Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

For your present, I'm putting up a blog post. Yes, the first one since October. So much for blogging more!

It's been an insane few months though. We're mostly settled into the new house, except that Tom and I have decided to rearrange the bedrooms. It'll have to wait till after our company has gone though, so we'll do that sometime in January most likely.

We have Nana and Aunt Kris (one of the girls' Godmothers) staying over for the holidays which is so nice. That also let Tom and I attend the holiday party for my new job, which included an overnight hotel stay. It was so wonderful to get away for a little while. That was the first time we'd ever both been away from the girls overnight. They did just fine too.

November was the month of sick. We'd been going through a progression of various colds, and all three kids had ear infections along with the girls needing breathing treatments. But the big stuff came the weekend before Thanksgiving. Nicky came down with a 24 hour stomach bug. Of course we didn't know it would be only 24 hours at the time, and he rapidly dehydrated from throwing up so much (and the other end too of course) so he ended up in the ER with an IV. Poor boy. Then Lily and I got it Monday, and Tom got it Tuesday. It really was a 24 hour thing though, and no one had it as badly as Nicky had, so that was good at least.

Thanksgiving was a bit subdued, and I can recommend the stomach flu to anyone wanting to avoid overindulging. I didn't get to have as much of anything as I would have normally. That's probably a good thing.

We had my Dad (Grandpa Buz), Grandma Gwen, Aunt Janice and Uncle Frank all over for Thanksgiving. Probably not the best of hosts, but they really enjoyed the kids, and that's the most important thing! Nicky got to go out to Yorktown and the Norfolk museum where he got to visit the Battleship Wisconsin. We all went through the Botanical Gardens holiday light show too. That was the most sight seeing we'd done since arriving!

December 5th we had a nice visit from Aunt Liz and her new fiance (although they made it official after they left) Michael. It was wonderful to see her and meet Michael, and we wish them much happiness! They're supposed to be moving up somewhere in either GA, NC or VA, so we'll see where they land. As long as it's closer than FL!

Then on Dec 9th we welcomed Nana and Aunt Kris for the holidays. They'll be here till after New Year's Day, so we have a nice long visit from them. We actually moved the rooms around so that Kris and Donna can have the downstairs and the kids and To and I are all upstairs. It is what gave us the idea of moving Nicky downstairs permanently (at least till all the kids are able to be upstairs. Nicky will like it, Tom and I will have more room upstairs, kind of turning it into a Master Suite, and I think it will be much easier to get Nicky to bed downstairs. Oh, and clean his room. It's a mess up there, and I just don't have the time or energy to think about it. Having it down here will make it much more likely that I stay on top of that.

So it's been busy. Most everyone is well right now though. Tom still has a cough and poor Nana actually had the stomach flu hit her yesterday (same 24 hour thing though, she's ok now.)

I'm trying to get my computer out more and step away from the iphone once in a while. But it's hard! I love my phone! It does just about everything I want except blogging, paying bills and email. It technically does email, but my home email is getting so out of hand with spam I'm seriously considering starting a new one and consigning this one to be a full time spam collector.

Enough about me. On to the fun stuff!

Both girls are walking completely. They're growing so fast and they're so cute! They talk up a storm, even though I'm sure most folks wouldn't understand them yet. But they have a much higher vocab than Nicky did at this age. They were about 24lbs at their 18 month visit in November with about a 6oz difference between them. They're still so close to identical that Tom mixed them up last night.

Nicky is learning all sorts of things at school. He's progressing well academically, but still struggling with focus and attention. He's being reassessed here in VA so we'll have a meeting, hopefully soon, to go over those results. We all suspect Gifted/ADD or Gifted/LD. Either way, school is a struggle, and yet still a joy and I'd like to keep it a joy for as long as possible!

One problem that has cropped up lately though is that he's apparently got two boys in his class who are calling him names and verbally bullying him. Not violence yet, but bothering Nicky enough to get him mad. And then the boys think it's funny to get Nicky mad. Nicky is so good about not reacting with hitting, however he's turned his anger inwards and has started hitting, scratching and choking himself according to his teachers. This is really upsetting and it came out about the bullies when I asked him what was going on. I've talked extensively with his teacher and we'll see what happens over the next week or so. She was calling their parents though, and that makes me suspect that she wasn't surprised to have complaints about these particular students.

Anyway, sorry for the brain dump, but I needed to get that off my chest. And hey, what better way than to put it out there for the entire world to see?

