Thursday, December 13, 2012


I was informed by my eldest that this is going to be the best year because it's the last of the single digits.  I didn't bother to tell her that someday she'll be wishing she was single digits again.

And so...on the eve of the 9th anniversary of my becoming a mom...a look back :)

days old
Year 1
 Year 2
 Year 3
 Year 4
 Year 5
Year 6

Year 7
Year 8
year 9!

And so what is Alexa like at 9?  Way too smart for her own good!  She is still an avid reader and devours books.  After reading through the Lemony Snickett series this summer she is onto the Indian and the Cupboard series.  I don't think she's come across a book she doesn't like.  And she enjoys them in listening format as well.  Her favorite gift at her party yesterday - her new cassette tape/cd player.  Owning that has opened up lots of opportunities at the library.  She not only excels in reading but also in writing and math.  Alexa is a good friend, thought like all girls at this age there is sometimes drama.  She is a great big sister - most of the time.  And sassy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall is in the air...and flying by

Here we are nearly 2 months into the school year.  It's already almost Halloween, although if you went by the decor at some of the stores you'd think Christmas was right around the corner.  Which I suppose it 2 months.

It's been a busy fall.  J and E both did soccer clinics which lasted 3 weeks.  A kept us the busiest by doing fall field hockey and playing recreation soccer.  And she shined on both fields, when she wasn't too busy gnawing on her mouth guard.  In her last game of the season I caught at least 8 saves on camera!  Here's one she dived for but it ended up going very wide of goal.

Chris has been busy with his new job.  He's actually going on to trips to warmer climates - once to Orlando, then to Atlanta.  Unfortunately due to the cost of travel we won't be joining him.  I think I nearly keeled over when I priced round trip flights to Florida at nearly 500 per person.  Playing solo parent for 5 days in a row should be interesting...not only for me but for those I work with also.  I've been warning them so that they can be prepared for any untypical behavior from me.

Besides sports we've started up a new year of Girl Scouts.  We've got a good size group this year - 8 brownies and 3 daisies.  My goal is to try and do a few more field trips than we did last year.  Which means I'm going to have to remember to plan ahead so that I can get all my paperwork done in time.  Both girls seem very excited to be joining.  J is a little bummed at being stuck as an honorary Girl Scout but I keep telling him it'll be next year before he knows it.

Another fun part of fall is school pictures.  I do like how they came out, yet I am left once again wondering how the background went from the requested gray to orange on J's.  Oh well...they didn't charge me.  Which is good because it's not cheap purchasing a school package times three!


Of course we did our annual apple picking.  Well...annual for me and the kids.  And once again I left the orchard wondering why I put us through that.  While every other family was laughing and enjoying themselves my kids just kept bickering and snarling like rabid animals.  Ok, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration but they definitely weren't like all the others.

And we got some pumpkins!  I grew sugar pumpkins this year so that they made better eating (think cookies and bread and pie, oh my).  We bought 3 pumpkins at $5 each from Seabreeze Farms in Friendship.  They came in all sizes.  My new requirement - you have to be able to lift your own pumpkin, and be able to clean it out without turning to the relief cleaner.

before...once we hauled them into the backyard with a wagon

I remember when she hated the she couldn't get enough

hey Lizzy...since yours is done, wanna do mine?
and the final product for 2012!

Since it was still fairly warm when we got done carving and cleaning up I decided we should tackle the front yard.  Hopefully some of the decorations will hold up longer than last year, so long as the neighbor kids stick to their own side of the yard...

front stoop with graveyard and signs

walkway done with repurposed pumpkins.  They used to be lights but we have no outlet!

tree hangings

a better shot of the graveyard

Thursday, September 27, 2012

first days of school

It's hard to believe how incredibly fast the summer flew by.  Just as shocking to the system is how fast September is going.  This fall had four of us having to be up early to get to school, one of us to take a long drive to work. 

Alexa's first day of school was on a Wednesday.  The twins spent the day with their Aunt Andrea.  Their first official day wasn't until the next morning as they split the kindergarten class in half to help them "adjust".  Personally I think this was silly.  What sort of routine does it teach to have a kid go to school one day, stay home the next, then go back the day after to double the kids?  Not to mention it followed up with a 3-day weekend!

