Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meredith & I set the table

Appetizers to tide the troops over until dinnertime

The family settles in to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have Stove, Will Bake...

We typically go to my sister's house for a big, family Thanksgiving dinner. About 5 years ago my husband convinced me to give dinner a try at home, with just the immediate family. Well, the WHOLE family ended up with a horrible throwing up bug, so the turkey never even got into the oven and I swore that Thanksgiving would be at my sister's from there on out.

So, here we are. I gave into Michael again this year, and agreed to once again attempt Thanksgiving at the Bilbo's.

So, wouldn't you know it? A week and a half before Thanksgiving, my oven decides to die. Don't know what the heck happened, Meredith & I were making cookies, and when after waiting the 12 minutes for them to cook, I peeked into the oven and they were still cookie dough. Because the oven was 17 years old, we decided it wasn't worth having someone come to look at it - we'd invest in a new one instead.

After shopping around, I found the exact stove I wanted and proceeded to find out that it was not in stock in any local stores, so we'd have to order it online. Not a problem, still plenty of time to get it delivered...or so I thought. We ended up with a delivery date of the day before Thanksgiving - cutting it mighty close, but I can do it!

So, my stove gets delivered at 11am on the day before Thanksgiving. I go to the store to get the connector hose needed to install it (forgot to order it when I bought the stove), then anxiously await Michael's arrival home from work. Number 1 on the Honey Do list is the stove, so he gets to work immediately. After about 20 minutes of prep, he realizes the connector hose is too short - so back to the store we go only to find out that by Massachusetts law they are unable to sell any longer hoses. Ducky! Less than 24 hours before Thanksgiving and I still haven't starting cooking a thing!

So, at about 5pm Michael and Paul end up getting into the truck for a road trip to New Hampshire to buy a longer hose. Thank goodness for 'lawless' NH! :)

We finally got the stove installed and working at about 7:30 pm and the girls and I started a mad baking session! Woo hoo! Thanksgiving dinner here we come!

P.S. We're now going to have to switch the whole kitchen over to Stainless! I love it!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All is Right with the World


I arrived home last night, and had barely gotten through the door when I was greeted by my baby jumping into my arms and layering me with kisses! Seems like someone else was also bothered by the morning's episode. :)

Paul & I agreed that from now on, I'd get my goodbye kiss as we were leaving the house rather than once we get to school.

But...with the usual morning rush, we forgot our new ritual on Day 1. We were half way to school, waiting for the light to turn green so I could enter the schoolyard, when I remembered.

"Hurry and kiss me goodbye Paul, before anyone sees."

He obliged.

"Were you or your friends making fun of someone that gave their Mom a kiss, and that's why you don't want them to see you?"


"Then why don't you want them to see you kissing me?"

"Don't you watch movies, Mom? Kids make fun of their friends all the time for it!"

I guess he's just trying to avoid the situation before it even becomes one! I can deal with that - As long as I still get my kisses.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No More Kisses?!

I am distraught...

I dropped the little ones at school this morning, just as I do everyday. I pulled up to the beginning of the driveway where the kids line up by class to enter to school together. Paul and Meredith both jumped from their seats and gave me my usual kiss goodbye...Meredith opened the door and hopped from the car, but Paul had a moment and rushed to the back of the van, hiding himself...I wasn't sure what was wrong, but he stuck his head out from behind the seat, and I could tell he was crying - "Mom are the front windows see through?!", he took me a minute, but I came to realize he was horrified that he had been seen kissing me goodbye by some of his friends!

No matter what I said, he couldn't be consoled. And I need consoling too! The mere thought of my baby not kissing me anymore is very hard to swallow. After a few minutes, he decided to sneak out the opposite door and run around the crowd to avoid those that may have witnessed his 'dirty deed'. And I drove away from the school, my heart melting for my growing boy.

I only hope that tomorrow morning all is forgotten and I get another kiss...But just in case, I think I'll ask for a few extra at bedtime tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Moving On...

Abby's Pop Warner Cheering career is over. They didn't place at the New England Regional Competition this past weekend and she'll be trying out for High School squad in the spring. I don't really know whether to be thankful or not. I was not too fond of the idea of going to Disney two weeks before Christmas, but I gotta say, this team REALLY deserved to make it.

They definitely brought it to the mat at competition - in fact they scored the highest scores they'd gotten all season. Not too shabby considering they had already won 1st place to be Middlesex League Champs (hence the trophy in the picture above). Unfortunately, however, they got a huge deduction for a 'questionable' move in their routine (which they had been doing most of the season without comment). Seems a judge didn't feel their hands touched the mat before their legs did (in cheering terms: a knee drop) which is a no-no in Pop Warner. We're not really sure where they would have placed if not for the deduction, but I'm confident it would have been right up there.

