Saturday, September 29, 2012

Settling in.

I feel like we've dived into the deep end with the new synagogue we recently joined.  My Toppall team certainly doesn't do anything in baby steps.  Sam is in the Pre-K class at the preschool, going 5 days a week.  And, Ian is in the religious school, going 2 times a week.  And I am showing up, on average, twice a day, 4 times on Tuesdays!  Yep, I'd say we are acclimated with the new place.

We've just completed the celebration of the Jewish High Holidays...Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.   Jeff and Ian went to services a few times over the Summer, but as a family, we hadn't attended until this past week.  Now that I have a basis of comparison between our last synagogue and our current one, I am more excited than ever that we made the switch.  It was the right thing to do.

While Jeff and I attended the adult service, Ian participated in the youth service for 2nd to 4th graders.  Sam was officially checked into the child care room, but even then, they escorted the youngsters to an age appropriate service for them to attend.  Both kids' services were 1.5 hours long.  And I couldn't be more pleased how well the kids did.  There was no arm twisting to get them to go.  They enjoyed it.

Sam is absolutely loving her preschool and speaks of staying there forever.  And Ian is enjoying the religious school, despite having to be there for close to 5 hours each week (unless you know, when a Jewish holiday isn't getting in the way of it being in session).

Ian loved getting to dress up for services and couldn't wait to put on his shirt and tie.  When he saw some of his friends wearing a full suit, he asked us if we could get him one.  No bribing needed to get this look.  :)

Seriously, could he be cuter!?!? 

Being a part of this new congregation brings tranquility with it.  There is a sense of inner peace for me. It was an easy transition.  I love that many of the Jewish families we are good friends with made the switch with us.  I look around the synagogue and feel joy that this is where Ian and Samantha will get Bas Mitzvahed.   And I am so happy that if a change was going to be made, it was done with our kids at such a young age. This is the experience I've wished for us.  

What a great way to bring in the Jewish New Year.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No car needed.

Sunday was too gorgeous of a day to be indoors.  It was sunny, 68 degrees and a little breeze in the air.  Finally, it felt like Fall was within our grasp.  Fall is my 2nd favorite season.  Why? Because it leads into Winter, which is my 1st favorite season.  I love sweater weather.  I love not breaking a sweat just walking from your front door to the car.  And I love the lack of humidity in the air.

I had cleaned the whole house, Ian was back from religious school and it was time to get outside.  I came up with the grand plan for me and the kids to bike to Sweet Frog (which is a little more than a mile from our house) and then have Jeff come pick us up and drive us home.  Jeff was more than a little skeptical that we would make it to Sweet Frog without a rescue mission mid-way.  He came up with the idea that we should start at Sweet Frog and then bike home.  It was more downhill this direction and we stood a better chance of succeeding.  I liked his idea, but was worried that if we already had the "treat" before the ride began, there would be no motivation to get back home.  Fortunately I was wrong and we did just fine.  Jeff was not needed to come get us.  Better than that, the kids did not complain once!  It took us almost an entire hour to go the distance of a little more than a mile, but we did it!

I was so excited and felt like we really accomplished something great.  That is until I logged on Facebook and saw the following in my news feed:

Josie's Frozen Yogurt- Fairfax, VA
We love to see families exercising together! We ran into this family who biked 15 miles to Josie's!

And right below this was a picture of this bike-riding-loving family.  I am pretty sure that it took them the same amount of time, it took us.  :)

Really?  Really?  Did I have to see this right after coming back from our most fabulous outing?

I can look beyond this "being-outdone-in-a-very-big-way" and focus on the good -- we got outdoors, we breathed in a lot of fresh air.  We were on the move for an hour.  We walked away from the electronics and no one whined or complained.  Take that family who biked 15 miles to get to Josie's and then has to bike 15 miles back home!  Ok, maybe I am a little jealous.  I told Jeff right before we left for Sweet Frog, I originally wanted us to go to Josie's, but felt the 2.5 miles distance might be a bit too much for this crew.  Maybe next time.

A girl on the go!

Stopping for a much needed water break.

