Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Yes, we are continuing on our wonderful Christmas vacation! We have had busy, fun days with no end to the fun in sight! Yesterday we went to breakfast at IHOP with my great Aunt Jeanie, and that was fun. It was nice to see her. After a nice breakfast we came home and the kids played and then when it was time for their nap my mom and I went shopping! I got treated to a VERY nice afternoon of shopping and getting some new things to add to my wardrobe. It was fun. We met Mat and my dad and the kids for dinner and then Mat and I decided to see "Bedtime Stories". It wasn't that great - I don't recommend it. I think it could have been funnier.

Today this morning everyone except for Cainan got a haircut! We all were in need, so we went to our local salon and all look very pretty now! Ha! After that we went to breakfast, hit the Dollar store, and then it was time to say goodbye to my family and head to Mat's house. We had a nice visit with my family, and we will be seeing them again in a few weeks!

We got to Mat's parent's house around lunch time and the kids had a chance to run around and play before nap time. Mat's sister, Teen and her hubby Frank were already there, so we got to spend the afternoon with them. Mat's sister Jess and her hubby Tom showed up later in the afternoon along with Mat's aunt Betty (get ready for a LONG list of names here over the next couple of days - his family is HUGE). It was great seeing everyone! We haven't seen Teen and Frank since we moved from Florida in May, so it is great to have a few days with them. We spent the day playing games, playing Wii and hanging with the kids. I have posted pictures from the last two days below. I will probably not return until either Saturday or Sunday - the days are going to be very busy! So there will be lots of pictures to share!

Have a wonderful New Year! My resolution this year is to be more patient!
Enjoy the pictures and I will see you over the weekend. Oh - and if things continue on this path, my new blog makeover should be ready the next time I post!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas number......lost count

Well, our Christmas never ends. Not that we are sad about that fact! We had another celebration today, and since we have a lot of visiting and "Christmas" this week, I am posting an extra day this week (and maybe a few more if the pictures get out of hand). Yesterday (Saturday) was my first Christmas post.

Today we had Christmas dinner with homemade pasta, homemade spagetti sauce, homemade bread, and homemade doughnuts. We are very full and it was all VERY yummy. My parents always make this homemade meal each year on Christmas eve, but since we weren't here for it, I talked them into a repeat performance today!! We had a chance to visit with my brother and sister-in-law and their little boy "E", my Aunt Sally, friend Kathy, and my three grandparents. It was a really great time. The kids got another round of really wonderful presents, which they always love! We had a great time visiting, and were glad to be able to see everyone. We don't get to see them as much as we like, so this was a lot of fun. It was fun to cuddle with my nephew who is almost 7 months old, and give his chubby little face a lot of kisses! Gotta love those baby cheeks!

But we had a great day are are sufficiently tired. I posted pictures below. Oh, the first picture is of yesterday - I forgot to say that is was 70 (yes 70!) degrees here in PA yesterday. Amazing!!! It is DECEMBER! It was nice to go out side and take a walk. Today it is cold again.

Also, now that she has announced it on her blog, I want to congratulate my sister in law, Carrie, on her pregnancy with #3!! We can't wait to meet our new niece/nephew next June. Congrats Carrie, Jonathan, "M" and "G"!!

Enjoy the pictures, and I will probably be back on my regular Tuesday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

'Twas two days after Christmas and all through the house were toys thrown everywhere (and probably a mouse. Eating the crumbs. From all the Christmas sweets).

We had a wonderful Christmas. Christmas Eve was great too! On Christmas Eve Mat had to work a little, but decided to do it from home, which was nice. The kids and I spent the day playing and getting the house cleaned for us to leave on our trip the day after Christmas. We went to church at 5pm, and all three kids behaved exceptionally well. We even got compliments from the people sitting behind us. A lot of snacks and a little bit of threatening kindly asking them to sit still and they were great! The service ran a little long, so we didn't get home until about 6:40. My plan was to cook spagetti with the homemade spagetti sauce I made, but being so late, that was going to take too long. So we had.....well, I don't even want to tell you. It is from Arlington's favorite restaurant, and for those of you who know her, enough said. Ah well. Next year I will plan to eat something a little quicker on Christmas Eve! But we watched two Christmas movies (short ones) while we ate, and then the kids went to bed. Finley decided she was WAY too excited to go to sleep at her usual 7:30 bedtime and didn't fall asleep until almost 10pm!! Kind of late for Santa to get started on assembling toys in our house.

Christmas morning didn't start too early, which was nice. The kids got up and we all got our showers and got dressed and then went downstairs to see what Santa had brought! The kids were very excited! It was a great Christmas morning. Arlington's #1 gift from Santa this year was a camera. She played with that the whole morning. She also got a doll, a card making kit, and a microphone (ugh). Those were here 4 things from Santa this year. She got a few little things in her stocking (art supplies and what not) as well! Finley's gifts from Santa were a doll that talks and you can pretend to brush its teeth and it has a potty! She loved it. And she also got a Miele washing machine which works just like a real one! This thing is really neat! And Santa got it for free (that will be a story for another blog). Finley also got a few little stocking stuffers. Her favorite was her candy canes, of course! Cainan got Geo Trax for his big gift this year. He (and his sisters) LOVED that thing. It is perfect for him. It has a remote to work it, which he can do easily. He basically ignored all his other presents and played with that! It was AWESOME! Cainan cried all day Christmas last year from being overwhelmed. This year – he had a fantastic morning and a great day. We were so pleased!

So Christmas day dinner went better. We had a nice dinner of ham, potatoes, veggies and pie. We watched “Horton Hears a Who” Finley's movie for this year. Kids went to bed happily at 7:30 and Mat and I relaxed! We got everything packed for our big car trip for Friday and went to bed early.

