Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flt 11, Guillotine Road, Trough Farm, Observations

So much to say about our trip to England….where to start….how about Day One

Some basic background information for reference
• Elmo is Lucy’s best friend, he goes everywhere with her, has all meals with her, sleeps with her and can comfort her when no one else can… it stands to reason, Elmo went to England with us
• Sue and Colin are Sean’s parents, Nanny and Grandpa to Lucy
• Jennifer is Sean’s sister, John is her husband (Auntie Jenny and Uncle John or Uncle JB)
• Lauren (5 almost 6) and Hannah (2 almost 3) are their two girls, Lucy’s cousins and we were meeting Hannah for the first time
• Halifax is in Northen England and where Sean’s parents live
• Jennifer and John live in Southern England and came up for the weekend
• We were staying in farmhouse we rented about 3 miles away from sue and Colin in Luddenden…no I don’t know how to pronounce it
• Jennifer and John also rented a place about 3 miles away from us
• Yes, we were there for Thanksgiving and no, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving in England….(you would not belive how many people actually asked me this and were totally serious… for the record, they do not celevrate the 4th of July either….those are totoally our holidays America!)
• We don’t have a coffee table at home – I know, sounds like a random observation but I promise, it will soon make sense
• Sue has no siblings but has many cousins she is close with and they are like Aunts and Uncles to Sean and Jennifer and therefore Lucy and I as well
• Colin has one brother (Uncle Brian married to Auntie Sheila) but no, we did not get to see them as they live on Jersey…no, not the Shore, the Island of Jersey which is the most southerly British Isle and is a mere 14 miles from France (don’t be impressed, I pulled it off a web site)

Virgin Atlantic Airways, Flight 11
We flew out without much fanfare…well, except Lucy somehow developed a diaper rash from the time we left the house for the airport at 4:30 and me changing her after she ate dinner at 5:45pm. I did not have any diaper cream in her bag (just a small thing of Vaseline which was not going to do anything to help her rash) So Sean found a tube in the terminal newsstand, paid $7.00 for it and I lost it before we even got on the plane!

I was in the bathroom changing Lucy before the flight when I heard them calling us to board…I panicked (because I had just heard the story about the woman in FL who was changing her baby, her husband boarded and then she was not allowed to board as and they would not let him off so he flew off without her and she was stuck with her baby, no husband, no luggage, no purse, just a diaper bag……) So I rushed the diaper changing job and subsequently left the $7 tube of Destin in the bathroom…..

Lucy loved the take off….she kept screaming for us to look at the lights….and she’d point and say Mama! Ohhh!!!! Mama!! Ahhh!!! Ooohh Mama! Then we hit an air pocket…hard….her little hands gripped the sides of her seat and she gasped Mama?!? She looked at me all wide eyed and her mouth in the shape of an O. She asked for Elmo, clutched him to her chest and just kept looking at me….Mama? Yes Lucy? Oh-no. It’s OK Lucy…No Mama! Oh-no! Oh-no! And then as we hit another pocket, we all bounced a bit, and Lucy let out a quick wail….until I produced a book from her bag and then she was fine.

Flight was non eventful….though Lucy and I did not sleep well, it was actually easier than I thought it would be…though Sean was disappointed he was not served ice cream on the flight as he had been on the past (we flew Virgin….a bit overrated if you ask me….)

Heathrow and Immigration
We land at Heathrow and proceed down a long hallway…turn and go down another hallway….then another…..I’m not sure but at some point we may or may not have walked across the Channel and back…..finally, we turn one more corner and there is Immigration…..

Just a side note here: I am not a seasoned international traveler. I used to travel a lot domestically for business when I lived in Illinois….between St Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and even Boston on occasion. But to be fair, I made those trips during my drinking and smoking days so I was never that edgy….then I quit drinking and smoking and became a nervous traveler…..So I started this trip spooked about the plane crashing/being hijacked/blowing up/luggage being tossed for contraband (not that I had an but someone could have planted it, used me as a mule…) and, afraid we would not for some reason make it through Immigration….I didn’t even totally understand what going through Immigration and Customs meant….Sean tried to explain it to me but I just did not get it…..I know, I know, not a lot to get…I know, I know, ego centric American thinking I can just go wherever I want when I want with no explanation or justification…actually, it’s just my ignorance of traveling…like I said, I don’t travel as much in post 9/11 days as I did before so I never know what to expect….

