Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Fa La La La La

Christmas was a big hit at our house.  The pierogis were made and eaten; the gifts were all wrapped, Santa's cookies were baked, and he made it down the chimney without no problem whatsoever.  Katherine was little Miss First Christmas playing with her toys and taking in the whole scene.  Jackson enjoyed opening and investigating his gifts and Alex - what can I say?  She's an old hand at this Christmas gig so she's got the drill down.  I hope she liked her things as much as she seemed to given there were fewer toys and more big girl things this year - cool boots (Ugs style), jacket from Limited too, couple of outfits from H&M, art supplies, etc.  Nary a doll in sight except for Kate's new babies including a Madame Alexander babydoll from Aunt Julie and a Cabbage Patch Kid with blonde pigtails that I fell in love with.  Mass was great and not the usual mob scene thanks to  the wonderful new pastor and his planning of 6 Christmas liturgies, four being on Christmas Eve.  The jumbo glass of egg nog spiked with Makers Mark went down very nicely afterward.  Which brings me to the next topic - my progress on Weight Watchers.  I'm bracing myself for backsliding at this week's weigh in and hope to at least stay at the same weight.  I've lost 2 lbs./wk over the last three.  I'm just praying that the appetite I have for the extra points I'm allowed as a nursing mother goes away when Kate weans.  I went into the holiday weeks with the mindset that I was not going to make myself miserable following the program until after the first of the year.  I am very glad that I started beforehand though so I'm not in the pack with the other newbies next week.  I didn't exactly go crazy either.  In general, I think the WW program is fantastic. 

One of my munchkin is calling for some snuggle time so I'm off.  More later on the new job prospects.  Wish this laundry would fold itself and disappear into our dressers.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Definition of Insanity

My plan is to get up tomorrow morning and commence making homemade pierogi then get all of my gift wrapping done, prepare the breakfast for tomorrow so that all I have to do is pop things into the oven, go to 8:00 mass tomorrow night.....I finally finished folding last week's laundry.  I'm happy with my executive decision to not wrap Kate's gifts....if I wrap Jackson's and Jeff wraps Alex's then we have to also wrap for each other....should be able to accomplish that...I want to be substantially done by the time I get home from Mass so I can pour a big glass of eggnog, spike it with Makers Mark and sit on the sofa to look at the tree...This is going to be one fun weekend but I need to prioritize the giftwrapping....I'm stalling though...

Monday, December 20, 2004

More Precious than Diamonds & Gold

I don't know why it is but the sight of the curve of my little baby's arm gives me such a rush of love.  She just oozes sweetness and never fails to bring a smile to my face but the sight of that chubby little arm encased in whatever pink material she's wearing - terry, fleece, velvet, cotton knit, I just love the the curve of that arm from the shoulder to the wrist.  Why is she making me crazy tonight and insisting on burying her face in whatever is available so I'm afraid she won't be able to breathe?  Maybe I'll go disturb her just so I can pick her up and snuggle her some more, cherishing each moment of her...

Saturday, December 18, 2004


balloons  Katherine is 8 months old tomorrow.  Yippee!!  I've reached the point where I'm ready to start focusing on getting myself together much earlier than I did with Jackson.  I started looking around for new job opportunities when he was about 15 mos. old and this time I'm already working it.  I have interviews next week for both an internal and an external opportunity.  I keep coming full circle to the point where I love everything about my job but for a few things that I'd change and those are the things that I cannot control.  So guess what?  I've had the kids, enjoyed the flexibility that I needed to be able to pull this motherhood after 40 with stressful job thing and now I'm ready to break out again.  I was sad to think that I'd maxed out on my career and hopefully something will come about where I can take steps forward again, both professionally and financially.  When it reaches the point where you have not an ounce of respect for the people who control your income and your advancement, it's time to move on.  Unlike before, I think I'm coming to terms with leaving before I even have the interviews.  This is a good sign that I'm ready I think.  It hasn't been fun for a really long time and I'm starting to feel like I've been left in the dust by those who've had the good sense or the good fortune to find new opportunities.  We'll see what the coming week brings.  So much for not having an interview suit as an excuse, huh?   

 briefcase clipart

And the other big step that I've already taken is to join Weight Watchers now vs. waiting until I stop nursing the baby.  I was going to keep it a big secret and magically slim down before everyone's eyes but it's been slipping out in conversation and so what?  It's not something to be ashamed of.  I am actually proud that I took the matter in hand and decided not to wallow in the excuse that I got flabby having the kids and until Kate is weaned I'll just have to live with it.  So far so good.  I dig the program and found it easy enough to transition to.  I never used to be the type of person things "happened" to but when I was younger of course it was easy to take charge of things like dropping a few pounds.  Honestly, I never really put much effort into watching my weight at all - I just burned off what I ate naturally through normal activity and exercise.  So now I have to put effort into it but I have finally realized it's something to do for myself, not a punishment.  Right now there are always half a dozen things competing for my attention in the same block of time and some of them just have to get done but I realize from the few times I've taken the time for a walk or to do some yoga, the world didn't come to an end because I wasn't folding the laundry or god forbid, WORKING!!!


lights.gif (2083 bytes)It's after 2:00 p.m. and I have not had a shower yet today.  I've been busy with the baby and in between her feedings and naps and her bath I've addressed the envelopes for the holiday photo cards & put the return address labels on them, wrapped and packeged the gifts that have to go into the mail, put a bow and some fresh holly & berries on the plain green wreath I bought and hung it on the door, cleaned up the kitchen from lunch, put away Jackson's laundry.  Doesn't sound like a big accomplishment, I know but the fact that I had the gifts for four people together and now packaged to mail, all my addresses in one place (ok 3 places but I knew where all the places were), the cards ordered and here, etc. is major for me because now I can focus on the loose ends and the little extras that make the holiday special this week instead of panicking and being a grinch..


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lights.gif (2083 bytes)Now to grab a little "me" time and have a shower....Jeff took the older two and went out to get the Christmas tree.  We'll decorate it later, probably before and after dinner.  I'll put up some decorations around the house while Alex gets the majority of the ornaments on the tree.  After she goes to bed I usually rearrange them but she's a big help in getting them out of the boxes and onto the tree.  My shopping is substantially done but for the gift certificates I buy for the daycare ladies.  I have a shopping list for the Christmas dinner and I'll do that grocery shopping Thursday afternoon.  Tomorrow I will start wrapping the kids' things and if necessary come up with a list of things for Jeff to pick up this week when he's out.  He has the next two weeks off.  I have no extra time off because of that nice long maternity leave at the beginning of the year.  I'm going to take a week in January I think, to do whatever I feel like doing.  I would love to take the kids to PA for a few days to do some visiting.

lights.gif (2083 bytes)Jackson and Kate have been incredibly cute together.  I took some great pics of the two of them last Saturday.  Yesterday, Jackson had on my straw gardening hat and was playing "Old McDonald" with his stuffed animals.  He'd hold one up and I was to sing the song and add whichever animal he was holding.  Of course I wished I had the video camera handy and didn't.  Note to self, pull it out and charge the battery so we'll have some video of the tree trimming.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


We were invited to two parties tonight.  One was an adult only gig and I started looking for a baby sitter way too late so scratch that one.  The other was an open house that began at 5:00 p.m. Jackson's nap lasted until 6 and then Kate fell asleep.  I really wanted to stay at home anyway.  It's not that I didn't want to go.  I did.   It's just that I'd rather stay at home.  After a lovely day together I wanted to just hang out with my boys and my girl.  I hope the kids like us when we're older because we won't have any friends left.  Seriously, we get so little quality time together as a family that I just revel in it when we have a day like today.  We went to the mall to get Jackson's hair cut, did a little Christmas shopping, had lunch, came home and relaxed a bit.  I must wrap Jackson's birthday presents as we are celebrating at home tomorrow.  I'm also baking cupcakes and making party bags for him for school on Monday.  I want him to feel really special with this birthday as lately he's been wanting to be the baby, be Kate, be in the crib, etc.  How my life has changed in three years.  These kids really center me and also love my husband all the more for making it possible for me to be their mother.  I am one of the luckiest people in the world and count my blessings every day!

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Matthew Chapter 11, verses  28,29 and 30.

"Come unto me ,all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you , and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and  ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light "

Saturday, November 27, 2004

I am not behind!

The past four months have honestly flown by.  Since returning to work after Kate's birth I have no idea where the time has gone.  We had the Christening, Jeff did his travel stint, work has been very busy.  Halloween was fun.  Jeff and I took the kids to my office to trick or treat on the Friday before.  Jackson was scared of the actual trick or treating deal in the dark and also of the doorbell ringing at our house which set the dogs to barking, etc.  Not really his gig.  Katherine is now sitting up with some assistance, loves having a bath - especially at the end when I put her on her stomach and she splashes & "swims" for a while. 

