Sunday, December 30, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANA!!


Nana, of the famed Nana's Boutique, will celebrate her 29th-ish birthday on Dec 31st.

Mom, have I ever told you how totally cool I think it is to be born on New Year's Eve? I can see how holidays such as Christmas would not be fun for a birthday, but New Year's Eve comes with a built in, all night party during which you are the only one to get presents. Sounds like a blast to me!

I hope you enjoy your evening Nana. Thank you so much for everything you have done, everything you do and everything that I know you will do in the future.

WE LOVE YOU!

Edited 2 hours later: PS Nana, I am very happy to tell you that I have another birthday present for you. It will be arriving at your house in the next 12 hours. It is medium size, black, hyper active and it just came tearing into the family room, hooked its foot on the cord of my laptop, yanked it onto the floor and broke the screen so that it is no longer connected to the actual keyboard. ARG!!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Cooties

Our little Anna has been hacking and coughing and dribbling all sorts of offensive goop from her nose for almost two weeks now. We, being the seasoned, veteran, non-alarmist parents that we are, assumed virus and assured ourselves and Anna that it would go away soon and a trip to the ped would be pointless and end only in a diagnosis of an untreatable virus, instructions to keep a humidifier in her room and keep her fluids up, which we were doing anyway, and the obligatory co-pay.

NAY.

Poor baby, she has a severe double ear infection. Do any of you other parents have this problem? I SWEAR...every time I assume infection and take them in it is only a virus and there is nothing to be done. If I assume virus and decide that it will run its course, we always end up with bacterial infection and antibiotics. What's a mom to do?

Incidentally, if you are instructed to give your young child the now forbidden infant strength decongestants and cough suppressants, be prepared to pay for them. They have been pulled from OTC shelves, are now prescrip only and as of this post there is not a generic brand available. Ok, it only cost our prescrip co-pay for a brand name drug, but some of us are a tad on the thrifty side and don't appreciate paying $30 for something that we used to be able to buy OTC for $10 or less. I find this highly irritating considering that we fully understand how to give our child the correct dose of a drug, know to look for possible drug overlaps, understand that in the world of cough medicine more is NOT necessarily better, etc. Perhaps we might have simply moved these OTC drugs behind the pharmacy counter so that they would not be sold without directions on proper use from a pharmacist? Eh? Anyone? Maybe? Ya think? Whatever.

Where was I?

Ah yes, Anna. The point is, she is really sick, poor baby. Anna has been a very healthy girl to this point. This (these) is (are) her very first ear infection(s) and only her second round of antibiotics. Not bad for 20 months old eh?

In case you are curious, I attribute Anna's robust immune system directly to the fact that she has been nursing since birth. Yes I realize that this is not a terribly popular topic and I am very much aware that there are people near and dear to my heart who think we should have quit nursing ages ago. And you know, that is ok with me. As long as you respect my choices and my space, you are more than welcome to disagree with me. Just don't expect me to change what I am doing. Ok? Good, I am glad we got that out in the open.

In case you need something else to focus on, chew on the fact that I consider infant formula companies to have almost the same level of responsibility as the tobacco industry for ruining America's health and contributing to the fundamental breakdown of the American family. Yup. Through years of research and personal experience I have this path of destruction worked out in detail. Interesting isn't it?

Yes I realize that there are legitimate exceptions to every sweeping generalization, you don't need to point those out. I am not sitting on a high horse condemning every mom who ever put a bottle in her child's mouth. No really, I would never do that. Both of my boys were bottle fed through part of their infancy. That's where the personal experience part comes in.

What's that you say? You did not come here to read my lecture on the wonders of breast feeding? Oh my, how silly and presumptuous of me. Is my face red? It's just that I get so fired up about certain topics and...My apologies. You are a kind, considerate and patient reader.

Where were we?

I have NO idea.

Here is a Christmas slide show to make up for the lecture.

Love to all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!



MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

I have included last year's Christmas card a. because I think it is a CUTE picture and b. because I wanted to view the professionally created card next to the one I made.

We hope everyone had a LOVELY Christmas. The S Family delighted in our time with family and the very, VERY white Christmas we woke up to. Details and pics later. Even though Anna set her bangs on fire during the candle light service on Christmas Eve, it has been a delightful few days and we are very much enjoying our vacation.

Much love to all of you!

PS I never have time to address comments but I just wanted to thank those of you who regularly read and comment. It is so much fun to read your thoughts and, as any mother, I love ANY complement regarding my children. Thank you, Merry Christmas and much love to you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

10 Years in the Making (written by Jesse)

For those of you who have never seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, there is a legend that whoever is captain of the Flying Dutchman must spend an eternity at sea, ferrying the souls of those who have died at sea to the other side. In order to do this, he apparently must have his heart cut from his chest and placed in a 'chest' (the treasure kind), to be kept by his one true love... who he gets to visit on land once every 10 years... kind of romantic… in a macabre sort of way.