Also, specifically for my mom, Grammie, I have uploaded a TON of movies, all from November (still have to do Sept and Oct) from my phone to Photobucket. They're in the 2011 November folder for now. Enjoy Grammie! We love you!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cruising along

I really need to get back into the habit of posting.

Last spring I ended up with tennis elbow in my left elbow. Later in the spring/summer it started in the right elbow, but since I couldn't afford to go to an orthopedic doctor and my normal doc had already tried injections I just figured I'd live with it.

Well it finally was getting to be so bad that I decided to try going to a chiropractor that several of my coworkers have gone to. One of them even went for tennis elbow and swears it helped him heal when nothing else would.

So Thursday I went for my first chiropractor visit and got acupuncture in my elbows. I've never given much credence to chiropractors, mostly considering them not much more than fancy voodoo witch doctors, but I've been in just chronic pain and I'm willing to try about anything at this point.

It wasn't the worst thing ever, but it was uncomfortable for sure. Not because of the needles. I'm totally unfazed by needles. But the muscles in my arms did not appreciate the invasion so much. They felt like they were tying themselves into tiny knots in there. I suppose that means it was doing something, which sounds better than doing nothing. We'll see if it leads to less pain down the road though. I have two more visits next week.

I'd have taken a pic of my elbows with the needles, but I couldn't really move my hands and arms. Maybe I'll arrange something next time.

One thing that did surprise me was that they do no prep of your skin before poking you. I expected a little alcohol swabbing or something. The chiropractor said that you'd have to do more than a little swab of alcohol to really sterilize your skin, so that is really just an act put on for the patient's peace of mind. Nothing is infected, heck I don't even think they bled, so that must be ok I guess.

On the homefront, Tom had a nice case of a mild stomach bug this week. It put him out of commission Wednesday night and Thursday most of the day. He looked like hell Thursday morning, but I still had to go to work. Nicky's school doesn't even start till 9am, and his bus picks him up at 8:30. Since I need to be at work by 8:30 at the latest I was hard pressed to figure out how to get him to school.

I ended up driving him around the corner to his friends' house, meeting their mom (who is also named Angela, how funny is that?) and asking her to take Nicky with her kids to the busstop and meet him in the afternoon too. Then I told her she could just pitch him over the fence (our backyards share a fence). She was willing to do it, and it seems like it went well. I should bake her some cookies or something because that really helped us out of a tight spot. It allowed Tom to just let the babies do their thing in the living room while he pretty much keeled over on the sofa. It's so nice for Nicky to have friends to play with so close too. They seem to all get along great.

Today we're heading out to find Nicky's Halloween costume and check out some options for draperies in the living room and den. We've managed to keep the kids from obliterating the vertical blinds so far, but I'd like to replace them with drapes before our luck runs out!

Earlier today we played in the backyard. It's so great that the kids can all just play back there without worrying about fire ants! And it is nice and shaded too. We all just love it! I worked on my laptop for a bit while the kids played, and when I looked up this is what I saw:



Yeah, except for the end there it was a lot of fun. They got better at holding on, and Nicky got better at driving:



More movies up here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wait a minute, isn't Virginia for Lovers?

I did it. I'm here in Virginia and have been working at my new job for a week! All I'll say is that I absolutely LOVE my new job. It's exciting and challenging. It's where education, libraries and technology collide into a swirly rainbow of happiness.

What? Don't most people talk about their job that way?

Anyway, the sole raincloud in the sunshine that is my new town is that Tom and the kids are not here yet. Tom has been madly packing and single-parenting our brood for the last week. He has had help from both Nana and JM, but I know it's been a very hard week for him. But he is nearly there! Tuesday the truck will be picked up and loading can commence!

The plan is that they will leave Friday and arrive here on Saturday. Officially making us a Virginia family October 1st 2011.

I'm trying not to worry about their trip up too much as there isn't really anything I can do about that. But I will be spending more time this weekend helping to finish up the house we're renting. It's very nearly ready, just needs new flooring installed, the upstairs painted and a few odds and ends taken care of.

Tom and I had our 17th wedding anniversary on September 17th. The day after I started working here. It was our first time ever being apart from each other on our anniversary. Even though we've never been a couple that made all that much of the occasion it was odd to be apart.

I actually realized on the way up here that not only have I never been away from any of the kids for 2 weeks, I have also never been away from Tom that long. I think the longest before was about a week at my Mom's once. I left Gainesville on September 14th and won't see my family again until October 1st. That is a long time to me.