After coaching many of these girls for 6 years, it's hard to say good-bye, but it's been an amazing experience watching them grow as a team and individually, and they should all be proud of everything they have accomplished. They are the winningest team in the current Stoneham Pop Warner program. Great Job girls! Time to move on to the bigger and better things that await you! Can't wait to see you at the High School games!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How Handsome

Christopher attended his first semi-formal dance at the High School this past weekend.

He wasn't too happy about having to go the whole suit and tie route, but I must say, he looked quite dapper!

And although he is a man of few details, it sounds as if they had a really good time!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weird Family Quality Time

With a family of six and working full-time, one of the hardest things for me to keep up with is laundry - there is a never ending pile of dirty clothes in my laundry room. And, in my opinion, the worst part of keeping my family in clean attire is pairing the multitude of socks my family owns, especially when two matching socks might get washed days or even weeks apart! I've actually been known to make a trip to the store to buy new socks for the entire family, rather than deal with this chore! My mom has even taken a trash bag full of unmatched socks home and returned them all nicely paired & folded, resulting in the entire family doing a little 'dance of joy'!

What the heck does this have to do with family quality time you ask?

Well, I arrived home the other night to find my husband and the kids with our current collection of unmatched socks strewn all over the living room floor. They were picking through Mount Sockmore and creating piles for family member's socks. I (half-heartedly) joined in and we proceeded to spend the next hour or so sorting through and pairing a decent number of socks of each member of the family. Everyone happily scooped up their 'prizes' and delivered them to their rooms.

With the remaining unmatched socks back in their Rubbermaid box (now only half full instead of overflowing), we happily plopped overselves onto the couch for a little prime time tv viewing. I couldn't help but think 'what a strange way to have some family quality time'! But that's truly what it was - the group of us working together, talking, laughing, accomplishing something meaningful! As weird as it may sound, may 'Sock Matching Family Quality Time' have a long and fruitful reign at my house!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Countdown to Competition

5 days and counting until Abigail's cheering squad competes at the Pop Warner New England Regionals Cheer Competition.

Two hours of practice tonight, but I think we have finally made all changes we were hoping for. Now it's just a matter of spending the rest of the week cleaning it up and pumping up the girls to do their best!

I'm starting to get nervous (as I do before every competition the girls compete in) and probably won't be getting much sleep the rest of week, replaying the routine over and over in my head, and hoping and praying the girls are able to stick everything. I don't know why I worry so much, they seem to have a knack of hitting the mat and amazing everyone around them!

Let's just hope this is the year they finally make it all the way to Nationals at Disney in a couple of weeks :)

What did I just wish upon myself?? A trip to Disney 2 weeks before Christmas?? I must be crazy!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Okay, so my first attempt at being a blogger hasn't worked out that well, considering its been MONTHS since I've shared a thing. I'm not going to give up though. I think my biggest mistake is trying to write TOO MUCH. My new strategy is going to be sharing A LITTLE each day, and not obsessing about all the DETAILS - although sometimes that's what really makes the story! But that's okay, I'll add them when needed (I don't think I can help myself)!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grand Champions!

Meredith had a 'fun' Cheer competition in Boston this weekend - and her team did awesome! They were Champions in their division (C Pink) and Grand Champions across all C level divisions! Two trophies in one day! It was a great way for the girls to end the seasons!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Meredith as some kind of weird Angel/Devil :) I think she just loved the hot pink velvet outfit!

Paul is too cool as a 1920's Gangsta!

Don't even ask me what Abby is supposed to be - there was black tutu that finished off the outfit - still didn't help me figure out what it was though!

The girls show off their black and hot pink hairdos! It's gonna take days to wash that out!

Christopher is beyond dressing up for Halloween :(

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Road to Paradise...Is Filled with Potholes…Chapter II

I was up quite a bit during the night, as my adorable nephew John (my cousin’s son, 6 years old) had a tough time sleeping in a new place without his Mom (he came up with my sister Pam). Since his room is right next to mine, I had the honors of consoling him each time he woke up – “I don’t know where I am…I can’t see anything, it’s too dark…” Can’t get mad at a kid as cute as him, but it looks like I might be in for a nap before the weekend is over! And I begin to understand why my sister and her husband like to sleep in the bunkhouse out back!

And so a new day begins… I am pleased to announce that no one woke up this morning with Bat Bug bites! We find happiness in the little things! It’s finally time to put this chapter behind us, start relaxing (didn’t I say that yesterday?) and start having fun!