I'm in a restless frame of mind - I want to push forward on the decluttering of the house - out with the old, out with the old, out with the old.  I don't even want anything new - just out with the old. 

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I'm Baaaack

It has been a very very busy month since last I wrote.  Jeff just returned from a 10 day business trip to California for the launch of NASA's DART satellite.  Work is busier than ever and we're running recruiting open house events in three cities in November so all the prep work for those is going on.  Whew!  I'm in need of a day at the spa!

I've had a running list of cute things the kids have been doing that I wanted to write about but now can't remember them all except that Jackson looked at his sloppy joe one night at dinner and proclaimed that the sesame seeds look like raindrops.  He was such a good boy while Dad was gone but missed him terribly. 

Ok - cute stuff that Jackson has done recently -

One morning getting ready for school I was trying to get his shoes on and he kept shuffling his feet around - when I got exasperated with him he said "Chill out, Mom" and had this look of triumph on his face because he has used his newly learned phrase in context.  How could I help but be proud?

Snuggling with the baby has become a routine.  He hugs and kisses Kate before he goes to sleep, gets down on the floor to talk and laugh with her, entertains her when she's playing in her exersaucer.  I can tell it's not a kiss just for show - he really loves her and that makes me so happy.

One night I asked "Jax, how about a hot ham & cheese for dinner?" and he replied "How about a corn dog?".  Too bad we were fresh out of corn dogs, huh?

He will be Spiderman for Halloween.  There are already several cute pics of him in costume as well as a few from Friday of Piggers dressed as a ladybug and posing with her new beau Donovan, dressed as billygoat....more later. 

I got out recently - last weekend while Jeff was away I had a babysitter come over and went to a scrapbooking crop on Friday night and to a wine tasting at the neighbors' on Saturday night.  The wine tasting was a great time.  There were 5 wines and food to go along with each and the company was fabulous because it was all the neighbors that I chat with periodically by the mailbox, etc. and we really got to catch up.  Best of all, I only had to stagger up the street to get home. 

Tomorrow we're off to a baby's first birthday brunch and later Alex will join Jackson for the Halloween trick or treating.  I like to stay home and greet all of the neighborhood kids and hand out the candy.  Katherine may go with the big kids and she may stay home with me...that has not been decided. 

It's so wonderful to have Jef f back home.  My partner who makes me and our children so happy and who I need so much to make things run around here.  (Notice I left out the word smoothly because who has a smooth ride these days?)




Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Christening

Click to view originalThe christening was a huge success - HUGE.  Katherine was in the best mood, rare form, you name it.  She looked surprised when the first trickles of water hit her head but then she laughed out loud.  After church we changed into her party dress (see pics from photographer) and she was carried around all afternoon with two breaks to nurse.  Jackson was a well behaved little man both in church and afterward at the party.  The day was gorgeous, the company was wonderful and the food was delicious!  I love to throw a good party.  Thank goodness my mom was there to help put the leftover food away because there was a ton of it that had not even been touched.  I'd ordered extra and the caterer also gave me extra on top of it.  We'll be having stuffed shells quite often!  This is Kate before it all started but after we opened her gifts from her godparents - note gold bangle on Princessina's wrist...there is also a crucifix around her neck.  She was born to wear gold!  Holding her is her godfather Dillon who is as cute as they come.  Having just celebrated his 16th birthday he spent the weekend doing "family stuff" and so I have got to just love him love him love him for being such a sweet young man!  Not that he's an angel by any stretch but he did homework on the drive down here. 

Open movie in new windowYes, that's right, Mom was here and we had a lovely visit.  She really does hate to be away from home so who knows when I'll be able to lure her back here.  Having her here makes me want her to come again.  And so this isa pic of my two mothers - mother mother and godmother.  The one who I really wish llived down the street or who could visit monthly is my own godmother, Aunt Dee.  We would be like two peas in a pod...I was so happy they were here and have to say that as my father was at the wedding - coming through for me when I really needed him - these two were there and I really needed them to be.  I won't get into the psychodrama of my mom being at her soninlaw's sister's out of town wedding the following weekend after not being at my own wedding, etc. etc. But I do have to comment on a new fact I gleaned from our last conversation - my sister and BIL now have a dog to add to the 5 kids scenario and they named it "Rudy", which is a fantastic name but it also happens to be my beloved Grandfather's name.  Now that in itself may be ok but my Granny had this thing about names and nearly died when my mom wanted to name a cat "Stanley" which had been her own father's name....what is up with that????  

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I am seriously thinking about becoming depressed right now (bad timing because I've had a coupla glasses of wine).  I saw pics of myself from the christening and I am a I polished off the cake to get it out of the house.  I think this is what's referred to as rock bottom.  I have 100 emails worth of flylady testimonials that I refuse to delete because I find the testimonials to be uplifting but I have no time to read them.  I feel up to my asshole in alligators at work and incapable
of prioritizing.  The bright spot in my day is picking Kate up and making a whirring sound that makes her laugh out loud.  Jax is needing extra attention but he's going about attracting it the wrong way and half the time gets on my nerves and I yell.  I think I need a retreat of some sort.  Weren't we talking about escaping to a spa?  No?  Must have been a convo I had with someone else.....Help me!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Party Time

Princessina is yet again fast asleep in the middle of our bed.  She is adorable and I am going to join her in a moment.  I think I would be wise to get a good night's sleep tonight since tomorrow will be a busy day and includes the drive to the train station to pick up Lucy & Ethel, I mean my mom and my aunt.  Yes, that's right, they're really coming.  Of course I won't truly believe that something won't go wrong until I see the whites of their eyes as they come out of Union Station. 

We have some more straightening to do, a couple of errands, and that's about it.  Jackson didn't even notice that I'd moved nearly all of his toys from the family room up to his room.  Katherine had her first flowers delivered today as a gift from our friends for her christening.  Not just any old flowers, these are exotic blooms arriving via FedEx today from Hawaii.  What a very special treat.  The stems are all very large, mostly all in the pink family, and I got 3 arrangements out of what came in the box.  I happily crossed buying flowers off the to do list. 

I found a dress yesterday that I think I will wear for Sunday and then for a wedding reception next month, and then to my 25th reunion in November. 

Cranberry wool, sleeveless, Ann Taylor.  I bought matching jewelry, sucker that I am.  The chunky charm necklace looks divine with it but I want to show off my diamond necklace as well.  The reason I'm a sucker is that I was thinking scarf, didn't see anything, caught sight of the baubles, picked up what matched and didn't even look at the price. Yes I bought the earrings too although I think they're too much for an afternoon christening.  I tried it on today and really felt a connection with my grandmother.  Scary.....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Diva and the Big Shot

Why am I so happy when I've invited a bunch of people over for next Sunday and have to get the house whipped into shape for the event.  I'm hoping the dress I want to wear will fit, otherwise I'm SOL for suitable attire and no time or desire to shop for something new.

So the diva woke up for her second morning feeding all cuddly and warm in her leopard print fleece pj's and promptly went back to sleep in the middle of our bed.  My children seem to think king size beds are their birthright.  The bigshot who has yet to be potty trained but who will sit on the potty and waste t.p. while Dad showers, now insists on having his morning shower.  He was getting in as I was leaving for Mass. 

Oh and yesterday I was queen for the day because I got Alex some really nice gifts, picked up a cake, wrapped the gifts while they were at soccer, got lunch ready, blah, blah, blah but today I'm a pile of doo doo because I slept in yesterday, took a long nap with the kids, went to church this a.m. and now have (the nerve) to want to continue the fun and go grocery shopping.  See if I buy Dorito's today, hmmmmpf~

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Is Modeling in Her Future?

The long awaited, much ballyhooed, mommy is a spaz, pics of Kate in her party dress....the following is not an excuse about why the pics weren't there but I sent the email to everyone.  It's more of an explanation for anyone who's interested in reading about an insane woman trying to work full time, keep a nice house, be pleasant to her husband (most of the time) and keep her kids happy, healthy, and out of danger...list is in reverse order of importance...

