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, September 22, 2010

Back Over the Ocean

In the beginning of the year we found out that one of Dadam's cousins (who we are really close with) was getting married (to a FAB lady, I might add).  I immediately told Dadam I wanted to go.  He wasn't too sure.  For one thing, flying everyone back over the ocean is a considerable financial burden.  Secondly, we would need to make a stop in DC to see Dadam's parents and also go to CO, where the wedding was going to be.  But, I argued, we would get to see most of our family and some of our friends.  Plus we could share in the wedding festivities.  What could be better than all that?!?!?!?  Over time, I convinced him and we made our plans.  It turned out that the wedding would be over a period of time when the kids already had some time off school, so out of our two week trip they would only be missing six days of school.  Not bad!  September arrived before we knew it and it was time to GO!

Of course, we had to make things challenging for ourselves by scheduling our flight to leave early on a Sunday morning.  What could be wrong with that, you say?  The day before was Yom Kippur, a day when we Jews fast for 24 hours and attend services. Yeah, it's intense.  Because the holiday begins at sundown on the previous day, Friday night, this meant I had to have everything packed no later than Friday afternoon.  For those of you who know me personally, you would be right to be skeptical that this would actually occur.  In addition to that small bump, I foolishly agreed to host the Break-the-Fast for our local Masorti group, at our house.  And that would be occuring on Saturday night, at about eight o'clock.  I am a lunatic.  Thankfully everything came off just fine and we were able to get to the airport on time and all in one piece.  Dadam and I didn't even have an argument, that's how not stressed we were.  (Or maybe that means we are growing up in our relationship, I dunno.)

I was slightly worried about how we were going to keep the kids entertained on the plane for seven and a half hours.  I hate flying.  Really.  And our kids are good.  Really, really good.  They don't throw temper tantrums, they don't yell, they are typically polite and thoughtful of one another and us, but I still really find flying with them a bit on the painful side.  For one, there is all the stuff we need to bring; four backpacks, four waterbottles, snacks, blankets, books, colored pencils, dolls, cars, etc ad nauseum or at least ad back-ache.  We were taking some red eye flights and so we had their four pillows with us as well.  After getting through security and getting on the plane, we discovered that each seat had it's own touch screen!  There were games, movies and TV shows all on demand.  The kids could start watching something, stop, start another one, play a game, play a game with another person(!) and then watch something else.  They were enthralled!!!!  There were even games that Leila could play.  It was fantastic.  The time flew by and Dadam and I even got to watch a movie each.  It was so nice to be able to pause it, deal with the kiddos, and then go back to watching! 

Our first stop was DC, where we stayed overnight with our friends Prospero and MissAuFait and their four children.  They were so kind to open their home to an additional six (jetlagged, smelly, loud, hyper) people.  Our kids and their kids began playing immediately, as though they had just seen each other last week, as opposed to five months ago.  It was FABULOUS.  MissAuFait made a delicious dinner, the children were happy, life was good.  I could not believe how well the kids were handling the jet-lag.  Monday morning we woke up and everyone was still doing just fine.  We spent a wonderful day just hanging out.  And it was great.

Monday night we said goodbye (after Prospero drove us to the airport, helped us offload, and wanted to tell off a traffic cop for refusing to look the other way while Prospero helped us inside).  We ended up with a VERY late flight out of DC.  It left at ten PM.  This got us into CO at an extremely late hour.  As we were waiting in line to check in, Noodle began to melt down.  Foolishly, I had not brought the ergo with us.  I don't know what I was thinking.  She just needed to be held and I needed to help with bags and checking in.  I ended up laying her on the floor of the airport check-in terminal, on a large pile of pillows, tears streaming down her face.  LuLu began to sob as well and PrincessE and theBoy-Child just looked absolutely exhausted.  That was the first time I thought to myself, "What the h&*%$ was I thinking?!!?!?!  This was a terrible idea!!"  But we got checked in and scooped up the babes and headed off to security. 