A most delightful way to spend a few hours.  :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

dinner - ain't happening any time soon

Every now and then I really screw up the timing for dinner.   On Friday night, I had planned to make a Gluten-Free Veggie Lasagna for us to eat.  This lasagna is not an easy, 1-2-3-make and cook recipe.  It takes time to chop the veggies, saute them, then mix all the other ingredients together and build the lasagna, before you get to the point where you can put it in the oven to bake.  Even though it is time consuming, it is well worth it in the end.  Plus, I assemble it in two smaller pans, bake one for dinner that night and freeze one for a future dinner. 

The baking alone takes an hour, plus another 20 minutes it needs to sit afterwards to firm up.  At 4:45pm on Friday, Sam and I had just started making this lasagna. Not sure why I didn't get it started the minute I walked in the door after getting Ian from school, but somehow those 45 minutes flew by.  Jeff called about 15 minutes later and said he was on his way home.  I told him to take his time because we were tracking to eat dinner at 7:00pm.  This is a good 45 minutes past the time the kids usually eat.  Jeff's reply was, "Let's go out to eat.  We can have the lasagna tomorrow night."  You don't have say that sentence to me twice! 

It was Ian's turn to pick which restaurant we got to go to.  I called Ian upstairs and told him the news. 

Ian: Hmmmm, how about Glory Days? 

Me:  Ok.

Ian:  Or maybe, Red Robin.

Me:  Ok, Ian, it's your choice.  Wherever you want.

Meanwhile Sam is whispering, "Red Robin, Red Robin, Red Robin, Red Robin, Red Robin..."

It was very funny and a sort-of a subliminal message to Ian to pick Red Robin.

Ian:  I need to think about it a little longer.

Me:  Ok, Ian.  Just make your mind up by the time Daddy gets home.

Jeff (walks in the door at 6:00pm):  Ok, where are we going to dinner?

Ian:  Glory Days!
(You know he picked this JUST because Sam wanted Red Robin.)

So let's do the math, shall we?  Friday night.  Glory Days.  A 15 minute wait.  Sitting down, putting the order in, waiting for the food.  Yep!   It's about 6:55pm. 

Here's a picture of the great, long-awaited (finally cooked!) Lasagna.  Looks yummy, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It's been awhile since Sam has gotten nose bleeds.  She had been getting them pretty frequently and I felt fortunate I was always around to help her and get the blood to stop flowing as best as I could.  The worst it had ever gotten was a time when it happened in the middle of the night and it seemed like it wouldn't stop.  I rushed Sam, who was about 2 years old at the time to the ER, with the blood literally pouring out of her nose.  You can imagine how fast I was driving to get there. Nor did I care about finding a parking spot.  Fair Oaks Hospital should be lucky I didn't make their doors drive-in style.  Everything turned out fine and the staff needed to calm me down more than Sam.

About 18 months ago, we had gone to see a specialist to make sure it wasn't a sign of something more serious and to see what our options were to end them.   Since as of that point, the nose bleeds weren't frequent enough to interfere with her life, we chose to not do an invasive treatment to cauterize the source inside her nose. 

Over the past year, the nose bleeds were getting far and few between.  It had been at least 4 months, if not longer since Sam's last one.  I was actually at a point where I was no longer documenting when it occurred, which nostril the blood was coming from and how long it lasted. 

The other morning I had to go in Sam's room and wake her up to get ready for school.  I can count on one hand how often Sam has needed to be woken up because she was sleeping past her normal rise with roosters internal clock she has in her. The first thing I saw was blood all over the sheet.  It really freaked me out.   Fortunately, as I put her light on in her room, she raised her head to bury it under her covers and I knew Sam was still breathing and mobile.  Deep down I knew it was from a nose bleed, but I will never get over the site of seeing my daughter's blood out of her body.  And the blood must've really been flowing too because it not only went through the sheet, but also completely through the mattress pad underneath it. 

All I could think of was, thank G-d the blood stopped flowing on its own.  What if it hadn't?  I had stopped checking on her in the middle of the night many years ago, but what if I should start again?  And how often?  Once every hour?  Every 2 hours?  That's not a very practical way to live. 

