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, June 24, 2008

A Tale of 3 Days in the Car With 4 Children 6 and Under

We've been in Colorado for almost a week now and so I feel ready to let you know how the driving portion of our trip went. Truth be told, when I think of it in my head as taking four kids, in a minivan, halfway across our great land of America, I feel more than slightly overwhelmed. But when I think of how the trip *actually* went, I realize that it went spectacularly, the kids behaved amazingly and things went about as smooth as they could have possibly gone.

Monday evening we started packing, with the plan being that we would leave on Tuesday mid-morning as soon as Elie got off the bus. Elie was adamant that she attend the Last Day of School. It was very, very important to her and so we decided not to pull her so that we could get a really early start on the drive. But we knew that we needed to pack the night before so that we could be ready to go as soon as Elie got off the bus. We started to get the kids ready for bed and Talia burst into tears. "Why are we getting ready for bed? Why aren't we going to the reunion? I thought we were going to the reunion????" After explaining to her (several times) that we were leaving in the morning, she finally got it sorted out. Whew. The ideas they get in their little heads sometimes.

Tuesday morning we got Elie off the bus and jumped into the car. (Surprisingly, we were actually ready to start driving when she got home, sometimes getting ready for trips isn't so much our strong suit.) I made sandwiches as we were driving and everyone had fun time with our picnic on the move. We crossed over into Maryland....and the questions began.

"What state are we in?" "When we will get to the reunion?" "How much longer will we be driving today?" "Are we going to Cindy and Jay's house?" "When will we be there?" "What state are we in?" "What state are we in?" "What state are we in?"

After about the fifth time in a row (you know, every child has to ask the question for themselves and they can't listen/process the answer that was given to a question asked by a different child) that Adam or I had answered the "what state are we in" question, we were starting to feel like the road trip was going to be an exceedingly long one.

We told them to stop asking and that we would be sure to announce when we crossed over into another state. But I couldn't stop thinking about how to get the information into their own hands, so they could access it at anytime. Then I got a Great Parenting Idea. Elie brought some journals to write in. I suggested that she start making a list of what state we were in, writing another one down when we crossed into a new state. That way, whenever she wanted to know where we were, she could just look at her list. And you know what? It WORKED! She wrote them down, it was a family activity to announce them AND she used it.

Isaac - "Elie, what state are we in?"
Elie - "I don't know, let me look at the list. (flipping pages noise) Indiana!"
Isaac - "Indiana. Aws (Isaac's abbreviation for the word "awesome". Thanks!"

It worked, it really worked!!! It was amazing how much fun she had writing it down and keeping track.

We made it to Dayton OH the first day and had time to visit with my friend from high school, Cindy, her husband, Jay, and their beautiful daughter Zoe. We got up the next morning and cruised for a really long day, all the way to Topeka, KS. I'm not saying there weren't some minor outbursts (Elie hit Isaac in the face with a motorcycle "on accident", Isaac spilled a large amount of water, and other issues) but for the most part, everyone played happily, sang with me, read their books, listened to me reading books and were really super troopers about the car. I even got a fair amount of work in on the washcloth I'm knitting and the blanket I'm crocheting. Third day we finished out the trip to Colorado Springs and made it there in the late afternoon.

We did squeeze in some caching (just about being carried away by giant mutant mosquitos in Eastern KS while waiting at a playground, for Adam to do a cache) and managed to cross off Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri as states we needed to cache in. Thank goodness for rest-stop caches because we HAD to stop at lots of rest-stops. Talia is deep in the stage where anytime anyone says any word remotely related to using the bathroom, she suddenly has a deep and urgent need to visit one. And Isaac still has trouble taking care of his business all in one visit. Ah well, maybe taking all those breaks isn't such a bad thing.

We're having a super amazing time visiting with family and doing really cool and fun stuff. I'll save that report for another day, though!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Better late than never, I suppose.

Adam got home uneventfully and we had a nice weekend as a family. On Father's Day we made a round up north, to see the extended fam. Lunch with his mother, a visit to his grandfather, and playing in the pool and dinner with his father. All in all, not a terrible Father's Day.

In some ways though, Adam sort of got gypped on Father's Day this year. He had just gotten back from his trip and I was needing a break. Plus with all the running around, he just didn't get much of a *special* day. And, it's a little weird, but the gifts that the kids made for him at school, weren't the same quality that they made for me. It is odd to me that the teachers would, so clearly, put less time and energy into the Father's Day stuff than they put into the Mother's Day stuff. Maybe they feel like mothers don't get enough attention? Maybe they feel like moms need more kudos and special presents? I'm not sure what the reason is, but it is a little sad.

