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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

We made it through our incredibly hectic weekend and back home. We arrived last night at 11:30 and hustled everyone inside and into their beds. Then Adam and I did a quick unload to retrieve toiletries and electronics and then we hit the sack as well. The drive was alright, though it seemed like there were tons of crazies out and I was happy to be home. Upshot of the weekend is that our friends got married, the kids did a great job as flower girls and ring bearer and we were happy to be there to see the whole shebang.

Saturday was a packed day. We had services in the morning, then rehearsal for the wedding, then a rest period, then dinner and live music. The kids did great through the rehearsal. The home where the wedding was taking place, is a gorgeous house with lots of acreage, mostly forest. The kids had a blast running around and playing in the out-of-doors. After all that was done, we decided that we'd go back to the hotel and take advantage of the pool.

Isaac was in charge of the bathing suit/swim toys bag. (We'd taken it with us on the off chance that there would be an opportunity for the kids to play in the sprinklers while we were at the rehearsal, but there wasn't.) We went into the hotel, he was still holding the bag. We got into the elevator, he was still holding the bag. We got off the elevator and forgot about the bag. So, when we got back to the room and decided that we really did have time (and energy) to go to the pool, none of us could find the Very Important bag. We took the room apart and drew the conclusion that it had been left on the elevator. Off Adam went to retrieve it. After a very looooong wait, he came back empty handed.

The elevator that Isaac had left the bag in was broken. Yes. Out of the three elevators, the one that was broken was the one holding our bag. And there was no way to get in it. The maintenance people couldn't even get it open. BLARGH. So, out went the swimming plan. Ah well. We started to get dressed and Adam needed to get something from the car, so he went out and came back with the bag. Thank goodness it was out, but there was no time for swimming. We got dressed and went to dinner.

Talia was so tired that, during dinner, she flat passed out. It was amazing how asleep she was. Leila was way tired, also, but she will. not. go to sleep if we are out. So I took her out of the dinner place and we danced in the hallway (an adorable bouncing up and down to the music) and she practiced walking and standing. This weekend she figured out how to stand up, while NOT holding on to anything. It is so adorable to see.

Anyway, after dinner the kids were supposed to get a chance to paint a ceramic piece (as a thank-you gift for being in the wedding). With Talia passed out I didn't see how Adam and I were going to pull that off. But poor Elie was so sad about not getting to paint, we decided to wake Talia up and I'd take her and Leila to the car while Adam finished dinner and got Elie and Isaac painting. But as soon as I got Talia to the car, she said "When do I get to paint?" Oh my. Back inside we went, she had some dinner and then the three Bigs got to paint their ceramic pieces. It really turned out just fine, but sometimes when they are tired (and we are too) I wish we could/would just throw in the towel and give up on the situation.

Sunday was the day of the wedding and we ate breakfast, had a nice long turn in the pool (over an hour) and then we all took a nap. Before lunch! The kids (and Dadam and I) were so tired that everyone fell asleep for an hour and a half. We gathered everything we needed for the wedding, ate lunch, and headed to the wedding location. Fast forward through several hours of everyone running around like chickens with their heads' cut off, getting kids and us dressed in VERY formal attire, nursing Leila in said formal attire (note to other nursing moms: formal halter = get naked to nurse), and finally getting on with the wedding. The kids did just what they were supposed to when they walked down the aisle. Elie and Talia were tossing petals and when they got to me, they both wanted to go back and finish emptying their baskets. "But Mommy, I'm not done. I have to go back. I still have petals!" Leila was very interested in toddling over to the musicians or Dadam, so I had to walk to the periphery with her. But we managed not to be too much of a distraction.

Come the end of the evening (after 9 PM) our kids were turning into pumpkins, so we left the party early. I had gotten Leila to sleep and she was laying on a blanket in the grass near our table, but when the loud dance music started, she woke up. It was time to go, The Bigs were too overwhelmed by the loud music and late hour anyway. Afterwards, it occurred to me that we could have gotten the kids to sleep in the house (the hostess was kind enough to let us use one of the bedrooms) and then Dadam and I could have taken shift work, so that we could enjoy the party more. But then we wouldn't have gotten to enjoy it together, so it probably all worked out for the best.