In my head, I thought Immigration would be bustling with all kinds of travelers from around the World, immigration Officers directing us where to go and keeping a look out for bad guys (I’m totally for profiling so I think I was hoping to see some going on) I thought maybe I’d see an automatic weapon and a dog or two being escorted by military men dressed to protect and kill…..instead, we turn the corner and there’s a whole lot of plastic sheeting hanging up flapping in the wind (apparently, Immigration is getting a face lift) and it was cold, like meat locker cold. There were a few employees milling about gossiping about someone they work with looking quite bored with the whole thing and no travelers….except for this large family (and by large I don’t mean a brood of kids I mean the Mum and Dad were large people and there was a baby I’m guessing a few months younger than Lucy but twice her size) we saw on the plane….and they were the pain in the ass passengers that were constantly getting up and down from their seats, walked the aisle at least 18 times and used the bathroom twice an hour. And every time they went up and down the aisle, they would bump you and then look at you like it was your fault you touched them…..she was British, he was American…and she was way louder and demanding than he was…he was actually quite whipped and clearly knew where/what his place was. She was at a counter squawking at the Agent behind it because he was taking too long to process their entry into the country. The Agent was trying to explain to her that if she had completed the landing cards on the plane, the process would have moved a bit quicker…she did not care; she was a “Subject for Christ’s sake!!!” I’ve never heard anyone refer to themselves as a Subject…I mean I’ve heard Sean say he is a British Subject or Subject of the Queen….but to call one’s self a subject, well doesn’t that make you a noun?

So I was a bit disappointed with Immigration…..I expected it to be more official, efficient, with a bit of wry British humor thrown in welcoming us to the United Kingdom…instead, I got a middle aged Agent who mumbled when he spoke, looked thoroughly bored with the transaction and could have cared less where we came from, why we were there and how long we were staying……I’m pretty sure he was American….and just waiting for his shift to end….

So we get out of Immigration and I’m all excited about entering Heathrow Airport….I kept waiting to feel glamorous because I was in Heathrow Airport in London………yeah, the word is actually way prettier and more romantic than the Airport itself….felt like I was in Detroit to be honest…….

At this point, we’re way ahead of schedule. The flight landed a bit early, Immigration took less than 5 minutes and we waited no time at all for our bags. We thought we’d be at least an hour to an hour and a half trying to get ourselves out of the airport….instead it took us less than 40 minutes.

So we head over to Enterprise to see if we can pick our car up a couple hours early.

Jackpot! We can! We hop on the shuttle bus and jet up to Enterprise with the assurance that the car and car seat are all ready and waiting for us. We start to get all excited as we’ll arrive two, almost three hours earlier than we told Sue and Colin to expect us…….Jet Lagged be damned! We’re almost at our final destination! I mean at this point, I’m just happy to be on the ground… we zip into the car rental place, Lucy is sound asleep and we figure within 15 minutes, we’ll be on the road! It’s about a 3.5-4 hour drive Sean figures from Heathrow to Halifax…...and we figure Lucy will sleep for at least another hour if not longer….things are shaping up! I’m actually getting over my disappointment of Immigration and Heathrow looking like Detroit…..1.5 hours later, we’re still sitting in the effing Enterprise Terminal……waiting not for the car (which we loaded within 10 minutes of getting there) no, we’re waiting for the car seat! The car seat that we emailed 3 TIMES to confirm plus I called once and was assured all 4 times that the Toddler Car Seat would be in the car and ready to go for us. Not only was the Toddler Car Seat not in the car, they did not even have one available to give to us (they had the infant bucket seat and the Booster for a kid but no Toddler Seat)