I will admit I teared up, but not until they got onto the bus.  They just seemed so little, yet SO excited to be getting to ride the bus.  

We are now nearing the end of the first month.  They all seem to enjoy it.  Alexa is thriving in 3rd grade.  We've had some issues with all the girls in class taking turns being nasty to each other.  I find myself reminding her to rise above it, and to not participate in any of it.  Jake and Liz come home full of what they've learned.  But also telling of whatever color their behavior card is on.  Which seems to mostly be RED!  Apparently Liz tends to be a bit too chatty with the other kids.  As for Jake - he doesn't really say why.  But the one that came home saw him in trouble for having trouble transitioning and therefore being uncooperative.  Needless to say the teacher was spoken to!

 Alexa's first day of 3rd grade

1st day of kindergarten for Jake & Liz

with happier faces since they could "strike a pose" - Alexa was doing the "waitress"

They were so excited to go on the bus they didn't want to look at me

they look almost too little to have to get on that BIG bus

Day 3 for Alexa, day 2 for Jake & Liz - still smiling!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

once upon a time it was summer vacation

Summer has passed in a blur. maybe I am rushing it a little bit.  It's not really the end of summer till sometime in September.  And the weather is still absolutely beautiful most days.  The garden is flourishing, thankfully with a bit more produce then weeds.

I suppose it just feels like it's over because I've gone back to work full-time to help get ready for the new school year.  And school for the kids is just a little over a week away and soccer sign-ups are this week.  All signs of the end of summer vacation.

So what'd we do with ourselves this summer?

We spent the majority of July with our French au-pair M.  That was a wonderful experience for the most part.  Will we stay in touch?  It's not seeming likely.  She's busy moving on with her life and the age gap between my kids and her, not to mention between myself and her, makes having common interests unlikely.

We also did swimming lessons twice a week.  I have 2 fish and one kid that will wade into the water up to his waist.  He will go deeper but be prepared to have him squeeze your neck so hard you have trouble breathing, never a good thing when combined with water.

Blueberry Cove was a possibility this summer thanks to a camp scholarship from Lee Auto.  The kids had a blast and were begging to go back for another week.  Not happening at nearly $200 per kid though!  The twins loved the little frog pond, Alexa loved that she got to bake some bread with fresh herbs and seasonings.  She also caught a caterpillar that successfully became a butterfly.  It was a good thing it quickly went into chyrsalis mode because I wasn't looking forward to hunting down fresh mint every few days for it.

There was also field hockey, the Kendrick family party, beach trips, hours spent outside running around, a day long trip to the Union Fair, movies and living room sleepovers.  Overall a successful summer vacation.  The kids are stuck in daycare for the last week of it but hopefully they'll have as much fun as they can.  Cause in just 10 days (11 for the twins) it's off to school - 3rd grade and kindergarten x2!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

the exchange

Back in June some friends of our posted on their facebook page about seeking homes for French exchange students.  A few years ago I thought this would be a great experience but we didn't have the room.  So I talked Chris into it for this year.  And then talked myself out of it, just to have him talk me back into it.

So after much indecision and likely making us look like fools we decided to just do it.  We did luck out and were "given" a 19 year old au pair, versus a 14-16 year old.  I worked on getting the "man cave" turned into a "bedroom".  Fairly easy task.  The only purchase I had to make was a mattress for the extra bed frame that stores under Jake's bed.  Even that was easy thanks to my local Walmart carrying a mattress in a box.

I will say that it made some pretty cool noises as I slit the plastic and the entire thing started to expand.  Sadly I was all alone so I had no one but myself to chuckle with.  And when I tried to explain the reaction later I got blank looks.

All was progressing nicely until the girls made the announcement of "mom, mom, mom, there are fleas all over me".  Nothing like an infestation of bugs that are hard to kill right before a houseguest arrives.  So I bombed, sprayed, bathed, vacuumed, sprayed some more, not to mention shaking flea powder into my vacuum cleaner.