Friday we got up at 6:30 and were out the door at 8am!! I was so proud of us. We had to make one stop on our way out of town, and we were on our way on the highway by 8:30. We were cruising along and at 11:30 we came to a dead stop on the road. Construction! We went only 2 miles in 1 hour. It was nuts. The kids were so good – we got really lucky. So we decided this was a good time to stop for lunch. After lunch the construction had cleared and that was our last hitch. But the lunch stop and the construction turned out 7 ½ hour drive into a 10 hour drive. The kids were ready to get out when we hit Pennsylvania at 6pm. They were just giddy to get out of the car. We went to my parents house for the first half of the week. We had dinner of my favorite local pizza (Bud's) and then shortly after the kids went to bed. Mat and I got to open our presents from our parents and among other things we got a GPS for our car!!! I was very excited. I have already tried it out!

Today was another busy day. The day started out with having breakfast with some relatives and friends. We had my grandparents, aunt Renee, cousin Alissa, Godparents Chris and Mary Louise all here to visit. It was a nice time. The kids got to open presents from their extended family and that was fun, of course! It was nice to have a chance to visit, since we don't get to see them very often. After they left, the kids had lunch and the babies took their nap and Arlington and her grandparents and us all played several of her new board games. She is at such a fun age. We love doing things with her. Mat and I also started work on my new blog design, so look for that soon! My very talented husband is going to make it so nice!!

After the games, Mat, my dad and Arlington all left for a night in Pittsburgh. They were going to see the “Santas around the World” display, watch the ice skaters and then on to the Penguin Hockey game. My dad is a HUGE hockey fan and holds season tickets. Arlington was really excited. We talked to them at the game and she was stuffing herself with good food and having a great time. My mom and I took the babies out to dinner at another local favorite restaurant of mine (Italian Oven) and then went to look at some elaborate Christmas decorations in town. The babies had a blast. Now they are in bed and we are enjoying a relaxing evening. Mat, Arlington and my dad will be home late, so it is just us ladies!

I want to congratulate our beloved West Virginia University on a win today over UNC!! We were a little worried, but they pulled it off! Yay WVU!

We have a lot of plans this week, and hopefully I will continue to be able to post. I am not sure if my inlaws have wireless internet, so I may not get to post on Tuesday. So, in that case, I am going to break up the Christmas pictures a bit, and I will post some today, and tomorrow or I may never catch up. So enjoy the pictures, and watch for more over the next several days!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You promise?

This is Finley's new favorite phrase. Well, it is tied with saying “Mama Mia!!” from watching us play Mario Cart on the Wii. She is too funny. She will say “don't tickle me – you promise?” “don't scare me – you promise?”
She also says that everything is “scary” A teddy bear, a stain on a shirt, food on her plate. She says “it scary”. She seems to just be trying out new words that she hears, and is getting a little mixed up!

Sunday we didn't go to church because church was canceled after we had all of that snow and then over night rain and ice, and then snow again starting Sunday morning. I think we got around 15 inches of snow when all was said and done. We have a really steep driveway and try that we might, we cannot get the van back up the hill. Mat has dug most of it out, but because there is a solid layer of ice at the bottom, there isn't enough traction for that big heavy car to come up. So maybe in March, we won't have to walk from the bottom of the driveway to the top and visa versa. That will be nice. We did get part of the way up this afternoon and got stuck. We came inside and waited awhile and went back out. We tried to back down. Could not figure out why we couldn't got backwards – the back wheels would not go anywhere. It was the strangest thing. Mat would dig, we would try to move – nothing. The front wheels would just spin. I was looking at the manual for any clues, and I came across something on the parking break. I look at the dash board. Yep. Parking break still on. “Uh honey?? I figured it out.” And you know what???? It was SO much easier when the parking break was off. Imagine that.

We have had two really cold days. Yesterday's high was 14. 14!!! And with the wind it felt like -1. That isn't even a temperature. That is minus temperature. Ridiculous. Today was a warmer day with a whopping 24 degrees. At least tomorrow and Thursday are going to be warmer and hopefully melt that ice. I don't even care if we have a white Christmas anymore. I want the ice gone.

Monday was my last day of work for the week. (more on that later) The kids were completely bananas of course. Not only was it Monday after a three day weekend, it was there last full day of school. I saw 40 kids, of course, and mostly for excitement brought on aliments. But it was a fun day. Here were my two cute kids of the day:

3rd Grade Girl: My head hurts above my eye
Me :Did you bump it?
Girl: I don’t think so
Me: Do you have a headache?
Girl: Well, 3 or 4 weeks ago I had to take aspirin – it feels like that again.
Me: So you have a headache?
Girl: I’m not sure.  Can I have an ice pack?

Boy: my eyes hurt when I blink them really fast like this (proceeds to demonstrate)
Me: Then don't do that and go back to class.

Mat and I decided to play hooky do some last minute shopping today without the kids. Arlington had a full day of school, but I was only missing a half a day so this was a good day to be gone. I even had a sub to cover me! I got really lucky. We started our day by dropping the kids off at school and then dropping our van off for new tires. We got our last minute gifts, walked around, relaxed, and even had a nice lunch out together. We were going to try and catch a movie, but the shopping took longer than we thought it would, so we didn't get that in. Oh well. Next time! (and there WILL be a next time) But after we brought the kids home, our relaxation came to an end. The kids had a tough night. A lot of crying, fighting, and trouble making. They are over excited, overtired, and overwhelmed (that is Arlington, Finley, and Cainan – in that order!!). We were so happy to put them to bed.