I guess Sam is used to this by now, because when she looked down at the sheet and saw all the blood, she instantly put her thumb and finger to the base of her nose and hold it like the dr showed us.  I told her it was ok, the nose bleed had already stopped.  And then I pulled her into a very big and long hug.

I couldn't stop thinking about it all day.  Seeing all that blood is a sight I will never get used to.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's time for Apple Picking!

It's been a year and therefore, enough time has passed since our last family outing to go apple picking.  Our memory is a bit fuzzy on how miserable we can get and since I am stickler for keeping traditions alive, we loaded up the car and headed to our favorite apple orchard in Purcellville, VA.

This time we actually got there on the first try.  There was no getting lost.  No heated 'discussions' on which turn to take or what exit we should've gotten off at.  We actually had a very enjoyable drive to our destination.  I believe this is the first time in our 6 years of going that we all were speaking to each other up arrival.  How refreshing!

Good friends met us and I got a silent chuckle knowing they had a tough time finding the orchard too.  Jeff was able to get on the phone and help direct them to the right spot.   We headed out to the apple trees and had a wonderful time picking apples.  That is until Ian had enough.  It wasn't Jeff this year.  It wasn't Sam.  It was Ian!   He went from happy-go-lucky to get-me-out-of-here-as-quick-as-possible within 2 minutes.  Crazy, right!  It's always someone and I guess now, it was Ian's turn to be a Mr. Cranky Pants.  The only thing Ian ruined for this trip was our snack afterwards at one of the picnic tables.  We high-tailed it out of there after paying for our apples, rather than listen to Ian complain about how he didn't want to be there.

I think what happened was that Ian was spending most of his time climbing in the trees and got bitten by little nats on his legs.  All of sudden, he became very itchy.  And when he's had enough, he's had enough.

Ian loved, loved, loved climbing the trees.

Look Ma!  I got apples!!!

Is that a monkey in the tree?  No, it's just Ian.

Now, let's get down to business and pick some apples.

Sam and her friend, Ruby being silly.
This is the beginning of the end for Ian.

Walking out to the exit with smiles on most of our faces.

Will we go back next year?  You betcha!  Odds are at some point, all of us will be happy arriving and leaving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's a secret!

The other day I was told something in confidence.  It wasn't an earth-shattering revelation.  It wasn't a confession or information that would shed light on illegal activity or of a scandalous nature.  It was merely a conversation between me and another person.  Then at the end of the chat, the other person says to me "Keep it on the down low". 

That night while getting ready to go to sleep, I started filling Jeff in on my day and recalled my conversation for him.  When he realized I was telling him something that wasn't public knowledge, he stopped me in mid-sentence and said "Stop".   Jeff had no desire to hear any more and wished that I hadn't even told him what I already had.

Here's my thinking -- being married means that you can share this stuff with your spouse.  They supersede any pact or agreement given that you won't tell anyone else.  Right?  Not to my husband.  He has a very high moral code and wishes to not be brought into any third party conversations that aren't public knowledge. 

I argue that everyone would agree with me that you can tell your spouse.  Sometimes you want to bounce off what you heard and what a better person than the one who is closest to you? 

For example, what if my BFF told me she was cheating on her husband, but that I absolutely can't tell another person?  Fine.  I get that.  But, my gawd - how can I not tell Jeff?   How am I supposed to keep this secret to myself and not get it off my chest to anyone else? 

So I pose this question to you.  Do you agree with me that there is an unwritten rule that spouses can be told secrets or confidences told to you?  Now, of course, you need to determine in advance that this spouse being brought into the inner circle will not then go tell anyone else and can be trusted to keep a secret.   

I guess from now on, when I am told to "keep it on the down low", I'll need to clarify and see if that includes Jeff.  And I'd like to request that no one tells me anything that I can't share with my husband.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Changes are brewing.

There were two things I could always count on;  General Hospital coming on at 3:00pm each weekday and eating dinner together as a family. 

Within the same week, both constants in my life took a left turn, when it should've gone right.