Finally the day arrived that M was due to arrive!  Her flight was going to be a late one 7pm.  Our plans were to hang out at the Holiday Inn in Bath, enjoy dinner and some shopping in Portland, get M and head back home.  That was till she got delayed in Paris and therefore delayed in New York and instead arrived around 12am.  Chris and Alexa were the lucky 2 to get to go get her while the twins and I slept.

She got to spend her first day in Maine hanging out at the pool of a hotel while we all tried to understand each other.  We headed home that afternoon.  And of course because I am paranoid the first thing I did when getting in the door was to RUN upstairs to start vacuuming like crazy in case more fleas had hatched.  Try explaining that one to some who has been in America for less than 24 hours!

The kids fell in love with M right away and wanted to just stay home with her when I put in my 8 hours at work.  She's been a great help - she's done more chores since she's got here than Chris has done in our entire marriage :).  It was particularly awesome to be able to go out to breakfast one morning with Chris and just leave the house, no kids in tow, no sitter to call.

Now we are heading into our final week.  And I must say I'm not really sure I'd do this again.  It's HARD to have a houseguest for this many days, no matter how helpful and nice they are.  There are some days when I'd like to just let the kids run wild and bury my nose in a book.  But I feel wrong doing that with someone watching over me.

As for the kids...well their infatuation is wearing off.  Alexa has been nasty since the twins birthday, after being told by M that she couldn't watch tv all morning.  Which is what I would have said as well.  At swimming lessons they've gone from clinging to her to clinging back on me and saying "no" whenever she tries to play with them.  It's hard to explain to someone whose understanding of the English language that you really don't have any explanation for your kids behavior other than the fact they are being little shits.

A few things left to do with her this week - a trip to the ocean, eating some lobster, some shopping in Portland before she goes home next Saturday.  Yesterday we went to a minor league baseball game which M really seemed to enjoy.

And will I do this again next year?  Not likely unless my kids get personality transplants.  But I would definitely recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to try it out.  I'm hoping that despite the kids' behavior this last week that M's experience has been an enjoyable one.  When she goes home she plans to study hotel management, and will be able to share about her visits to 2 very different hotels in Maine after tagging along with Chris.

Did I learn any French while she was here?  No...but I did learn that my attempt to pronounce anything likely butchered the language.  The kids did pick up some, Alexa more due to learning it in school.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy 5th!

No...I'm not up blogging at nearly 5 am to celebrate the 5th of July three days too late.  I may slowly be losing my mind, but it hasn't gotten that bad.

Instead I'm wide awake, much as I was 5 years ago.  Or I was at least restless.  All while the husband snored on (hmm...some things don't change).  Back then though it was excitement over having finally delivered the twins and recovering from all the medications they had to give me for the c-section.  Having arrived a few days earlier than scheduled they were almost 7/7/07 babies.  To this day I blame the damn anesthesiologist and clearly remember the intern's comments of "this won't hurt a bit" as I felt him jam the needle into my back.  And then again, and again, until finally the resident took over and got it done.  And of course the contractions, which had been kind enough to wait, decided it was time to show up as they were doing the drug part.  Oh J....why did you have to be so stubborn and be butt first?

5 years ago they were a whopping 6.1 and 5.8 pounds.  Their sister was a very excited 3.5 year old.  Now she's 8.5 and not finding them always so exciting.  In fact she asked me the other day if she was happy when they arrived, and then asked me why.  But that's just how it is with siblings.  As for J and E - well they are a whopping 40ish pounds.  I can't tell you exactly how tall but they are both above my waist (I'm 5'4") and can easily stand in a pool with a 3' shallow end.

E is busy mastering her writing, learning to ride a bike without training wheels and to swim.  J is happy to ride his bike with training wheels firmly attached.  He's happiest in whatever super hero costume he can come up with.  E wants to do whatever her sister can do and J tries to join in when they will let him (and pretty much never gets to play the game the way he wants).  