It took me until about the 17th to really start missing them. Till then I was so busy with getting up here, settling in (and settling Benjamin in- I brought Bobo with me), and getting started at work, that I hadn't had much time to reflect on it. But Saturday night I started wondering what they were doing, how much the girls had changed since I left, if Lily had really started walking, how Nicky was doing at school, and how Tom was faring without me. It became kind of lonely.

I know it won't be long in the grand scheme of things. Soon I'll barely even remember the time we spent apart. But right now it seems like a long time. I've gotten to Skype with Tom and the kids twice now, and as wonderful as it is to see them, it also makes me even sadder when I have to say goodbye. Both girls are walking now and the other day they even said "Kenji." Tonight they looked so big on the computer screen, and so happy to see me. It breaks my heart even more to imagine what they think about my absence.

But again. It won't be long, and I have thrown myself into my new job during the day. I have a countdown up on my board that shows how many more days till Nicky arrives. Today it was only 9 days! That will just zoom by! I also found out I can read ebooks on my iphone from my library. That really helps the evenings zoom by too. It'll be the first before I even know it!

And then, we'll have lots of photos for you. Right now I only have the one photo Tom sent me this week. It's Gabi all dressed up in a cute flower outfit. She has a pretty funny look on her face too. Looks like Nicky was pretty bored in the background on this one. I'm guessing they were watching TV.

Photobucket

Here's one of Benjamin on the trip up. It was a long hard trip for him, but he's settling in well now.

Photobucket

He did enjoy spooking the flock of Canadian Geese into the water at the Welcome Center rest stop in North Carolina our second day:

Photobucket
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This is the sign I have up at work to keep me going:

Photobucket

So that's it. We're very nearly done with the move. And then we can all focus on Halloween!

Oh, and for you mom. Although you've probably seen most of these on facebook.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wrapping up our time in FL

So so busy! I'm wrapping up things at work as best as I can. I don't want to leave anything to fall through the cracks there. Tom's been assigned Relocation Manager of this move, so I'm trying to leave all the planning of that to him. I told him I don't mind being directed and doing work (we're trying to sort through everything and figure out what is coming and what is getting tossed or donated) but the project management aspect is going to have to fall to him. (I've been able to resist drawing up a Gantt chart so far...it's tough but I need to back off and relinquish control. I can do this.)

Nicky is all excited about the move. The girls have no idea of course, but they'll love it too I'm sure. Kenji will be easy to move, but Benjamin...it's gonna suck. No two ways about it. I've actually put out a call on facebook to see if anyone would like to add him to their family. It's just going to be so hard on him. I'm sure he'll be alright once we get there (I hope).

We have a house in mind, just have to settle the rent/deposit/fees etc and get a move in date. I'll be heading up, likely driving the car, around mid-month. Tom and everyone will likely come up a few weeks later. The house is on the market for a short sale at a whopping 30k. That is 59k LESS than we bought it for. I could just weep. Except for the fact that I am SO glad to be getting out from under the house AND be starting my new job. It's hard to care much in light of the new job! Now we'll just have to see if it actually sells.

Other stuff going on:

Nicky is really enjoying school. He is riding the bus to and from everyday. Loves it! Tom takes him to the bus stop and picks him up there too. They give him a lot of homework which is quite annoying. It's Kindergarten for pete's sake! I do a little with him before dinner each evening, but it's much more important to me that he gets to bed on time (which is going great actually) so I just let it go. I'm not knocking ourselves out to do worksheets.

Lily and Gabi are doing great. Lily is still a little artist. She loves to draw. We went to Nicky's open house at his school and Lily pulled out a chair and sat down with paper and crayons to draw the whole time. Gabi was more interested in walking around with Daddy and Nicky though.

Gabi is able to walk several steps independently now. She doesn't do it a lot yet, but she can. Lily could probably do it, but she isn't quite yet. I think a big factor is that they just don't have the floorspace in our house to require it. Why bother when you can just cruise all over the house? When we move to our new place I'm sure they'll start walking a lot.

Gabi also went poop in the big potty today! We're not really potty-training yet, but she was having a hard time going and I had her ready to go in the tub after lunch anyway, so I held her over the kids' seat on the potty and she went. Very exciting! One of the things I'm so looking forward to in our new place is having TWO bathrooms! That will make training a lot easier I think. Heck it'll make everything a lot easier!

Nicky is actually running a fever today. He took two naps all on his own, so we know he doesn't feel good. His fever broke first after the last dose of children's tylenol, and then again after I gave him one 200mg ibuprofen. I was out of the kids' stuff, so I checked the dosage and at his age that's how much he gets anyway. He has no trouble swallowing pills which just amazes me. I was like 12 when I finally figured it out. I remember medicines being such torture as a kid for so long. But he's already got the pill thing down pat! Should make dealing with allergies/asthma/etc so much easier for him.