So we had to wait for the woman “who is the car seat expert” to bring us one…she FINALLY shows up with…….an infant seat! I thought Sean was going to lose his shit (I had already talked him off the ledge three times and was started to get really tired so I was not 100% sure I could do it again….) so she goes to this little shed like structure that is just outside the office and pulls out the Toddler Seat…at that point I almost lost my shit because they made it sound like they had none on sire and she was bringing it from another Enterprise location….not cool. So she gets the seat installed and tries to explain to us how to use it but neither of us can understand what she is saying (English was not her first language) and by now, Lucy is awake and screaming blue bloody murder!!! Not even Elmo is bringing her comfort. There is not a lot we can do except shove her in the car and get out of there and find someplace to change and feed her……Poor Lucy…..merely a precursor of things to come….

We finally get in the car and Sean takes a minutes to acclimate himself to the new car…...where are the wipers, adjusting the seat and the mirrors…and acclimating himself to be sitting in the right side of the car and driving on the other side of the road. We pull tentatively out of the car rental lot and attempt to make our way to the M something or other….Lucy is screaming, I’m confused by the arrows on the road and why cars are coming at us from every direction and Sean is busy going around the roundabout now only the wrong way (direction) but also on the wrong side of the road!!! I’m not sure how we made it out of there but we finally did…………………….

I had a little temper tanturm
About an hour later, we finally come across a rest stop and pull off to get something to eat and a clean diaper for Lucy.

Now I’m grumpy – I’m actually sitting at the table falling asleep and am being impatient with Sean and Lucy…I’m just tired…and that was so selfish given that Sean is the one who has to drive us from here to there…..but when you’re cranky, tired and need to brush your teeth, you forget about that….so I was an utter bitch for about 20 minutes and then snapped out of it….just needed a temper tantrum to get it out of my system!

So we get back on the road (only driving on the wrong side once as we exit the rest stop), I apologioze, all is forgiven and with great gusto, we head north

Gibbet Street
As we got closer to Halifax, Sean got more and more excited, Lucy was just ready to get out of the car and I was still trying to adjust to seeing cars pass me on the right instead of the left.

We arrive at 521 Gibbet Street (side note: Do you know what a Gibbet is? It’s a guillotine…used to decapitate people….my in-laws live on a street named after a piece of equipment used to chop heads off……not that I knew that before I got there but know that I know, it freaks me out a little…..oh and at the end of the street, there is a replica, monument if you will, of a guillotine used to cut people’s heads off….Colin even taught me the phrase “From Hell, Hull and Halifax, good Lord Deliver us!”)

So we arrive, Sean pulls up all haphazardly because he can’t wait to see his folks…..he jumps out of the car….NO ONE IS HOME!!!!! Which made me laugh really hard….and I mean no disrespect at all to Sue and Colin…just goes to show you that our timing is horrible! Colin had just dashed off to pick Sue up from work and we arrived in that 20 minute window he was gone. We hung around for a few minutes trying to decide what to do…..and had just decided to head to the rental place when lo and behold, up pulls Colin and Sue!

Sue cried, Colin bellowed his greetings (Colin is like a cross between a fishing boat captain, a genius albeit mad scientist and a philosopher…..his personality can be larger than life and his animation is really quite charming and endearing so when I say bellowed, imagine a sea captain yelling Land Ho! With gusto, excitement and relief....that is what Colin’s greetings and laugh sounds like) Lucy just looked bewildered trying to figure out what all the whooping and yelling was about.

We visited for a bit, had a cup of tea, and then headed down to the rental place…….

Trough Farm
I loved the place where we stayed. It was an old farmhouse and barn converted and remodeled into two homes (the owners lived in the barn which was connected to the old farmhouse in which we were staying) It was gorgeous! And the view was incredible…when we looked out the window, all we could see were green pastures lined with stone walls and sheep lazing and grazing about….it was just amazing….

It was called Trough Farm and, well, you know what? I can’t do it justice, here’s the link if you have a chance, check it out.

Colin and Sean dragged in the luggage, Sue and I explored the house and Lucy and Elmo just sort of wandered around trying to get their bearings…….our first day ended after we unpacked and put everything away, had a quick dinner with Sue and Colin and then sat about realizing that we had finally made it! After four years of talking about getting to England, we finally made it.