Not that Adam is so into the touchy-feely stuff, but I'm sure he'd appreciate a little more, if that was given. We did make him a card and each of the kids took part in decorating it, so he definitely got some made-with-love-and-him-in-mind something. So I don't think he feels bad. But it does make me wonder what message the kids are getting from the schools regarding the situation.

Fathers are just as important as Mothers. And most of the Fathers I know work just as hard as the Mothers I know. They work hard to be involved and interact and support and provide. I just hope they know that we love them and appreciate them. Happy Father's Day, Dads.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer Begins

Whew. We are slowly winding down from the frenzy that was the school year and ramping up for the frenzy that is our summer travel schedule.

Last Friday Isaac graduated from preschool. It was a really nice little ceremony, but I'm pretty sure he really didn't get much out of it. He seemed mostly inconvenienced by having to sit still for so long, but happy about the cool cupcakes made to look like mortarboards. Elie is finishing her last full week of school and has two more days next week. I think that she has said how sad she is to be done with school, every single day this week. I told her I thought there would be plenty to keep her busy over the summer, but she insists that she will desperately miss school. I have to say that it has been so nice to NOT drive Isaac to school this week. We get Elie on the bus, eat some breakfast and have tons of time to get things done around the house or even run an errand or two, before we get Elie back.

Elie is having an ice cream sundae party tomorrow at school. But she was so funny because she thought it was an ice cream SUNDAY, meaning she would have to go to school on the weekend. "Do I have to go to school on Sunday for the ice cream?" At first I didn't understand, so she said "You know, for the ice cream Sunday?" Tee hee. It was so, so cute. Then today in the car, Isaac told her that she wasn't having ice cream sundae at school, she was having ice cream Friday because she was eating the ice cream on Friday! Ah language.

Elie has finally decided that reading is a really cool thing to do. She now has her nose in a book all.the.time. I really wanted to encourage this love of reading, so we purchased her a clip-on-light for her bed and she is allowed to read for a few minutes after we tuck her in. I was a bit skeptical that she would police herself without us having to stick our heads in and tell her that it was time for lights out, but she's been fabulous about the whole thing. She picks a book and quietly reads to herself for 10 mins or so. Then it's out with the light and snuggle down for sleep. She amazes me with how responsible she is. And I love how in love with reading she is. It was such a struggle to get her to read at the beginning of the year. Now she reads EVERYTHING...gas station signs, menus, newspapers, bumperstickers...you get the picture. But really, I love it.

We've also discovered jokes. Which, for the record, are darn hard to explain. What is a fly with no wings? A walk. Now please, take a moment and try, just try, to explain why that is funny. Why does that elicit a chuckle? Then try and explain what a pun is. Just for good measure. Because I had to try and explain those things this evening. voice from bathroom: "Mommy, what's a play on words?" "Uhhhh, Elie, it is the same thing as a pun. Which is...uhhhh..ummm." Several examples and some discussion later, I'm pretty sure I've managed not to explain anything.

Speaking of reading, Isaac has managed to make our lives completely easy in that regard. He has picked up reading so easily and painlessly. There is a story that my Nana tells about my father. Dad would go outside to play with his friends, then he would come back in to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Some time later the friend would come to the door and ask Nana if my dad could come back out. My Nana would go looking for Dad, only to find that he was off reading something, having completely forgotten that he was playing. This is Isaac. To a T. I wandered by his classroom one day while free play was going on. There he was, everyone else playing something, and he was completely absorbed in the books. He was carefully reading each one to himself; I could see his little lips moving while he read. I don't know what happened there, but we sure did luck out. And he is really excited about kindergarten. Nervous, but excited.

Last Saturday we went to our friends' house for some water fun. The kids had a blast. Talia really surprised me with how fearless she was. They had a tall inflatable water slide set up and she was loving it. She was just light enough that she would shoot off the end and into the pool, every single time. And she loved it! Unfortunately, then she gets a sense that she is unhurtable and then crashes around even more than she usually does. That poor child has absolutely no sense of where her body is. It is sometimes painful to watch. She crashes around and into things willy nilly. I know where she gets it, but I wish I hadn't shared that genetic trait. Ah well, she is a bit of a daredevil AND she is pretty hearty for all the crashing around.