So on Friday after being up until 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. working I got up and started working again.  I got Kate ready for school while Jackson was in the shower - that's right - he takes a shower in the morning after daddy is done, oh and that would be after he sits on the potty (doing nothing but wasting toilet paper and occasionally peeing) while Dad showers.  Ok, so off they went to school and I was working and trying to get these pics uploaded.  When will I learn to save as I go, save as I go, save as I go?  I'm not trying to garner sympathy or anything but then I showered, had a session with the breast pump, went to get my MRI (what a treat that was...NOT), stopped at home for something I forgot, visited the rectory to drop off the letters for Kate's godparents (where I left the keys in the minivan and it running), headed for Fair Oaks mall which I can never find on the first try....zoom-zoomed throught Lord & Taylor buying Alex a birthday gift and spending a small fortune buying Kate & Jackson some Polo, uh huh, we're still very wealthy (not).  With L&T shopping bag in tow zoom-zoomed to jewelry store to pick up my bracelet that had been repaired, and stopped at various other small shops to buy more birthday stuff for Alex - every 10 year old girl needs a pink suede purse after all, right? 

So I'm wearing these sandals that have proven in the past not be be good for athletics like sprinting through the mall and now I have a monster blister on the side of my foot....but I'm still shopping.  I head for Fair Lakes and the Target to pick up Kate's pics, find it (2nd try) and start the zoom-zoom but I forgot the receipt, trip on the way back to the van and lose a sandal (I swear I don't make this shit up!), make it into the store, pick up some more stuff forbirthday girl - e.g. things for inside the new purse, etc. - and grab the pictures.  Head home, let the dogs out, take something out of the freezer for dinner, pump again, check work emails, call a candidate, talk to my "assistant", get back in the car, stop for gas, stop at grocery store  - change my mind about dinner and buy something easier to fix - grab a BIG bottle of wine - pick up kiddles - head home - start drinking.  Drink too much, sleep in on Saturday, wake up while Jeff is getting ready for his & Alex's soccer game - he's the coach - get a few things done around the house including wrap birthday presents and write Happy Birthday Alex on the cake I bought at the market, make lunch and do the birthday thing with Alex including cake, etc., power nap with Jackson.  Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys.  The life of a maniac....Alex power napped too so we did not go out for dinner for her birthday but I'm teaching her that it's good to spread the birthday thing out for as long as you can and we're going out to eat tomorrow.  I'm thinking she's not doing so bad having two homes as she celebrated her birthday last weekend with a sleepover at her mom's and a weekend full of back to school shopping and a cute new haircut.  Pics of Alex to follow.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Bets You Don't Want to Win

I don't mean to brag but, oh hell I always do, I made some yummy guacamole tonight using tomato and chile peppers from my garden.  That would be the shambles of a garden that the big brown bad doggie has left for me to harvest.  Anyway, so Aunt Dee calls to say that I've succeeded through my awesome power of suggestion in getting HER addicted to the Edy's Whole Fruit Bars.  She can't find them by the box and so must buy them singly at CVS.  What heathen country is she from?  Philly suburbs.  So I ask if they're on track to come down for the christening.  "Of course, your mother and I are coming,"  she says.  "What about Uncle Ed,"  I say.  "He doesn't attend functions,"  she responds.  "When your sister has something he drops me off and picks me up."  That's just great.  He's never been to my home and he's blowing this off as another "function"? Another "don't get me started" occurrence. 

So, she's leaving it up to my Mom as to the logistics of coming down for the christening.  Here we go again.  I am betting she's leaning toward coming down and going home the same day.  When is she going to consult with me about rides to and from the train station.  Do I need to ask why my Uncle who does an annual trip from Philly to freakin' Florida can't drive them to the DC suburbs, a mere 3 hour drive?  Oh that's right, I said don't get me started.  Bottom line - I don't believe they'll be here.  I hope it's a bet I don't win.  I feel bad that my aunt won't be here to see Katherine in all her radiant glory.  I feel bad my mom isn't considering coming on Saturday; leaving on Monday so we can have a visit in there somewhere.  I feel bad for myself that I know these things are true without even having the conversation with my mother. So right now I'm going to give myself the approval to say "well done!" for a nice party because I know it will be a wonderful day and a special time with friends regardless of the fact that no family are here to share it.    


I think I'm Finally Loving Myself.  I also think this woman, Marla Cilley, is an inspired genious.  From breaking it all down into baby steps to publishing the personal testimonials, she makes it possible for the harried perfectionist that I am to feel good about small accomplishments and to feel hopeful and maybe even faithful that I will climb to the top of the clutter and defeat it on day.  Reading testimonials earlier this morning the following rang particularly true:  cooking healthy meals makes you feel so much better physically and emotionally than eating take out and frozen crap out of a box; being a perfectionist where religion is concerned may result in living outside of your religion for fear that you're not practicing it 100% so you'd better not try at all; jumping on the bandwagon and being obsessed with a new program leads to quick burnout and abandonment.  Being forced to take baby steps has taught me to feel a sense of accomplishment from small tasks completed.  I don't have the time or the energy to power clean the whole house just to get it just right all at once.  Thank goodness we're blessed to be able to afford Susana every two weeks but the daily surface clutter and the accumulated packrat clutter are mine to own completely (along with DH).  Looking at life in 15-20 minute chunks has helped me to finally learn to fit more into my life, take care of things before they become overwhelming, enjoy little things, and most importantly, it has given me something valuable to teach my children. 

Sunday, September 5, 2004

SuperTarget has Drawbacks

The weather is lovely this Labor Day weekend.  My sweet son is singing along with the movie.  Something has happened to him over the past couple of days (knock wood) as his whiner seems to be on the blink.  We hit the mall yesterday to take him for his quarterly haircut and he is just more precious than ever :)

I made it to Mass - woo hoo two in a row!  I introduced myself to the new pastor who is the friend of a friend as well as the brother of a guy who works at the same firm as I do.  He will be baptizing Kate in 2 weeks.  I must invite him over for the party afterward. 

Lunch is over, Kate is napping, and now I must get Mr. Man up for his nap.  The roses need some attention although they haven't suffered much from the "neglect" of the past month.  The Japanese beetles seem to have taken the hint and scrammed and there are pink, yellow, peach, red, yellow, and coral blooms out there.  I must go deadhead them and maybe bring a few lovely ones inside to enjoy.

So happy to have one more day "off" although I can't stop thinking about work and all there is to do.  On Wednesday I am "interviewing" for a new position within the firm.  I should add research what would be the new functional area for me before I have this phone interview.

Ok, so the drive to Leesburg is well worth the variety of Edy's Frozen Whole Fruit bars and the much lower price on these and other Clarke family essentials, however,   the fact that I cannot make my wine purchses there really chaps my ass....that, and the fact that the clerk behind the deli counter had no idea what she was doing - sliced regular roasted turkey for me vs. smoked turkey, etc.  and they don't carry Boar's Head brand.  For these items I will be making the visit to Giant.  I cannot do without my BH mesquite smoked turkey!

Ok, so I fudged a litttle earlier when I said I was happy - actually I was a little edgy and anxious but now I'm happy.  An old friend stopped by and she saw Kate for the first time and did a tour of the house to see what improvements we'd made since her last visit, etc. and remarked what a beautiful baby, what a gorgeous son, what a happy seeming life - aaaah, all is well and Jeff just brought dinner off the grill.  Now I'm really happy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Somebody Turn Off the Wave Machine

They're coming at me faster than I can handle and for the past two days I've been forgetting to breathe.  I'm thankful for the upcoming long weekend and hope to make enough headway so the thought that I should be working doesn't creep in and ruin my break.

In the midst of all the fun at work I'm still on the phone to insurance providers and doctor's offices about medical claims from Kate's birth.  I'm thinking this current issue is a case of things crossing in the mail but I hate to get these notices that say "you're account is seriously past due.  please remit immediately".  Know what I hate even more?  I hate taking time from my busy day to call the insurance company and have them tell me that there had never been a claim for the amount in question.  Who's crazy here?  Deep Breath....Aaaaah that feels good!

If I keep thinking happy thoughts of my precious babies I can get through anything!

Funny note - I asked Jeff if he was remembering to put Kate's fresh bottles in the fridge at daycare behind any bottle that may have been left over from the previous day.  His response:  I worked at a grocery store for 10 years, what an absurd question!  At least some simple things are working as they should.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Weekend Highlights

Discovering SuperTarget had to be the best of the weekend.  Jackson going with me was very fun and finding his new Spiderman dishes and cutlery made it a special thing.  The kids were all fun this weekend and with Alex's help Jackson discovered a sense of achievement in going on the potty.  He may wear that Finding Nemo underwear yet!

I made it to Mass yesterday.  I managed not to obsess about the work stuff I didn't finish on Friday and just took the weekend off from it all.  Katherine rolled over again.  This would be the second time she's performed this new trick.  Have I mentioned recently what a joy she is?  What a tremendous gift to be lucky enough to be her Mommy!

