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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chanukah Lights

Chanukah this year was lots of fun. The kids are old enough to understand the story and the reason for celebrating. (You mean it's not just about presents?!?!) The older three played dreidles with M'n'M's and had a blast. They ate gelt, latkes, and homemade sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) with gusto.

We started to let them light their own menorahs, which for Dadam was a difficult adjustment to make. But they loved doing it themselves and I think they felt more involved. Participating instead of just observing makes such a difference in feeling connected.

Elie had been using a menorah she made in school, way back in the day, when she was almost three. It was a long block of wood, with 10 nuts glued on for candle holders. (The shamash had two nuts stacked together.) Elie had decorated it at school by painting it.

This year Isaac and Talia expressed an interest in having their own menorahs. So I decided that we'd do it as a project one day. It happened that I was watching some friends of ours that day, so we had six kids doing the project.

I had looked around and decided that I could make a cuter menorah, by not using the nuts. I went to the craft store and found some oh-so-cute wooden, round (with one flat side) dowel toppers. The holes were big enough that we wouldn't have to struggle to put candles in and I was sure they would look lovely on top of our 2 x 2 wooden pieces.

I hot glued the round candle holders to the menorahs, the kids had a great time painting them and we brought them to our Chanukah celebration that night! Each menorah had six candles in it, all the children had their own menorah, there were a LOT of candles.

And as the candles started burning down, Adam turned to me and said "We're idiots." Have you already seen what the problem was? I still didn't. Adam pointed out that we had placed candles into a FLAMMABLE holder. When the candles burned down, the wick would lay against the inside of the little wooden dowel toppers and catch.them.on.fire.

So we have some slightly charred menorahs. We watched them closely to make sure that they didn't catch catrostrophically on fire. Now I'm on the hunt for a solution to make the menorahs useable, but no longer flammable. I suppose it's not a holiday, if someone doesn't do something that is epic. ;-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Contagious Control Issues

It seems that I have passed on my control issues to my children. Each of them have at least one or two things that *must* be just right in order for the world to work properly. Even Leila, at 20 months old, has issues.

For instance, she has to have her cup touching her bowl or plate when she is eating a meal. If it is not touching her bowl or plate, she will stop eating in order to grab the cup with her hands and slide it until it is touching the bowl or plate. If she uses the potty and we try to leave the bathroom while the toilet lid is still up, she freaks out and starts yelling. Same if we leave on the light and leave the room. I'm okay with the light reminder, but the lid up issue I could do without.

Elie used to "play" that she was cleaning. She would take a toy bin and organize it. Her favorite was lining up all the cars, in some predetermined order, that only she could figure out.

Isaac still has major control issues about his clothes and what he wants to wear. He doesn't like jeans. He picks his favorites and then wears them all.the.time. He often will refuse to wear something that doesn't feel right.

Talia loves dresses. She wears dresses nearly every single day. If there's not a dress and tights to wear to school, then she has a mini-freak-out and practically refuses to get dressed.

I wish I could say I don't know where they got this propensity for control-freakishness. But I do. And I'm just sorry that I couldn't keep it from being passed down to another generation. Ah well. *shrug*

Saturday, December 27, 2008

No Secrets Here

Leila was just finishing up on the potty, with Dadam's help, and Isaac came in to use the facilities. Dadam turned to the sink to wash Leila's hands and Isaac, oh-so-helpfully said, "Mommy never washes Leila's hands after she uses the potty. So wash 'em good!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Holidays

Ah, the holidays. The kids have had lots of fun at school learning the requisite school versions of popular holiday songs. Elie came home and sang "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, the rest is highly inappropriate...." (sing it to yourself, it really does work in tune ;-) ) I asked her to sing it to me anyway. I wanted to know if it was so different from the version that I learned when I was in elementary school. It hasn't changed much.

Elie and Isaac both had a good time at their school "holiday" parties. I have been very pleased with how little "Christmas" stuff has come home with them. There's been plenty of red and green, but no mangers, no santa and I can live with that.

