beach! We first visited a lighthouse that sits on the beach at the mouth of a river. The kids had wanted to visit a lighthouse, but were a bit underwhelmed because we couldn't acutally go up into the light portion. (This was with good reason: the stairs had rusted out and were no longer useable. They are in the process of being fixed, but it will be a while.) So we headed out to the water. Boy were the kids a kick! The water was cold and the waves have quite a strong undertow, so we didn't let them go out very far. They were all very cautious in the beginning, but Talia and Elie soon got more comfortable with the feeling of the waves. When a wave would come, Talia would lean backwards with the rushing water. I am sure it was because she felt like she was moving with the water. Isaac did not ever get comfortable with the water because of that very moving sensation. He was convinced that he was going to get carried away by the waves. However, he did love the giant sandbox and all the treasures that the waves washed up. At one point he had picked up a rock about 10 inches long and a good 8 inches around. I asked him what he was doing because he was trying to carry it while he walked. He told me it was his "plant" and he "was going to take it home." I asked him to put it down, as I feared greatly for the general health and well being of his toes, and he replied "but it's my plant and I need it." I did finally convince him to put it down and he went on to digging in the sand with a broken shell. Whew. Elie is the only one who got soaked and that was completely unententional. She was squatting down to rinse her hands and a wave took her by surprise. It totally knocked her over. She came running over to us, spitting and rubbing her face. "That water tastes salty. Ewww, that is terrible." The beach sure did wear them out though and it was amazing how fast they fell asleep and how hard the sleep was. It was a wonderful day.

GranDude's work here is drawing houses. He occasionally visits work sites where they are building and is occasionally called upon to inventory building supplies recieved from the supplier. We were lucky enough that he was supposed to inventory some supplies at a work site and so he invited us to come along. Boy was it exciting! First we got to see a forklift type machine take the supplies on pallets down off the bed of a semi. One of the workers even rode on the forks of the forklift to help hold on some tippy boxes. Then GranDude took the kids inside the house, where they got to "walk through the walls!" For the grand finale, the contractor offered to take the kids up on the man lift. It is a machine designed for, well, lifting construction workers and their tools. Elie was the only one who was comfortable enough to do it. She was hilarious. She got up there and had a HUGE grin on her face. Then it went as high as the roof and the grin was still there, but her eyes weren't grinning anymore. So she said it was high enough and they moved back down to the ground. She had such a great time.

We've also had the opportunity to attend an outdoor concert series they have here at a local park. The concerts are free and open to the public. Sometimes the performers are a little random, but often they bring in well known artists. This week we saw The Wailers. They are headed by Bob Marley's son and do reggae. We had a BLAST! We took a picnic dinner, walked down to the park by the river and listened to some music. The music really was good (they even played some old standbys that I know) and the kids really enjoyed dancing and picnicing. I was so surprised that we stayed through the whole thing. GranDude and I were completely prepared to leave at a moment's notice due to meltdown or tiredness or boredom, but that moment never came. They were totally consumed with dancing around and listening to the music.

There are even adventures at GranEde and GranDude's house. They have a "windup cd player" (victrola, which we are going to demonstrate one of these days), a "bottom washer" (a bidet, which the kids absolutely cannot get their minds around and keep asking hilarious questions about), a "potty kitty" (portia the cat who comes to get pets whenever somone uses the potty) and deer and other wildlife. Today I discovered that Talia has been hanging from the toilet paper holder in the bathroom (it is just mounted on the wall and apparently seems as though it should be used for hanging oneself from, instead of just toilet paper) and all the children are drawn to rock as furiously as possible in one of the rocking chairs to make it jump on the floor. It is so much fun being here and it is amazing how much they all have grown and changed in the three weeks we've been here. I just wish we lived closer. Adam comes on Sunday and we'll have another week of supreme adventures and some whole family vacation. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's no longer safe....