Coincidentally, Cherith and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary today. And, like Calypso and Elizabeth Swan, Cherith has been in sole possession of my heart for these 10 years (I assure you, however, that even though I did have my chest ripped open at one point, my literal heart is still ticking away in my chest - not my treasure chest, but my regular chest… you know… my torso). And while I’m not exactly the captain of a mysterious ship, sailing the seven seas and ferrying lost souls, I am the proud husband and father of a most spectacular 'crew', who I occasionally will ferry to the store, a park, restaurants, etc. in my own vessel of sorts… the Flying Honda Odyssey. Furthermore, unlike Davie Jones, I do not have a ‘locker’ (well, I did in high school, but it was hardly a source of mortal terror for anyone - that is, of course, assuming I didn't leave my egg salad sandwich over Christmas break) and instead of having a kraken to unleash on my foes as a pet, I have a four-legged, ill-behaved, half-wit-half-breed canine we call Phantom (who I’m not terribly happy with at the moment considering what happened on his walk the other night, but that's another story). And while Davie Jones prefers to play tragic and frightening compositions on his organ, I prefer to play decidedly less-frightening compositions on my electric piano. And finally, while Davie Jones apparently keeps his keys tucked away under his tentacle-chin, I prefer the much more practical storage of my coat pocket. I can continue, of course, but I sense the groans and eye-rolling this writing is almost certain to illicit, and so for now, I will now keep the Pirates references at bay…(he-he)

Anyhow, if you were to scroll down, you will see some fairly shocking 'before and after' images of myself: please excuse the gynormous bottle-bottom glasses and the fuzzy brown caterpillar perched on my upper lip (which finally died about a year after those photos were taken). And, if you look closely, you can very truthfully say that I am less of a man now than when I first got married...about 40 pounds less..which is just fine with me. But putting all joking aside for one moment, I do want to say that I am so genuinely thankful that I am one of those fortunate enough to be a part of something truly special. Ten years ago, I never could have imagined the adventures Cherith and I would have together, and while certain obstacles were trying and even rather frightening, we have managed to weather various storms and emerge stronger and closer because of them. Happy Anniversary, honey.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

10 Years




Happy 10 year anniversary Mr and Mrs S!

For the amusement of all who know and love us, I have scanned some wedding day photos that I dug out of the shed. Once you have viewed them you will understand why we do not post them openly in our home.

12 cyber cookies to anyone who can spot what I consider the 4 most significant differences between our appearance then and our appearance now.

Hint: You will want to point out only positive changes. Wrinkles and gray hair need not be mentioned.

For easy reference, and to sooth the troubled mind of anyone who might fear we still look the same as we did on our wedding day, I have included our two most recent family photos. You may or may not already know that I utterly and completely loath my appearance in pictures, so this is a rare appearance. Occasionally a professional photographer manages to make me look less repulsive than your average every day digi cam.

I love you Jesse! The last 10 years have been a wild ride but I would not trade them for the world. I hope, wild ride or otherwise, we celebrate as many more anniversaries as possible.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Letter to Santa

(Not original writing)

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my
children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor
and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a
shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my
list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter
with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry
room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time
in the next 18 years.

* Here are my Christmas wishes:*

* I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple,
which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze,
but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy
aisle in the grocery store. *
*I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh
month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint
resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a
television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking
animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the
crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes,
Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't
fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without
the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting 'Don't eat in
the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my
voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can
only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough
ti m e to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the
luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being
served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to
brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare
ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would
be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house
without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized
crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my
feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back.
Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and
come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave
crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

MOM...

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep
my children, healthy, safe and of course, young enough to always believe
in Santa.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Gratitude

I never did get back to that promised Thanksgiving Day post. The problem is, there are no words, at least no words I am familiar with, to express the depth of emotion, sense of joy and deep gratitude I am experiencing for the difference in our lives between last year and this year at this time. Perhaps if I were a poet or a writer I might take a shot at expressing these feelings, but I just cannot convince myself to write a post that I KNOW will fall far short of communicating the thoughts in my heart.

So I am just going to leave this brief epistle by stating that I dearly love my husband and my children and not a minute of a day goes by when I am not overcome with a sense of peace and joy and gratitude for their presence in my life.

If you are a new reader and have no idea what I am talking about, you can find the S family's old blog here. The blog is called AnnaNathanandIsaacsDaddy.

Love to all!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Deck the Hallls



...and the trees, the grass, the roof, pretty much anywhere you can get a light to stick.

The S house is now very much aglow for the holidays. Lest you assume, as many have, that my darling Jesse shimmied up that tree and put up all those lights, I have provided you with photographic evidence of the person who actually spent two days in the tree just so that people will pause while driving by our house and think, "I wonder who on earth was crazy enough to put all those lights in that tree!"

Jesse, while secure and always willing to take a risk, does not typically put on pink jackets and hang out of trees in full view of the neighbors. I, on the other hand, am ALWAYS willing to wear pink and hang out of trees! In case you are wondering, it was very cold and on Sat also very wet due to an utterly bizarre DECEMBER rain.

Mary, does that make you feel better about YOUR December rain?

LOVE TO ALL!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Growing Pains


This evening in the car:

Nathan: Mama?

Cherith: Yes baby?

Nathan: Asks a question that I cannot remember due to the trauma of the next 15 seconds.

Cherith: Answers question that I cannot remember.

Nathan: Mama, can you please not call me baby anymore?

Cherith(while LITERALLY choking back tears and sobs of grief): Yes Nathan, if you don't like it I won't call you baby anymore. I am sorry, I did not know you don't like it. I don't call you baby because I think you are a baby, it's just what I have called you ever since you were born. You will always be my baby, but I won't call you baby anymore if you don't like it.

Nathan: No, I don't like it mama.

whimper

Mama needs a hug.

I seem to be suffering a LOT more pain over Nathan's growing up than I did over Isaac's and than I think I will over Anna's.

Even though Anna is my last baby, I have been able to really savor every second of her babyhood. I have memorized how it feels to rock her and read to her and hold her. I will have very fond memories of those moments with my baby girl.

Isaac was my baby all by himself for 18 months. I spent 11 weeks prior to Nathan's birth on bedrest so it was just my Isaac and me, able to spend lots of time together. I have such vivid memories of rocking him, reading to him and playing with him.

But with my Nathan, my dear sweet, kind hearted, easy going little Nathan, I just don't have many clear memories of his baby years. I have thought a LOT about why that might be and there are many reasons, but two specifically that really stand out.