So happy birthday to my beautiful 5 year olds!  Your arrival certainly changed all of our lives and since you've been here we've seen new homes, new jobs, made new friends, and learned a whole lot about ourselves along the way.  I love the way you play and spend time with each other and hope that you always have that connection.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April va-kay

I am hoping I survive this week. It's only day 3 and I have cranky little people on hand. Or rather...tempermental. They've had some good spurts. Some of it is likely being tired. We had a busy weekend. Chris and Alexa flew down to Boston early Saturday morning for an afternoon/evening Red Sox game and lots of walking. The twins and I did a drive to Auburn for Girl Scout supplies. And because they kept talking at me I got sidetracked and went nearly 20 minutes in the wrong direction! But we made it there eventually and home again.
Alexa, Flat Stanley, and Bobby Orr...whomever he is :)
Then on Sunday we had another long drive to go down to Portland to pick Chris and Alexa up at the airport. I made great time down and had nearly an hour to wait for the train. So we went over to Deering Oaks to play on their playground. The kids had a blast and only one injury each. Jake managed to slip on the woodchips when bending over to pick some up to throw and whacked his head on a post. Not hard enough to bring about tears, but enough to embarass him in front of the boys who were throwing chips. Liz decided to try and let go while on a spinning seat. Luckily I was right there. I wasn't able to actually catch her but was able to control her fall so she didn't get hurt. After meeting the train we headed over to Hadlock to enjoy a baseball game. Well...enjoy it as much as you can enjoy a game that is so slow it'll put you to sleep with kids that don't want to sit still. But they had a blast eating ice cream and wandering the bleachers.
before the game...
trying to find a comfortable viewing position...
The rest of our week aims to be quiet. Today was a check up at the ped for Alexa. That'll be followed up by an eye exam on Wednesday. Otherwise it's just some activities at the library. And home all day...just me and 3 kids...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

K day!

This week brought about the end of week 2 at my new job at RDMS. And I must say I absolutely love it! I don't think I've ever enjoyed a job so much and looked so forward to going every day...or had to drag myself out every afternoon.

Friday was also K day, as in kindergarten registration. The paperwork was fairly easy, just 4 documents, one of which was a language survey, to which I had to answer "English" 4 or 5 times. Super complex! The big event itself consisted of one of the teacher's going with the kids to play while the other "interviewed" me. Then I got to have a brief chat with the guidance counselor, and then the nurse.

We should get a letter in June about their class placement. I have asked that they go into a class together - I don't think they need to be separated, although Liz did tell me she wanted to be in her own class (she did change her mind mere minutes later).

So it is a done deal! They do their assessments during the first week or 2 of school. Which means there is no turning back. Not that I was planning to. They are going to kindergarten! And whenever I think about that fact I do a little jig inside :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

February to March

What an interesting winter we have had. Lacking on the snow which is bummer when you want to take your kids out for sledding, making snowpeople, or attempting ice skating. But when you have to pay for the oil it's nice because you shell out a lot less cash.

February was quiet...even though we had an extra day thanks to the leap year. We surprised Grammy K with a birthday party at Aunt K's house. Over February break we attempted a sleepover for the kids at Aunt K's. Only 2 of 3 went and they wanted home early the next morning...or at least the boy did. I'm not sure why they were so antsy but it left us not wanting to do it again in a hurry just because it's not a short drive!

March...much of the same. We did have a super nice week where it was in the 80s and we had ou the shorts and bikes. Now we are all back into layers and boots as we deal with bitter cold winds and mud. The only real bit of excitement was my new job. I interviewed at the beginning of March for an administrative position at one of the schools and was hired. I spent the first 3 weeks of March at the Superintendent's Office. And the last week of March training at the school. It was a pretty quiet week...or so I have been told. We will see what happens in the next few weeks as I am on my own! I feel that I've caught onto all the programs and routines pretty well - it'll be dealing with whatever curveballs the kids and parents want to throw me.

One big perk to the new job - most of the summer off, plus school vacations. Granted getting no money will suck a bit BUT it also means no shelling money over for daycare. And being home fairly early in the afternoons is very nice as well.