Now where to begin? Samantha (Pam’s daughter, 18 years old) hadn’t been feeling well since she arrived. Upon waking up and complaining of a sore throat, I make her the “open your mouth, and say Aaaah” thing. Lovely little swollen glands with all the signs of strep (I won’t go into the gory details, but you have kids that have ever had strep, you know what I mean). Everyone sitting in her vicinity starts backing away for fear that they’ll end up with it too, and my sister Pam takes this opportunity to tell her that it’s probably a result of her getting her belly button secretly pierced (the day after she turned 18)! Even if they’re sick, you got to take advantage of any chance to teach them a lesson! But it will still be off the ER for Pete (her Dad) and Samantha for antibiotics…

I walk into the other room to find Paul sitting on one couch, scratching all around his belly – Lord now what? A quick check and he has some kind of rash all around his belt line. A layer of Sarna Lotion applied, and hopefully he’s good as new.

But wait, there’s little John on the other couch, complaining of a stomach and headache. Grab a thermometer, and watch it go up – a temperature of 101.2. Time for a call to his Mom – Someone’s going to have to pick up a sick kid! But wait! Pete's already headed out in the boat with Samantha - there's no way to get John to shore! Looks like he's here for a while - so it's dose of Tylenol for him until we can make other plans.

Pam and I have already prepped the ingredients for Watermelon martinis. And we haven’t even had breakfast yet! Forget the long weekend, how much longer until I can go back to work?!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Road to Paradise...Is Filled with Potholes…Chapter I

We couldn’t wait for the long Fourth of July weekend to get up to our own little version of Paradise – my family cottage on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. I had Thursday off from work, so I could pack the family up and head up before all the festivities (and traffic) started. Michael opted to stay home and enjoy a little solitude – and to work on his never ending wall. Christopher decided he’d keep Dad company (and be close to his friends – he’s truly a teenager).

By the time I had everyone else packed and the bags loaded in the car, it was noon. We piled into the car and I give Michael one last phone call to let him know we were heading out. He informed me that he had just had an accident at work – fell off a wall and a piece of wood had come down after him and landed on his back. He was debating on whether or not he had to head to the ER. I am not about to leave for NH until I know if he is okay, so already looks like there’s a kink in my master plan.. After some discussion, he decides he’s going to make a go of it – and I’m told it’s safe to hit the road (with just a little apprehension on my side – I so need to get away).

I think we timed it just right – traffic was light for the start of a holiday weekend and we made it up in time to a little outlet shopping before hitting town and having Dad come pick us up in the boat (it’s the only way to get to the cottage) to begin our 4 days of rest and relaxation…

As I’m walking up the steps to camp, I notice bedspreads and sheets hanging all over the place – Someone was on a cleaning frenzy! And the fun begins…

My sister, Pam, had arrived with her family a day earlier – she awoke from her first night’s stay (she slept in “my” bed – we’ve each had our assigned rooms since we were kids) with some kind of bites on her neck – she pulled back the sheets to find some kind of bugs in the bed – Bed bugs?! She smushed a few as evidence and headed down to my Mom. After some web searching, it turns out they were Bat Bugs – no one had ever heard of such a thing, although bats have been long time residents in several cottages on the island. So – how the heck did they get in the bed? Move some furniture around and - Just Ducky - there’s a dead bat under the bed! Once the bat died, the darn little buggers must have gone on a search for a new host and ended up in the bed! Well, every bed in every room (4 bedrooms, 7 beds) had to be stripped and washed, and the entire upstairs had to be closed off and “bombed”.

At least I timed my arrival just right to miss this excitement – all we’d have to do now is clean up, make the beds, and start relaxing - and most liking toss and turn as we climb into bed each night for the rest of the weekend!

Thanks Pam for taking one for the team! I appreciate it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Stitch in Time...Leads to Wet Floors

We spent most of this past weekend out in the back yard having a great time. Michael worked on his never ending wall, and the kids and I were planting flowers pilfered (with permission) from Nana Biggio's yard...But obviously, someone felt our weekend needed to end with a "Bang"!

As we were picking up to head in the house Sunday evening, Paul (my baby - 8 years old) headed up the side (stone) stairway to shut off the hose. He was on his way back down, when lo and behold, he tripped over the hose, and proceeded to go head first into the corner of one of the stones! He let out a blood curdling scream, I turned around, snatched him up, and ran for the house and Michael...

Cut to the chase...4 hours in the ER and 3 stitches on the right side of his forehead later, we were back at home. I ended up stopping to get McDonald's on the way home - there was no way I could think about putting together a meal after that. Weird thing was that Paul kept complaining that his food "tasted funny" - even the water he was drinking. I kind of chalked it up to another of Paul's little (lovable) idiosyncracies...