Jackson's shelf went up - thank you Jeff!  Now his room is "done" but I still maybe want to get some more things for the walls.  I think I will hold on that until something really cool strikes my fancy.  The desk in my room got put back together and so with the computer phone jack I can set up to work in there and don't have to move my stuff at dinnertime, won't have all my work papers on the kitchen table, can keep the printer there vs. the dining room, etc.  Not an ideal location to set up work and I'm nervous about it upsetting the feng shui balance I've tried to create in there but on the other hand I view my room as my haven, my oasis, my secure and comfy place, my nest.  I've been feeling a lot of "if only I could do this up in my room" as far as journaling, etc. goes.  I'm liking this idea.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

R.I.P. Ruby

My beta fish died yesterday. Poor Ruby looked totally gross there in the bowl but I had to clean him out of there before Jackson saw it.  So the bowl is clean and the snal is in there by herself and no one has noticed the fish is missing.  Such a sad testimonial to Ruby's life.  I'm tempted to stop at PetSmart for another beta today but not sure if I should observe a suitable period of mouring first.  Is a day long enough for a fish who was with us for a year and a half?

In another matter I got about half as much done at the crop last night than I would have if I'd really prepared and taken the stuff I needed to finish Jackson's book or start the book that will have my baby pictures juxtaposed with Jackson's to highlight the fact that he looks so much like I did as a youngster.  It was nice to get out of the house with time to devote to the photos and scrapbooks.  I'm thrilled Maureen and I have discovered each other and are becoming good friends and Allison is the perfect consultant and hostess as far as I'm concerned.

Lots of errands today and oh, there goes that laundry pileup again!  I'm enjoying Jeff's homemade cornbread (we eat it with butter & honey) and a hot cup of home brewed Starbuck's coffee.  I'm invited to a Tatouage Party at the home of a former neighbor but don't know whether I'll be able to swing all I have to do and going.

I really don't want to say it and not do it and I'm a little, what shall I call it, ashamed, that I am thinking of going to Mass tomorrow just to meet the new pastor who I've just learned is a good friend of a good friend.  Or shall I say "whatever works" and get my butt to the church on time? 

Sunday, August 22, 2004

It's a Glorious Day

The day is hot but dry and the sun is shining.  jackson is out playing in his little pool.  We're having friends over this afternoon and although I power shopped yesterday of course there are a handful of things I still need so I'll be at the supermarket AGAIN today. 

But I slept in - until nearly 10:00 - and Jeff brought breakfast in bed.  I cleaned up the kitchen and family room and he took Jackson outside.  Kate is swinging and snoozing. 

I'm off to tidy the powder room (aka the cat box), shower, then start getting some stuff ready for the afternoon meal.  We're having steak and shrimp (friend is a vegetarian); a salad with romaine, tomato, sharp provolone, red onion, and pesto, corn on the cob and mojitos.  I finally found some fresh mint at the store.  I've been regretting ripping out all of my spearmint and peppermint but it was taking over my life out there.  I do need to have some planted in a container so that I have it when I need it. 

I'm thinking a lot about my sister again.  A friend saw her at a reunion event a few weeks ago and just mentioned it to me on Friday.  I said I guess it's a good thing I didn't go to the event as it would have ruined Val's day.  Then I summed it up for her by saying that my sister hates my guts and I get the impression that my mere existence is an annoyance to her.  God forbid I should approach her to try to re-establish lines of communication for the sake of family and our children.  Anyway, it just makes me sad.  I guess she's also in my thoughts because I turned myself on to the FlyLady and right away knew that it's a system that Val would really dig.  Turns out she is into it, according to Mom, and I would just love to be able to pick up the phone and give her a call and ask her if her sink is shiny and her lace up shoes are tied on....I really do miss her and contrary to the advice of caring friends I cannot just forget her.

p.s.  the dogs had better learn how to drink out of Jackson's pool because he thinks their water dish is a pool toy and is contantantly dumping it out...woof!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Tell Me Something Good

The date is set and the godparents are Dillon & Rachel.  Jeff and I are thrilled with this choice.  Invitations are in the mail. 

Work is going well.  I've cleaned out about half of the 350 emails in my mailbox and have a whole slew of new candidates interviewing next week.  Our new coordinator is working out fabulously and is a huge help in getting things done!  The recruiting gods are smiling upon me at the moment.

I have put my toe into the pool of FlyLady and am loving it so far.  Over the weekend I will explore the menu planning stuff and may have to issue an ultimatum to hubby that he eats seafood every so often or else because I hear that following the menu plans works best when you follow the menu plans and don't try to freelance...we'll see about that.

For right now I have to dash off to Target and the supermarket to get the things done that I would normally have taken care of during the week so that I could flit around the house on Saturday a.m.  Off I go to get dressed and fly out of here! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I need to get back to bed. I'm up after feeding the baby. I feel asleep in Jackson's bed and never got up to finish addressing the invitations for the Christening. Also, I never called Dillon to ask him to be Kate's godfather. Rachel said she would love to be Kate's godmother so Jeff and I are feeling really good about this decision to have the kids be godparents. I feel like I could start
my work day right here and now as I'm up and functioning but my hand is somewhat numb so I think I need to go get some more rest. I finally went to ask the dr. about the hand thing as I don't think it's carpal tunnel. He is having me get it x-rayed. I should have walked right over to the radiology place after my appt. with him yesterday but I needed to get to the office.
Baby steps. That's what FlyLady encourages and it applies everywhere, especially to this over 40 new mom returning to work after 2nd baby.
I was feeling really confident about the stability of my job at the moment but now I'm not so sure. I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday and learned that the oursourcing of jobs to India is impacting HR in that we have reduced HR headcount in proportion to the number of jobs going to India. There are a few HR opportunities to work in India but not everyone is in a position to go for those.
However, for the moment we are hiring like gangbusters at higher levels in tax and I think my clients prefer their recruiter to be in front of them on the ground. Not so sure they wouldn't want to make do with less and have a one stop shopping arrangement with HR manager and recruiter in one though. I couldn't be that person but the new HR manager could very well be....and they are trying this model out in Boston. Just a thought.
Going back to bed now.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Here We Go Again

mom coffee cupMonday a.m. I woke before the alarm.  Actually, Piggers woke me but I recall thinking that I should get up to pump because I felt uncomfortable and I didn't know what time it was.  It was just before 6:00 a.m. so after feeding and changing her I came downstairs to release the hounds, have some breakfast, and check in.  I decided to let the coffeemaker turn itself on as it is programmed and I think it's very cool that it just starts making my coffee for me.  It's so rare that I'm down here at 6 to hear it start.  Last night I did my best to get everything together for this briefcase, Kate's bottles, Kate's & Jackson's blankets for school, their tuition check, check for Susana, the everpresent breastpump,

I find myself all excited this a.m .because Susana comes today.  It's been two weeks. We cut her back to every other week when the two kids in daycare full time cash outlay began.  It's so nice to come home to a house that's been cleaned all at once vs. one room at a time so by the time you're done you can't tell where you started because it's starting to get messy again.  The amount daycare costs each week still hasn't fully sunken in with me.  Jeff and I really need to reconfigure the way we handle our cash and expenses.  (Ha!  Like there's any cash after the expenses!)

Alex is sitting across from me as I type, eating a bowl of cereal.  She has her hair in pink foam curlers.  Remember pink foam curlers?  She'd put them in last night after her shower.  She'll be swimming today so that will be it for the curls but she's going to look very cute when she leaves for the Y this morning. 

Okie's 6:30...time to unload the dishwasher and get the business part of this day started!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

What's That Smell?

Jackson has a pair of sandals that he wears every day.  Last week they finally succumbed to whatever sweatmonster has been working on the plastic bottoms all summer.  They reek!  I've tried washing them with hot soapy water and spraying with Lysol but you can smell them from across the room AND they make poor prince's feet smell's mid-August - do I throw them away and go buy another pair?  Yesterday I took them off to change his diaper and get him ready for his nap...he wanted to take the sandals into bed with him.  Ewww. 

I took a nice nap also as I'd had a busy morning with the girls.  Alex and I took Katherine to have her first studio portraits and it went off without a hitch.  Baby girl's pretty white dress fit perfectly.  She held her silver rattle, she smiled, she looked radiant.  Next it was off to Hecht's to try (again) to exchange the fluffy white snowsuit from Uncle Stephen for a larger size.  I may as well just make the trip to Montgomery Mall because none of the Hecht's in VA have these suits out on the floor yet.  You'd think Maryland was the Great White North or something.  I'm trying again tomorrow in Tysons after work. 