Whew...I'm exhausted just recounting the whole thing. Or maybe it was the six hours of sleep I got last night.

Today we tried to get back in the routine of things. We also managed to get outside and plant our gardens!! YAY for summer! I don't know if anything is going to grow. I took the completely lazy and unreliable route of just sticking seeds in the ground. We planted five varieties of small tomato, five varieties of larger tomato, cantaloupe, peppers and two kinds of carrots. They are all heirloom seeds and I'm crossing my fingers that we get at least a little homegrown deliciousness from the gardens. I suppose if we're going to be doing this every year AND actually wanting to have reliable harvest, I should learn how to do it right. But I think I have a couple years because we probably will be moving next summer and won't be able to have a garden then. The kids are totally excited and so that's another reason I hope we get reasonable returns. It's fun to have them so excited about it!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Road Trip!

Whoooohooooo! We are currently in TN for a friend's wedding. We drove yesterday and a little bit today. The kids did alright in the car, though Leila is definitely in the hating-the-car-for-long-periods-of-time stage. In my experience, once they get mobile, they realize that they should be moving about and not stuck in a car seat for hours on end. It's a logical and sensible conclusion, but it makes road tripping really unpleasant at times. Anyway, we got through it and arrived to complete and utter chaos. It's controlled chaos and it is working towards a purpose (the wedding on Sunday) but it is a bit difficult to be thrown into. All that being the case, the kids are handling it admirably.

They got to have yummy lunch with just Daddy while I attended a bridal shower (I hate those damn things). They got to run around in someone's backyard and play with plastic silverware (I love how they can be entertained with the most simple items). And they got to go the pool at the hotel!

Ah, the hotel. We had originally talked and made reservations at a local Comfort Inn. Nothing spectacular, but someplace clean and good enough to sleep. Somewhere along the way Adam decided that he was going to use his Hilton Rewards and surprise me with a much nicer hotel stay. So we arrived here today and we pulled into the hotel parking lot and I was extremely confused. But I caught up pretty fast! The hotel is really niiiiiiice. And we even have a suite, so the kids are in another room for sleeping. It's not that I don't like to be around them when we're sleeping, but we don't usually sleep in one room and they are noisy sleepers, so when we have to sleep together, it can be difficult. I could get pretty darn spoiled. My husband is such a sweetie for surprising me this way!

One funny part of the whole situation is that the kids didn't understand why I was so surprised/excited by the hotel. When I tried to explain that this was a nicer hotel, it mostly went over their heads. But when we got up to the room, Elie was going on and on about all the *nice* things that the room had. She was so effusive and so excited about the whole situation. "Mommy, look at this chair. It's so nice and big. You can sit and nurse Leila and it will be so comfortable. Isn't this nice! Oh and look over here, there are two rooms. You guys will sleep in there and we'll sleep out here. Isn't this nice?" And Talia kept exclaiming "Yep, Daddy, you are got a pwetty gweat hotel. You are a gweat picker. You are a gweat guy."

Tomorrow there is more chaos on the schedule, punctuated by eating, playing and visiting. I'm just hoping with some strategic nap scheduling on our part, we can avoid major meltdowns. We'll see!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Three is a MAGIC Number

Our little Lu-Lu is now three years old. We've spent the last two days having an extended celebration due to the fact that Adam wasn't getting home until this afternoon. I was quite happy with telling Talia that today was her birthday (she doesn't know the difference) but the olders were insistent on her celebrating her birthday on.her.birthday. So she got to pick two birthday dinners, have two different birthday treats and generally have twice as much celebrating. Last night we had friends over for dinner, Talia picked hamburgers and hot dogs for her special meal and cookies as a dessert. Then tonight GDaddy came over, Dadd was home (!) and we had Mac and Cheese and a bear cake, that is a cake in the shape of a bear.