The girls are going in for their 15 month pediatric visit tomorrow afternoon. Originally I wasn't going to go (this is my last week of work here after all) but with Nicky sick, Tom's going to need my help. So work in the morning and then they can pick me up for the afternoon appointment.

I can't believe my time at work here is almost done. It's been 7 years since I started working in the library here. That's definitely the longest I've ever been at one place. I think I have made a great difference here in my time though. I've met and worked with so many great people and on so many projects that have had a lot of impact on our institution. I'm definitely proud of my accomplishments here. But it is time to move on. No regrets at all. This is going to be awesome!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yep. AMAZING!

Tomorrow is Nicky's first Friday at the end of his first week of Kindergarten. So far it's been awesome for him! We took him to school the first day and he was in Miss Y's class. Tom picked him up after school.

The next day Nicky rode the bus! He really wanted to, and had been disappointed not to ride it home on the first day actually, so we agreed to let him ride. But we did follow the bus all the way to school anyway to see the route, gauge the age of the kids, and make sure he made it ok.

When we got to the school, Tom dropped me off so I could meet Nicky's NEW teacher. They added another K teacher and Nicky was one of the kids moved to her class. This is Ms. T. I met Nicky as he entered the K pod with the other bus kids and he was happy to see me. (Oh, and I remembered his glasses that day) However he had forgotten his school bag (which is a big ziplock bag with his name on it. Yeah, no backpacks for kindergarten for some reason) and his glasses case was in there. Luckily it was still on the bus in the afternoon when Tom met him at the bus stop.

I didn't see Nicky come home on the bus because I was in VIRGINIA! Yes, my big thing was a job interview in Virginia Beach. I flew up on two flights with a layover in North Carolina. I was actually in the plane on the runway when the earthquake struck and no one on the plane felt it because the engines were already going. We also didn't know anything about it because it was already past time for everyone to turn off their electronic devices. When we landed in VA though everyone turned on their iPhones and you heard a lot of "OMG there was an Earthquake!"

It was awfully nice of Mother Nature to provide me with ample conversation starters for my interviews though! Between the earthquake that just happened and the upcoming hurricane, well there was never an awkward silence! Not that I let those happen much anyway. If you didn't know, I'm kind of a talker. ;)

I had interviews and a lovely dinner with my potential bosses that night and more interviews Wednesday morning. And right before lunch (and my flight out) I was offered the job! I tell you I am so excited about this job. It's absolutely perfect for me. Customer service/tech support kind of thing for a company that creates and supports library software. It has it all: education/training/troubleshooting/customer service/travel/communication/technology/challenges/learning new things/collaboration... I can't even tell you how excited I am.

Tom is also over the moon about both the job and the move! He's wanted to move up north forever. And this is a great compromise because it's up there where he'll have seasons and yet not so far that I'll fear we all will die in a snowdrift. Nicky is excited too. He's already been telling everyone we're moving to Virginia Beach. (Even before the interview!)

Even though I don't have family there (although I'm kind of thinking I'm going to have MORE there in the not-to-distant future), it seems to be a close-knit office, everyone seems very nice, and I know several bloggers up there I hope I'll be able to meet. I don't think they live super close, more like DC, but still, much closer than to Florida! Maybe next year I'll get to go to BlogHer or something like that.

Anyway, there is so much to think about for the move, for finishing up my job (definitely don't plan to leave anyone in the lurch, so have to have that wrapped up nicely), and for getting ready for a new awesome job.

We have to think about the dogs. Kenji will be easy (hm, don't think I've told his story yet have I?) but Benjamin is going to be a basket-case to move. He is so scared of people and well, everything, that the drive is going to be really hard on him. We might have to dose him up with benadryl or something stronger for the trip. I thought about giving him away to someone here, but I can't imagine anyone would take him and we can just give him to the pound or something. He's a sweetheart, just a big chicken-hearted sweetheart. I just hope his heart holds out! He is kind of old for a big dog (8 years this Christmas).

Anyway, I'm exhausted after my first day back. I worked like mad today to catch up and plan for all the projects I'd like to either finish or delegate. Now I just have to get it all done and get to VA for my first day of work on September 16th! So exciting!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gearing up for a Busy Week (that will hopefully be AMAZING in many ways)

Nicky starts Kindergarten in the morning. I have all his stuff laid out, uniform, supplies, etc. Put him to bed about 8pm.