Leila continues to move forward with language. She's quite the talker, even though most of the time the rest of us really have no clue exactly what she's saying. Monolouges seem to be her specialty as of late and she'll lecture anyone. She's deadly serious about whatever it is she's talking about.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Flexibility is the Key to Air Power

On Tuesday Adam left for yet another three day TDY. No problem, right? He was going to fly back in late, late Thursday night so that he could be sure he was home for Isaac's graduation from preschool. Right...you noticed I said "was". Wednesday, lunchtime, he called. He sounded terrible on the phone. "Honey, I have some really bad news....", he gravely said. I thought for sure that someone was dead, hurt, or deathly ill/damaged. I couldn't figure out how anyone would have found him before they found me, to get out the news. The "really bad news" was that he wasn't coming home on Thursday, he's coming home NEXT Friday. That's right, a week from today. It was bad news. But at least no one was hurt/dead.

The biggest issue was that Isaac's graduation was today. I felt like it was VERY important for everyone to be there and cheer him on. I know that it is *only* pre-k graduation, but still, it is a big transition. I was feeling very sad about the whole sitaution, knowing that I would have to tell Isaac that Daddy wasn't going to be there. Plus, I was dissapointed. *I* wanted Dadam to be there. *I* wanted to be together. I sat down with Isaac and told him that Daddy wasn't going to be able to be home for his graduation. Isaac said "That's okay. You can tape me with the videocamera, then when he's home we can hook it up to the TV and he can see me on there." And he really has been okay with it.

I'm feeling a little emotionally raw about the whole thing though. I miss Adam, damnit. We talked about why this extention happened (emergency at work, good face time w/person who will be involved with promotion to Lt.Col next year) and I totally get it. I know why he had to stay. But....yeah, but....we've given up so much for this job. I feel like I've been paying it forward for quite a while now and I'm deeply, selfishly, tired of it. Plus, Isaac is done with preschool. He's going to kindergarten. Where has the time gone? Where is my baby? I'm not ready for this - though he clearly, undeniably, is beyond ready. I want to cry, but there's no time. And no one to listen or hold me while I do it. There's no OtherParent to give me a little space to step back and remember, crying bittersweet tears. EveryParent has to be on duty....no time for all this whining and self-pity....back to work...back to Life....back to loving up my littles who will be Big in no time at all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Random Report

First, quite exciting news - our gardens have sprouts!!!! Today we saw carrot sprouts, cantaloupe sprouts and tomato sprouts! Whoohooo. Of course, this is a far cry from getting vegetables out of the ground/off the plant, but it is farther than we were a week ago when we put the seeds in the ground. The kids, okay and I, are totally excited about seeing the little sprouts. Now we just have to put up our protective fences so that the bunny rabbit colony that lives in our backyard won't eat the little sprouts.

Second, Leila has now had a language explosion. Apparently now that the walking skill is well in hand - or, uh, foot - (ie she can stand back up w/out holding on to anything, turn corners and walk up and down inclines), Leila's brain has now decided that in order to be a Big, she needs to talk. So she is. This weekend and today she's been working on these words: ball, eye, hi, me, bye, ehyee (elie), izzy (isaac), mamama (for me), dadada (for adam), uhpah (up) and various others. She said dada for the first time when she was standing on the porch last Friday and wanted Adam to come pick her up. She walked to the edge and yelled "dada dada dada dada" until he came over and picked her up. She was so excited to use it, that when she was in the sandbox with The Bigs, she would stand up and yell just to see him come running. Oh it is SO CUTE! This morning she was playing with his watch and saying dada over and over and over again.

Uhhhh and what else.....We've had some really nice days lately. Sunday we went to a celebration for Israel's 60th Birthday on the National Mall. We had such a fun time and it was so good to be a family. When I asked Isaac what his favorite part was, he answered "riding the Metro." Yesterday we did a big arts and craft project with Isaac's class from school. I purchased shirts for the class and all the kids got to paint a shirt. At the same time we put handprints on some nice canvas bags for the teachers. I'm super excited about the bags, they turned out so well. And the kids had a GREAT time making shirts for themselves. It was a little chaotic and my kids didn't get any personalized attention from me, so yesterday afternoon we took their shirts out into the back yard and they got a chance to work on them, with Adam and I available. It was a beautiful day and it was so nice to be in the backyard as a family. Today was also a good day. Grocery shopping in the morning with just Leila and Talia, playing in the backyard with everyone in the afternoon, making yummy dinner, watching Elie make a *show* with the castle and its inhabitants, dinner, bath and bedtime - whew, what a day!