Back in the day when Elie had her birthday, Talia declared that she wanted a bear cake. She was a bit unclear on the details, but got it in her head that she wanted a bear cake. But then a couple weeks ago she started telling me she wanted a different kind of cake. First she wanted a forest cake, then a princess cake like Elie's, then a motorcycle cake and sometimes she wanted a bear cake. ARGHGHGHGH. I finally got her to settle on a bear cake again. But then I had to create a bear cake. Which I managed to do, last night at midnight.

The reason for the late hour being that the last few days were the confluence of a few very important, time consuming situations. The first was Talia's birthday, the second was that I was reading Torah at synagogue this morning and lastly that Adam was coming home today. In addition, I foolishly thought that I could have friends over for dinner and not add to my stress level. All these events (plus the added unpredictability of small children) made for a rather late cake creating session last night.

I made the cakes ahead of time, Thursday night. But instead of taking them out of their pans before I froze them (freezing makes it easier to frost) I was lazy and just left them in the pans, covered them and stuck them in the freezer. Fast forward to Friday night. I fell asleep with the kids because I was so doggone tired. I woke up to the faint sound of Isaac crying hysterically and discovered that he had woken up, but gotten confused and wandered to the basement looking for me. I ran down stairs, picked him up, took him to our bed and then Leila woke up, so I went and got her and took her to our bed. I nursed Leila back to sleep and got Isaac back to sleep too. Then I went downstairs where I had to finish the dishes from dinner in order to start making icing for the cakes. I got the dishes finished and started to take the cakes out of their pans - big problem. They all stuck, really, really stuck. I had a momentary really large panic and then I pieced it back together and started creating the bear. Once I got through that, it went really quickly, but I still didn't make it in to bed until 1:30 this morning.

Anyway, most of that is neither here nor there. There was a cake at this evenings celebration. It was a cake in the shape of a bear and Talia seemed pleased. She is so funny, our little Lu-Lu. I can hardly believe that she is three. She was born in this house, upstairs in our bedroom. And now, look how time has flown. She is cannot wait to go to school, do her own hair and learn to read books. She is sweet and oh-so-funny. Her little blue eyes sparkle with impish glee and she is so easy going and fun. Not to say she isn't trying on her share of unpleasant behavior, but for the most part she tries hard not to rock the boat. She is still my cuddle bug and, while she has gotten much more secure about her place in this world without me constantly by her side, she still clings occasionally. I can hardly believe she is three.

I never wrote her birth story down anywhere, either. So here goes. Don't read anymore if you don't want to read about moaning, barfing, pushing, laboring women. But do read more if you want to read a cool story about our little Lu-lu joining our family.

Talia's due date was the 15th of May, a Sunday. Two Tuesdays before I had woken up early in the morning, with some contractions. I thought for sure that it was time. I woke up Adam, we called the midwives. But by the time we called them, my contractions had petered out. We took a walk while they hung out, but there was no uptick in intensity. So everyone went home. We took a nice long walk that afternoon and tried to get things going, but no dice. That day was not the birth-day.

Fast forward to Sunday the 15th. I woke up having some contractions. I just thought it was more prodromal labor and didn't pay very much attention to them. We took a lesiurely breakfast and then decided to drive into Arlington, to the commissary at Ft. Meyer. I was somewhat worried that the periodic contractions might turn into labor, but we decided that it wasn't that much of a risk. We made it through the commissary, though I was having contractions the whole time. We got home, we unloaded the car and we decided to call some friends of ours and ask them if they wanted to meet us at the park. Off we headed to the park, with me having contractions the whole time. Sometimes they were hardly noticeable and sometimes I couldn't sit through them, but they were definitely not regular and so we were not very concerned with them. We played at the park with Elie and Isaac for quite a while, then our friends came over to our house for dinner. I remember I was so concerned that there would be dessert, that I ended up whipping up a batch of cupcakes. We had a nice dinner of pizza, with cupcakes afterwards, but by the end I was having regular contractions and was needing to breathe through them. Our friends left and I went upstairs to hang out in the shower.
I got out of the shower and was still having fairly regular contractions, but these were confusing to me because they were so different from my contractions with Isaac. With Isaac I was having contraction on top of contraction on top of contraction; there was no break in the middle, just a lessenning of intensity. But these contractions were the contractions that you read about in all the books; less intense, very intense, less intense, nothing, repeat.