The kids are being a riot this week. Especially Finley. Now that the presents are under the tree, she is having a harder and hard time leaving them alone. She did break through one of hers, which we quickly repaired. It was an accident. She leaned on it and broke the paper. About every 5 minutes she asks “is it Christmas time? Can I open my presents?” That is so fun. There is a candy cane ornament that hangs on a low rung on our tree. Finley spotted it the other day and said “I love candy canes”. She took a taste of the candy cane on the tree wich is made of FELT. Then she said “that one doesn't taste good”. What a goof.

This weekend Arlington, Finley and Mat build a snow man. With the rain/ice we had, it made the snow firm enough to finally build one. The built a really big one, and then a little one. Finley mostly watched. Cainan wasn't interested in going out. He and I stayed in the warm house. I was happy one kid wanted to stay in the warm. Finley kept calling the snowman Frosty. “Hi Frosty” she would say. Arlington wanted to knock the snowman down when she was done – just for fun. She was able to knock over the little one. But as for the big one, Arlington tried with all of her might to break her snowman down. I put a series of pictures below showing her jumping on it, and it would not come down. She thought it would be fun to break it apart before she went inside (since it started raining and it was doomed anyway), but she couldn't bring this snowman down. Tough guy! (and guess what? He survived the rain) And he is STILL there three days later.

Arlington woke up crying the other night. I went up to see her and she had a bad dream that she “broke”. Guess that came from the snowman! Guilt??
Arlington brought home all kinds of stuff from school this week. There is a present for Mat and I under the tree that she made. She won't let us peek until Christmas! She rearranges it all the time – it is cute. Her Kindergarten teacher bought each child a book – it was so nice! She had her Kindergarten Christmas party yesterday at school and got to eat all kinds of goodies. I think all of the excitement finally caught up with her this evening because she was very tearful by bed time over little things.

Tomorrow is a low key Christmas eve. Mat actually has to go to work for a few hours (boo) but the kids and I aren't going anywhere. It is supposed to rain most of the day, so we will be inside. We are going to church at 5pm, and then once we put the babies to bed, Arlington, Mat and I are going to watch a Christmas movie before she goes to bed. Once she goes to bed, we will get the last minute things together! I can't wait until Thursday! It is going to be so much fun.

I took a picture of all the wonderful Christmas cards our family has received. We would like to thank each and every one of you for beautiful cards! I love hanging them up and enjoying them over these next couple of weeks. All of them are so unique.

I know it is a little late, but I hope most of you had a chance to catch “A Home For the Holidays” on CBS tonight. It is in support of adoption, which, of course, is a cause close to our hearts. Did you know some of the well known celebreties were adopted? Faith Hill, Jamie Foxx, Kirsten Chenoweth, Dave Thomas (owner of Wendys) Keyshia Cole, Sarah McLaughlin, Daunte Culpepper, Steve Jobs.. At this time of year, we hug Cainan a little tighter – so glad that he is with his forever family and not in the orphanage anymore. But no everyone is so lucky. American children, international children- many will wake up Christmas morning without a mommy and daddy to wish them Merry Christmas. If adoption is in your heart, we encourage you to persue it further. We would love to talk with anyone interested in adoption and would be happy to share our story. If you give a child a loving home, they have a chance to become someone GREAT. Check out the website: A Home for the Holidays

Have a great couple of days. Merry Christmas to all!! I will blog while I can over the next two weeks. I might not be able to – we will see. If I don't get a chance, I will see all of you in the new year! Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I dub thee "rock star"

This is my new title at work – rock star. The teachers think they are SO funny. They tell me that I have reached “rock star” status with their students. I am loved. I am popular. I am who they want to see. I am mobbed by my “adoring fans” 30-40 times a day. I have kindergarteners blowing me kisses from the hallway as they walk by. All of my fans are under 4 feet tall.

Work went pretty well this week. We had our share of issues – I had several crying kids in my office this week, helped put out a few “fires” for the principal, and went to bunches of meetings to break up my day. Thursday was by far the craziest day this week. Early in the day the administrators had announced that due to “impending snow storm” Friday would be an early dismissal day. The kids got VERY excited. So excited, they felt they were sick enough to see the nurse. Little fakers. The hardest part of the constant visits was that I have my “Christmas laryngitis”. No joking folks, I get laryngitis EVERY year around Christmas time. I think I am allergic to something like the tree, or whatever. But I get laryngitis. Every year. Now, I don't really feel bad, however, I cannot talk very well. By the end of the day, I didn't have much of a voice. The kids thought this was hilarious. A few of them felt that they were “coming down with” laryngitis as well. On teacher overheard one of her students saying that they felt laryngitis coming on and she mouthed to me “rock star”. Ha. Ha.

So Friday we expected to go a half a day, and instead, school was canceled. My school, Arlington's school, every school in Connecticut. Now, I was upset only because now we have an official “snow day” that we have to make up. And in our schools, they make up these days at the END of the year. UGH! It isn't bad enough that Arlington and I have to go until June 15/19th respectively. Now we have to add a day onto that. Sigh.
Now, it wouldn't have been a big deal if we actually couldn't have GONE for most of the day. The snowflakes didn't start falling until 1:15pm!! We were supposed to be dismissed in the elementary level at 11:30am – PLENTY of time to get everyone home before the snow started. Oh well. Once the snow started to fall, it fell fast. We ended up with a total of 9 inches in our area before it finished up last night. Arlington was THRILLED!