This week I head over to the elementary school to get the kids registered for kindergarten. I'm quite excited about the prospect of school! While I do worry a little about Jake, I think I think Liz is going to settle in just like her big sister. But I don't think the boy will be far behind. In fact...I'm taking a break from all the paperwork to blog, because I had to look up milestones.

Onto an exciting spring/summer...

Friday, February 3, 2012

I think that was January...

I suppose I don't really mind time flying by because it means we are another month closer to September and therefore getting closer to the start of next school year. Of course come September I'll probably be a mess of tears and fear at the thought of the twins going off to school.

So what did we DO with our January? Why that is a very good question. Not a heck of a lot outside of work and home. At least for me. The man of the house was busy though! He got a referee lots of basketball games. He also has gone back to college, taking 3 classes. And so far keeping up with his homework. :) He's also running a basketball program for grades K-3 once a week for 2 months back in Friendship. I've been bad and haven't gone yet. Nor been successful at sending all 3 kids with him to basketball. One or 2 always seem to linger behind...

There was the family Christmas with the in-laws at K & S's new place. Which was very nice - nice to be at and nice company. We went to a birthday party for one of Alexa's classmates. That was interesting because she was the only girl out of 8 boys. I'm pretty sure the invite came because he was invited to her party and I work with his dad, not due to the birthday boy HAVING to have her there. But they all had fun just the same, which I suppose is the point. Although I do wish I had been the brave adult and snagged myself a piece of cake. It sure looked good!

The twins started their weekly solo speech sessions. This means a 15-20 minute drive each direction for 2 30 minute sessions. While I sit in the waiting room. It's a bit of a clique as all the moms seem to know each, but a nice one. I suppose after a few more weeks I will get to be one of the gang...

Monday, January 16, 2012

What's your favorite part of the day?

Well I can tell you right off that my least favorite time is the morning. I seem to be raising 2 1/2 non-morning people. When combined with a non-morning person spouse it makes being out of the house before 8am a wee bit stressful. As in I'd probably rather go have teeth pulled sans Novocaine.

And I tend to hate dinner time. I try to be good and do the sit down family dinner thing. Sort of hard when your oldest is done eating and asking for seconds before you've been able to finish plating your own food. Of course that is on evenings when we are actually serving something that doesn't bring about complaints. But sometimes it all comes together. The food is served and still hot. The kids have their butts planted in their seats and their knees under the table. And I can at least get a few bites in before the calls for seconds.

But bedtime...I try to be the good mom and follow a bedtime routine. But with three kids sometimes its a bit rushed. Bathroom time tends to cause the most trouble. Despite being told it's teeth brushing time EVERY NIGHT for nearly 5 years I still get "I don't wanna brush my teeth". Now they are old enough to understand that the tooth fairy doesn't collect rotten teeth. Sometimes I can sweet talk (ok...really bribe) the oldest into reading to them. That's a good deal for all around - I get help and she gets in some extra reading time.

I think it's the anticipation to the end of the day that makes this my favorite time. If it's been a particularly trying day I'm nearly giddy with excitement and I have to stop myself from saying "hurry, hurry, hurry". Just thinking that thought makes me think of Alice in Wonderland, a movie I haven't seen in forever.

Bedtime means I can sort of put the house back together. Tackle the dishes, the laundry, maybe get dinner put away finally. Maybe try to sort what I can for tomorrow. And if I am really lazy I forget all the above and bury myself in a book...or online. One thing I don't typically think about - is how insane the next morning is really going to be trying to get 4 people out the door by 8am. Cause if I had to remember that every day, well it would just steal some of the bedtime joy. ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

onto 2012

In an attempt to keep myself "up-to-date" I took a minute to review last year's "goals" for myself.

Um...I think I managed to do a few of them at least a few times. Of course moving and going to work full time didn't really help matters.

So what about this year...well I think I will have to get back to myself, and you on that one. I'd say probably they will look a lot like 2011's. Only I will get to add kindergarten prep into that. Because kindergarten is only 7.5 months away (not that I'm counting).

Winter holidays

Here it is...the third week in January?! I think I can say we have successfully survived the end of 2011.