I was so incredibly mentally unprepared for this type of labor. It seemed so onerous. It seemed to go on forever. We called the midwives around seven-thirty and I think they arrived around eight-thirty. I was already sitting down in my rocking chair, waiting for my body to kick into high gear so I could get in the zone and get this baby out. No dice. I sat and rocked and sat and rocked and the contractions continued. I remember that I threw up. I remember that I asked if I *should* get up and walk around. I remember being oh, so incredibly tired. I just wanted to lay down and go to sleep. At some point Elie woke up. At first she just wanted to sit in the room with me while I labored, but I did not feel like I could mentally handle that. I could not ignore her presence. Adam got her settled in the basement with one of the birth assistants and came back up to be with me.
My back labor was getting mighty intense. I got up on our bed and tried to get comfortable on the excercise ball. But that didn't really work. Nothing felt comfortable or relaxing. Elie wanted Adam and so the birth assistant brought her up to him, but I sent Adam and Elie back downstairs. I felt pushy and started to bear down while I was moving to the end of our bed. My water broke with such force that I remember hearing a loud pop. I scooted to a standing position at the end of the bed, grabbed handfulls of the bedsheets and pushed with all my might. They called Adam and Elie back upstairs, but by the time they got from the landing up the five stairs to our bedroom, Talia was already out. It was 12:44 am, Monday May 16th. She weighed 8lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long. I remember holding her up against me and seeing her little rolls of fat on the back of her neck. It was so amazing to see a little person so incredibly chubby. (Elie and Isaac were such skinny babies.) How rolley and precious and soft she was! She had black hair and she was so incredibly beautiful. Happy Birth-day, little Lu-lu!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

We got up on Sunday morning and I opened the present from Elie. It was a very pretty flower pen (she got to pick out the flower that was on top), a card with her hand prints, and a lovely book she made with pictures she drew of us doing things together. She was so proud. It turns out the "hints" that she was giving me were tricks! She had been telling me there was a unicorn and raindrops and a tree, so I was really confused when I opened the present. I asked her "what about the other things you told me were in the gift?" She looked at me gleefully and said "Ha ha! I tricked you!!!!!"

She and Isaac desperately did want to make breakfast for me. So we got out the ingredients and they put together my standard, delicious breakfast of dried oats, brown sugar, wheat germ and plain yogurt. They were hilarious though, because they needed help to reach the yogurt and then wanted to measure it all out like I do. During the "making" Isaac said "Wouldn't it be great if there was a day where the grownups made the kids breakfast and got them presents? We could call it....Kids' Day!" Uhhhhh, Isaac, we do have a day like that....it's called EVERYDAY!!!

We finished up breakfast and took Elie to religious school. Then we came home and just hung out. When we went back to pick her up, she and Isaac told everyone about how they "made mommy breakfast." It was so cute.

Adam sent flowers and a card. He's so good to me. As SingleMother's Day goes, this one was pretty nice. And my kids were darn cute too!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Presents

The other day Elie announced that Mother's Day was coming up. Then she said, "You know, I could make you breakfast on Mother's Day. What do you think you want?" And I said, "What do you think you could make?" And she said, "Oh, I could do yogurt or some cereal for you."

Isaac's class had a Mother's Day program on Friday. They sang a song and we got to eat lunch with them. Then they handed out the gifts they had made in class. They were so cute. And such fun gifts! There was a terra cotta pot, painted and made into a pen holder. They made some pens with decorations and one with a picture of Isaac on it. They had put the decorations and the picture on the end, sticking off of it. They also made a key chain that the kids strung the beads on. It was so much fun! Elie made a present at school also and was so excited by seeing Isaac give his presents that she wanted to give hers on Friday. I told her that I wanted to wait until Sunday, so that I'd have something to open then! She has hardly been able to keep quiet about it and has been giving me *hints* about what it is. It's been soooo cute! I'm excited to open it tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big Truck Days