I've been watching General Hospital since I was 5 years old.  For the past 36 years that I've been tuning in, you could set your watch to it starting at 3:00pm on ABC.  Over the summer, commercials started announcing that as of September 10th, it was moving to 2:00pm. I guess I should consider myself lucky that they are keeping the show on and not giving it the same fate as "All My Children" and "One Life to Live".  When something like a 3:00pm start time has been happening for as long as this show has, it really throws you off to shift everything up to an earlier start time.  Not that I plan my day around watching General Hospital, but I knew exactly at what point I'd have to leave the house and pick up Ian from school. No more.

Unless Jeff gets caught in a late meeting or I have a girl's night out, our family can be found at the kitchen table having dinner each and every night. It was the rule, not the exception.  I find eating dinner together as a family one of the most important things we do with raising kids.  It gives us a chance to talk, recap our day, go around the table and give the best highlights.  We are able to put down all the electronics and enjoy each other's company.  Take some time and unwind.  Not to mention, this is the best opportunity to get a well-rounded, healthy meal into the kids and have them try new foods.

I plan our meals for the week on Sunday and go grocery shopping accordingly to be ready to make dinner each day.  As each day flew by last week, I realized even if I made the meal, we wouldn't be around to eat it.  I thought for sure, I'd be able to get our act together for Tuesday.  Nope.  Then Wednesday.  Nope.  Three nights of dinner planning that will get moved to this week.

With our new Fall schedule, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays can find us in the car during the dinner hour shuffling back and forth between activities.  As soon as I pick Ian up from school, he goes directly to his next stop.  There is no passing "go", no collecting $200, and no time to gather the family and eat together at the table.  It is a bit of a mess.  The only bright side in all this is that I don't have to cook dinner.  By the time we are all in one place again, at the house, it is too late to begin serving dinner.  In order for Ian's energy level and focus to remain elevated, I've been bringing him a substantial snack to eat in the car, when I come to get him at the end of the school day.  I've been rotating between pizza bagels, chicken & cheese quesadillas, or a burrito filled with bean, rice and cheese.  It's a nice, tasty, hot mini-meal that he can eat on the go and be ready for religious school or gymnastics.  Because Sam likes to do exactly what her brother is, all of a sudden, Sam is hungry too and needs the same exact thing, at the same exact time.

When the activities are over, it is time to wind down with our bedtime routine.  The kids usually need another snack at this point, not a full blown dinner. 

I never thought we'd get to this point where we weren't home for dinner.  But then again, I never thought they'd move General Hospital to 2:00pm either.  Each occurring on its own was a lot for me to wrap my mind around...both in the same week, I feel like we are entering the twilight zone where anything goes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hip! Hip! Horray!

If anyone saw me on Monday, September 10th, they would've noticed how giddy I was.  Giddy with joy and happiness!  My idea for Ian to take the bus to school so Sam can get to her school on time has got to be one of the best ideas I ever had. 

The plan went so incredibly well that we were the first ones to arrive at Sam's school!  Can you believe it!?!?!  Personally, I was in shock when I pulled into the parking lot and didn't see any other parent cars had arrived yet to drop off their preschoolers.  Woweeeeee!!!!!!  We got there at 8:44am.  How amazing!!!!  I even have wiggle room of 15 minutes for traffic, weather, and the unexpected.

I was floating on a cloud all day long, with a big smile on my face.  I couldn't believe I came up with a solution that actually works.  Of course, Ian is riding around, taking a tour of Burke for 25 minutes each morning, but this is for the greater good.  I had to laugh when we were driving by one of the roads on the bus route and Ian pointed out all the stops and loops they make.  Thank G-d I have a son who is willing to help the family out and not complain. 

I am giving myself a major pat on the back for this one.  BEST. IDEA. EVER.  Fortunately, I thought this brilliance up before school started and not during the last week.  Knowing me, that would be more like it.  I want to do something nice for the guys at transportation who helped get me through the system as fast as they did, not once, but twice!  I am pretty sure they don't want to hear from me again.  Maybe I will write them a letter and put it on a happy looking note card so they know it is good mail and not another parent complaining...which I am sure they get plenty of.