Learning to read with Elie has been a back and forth kind of process. She'll get really interested and then we'll get into it and she won't want to do it anymore. Usually she gets disinterested when the reading gets tough. I was really thinking she just wasn't ready. However, recently she has been saying words right after we spell them so that she doesn't know what is being said. The other day, before we left Virginia, I spelled "l-a-z-y" to Hilary and Elie looked up and said "lazy?" Seriously. I was totally surprised, but didn't give it too much thought. Then, just last week, Dad and I were in the car and he spelled "f-e-e-d t-h-e d-u-c-k-s" and Elie said "feed the ducks?" It has been happening more and more often, so we are having to resort to using SAT vocabulary words to describe what is going on or we are speaking in pig latin. Either way it really slows down the conversations the adults are able to have. However inconvenient I may find this, it is totally cool that she is putting words together in her brain and sounding them out! Some of them, I'm sure she just *knows*, but some of them she is actually sounding out on the fly and that is sooooo cooool!!!!

Now she is hooked on learning to read and we are using a set of books called "Bob Books" by scholastic. They are the best thing for learning to read. They get incrementally more difficult and the early ones have only four or five word sentences on each page. They have simple line drawings to illustrate the story, but they aren't so intricate or involved that they distract from the task at hand (for long anyway).

Yesterday Aunt Kiwi (Hilary) and her boyfriend Don came down from Portland. We spent the day doing some caches around town and then cooked some delicious Indian food. GranEde let Talia help with the peachy/blueberry cobbler. Talia got to put the blueberries in, but GranEde's instructions to her were to "throw the blueberries in." Well, like all two year olds, Talia is VERY literal and so she spent the next half hour or so, throwing blueberries into the pan - one at a time!!!! As is to be expected when a two year old throws blueberries, some got smashed and many ended up on the floor. But it was so darn cute to see her tossing blueberries in, one at a time, oh-so-deliberately.

Today we took a hike to a beautiful waterfall located to the east of Roseburg. There are MANY hikes to waterfalls up the canyon that is to the east of town. This is one of Mom and Dad's favorites. The kids had a great time hiking and then playing in the water, although I think they were surprised at how cold the water was. Talia kept wanting to get into the waterfall, but neither Dad nor I wanted to take her out and get under with her. It wasn't really warm enough for that type of adventure. Next weekend we are hoping to go to the ocean and see some lighthouses. The kids are wanting to bring bathing suits, but I don't know that it will really be warm enough for that!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Leavin' On a Jet Plane

I wrote the following on the 31st of May and never got back to it...I thought I'd put it out there anyway and then write some more....

(Well, it has been FOREVER since I last wrote. Life has been, well, a little hectic. We had Leila's baby naming last weekend and the lead up to that took it out of me! It wasn't that the even was so big, I was just having a hard time functioning. You know, post partum crazies and all that. Poor Adam has been having to deal with CRANKY Oj and we all know how much fun that is.

Anyway, the naming was beautiful. My dad's folks were able to make it out, along with my parents and so that summed up the out of town guests we had. We really missed those who were unable to swing coming for the weekend. On Saturday we had a brief ceremony at the synagogue during the Saturday morning service. Then on Sunday, Adam's dad led a ceremony at the house that was much more personal and meaningful. He created a ceremony with lots of beautiful readings that included all the generations that were at the naming. It was really special.

The kids have been up to all sorts of crazy antics. I swear they get cuter everyday. Talia's speech is so incredibly clear, she sounds just like the bigger kids. The only downside to having clear speech and good communication at two is that she is extremely susceptible to suggestion. So if Elie approaches and claims that Isaac pushed her, Talia is right behind her claiming the same thing. Or if Talia is crying she will often make up some reason and it usually involves her blaming one of her siblings. It's not hard to tell what is going on, but it does make it a little more complicated. Talia has also learned how to get on the swing by herself recently. So she will hop up on the swing and Elie is quite content to push her. It is the CUTEST thing. )

Okay, whew. Here it is, weeks from when I last wrote. There has just been WAY. TOO. MUCH. GOING. ON. So I'll attempt to fill you in...