I was so busy when he was an infant, caring for a newborn and a toddler, that I don't think I ever really took the time to slow down and savor his baby moments. Then we were in that awful car accident and it completely wiped out a lot of my memory of the year before and the year after. Years that I can never get back, the years when my Nathan grew and changed the most. It brings tears to my eyes even as I type this, I so desperately wish I had more vivid memories of him as a baby, a toddler, a 2 year old.

He is growing SO fast. He is going to be FIVE next year! He is going to start kindergarten in the fall of 2008! I would not wish him back to a baby, he is an utter joy of a little boy. I just so wish that my memories of his infancy and toddler hood were clear.

I will admit that I also worry a lot about Nathan's well being. I do not want him to sink into the neglected middle child role. With a rather high maintenance, though also dearly loved, big brother and an adorable baby sister, easy going Nathan can very easily get lost in the shuffle. He is just such a sparkling little personality, that grin just lights up the room.

I could probably ramble on for at least another 12 paragraphs with very little point or direction so I will cut this post off for both your benefit and mine.

SIGH I don't remember signing up for this part of motherhood, why didn't some one warn me?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's Cooking?


Apparently Anna requires variation in the daily menu in the S house. She frequently pulls out the not-so-much used cookbooks and plops down on the floor to study them. I don't know what the problem is...how can one possibly get tired of smothered burritos, fajitas, something made with chicken, eating out and the rest of the time when mommy is so exhausted that everyone gets a bowl of cereal for dinner??

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!



The traditional post-Thanksgiving leftovers feast. This event always precedes or follows the decorating of the Christmas trees.



Anna putting snowflakes on the windows.




Decorating the kids' tree. Yes the kids' tree. We always have two Christmas trees, one for the kids and one for the grownups. We dearly love the Christmas season so multiple decorated Christmas trees fit nicely into our plans.




Watching the Christmas train.




We had a great visit with Santa. Anna and daddy were not intentionally excluded. She was sleeping and Jesse graciously agreed to stay with her so that I could zip the boys over for a quick photo and chat.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cick on the Link

No really, click on it. You won't regret it. No really I swear.

CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What state do we live in again?



This post is actually overdue, I am writing about this past weekend, but I have been crazy busy wrapping things up before the Thanksgiving break so I am just now getting to it.

The weather this past weekend was FABULOUS! Mid 70s for highs, mid 40s and 50s for lows, utterly gorgeous. We took advantage with a trip to the zoo and dinner on the patio of a lovely restaurant where we watched the Symphony in Lights set to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Ok, so they only have 2 or 3 REALLY good arrangements BUT...those particular arrangements are REALLY awesome.

We requested a seat on the patio, asked them to fire up the enormous gas heaters and then kicked back with the kids to watch the show. It was SUCH a nice evening. Yes, I realize it was a tad early for a Christmas themed light show but we figured that we had to take advantage while the weather cooperated and oh how right we were. As I type, Wed night, I believe we are in the teens. Jesse is walking the dog. That man is a seriously dedicated dog owner I tell you.

Sunday night, the night of the light show, we dined at Ling and Louie's, a rather upper scale Chinese/American sort of fusion restaurant. I think they bill themselves as an Asian Bar and Grill. Well whatever, the food is FABULOUS. I am not a PF Chang's girl. I don't see much a difference between what we order there and what I can get from Mr. Wong's around the corner for 1/8 of the cost. Ling and Louie's however, is REALLY tasty. When the ribs* we ordered for an appetizer arrived, Isaac dipped his finger in the sauce, took a quick taste and then announced in what I can only assume was a perfect imitation of someone from the movie Ratatouille, "This sauce is FANTASTIC." Jesse I burned more calories trying to restrain our laughter than we consumed during the entire meal. Anna insisted on tasting a long mushroom with pepper sauce from my entree, chewed thoughtfully for a moment and then happily announced, "Hot dog!" Nathan pretty much ignored his food, opting instead for the bag of M & Ms which I assume was supposed to be his dessert. As much as I like this restaurant, they probably need some education as to what will happen when they simultaneously serve a meal and a dessert to a 4 year old . He also announced twice that he needed to go poop. SIGH Fortunately we were the only people seated on the patio so there was no one to offend.

We had a fabulous weekend and we are terribly happy we got out this weekend, given the current weather.

Pictures of our day at the zoo below.

Many, many thanks to those of you who supported me through my "issues" on Friday. In case you are not already aware, the events ended favorably and I am very excited. If you haven't the foggiest idea what I am talking about, and I realize how aggravating and cryptic I am being at the moment, shoot me an e-mail and I will explain what I am talking about as well as why I am being so cryptic. Unless of course you belong to the group of people for whose sake I am being cryptic, in which case I will just have to apologetically tell you that I can't tell you what I am talking about.

Wow, I have kind of a headache now.

It is almost time to mail Christmas cards! I am a sucker for Christmas cards, I love sending them and receiving them. If I do not currently have your address and you would like a card, please send it to me. B.D. I don't have yours but would love to send you a card. I am particularly excited about this year's card as I took the pictures myself, designed the card with Jesse's help, and then ordered the prints. I am sure it is not perfect nor as good as it would be if we had opted for professional photos, but I am pretty happy with it anyway.

Love to all and a VERY Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I will be back with a Thanksgiving post at some point, not your typical smarmy, "We are thankful for food and our house.." post...not that we are not thankful for those things nor to imply that anyone who writes such a post is necessarily smarmy...but a post regarding the differences in our lives this year as compared to last, how we have grown and what we have learned from those experiences. Or on second thought, maybe I won't be back with that post. It is pretty personal. Hmm...I will have to think on this for a day or two. But I WILL be back at some point. :)

*I have a dietary weakness. Typically I am a whole grains, whole foods, fruits and veggies, cook from scratch, anti partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, and high fructose corn syrup kind of girl. But put a plate of well prepared ribs in front of me and all bets are off, stand back or you might get hurt. It is all Candace's fault. I was secure and happy in my food snobbery when she FORCED me to taste the ribs her hubby prepared one weekend. And the rest was history.