Immediate Observations from my first few hours in England
Out of all the people we have come in contact with, only two were actually British and spoke English as a first language. The others were all Asian (dot Indians to Americans), Polish, and either Hungarian or Russian….

The grass is so green! Even in November, I can’t believe how green it is – and not the same green as here…this like Crayola Crayon Green….like an emerald green that mesmerized you because it is so bright without being neon….

There are sheep everywhere…just standing alongside the road…imagine sheep just standing on the sides of 93 or 95 munching grass and lolly gagging around because that’s what I saw! Cows too and every now and then a horse….…..

And the stone walls are just amazing (I later learned that there are actually people whose sole purpose in life is to preserve the integrity of the stone walls that line the country side….)

The coffee here is not very good, stick to the tea

They eat beans for breakfast and the bacon is totally different and apparently, no one puts ketchup on their eggs because I could not find any when we stopped for breakfast.

People here drive fast! Though I did snooze a bit on the drive north, when my eyes were open, I could not believe how fast people were passing us…..and it’s not like Sean was Nana Driving, he was keeping a pretty good pace….people here just drive fast!

The roads here are the narrowest roads I have ever seen in my life! And talk about tight corners, close bends and blind hills! I have no idea how Sean even maneuvered his way around certain turns and streets…I have a whole new respect for his driving even though I can make it back from Maine in 3 hours compared to his best time of 3 hours and 42 minutes (ironic given my statement above eh?)

Tea really does make everything better…gives you a new perspective, offers you a few moments of solitude, gives you the energy to regroup and go on and is just another excuse to eat cookies and cake

And so, Day One comes to a close (but it might be Day Two as we started our trip on Wednesday and now its Thursday……no matter, we’ll call it Day One)

Day Two, tomorrow, brings John, Jennifer, Lauren and Hannah up from Alton and for the first time in 3.5 years, the entire Sykes-Bennett Family will be together with two new additions (Hannah and Lucy)…..that’s when the fun and games really started…oh the hilarity, mishaps and laughs that ensued……..

Maria, the Mum

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Halloween, Wonder Years Update, Play Dates & We Crossed the Pond

Halloween was fantastic fun this year....primarily because Lucy was old enough to have an idea of what was going on.....and because we were not moving, she did not have a double ear infection or croup

We carved pumpkins Saturday night - Lucy helped by plunging her hands into the bowl of pumpkin guts, laughing at how squishy and gross it felt and then yanking her hands out as fast as possible which resulted in pumpkins seeds and ooey gooey pumpkin guts being strewn about the room....but who cares.....we have sponges and a mop, it can always be cleaned up. We might have had more fun throwing pumpkin guts around than least Lucy and I did. Sean, as always, carved three totally kick ass pumpkins...the best one being the haunted house. I'm sure I can get him to post some pictures

As we were carving pumpkins, she would make her obligatory ghost noise and witch laugh randomly and collapse in giggles each time.

At some point, I thought I could be one of those mothers who makes a brilliant costume out of masking tape, markers, an old shirt and some pipe cleaner.....then I remembered I don't have much of an imagination, zero artistic ability and even less patience, so I bought her costume

Best thing about her costume? It was $3.75...yep, found it on clearance. Marked all the way down from $30.00 and no, it was not one of those cheap plastic ones we wore as know the ones that ripped as soon as you tried to run after your brother who just reached into your bag and snatched your favorite candy bar....the ones that had those plastic masks that as soon as you started breathing got all wet and gross on the inside....and had that weird hole for the mouth that you kept trying to stick your tongue, Lucy's costume was a fantastic fluffy warm puppy dog costume that she stepped into like a par of overalls. The hood was the puppy dog head and the belly had extra padding......kept her so warm she did not have to wear a coat over her costume...which as we all know having to wear a coat OVER your costume can totally ruin Halloween

So we started the day by attending the Annual Woburn Lion's Club Halloween Parade........hands down one of the best parades I have ever been to! It lasted 2.5 hours and had old cars, fire engines, Clydesdale Horses, Harley Davidsons, show ponies, marching bands, cheerleaders, muscle cars, Elmos, Harry Potter Floats, Santa Clause, Mrs Clause, more Elmos, an entire Sesame Street Float, a gingerbread house, Dora, Boots, ......Lucy was on sensory overload and like a champ, lasted the entire duration of the parade (sustained of course by some of the candy they were throwing from the floats!)