And it's now 10:30 and he's still awake!

Morning will be interesting.

We're waking at 6:30 to get him ready for school and me ready for work. We'll get the girls up at the last minute and all jump in the car. Then we will be taking Nicky to his first day of school. We'll arrive between 7:15 and 7:45. If we get there earlier it will allow him to eat breakfast. (Not that he hardly ever does, but I always hold out hope.)

We're not sure yet if we'll be able to park and all go in, or if he and I will go in while the girls and Tom wait in the car. But I will definitely take the phone to get photos! We'll also find out what class he's going to be in.

We went to Meet The Teacher Day Friday, but even then they still didn't know what class he'd be in. They're still unsure of their final count and if they'll have 3 full classes or 2 K classes and one combo K-1 class. I think it would be great for him to be a combo class. Well we'll see tomorrow.

College classes start tomorrow too, and with my job that means I'll be really busy in the library!

And then we have super secret exciting stuff going on Tuesday and Wednesday. I promise to update you by Thursday about that. But just send those positive happy thoughts my way Tuesday and Wednesday if you would!

I can't believe he's already starting Kindergarten!

He really wants to ride the school bus, but the stop is two streets away on a busy road. I went to the school board's transportation office to see about having a stop added at the end of our street (the bus passes right by our street within sight of our house). They said they'd look into it. No call came over the weekend but I'll call tomorrow to see what they decided. If they move or add the stop then we might let him ride it on Tuesday. We'll probably follow the bus though that first time. And of course we'd walk him to the bus stop in the mornings and pick him up there in the afternoons. It might be neat for him to ride the bus. But I just can't see making him (and Tom with the girls) walk a couple of blocks across traffic (and I think they'll have to cross that road too in the afternoons from the side with no sidewalks, and no crosswalks).

But we'll all mostly hope that I have fabulous news by Thursday okay? Cause that would be the very best outcome EVER!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Child Left Behind. Oh sure. Right.

We found out today that the school board decided in their infinite wisdom that rather than let us send Nicky to our first choice, which is a good 13 miles away, they would be sending him to the other option, 30 miles away.

Um, No.

So instead of going to a school where they have a 77% passing rate for 3rd graders, we're going to have to keep him at his zoned school where they have a 38% passing rate for 3rd graders.

Hooray for school choice. No Child Left Behind! (Well unless you count mine of course right? Oh, and all the other kids left at his zoned school. And apparently the majority of the 10,000 students who were zoned for schools that didn't make AYP for two years running. But whose counting right?)

Just a LITTLE bit frustrated about that. I suppose in the grand scheme of things we can make up for any lack in his education at this level. But we have high hopes to get him into another school as soon as possible. Maybe a school VERY far away actually. Things cooking on the horizon folks! Should know more in the next few weeks. Just keep your fingers crossed ok?

So anyway. We'll be meeting Nicky's teacher Friday and find out all the stuff he'll need for the first day of school. I'm glad we didn't assume he'd go to the other school and get uniforms and supplies for there as the lists are different. Looks like we'll have some shopping to do this weekend though! It's bound to be a madhouse since it's the weekend before public schools and UF fall classes start!

Now, next post I'll finally get around to talking about the newest member of the family:
Loving on Kenji

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ready for school? Not really.

Nicky is starting Kindergarten on Monday, August 22nd. We're all very excited. But yet completely unprepared. Completely. Well, he has a lunchbox. But as we plan to let him eat at school that doesn't really count as preparation does it.

We had registered him at our zoned school back in like May or April. Even though we weren't thrilled about the school's track record. (REALLY not thrilled) But then last week we recieved a letter telling us that because our school failed to meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for the last two years, we were being given the choice of two other schools that did make AYP. Both schools are all the way across town (well one is actually all the way across the county!) but they would provide transportation (IF we decide to even use the bus) and the school would be so much better. So we circled our first choice and Tom dropped off the paperwork the very next day.

Then I called to talk with the school board person in charge of making the decisions about these applications to find out how/when we'll know what school Nicky will be attending on the 22nd. I was worried because the paperwork isn't even due till August 16th! Turns out that the school board for our county mailed out over 10,000 of these letters. They'll start processing the paperwork turned in on the 16th. And they anticipate having it done by the 17th so that they can call parents with the results on the 17th.