So now, it's Tuesday and I'm in the office trying to concentrate at work, but daydreaming about my upcoming 4 day weekend for the 4th of July...My cell phone's Paul..."Mom, I think I'm sick." What do you mean, Paul - what do you feel like? "My face is all red and I have funny spots on it."

Paul, can you please carry the phone up to Christopher (the oldest - 15 years old) and stay with him so he can look at you and let me know what's going on? Sure thing!

Christopher, can you please take a look at Paul's face and let me know what you see? "Mom, he looks like Two-Face from Batman, one side of his face is normal, and the other looks like he was mauled by a bear!"

Oh yeah, I can stay calm after hearing that! I can nonchalantly pack up my things and let folks know that I have to head home immediately because my baby boy looks like Two-Face!

So that's just what I did. I was able to get a little more info out of Christopher - It seemed like Paul was having some kind of allergic reaction - maybe to his stitches. But I'd never heard of such a thing, and it's already been two days since he got them, I'd have expected something to have happened before now...But...wait a minute... was that why he was saying things tasted funny?? Had I ignored a sign of an allergic reaction 48 hours earlier?

I decided to wait and not call the pediatrician until I could witness the symptoms myself, and yes, something was definitely going on - his right eye was swollen and purple, and what looks like hives were all over only the right side of his face! Time to make the phone call! "Bring him right in" I was told.

Of course, it's a posse of us heading over to the doctor's office. One thing I must say about my kids, one of them is sick, everyone gets concerned and wants to be with them (of course, when they're all well, they're trying to kill each other). Abby opted to stay home this time, as she had the pleasure of coming with me for the ER adventure on Sunday. So, it was Christopher, Meredith, Paul and I heading for Medford.

All ended well - it was not an allergic reaction. He was diagnosed with "some type of skin infection secondary to the cut on his forehead". I guess in layman's terms there was something nasty on the rock that has caused my baby to have red bumps all over one side of his face. 7 days of antibiotics will cure it and he'll be good as new. Still didn't explain the funny tasting symptom, though - the doc checked for Strep just to be sure, but it was negative. Guess maybe it really was just another one of Paul's little quirks. :)

So we're back at home. No sense going back to the office. I'll work from home for the rest of the day. And maybe I'll catch up on some laundry. I answer emails, and call into a couple of meetings. I have some things that need to be bleached, so I throw them in the kitchen sink with some bleach and start running the water. It will take a little while to fill, so I go back and check my email again - want to make sure I'm accessible. My phone rings. I'm chatting away with Cass from the office and IM Christopher (who is upstairs) to come down and get some money to pick up the lunch I had ordered from down the street).

Next thing I know all heck breaks lose. Christopher comes running outside - "Mom, were you filling up the kitchen sink and forgot about it??" Oh my God. There is 2-3 inches of water all over my kitchen! My hardwood floors are under water! Now all five of us (me, Christopher, Abigail, Meredith and Paul) are scrambling around the house grabbing every towel in sight! I scream, "Not the clean ones! Only dirty towels! I have too much laundry to do already!" Not a problem (not sure if that's a good thing or not), as we were still able to come up with about 20 dirty bath towels to soak up most of the water!

Catastrophe averted - I start picking up the soaked towels and Meredith heads back downstairs to play. "Mommy, theres water leaking from the lights in the playroom." Just Ducky! Don't turn on the lights, baby, it should stop shortly now that we have the water cleaned up up here. Which it did, thank goodness.

So back to a few more meetings before I can call it a day - and a lot more laundry to get done tonight! Lord, when is that 4 day weekend gonna get here?!


If I couldn't laugh about it, I swear I'd be living in a padded cell somewhere :)

By Popular Demand....A Blog is Born! here's the deal...My life is surreal.

If it wasn't really happening to me, I'd swear someone was spinning me one heck of a tall tale, or that I was watching a lost episode from the National Lampoon movie franchise!

As my friends and family listen to me recount my many - sometimes daily - (mis)adventures, I am told over and over again that I need to start a blog. Well, I think I have finally reached the point where I can't help but agree with them...So here we go -

Why start this blog?

  • If nothing else, I hope to one day look back on my writings and be able to laugh at and amaze myself with all I have persevered through.

  • Maybe some day my kids will look through my musings and rejoice in having survived growing up in our loving, but ever chaotic, family.

  • I hope that those who choose that read my postings will find amusement - as well as a reminder that no matter how bad things seem at the time, we will endure and carry on! Or at least you'll have a laugh or two at my expense!

So, here we go! Get ready - hold on - we're in for a bumpy ride!