After a nap at home, we joined our neighbors in the circle for a pizza party and a pinata (I have no idea why there was a only explanation is the woman who organized it is not feather....but again, who cares, the kids loved it and had a blast) We then went to a few houses begging for candy (mostly just socializing and letting the neighbors see Lucy dressed up) and called it a night.....after I feed Lucy a dozen Willy Wonka Bottle Caps and a couple Tootsie Pops....seriously, Mother of the Year Award is so close I can taste it.............

Wonder Years Update
We definitely made the right decision moving Lucy to a new day care. As hard as the decision was and as emotional I as I got, we did the right thing. Lucy is eating better, sleeping better, does not fight me when I try to put her in the car and in general, just seems to be in a better place.

We know she likes it because when her Dad drops her off, she yells YEAH!!! as they pull into the parking lot, cannot get out of the car and to her classroom quickly enough and says Buh Bye to him before she even has her coat off! She sits each morning at the little table in the classroom and has a second breakfast with the other kids and they jabber back in forth in a language only they understand.....

Sean typically does drop off but I've done it a couple times...and both times, I walk in with her and the kids  yell Lucy Goosey!!!!! And crowd around her as i try to pull her coat off.....and before I know it, she is running around with Jack looking at all the Elmos or pushing the trucks and buses across the floor with her BFF Ryan.

So glad we made the move.....

Play Dates
Having said that, we still miss the kids Lucy hung out with at Puddle Duck which prompted us to schedule a couple play dates.

A few Saturdays ago, Chase and Cora came over to play.
When they arrived, they sort of all circled one another trying to figure out who was who, how they knew one another and just what they should be doing....within minutes, the whooping, laughing and screeches of delight started as the toys were pulled out, books looked at, balls thrown around the room, stuffed animals tossed in the air, cabinets opened and pots and pans dragged was loud but it was great fun.

Lucy had a blast and two and a half hours later, all three kids, and three sets of parents, were quite satisfied with the results and planning a second play date

The next day, we went over to see Catherine. Just as much fun though not as loud
Liz and her husband had just had their wooden floors redone so poor Lucy and Catherine were slip sliding all over the place! We actually had more fun watching then fall on their bums than playing

We Crossed the Pond
After 5 years, a marriage, a child and a house, we finally made it to England......Britannia, the United Kingdom, Great Britain, the island across the Pond, the Mother Land.......

It was my first time going there, the first time Sean's family was meeting Lucy and the longest period of time (3.5 years) Sean has gone without seeing his family.

We were gone for 10 days...flew out on a Wednesday, arrived there on a Thursday (which took me a couple days to figure out) and then flew back here on a Saturday (and got here on a Saturday which again, really screwed with my head)

No I did not drive AT ALL while we were there, yes I drank warm beer, and no, I do not now say things like lift, telly, loo, bloody or cheers....somehow, none of that sounds right coming out of my mouth.

Yes, we went to London, no I did not get to have tea with the Queen (she was out of town and never returned my calls).

Yes I saw the guards, no I did not try to make them laugh (I actually think that is disrespectful, they are after all just doing their job).

No, I did not take my picture in a red phone booth though I did walk into one with Lucy's stroller as I was staring off at Big Ben (yes, I know that Big Ben is actually the bell not the tower clock itself but it is now accepted and commonplace to refer to the tower as Big Ben)

And yes, I have loads to share about the trip...the good, the bad, the ugly and the jet lagged....all in due time....but let me just say this, the trip was everything I had hoped it would be and I hope that someday, when Lucy reads about it, she (and Elmo) forgives us........!!!