PS Oh yes, the two pics at the top. This is an expression that we have been trying to capture on film for several months. I believe that dear Auntie Esther taught Anna to furrow her brow and get her lecturing finger going in this manner. Anna now lectures me, the dog, the boys and whoever else happens to be in her line of sight like this several times a day. Thanks a bunch Auntie Esther.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Need a laugh?

This week has been monumentally stressful for oh so many reasons that I will not go into.

In an effort to distract myself from my somewhat self absorbed thoughts of fear, anxiety and insecurity I would like to share a few videos that I absolutely CANNOT watch with out laughing out loud. The best cure for self doubt and anxiety is to just flat out get your mind on something else, in my not so humble opinion.

In the event that you are having a week like mine, I hope this distracts you for just a minute or two and makes you laugh.






Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nana's Boutique

Nana has been at her sewing machine again. WAHOO!!! She made these DARLING jumpers for Anna, note the faux purse on the brown polka dots. Nana has also started dabbling in hair bows. Can you just imagine my glee??? Check out Anna's Fall/Thanksgiving hair bow collection! I am going to have to invent a TON of places to go so that we can make good use of all these pretties!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First Updo








Last week we celebrated the birthday of Anna's Grandpa Jess. We experimented with her very first updo hair style. Totally adorable, if I do say so myself. I have to keep practicing for her Christmas picture.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Oh for the days...

I have to say that I have LOVED every single age my children have thus far achieved. Honestly, there is something about each stage of their lives that is my "favorite."

The one thing I do very much miss, however, are the days when they were all so young and oblivious that we could birthday or Christmas shop right in front of them.

Jesse and I don't get out to often without at least one kiddo in tow. Well, ok, we DO get out, just the two of us now and then, but those are NOT occasions we want to spend strolling through toy stores.

The boys currently believe their most important mission in life is to inspect every single item that enters a grocery cart and ask as many questions as possible regarding the reasons for the purchase. Perhaps they are concerned about our spending habits? Or maybe they are just plain nosey. Who knows. This little obsession does make it a tad difficult to sneak gifts in under their noses, thereby avoiding an extra trip back to the store we or I was just in to purchase the desired item(s).

Tonight, however, we succeeded in sneaking a whole cart load of Christmas presents up to the register and out to the car without too much notice.

I am now finished Christmas shopping for my kids and all of our nieces and nephews with one exception.

And oh how good it feels.

As tough as it is to sneak something to a register now, it becomes doubly so when the stores are crammed full of parents with young children who are ALL trying to sneak something to the register and who ALL have nosey youngsters wanting to inspect every item in their cart.

All you parents of oblivious young ones out there, SAVOR THE DAYS! Occasionally I even have to recruit a sister to act as personal shopper in order to get the job done. Lucky I have so many sisters, eh? Thanks mom!

I don't plan on being online much this weekend. I attended a meeting out of town on Friday, left in a hurry and in the process of frantically packing up and running to my waiting ride, I left the power cord to my laptop behind. SIGH. A kind hearted coworker snagged it and has shipped it back to me, but if it does not arrive Saturday, unlikely, I will have to wait until Tuesday since Monday is a holiday. Please contact me by phone this weekend rather than IM or e-mail. I am currently typing on Isaac's Dell and I DON'T LIKE IT. The battery on my beloved HP only lasts for about 45 minutes so I guess I am unplugged for the weekend.

I have a question.

How many lovies/comforts does your child regularly carry around? Just curious. This week, Anna has not gone ANYWHERE without her blanky (bit), her stuffed cow (moo) and her tattered copy of "Guess How Much I Love You?" (Bo). Nursing has become quite the challenge since all of these items MUST be included in the ritual. I will try to snap a picture of Anna and all her treasures this weekend.

Oh yes! Inquiring minds have asked for an actual height and weight of pipsqueak, 21 pounds and 32 inches. She sort of fits size 18 month clothes. They are the correct-ish length but they have a tendency to fall right off of her little tiny tushy. We occasionally just go with a size 12 months in an outfit that runs big.

Phantom is getting shots tomorrow, then off for neutering and then obedience school as quickly as I can get him there. Oy-vay the trouble that dog can cause!

Love to all! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Certifiable

Today we took all three kids to the ped for flu shots and for Isaac's 6 year check up and Anna's 18 month check up. Hey, we saved on gas money, ok?

Actually, it was not too bad. Unlike last year, Isaac did not tell the doctor that when he misbehaves he gets sold to the gypsies nor did he tell her that his only beverage of note is Dr. Pepper. Everyone cried hysterically over shots, but that is to be expected.

phew!

After the appt Jesse went back to work and I took the kids to the toy store. They earned it, after all. Anna selected a large stuffed cow which she totes around the house whilst repeatedly saying Moo! Moo! Moo!

And then, because I AM the bravest woman on the planet, I took all three of them out to lunch. Just me and my kiddos. And it was a lot of fun. We had a great time, they all behaved well and we received several compliments on good behavior from several cute older ladies.

Next we went to the grocery store to load up on Honeycrisp apples. Have you had one of these things!?!?!?! Perfection in fruit I tell you. Liz has me hooked.

STATS

Isaac is HUGE. We all knew that though. 90th percentiles for height and weight, growing well, learning new things every day, happy as a clam, etc.

Pipsqueak, I mean Anna, is NOT huge. 65th percentile for height, 10th for weight. head circumference...90th percentile. How do you this she holds that thing up??