Yesterday afternoon we did play outside for about ½ hour before it got too dark to be outside. Arlington loved it, but did find that her hands got cold quickly. We need to get her some different gloves. The babies THOUGHT they wanted to go outside – until they saw how deep it was. Finley was okay for a little while, but wouldn't walk in it. Cainan fell over once, and that did it for him. Arlington fell down in the snow and made a snow angel, however, she had “A Christmas Story” moment and rolled from side to side and couldn't get up. She even said the famous “I can't get up!!” line from that movie. It was hilarious. After that, we came inside.

Today it has been flurring all day, but we decided to take the kids out mid-morning to play. Everything was cancelled today, so no basketball and no “live nativity” like we originally planned. We went outside for a few hours and the kids had a much better time. Finley was the first to get tired. Both babies weren't able to move much without help. We have two baby sleds that they wanted to use mostly just to sit still in. Arlington was all over the place, of course – having a great time. The snow is fluffy, so we couldn't build a snow man, and that was disappointing. But she enjoyed sledding down our driveway/hill. We don't have an official “sled” for her yet, so we used our boogy board from Florida and that worked really well. Even Finley and Cainan took a turn riding down the hill with Arlington holding on to them. Cainan LOVED it. Finley only went once and she and Arlington landed in a snow bank and Finley was covered with snow, so she was all done after that. She didn't really want to go inside, but she didn't want to be in the snow either. So we opened up the back of the van and she sat in there with her cup of milk and a candy cane. She was in a happy place.

So we have no plans to go anywhere. We are pretty much snowed in. Shoveling our driveway is going to be challenging and we are going to do that tomorrow. We are going to be wishing for a snow blower. Our neighbor has one and was nice enough to plow our shared driveway this morning. That is a huge help.

Tomorrow's plans are up in the air. We are getting another storm. It is a 50/50 chance whether it will be snow or it will be rain. I am hoping for the rain ONLY because I don't want to miss work again on Monday. I must sound like a crazy person – wanting to NOT miss work. But going later and later into June is sounding less and less fun to me!

This week we have to wrap up our Christmas shopping! I know – running it a little close. But we only have a few things left to get. I put the presents we do have wrapped under the tree today during the babies nap. Arlington was the first to discover them and is busy trying to figure out what is in her packages. When the babies woke up Finley poked at the packages - I thought she might put a hole in them. Cainan did a little happy dance when he saw them, but left them alone. This year each child got their own wrapping paper, so I could keep it all separated! I thank my wonderful mom-in-law, Sally, for that idea! She always did that for her 5 kids (and then all of their significant others and children.......) and I always thought it was a great idea! I can't wait to watch them open their presents – I love watching their faces.

Cainan is really into Christmas this year. Last year he cried the whole season – when he saw Santa, Christmas morning.... the boy was overwhelmed. This year he is so giddy! He is a hoot. He hops all around the Christmas tree and has learned to sing “Jingle Bells” which is really cute. Finley will sing Christmas songs as well. When we get into the car, she wants me to immediately turn on the radio station that is playing Christmas songs right now. I hope the giddiness lasts through Christmas day!

On more thing I wanted to share – this year I organized for us Kindergarten parents to give to a family to make their Christmas a little brighter. Our family was a 6 year old little girl and her dad. I am so proud of our Kindergarten families!! We did GREAT and we were able to give a ton of presents to this family for Christmas. I will be thinking of them on Christmas morning, and I hope we helped make their holiday a little brighter.

So here are all of the pictures I have taken this week (mostly weekend). I hope you enjoy and I will see you Tuesday!! Oh, by the way - I posted a cute commercial on Thursday (post below this one) Check it out!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Hi everyone! I know it isn't Saturday, but my bestest hubby found a video I have been wanting to post! It is "Joy - Enough to Go Around". This is a coke/Walmart commercial that we have seen before several movies in the theater and I just think it is the best holiday commercial. So here it is!! Make sure you have your sound on!!

Merry Christmas! And remember all the people in your life that you are thankful for!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Twas the week before Christmas

Happy week before Christmas everyone! I am sure your family and kids are just as excited as ours for the upcoming holiday. My excitement comes for seeing my kids faces Christmas morning AND having 12 days off in a row before having to return to work.

The kids at work have been showing me mercy this week. I had three meetings today and saw a remarkably low 18 kids. It was AWESOME. I have NEVER seen less than 20!! I was in the meetings for 3 our my 7 hour work day, but still...... I was in a happy place. One girl came in and said her tooth hurt (it was a little loose) and she needed a life saver to make it feel better. Nice try.

Sunday we went to church and Arlington and the other elementary kids in the parish performed a few little Christmas songs and then they did a song with bells. They did a really great job! Those are about my only pictures this week – sorry! It has only been a few days. Arlington was so excited about that bell. She had a red bell and she guarded it with her life! And the kids did great – they followed the director's cues and had a great time.

This week I did start asking the kids that came into the office what they wanted for Christmas. Most of them wanted normal things – Wii, barbie, some kind of “hero”. But some were weird....
tic tacs
clarvoyance (I kid you not)
cash (not so weird – actually kind of smart!)
magical powers

Poor Santa! He has his work cut out for him on some of those.

The kids are doing well. Cainan is in love with the Christmas tree. He stares and stares at it, but never touches it. Finley found out the hard way that the lights on the tree are hot. Do you think that will stop her from ever touching it again???? Probably not.

This is their last full week of school Next week Arlington just has Kindergarten on Monday, and since there is a ½ day on Tuesday, she just has to go to the daycare. I work until next Tuesday, and then we are all off on break.