Once we got on the plane, every.single.one. of us was asleep before take off and we ALL slept the whole time, waking up only when the pilot said, "Welcome to Denver."  We got off the plane and more crying ensued.  Dadam left us at the luggage claim while he went to get the rental car.  PrincessE was running a fever and had a horrid cough and runny nose (something she had not had when we left England on Sunday morning!).  I finally convinced the kids to lay down on their pillows, in a quiet corner, while I grabbed the luggage.  By the time I finished getting all the luggage, they were all asleep again.  I covered them and I layed down with them and I fell asleep. 

A while later, I woke up again.  Still no Dadam.  PrincessE woke up with a start, "I can't sleep!!!  Where's Daddy?  Where has Daddy gone?  He's NOT COMING BACK.  I KNOW!"  And she began to sob.  I cuddled her and got her calmed down and she fell asleep again.  I went back to sleep.  Sometime later, PrincessE woke up again and this time was completely non-linear about the fact that Dadam was not yet back and that he wasn't coming back.  I admit, I was beginning to be concerned.  Not that he had abandoned us in the airport, but that something bad had happened.  As I was going through something to say to PrincessE to reassure her that Daddy *was* coming back, he came back.  Oh sweet relief.  The rental car company took AGES to get Dadam to the office and then there was only one person working the counter!!!  We woke everyone up, straggled out to the car, pur in all the car seats and drove to the hotel.  It was only half two in the morning.  BAH!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All By Myself or The House is Really Quiet

The first week of school, I had G-Daddy with me after we got the kids to school.  We took advantage of being adults and had coffee and did assorted activities Without Children.  G-Daddy headed home and a terrible plague promptly made its way through the ranks of children.  One after another they got a fever, threw up and were unwell for a couple of days.  In the midst of all that, we had time off school for Rosh Hashana.  And then in the third week of September, one morning, I took every.single.child. to school and came home.  To a completely empty house. 

Oh, it was quiet. 

Too Quiet.

And the silence made me cry.

For a very long time in my life, close to a decade, I have had a child (or children) at home with me during the day.  For years I have been unable to walk without someone following me, to change my clothes without a running commentary, to use the bathroom all.by.myself.  And now, in the blink of an eye, for several hours during the day, my time is my own. 

I called Adam and cried a bit.  I worked on some sewing that needed doing.  I felt slightly sorry for myself and a little lost.  Then it was time to get Noodle.  I'm sure I'll get used to it.  I know I will.  But for now it's hard to hear myself through the quiet.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Grand Visit

When Dadam found out that he was getting promoted, his dad (G-Daddy) told us that he would like to come out for the ceremony.  Fabulous!  We finally found out when Dadam was pinning on (1September) and let G-Daddy know so that he could make travel plans.  And in the end of August, he came out! 

We were all so happy to see him!  The kids could barely contain themselves and Dadam and I were excited too.  He arrived and we immediately began dragging him around to local sightseeing spots and museums. 

The first day we took him to the Royal Armory in Leeds.  We have been near the building before, but never in.  It was amazing.  Highlights included the tower of weapons and a nearly intact set of elephant armor, the only one that exists in the world!  I think the kids were a bit overwhelmed with information, but the adults found it very interesting and quite enjoyable. 



Next day we went off to Fountains Abbey.  It's some place we have been before and enjoyed.  We listened to a guy talk about keeping bees and then wandered down to the Abbey.  It is an amazing structure and it was really fun to share it with G-Daddy. 

On our way back from Fountains Abbey we drove by Harewood House (the local Lord's Manor).  Just outside the gates were four steam engine steam rollers!!!  They were AMAZING.  I had heard there was a "steam rally" at Harewood that weekend, but had dismissed it as something to do.  Boy was I wrong.  We were all so excited by the steam engines that we decided to go see them the next day! 

There were mini steam engines and big ones.  There were steam engines that had been "modded" to make them more modern.  They had antique cars and miliary vehicles and motorcycles. 


 A mini steam engine.


A full size steam engine.