Isaac, though, seems personally offended everytime we see something decorated for Christmas. "Why is this decorated for Christmas? Do they think everyone celebrates Christmas? We don't celebrate Christmas. Do they celebrate Christmas? Not everyone celebrates Christmas." He goes through this little tirade every.single.time. I've explained many times how we live in a country where most people celebrate Christmas etc.etc, but he still seems highly irritated by being the minority.

They are enjoying Chanukah and we have had some really nice celebrations with family and friends. It's been very nice to have all the nights be non-school nights, that way we can celebrate into the night without being concerned about getting up for school the next day.

Of course, the kids are also enjoying Dadam being off work so much. And I must admit, I am too. It's so nice to have him around. We've had such fun being together as a family this break. And I'm excited to think there's another week still to go!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Report

"I think Brambleton is where you can go and get blackberries" - Isaac, observing a sign for an exit lableled "Brambleton"

Talia has been identifying letters like crazy. She points out letters when we are driving, she points out letters at the store, she points out letters on books we are reading. I'm not sure why I was so worried, she just had to come to it in her own time. Last weekend she was invited to a birthday party. (We don't go to all the birthday parties we're invited too because it gets a little excessive in preschool, but I will go to the parties of kids' who she mentions a lot.) This one was at a pump it up type place. Talia was being really brave and totally into climbing and sliding. Then she realized that I could come on with her and we spent the rest of the time climbing and sliding together. It was a blast, but the best part was the next day, when she looked up at me and said "I had such a good time with you yesterday, Mommy."

Leila has been dry for four nights in a row now and has been very reliable in undies. Monday was a day full of accidents, but since then, she's been dry. I am so, so, so, so happy to be done with diapers. Seriously. She also has had an uptick in speach again and we've added a few new words and fleshed out some others, ie she was saying "buh" for book, but now (overnight) she is saying "book".

I don't know if you are familiar with the "word jumble" often found in the comic section of a newspaper. It's a game where there are four words, each of them with jumbled letters. You have to look at the letters and determine the word. Then in each of the words there are letters you put together to make a final answer to a question. I don't know if I'm explaining this well....Anyway, there is a "kids word jumble" in our newspaper every weekend. Elie and Isaac have taken to doing it together. They are so adorable. And they are pretty darn fast at it. Last week's took them less than ten minutes to figure out; that's four words and then the final word. I think I'm going to have to find some of the adult ones online. They could probably do them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another One Gone

We've lost another one folks! That's right, MissElie has lost another tooth!!!! This one was wiggly for quite a while and she kept asking us to try and pull it out. I attempted to pull it out just this morning, but it wasn't until she was eating lunch this afternoon that the tooth finally let go. And she.ate.it.

She said that everyone at school was telling her the tooth-fairy would come anyway. She also said that as soon as she realized it was gone she just wanted to be with me and tell me. I think she was a little upset about it. But she seemed to have decided it was okay by the time she got home. This afternoon she wrote a note to the tooth-fairy and put it under her pillow. Everything is definitely just fine.

At bedtime, she was asking Adam if the tooth-fairy would be able to come to our house in the rain. (Currently it is pouring here and is supposed to do so all night long.) Adam suggested that perhaps the tooth-fairy drives so crazy that she can go in and out of the rain, without getting wet. Elie said "No, Daddy, the tooth-fairy drives pretty." (like, duh!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's that Time AGAIN

Yes, indeedy folks, we've had our First Major Illness of the season. Tell MommyOj what's she's won:

- a virus that runs 5-6 days long, that begins with vomiting (with more sprinkled randomly in the middle for good show) and is marked by a really, really high fever (I think our record here was a balmy 103.8, registered by MissElie)

- aforementioned virus will run through every.single.child, but not not all once...oh no, it can only happen in a graduated manner

-some severe maternal sickness, in this particular case it was an amazingly bad case of mastitis, like so bad I'd count it as the second worst case I've ever had (and I've had mastitis like 10 times...seriously)

Thank goodness I had good karma on my side and Dadam just happened to be home. I acutally made him take the day off on Friday because my fever was so high I could hardly walk to the bathroom from our bed.