Arlington had Daisy scouts this evening and they had their Christmas party. She had a lot of fun. On Daisy Scout days we go to McDonald's for dinner because I get home late, and it is just easier. Plus it is something for the kids to look forward too. Finley had totally gotten the routine. We started out after school and she realized we weren't going home and she said “are we going to McDonalds? Sissy have Daisy Scouts??” Too smart. And I know there are the health nuts out there that shun McDonald's for sustanance for your kids. I say – good for you!!! I am not that person. Hello, my name is Jennifer and my kids eat McDonald's.

Anyway, they made ornaments at Daisy Scouts. The cinamon ornaments that smell so good! Arlington kind of misunderstood when they told her to put a hole in it. They wanted the girls to put a hole in it to hang it on the tree when it dried. Arlington made a tree and FILLED it with holes. It is a true Charlie Brown Christmas tree now! Very unique. They also gave each of the girl's “magic reindeer food”. Arlington showed it to me and I said, “oh! We will have to put that out on Christmas eve”. She said “but what if the regular deer eat it? How will they know it is just for Santa's reindeer?” This is a pickle. I promised her the “regular” deer won't want this food. I don't think smarty pants bought it. So she said, "daddy will just have to spread it on the roof". I am sure he will get right on that.

We are supposed to be getting some kind of winter weather tonight here in our beautiful state. All the adults were buzzing about it at work today. I am not getting too excited. As I can tell, near the coast here in Connecticut doesn't get the fun the rest of the state gets. I use the word fun loosely. I personally would like a “little” bit of snow and a 2 hour delay!! Sleeping in would be nice! But I probably am not going to get my wish. We shall see! I did miss the 2 hour delay possibility with the boring weather of Florida.

I am sorry I don't have more pictures today, but I was lazy and have a cold and didn't have anything fun to take pictures of. But I will have more for Saturday!! Have a great week and see you Saturday!!

Arlington singing along

Arlington and her "boyfriend" 'S' getting ready to play the bells

Really paying attention so they don't miss their part!

Bad baby says "Merry Christmas!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good idea/Bad idea and the full moon

Ask any pediatric nurse you know (or anyone who works with kids for that matter) about a full moon and they will give you a look of dread and an audible “ugh”. There were only three instances we NEVER wanted to work at the hospital: Halloween, 4th of July and ANY full moon. If people think it doesn't change kids behavior, they would be wrong.

Let's start with earlier in the week. The full moon that appears should have been my first clue. Wednesday was my toughest day EVER at work. I saw 65 kids in my office that day. That is my new record. That is more than a quarter of my student population! And I was in a meeting that day for a while too, and I still saw that many kids. It was like a revolving door was attached to my office – it never stopped. I had to stay at work an extra 45 unpaid minutes just to get my charting done in the computer. It was crazy. I did try to halt it – went to the classes to see what was going on. But they just kept coming!!

Here is my cutest yet most exacerbating moment:

Kindergarten boy: “I am came down because I feel a nosebleed coming on”

Too much.

Thursday and Friday were calmer at work. But Friday was the beginning of the weekend, and the beginning of the trouble. As for this weekend, we HAD good ideas, but they soon turned into bad ones! Not all of them, but.....

Friday we decided we were going to go to a we must have been out of our minds fun activity at Old Mystic Village (click on the name and you can see it). It is a place that oozes cutest – cute shops, cute little church, cute restaurants. They had everything lit up for Christmas. Every shop and restaurant had lights – it was so pretty. We were going down to look at the lights, have some dinner, and go to the Aqarium that is in Mystic. We could get in the aquarium by just donating canned goods – we got in for free, and that was why we went.

We were meeting Mat there – so the kids and I packed up after school/work and headed down. It was COLD. REALLY cold. And windy. And the kids and I parked at the wrong end of the shopping area. We had to walk a very long distance together to get to where Mat is waiting. I thought our plan was to eat first, but Mat thought we were going to the aquarium first. I didn't bring the canned goods with me from the car, so we had to walk all the way back. That was SO fun. (do you hear me being sarcastic? Just making sure you are paying attention) We got the cans, DROVE back (the only smart thing we did all night) to where the aquarium was. We walk over and there was a huge line of people who love free stuff good citizens waiting to go into the aquarium. We stood in line, which didn't move too slowly, and went into the most crowded aquarium I have ever been in. It was body to body in there! But it was decorated for Christmas. There were tons of trees – all donated and decorated by different businesses. There were kids all playing music, singing, and such all different places throughout the aquarium. Our kids loved looking at the animals. We stayed in there and got warm for about 1 hour and then decided to come out. We were going to walk around the stores but it was so cold that we only made it into one before we decided we were hungry and wanted to go to dinner.

Since we have little kids, and some of them are bad two years old we decided to skip the expensive restaurants and went to Friendly's. There was a line, but we didn't have to wait more than 15 minutes to sit. But dinner was a disaster. It was my fault. I broke our recently made “no more eating out until the kids were 15 years old” rule. Arlington was crying – I don't think she felt good (that to come later) and was tired. She cried over little things – Cainan wanting to color on her paper, she lost a green crayon, she was getting into trouble for making a scene. Finley was all over the place. They were crowded so we took a table where only one kid could sit in a high chair and Finley usually refuses to be the “one and only” so Cainan got that seat. Finley colored all over the table while I was concentrating on Cainan. Cainan put a crayon in his ear and was twisting it around while I was concentrating on Finley. Finley ate mostly ketsup for dinner. What didn't go in her mouth when on her shirt.

BUT – we did end the dinner with ice cream. And there is NOTHING bad about ice cream.

By the time our crazy night ended the kids were in bed at 8:30- an hour after their bed time. Thank goodness it is the weekend.