We spent Christmas morning at home as a family. The kids were very excited the night before to have gotten video messages from Santa. Not to so excited to have them discover they were on the naughty list. But thanks to time and technology they were back on the nice list after playing nicely and cleaning their rooms in a record amount of time. This year Alexa read the traditional "T'was the Night Before Christmas" to the twins. They then put out a note and pictures, along with some whoopie pies and milk.

I have to say that this year was even more fun than last. With the twins now being 4 they understand so much more. And seeing their faces as the fact that "Santa" had arrived dawned on them was fun to watch. They tore into their stockings and seemed to actually take the time to enjoy what they found in them. Then it was onto gifts followed by a giant breakfast.

We woke up to snow Christmas morning. Our first decent storm this winter season. It made for tricky driving to my mom's for dinner. But thankfully we don't have as far to drive anymore! My panic attack quickly passed once we were safely inside the house. (and the roads don't have to be that bad to induce a panic attack - I am a wussy Maine driver.) We had a wonderful dinner with my mom, brother, sister-in-law and nephew.

Then it was back home again to snuggle into beds. And a long vacation week. Well...not really all that long for me because I had to work at the daycare and then the Superintendent's Office. So it was long for Chris who watched Alexa instead of making her go to daycare. By Thursday Jake had enough of daycare and refused to go. Can you really blame him? Of course I discovered when I got home that all they did was play Wii and DSi.

We spent New Year's Eve with our oldest friends and their kids. It had been since July since we were all able to get together and I had been sick with strep so I didn't really get to see much of them. Everyone had a fun time. The kids didn't get to stay up to watch the ball drop but we did let them have a little sparkling grape juice and blow horns before they went off to bed.

Our gift giving and celebrations were finalized last week after a wonderful Sunday at my sister-in-law and hopefully future brother-in-law's. It was hard dragging the kids out of there to go home! I'm not sure if it's because they didn't want to leave K & S...or because they didn't want to leave the dog behind...

Jacob's milestones

  • weight/length @ 7: 55.6lbs, 48.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 42lbs, 43.5"
  • weight/length @ 4: 36 lbs, 39+"
  • weight/length@ 3: 32lbs, 36.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 26lbs, 33.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 18lbs, 29 inches
  • walking: 11/17/08
  • standing: 3/31/08
  • crawling: army, 2/5/08
  • first time rolling: 9/30/07, belly to back
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:49am
  • birth length: 19.5 inches
  • birth weight: 6lbs, 1oz

Elizabeth's milestones

  • weight/length @7: 53lbs, 47.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 40 lbs, 42.25"
  • weight/length @ 4: 34lbs, 38"
  • weight/length 3 years: 28lbs, 35.5 inches
  • weight/length 2 years: 24lbs, 6oz 33 inches
  • weight/length 1 year: 18lbs, 1oz 27.5 inches
  • walking: 9/1/08
  • standing: 4/4/08
  • crawling: army 3/16/08
  • sitting alone: 2/29/08
  • first time rolling: 11/23/07, back to belly
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:50am
  • birth length: 18.75 inches
  • birth weight: 5lbs, 8oz

Alexa's milestones

  • weight/height @ 10 (really 10.8): 186, 5'3"
  • weight/height @ 8.4 years: 113 lbs, 55.5 inches
  • weight/height @ 5 years: 61lbs, 4oz 45.25 inches
  • weight/length @ 4 years: 49lbs, 42 inches
  • weight/length @ 3 years: 38lbs, 38 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 32lbs, 8oz 35.75 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 22lbs, 3 oz 29.5 inches
  • 1st day of preschool: 9/3/08
  • solo somersault: 3/4/08
  • whistling: 3/2/08
  • potty training: 10/7/05
  • walking: 12/21/04
  • standing: 8/23/04
  • crawling: 8/21/04, only a week, then became a butt scoot
  • first wave: 7/27/04
  • rolling: 5/2/04, belly to back
  • sleeping thru the night: 3/1/04
  • first smile: 1/20/04
  • birth date/time: 12/4/03, 10:41pm
  • birth length: 20 inches
  • birth weight: 7lbs