This week a neighboring town has something called Big Truck Days. They open the physical plant and park a bunch of work trucks and let kids climb up, down and all around. It is a BLAST. We haven't been able to go the last two years and I didn't know that it was this week. BUT on Monday morning the traffic was terrible on our normal going-to-school-route, so I rerouted past the physical plant. Isaac noticed it and said "Hey, there's a playground!" But it wasn't a playground, it was the Big Truck Days. I told him what it was and promised that we would go back. So after school, we went! It was a lot of fun. The kids had a great time getting in and out of every single truck. They got to turn the steering wheels and push butons and levers. They had a GREAT time and they even got to keep their "hard hats"!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Huh? WHA?

Today was a good day, in the grand scheme of life. We had some scheduled activities (sunday school, a birthday party - the party was at Chuck E Cheese and if I NEVER go in there again it will be too soon, being there and the behavior that we were encouraging was completely against most of the values that Adam and I have deemed important ewwwwww) and some unscheduled time as well, do enjoy the beautiful weather. We're one week into Dadam being gone and we've gotten into a rhythm and we're doing pretty good.

Then Isaac drops this bomb on me while we're wrestling and having some fun together. "Mommy, are you and Daddy still married? Do you still love Daddy? Does Daddy still love us?" Huh!? WHA?!?!?!?!!??? I was so shocked that I didn't *really* know what the heck to say. I reassured him that I loved Daddy very much and that we ARE, indeed, still married. And that Daddy loves all of them very, very, very much. And that he was just gone because of work and that he would be coming home to us when his trip was over.

I have NO clue where he picked up that line of thinking. Well, I suppose that the impending divorce of Adam's parents may have made an impression on him, but somehow I doubt it. I doubt it because it has been months and months (like a year) since we talked about that situation. It's not that Isaac doesn't remember things, I just don't think of him as being that interested in most stuff that he pays enough attention to regurgutate it at a later date. I suppose this is proof that he IS paying attention and that he's just not announcing every, single, little, teensy, tiny thought that enters his mind...Like some children in this house *cough*elie*cough*

Now I'm really sad that he thought that, but I'm glad he asked. It's important for him to acknowledge that he desires knowledge and then ask. Adam was REALLY sad when I told him the story and so we're going to be sure and talk to him on the phone tomorrow. I'm going to try and ask some follow up questions to talk with Isaac a bit more and make sure that he's got the information he needs. But I'm also going to have to be careful not to create more of a situation by continuing to dredge up the subject.

Ah, parenting. Talk about being blindsided. Whew.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Holy Mobile Baby, Batman!

Yes, it is true. Today is the day....Leila started walking!!! She's been taking one or two steps together for a few days now. But today, this morning, she let go of the highchair and walked to the backdoor. Then in the afternoon came the really miraculous walk: she walked from one side of the master bedroom to the other!!!!!!!! I did manage to get *some* of it on video (including the hilarious move she does when she starts to loose her balance), but I have no idea how to get it off the camera and onto something accessible that I can then post here. So for now you'll just have to believe me...Leila is WALKING!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Good Good Things

Elie's kindergarten class has been preparing for a "Farm Show." They sing and do some dances. She is beside herself with excitement. There is a little reception afterwards in the classrooms. An email was sent out asking for volunteers to bring in cookies. I volunteered to do that. So today we made cookies. And it was so much fun. We made drop cookies and Elie and Talia were so cute dropping the cookies on the trays. Elie did a whole tray entirely by herself. She also read and gathered all the ingredients for the second type of cookie we made. She's quite the cook, that kid!

In the car on the way to pick up Isaac there was a news report about a bombing in Iraq. I turned off the radio, but Elie heard about the killing before I got it turned off. She said, "Why did you turn that off, Mommy?" And I said, "Because they were talking about bad, bad things." And she said, "Yeah, killing people is really bad." I responded, "Yes, there is lots of bad, bad things in this world. But there's lots and lots of really good, good things too." Then she said, "Like Cookies!"

Yeah, lots of good, good things. Like Cookies. Like beautiful, smart, funny, warm, sweet, loving children. There's lots of good, good things.