Saturday, April 16, 2016

Weekend Wrap-Up: Our Last First Holy Communion

Well, we had our last little girl celebrate her First Holy Communion. It was, like all the "last times," a little bittersweet. But to her? It was all sweet.

We had a super busy week, stuff after school until about 9:00 pm every night that week... which is basically par for the course in the Fall and Spring. Friday night, Dr. Fabulous and I had another black tie affair, our third hospital gala ('tis the season) which would be all fine and dandy if I didn't have to be out of the house at 8:45 am the following morning with a primped little princess and 30 people coming to my house for lunch afterwards.

Hectic? I guess. Or, you could say it makes your life feel full and rich and happy. 
So what if you're a little tired? Sleep is overrated. Just ask CB. She has been up all night for the past several weeks!

So, the morning was very special and the girls and boys looked so cute... not that it's about how you look... but nevertheless, it was an adorable bunch all spit-polished and fancy!

So, this "time stamp" on my photographs is killing me. I couldn't find my camera charger for my nice 35 mm Canon. Of course, it didn't help that I was looking for it the morning of ... when it was all crazy up in here. So, Pink's like "Mom, you can use my camera," which was a very nice gesture but #1 I don't really know how to use her camera (which is a nice one, by the way) so half the pictures were blurry and garbage and #2, I didn't realize she has this freakin' time stamp feature and it's on every single photo. I tried my best to edit it out of most, but still. So annoying. I shoulda just used my phone camera instead. Whatev.

It was cold and raining that Saturday morning... then it turned into SNOW.  Yes, snow in mid-April. What the heck? It ended up being 1 to 2 inches. It was crazy and nixed the outside pictures...but it looked really pretty.

Pink was dying to make Rella's cake. I was initially all stressed and grumpy about it as it would surely cause much more work and chaos than just ordering a cake and picking it up. Then, the wise Dr. Fabulous said "Enjoy these moments while we have them." He was right. She did an awesome job, she enjoyed herself, and it turned out absolutely beautiful. And, honestly, other than getting her the supplies? She did every single thing herself. The roses are sculpted out of fondant and the cross freehand cut out of fondant too. Inside was pink velvet and white cake. I was super proud of her.

And, I was super proud of my baby girl. My baby is 8 and celebrating yet another milestone. Life is going by so fast, but I'm enjoying getting to know my girls and watching them grow into amazing people.

And I really enjoyed the fact that the snow cancelled all the Fall travel soccer try-outs on Sunday so we had a complete sleep in, stay in pjs, veg-out day. It. Was. Awesome.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

tHERsDay: The Devolution of an IEP Mom

Today was CB's very last IEP meeting. The last one I will attend EVER. 
I've been going to these suckers since she was three. At least once a year. Every three years, twice. 

So, here's the evolution - or devolution - of me as the IEP meeting Mom. When I first started attending these things, I was a 29 year old overwhelmed mother and full time graduate student. I'd sit with my pens and legal pad, ready to take notes. I'd read everything prior and think of questions to ask. I was on top of my game and ready to take on the world. 

Then, these meetings just became rote. I'd lug my other little ones with me and they'd color while the Child Study Team and I talked. It became a social time, actually. She had the same teacher for many years in a row, the same therapists, the same administration. They all watched my kids grow up. They watched CB grow up. 

I never missed a meeting in 18 years. Until today.

Her Senior Exit meeting. The final IEP of my life, and I never wrote it on my calendar. I freakin' MISSED IT like a giant idiot.

It's been that kind of week. Don't even get me started.

Well, 18 years of IEPs have come to a close. I mark this monumental day by leaving her team sitting and waiting and wondering if I'll ever show up. Like the awesome Mom I am. 

It's kinda funny when I think of how I rolled into this new world and how I'm rolling out. 

Well, CB... I guess we both have a case of Senioritis. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Science Geeks

The girls nerded out this year and did their school science fair project together. The best part? They did it TOGETHER which was awesome. Tink is in fourth grade and Pink in sixth, so I was worried they might want to do their own separate thing. But they were excited. Which meant less stress for me!

Their project, which they did 100% on their own (with the exception of me buying the supplies) was to show how a raw egg can bounce. You can actually do this quite easily at home. Just soak an egg in white vinegar for 1-2 days until the shell is dissolved. Then, run it under water and gently rub off the white part that is under the shell. You will then see this transparent membrane and the yolk inside.

And, you will be able to BOUNCE the egg with a gentle drop of a few inches. (It's not a super ball and so don't like throw it on the ground expecting it to bounce like that.)

The "experiment" part was to try different types of vinegar and see what differences there were. They tried Rice Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Balsamic, and Apple Cider Vinegar. They had some interesting results. Try it!

It was really neat to see all of the projects and the kids seemed to have a great time. It made a busy week even busier, but it was definitely worth it.

Friday, March 11, 2016


I love their bond. 
CB is lucky to have both a step-dad and dad who love her dearly.
One lucky kid.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!!

 Happy New Year!! 
Wow, another year down. We celebrated by going to a friend's annual family party that starts in the afternoon then by evening, we all head over to the town's First Night. There are great shows and lots of music and people. We saw The Tramps perform (As in "Burn, Baby, Burn, Disco Inferno!) and watched the fireworks at 9:00 pm. The great thing about First Nights are that you can still make it home and be snuggled up on the couch watching the ball drop at midnight without feeling like you "didn't do anything" to celebrate the New Year. Great when you have young kids.

The New Year weekend, Dr. Fabulous was itching to get outta dodge. He works very very long hours and is always on the go, mentally and physically. Sometimes, he just needs a change of scenery so we'll go somewhere within a 2 hour drive, or even closer, and just stay at a hotel. We've gone to Valley Forge and different small places in PA. We've also headed over the Baltimore, our old stomping grounds. The kids love it and it's so nice and easy.