It's going to be a good, good year!  Three cheers for making the mornings less stressful. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I feel like the Summer flew by!  I can't believe we are starting another school year.  I am now the mother to a kid in 2nd grade.  OH MY GOSH!  When did that happen?!?!  Not that it makes me sound so old, but it makes my son sound so grown-up. (Don't ya just love that spin I put on it!??!)   2nd grade!!!  And Sam is in her last year of preschool.  Crazy, right?   I am not sure who is counting down the months until Sam is in Kindergarten more -- me (no longer shuffling back and forth to two different places, every day for the kids to get to school), Jeff (no longer paying for preschool - seriously, this easily equals a car payment each month!!), or Sam (the true definition of being a big girl!). 

Here is Ian on his first day of school - 2nd grade!

Riding the bus for the first time!!
I had to tell Ian not to make a run to get on as soon as
the bus arrived, so I could take his picture first.

Our back to school tradition - getting ice cream on the first day.

Sam started her new preschool on Monday.  I did a smart thing and brought her to the school one day last week for her to check it out.  Sam got to meet the teacher and take a tour of where she will be from 9:00am to 1:00pm, each weekday.  Unless of course, there is a Jewish holiday, its the eve of a Jewish holiday, an American holiday, a teacher workday, or something else that keeps her from going for the full 4 hours.
Here is Sam on her first day of school -- Pre-K!
All smiles and ready for Pre-K!
Ok, Mom...stop taking pictures and let's get to school!
A close up of the Tiara Sam picked out to wear on her first day.
In Sam's classroom...a picture of her from
when she was a baby and a current shot.

Sam and her friend, Ruby
Two very excited moms!!
Our Fall schedule looks something like this.  Yes, I will be spending quite a bit of time in my car.  If you need me, just call my cell.  :)
Sam has school Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.  On most Thursdays, she'll be staying until 3:00pm.
Ian has school on Mondays from 9:05am to 1:15pm.  On Tuesdays thru Fridays, he is there from 9:05am to 3:45pm.
Sunday - Ian has religious school from 9:00am to 12:00pm
Monday - Ian has gymnastics from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.
                Sam has gymnastics from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Tuesday - Ian has religious school from 4:30pm to 6:15pm
Wednesday - Ian has gymnastics from 4:00pm to 6:00pm
                     Sam has dance class from 4:30pm to 5:00pm
Thursday - nothing after school
Friday - nothing after school
Saturday - Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!  No organized activities or sports!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Girls with their dolls - Take 2

It's back-to-school!   And with that our tradition continues celebrating at the American Girl Doll store.  Lunch with our friends and all the dolls happened this past Sunday.

I hit a small bump in the road with Sam, upon entering the store.  I had never dreamed that she would be expecting to purchase another Bitty Baby.  We got her one last year, right before we met for lunch, and she hadn't been back in the American Girl Doll store since.  So of course, she is under the impression that every time we go in there, she can pick out a new American Girl Doll.  Uh-oh!  This came as a surprise to me and I hadn't set her expectations before we walked in to meet our friends.  It should be noted, however, that when I explained the situation to Jeff as to why our outing wasn't 100% perfect, he said he thought the same thing.  Jeff also expected Sam would be getting another Bitty Baby.  Who are these people I am related too!?!?!   I thought quickly on my feet and explained to Sam that we would need to tell Daddy that she wants to get a new Bitty Baby.  I said that Daddy would want to be with her when she picks out the next one.  That sounded believable, right?   When that didn't seem to make her happy, I then told her she could get a Strawberry Milkshake with her lunch.  Once the milkshake arrived, talk of the new Bitty Baby quickly went by the wayside.

Oh what fun we had!   We will most definitely be back next September for a return visit.

Yes, she still managed to eat lunch, despite the gigantic milkshake.

All the girls with their dolls.

Sam giving her Bitty Baby a drink.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Riding the bus.

We live too close to the elementary school for Ian to ride the bus.  In fact, we are considered "walkers".  Although, in the past 2 years, I can count on one hand how many times we actually walked to the school; either to drop Ian off or meet him after the school day was over to get him home.  In my opinion, Kiss-n-Ride is the way to go!  It is not rocket science to know that it has always been easier to have Sam securely strapped in her car seat, sitting in an air-conditioned car, rather than risk whatever fanatical behavior she has up her sleeve trying to walk with her from point A to point B.  After a certain point it just became the way we did things and driving to Ian's school was like flying on automatic pilot.