Today started out fine for about 1 hour. The kids were playing nicely in their rooms and Mat and I were catching a little extra shut eye, and we hear Arlington come in the room. She had an accident, and I won't share the details. Sounded like our girl caught a stomach bug. It happened again during the morning and so she spent most of the morning on the couch. She felt better at lunch time, so we got everyone all bundled up and headed off to see a live nativity that Arlington has been wanting to see. It is in a neighboring town. They were going to have the nativity, music, hot drinks, food, it was going to be fun. (except for the food part for our poor girl). She seemed okay so off we went. So we get up there, and we are looking for a parking spot and out side of the town green ther is the big advertisement sign for this event with the 13th CROSSED off and the 20th written below it. The event was changed to next weekend! UGH!!!!

This evening, though took a turn for the better. When the babies got up from their naps, we went to the mall to see Santa. We have been talking it up all week to the little ones hoping against hope that they might not cry. There wasn't a long line, so we didn't have to wait long and Finley and Cainan got a good look at Santa before we actually went up there. Finley even gave Cainan a pep talk telling him “Santa a nice man – no crying”. And it WORKED! They went up, they sat on his lap, checked him out, and even said a few things to him. Cainan told him that he wanted a fire truck and Finley told him she wanted a lolipop. They said goodbye to him and then Arlington was able to give Santa her Christmas list. Santa kept it and said it would help the elves out. Arlington was a little worried about leaving it, but I assured her we had another copy at home, so that made it better.
So here is this year's Santa picture!

And there are a few below as well – as long as we bought a picture (to the tune of $22!!!) we could take some of our own.

After that we got our family ornament for this year. I think I have mentioned before that each year we get an ornament made for our family. This year we chose penguins. Here it is

The penguin on the bottom is SO Finley (hence why I put her name under it). Carelessfree. (if you can't tell from the picture, the penguin has his hands in the air)

After that we had Panera (takeout) Bread and headed home. And even tonight the full moon is shining bright, things are looking up.

Here are the rest of the pictures. Have a great rest of your weekend and I will see you Tuesday!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let it SNOW baby!!!

(our house!!)

That's right – Sunday morning we woke up with snow on the ground here in Connecticut. I always loved the first snow as a kid. The kids went crazy when they saw it. Finley and Cainan have never seen snow and it has been awhile since Arlington has had a chance to play in it. So they couldn't wait to get outside! Mat took Arlington out for a little while before church and then when we returned home from church we stayed outside and played for a short time. It was so cold, but they didn't care. It was a great snowball making snow as well, which made it fun! After we were significantly wet and cold we all came in for the day. I got some pictures and put them below!

Sunday we also got our Christmas tree. Being in the woods of New England we easily located a “cut your own tree” place to get our tree from this year. Now don't start thinking “National Lampoon Christmas Vacation”. We went to an actual FARM of trees, Mat did remember the chainsaw (although he didn't need it), and no one froze in place. In fact, only Mat and Arlington went because we can't fit us AND the tree into the van. They had a great time and came back with the perfect tree. And the house smells SO good – the pine smell is unbelievable coming off this thing!

So Sunday afternoon we turned on some Christmas music and decorated the tree. Even the babies had a chance to help out with the soft/nonbreakable ornaments. Then we chased them away and put on all the rest of the ornaments and our little village under the tree. Mat is going to put the train up in a few days and our little tree will be complete! I took some pictures and put them below. (of course)

Arlington said something cute this weekend. She and Mat were talking about the babies, and Mat has been telling us he wants to start calling them “the twins”. Neither Arlington or I like that because they aren't TRULY twins, even though they are only 30 days apart. He says it is because they aren't really babies any more. (Although, I have heard Mat's dad refer to Mat's youngest sister, Jess as “the baby” and she is 28, so......) Any way, I thought we could call them the little ones, or something like that (but really what I think is “who cares”), and Arlington said, “I think we could call them 'China' and 'Florida' since that is where they were born”. What a weirdo.

Cainan wasn't too sure of the snow. He didn't really want to touch it. Mat took him out Sunday morning alone in the snow, and Cainan was just standing there taking it all in. Mat told him to try and touch it, so he reaches down with one finger and pulls back - “cold” he says. Mat says, “Its okay – go ahead and touch it”. Cainan says, “I need to put my glove on”. So he tries to put on his mittens, then Mat say “touch it now” and Cainan looks at him and says “uh, no”. After awhile he got into the spirit, but he could take it or leave it.

Finley LOVED the snow. And she ate of ton of it. She ate so much she didn't want lunch! Ugh. She ran all over the place outside giggling and dancing around. She was having a great time. And, of course, she loves the tree. She keeps inching closer and closer to it. I am SURE something is going to be broken and it will be her doing. I see the wheels turning on how she is going to touch the tree and not get caught doing so.

Monday was uneventful at work – just busy. Mondays always are! I had several meetings throughout the day so that helped some. I had one cute 1st grader that came in with a belly ache, and I asked him when it started and he said, “I think awhile ago, but I just noticed it about 10 minutes ago”. That made me chuckle. Hard to be mean when they are so cute! I also did my first handwashing class with a third grade class. It was fun. We watched a short video, and then I have this lotion that you spread on your hands and when held under a blue light it represents “germs on your hands” and lights up. The kids thought that was really cool. Then they had to wash it off and we saw how well they washed their hands. Some did really great. But the others (mostly boys) did truly terrible. It was a riot.

Finley said something funny too. Mat was in the middle of shaving the other morning and there was a little commotion with the kids, and he came to see. He still had shaving cream on his face and when Finley saw him she said, “daddy, you have milk on your face”.