Our tomato plants really were growing great before we left. I think that every single seed we put in the pot must have germinated. I even thinned them and they are still taking over the world. I just hope that the girls we've hired to watch the house make sure and water them. The kids are so excited to get to eat tomatoes from our very own plants. The tomatoes were so exciting we also planted some bell pepper plants and watermelon plants. We'll have to update you on the progress of those when we finally get home!

Leila has really gotten into a nice schedule. She is an AWESOME sleeper and is going down for the night right around the same time the older kids do. She wakes up a couple or three times in the night for nursing, but never rouses fully and just wakes to nurse and go back to sleep. The week before we left on our trip, she slept 8 and 1/2 hours one night! I kept trying to get her to nurse, but she was asleep and would not rouse at all! She is also super cute and is loving even more to talk, smile and laugh at faces and people. She is one amazingly cute and loved kiddo.

The end of school was just a blur. I swear I blinked and the year was over. The last few weeks were filled with activities (a farm trip with Isaac's class) and projects. The kids were excited, but a little sad too. On June 8th Elie graduated from pre-school. They had an adorable graduation ceremony, even got to wear little mortar boards and were handed a diploma. Elie was totally weirded out by not going to school like regular on the day of graduation. I think she was a bit sad (despite claiming the contrary time and time again). I had asked her if she was going to miss her friends or school and she said "No. I'll just make new friends when I get to kindergarten." But I really think that when the time came, she was sad. I'm not sure she recognized it, but she was definitely subdued during the graduation. Isaac is just thrilled he's going to be the big man on campus and be in five day next year. I know that I'm going to blink and it'll be a year from now and I'll have two munchkins in elementary school. Time just flies by.

Before we left we went to the playground on one of the last nice days before the summer heat eats up NOVA. Elie was playing and there was a little boy who was probably about Isaac's age there. He got into a tunnel with Elie and there was a long conversation. Then Elie came out and came over to us and said "That boy said he wanted to marry me. He told me that I should kiss him because Ruby kissed him when she married him. I told him I didn't want to kiss him because I didn't want to share germs." All I have to say is thank goodness for my daughter's OCD....I don't want her kissing anyone yet either! ;)

So the days were filled with errands and tasks and the nights were filled with trying to get ready for our month long trip to Oregon. The getting ready for Oregon wouldn't have been so bad, except the battery acid had come back to haunt me. Let us all revisit the battery acid nightmare....Okay, let's not. Read back in the blog for the whole dang story. Let's just start with the fact that I didn't get it all cleaned up and it got on (and made holes in, lots and lots of big holes) in my brand new Ergo. For those of you who aren't addicted to babywearing, an Ergo is a padded carrier. It is like the best of the best. And I had finally purchased one and was waiting for Leila to be big enough to carry in it. We had tested it on Talia and it was GREAT. Anyway, I was planning to take it to Oregon, but discovered it had giant, battery acid made holes in it. So I had to patch it in a long and painful, hand-work way. The Ergo alone took me five nights of working to finish. Add to that, there was acid on the back packer (which is invaluable because Talia still fits in it and hiking goes so much faster when she's in the packer), so I had to take it apart (again...we had fixed it with my parents but I didn't realize that the plastic parts were being eaten by acid, so we fixed it only for me to discover that it was falling apart again) and fix it. Lesson being: DON'T MESS WITH CAR BATTERIES. THEY HAVE ACID AND WILL RUIN THINGS. Got it?

I know that you all are thinking: How did you get to Oregon? No, fear not, I did not attempt to fly on the airplane by myself. That is something that will simply have to wait until the kids are older. There is no way I could have done it with out my dear, dear sis, Hilary. My parents paid for her to come out to DC for a couple days and then she flew back with us. She was amazing. Hilary leads a very quiet life, sans children, with her boyfriend and two cats. She has a full time job as a vet tech and is quite content. I'm not sure what momentary insanity struck her when she agreed to come out and help me fly back with the kids, but I'm sure glad it did. She sat across the aisle with me and took care of Elie and Isaac. I had Leila (lap baby) and Talia next to me. Hilary was great. She played with Elie and Isaac, introduced them to the music stations that you can plug into, showed them the airplane safety cards, played brain quest with them, colored, spelled, read and was generally an AWESOME AUNTY! Yeay Hilary!