This year, however, Sam is starting a new school for her last year of pre-school.  The school, not only is a 15 to 20 minute drive from our house, but also has a 9:00am start time.  I resigned myself to the idea that Sam was always going to be late for school.   Even if I somehow got lucky enough to get Ian to school, right when they opened their doors at 8:45am, there is no way possible Sam would arrive at her school any earlier than 9:10am.  And this was IF we were the first car sitting in line waiting for the doors to open.  I think those parents get there as early as 8:15am, waiting in their cars for that to occur.  Again, this would be an unlikely event for us and waiting for the cars to unload and move up ahead of us would add precious minutes, making Sam even later for her school.

There was little I could do and I figured that Sam's future college would never find out she was late every single day to pre-K.

Three days before school started, we finally received the teacher assignments in the mail.  With it came the bus schedule.  I never paid attention before to these forms and quickly put it aside.  Then it hit me!  Like a light bulb going off over my head.  Super bright wattage too!  Why don't I find a bus that leaves as early as I need it to and put Ian on it?  I can drive to the bus stop, make sure Ian gets on okay and then with Sam (still securely strapped in her car seat) continue to take her to school ON TIME!!!    O. M. G. !!!!   I think I am on to something.  I looked at the bus schedule and found there is a bus less than a mile away from our house that picks up the kids as early as 8:25am.  Sweet!! 

I couldn't wait to tell Ian.  He always felt like he missed out on the riding the bus to school thing.  This was going to be his chance to experience what the majority of the kids in his class get to do.  And now that he was a little older,  I wasn't worried about him getting lost or winding up somewhere other than his classroom. I couldn't stop smiling at my idea.  Brilliant if I do say so myself!  I  called Ian and he had explicit instructions for me that he only wanted to ride the F6 bus because his friend Eric rides this bus.  I looked up the F6 bus.  It arrived at 8:30am, and was about 2 miles from our house.  I could definitely do that one, make Ian happy and make me happy that Sam would be on time.

Thursday (the next day) was Ian's open house for school.  He was in FL, so I went on my own.  I stopped in at the office and explained that I wanted to put Ian on the bus in the mornings.  They explained to me the process that I have to go through filling out the "Exception to ride form", sending it in to Fairfax County Transportation department and to expect most likely the answer to be no.   Oh no!

I called Transportation and explained the situation.  I was told to send the form in as soon as possible.  Within an hour of emailing the scanned form,  I got a very nice reply back alerting me that my form has been received and it will be put in the queue.  The review process begins in October and I should wait until later in October to hear back on whether or not my request has gotten approved.  Seriously!?!?!   I quickly wrote a reply back and explained, I am already stressed thinking about this coming school year and is there any way I can start putting Ian on the bus the first day of school and then wait to hear if it later got approved?

The next day (Friday), I was driving around town and received a call on my cell phone.  It was them!  It was them!  The very nice gentleman on the phone was letting me know that my request got approved.  Ian could start riding the bus on the first day of school.  He later added that he had no idea how my form got through their process so quickly.  WOW!!   This was wonderful news and all my problems on getting Sam to school on time was solved.

Turns out the 8:30am bus I wanted Ian to get on, shows up at 8:47am.  And this was not a first week of school, working out the kinks kind of thing.  No sireee bob.  Our form says 8:30am, the bus driver's form on when to arrive says 8:47am.  And then she informs me that she is just sitting around the corner for 40 minutes until it is time to drive up.  What the?!!??!  I could've driven Ian to school and had him dropped off and been no better off.  This was sooo not cool.  Meanwhile, Ian is LOVING this bus and doesn't care that Sam will be late for school.  He keeps suggesting that I just leave him at this bus stop and take off.  Um, no way Ian.  I will always wait and make sure you get on the bus.   I had one week to figure this out.  Sam starts her preschool that following Monday (as in tomorrow!).