Amazingly enough I did NOT receive a lecture for the fact that she is still nursing and the doctor LOVED my Ergo carrier. She even wrote down the name so that she can get one for her own son. Our Ped is actually a group of doctors and it is kind of hit or miss on who you will get and if/how they will judge your parenting decisions.

Not that I care. Judge away, we are still going to do what we do.

Poor Nathan was none too pleased about his flu shot. I had to physically restrain him. Poor baby.

Esther, they have now implemented a screening process for possible autism at age 18 months. She gave me the checklist to fill out and I calmly explained that my kids have been more than screened. Anna then proceeded to scribble all over it.

It was a good appointment.

Love to all!

Monday, November 5, 2007

In Remembrance of....

...my youth.

Today I turned, I don't know, some age that has a 3 in it. Do the actual numbers really matter after a certain point?

My darling husband treated me to a WONDERFUL weekend full of rest, relaxation, good food and fun with our kiddos. It was a lovely birthday.

He capped it off by taking the day off from work, letting me sleep in and making a yummy chocolate layer cake with the help of his eager offspring.

Pics of my tasty birthday cake below. I have also posted the last video taken with my dearly departed old digital camera. That's right. Until we learn how to use upload video from the digital video camera there will be an absence of video clips on the S Family Blog. So very sad. Honestly, I suspect all we need is a particular cable and we will be good to go. We will be working on that, I promise.

Ah yes, in answer to those of you who e-mailed with concern for Isaac's mental health, knowing how sensitive he is, he WAS very upset that he broke the old camera. Jesse and I did our best to restrain our annoyance but he is a sharp little cookie and I am sure he could tell that we were less than pleased.

However, we did reassure him that it was an accident and that accidents happen. I let him take a few pictures with the new camera today, the strap was securely around his neck to prevent another catastrophe.

Fear not as we have already consulted with Santa and the dear old elf is in possession of a Kid Tough digital camera that just happens to have Isaac's name on it. Come Christmas morning all thoughts of broken cameras will be forgotten as he tears through the house repeatedly dropping the amazing digital camera that cannot break. Or so we hope, anyway.

Love to all!



Sunday, November 4, 2007

FABULOUS Fall Day

I planned to cleverly start this post with a picture of my AWESOME new digital camera, taken with my old, beloved but nearly obsolete digital camera. We told Isaac that he could use the old camera to take pictures since mommy has a new camera. Anyone care to guess how much time elapsed before the old camera bounced off the pavement? The old camera is dead. We are sad. While old and slowly fading, it was a good camera and it served us well. Rest well old friend.

{moment of silence}

My darling, fabulous, wonderful, amazing husband presented me with a new Pentax [insert string of meaningless numbers and letters] FANTABULOUS digital camera. I AM IN LOVE.

As you are well aware, I love to photograph my children. I have many times swiped Mary's camera in an effort to snap better pictures. Mary and James generously contributed to the new camera and also did some leg work in order to land Jesse a GREAT deal. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

I understand this was a group effort courtesy of not only my husband but also my incredible sibling group. You guys are THE BEST! I cannot tell you how excited I am!

After rocking my world with the camera, Jesse loaded up the kids and took us to the Botanic Gardens in search of some scenic backgrounds. It was a BEAUTIFUL Autumn day and we had a blast.

I took around 200 pictures. I tried desperately to narrow them down to my personal favorites and created the slide show below. I LOVE THIS CAMERA! I might just have to take some photography courses, I would love to learn some more tricks of this trade.

Take special note of the bow in Anna's hair. To my utter glee, Nana has taken up bow making. I actually have a "Nana's Boutique" post in the works and I cannot wait to share some of her latest creations with you.

Did you know that cinnamon ice cream is THE most fabulous dessert on the planet, second only to Starbucks pumpkin scones and my mom's pumpkin spice cake? Yum.

Along with the wonderful camera I was also treated to delicious breakfast of pumpkin pancakes. YUM!

I might weigh 300 pounds the next time you see me.

Love to all! I hope everyone had as wonderful a weekend as I did!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

IS THIS NORMAL?



Seriously, is it? This picture represents a very small sample of the toys that our darling boys have in some way shape or form mangled and/or destroyed over the last few months. Honestly, we spend HOURS discussing respect for property, taking care of their possessions, the cost of said items, we have enforced consequences, thrown toys away, the list goes on and on.

Truly, the boys do not break their toys simply for the sake of breaking them. This kind of carnage is usually the result of some epic battle during which a good guy or a bad guy suffers terribly at the hands of their captor. The trouble is, the boys don't seem to understand that when they play this way, the damage inflicted on that unfortunate soul is permanent. They come sorrowfully to us, bearing the broken body of the battle looser, and ask us to repair the gruesome injuries.

What is a parent to do? What else can we possibly do to help them understand that this damage is permanent? In answer to the obvious question, no we do not replace these toys unless they are damaged or destroyed in a legitimate accident.

PS: The second picture. If you back up a bit you should see the imprint of two little hands. These prints grace the carpet just inside our bedroom door. How dirty do you think her hands were to leave such clear prints in the carpet?

Friday, November 2, 2007

ATTACK



The S house has been battered by an evil virus this past week. I called dibs on getting sicker than Jesse and thus far I have come through with flying colors. I have mostly been able to just barely maintain but am now starting to feel a bit better and able to do more than just the absolute necessities.

I have more pics to share but I did not want to leave anyone hanging without pics of our ADORABLE trio on Halloween.

The boys are ninjas, Anna is Little Bo Peep. Her costume was lovely made by Nana, of course.

More later, love to all!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Most Inappropriate Halloween Costume EVER


I am at a loss for words. Conjoined twins, in case you are wondering. Yes, those are my sisters. Mary, um...I love you...but I don't want to duplicate this costume next year. I think Esther and Rachael did such a good job that there is NO WAY we could compete. Don't you agree?