A steam engine with a more modern feel.


And a really cool old steam roller.  Note the chains used for steering!


Tuesday was Dadam's promotion and G-Daddy's birthday.  It was a nice ceremony and then we went out to a very nice dinner.  The kids were really well behaved and (mostly) sat nicely through the ceremony.  There was one point, during the first promotion going on, that Noodle turned to G-Daddy and said, "I need to use the toilet."  Any other time, G-Daddy would do just.about.anything for any of the kids.  But he turned to her and hissed, "No!"  I knew she didn't need to go, she likes to say she does just so she can get out of whatever situation she feels is uninteresting.  But we got through the promotion without further interruption and it was really nice. 

And Wednesday the kids started school.  I can't belive how much easier it is to get the kids ready for school and get them to school, when there is an extra adult around to help!  We rode our bikes and had a really nice time.  While the kids were at school we had coffee and chatted and did grocery shopping.  We even had the chance to go to Betty's Tea Shop, a Yorkshire tradition.  G-Daddy said he wanted to try an authentic scone to see what they were supposed to taste like.  He told me that when he tried to make them they had turned out pretty dry.  After we started eating our scones, I asked him what he thought.  He revealed that he was interested to learn that scones are just supposed to be dry. 

On the Saturday before G-Daddy went home, we took a fab day trip to York.  We had a lovely breakfast and then headed out to walk all the way around the wall that used to enclose the city.  We also stopped by the Train Museum and had such fun examining and looking at all the trains. 

(It is nearly impossible to get everyone to hold still for a photo!  G-Daddy knows how, though, thank goodness.)

We are so happy that he was able to come over and spend some time with us.  It was so nice to have him here for Dadam's promotion.  All the adventures we had were so much fun.  I think the week after he went, all the kids went though severe withdrawl, as everyday after school he played with them for hours in the backyard.  I know I speak for everyone when I say:  We can't wait to have a Grand visit again!
   

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our New House Part II

And now, without further ado, are pictures of the sleeping quarters! 

 Stairs in the entryway as you come in the front door. 

 A view up the stairs to the second floor. The doorway that can be seen to the right is the "house bathroom" or the bathroom for the kids.


At the top of the stairs and to the left is our guest room.  Right now, as you can see, it is the throw stuff in that we don't want to put away right now room.  The guest room has its own bathroom and that is to the right as you enter.

 Guest bathroom.


There is a kid bathroom to the right of the guest room.  It has a shower and a tub and two sinks! 


Two sinks!!  And some nice cabinets.

 A view down the hallway towards our bedrooms from the house bathroom.

 The first bedroom is shared by LuLu and Noodle. 

 It's not huge, but they mostly just sleep in there anyway. 

 Here you can see that the kids' rooms are right next door to one another.  Literally.  PrincessE and The Boy-child's room is on the left.

 The entryway to PrincessE and The Boy-child's room.


And their beds!  I bet you can figure out whose is whose. 

 Our room is just to the left (as you are facing them) of the kids' rooms. 


We have two walls of built in closets!


And two built in sets of drawers.

 And a whole lot of laundry on the bed!

 Here's the view of our other set of closets and our bathroom.


A close up of our bathroom!

I hope you've enjoyed your tour!  Come see us soon!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our New House Part I

Yes, we've lived here two months already and I am just now, finally, getting photos up of our fantastic abode.  It's different than the other one, much less modern, but I am really, really enjoying it.  The space works well for us AND the location can't be beat. 

 This is the front of our house.  Behind me is a wooded area with a small footpath through it.  There is very little foot traffic on it though and it is a nice quiet area.  In the right side of this photo you can see a gate, that is the access to the backyard.  As we face the house, there is a two car garage to the right. 

 Ta-da, two car garage and gate access to back garden!  This driveway area is where the kids spend hours on their bikes.  It's very safe because there is only one house past ours. 

 In the bottom right corner of this picture is our garage.  Working your way counterclockwise around the picture from the garage can be seen: our house, our neighbor's house and their garage.  You can get a better feel for the amount of space the kids have to ride. 