Maria, the Mum

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hazy shade of sickness

Friday, October 15th

I'm sick with a fantastic head cold that is clouding my judgement (based on what I'm wearing today), making me groggy (based on the pool of drool on my desk I fell asleep for a minutes this morning) and frankly putting me on edge (based on my impatience with poor Lucy and Sean this morning).

In my haze of sickness, I accidentally deleted about 25-30 contacts out of my email
Then, I failed to save a worksheet I had spent 20 minutes updating
And three minutes ago, I sent a BBC form for the bank to one of the Mum's from Puddle Duck
I went to the ladies room and realized that my socks are inside out, so is my underwear
When I got back to my desk, I knocked over my water which spilled on the Bond for the State of CT I had to have reissued yesterday because the GC on the job lost it. I knocked the same water bottle over yesterday on the same bond...

Author's note: I just nipped in to Blogger to write about Lucy's Halloween costume and discovered I started a blog on more nighttime cold medicine for me. Oh and I feel better. I went to bed early Friday  night and Sean covered for me Saturday morning

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chants, Code Word, Footloose, Mine

He's Alive

Dodo is still alive......he even survived the cleaning of his did I

Gregorian Chanting

Lucy chants...and I find it oddly comforting. I know I've mentioned it before but she seems to be doing it more and more of late and whats funny is it now takes on a sing-songy way about it. She'll be sitting in her crib, waiting for one of us to come get her and we'll hear, Elmo Elmo Elmo! Elmo Elmo Elmo! Elmo Elmo Elmo! And if you sneak around the corner, you can actually catch her bobbing her little head from side to side.

Dodo is the favorite chant right now....though it has yet to trump Elmo.

I am your Father

Sean got his sleep machine things round about a month ago. It took me a few nights to get used to the noise it makes but once I did, I've slept great...And Sean has done quite well adapting to wearing it.Its not nearly as big as we both thought it would be but it does in fact make him sound like Darth Vader.

The base sits on his night stand and is no bigger than a desk phone. It has a little reservoir for water (a personal humidifier) and a hose that leads to the head gear which looks very much like the oxygen mask on an airplane. And it fits over his head pretty much the same way. But the "mask" it self is not really a mask....its more like an over sized oxygen feed that fits in his nose. His chin/mouth/nose are not actually covered, he just slips it on over his head and two straps run across his cheeks leading to the "pillows" he puts in his nose to help him breathe, sleep and not snore

One morning, not long after said contraption made its debut, Lucy roused herself about 5am....45 minutes before we're supposed to get up and get dressed for the day. Rather than trying to get her to go back to sleep in her crib, I snuck her into our bed for a morning snuggle. So Lucy and I were laying there chattering quietly while Sean was still sleeping....on his side, facing us.

All of a sudden, Lucy decides to sit up and in doing so, she kicked her legs out which got caught in the hose of Sean's mask. She thrashes around for a few seconds trying to get untangled (it was like seeing a baby cow stuck in a barbed wire fence...just without the mooing and the sharp points digging into her flesh and drawing blood)  But while she was trying to get untangled, she got more tangled and then yelped in frustration and just threw her legs down onto the bed with all her might.....and when she jerked her legs, and the hose along with it, she did so a lot harder than she probably meant to which resulted in the pillows being dislodged from Sean's nose.....which resulted in him jerking up out of a sound sleep gasping for air and flailing his arms about as if someone was holding a pillow over his face.....which resulted in scaring Lucy who started to whimper.......when Sean finally opened his eyes (all wide and crazy like) he started sputtering and yelling which scared Lucy even more so she tucked herself into a little ball and started rolling away to avoid being hit by octopus arms.....

I fell out of the bed.....partly because Lucy did a tuck and roll, partly because I was ducking to keep from getting hit by Sean but mostly because I started laughing.....

(Wife's note: I am not making fun of my husband or minimizing the trauma and shock I'm sure having forced oxygen ripped out of your nose could cause...if it hadn't ended well, I would not be blogging about it...I'd be blogging about our trip to the ER. So I mean no disrespect to my husband....and its not that I don't care about him, I care very much...he is after all 50% of my blog inspiration.)