I was surprised they think it will take only one day of processing. But they said that only 40-50 families choose to have their child change schools. Most just opt for the additional tutoring they offer. So on the one hand, that sucks that there were 10k kids needing to be told their school is not performing up to standards. But on the other hand, if not many opt to change schools, maybe we have a good chance of getting our first choice. Which would be good, since if they did opt to send him to the other choice, I don't know if we'd do it. It's REALLY far away. And by far away I mean nearly 30 MILES one way. Our first choice is 13 miles one way, which is still pretty damn far.

Our zoned school is only 2 miles away. It took me like 7 minutes to get there last time I went. But here's the thing. We have the FCAT test here. In 3rd grade, if a student does not pass the reading portion(get a 3 or higher) they are automatically retained. That's right, they FAIL third grade because they didn't pass a single part of the test. Last year, only 38% of their 3rd graders passed the reading section. That means 62% of the third grade FAILED. This is NOT good! I mean, yes I think I can make up for some of what Nicky might miss at school at home, but seriously, I would rather send him to a school with a better track record than that.

So we're hoping he gets into the school we want. For comparison, 77% of their 3rd graders passed the reading section of the FCAT. (Overall for the county, 71% of 3rd graders passed the reading section of the FCAT.)

Once we find out for sure where he is going (on Wednesday, August 17th) we'll know which school to go to on Friday, August 19th for Meet the Teacher Day. Then we'll find out what uniform and supplies he needs. It will be a busy weekend of shopping methinks!

I can't believe he's already going to Kindergarten!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Big Swim

We were busy this weekend. Took the girls and Nicky out to breakfast at The Clock. It was their first real restaurant visit. They'd been out twice before in their carseats as itty-bitties, but now they're ready to really eat and enjoy.

First real restaurant visit

Later, after a nap, we all went to the big pool for the first time as a family. The girls looked so cute!

Ready to swim

And they enjoyed splashing at the splash pad too:
Splashing

It was easier to get photos at the splash pad. In the pool we had to keep our hands on everyone to be safe.

Nicky doing water karate

Nicky wore a life-jacket that really helped though. He had a blast.
Lily swimming with Nicky

In fact, Nicky and I made another trip to the pool Sunday. Just the two of us.

Wonder what we'll do next weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We miss you Grandpa Mott

This photo of Grandpa and Grandma with the girls and Aunt Carol was taken on June 25th during a great family get-together.



It's the last photo we have of Grandpa. Tom's dad, Charles, passed away Sunday, July 3rd.

He was a wonderful Grandfather to our three kids, and they miss him, especially Nicky. He was my father-in-law for nearly 17 years, having welcomed me into the family with open arms right away, and I will miss him. And most especially he was Tom's father, having adopted him at the ripe old age of about 2 years old, and Tom misses him so much.

I'd write more, but it's hard and I don't know what to say yet.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First hairs have been cut

The girls hair has gotten positively shaggy!

Gabi:
Gabi showing off her blue eyes

Lily:
Lily's smile

We tried putting it up with barrettes:
Lily on the right

We tried pigtails:
Pigtails Gabi on the right

Which were undoubtedly cute. Especially Lily's Who imitation.
Lily (CindyLou Who)

But finally tonight I'd had enough and gave them both a trim:
First haircut (by Mommy) Gabi on the right

And it wasn't till later when Tom asked that I realized it never even occurred to me to save some hair. Aw well. It's tough being the second kids.

Hey, new photos and movies up in photobucket!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Lily can climb onto and off of the sofa now, and both girls are close to walking.

Nicky just spent a week at his Nana's house learning to go underwater with the help of his new swim goggles.

Tom had a promising interview for a weekend position.

I've been trying to take the bus to and from work to save $ on gas. Take THAT oil companies.

The prompt for this post though is that today is Father's Day!

And Nicky has a special song for his dad:



Happy Father's Day to you Tom. I thank you every day for the gift of our 3 beautiful children. I couldn't have picked a better daddy for them. Thank you for taking care of all of us!

As most people reading this probably know, Tom has been a stay at home dad for all three of our kids. He was finishing up his bachelor's degree when Nicky came along, and his graduate degree when the girls came. He already had his LPN from before too. He's extremely overqualified for the crappy wages he gets being the domestic manager for the Mott Corporation, but we couldn't make any of this work without all the love, support and really hard work he does to keep us all going. I know it's a hard, thankless job most of the time, but I want to thank you so much for all you do Tom!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Nearly 18 years of painless punching

Tom and I have been together now for nearly 18 years. And of course we have created a few traditions in our time. One of them that really deserves some recognition is the sacred Punch Buggy Game.

