Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend in Pictures

A weekend that was nothing remarkable, but special just the same.
eating m&ms as a treat on Friday afternoon
After my haircut with a serious Benjamin
Friday night: Dinner at Meema and Papa Nick's, followed by the boys sleeping over.  But not really sleeping, since at 11 pm they were awake and playing "office" rather than sleeping.  And up before 7.

Charlotte in fur, in memory of Grandma Sonia, who would have been 90 on Saturday
Saturday morning: I had 3 tired young things and decided the best course of action would be to go to Costco.  And no trip to Costco is complete without a princess, an astronaut, and a fireman.
Astronaut princess and Fireman Astronaut
Sharing ice cream at Costco.  Asher's not the best sharer.
Saturday afternoon: I ran 4 miles in the snow.  It was peaceful and white.
on my snowy run
Saturday night:  Eric and I were supposed to have a date night, but canceled it due to the weather.  To compensate for my disappointment, I baked a chocolate cake.  I also made a dinner of Asian-style chicken, brown rice, and broccoli while Eric took the boys sledding (Charlotte refused to take off her princess dress, so didn't go sledding).  Charlotte had 4 helpings of broccoli but refused to taste the chicken, saying, "I don't like it!"  The boys had their dessert in front of a roaring fire.
"Take my picture! I see it?"
dessert and a fire
Sunday morning: Homemade scones for breakfast.  Then a birthday party with their school friends, and naps.
Asher with a picture of me when I was 3. I am pretty sure he's my child.
lazy morning snuggles
#1 snuggle bug
Sunday evening: Eric had a work emergency, so Meema and I took the kids to a Vietnamese restaurant in South Philadelphia.  We drove into town at dusk, and the boys were exclaiming at the lights in the city and the buildings. They laughed at the row homes that all touch each other.  It was as if we had never been in the city before! But even to me, the city looked particularly appealing.

A month or so ago, Eric and I had taken the kids out to dinner on a Saturday night, which consisted of the kids ordering food that they didn't actually want to eat; my gobbling my food so quickly I didn't even know if I liked it; and ended with Charlotte lying on her belly on the floor of the restaurant and "swimming," which led to me yelling, "Get off the floor! You are not a snake!"  I then told Eric, "now I remember why we don't eat out!"

Tonight was, fortunately, completely different.  Everyone sat in their own chair, and everyone ate their own food.  In fact, they ate more Vietnamese food than they ate of the traditional American stuff they'd chosen at the last restaurant!  We ordered wide rice noodles stir-fried with chicken and broccoli for the kids, and my mom and I shared a couple of other dishes, including a Vietnamese crepe, which was almost like an omelet stuffed with meat and some vegetables and bean sprouts.  Charlotte and Benjamin tried and enjoyed it! I was thrilled!  All 3 kids loved their noodle dish and the plate was empty at the end of the meal.  Asher had a great idea to wrap some of the chicken from his dish up in one of the rice paper wrappers from my dish- he put in some rice as well, and ate it up.  I loved watching them try new things and be inventive with how they ate it.  Benjamin was also using chopsticks.  I was so proud of them!

After dinner, we went next door to the Asian market so I could stock up on noodles since everyone in our family loves noodles.  The kids were fascinated by the fish, produce, and meat, and then played tag in the other aisles.  They were a little nuts in the car on the way home, but it was a successful evening.

Trying Vietnamese crepe- and liking it!

Eating rice, chicken, and noodles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


We have had a few milestones in the past week or so.  Last week, Asher got sent home from school.  The teacher called Eric at about 3:30 (which is the end of the school day) to tell Eric to come get Asher.  She sent Asher home with a long note detailing all of his wrongs (he said NO, NO, NO!; got upset when she put him at the back of the line; he tried to help clean up hula hoops when it wasn't his turn; wouldn't stay quiet at quiet time).  I know I am unable to look at the situation objectively, but is that truly grounds for dismissal?  It is definitely attitude, and when he gets smarmy with Eric and me, we get annoyed.  But in the realm of 4 year-old behavior, is that truly so awful?  Anyway, we got our first "sent home from school for misbehavior."
Reading stories with Uncle Richard on Friday night
Then- on Friday night, Benjamin picked up the phone at my parents' house and called 911. The police called back and my mom reassured them that everyone was fine, but apparently they still have to send someone out to check.  A friendly policeman showed up just as we were serving dessert, and Benjamin was mortified.  He started to cry, and wouldn't look the policeman in the eye. Fortunately the policeman didn't seem upset; he seemed quiet pleased to see us sitting around as a family.  I offered him a cupcake but he refused.
Charlotte and Asher in French pajamas from Meema. Delicious and sweet after a trying day
Other than these 2 milestones, which I could live without, we are trying to sort out the coming year.  The boys will go into public kindergarten at the school across the street, but it's only half-day kindergarten. So I have had to figure out the other half day of their care.  There are two close by options, but one is considered better than the other (although of course they are both great). One morning I got up at 4:45 to go sign the kids up for the "better" program.  Lucky us, they made it in- kind of.  The secretary managed to throw out Asher's paperwork and only admit Benjamin, but they have agreed to admit Asher because they feel bad about their mistake.