So, like a crazy mom, I started stalking yellow school buses everywhere. I keep my bus schedule form in the car and pull it out like Quick Draw McGraw referring to where a bus will be and what time it is supposed to arrive.  My best option was to get Ian on the F2 bus that comes at 8:25am.  Bonus, that this school bus stop is less than a mile from our house.  I got confirmation from my good friend who said yes, this bus does come at 8:25am.  I called back my guy at Transportation.  He sounds like he is has no clue he spoke to me just one week prior.   He tells me that I have to go through the school and request a change of buses.  When I keep probing further as to what will happen after that, I come to find out its back to submitting the "Exception to ride" form again.  Ha!  Since I already have this form, I told my guy I will white-out the parts that need revising and write in the new info.  I pleaded with him that I could send back the form to him directly and hope that it makes it through the system just as quickly as it did before.  I know I was pressing my luck. 

I didn't hear anything back for over 24 hours and followed up with another call on Friday.  I left a message for my contact and said I hoped that my little girl could be on time for her first day of school this coming Monday. The woman who took the message said the form will get reviewed in October and to wait until then for an answer.   Um, no. Work with me people!!!  It's not my fault your 8:30am bus doesn't come until 8:47am!!! 

Approx. 5:00pm on Friday afternoon, my phone rings.  It's not my guy at Transportation that I keep bugging, but the head honcho herself who is calling me directly to explain why it is they don't review these forms until October.  The bus schedules are constantly getting revised.  The routes may change.  Times will shift one way or another until they get it right.  And then there is a ray of light and she says, "We will approve Ian to take the F2 bus."  Yay!!!  Yippee!!  Just in the nick of time.  I promised her this is the last time she'll hear from me.  I told her I won't request a bus change again.  Let's hope that I can keep my word.  :)

I figure one week of being a basket case over this situation, trying to make it happen the way I need it to, will carry me Sam's entire year of Pre-K.  Countdown is on until next year when both kids are in the same school, for the same amount of time.  I may have a full head of gray hair by the time this happens, but it will be worth it.

Friday, September 7, 2012


One afternoon while the kids were in Florida, Jeff and I found ourselves at Wegman's doing a little grocery shopping.  Jeff had parked the car downstairs in the garage.  We unloaded the groceries and I told Jeff I would take the shopping cart back to the store.  As we usually do, I take the cart back and he swings the car around to get me.

As I was making my way to the front of the store and was about halfway there, a man carrying his groceries was walking out of the store, towards me. 

The gentleman saw what I was doing and said, "Let me take that for you." 

I replied with, "That's very nice of you to offer, but you don't even need to use it. You are going in the opposite direction.  I can take it back." 

He answered back with, "No, really.  I can do it. I still need to do my good deed for the day."  And before I could protest again, he took the cart from me and started walking back towards the store.

At this point, I turned around and saw that Jeff had already pulled out of our parking spot and was briskly driving the long way around the garage to be able to pull up in front.

I had no choice but to turn back around, yet again, and keep walking towards the store.  This time without my cart.  And now I am following the guy who took my cart.  I am sure the guy is thinking this woman is nuts and is wondering why I am following him. 

I started laughing.  I wanted to explain why I was following him.  I wanted to tell him that my husband said he would pull up and meet me in the front of the store, after I had returned the cart.  I wanted to tell him that Jeff had already vacated our parking spot.  There was so much I wanted to explain and so little time.  I was running out of distance to fill in this complete stranger and to top it off I started giggling at how silly I must've looked to be following directly behind him and couldn't stop.   There was no where for me to go.  I had to keep moving behind him.

Finally, the guy returns my cart and turns to head in the direction of his car.  He looks at me and smiles.  In one big breath I said, "I had to keep going, my husband already started swinging around in the car to pick me up."

He replied with, "Hey, that's cool.  But my good deed still counts."   Yes, it does. And thank you for also giving me a good laugh too.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I wish I could've told my younger self...

So what you are turning 30 and still single?  In just another year, you are going to meet the most amazing man and the wait will be worth it. This man will support you no matter what harebrained ideas you come up with.  He will encourage you, cheer you on and be quick to give foot rubs when you decide you want to run a marathon.  Yes, I know that last line came as quite a shock.  I mean, you could've majored in college sitting on the couch, watching tv.  But this man you meet, inspires you and makes you want to be the best you can be.  There is nothing you feel like you can't do or accomplish. The love you feel for each other is like nothing that can be described.  It is this depth of emotion that will carry you through the more challenging times.  When your husband (yes! you get married!!) loses his job in 2009, keep your positive attitude going for the both of you and know that the most perfect career opportunity is about to be offered a few short weeks later.  This time he has off should be treasured, not stressed about. 