Now I know what you're thinking. You remember playing this with your siblings/cousins/friends as a kid where you'd punch each other every time you saw a Volkswagen beetle. Two punches for a Volkswagen van and the dreaded frog punch (with a protruding knuckle) for a rag-top. (I HATED rag-tops!)

Well, Tom and I weren't about to hit each other, you know with me being such a delicate flower and all. So we came up with our own version using points instead of punches.

Now over time this has matured and been honed into a fine game with lots of important rules to keep things fair. And for posterity's sake I think it's time those rules were enumerated here for all to see.

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The Punch Buggy Game

Scoring:
Regular beetle= 1 point
Rag-Top beetle= 1 point
Volkswagon Van= 2 points

Rule #1: Everyone is Always Playing. You can't opt out, quit, or otherwise claim you're not playing. Losing? Headache? Sleeping? Too bad. If you're IN the car, you're still playing.

Rule #2: The Punch Buggy Game can only be played while in the car with all doors closed.

Rule #3: The same punch buggy cannot be counted twice in the same "trip". A trip lasts only until everyone gets out of the car (whether or not this is at home doesn't matter). For example, a punch buggy can be called upon entering the parking lot, and if it is still there it CAN be called again once everyone re-enters the car and closes the doors. However, if one of the players never left the car, then it cannot be called as the "trip" did not re-start.

Rule #4: When you call a punch buggy it must be called in the following manner:

Regular beetle= "Punch Buggy COLOR" (where COLOR=color of the vehicle) (You may also differentiate between new and old model beetles. This is optional.)

Rag-Top beetle= "Punch Buggy COLOR Ragtop" or "Punch Buggy Ragtop COLOR" are both acceptable (where COLOR=color of the vehicle)

Volkwagon van= "Double Punch Buggy COLOR" (where COLOR=color of the vehicle)

Note, that the color of the punch buggy is called. This is to differentiated between multiple punch buggies when more than one is in the vicinity. Accidentally calling a punch buggy the wrong color does not necessitate losing the point, especially if you're pretty close or if it's dark outside. BUT should there be multiple ones and you call the wrong color, it could cause your point to be disputed, so be careful.

Rule #5: This is known as the Punch Buggy Heaven rule. If there are more than 3 punch buggy vehicles in one location, that location is deemed to be a "Punch Buggy Heaven" and NO punch buggy points called will count from that area.

Note this means up to and including 3 vehicles would NOT be Punch Buggy Heaven. So if you only see 3 double punch buggies, call them!

Rule #6
: The punch buggy game ends at the end of the day. This is when everyone has returned home to go to bed for the night. So if you go out for a late movie, the same game is still on as you're coming home at 2am.

Rule #7: Ties mean that NO ONE gets a point, rather than both people getting the point. A tie happens when both people finish saying the entire required statement at the same time. One might have started talking first, but if they both say the entire statement and end at the same time, it is a tie.

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I think that about covers the rules of The Punch Buggy Game.

We actually have discussed every one of these rules, AND we have to agree on a proposed rule before it can be made official. (That's how I kept Tom's rule of being allowed to call "PB COLOR" instead of saying the whole required phrase.) I'm sure other rules may come along in the future as we start including the kids.

So far it's usually only Tom and I playing. Nicky is still at the age where every single car is a punch buggy, so he always "wins". At least in his own mind. Our rules are really designed with a duo in mind. I'm sure it would require more complex rules if more than two wanted to play.

At times we have tried having paper and pencil handy for keeping score, but usually we just keep track mentally (or I do on my fingers). I usually also keep Tom appraised by telling him how many points ahead I am. Usually something like "I'm ahead by negative four points!" since I often lose. But I like to be optimistic and it sounds better that way.

So that's our game. We used to play it faithfully every time we were in the car. It's only been the last few years when we had kids in the car with us that we slack off sometimes. BUT remember Rule #1. We're ALWAYS playing, even if we forget.

What kinds of games do you play and do you have such complex rules?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

They got bigger

Putting together some old things so we can sell them on Craigslist. The girls took quite an interest. Especially Lily.

They crawled up into the exersaucer while we had the seat still out. (And Lily had a lot to say about it.)


Lily climbed into her old swing when I put it together.
Lily climbed right in her old swing

And then while I was trying to get a photo, she started pushing it too.
Lily pushing her old swing

Quite a contrast to how they used to use them.

Gabi in the exersaucer
Gabi in the exersaucer

Playing in the exersaucer and jumperoo (which we're also selling):


(Couldn't find a photo or movie of them in that swing, but here they are in the battery-devouring first swings that we burned slap out)


Fun to look back at how much they've grown. And it'll be fun when we can sell off some of their old equipment and gain space too!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Splish Splash

Nicky and the girls got into their "pool" for the first time today.