Next, we took my sapphire bracelet back to the jeweler to have the missing stone replaced.  I was hoping against hope that it was under some type of warranty and I lucked out.  The jeweler examined it with the loop, determined there had been no trauma, and said they would replace the stone for no charge.  YES! 

Finally, we stopped at Papyrus and found invitations for Kate's Christening.  I lucked out as I don't think that's a common thing and I waited until the last minute to finalize plans for the event.  We doing it on September 19 and haven't even decided who the godparents will be. 

It's hard to concentrate around here lately because the house is in a messy uproar.  Jackson is "cleaning out" his toybox at the moment and the whole family room is strewn with toys.  There is "stuff" all over the kitchen island and glasses & cereal bowls in the sink.  We have a week's worth of newspapers here and there and the front hall has at least 6 pairs of shoes, assorted mail, etc. etc.  Our room is also a big mess and I have the ironing board set up in the guest room/Kate's room, along with the last piece of the bassinet that I can't figure out how to disassemble, and the big suitcase full of infant boy stuff that I'm returning to Stacey...

Oh and the cat has returned full force to using the corner in the living room as a litter box.  I am off to Petsmart for a gallon of Nature's Miracle to dump there.  Thank goodness Susana & Sarah are coming to clean tomorrow.  I need to get her a new key.  So the plan is to have a few more gulps of my coffee, clean up this kitchen, throw in a load of wash, shower, then head for Home Depot to get keys made and then stop at the pet store.  I will take Jax with me as I think he will find the key making thing to be of interest.   Let's not even get into the chores that await when I return from that as listing them will probably send me back under the covers....and Sunday is supposed to be a day of REST.  I will shoot for getting myself to Mass next week.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Best Thing

The best thing about going back to work is picking up the kids...Jackson lets out a little squeal of delight when he sees me and comes barreling over to me.  Kate gives me her big smile, making sure to show off her dimple.  I just want to inhale them sometimes.  I guess the next best thing would be that more than a few people have said they're REALLY glad I'm in now things will finally start moving again.  Our region is the fastest growing of 9 in the country and we're hiring for tax like crazy.  I just love a good frenzy...So as the 2nd week winds down I have my hands on maybe 30% of what I'll ultimately be doing.  I've been to the DC office twice in two weeks...usually it's that many times in a year that I have to be there, and I've been working from home two days.  Next, I must plan a trip to the Philly office to bond with the partners there.  That's usually a big love-fest.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Ding Ding...Round Two

Day 1 Week 2 and I start it off by turning off the 6 a.m. alarm and sleeping until 7:30.  Not a good thing when I'm due to present at new hire orientation at 8:45.  Then I couldn't find my car keys which also had my office keys...big panic, I'm hot, I'm sweating, I'm yelling, my feet hurt.  I find the keys inside the car.  I move my presentation to later in the a.m. and conduct my 9:30 meeting via cell phone from the car on the way in.  I deliver the 20 min. presentation in 6 minutes.  The new hires must think I'm a total basket case...and I'm holed up in my office for the remainder of the day, emerging only to search for food (luckily we bring in breakfast & lunch on orientation days), go to the ladies room, and do what I have to do in the mother's lounge.  I find it easier not to postpone the pumping if I set certain times that I will go.  I know I need a certain amount for Kate the next day and I have to do it so I just make myself do it.  Otherwise, I could be glued in my chair all day and not do it at all.  So I picked the kids up at 5:00, had a glass of wine, threw together a dinner....the baby fell fast asleep after nursing twice so I escaped to the garden to harvest some roses.  The one rose I have, called Heaven On Earth, is truly divine.  It's really dense like a peony and the scent is, well, it's heavenly.  I watered the hanging baskets with the geraniums, trimmed back the basil, watered the tomatoes, and brought in some black-eyed susans.  Something is going on in that veggie garden that isn't quite right...actually several things.  First, I think there is this stockpile of Miracle Gro or something because the basil and one of the tomato plants are out of control.  Then, apparently Chloe has stomped all over that eggplant that's really a pepper so I had to cut it way back.  Finally, my cucumber plant disappeared.  There is an empty space where it was last time I checked and it had a few little cucumbers.  Now it's gone.  I think I need to get a nanny cam going out there.  I know Chloe (aka big fat bad doggie) helps herself to a green tomato every morning and probably stomped the pepper plant...but the disappearing cukes are a real mystery.

Tomorrow is another boring day in the office (yeah, right!) but the excitement starts again on Wednesday when I'm scheduled to be downtown again for the day....

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Ree's Birthday

Kate and I made it to New Jersey and back for the party.  What fun to see a friend from long ago (notice I didn't say old friend...we're the same age) and spend some quality time on her actual birthday, no less.  I think that after 40 everyone should start throwing themselves birthday parties.  It was a fabulous Fall-like day and just a warm and wonderful good time with Ree and her family including sisters and Mom.  Katherine was a big hit as she was an angel baby, gave everyone big big smiles, & had on an adorable outfit right down to the matching sweater and blanket....this is always a big hit in my crowd.  It was a bit of a stretch driving home afterward as I was very tired but my mind was very active after reconnecting with old friends AND two different radio stations had on 70's dance party type programs so Piggers and I did the disco thing all the way back to Virginia. 

Saturday, August 7, 2004

New Journal Title

I'm thinking this may be the title of the book I will write one day.  One of those nonsense books a la Erma Bombeck. 

Today Piggers and I are taking a roadtrip to South Jersey to visit my college chum for her birthday.  Jeff and Wonderboy are staying home.  This should be interesting.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles...and Buses

+++ transportation clipart bus

This falls under the category of "things that make me crazy".  The thing is public transportation.  Don't get me wrong--it's a great thing but it makes me crazy when I have to use it.  Ok, so an automobile isn't public transportation but it factors into the story when you have to drive to make your connection, right?  It's all connected! 

So, on Thursday I had to be in the downtown DC office for training.  For those who don't live in a major metro area like Washington, having the 4th worst traffic IN THE COUNTRY,  remember that show Murphy Brown?  Remember they used to drive into work together?  Well that would be because of HOV restrictions on roads leading into the city and why I had to take public transportation on Thursday. 

Let's begin with the bus (btw, there is no plane in this story, that's just the title)  I start out by falling back to sleep after the alarm went off thereby cutting my getting ready for work time in half and let me mention that when I researched this wonderful new county bus that picks you up within a half mile of my house and takes you to the train station I found two different pick up times listed.  Let's just say that I should have believed it was the earier time AND that the bus would be right on the dot.  So there I am caught at the light across the street from the shopping center where the bus pulls in, I'm pulled up so far my FRIGGING MINIVAN doesn't trip the light, and the the bus departs.  For a brief time I am behind, then in front of, then next to the FRIGGING BUS on the road to the train station.  Let me take a step back.  I was preparing to take the bus because the new thing at the Metro stations is that you need a smartcard to park there.  They no longer accept cash.  But I can't get a smartcard because SOME MORON underordered smartcards and there are none to be had.  So I decide to take a chance that some Metro parking lots are taking cash so folks without smartcards can park. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong.  So I head to the Merrifield Metro station and learn that they are not accepting cash.  Why didn't I borrow Fern's smartcard when she offered it?  Why did I go to Merrifield instead of W. Falls?  Because I had the bus thing all figured out, that's why.  Now I develop my Plan C right there on the spot.  Plan C was to drive to my office, located midway between the Merrifield station and the West Falls Metro, park there & take a taxi to the station.  Do I need to tell you upon arrival at W. Falls I learn they are accepting cash?  No?  You figured that out already?  Finally I'm on the right track, literally and figuratively.  Everything is right with hhe world excluding my feet. The shoes I wore chewed blisters into my heels while I hustled to the train platform.  That's what I get for running around barefoot for the past 3 months, right?  So now I'm hobbling down the hill from Metro Center to the office, dragging my computer in a rollie bag behind me (thank God for rollie bags), with my purse and breast pump (Medela Pump In Style, btw) banging against my hip.  Let's summarize what I've learned:

1.  RecruitSoft - that's what I was there for, after all

2.  The bus really does come at 6:50 a.m.

3.  Do not look a gift smartcard in the mouth.  Borrow Fern's for next time

4.  It's time to throw those black flats in the trash

5.  I'm not smart enough to take public transportation?

6.  The receptionist at 12th St is new but she does have a first aid kit at her desk

7.  I can now get to the ladies room AND the mother's lounge without getting lost.

I am all ready to try it again on Wednesday!




Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Beauty Rest

Last night Jackson did not want to go to sleep.  Just before 10:00 pm I left him in his room saying I was going to change into my p.j.'s and go to sleep myself....I came downstairs for a popcicle and to talk to Jeff.  Next thing I knew Jackson was calling me from the top of the stairs.  We had an exchange about him needing to go to sleep.  A short time later it got quiet and I went upstairs to find........

Jackson on my bed, comforter drawn back, sitting amongst the pillows, watching t.v. and PAINTING HIS TOENAILS!!!  It was so amazing--his technique was so good--tht I could not be upset with him.  He did not get one drop on the sheets, go figure.  If ever there was a reason to go around with the video camera in my hand this was it!  Oh, and he looks up and says "Hi Mom!"  His big toe was totally pale pink!


Monday, August 2, 2004


I am so digging this blue font these days. 

Got up this a.m., got the kids & myself ready to roll, dropped them off at daycare, and got to the office at a reasonable knot in my stomach, no dry mouth, no anxious feeling.  I did what I had to do in the office, had lunch with a new colleague, pumped twice, and picked up the kids at daycare by 3:30.  I was exhausted shortly after hitting home but caught a mini 2nd wind.  Kate must have exhausted herself being cute all day because she has nursed twice but fell asleep shortly after coming home and is out like a light.  I think Jeff fell asleep in Jackson's bed during the snuggling that follows the story reading.  I'm glad for a little quiet but awake time.  This going back to work after maternity leave is much less stressful the second time around.  I did miss angel baby but had her picture hung right above my computer before I did anything else today.  Jackson's mug is already plastered all over my office.  I am one proud Momma!

Work will be making me crazy by week's end, no doubt about it.  Maybe I am already crazy because I told the boss today that I am not getting spun up about things anymore because no matter how much I put into what I do it's always too little too late and I have no control over whether people we hire turn out to be giant assholes after they look so good on paper and interview well, etc., nor do I have control of whether they're happy once they get my yob!  Anyway, I said I'm letting this get to me anymore.  If I get so upset that I think I'm going to lose it I'll just quit.  To put it into context recruiting is crazy busy right now for us, I've been out 14 weeks and he's been doing my job, plus his own, plus, plus, plus...  He knows I'm a true blue loyal person and love the firm and just said that for effect.  ha ha @@

Anyway, it was nice to come back to an uncluttered office.  The time I took to really clean house before I left has paid off!  I also feel like the slate is clean and I can make a fresh start before things get bogged down in the inevitable messes they do that it is my job to sort out as the recruiter.  People actually think this stuff is easy.  Hah!  The process looks fine on paper but you have to remember those are human beings behind the "interviewer" and "interviewee" and the "hiring manager".  People change their minds, they cancel, they have unreasonable expectations, they get (I just love this term) squirrely.  Why do I love what I do?  It's in my blood, I guess.  Maybe that's why my friend Kathy calls me Clarke the Shark?

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Mixed Emotions

Blue Moon I have always loved the moon.  My name means moon....Cynthia.  My once in a blue moon is this having an extended period of time when I don't have to work.  One major surgery and two babies have given me these breaks 3 time in the past 9 years or so.  This is different from being's a REST! 

Miss Wonderful Baby does not want to drink her milk from a bottle.  This is all my fault. Well I guess it's some Jeff's fault.  We should have forced OURSELVES to get her started on the bottle earlier.  I thought she'd be fine for when I go back to work because Jackson was great about it.  He didn't miss a beat.  She's had a couple of bottles before and did well with the bottle when we were in NC.  Today though all bets are off and she's mad as hell that I'm even trying.  I've attempted with 3 different nipples and no dice.  Hopefully, Jeff will have more luck when he tries tonight.  She's cooing now because I relented and nursed her. 

My eye is twitching again.  I never thought this would happen to me but I think I might be on the path of those women who return to work for a very short time after the maternity leave and then quit.  I can't just not go back and I can't quit without some study of our finances and a backup plan in place but I can feel it starting to tremor in me like an earthquake.  Just like I never thought I'd leave headhunting and go corporate and then found myself part of an internal HR dept., I may be headed for the part time stay at home routine.  I think it's a challenge I'm ready how to swing it???

To Katherine

I'm sitting here looking at you my daughter and you are so beautiful it makes my breath catch in my throat. Our 14 special weeks together have come to and end but I remember like it was yesterday, how it felt to hold you in my arms those first few hours when we were in the hospital. I have said that your brother completes me but you, my love, are the cherry on top. You are the most wonderful and pleasant baby.  Your smile just catches me by the heart and I would like nothing more than to stay at home with you a while longer.  I cannot look at you without saying a little prayer of thanks to God for sending you, my little angel, into my care.  I love you darling baby Kate.


Friday, July 30, 2004

The Party's Over

The sun is shining!  The tank is clean!  er, wait a minute.  The sun is shining!  Our friends are coming over for lunch!  Today is the last day of my perfect maternity leave.  Do I wish I could stay home another month and call it a summer off?  Absolutely!  But it's time for me to go back.  Do I hate the thought of leaving my little angel all day?  Absolutely!  But I can keep her home with me when I work from's only a matter of time before she outgrows this little kitten stage and is to active to stay home while I work.  I still think daycare should be paying me to have her all day...

So today we're having a pizza party on the patio at lunchtime.  Two other babies and one toddler will be here.  I'm looking at it as a celebration of my time off and I'm glad to have the company to keep my mind off the fact that it's come to an end.  I did most of the things I wanted to around the house and got the rest I so needed. 

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Reality Sets In

So yesterday afternoon I spoke to one of my work colleagues and by the time I hung up with him my right eye was twitching.  It was still twitching this morning!  I kid you not!

Jackson decided he was not going to start the day whining and crying about nothing today and wanted to stay home from "school".  Fine by me.  We had a lovely morning.  Piggers napped in the swing, I cleaned out the little pool and Jax played in the water while it was filling.  I pruned the dead blooms from the butterfly bush and all was right with the world.   A friend called and long story short I watched her 5 month old baby for a few hours this I had three kids under 3 home with me for part of the day.  Piece of cake.  Then Stephen called.  Last night he stopped at the store to get things for our lunch, made everything, and woke to find that his refrigerator had gone on the fritz we had Chik Fil A....but it was a great visit and Stephen looks just wonderful after having had a heart attack and heart surgery a few months ago.  His gift to Kate is a gorgeous off white velvety soft snowsuit.  It's perfect for my snow princess!  Jackson picked yesterday to be on best behavior all day and we had fun, fun, fun.  I even managed to give baby Andrew his bottle while I nursed Kate (before Stephen got here, thankfully).  At one point he and I each had a baby in our arms.  It was so good to see him! 

My eye even stopped twitching!                                  baby bassinetbaby bassinet



Long May They Wave--Virginia Here

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Is it really the end of July?

  Seriously, this was me yesterday when they told me how much the tuition per week will be for both kids in daycare full time.  Don't get me wrong, I knew what it would be but I've never even had one in full time and now two of them full time starting Monday.  Not to mention that I've been in touch with the office and so now have to fight off the anxiety that comes with the b.s. that goes on in any office environment.  All it takes is one weak link at the top and the chain of command is compromised.  I've got to focus on going in (or logging in), doing what I need to do, and then taking care of my kids and my home!  I think I'm really at the point where I'm ready to commit to playing "the game" in total.  It's a matter of survival and I will survive!

Ok, so today started with Jeff leaving for work early and leaving Jackson home with me to take to daycare, or not.  He had not yet let the dogs out and by the time I got downstairs we were in the middle of a torrential downpour.  I let them out, they took a couple of leaps off the patio steps and then turned around and looked at me like "you're kidding right?"  I had to yell at them to "go pee!"  Luckily we keep a towel right by the back door for drying them off.  So Jackson is in his everything I say or do is wrong mode and he's whining to beat the band....about everything and anything.  So after eating a quarter of his waffle and one spoonful of his oatmeal he found himself on his way to "school".  The rain had stopped and today is splash day for his class so he'll get some water play in while I'm here at home searching the web for the bus schedule I need to get into DC next Thursday, calling Verizon about adding a phone jack, calling the health insurance provider about an unpaid bill, yada, yada, yada.  I dropped of Kate's diapers, wipes, and cereal for next week so I don't have to drag everything in with me on her first day Monday. 

I'll be jumping right in to things as my boss scheduled a 9:00 meeting with one of my "clients" for me.  Isn't that special?  That would be right before my call with the boss to find out what's happening.  Does that make sense to anyone out there because it sure doesn't make sense to me.  Luckily, recruiting is still very busy where we are so I'm sort of needed right now. 

paddling clipartI think I'll stop procrastinating and put the instructional video for the rowingmachine into the VCR since it's not sitting right by the TV - and get myself on the rower for the first time.  And I put 15 mins. in on the rowing machine today and on Friday my friend Kathy, who rowed in college, will be here to make sure my form is proper. 