Before you know it, and way before you turn 40, you will have 2 kids calling you mom and living in the suburbs. You realize that when child #2 comes along, your heart expands and there is plenty of love for another child. I know that you want 3 kids, but you will find out that 2 is plenty for you. You are going to take such delight in watching these two babies become little people. They will become your world and not a day goes by that you don't Thank G-d for them coming in to your life. You will have figured out this dinner thing and no one will be eating popcorn every night as their main meal. Actually, you get pretty darn good with the slow cooker.

You put your organizational and multi-tasking skills worthy of an Olympic gold medal to good use and keep the household running.  Everyone is living a full and very busy life.  Your sense of direction is still left functioning somewhere in Florence, Italy, but its okay, because your entire world is now a 10 mile radius.  You no longer want to climb the career track, travel for work or socialize at work happy hours.  Your happy being at home (some days more than others) taking care of the kids.  There is no place you will rather be.  When the opportunity comes along to do some part-time work for The Man, just know you'll get used to his quirky ways and actually become fond of the old guy.

Your best girlfriends will have tripled and everywhere you turn a fellow mom is coming to your rescue, because as you find out, it does take a village. These wonderful women will provide emotional support, give you many reasons to laugh and make you feel like you are never alone in dealing with a spirited, challenging child.  So when you think that you already have plenty of friends, know that there is room for more.  It will be more than worth it.

And grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins become a vital part of your life.  You want them involved in not only the big things, but the little day to day things too.  Being surrounded by family is something that you can't ever get enough of. 

And one last thing, at some point, you are going to total your car in an accident.  Don't worry, no one gets hurt. But, you are going to need to buy a new car.  Although the Honda CR-V looks like the perfect vehicle for you and Bailey, go for the Acura MDX instead.  Trust your older, wiser self on this one.

It's not always going to be fun and games.  There will be plenty of days when you don't think you can't take anymore, and need a break.  Some days when you want to run and never look behind you.  There will be days when it feels like its all work and no joy, but please remember that anything worth having is worth working for. It will make the good days sweeter and the bad ones quickly become a blur.

All because I said, "I DO!!" 8 years ago today. 

And now a special note to my hubby: I love you so much honey and can't wait to see what I can tell my 70 year old self.   Thank you for making the above and so much more possible.  You were worth the wait, but I am glad it didn't take any longer.  Happy Anniversary!!!

Go on, walk through the door.
It is about to be one heckuva an adventure.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pinch me, I must be dreaming

I didn't want to run away.  I didn't hang my head in shame.  I was able to look at all my fellow passengers and the flight crew directly in the eye. I wasn't on the verge of tears or breaking down.  I was even relaxed, breathing normally.  And to my delight, Sam and I even worked on her letters while up in the air.  The journey to come back home was smooth sailing from the moment we left for the airport from my mom's house until we walked through our front door.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was actually possible.  I am still not convinced that it truly happened like it did.  Maybe I dreamt it?  Maybe I've gotten really good at blocking out the horrific stuff and managed to do it while it was happening?  Or maybe I finally came to my senses and became an alcoholic to deal with the kids?  
No to all of the above!  After 3 weeks away in Florida, the kids are home.  And I believe Sam has turned a corner on flying.  She was a dream to sit next to.  She was amazing.  Both kids made me so proud to be their mother.  No one on the flight had any idea on what so easily could've been.  It was my (and Ian's) little secret. 
Was it my friend Heather's brilliant idea to let the kids stock up on candy for the flight?  Was it because Sam got a good night of sleep the night before?  Maybe it was due to Sam being giddy with joy to get home and see Daddy?  Could it have been that she was excited to get the window seat?  Or, possibly because she is a year older since she flew last?  Who knows?  And frankly, who cares?  I am thrilled that something did the trick. 
Never before have I wanted to document us being on a plane before.  Evidence of it being amazing was most needed.  I want to look back at these 2 hours and remember fondly how wonderful it was.