 Here is our entryway.  The doorway to the right leads into the dining room.  It is perpendicular to a doorway to the kitchen.  To the left is the living room. 

 Here is our cloak room to the left (see allllllll the shoes!?!?!) and the living room. 

 Bah!!!  It is amazing how many pairs of shoes six people can have.  This is the third iteration of my closet organization and I think it may stick this time.  (Before I had the shelves all the shoes were just in a pile on the floor!)

 This is the living room from the doorway of the entry way.  We are looking towards the back of the house.  Usually the large carpet that Dadam brought back from Qatar is on the floor under that main coffee table, but we had a large group of people over for break-the-fast and so we took it up.  You can see the piano in the back of the picture next to the floor lamp. The fireplace is gas and very nice!

 There is a set of doors that open out to the back garden in the rear of the living room.  To the right of the doors is an entryway into the dining room.

 This is the view from the garden doors.  The doorway from the entryway is to the left rear of this photo. The dining room is directly to the left of me here. 

 Entryway to dining room from living room. 

 Dining room!  Big enough for the table (even when extended).  And it has a bay window (to the left in this photo) which looks out on to the back garden.  The doorway to the back right in this photo goes out to the entryway.

 Here is the doorway out to the entryway and we can see the kitchen doorway and study door way on the left.
Here is the dining room from the doorway.  You can see into the living room and see our view to the back garden. 

 This is the study.  It is to the right of the entryway, directly to the right of the kitchen and to the left of the downstairs toilet.  It is the last room to be unpacked, as you can see. 

 Here is the downstairs toilet.  The doorway to the left is the study, the doorway to the right is the front door.

 Looking into the kitchen from the entryway, you can see the study to the right.

 Kitchen, with eat in space.

 The rest of the kitchen.  The window faces onto the back garden.  The doorway to the right is to the playroom.

 Playroom doorway!

 And the playroom.... You can see the small room at the end is the utility room, which faces out on to the driveway.

 The cabinets were built in.  It is soooo nice to have SO much storage in the playroom.

 View from the utility room, down the playroom and into the sewing room.

 The sewing room!  It's fab to have my own space.

 There are doors out to the back garden from the sewing room.  It is lovely to be able to be right there when the kids are playing outside.

The utility room opens on to a small patio where the kids can play and I can hang clothes out to dry.  There is also a back door to the garage.  This patio is where the gate to the left of the garage opens out. 

So that's the first floor and outside done.  Next post: Sleeping Quarters!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SleepOver!

Before we left on our vacation to Windsor, the older three kiddos were invited to our friend's house for a sleepover.  We'll call them the "Scribes".  They have two children; a boy who is Lulu's age and a girl who is The Boy-child's age.  Woah.  I wasn't really sure how I felt about the whole situation. 

We are close with the Scribes and the kids get along really well.  I trust the parents and we like them a lot.  But it seemed really weird to send three of my kids (especially the five year old!) to a sleep over.  I comforted myself with the fact that they were together and reassured myself that if trouble arose, we were a brief five minute drive to where they were staying.

We all had dinner together and then our kids gathered up their stuff and left with the Scribes for the evening.  Noodle was so upset.  I think that made the situation hardest for me.  She did not understand why they were all going with out here, but I knew she was really too young.  So Dadam and I doted on her and tried our best to spoil her just a bit.  We played three different board games and then I think she picked about six nighttime books.  The house was so quiet and it was really strange to have just one little person to deal with. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize the crux of the issue for me was not that the older three were going away, but that Noodle was being left behind.  She has never been without them.  They have been with her since the moment she was born (no, I am not exaggerating.)  And I felt so sad for her that they were going to do something fun and new and she got left behind with us. 

Everyone was fine at the sleepover.  They got to stay up a bit late and had a fabulous time.  I am glad they went.  And the next morning Noodle was just fine.  She was excited to see the kids and I think she forgot being left behind as soon as we went to pick them up.