Today was a good day at work. I had two morning meetings and then got to LEAVE the building this afternoon for 2 ½ hours for a meeting at our high school for the nurses. It was AWESOME. I never get to leave. I left the teachers an email that said that unless the kid was bleeding to death, or vomiting, not to send them to the main office. And I didn't get a single call – they survived. :)

My cousin, Alissa came today as well. She is staying overnight with me while Mat is away in Florida. Mat left early this morning for our old stomping grounds in south Florida, and will return home tomorrow night. Alissa lives in NYC, and is only a few short hours away, so I am greatful for the company. It helps to have an extra set of hands, too, with the kids at night. We had fun with her this evening and tomorrow she will head home shortly after we leave for work. Thanks Alissa for coming to stay with us!

So that is our week. I have SEVERAL pictures, of course, because of the first snow. Enjoy and I will see you Tuesday!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

When I grow up, I want to be a kidder

I don't know if I have ever shared with you Arlington's life ambition. When she grows up, she tells me, she wants to be “a kidder”. She means, a comedian, but all the same. What aspiration! What drive! I want her to go to Harvard, and she wants to be a clown. Well, this is a step up from her first career choice which was: statue. Yep. We passed on one day (a year or so back) and we talked about it, and that sounded like something she wanted to be -she would grow up to be a statue. Why not.

This week was busy, of course. Now that it is December, the holidays are in full speed. But next week is even busier – I have a lot of meetings at work, Mat is out of town for two days, and we plan on catching Santa one day. Plus my cousin Alissa is coming in from NYC to stay with me while Mat is away and we are very excited about seeing her! (click on her name and you can see her blog)

Since I last wrote, not much exciting has happened. Arlington got her “report card” from school and did very, very well. She got mostly one's (on a scale of 1-4: 1 being top number) and a few twos. So she is doing great! They don't give grades, of course, in Kindergarten (and I am unsure exactly how Connecticut's grading system works for all of elementary level) – just things they need to accomplish before first grade. She is already able to do all of those things, so now we focus on reading. She is doing so great with that. Mat's mom got her a series of readers and she has already read them all independently.

Anyway, the babies are doing fine. Both of them have colds right now. Cainan's behavior is back to being “so two”. He is back to foot stomping and dropping himself to the ground when he doesn't want to do something. Yay for that. And Finley is not eating that great, once again. I tell ya – if I could skip over the toddler years, I would! I know, I know, “cherish them while they are little”. Yeah. All the mothers of toddlers understand that is about an impossible task!

We have been talking up Santa with the babies. Finley will say, “sit on Santa's lap. He is nice man. He says ho ho ho”. Then she will laugh. I know, though, when the time comes, she won't sit on his lap. She will even say “no crying when see Santa”. Sure kid. Keep telling yourself that.

Today was basketball for Arlington and then she had a birthday party this afternoon for one of her fellow Kindergarten buddies. She had a great time at both. The party was a power rangers party (little boy) and so she got to wear her pink power ranger costume. We don't even watch the power rangers, but she loves this costume. Something tells me it is because it is pink.

Work this week for me was pretty good! Monday was my hardest day, of course. Then after that, the week got slowly better. I still saw around 30 kids a day, but that isn't bad, actually. My story of the week goes as follows:

Two boys, 2nd grade walk into my office at lunch time, holding their stomachs:
Johnny 2nd grader: Mrs. Pletcher, our stomach's hurt
Me: (looking at the clock) lunch just started 10 minutes ago boys, are you done eating already?"
They nod
I take their temperature, have them rest, talk to them about what they ate (Wednesday is breakfast for lunch day – or you can have regular lunch). After much discussion about what they ate, one of the boys finally confesses
Johnny 2nd grader: Well Billy 2nd grader dared me to eat 8 sausages!
Me: and you DID it?
He nods
Billy 2nd grader: Yeah, well Johnny 2nd grader dared me to put vegetables in my chocolate milk and drink it.
ME: and I take it you did that?
He nods
Me: Well, I don't have any fixes for your silly antics. Let this be a lesson to you both.
I give them a bottle of water and shoo them away.


So what are my chances that Finley is not this crazy? (notice I didn't say Arlington) Yeah, that is what I thought.

Today we made gingerbread cookies. And when I say “we” I mean Mat and the kids. That was his nutso plan. But they turned out really yummy, and Arlington and Finley (with their allergies) can eat these cookies, which makes them very happy. Arlington was able to help roll the dough and do the cut outs. Finley made a bunch of little gingerbread balls and kept slapping them down on top of the cookies on the pan. One got missed, so one of the gingerbread man had a large tumor when he was done cooking. We made them because tomorrow is our day to bring some cookies to our church service. Tomorrow we are going to get our Christmas tree and put that up. So we had a full weekend! We haven't seen Santa yet – that will have to wait until next weekend.

I have a few pictures below. Our original plan was to go to a parade tonight with the kids. But all of us are a little under the weather, so we had to cancel that plan. Bummer. I am telling you this because that would have meant I had more pictures.

By the way- I posted a few days ago about Cainan's adoption story being published on this blog:

No Hands But Ours

so check it out! (click on words above and it will take you there. Just go to section Family Stories and look for us!)

AND, I am going to be getting my blog a new header as soon as I force ask my husband kindly. Hopefully before Christmas!

I will see you all on Tuesday!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our story on another blog!!

We submitted our story to this blog: No Hands But Ours (click on that and it will take you to the blog). This is a Blog that is specifically stories from families who adopted special needs children from China! And they printed our story. We are very excited. A very cool blog and a very cool cause. Anyway, when you go to the blog, just click on the "family stories" section. We are the second story down, right now (although, you may have to scroll down further as they add more stories).

Just wanted to share! I also added the "No Hands But Ours" button to the side bar of our blog, so you can also click on there to go to the site!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Best Christmas Commercial ever/Back to school

This is the best Christmas Commercial.