The kids were a kick and a half on the plane though. Isaac took to the head phones (or *ear-heads* as he called them). He spent lots of time scrolling through the stations until he found one he really liked. Then he spent the last hour (of our five hour flight from DC to SanFran) listening to music and reading the airplane safety card. I kid you not. He read it backwards, forwards, upside down and right side up. He clapped and swayed and bobbed his head to the music. It was hilarious. Really. Hilary kept inviting him to join in whatever activity they were doing and he'd say "No thank you" and put his head phones back on. I really had the easy part as Leila and Talia fell asleep pretty soon after takeoff. On the flight to Eugene from SanFran, Elie and Isaac got to sit together ALONE. They were really happy about that. It was super cute. Talia did awesome on both flights and was mostly happy to talk to herself and play with her Dora or Elmo figures. Probably the funniest thing is that when you ask the kids what they did on the flight they tell you....They got pretzels. Yeah, six hours on planes and all they remember is the 15 mins where they got to eat. But, I can't tell you how relieved I was at how smoothly it all went. The kids were AMAZING and Hilary was a super help. Now we just have to get back, but Adam will be flying with us, so it should go just as well.

So now we are here and having a blast. We got some ride on toys so the kids can tool around on the giant paved driveway/parking area my parents have. We get to visit GranEde at her office for lunch everyday. We are planning on lots of fun trips and adventures. We've even gone caching. It will be a great visit! The kids are loving being with GranEde and GranDude and getting to do fun things they don't get to do at home. I'm loving being here and getting a bit of a vacation for myself. My Dad is a GREAT cook and has been serving delicious food, so I'm getting a big vacation from cooking. Also, it is wonderful to have so many extra hands to help out. I'm getting to exercise, by myself because I can leave the kids with Dad. And getting the kids to bed is sooo much easier with three adults herding and prodding to make sure that everything is getting done. Whew, I'm tired. Now that we're settled it should be easier to get back to writing regularly....If we're not out having too much fun!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Random Report

On Mother's Day I came downstairs. Talia and Adam were the only two up and I sat on the couch to snuggle with Adam. Talia came up to us and said "Daddy...Mommy" and I said "Yes, Talia?" She said "Daddy uhhh Mommy?" Adam said "Yes, Talia?" "Ummmmm, Mommy.....Daddy." She said this several more times and we responded every time, but apparently whatever thought she wanted to share with us, left her little mind.

Elie has been so much better about arguing the last week or so. She's still quite bossy, but I don't think that being bossy is so much a stage as it is a serious personality defect. (My bossy stage never ended either, hence my expertise on the subject.) Not arguing makes life so much easier. Of course, part of the whole process could be that Adam and I have discovered how to nip it in the bud, so the whole arguing situation never gets started. That is how stages pass in parenting; not only does the behavior of the child change, the parents learn how to deal with the new behavior. Who knew that parenting would involve me changing/learning too?

We've been so busy running errands and getting from here to there that I'm finding myself in desperate need of a break. I'm thrilled that summer vacation starts in a month and I am planning on doing a whole lot of nothing. Well, that's not even so true. The day after the last day of school we are headed to Oregon, but that will be a nice vacation and there doesn't have to be any schedule. I'm sure we'll do things, but one of my goals will be to NOT rush around. But after we get back, there is not one thing written on the calendar. Sure, stuff will have to get done, but I'm planning on many days spent playing in the backyard, going to the library and just enjoying being together.

Leila has really started interacting with me. I love to gaze into her eyes and watch her smile. She's even started cooing at me and giggling! I just love this stage. That little "ahhhh" sound they make when they are "talking" to you and the giant smiles that bloom across their faces. I could gaze at her forever. She's not too into interacting with everyone else yet, though she has given Adam a few big smiles, but I know it's coming. The kids just love her and I'm sure they'll be excited when she starts acknowledging them.