I have thought about putting Charlotte in a different preschool; there have been administrative and management problems at our current school that we could live without.  I called around and got prices, and found that our school is the least expensive for the most flexibility.  I toured another school nearby, and it was really nice, but $2800 more for the school year (9 months of 2 half days and 1 full day/week).  It seems like we're staying put.  But I don't worry too much about Charlotte- she doesn't let herself get pushed around, and seems to have a great deal of charm and charisma.
Spunky Monkey in Papa Nick's hat
Then, I decided to switch pediatricians.  We followed our pediatrician through his second move, but he has joined a big family practice and residency and now only works 2 days a week.  When I call the office, I often have to wait 10 minutes just to talk to a receptionist, and there's no nurse's line to ask nervous mommy questions. It doesn't have the small, personal feel that I fell in love with at his previous two offices.  It was a hard decision, because I really like the doctor and had hoped that he would see my children through their whole lives, but I need somewhere where I can have more access to nurses and care.  So we are switching again, for what I hope is the last time!
Waking up from a nap snuggle
 We had our first real snow day of the winter yesterday.  The kids stayed home, but I went in to work in the afternoon.  We got to do some sledding at a friend's house before I went.  The boys had a lot of fun, but Charlotte didn't like the cold and wet very much.  I am hoping for one good snow, preferably on the weekend, where we can do some real sledding and snowman building.  Other than that- I can't wait for spring.
Snow babies

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Annual February post

Well, it is that time of year again- the time of year where I price one-way tickets to California and search California real estate for the one-bedroom studio apartment we could afford if we moved there.  Although the weather this winter hasn't been nearly as bad as last winter, it is still winter- no walks outside, no trips to the playground, no dinner in our backyard, no swimming.  Constant illness that gets passed from one family member to another.
Sick #1: Charlotte's ear infection. Note the green snot and the drool on my shoulder
This year has not been as bad as other years have been, for me. I am not feeling depressed so much as I am feeling impatient for the weather to change and for spring to come.  I have been trying to keep myself busy by continuing to exercise, making plans with friends both for myself and the kids, and getting the kids around town to as many indoor places as I can think of.  I have been cooking a lot, and I definitely have the desire to eat more baked goods and sweets than in warmer months of the year.

Sick #2: a fevered nightmare that woke him with 2 minutes left in the Superbowl.  We didn't have time to wrestle him back into bed, so he got to watch the rest of the game.  He loved Daddy's victory dance through the living room when the Patriots won.

I'm trying to look ahead to upcoming events, but many of those are stressful, too.  I thought about trying to take a long weekend in Florida over the kids' spring break, but for us to even fly somewhere inexpensively starts at $1,000, and then we would have rental car, hotel, food, entertainment... There is kindergarten enrollment, but kindergarten is only a half-day here, so I have to figure out half-day care for the days I work (more $$$).  The boys are turning 5, and I am planning a birthday party for them, with an overwhelming guest list (HOW do we have more friends every year?).  Enrolling the boys in summer camp, possibly choosing a new preschool for Charlotte, likely changing pediatricians.  Little things going on in the background that are left for me to figure out, as they aren't Eric's areas of involvement.

We have had someone sick for the past 2 weeks straight.  I am so lucky that Eric works from home and will stay home with the kids and take care of them so I can continue to see my clients.  But it is sad to see my angels sick, although we are also fortunate it hasn't been anything serious.
Sick #3: currently has a fever. This was at a birthday party a week before he actually was sick, but it captures his current state.
I would 100% move somewhere warmer if I thought I could bring my parents with me. I can't survive without their day-to-day help, and I can't afford to hire someone else to give me the kind of help they do.  I have tried to sell them on the idea of moving into a family compound in Northern California, but my mom has been resistant to it (I can't imagine why...).

On the plus side- all of the kids are thriving outside of their viral illnesses. Asher is drawing and creating each day, and I love watching his concentration and his beautiful artwork.  Benjamin has a mind like a steel trap and absorbs facts and information constantly.  He remembers almost everything!  And Charlotte's vocabulary continues to increase exponentially.  She gets us laughing everyday with the things she says, her graceful dance moves, her stylish outfit choices, her obsession with her stuffed animals, and her spunky attitude.  We've had many wonderful days together as a family where I am able to sit back and enjoy my children's company and admire the little people they are becoming.  Along with my desire to fast-forward to spring, I have a desire to freeze time and keep them just the way they are.

The countdown: 
40 days til spring (and Papa Nick's birthday)
46 days til the boys turn FIVE
61 days til I turn 35 (help! and please send Botox!)
63 days til Eric turns 35 
102 days til summer