If you have not already done so, please scroll down and read my post about the furniture dilemma and tell me what the heck I should do.

Love to all!

PS I entered this photo in a contest for a TiVo HD DVR plus 3 months of service. Assuming they win, and I think they are a horrifying shoe in, which twin do you think should own the prize? Ah see now THIS is a pitfall of the shared Halloween costume.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Unique Cleaning Problem #6: Cat Urine on Microfiber

You may or may not be aware of my list of solutions to unique cleaning problems, located somewhere on the lower left hand side of this blog. This will be my most recent entry to that list, but one that has been in the making for the past 6 MONTHS.

You also may or may not remember reading my brief and irritated reference to what our cats did to our brand new living room furniture.
this post for more information, though I think the title of the post you are reading now provides all the information you really need.

To make a VERY long story as short as possible:

Early in 2007 we purchased a LOVELY living room sectional from a certain department store, let's call them Shmacey's.

Because we are the parents of 3 young children we also opted to purchase a full coverage, fix it or replace it, warranty from "Shmacey's."

Our cats opted to relieve themselves on this lovely, brand new furniture shortly after it arrived.

Disgusted and irritated, we stripped the cushion covers off of the cushions and stored them in our basement.

Relieved that we had purchased this warranty, we made a phone call.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Another phone call.

Waited.

Waited.

Waited.

Phone call.

Waited.....

Until 6 months had elapsed.

At this point we began preparing for Isaac's 6th birthday party. Realizing that we would not be getting resolution from the warranty company any time soon and not wanting to host a large party with no cushions on our living room couches, we took them to a dry cleaner. We did not go this route previously because, "improper cleaning may void the warranty." and we really believed they would take care of this problem for us. Another one of those painful life lessons, eh? We paid for the cleaning and came home very excited to have our living room furniture back.

Until we opened the bags and discovered that the cushion covers still smelled disgusting.

We then became down right angry, decided that they were ruined either way and threw them all in the bathtub with some detergent and a whole bottle of cat urine neutralizer that I purchased at Target. We filled the tub with warm water, stirred the brew with a broom handle and let them soak overnight.

The next day we hung them in the sunshine, my thoughts turning with hope to this post by Mary Mia and a few hours later VOILA!

BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN, STINK FREE CUSHION COVERS!!!

They slid nicely back onto the cushions and we celebrated are furniture's rebirth by plopping our behinds down and testing each and every cushion. We even invited Esther over for the occasion.

We allowed ourselves a few days to bask in the glow of a clean living room sofa...and then we decided to deal with "Shmacey's."

Jesse went down in person and had a chat with both the store manager and the furniture sales manager, producing documentation and a timeline of our efforts to seek resolution to this problem. I was not there to witness it, but according to Jesse, both people stood aghast, mouths hanging open in complete shock.

In defense of "Shmacey's," they usually have EXCELLENT customer service and I really enjoy shopping in their stores. Our problem was actually with the company of the warranty they sold us, not with them. But we felt they should know what kind of service this company was providing, since Shmacey's really does pride itself in its customer service.

At this point in time all we really wanted was our money back for the useless warranty we had purchased. Compensation for the months without furniture would be nice, but I was not holding my breath.

A bit more time passes, a few more phone calls and we arrive at this past Friday night.

The manager of Shmacey's called and said that along with the president of the warranty company they have worked out the following solution:

We can walk into any Shmacey's furniture showroom, select any couch or sectional we want, and the warranty company will buy that piece of furniture for us.

Sounds great right?

Well here is the rub. Please don't think that we are ungrateful, we are so thankful that this manager went to all this trouble for us. The problem is, we REALLY LIKE this piece of furniture. We shopped for over a year before we found what we wanted for our living room. You may be thinking, well then go get something new and put that somewhere else. This was our first thought as well.

Nay.

In order to receive the new item we select, we must give back the "old" (this item is not even a year old and in GREAT condition folks) furniture.

I have no idea what to do. I cannot possibly call this person who worked so hard to make this great deal for us and tell her that I am still not happy. But...it seems absurd to go and pick out something to replace essentially brand new furniture that we REALLY like.

All I really want is my money back for that warranty.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?????

PS The next time you buy microfiber and they hand you that tiny bottle of $34 cleaner and tell you that this is the ONLY thing you can use on your purchase, DON'T BUY IT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So that's the way it is, eh?

A conversation between Isaac and his parents:

Setting: Target parking lot

Isaac: It's my turn to ride in the front! (Meaning the middle seat in the van.)

Cherith: No Isaac it is Nathan's turn.

Isaac: It's mine!

Jesse: Isaac, you heard your mommy.

Isaac: Fine! Then I will go live somewhere else!

Jesse and/or Cherith: Well, ok, but who do you think will take you home? Should we ask someone in the parking lot?

Isaac (incredulously): NO! I will go live with Baba Nana. (Mom and Tom)

Jesse and/or Cherith: But how will you get there? It is awfully dark and a really long walk. Are you going to run all the way there? What if you get lost?

Isaac (with an eyeroll): You are going to drive me!

A conversation with Nathan:

Nathan: It is my turn to ride in the front!

Cherith: No Nathan, it is Isaac's turn.

Nathan: Fine! Then you better drive me to Baba Nana's so that I can live there!


Mom and Tom, you might want to check your doorstep frequently over the next few days. Does anyone know where I can acquire a REALLY LARGE basket with a lid?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Snow

The first snow of the season is always a much anticipated and celebrated event in the S house. Today was no exception. The boys spent quite a bit of time frolicking with Phantom while Jesse and I consumed large amounts of tea and banana bread and tried repeatedly to explain to Anna why she could not go out and play in the snow with the boys. She was very hard to convince, in case you are wondering.