This is TOTALLY going to happen to us one of these years. Those cookies sure are good.....

Yesterday was our first day back from Thanksgiving break. It was hard for all of us to get up early and get on our way. But it was nice to get back. December is a busy month and I expect it will go by fast and before we know it, Christmas will be here!

Yesterday was completely nuts at work for me, of course. I saw about 50 kids - none of them were ready to come off holiday. We even had 20 kids absent! I guess 4 days of vacation isn't enough time. Most kids were just really excited about Christmas coming and wanted to tell me all about their Thanksgiving break. One kid came in and said to me, "I have the worst thing ever! I have a very, very, bad cold". "Aw, poor baby", I say. "What can I do for you?" "Nothing. I just wanted you to know". Alrighty then......

The kids are all doing great. Sunday we went to church, and we were asked to light the advent wreath next Sunday. We were really pleased to be asked to do this - especially being new to the church. So we will do that next week. We are also making Christmas cookies for our after church social for next week - Arlington is excited about that! The weather was really terrible on Sunday, so we didn't go anywhere. It was rainy/slushy with a few snow flurries! Not enough to stick to the ground, which disappointed Arlington. We have yet to have a real snow. I am FINE with that - plenty of time for that!

Today Finley had her second eye doctor appointment. This time with a doctor that actually sees kids! And guess what - not a thing is wrong with her eyes. Well, not really. She does have some thinning to her muscle around her eye (they took some pictures) that the doctor said they see in preemies and kids who have oxygen deprivation during pregnancy (the cord was around her neck for awhile). But that doesn't affect her vision much at this time. She will just be near sighted sooner than later. But for now - she is good. The doctor sees that she is tall for her age, and that may be why she is so clumsy, and the reason she looks at books the way she does is just how she is processing right now. Basically - she is goofy. We already knew that! But we are happy that there is nothing wrong with her sight.

Arlington and I are reading this book together: The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I think I mentioned it a few blogs ago.

Anyway, we are really enjoying it - it is a good book. A little hard, but she is getting is so well - I am proud of her! She is really into it. Anyway, there is a section of the book we are reading right now that I wanted to share:
"I like to imagine the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason."
Isn't that so true....we ALL have purpose in this world. We all have meaning. People make the world go around - just like the parts of a machine. EVERYONE is important. No one should ever think they are less important than anyone else, and no one should ever be TREATED like they are less important than everyone else. Everyone matters.

So I missed a piece of work today to take her to the doctor and my supervising nurse covered for me. She got a chance to see what my day is like and how many frequent fliers I actually have. That was a good insight for her, I think! I had to print out my statistics from November for her today, so here are the numbers. Are you ready??? Remember - there were only 14 1/2 school days in November. And the number of students in the whole school: 266.

Number of visits by kids to the office (for whatever illness/aliment): 544
Number of screenings (height/weight, hearing, vision) : 200
Blood sugar checks (with my one and only diabetic) : 38
Calls to parents: 220
Conferences (with kids/parents): 46
Meetings (with other adults): 6
Charting (in the computer and files): 646 items
Physicals checked in/put in computer: 39
Medications checked in(new medications to office): 20
Referrals to doctors: (for kids to go and see them): 21

Unbelieveable right?? My supervising nurse thought so too! I guess she sees about 20 kids on average a day at her school (of the same size as mine). But, of course, I am new. AND - I have trouble being mean. AND I have trouble saying no. But starting in January, I am going to get tougher. (yeah right). I think the number of kids I saw in those 14 1/2 days in pretty unreal, since my population is, like I said, 266 kids TOTAL.

My principal came in today, and said she needed medical attention. She was kidding, but she said it was because she had just walked into the cafeteria where the 1st and 2nd graders were having lunch. The person on cafeteria duty was making an announcement to the kids and it went like this:
"boys and girls I have an announcement. The cafeteria staff wanted me to tell you that if you don't stop throwing away your silverware, you are going to have to start to bring your own because we will no longer be supplying silverware if you throw it all away."
My principal's heart stops. Threw her mind runs - "I am going to get 100 phone calls from parents saying 'did you tell Johnny 2nd grader to bring knives and forks to school because you aren't going to be supplying them any more?" Then the principal thought of me and all the stabbing injuries I am going to be seeing with kids who bring their own silverware. PLUS - to top it off, a parent was in the cafeteria having lunch with her kid. I don't have to tell those of you who live in small towns what happens when one mommy gets information like this. So tomorrow should be interesting.

I didn't take many pictures this week. I wanted to share with you my favorite part of each of my kids. :) for Arlington, it is her cute little mouth
This girl has the smallest facial features, and her little mouth is just the cutest. Although, she does suffer from "verbal diarrhea" 24 hours a day, it is a cute mouth.For Finley, it is her stunning blue eyes. These are the first thing everyone notices on her when they see her. "Oh those eyes" they say. She is lucky to have those peepers.

For Cainan it is his hands. This boy has the smallest, cutest little baby hands. Finley and Arlington have long, thin fingers, but Cainan has this tiny little hands that are just so sweet. I also love Cainan's little mouth, but that is because of how amazing it looks since it is repaired!So that is all for now. Oh! I have to share - gas is $1.69/gallon!!!! I can't tell you how thrilled I am! When we first showed up in Connecticut in May gas was $4.60. I NEVER thought we would see $3.00/gallon let alone back into the $1.00 arena. I did a little happy dance when I saw that today.

So here are just three little pictures to share. Two are of the babies playing and one is of Arlington in her Daisy Scouts uniform. See you Saturday!