First time in the pool (Lily on the left)

Nicky was a great big brother and looked after them.



The girls had a great time splashing around in there. Tom blew up a bigger pool for Nicky to play in. We'll keep the girls in the little one for now, which actually was Nicky's sandbox.



Lots of fun was had by all. More movies are in the photobucket folder "movies" accessible by the link in the top right corner of the blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Big Brother's Day

So when your twin sisters turn one, where does that leave the big brother?

Well if you're Nicky, you get up early on their birthday and go fishing with Mommy.

Playing with the tackle box

Nicky and I went the our second Family Fishing Day. We didn't actually catch anything this time, but due to a grant, they were giving out fishing rods and tackle boxes to kids this time. Nicky had a great time going thru all the gear in the tackle box.

Happiness is a well stocked tackle box

It was brutally hot Saturday though. And there isn't a drop of shade at the fishing holes. But we were careful and used a lot of sunscreen, so no sunburn for us.

After fishing, we came home and cleaned up. The plan was originally for Tom to take Nicky to the Touch A Truck event at the fairgrounds, but he wasn't feeling well. So Nicky and I went back out together.

This event was a lot of fun for Nicky. They had a firetruck, SWAT van, DOT tractor trailer, Fish & Wildlife boat, garbage truck, city bus and more. Nicky could touch everything, get inside the vehicles, and ask a zillion questions of someone else for a while. I pretty much just stood around in the sun and melted.

Fish and Wildlife boat

The SWAT van

Mighty Machine

In the end, we went home exhausted and hot to clean up and have a birthday dinner with the girls. But a fun time was definitely had by Nicky.

Mighty Machine

After all, it was a celebration of his first year as the big brother.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Girls are ONE

A year ago, on May 21st, Lilianna and Gabriella came into the world at 8:49am.

First came Lilianna Elizabeth (6lb 2oz):
twins

Followed immediately by Gabriella Concetta (6lb 6oz):
twins

It was a rough two weeks to start, but the girls were fighters and had a whole slew of people loving them and caring for them. They sure weren't hard to love!
Together again

And now, a whole year later, we have two big healthy girls!

Bathtime! Lily nearest the wall

Mommy's after-work pose

New dresses by Nana (Lily Left)

So to celebrate, we had a nice pasta dinner:


And then cupcakes:


It was pretty messy:
Nicky and the Sisters

But Bobo helped clean up:
Bobo helps clean up

After a bath, there were presents too. Big brother built them each their very own Build-a-Bear. They love them!


All in all a great birthday.

But wait! There's more!

Today we took the girls to Grandma & Grandpa's house for a birthday cookout of hamburgers and hotdogs and more cupcakes. Grandma took lots of photos, and we'll share them when we get them. Grandma & Grandpa also had a new book for each girl, and have ordered a double stroller! We're all so excited that we'll be able to go for walks to the park and the mall so easily soon. I foresee photos of the girls at the park soon!

Next weekend we'll do another party with Grammie and Aunt Liz's visit. And then the following weekend or so with Nana's visit. So that will be four parties! It's only fair since they have to share their birthday that they get lots of them right?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Easter revisited- with photos!

Easter photos are in from Grandma. They are so cute! The girls looked so precious in their Easter dresses. Nana made them and they're gorgeous. Lily was in blue, and Gabi in pink.

Here we go:

Pretty girls! (Lily left)

Ok, well how about one without the fingers in the mouth?
Pretty girls! (Lily left)

Not bad, but can we look AT the camera?
Hard to get a good photo

Not what I had in mind. How about candid shots?
Perfect Double-Teether

Ok, any where we're not cannibalizing Grandpa's oxygen tubing?
Lily playing

Good! Now, where is your sister?
Gabi pretty in pink

Ah, yes. Well how about a smile Gabi?
Gabi pretty in pink

Very nice. Ok, the obligatory Easter Egg photo:
Easter Eggs!

Beautiful! Made by this artist:
Serious Nicky

And Nicky also did a great job hunting for those eggs the bunny left outside too:
Easter Egg Hunting!

Gabi may have been a little jealous:
Gabi so excited!

But she got to play with Big Brother's toys in the end:
Gabi after the hunt

And Lily managed to get ahold of an egg too:
Lily's egg


We did try to get a nice photo of all three. You can see how this went:

Hard to get a good photo

Playing with Grandpa

All together now.