It was a nice respectable snow, enough to be fun but not enough to be annoying. We did loose a branch in the front yard. This was a wet and heavy, spring like snow and all of our leaves have not fallen yet.


It is 11:15 pm (see post below in case you are wondering why I am telling you the time) and Anna has been sleeping well for a few hours. I am hoping for a much better night's sleep.


Isaac has been low energy and had no appetite all day, but does not seem sick otherwise. No more fevers. We will see how his night goes.


Love and good sleep to all!

It's a Darn Good Thing...

...that Nathan is such a good sleeper. He has always been our champion, slept through the night at 9 weeks, rarely wakes up and wanders the house at night, can sleep through nearly anything and always wakes up happy and alert little guy.

Why, you might ask, is this relevant?

Because it is 2:14 AM. Isaac has been up all night sick and feverish, tossing and turning and moaning when he does fall asleep and Anna has been ailed by some unknown malady that has had me in and out of her room at least 12 times, desperate to the point where I actually put her in bed with me which was a colossal failure as she tosses and turns more than...I don't know, something that tosses and turns a lot! It is (now) 2:17 am for cryin out loud, I am too tired to think of a good comparison.

This is clearly one of the most significant reasons why so many couples have only 2 children. IF Nathan were having a rough night too we would be outnumbered and all end up camped out on the family room floor watching Scooby Doo or some other horror movie. {{{shudder}}}

I am sure you are thinking, why in GOD'S name is the woman up at (now)2:18 am writing a blog post when she could be trying to catch a few minutes of sleep?

Well let me answer that for you since I know you are burning with curiosity.

I am one of those unfortunate souls who cannot sleep in teeny tiny increments. When the kids were babies, maybe, but now a days if I am not guaranteed at least an hour of uninterrupted sleep, I really don't see the point. It is excruciatingly painful for me to get up every 20 minutes, just after I have dozed off. I much prefer to just be awake in anticipation of the next call. I am far less cranky this way.

For the moment all is serene and simply put, I am using you as a means to entertain myself and unwind before I go to bed, assuming I will actually have the chance.

Liz and Mary, I am terribly sorry for so abruptly jumping off IM with you earlier this evening. I would love to have chatted longer, but c'est la vie.

2:27 Am
No it did not take me 13 minutes to type the brief notes above, I DO have other interests.

Sorry. I am clearly too cranky to blog anymore. Night all! Here's to healthy and well rested kids in the morning!

Except that Anna just started fussing again. whimper

May everyone except me sleep well.

PS It is snowing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Inventory

Items recovered from the washing machine during a load change this afternoon:

3 small counting dinosaurs
1 Sharpie
1 green Crayola marker
1 green baby spoon
1 ball point pen
5 "bullets" to this shooting game the boys received
1 Ziploc bag
Numerous unidentifiable pieces of wet paper

All I can say is thank God I found them BEFORE they ended up in the dryer.

Oh yes and there was also a bunch of laundry in there too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beautiful Music


Anna and the boys have deemed the Dog Train CD as their new favorite music for car rides of any length. They all love to sing along, particularly Anna. I have included the lyrics to her favorite song from the CD below.

If you are not familiar with this particular piece of American pop culture, allow me to enlighten you with my own, personal review.

Dog Train, while in many ways just as irritating as the typical toddler preferred musical option, is also a refreshing change from Disney standby and The Backyardigans, which got old REALLY fast.

Anna truly does sing along and it is ADORABLE. I will try to swing some video for your viewing pleasure. The lyrics I have included might clue you in as to why she is fond enough to actually sing along.

Tantrum
No-I don't want to. I don't want to.
No-I don't want to. No no.
No-I don't want to. I don't want to.
No, no, no. I don't want to. Oh no.
Leave me alone.
I don't want to be quiet. I don't want to be good.
I don't want to do anything if you tell me I should.
I won't listen to you. If you call, I won't come.
All I want to do now...
...is have a tantrum.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. NO NO.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. NO NO.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. NO NO.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. I don't want to.
NO NO NO.
I don't want to. NO NO.
Leave me alone. Leave me alone.
LEAVE ME ALONE!
(Don't worry Liz, I am burning copies of this CD for your girls AS I TYPE.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

MORTIFIED

Aunt Mary and Sammy had a nice visit, or at any rate it seemed nice from my point of view. Today we hosted a small, belated family gathering and celebrated Sammy's 2nd birthday.

As everyone was getting ready to leave, Sammy spilled a container of art supplies in my garage. I was in the process of cleaning them up when I heard a strange thumping noise. I glanced up in an effort to locate the source of this strange noise. Anyone care to guess what I saw?

I saw Nathan.

I saw Nathan, my darling, athletic 4 year old bundle of energy.

I saw Nathan JUMPING UP AND DOWN ON THE ROOF OF ESTHER'S CAR!!!

I don't think I have ever been so embarrassed. WHERE would he get the idea to do such a thing???

I am horrified and embarrassed and I don't even know what else.

But at the same time, I have to admit, the sight of Nathan using the roof of a car as a trampoline was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Maybe NOW Jesse will listen to Rachael and let her get the boys that trampoline for Christmas. Better the grass die under the trampoline than we have to pay for the repair and/or replacement of car roofs.

BOYS!!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Isaac's 6th Birthday Cont. (Yes I lied)

I said I would be back in a day or two, it has actually been 7. Esther says that I cannot keep using Oct count as an excuse, but seriously! Tracking down and keeping records of every login, assignment, e-mail, phone call, etc for 90 kids is NOT an easy task.

Fortunately, today is the very last day of the 2007 Oct count window. I have called each of my students, congratulated those with good progress reports, nagged those without, completed my record keeping, updated my grades, folded my laundry, cleaned my house and I now find myself with an hour to spare before my next meeting. GASP!