Now, though we have just one holdout. The boy-child is on a rest day home from school. He still had a fever last night, but there's no sign of it today and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will go to school tomorrow. He certainly seems well enough today....

Children are germ magnets and germ factories. Bleaugh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I can hardly believe that we've been living here for almost four years. Time has flown by mind bogglingly fast. We've had two babies in this house. So many other transitions and so much growth and so much change has happened. And, as is the case as a military family, our time here is almost up.

One of the big reasons that Adam tried so hard to get this job is that we were very interested in getting an overseas assignment. Adam spent quite a bit of time over there when he was growing up and he loved it. He's talked about us getting over there the whole time we've been married! As the end of this assignment approached, he began working hard on finding a job and then getting that job. Well, it worked. We will be moving to England (Yorkshire area) in July of '09!

We have told the kids. And for the most part the ones who understand, seem very, very excited to have this amazing adventure. Though I really don't think they have any idea what kind of change this might mean for them. They were very excited about the possibility of living in a castle. (We told them we weren't going to live in one, but that we would be able to visit some.) Then they were excited about the possibility of traveling to England on a large cruise ship.

But slowly questions have started leaking out that have led me to believe that they are extremely nervous and more than a little sad about this huge transition. We've been answering more and more questions about what we are going to be bringing with us, "Will they move the kitchen cabinets?" "I am sure that we will leave our furniture." "Will we take our kitties with us?" We've been trying to answer them gently and patiently, knowing that they won't really understand until it happens.

We've also been slowly getting the house ready so that we can easily rent it when we leave. We have decided that we are going to spruce up the kitchen a little bit. We've put in some new light fixtures and put on new cabinet hardware. The last projects will be to take down the floral border that is up, paint the whole kitchen and then put new counter top on.

Last night, at dinner, we started talking about what was going to happen to the kitchen. Isaac became very upset, nay hysterical, about the idea that we were going to take down the floral border. "It is so pretty!", he insisted several times over. He was choking because he was crying so hard. Oh it was unpleasant. He asked if we were going to save the floral border. He asked if we were going to put it up in our new house in England. He cried about it for a really long time.

It was tempting to brush off his hysteria as exhaustion or hunger or any number of other causes. But it occurred to me, while he was crying, that this was a manifestation of his feeling out of control.

Recently there have been some negative developments in my life that were not of my doing or choosing, yet they affected me in a very real and deep way. One of the ways that I first tried to help myself cope, was to obsess about the details of the developments. Daily, I found myself searching for information to explain or shed light on why the developments happened. But the more I searched, the more upset I got and the less I was able to release their hold on me and begin to move forward.

And here is Isaac, stuck in a situation not of his choosing or doing. And it is a huge, life altering experience. We are leaving the only house he remembers, all his friends, the only way of life he's ever known. He has no frame of reference to consider the unknown, only that it is unimaginably scary. The changes that he fears so greatly aren't here right now, so his fear is manifests itself in obsessing over the details.

Control is so powerful, so comforting. It is so hard to give ourselves over to the idea that our lives contain developments, positive and negative, that we have absolutely no control over. So we have to learn how to control the only aspect that we can, how we react. Do we fall into a ball of self pity? Do we detour around the problem? Do we choose happiness? Do we reassess and dive in again?

I'm hoping to teach Isaac that it's okay to be scared. It's okay to acknowledge all the feelings that we have. But I also want to teach him that allowing ourselves to become mired in the details, just because it is comforting to have something to control, isn't a great way to go about life. I'm pretty sure that his control issues are something that he's going to have to deal with his whole life. I know that I'm still struggling with mine and I might just know some people who are older, and wiser, than me who are still learning to cope.

I just hope that we can take down the floral border without any more tears. Change can be good and I think the kitchen is going to look great. Even if the pretty flowers are gone.