"Chef Clipart"But tomorrow my friend Stephen is coming over and bringing lunch.  Stephen loves to whip things up in his kitchen and believe "presentation is everything." so I'm sure it will be a treat!  I hope he brings dessert!


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Timing is Everything

It's a muggy hot day here in the nation's capital area.  Bad news for my roses again but the butterflies are practically swarming around the butterfly bush.  They are Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and I'm thinking they must be mating or something because they fly away from the flowers and do this sort of mid-air dance thing.  I'm wondering if the males are trying to establish dominance, etc.  Last year I found out that the pretty brown butterflies with the blue are actually the ETS females and not a different butterfly.  These yellow things are the males.

When I returned to work after Jackson was born I walked back into a huge project that involved a few days of work off site and longer hours.  Next week I go back to work after Kate and Jeff informs me that he will be going out of town but he doesn't know which day or for how long.  Hmmmm.  I have a Tuesday afternoon meeting and have to go to the downtown office for training on Thursday.  Anyone want to guess which day or days he'll be going?  And I still need to figure out what's going on with Metro because I'm seeing snippets on the news about some SmartCard that you have to purchase in order to use the parking garages/lots and ride the trains.  I'm thinking it will be less stressful if I take the train so I don't have to deal with timing my trip around the HOV restrictions.  Or maybe not.  I guess that will depend on whether Jeff is home or not.  HOV starts at 6:30 a.m. and so does daycare.  Not that there's any chance in hell that I would have myself and the kids (and the dogs encaged) ready by 6:30 anyway.  But for right now I am going to focus on what has to be done THIS week. 

Whew, what a day.  First of all it was the muggiest day of the least it felt that way to me!


Monday, July 26, 2004


Although I tried to keep the house tidy all weekend I came downstairs this morning to rooms that look like a cyclone had been through them.  That would be Cyclone Jackson.  There is "stuff" everywhere and I do so like to have the stuff put away before the cleaning lady comes on Monday so here we go. 

I'm sitting here feeling guilty that I ate through almost a whole package of Oreos since Thursday.  The biggest favor I could do myself is to leave them at the store.  This is one of those days that were it not the last week of my maternity leave I would go back to bed just to hide out from what's bringing me down.  Not only am I not doing that today but I know that once I spend 30 mins whipping the kitchen and family room back into shape I'll feel much better.  Then on to the upstairs.  Today I will get Kate's daycare registration paperwork done and pick up her health form at the pediatrician's office.  The sun is trying to come out after a rainy weekend.  More later.

Tomorrow we will stop at the dr.'s office to get the health form.  The paperwork is done except for a piece of info that's in a file I can't locate.  The search will be on for that later tonight.  Yet again I'm thinking that after dinner and kid bedtime I will work a little on Jackson's scrapbook.  It looks like rain again.  The beetles seem to have moved on from my roses and butterfly bush but the black spot as reared its ugly head even with all of my vigilant spraying.  It's a wonder that I get the gorgeous roses that I do to cut and bring inside where we enjoy them immensely.  I would never win any garden club prizes for perfect roses on a perfect rosebush outdoors!

Those nasty Oreos are also gone.  I thought really hard about throwing the rest of them away but I did the right thing...I ate them!  I will not be buying them again.  They could be giving them away at Giant and they will not be crossing my threshold.....

Sunday, July 25, 2004

What You Think About You Bring About Cont'd

How long have I been using a computer?  You'd think it was since yesterday because having not saved as I worked for the past hour or so I lost today's blog and I'm not starting over.  It will be totally different from what I'd originally written.  I hate that!

Well on Fri night I finished 3 scrapbook pages and most of a 4th and had a lot of fun with some new friends.  Sat. a.m. Jackson was antsy so I pulled out some new Play Doh and made this frog for him.  I may quit recruiting job and hire myself out to do these things at children's parties.  Or not....I think I'll hit the shower and see what I can accomplish today but first I have to say that as I look out on the patio with the kids' blow up pool, Playskook basketball hoop, sandbox, mini picnic table, and pile of seashells or the toy strewn family room with some baby gear (swing, bouncy seat) thrown in for good measure, I am happier today than I had been for most of my life!  I may not be at Mass today but I'm thanking God for every blessing in my life!My big accomplishment before I napped the afternoon away with the kids  yesterdaywas to finally sort through all of the baby clothes I'd been given for Kate from 3 different sources.  She now has clothes labeled and ready for this Fall/Winter, Summer '05 and Fall/Winter '05.  The too small already things are sorted out, as are the items to donate, and the things to give to S now that we know she's having a boy.  I am on the verge of having all of the residual maternity clothes and no needed baby clothes out the door!

Next weekend's project is to move Kate into her own room and set up the desk in our room.  Not the ideal place for the desk and computer but until we re-establish the office in the basement that is the best route for me to be doing things from home I think.  The plan is to put myself in the best possible position to do a little work after the kids go to bed.  Dragging everything back out onto the kitchen table after dinner is not an option and taking over the dining room?  I don't think so.  If only our neighborhood wasn't the land Verizon forgot when enabling access to DSL.  I could get high speed via cable with Comcast but we recently switched to DISH from cable.  ....feels like one step forward two steps back to me. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

What You Think About You Bring About

I'm frustrated because Jackson is all over the place today and I shouldn't be because a) he was excellent when I took him to the rectory for the Mass card and then to Target for diapers and b) we didn't have any outside playtime because it's been looking like the verge of rain all day.  All he wants is a little more Mommy attention.  I've been trying to include him in everything I do.  This precious little boy loves to help unpack the groceries when I bring them home!

So today we go the Mass card and also talked to the church lady about Kate's baptism.  Unbeknownst to be because I haven't been going to Mass we have a new pastor as of July 1.  The new pastor is simplifying a few things including the baptisms and so we may have some flexibility on the date vs. 3rd Sunday of each month.  Other good news is that we probably don't have to do the prep class again because it's only been 2 years or so since Jackson was christened. 

The pediatrician's office called and Kate's state health form for entry into daycare is ready for me to pick up.  I bought diapers, wipes, and cereal to get her started and will drop them off next week so I don't have to remember and carry a bunch of stuff on her first day.  I have myself on a breastmilk pumping schedule so I can have some in storage for when she needs it.  I need to fill out the rest of her paperwork and submit that. 

Tonight I'm off to a scrapbook/cropping session with one of my friends.  It's right nearby and I'm looking forward to a 4 hour chunk of time to work on the books away from the house --especially after feeling cooped up in here all day. 

I guess I shouldn't feel frustrated but for some reason I do when I'm with Jackson all day and it gets to be dinner time and the dogs are starting to whine for dinner although it's a few hours too early for them; the cat is meowing; I'm trying to figure out when to start dinner, etc.  This is why I'm so hot to telecommute as much as possible and work out of the nearby satellite office more often - so I can manage this dinner hour after work thing much better and not feel so stressed.  I'm thinking we really need to re-establish our home office because it adds to the stress when I have to pull out my computer - have power cords and phone lines all over the kitchen - have the printer on the kitchen table, etc.  Problem is when I ask Jeff to help me with these things he immediately bristles and tells me my priorities are not his priorities and I have to ask over and over before it gets done.  I'm anticipating frustration so I'm feeling it already.

Ok, off to feed the baby again, fold a basket of laundry, and gather my cropping materials together because in an hour and a half off I go!

Thursday, July 22, 2004


As I put down the book I just started and turned out the light things just came together and suddenly thoughts were swirling in my head and I had to get up and distract myself from thinking about....

Talking to my mother and hearing about why she wasn't up to coming down to see the baby - she'd been to Cape May for a couple of days prior; having her pretty much confirm what an ass my uncle is for not letting my aunt come here alone but more importantly for not bringing her here or coming with her on the train.  That conversation is an entry unto itself but I'm not up to it right now.  Oh, and mention of my sister, my only sibling, the one who hates my guts...that sent me into a tailspin ...and that was just the beginning.

I moved on to the death of my friend's husband and remembering him from the old days when we were still in college, going to their wedding, parties at their house, etc.  I can't even put the awful feeling I'm feeling into words right now or think about how awful she must be feeling.  I need to get a Mass card and a sympathy card tomorrow.

Then I dwelled briefly on being at work in 10 days and not being with Piggers all day.  My sweet sweet baby girl.  That thought got me right out of bed to go to her crib and look at her in the glow of the nightlight.  Piggers, Katherine, Miss Kate, my baby!