What better way to spend a spare hour and than to create a long overdue blog update?

Isaac's 6th birthday was great fun for all involved. We took our annual trek to the pumpkin patch on his actual birthday and acquired our pumpkin supply for the fall. We then took him out to dinner, ordered way too much junk food and opened presents.

On Sat we had his birthday party. We hired a reptile handler who we met this summer. He brought a mobile petting zoo complete with iguana, large and small turtles, snakes of all sizes and some other critters whose names I do not recall. A few faces, mostly amount the adults, rapidly drained of all color when he started pulling out snakes, but the kids had an absolute blast. As you can see from the slide show below, my mom, Jesse and a few of the other grown ups were even brave enough to get involved.

I am a tad concerned for my poor neighbor. The handler allowed the kids to carry the 10 foot Burmese Python back to his car at the end of the show. Just as they rounded the corner carrying said snake my poor, innocent neighbor was out checking her mail. A party guest thought it would be amusing to call out, "Look what the S family found under their deck!" I truly feared for the poor woman's consciousness as all of the blood drained from her face and a look of utter terror replaced the welcoming smile she had sported but a second before. I should probably do a welfare check today.

The day after his party we relaxed, cleaned up and enjoyed a FABULOUS dinner of leftover cake and ice cream. You absolutely must have cake and ice cream for dinner the day after a party, it is an S Family rule. Especially when it happens to be Nana's pumpkin spice cake that mommy (me) would possibly sacrifice a non-essential limb to taste. Below you will also find a video of Anna playing peek-a-boo whist covered with her fabulous dinner of cake and ice cream. I do not currently have a picture of Isaac's cake but I will post one as soon as one is sent to me. Nana made another of her darling pastry creations and I must document each and ever one.

Isaac had a wonderful birthday and we are all now enjoying some fabulous Autumn weather. Thanks to everyone who helped make his day so special.

Aunt Mary is coming to visit with Sammy this week and the boys are SO excited! It should be amusing as Anna and Sammy have not been together since Anna started walking or expressing ownership of her possessions. Sammy has been in TN and much used to the idea that all toys are HIS toys. We are gearing up for some baby battle royal.

Love to all! Have a safe trip Mary!



Monday, October 1, 2007

HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY ISAAC!!!!


Happy birthday my charming, sensitive, lovable, tender hearted little punkin.

We love you more than we can possibly ever explain and we are so honored that we have been given the privilege of guiding you through this life.

You are no long a baby and no longer a toddler. You have grown into a fun loving and rambunctious little boy with an infectious smile that absolutely lights up our world.

We probably aren't terribly good at raising little boys, you being our first opportunity to try our hand at it. We are just so sorry that you must bare the brunt of all our first time parenting mistakes. Please be patient with us and we will try our best to be patient with you.

We love you Isaac!

PS Dear readers, I have lots of fun birthday pics and tales of Isaac's special day, but unfortunately my little guy also happens to be born on the day when my state chooses to count all students attending public school for reasons of funding. When one teaches in an online school, count day transforms from the simple process of recording a student's physical presence in a chair with a check mark in a grade book to a massive and laborious procedure fraught with phone calls, much copying and pasting, pulling of login information, repetitive entering of seemingly redundant data and oh so much more. Because this day is also my first born's birthday, I am in the habit of trying to cram all this record keeping and my role as Dog the Bounty Hunter into the hours between 8 AM and 1 PM. We then spend the second half of the day celebrating with Isaac. To say I am tired does not even come close to describing how I feel right now. I will rest for a day or so and then be back with pictures and tales of Isaac's 6th birthday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Words Heard Around the World

Spoken by: Ms. Anna S

At 6:30 pm, Sunday, Sept 23, 2007

"NO! MY BALL!"

Be afraid people. Be very afraid.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A hypothetical: Would you go?

You are at a birthday party and your cute little girl with blond hair is, for reasons unknown to you, fallen head over heels in puppy love with by a cute little boy whose hair is really messy and in need of some serious attention by a pair of sharp scissors.

This little boy and your little girl spend the whole party together and the blossoming friendship of 5 year olds, though brief, appears to be mutual and sincere on both sides.

The little boy then runs to his parents, pleads anxiously with them about something, appears to receive permission and then runs up to you. He pleadingly and with the biggest brown puppy dog eyes you have ever seen asks if your daughter, whose name he does not actually know...they have only been in puppy love for about 45 minutes and actual names don't seem to matter much under such circumstances, can come to his birthday party which is taking place 2 weeks from this particular day.

His parents then come over to talk to you, wanting to reassure you that neither they not their pleading son are completely insane. They seem friendly, outgoing, a tad embarrassed by their pleading son but overall clearly think he is adorable and would be more than happy to welcome you and your daughter, whose name none of them know, to their home for their son's birthday party. They tell their son that they will send his new, nameless friend an invitation but that she might not be able to come since it is so soon and maybe she already has plans that day. The little boy's enthusiasm is in no way dampened by this gentle warning and he races off to tell your daughter, his nameless new love interest, that she is officially invited to his birthday party.

Would you go?

(Totally hypothetical. Never actually happened. Really.)

A video

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why we Live Here

Some of you have probably had conversations with Jesse and I during which we stated clearly our undying love and devotion to the state in which we currently reside.

Below you will find a slide show indicating part of the reason why we love it here.

We took the kids over one of the most lovely passes, starts with a K to those of you who are familiar, in our state. We were just a bit early in the season for best Aspen viewing, but it was still a lovely day.





(I cannot remember what post it was and I am too tired to find it to link back, but this one rare photo that includes me confirms my assertion that I cannot appear in a picture without looking like a chubby golem on crack.)