We hit the Walter's Art Gallery again. The kids loved it this time as much as last!

Then, we did the Aquarium after dark. The kids have never been there. I took CB there when she was about 4 years old. It didn't go well. She threw a very nice, expensive necklace I had received for my 30th birthday into the enormous stingray tank. 
No such drama tonight.

These jellyfish were so cool. I'm sorry, I took a thousand photos of them. While I wouldn't want to run into one at the beach, I could watch them for hours in the aquarium.

It was a great way to kick off a brand new year. 
I hope 2016 is filled with joy, love, and happiness for you and yours!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Holiday Wrap-Up: The Merriest and Brightest

Christmas was here and gone, like a whirlwind. The wrapping paper remnants and boxes are overfilling the trash bin, tinsel is scattered throughout the house like glittering dust bunnies, brightly colored cookies have turned stale on the counter, and Jingles, our Elf, has left the building.

And I am exhausted.

And happy to the core of my being. This Christmas felt like the Merriest and the Brightest ... though each one feels that way. One just keeps topping the next, but I suppose that's what happens when you appreciate your amazing (though far from perfect) life with the people you are blessed to have in it. 

This Christmas was a little different in a few ways. One, it was super warm. Like, record breaking warm. It was rainy too, which made it muggy. We turned on the air conditioning at my brother-in-law's house during our Christmas Eve get together. While many parts of the world celebrate a green Christmas, I haven't seen one this mild in the NorthEast EVer. 

The other difference was that CB was with us for Christmas Eve and Day. We rotate years with her dad so last year, she was in Maryland. This year, CB was here... and Cancer was gone. 

We also had a new little itty bitty baby — my nephew!! YAY! 
I love babies. LOVE THEM!
Before I end up confessing that I want another one, let's move on. 

Many of my neices and nephews are now teens and young adults. So, Christmas gatherings look less "kiddie" and more "teeny" if that makes sense. I think this photo speaks to this point. 

They are great kids and I love getting to know the people they have become. They are smart, kind, funny, generous, loving and still... kids at heart.

The old guy included. 

After spending Christmas Eve with Dr. Fab's side of the family, we were still able to make it home to enjoy our family traditions... setting out cookies, hanging our stockings, and reading two vintage Christmas books that my parents read to me and my sisters and brothers when we were small. These books are totally falling apart, but they are awesome. And my kids love them as much as I did.

This year, Rella asked to read The Night Before Christmas. They're getting so big it makes me tear up. 

Pink started her own new tradition after her Religious Ed teacher (otherwise known among Catholics as CCD) told them about it. She made a box that said "Happy Birthday Jesus" and then filled it with little slips of paper as she wrote down the kind things she did in the days leading up to Christmas. Then, she left it under the tree on the Eve of Jesus's birthday, without fanfare. I thought it was so sweet and a good reminder of what the season is all about.

As our family attempts to do every year, we looked for ways to give back during December. We donated a Christmas tree with all the lights and trimmings to a family in need who couldn't afford one. We made shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and we sorted donated toys at our church and at a local non-profit. We made several toy donations to different organizations like hospitals and shelters and sent a Christmas card to a girl named Safyre who was horrifically burned in a fire that took the lives of her entire family. 

These things were very small, but they served as touchstones for the girls as they bounded through a time of year where they are slathered with gifts, food, and love. It's my job to allow them to have an AMAZING Christmas and spoil them a little bit... just let them be happy kids. But, it's also my job to keep them grounded, keep them aware, help them understand that they can do a little something in this world to make a tiny corner of it a better place for someone else. 

I stayed up until after 1:00 am, as usual, and the kids were up at 5:00 am. Or, should I say Rella was up at 5:00. This was a huge improvement to the 3:15 am waking last year. They opened their stockings while we waited for CB to rise. I wasn't going to disturb that poor child so early! It also gave me time to get our big breakfast buffet started. When they all were ready to come downstairs and see what Santa left, it was still dark outside. I love that excitement. LOVE it.

Santa leaves a little "rope" across the staircase so no little children can sneak down too soon. Then Dr. Fabulous and I count them down and they make a mad dash into the family room!

I love that Pink stayed with CB to help her down the stairs. This girl is a freakin' angel, I tell you.

Tink's favorite gifts were her new hot pink glittery guitar...

Her "Itty Bitty's" which are a thing. They're at Hallmark. They're tiny stuffed animals. I don't get it. Whatev. 

And, of course, every year she asks Santa for Holiday Barbie.

CB got a stocking full of Cheez-Its and beads, so she was occupied for fifteen minutes until she went upstairs to take a nap. Christmas is exhausting like that.

Our crafty, creative girl Pink loved her cookbooks and art gifts.

She received a gummy bear maker which included this giant mold for a collassal gummy bear. It looks black, but it was really a rainbow of colors layered together, with blue on top. It took the whole family three days to eat it.

Rella's favorite was her long-adored cotton candy machine...

... and a drum set. She asked Santa for a real one, but us parental units forbade it. Santa in his infinite good humor brought her a tiny one and she thought that was quite clever.

Later in the day, CB was coerced back to the tree where her sisters helped her unwrap oodles of clothes.

Then everyone lounged around all low key, playing with stuff and I might have fallen asleep on the couch two or three times.

We had an improptu neighborhood get together which we picked up again on Sunday and just spent a lot of time hanging out and enjoying the aftermath of the Merriest and Brightest time of year.

That's a wrap. Or an unwrap. That's what we call an Awesome Christmas 'round here. Hope your holidays were the Merriest and Brightest too.

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