So after catching up on some world news, reading the recap of today's episodes of AMC and OLTL, researching and finding out that the Japanese beetles are here to stay thanks to those stupid traps (I feel like I'm the last to find out that the best thing is for your NEIGHBOR to have the traps because by putting them out I drew more over here, UGH!) - anyway, after all that excitement I'm going to try going back to bed. 

Before all the negativity crept in today I did have a message from one of my "clients" telling me that things were not the same without me and that she looked forward to my return to work.  Let's just focus on that and my beautiful children lest I get tempted to pull in the welcome mat, draw all the blinds, and crawl under the covers for the duration!

Oh, I almost forgot - my great aunt who is the youngest sister of my granny, after whom Katherine is named, had her second leg amputated today as a result of complications from diabetes.  That will scare me away from the Lucky Charms and Oreos in a big fat hurry!  Poor Aunt Josie has endured 5 major surgeries in the past twelve months involving trying to save the legs and heart trouble added on. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pictures from Corolla


Piggers Tries Cereal Today

Katherine took the cereal in stride after the initial "what the hell just went into my mouth" look.  She was 3 mos. old on Monday. 

About the other photos:

The pool is lonely today without Jacksoni but I didn't want him out of the school routine for too long lest there be a problem when I'm back to work and he has to be there.  Today is splash day for him and he says he doesn't like it but we'll see.  Last time he eventually got wet.  He took lighthouse refrigerator magnets from the Outer Banks to the teachers today.  What a little brown nose he is, huh?  Oh right, that would be me the brown nose.

Photo #3 would be what my "eggplant" you think it's time to admit they mislabeled this plant?  Although it looked a whole lot like a pepper to me I was willing to believe it was an eggplant until I got back from vacation and found these....Salsa anyone?

Received some sad news just a few minutes ago.  The husband of one of my close friends from college passed away three weeks ago.  He was 10 years older than us but still a young man of 53.  She told one of our other friends "don't ask me how I'm doing."  Kind of stops you in your tracks.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

WWJD (What Would Julie Do?)

My bestest friend in the whole world, the one who taught me to take my icecream to bed in a mug instead of a bowl because it's easier to hang onto that way, suggested that I am insane if I take Kate & Jackson up to Philly to see my aunt this Friday and instead should stay home and take the kids to the pool with a tall glass of iced tea in hand.  Well I'm taking Julie's advice and sticking close to home.  This will enable me to a) give this whole situation more time to settle in before I see my mom, b)spend more calm quality time with the kids, and c) go to the scrapbooking crop session with my friend Maureen on Friday night.  Julie also told me where to find her housekey if I did come up and that I should spend the day with her on the beach in Cape May before returning home.....did I mention she's the bestest friend in the whole world? 

Some Vacation Highlights

Some highlights from the vacation -             

We all fit into the minivan quite comfortably.  Two car seats in the 3rd row, MIL and SD in the middle 2 captains chairs, me and hubby up front.  One dog (Big Brown) in the aisle in back; Jack Russell Terror at my feet.  Thank goodness we had the foresight and good sense to get the cargo box for the top though.  It made all the difference in the world.

My MIL being on the trip also made all the difference in the world.  What a terrific help she was looking after the baby while I went to the beach, folding our laundry,  and walking the dogs for starters.  We ate out some, ate in some, she compliments my cooking, she looks forward to happy hour as much as I do, and she just loved being with her grandchildren.  It was so very obvious just watching her with them.

Jackson was afraid of the water - both the pool and the ocean - but we got him jumping into Daddy's arms into the pool by mid-week and jumping waves by the last day.  The last day was picture perfect and made for a really nice take-home memory of our vacation. 

Let's see for some of the funnier moments Jackson learned how to boss Alex around the way she tries to boss him around.  She told him to be quiet because Kate was sleeping and a short time later she was being loud in the car and HE told HER to be quiet because Kate was sleeping.  Before he discovered the ocean would not swallow him alive he had Jeff and Alex running to fill buckets of water for him to play in the sand.  At one point I heard him say "more ocean" as he handed the bucket to Jeff.  Very cute.  Not so cute was that he dumped out the dogs' water bowl every chance he got whether it was inside or out....I read two books - Silent Partner by Stephen Frey and Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult - drank quite a bit of wine and several margaritas, ate seafood every day but one, overcame my aversion to seeing myself in a bathing suit, caught snippets of my soap operas a few times, and bought us all a Corolla sweatshirt.  (ok, I'm pathetic, I watch soaps - why do you think I'm so hell bent on working from home?)  Pictures to follow.

Back to Work

I bit the bullet and talked to my boss about going back to work.  I have resisted thinking about work while I'm on leave.  It makes me feel panicked to even go by where my office is located on the highway.  Yesterday morning I had this thought that I might announce/request (I wasn't sure which) that I work primarily from home (aka telecommute) for the first month I'm back.  So the conversation has been had and it's all good.  I feel so much better about the thought of going back and feel that I'm actually ready for the inevitable.  I mean there was never any question that I'd be going back.  So now I can enjoy the last two weeks without anxiety.  Hey, it's not like I can't take a vacation day whenever I want to, right?  This is MAJOR because I had a heavy heart all the way to North Carolina because I knew the week of vacation would fly by and I'd be home before I knew it and facing the Monday morning question of "what the hell am I going to wear".  I'll be going shopping later this week.

A Day at Home

Jackson stayed home with me today and we had a lovely day.  Just before we all napped we were out on the patio, Jackson in his swim trunks splashing in his wading pool, Kate in a pink sundress under the umbrella, Mom in shorts hanging out with the two of them.  Loads of butterflies fluttering around the butterfly bush - I will add a picture later.  I actually saw a green hummingbird as well!  So that's my picture of a perfect day as I'd imagined it before having the baby and getting to take this wonderful time to recharge my batteries, rest, and do a few things that I want to do. 

My aunt called me first thing this morning to tell me that she wouldn't be coming to visit this week, or next, to see the baby.  Sidebar:  Kate is named for my maternal grandmother and this aunt is her sister.  My aunt doesn't drive, never has.  She would have been taking the train.  We'd thought my mom, who hasn't seen the baby, would be coming with her.  Well she's not up for it and my uncle told my aunt that it's too dangerous for her to take the train by herself and so he is not letting her come.  I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut.  We didn't go into a discussion about it.  I could tell she was really upset and she told me she hadn't been sleeping well over the prospect of telling me.  I asked why my uncle couldn't drive her or take the train with her - these are people who drive from Philly to Florida and back once a year - that's right - they go right past where I live but detour to the east in Maryland vs. going around the Washington DC Beltway.  No, they can't not do the detour.  Scratch that, my uncle just won't.  Ok, so while I was out with my beautiful kids on the patio I had the revelation that my uncle is probably just really worried about my aunt traveling alone.  Do I agree that it's dangerous?  Hell, it's dangerous for her to take a shower every day.  Am I tempted to yell at him and tell him that my 73 yr. old motherinlaw just flew here from Calgary and drove to NC with us to spend time with her grandkids and my best friend's mom who is the same age as my mom (64) drives from the Jersey Shore to Long Island, to Philly, to Fort freaking Lauderdale to see her daughters and her grandkids...of course I had the strong urge to do that but I'm not doing that.  I am not going to risk alienating him when my relationship with my aunt is so important to me and this is her husband and he's worried about her traveling alone.  I get that.  I do not get why he won't drive down with her.  I would love for him to see my house and spend some time with us.  I do not get why he won't take the train with her when she's obviously so upset to be letting me down and not getting to visit.  The man has traveled via public transportation to Ireland three times in the past three years!  I'm not even going into the mother part at this time.  I am too angry that she would knowingly not come to meet her new grandaughter, named after her mother, after saying "why wouldn't I come with Aunt Dee" to me.  I was honestly at the point where I didn't care whether mom came or not because I'd had it with her and her phobias and inertia.  I'm in a different place about it today - and here's where that place is...I regret that my children will not have the wonderful experience of growing up with grandparents as a central part of their lives, as I did.  I feel strongly that my mother is missing out but that is her loss not mine.  I had been feeling that I was missing out on having her here and enjoying her company but I am over that now.  Finally, I was so frustrated that my children were missing out on their grandmother but after this moring I've decided to get real and admit that they're not missing much.  Ditto that where my uncle is concerned.  Dammit I've got so many friends whose families do everything in their power to be with them when it counts and be with them just because. I've got friends who would do the same for me and so I am letting go of this family thing.  I'm finally letting go.  I think God has finally sent me that little bit of insight I needed to come to terms with this in my mind and stop fighting for what I cannot have.  I'm grateful for that.