Code Word Puppies

If Lucy runs to the door and says Puppies? it's code for where are Ebony and Ollie (the dogs that live next door)

If she points to the TV and says Puppies? it's is code for can we turn on Animal Planet and watch the dog show

If Lucy stands in front of her toys and says Puppies! Its code for I want to pull out the stuffed puppy dogs and play with them, please get them for me I can't reach

If she's laying on the changing table and says Puppies? its a ploy to distract you from the task at hand, don't fall for it

Please, Thank You, Love You

Three new phrases to add to the repertoire......

I love that she is becoming a polite little being......sometimes she has to be prompted but she has gotten pretty good at knowing when she needs to say thank you (like every time you hand her something or when I put her dinner on her tray in front of her)

My favorite is hearing her little "Love you" after she waves bye to me or after I give her a kiss....melts my  heart every time....


Another favorite phrase of Lucy's but not mine...No.
Thing is, she is so darn cute when she says it...she tosses her head to the side, bats her eyes and clutches her hands to her chest while saying so sweetly Noooo....she is so cute that its hard to get upset with her...but I do


Last night I ran Lucy up to see the pediatrician about a pretty bad diaper rash, a hoarse cough and a possible UTI.

Poor thing felt quite sorry for herself and cried all the way to the office (about a 25 minute drive with the traffic) She wailed even louder when we walked in the building and it took the  nurse and I 15 minutes to wrestle her out of her PJs and onto the scale to be weighed. Then it was another 8 minutes to get her temperature....under her arm!

The doctor finally came in and poked and prodded some more which resulted in louder wails, gushing tears and chants of Mama, Daddy, Daddy, Mama, Daaadddyyy.....

When the doctor finally finished, Lucy leaped (literally) into my arms, buried her face in my neck and continued whimpering throwing her head back once every few seconds to let out a yell as if to remind us she was still there. We chatted with the doctor and he finished by telling us he'd be back after her labs were

As he opened the door, Lucy picked up her head and yelled quite authoritatively BYE! translation: get the hell out of here and don't come back!!!

(Mummy's Note: No UTI, bad diaper rash to be treated with Hydro Cortisone and Triple Paste, no croup, probably just a little viral thing or possibly seasonal allergies/reaction to change in season)


Lucy likes music.

For the longest time, we were stuck on the sound track to the Curious George movie as done by Jack Johnson (if you are a JJ fan, this is a great album). Then we moved onto the music from the movie August Rush. Then, we introduced her to Elvis, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and a bit of Jamie Cullum.

She's always moved her head or her torso to the music....never really danced because she was either on the table being changed/dressed or she was sitting on the floor looking at books and the music was just on in the background...Until we received the 30 Children's Favorites to Sing Along To as recorded by the Walt Disney Studios.

It has If You're Happy and You Know It, Shoo Fly, Knick Knack Paddy Whack, Three Blind Mice, I've Been Working on the Railroad, The Mail Must go Through, The Hokey Poky, Daisy, It Ain't Gonna Rain...just to name a few.

We now listen to this CD in the car(s), in the bedroom, in the kitchen and if we don't have a music player, we sing. But when you stop singing or there is a pause in between the songs on the CD, Lucy starts yelling More! More! while clapping her hands and giggling

And if she's on the table, she yells Up! (which in this case means down) and she hops to the floor and starts twirling and dancing (naked, half dressed, dressed, she does not care as long as she gets to twirl)
And if she is in her car seat, she throws her body side to side while clapping and laughing.
And if she is in her high seat, she claps and shakes her head to the side...but if she is standing, she twirls,.

When she is done twirling, and after she bumps into the wall or crib because she is dizzy, she rocks back and forth tossing her weight from side to side while her head moves in the opposite direction....and she yells More! More!


New word in Lucy's vocabulary: Mine.
Everything is mine, mine mine.

Sean says to me this morning, I don't like that she says mine so much, where did she pick this up?
Really I say, you have no idea?
No he says. Why would she say mine?

Try Elmo in Grouchland

Yep, that movie that Daddy downloaded for her and lets her watch over and over and over again....

In the movie, Mean Old Huxley (Mandy Patikin) sings a song about taking things and making them his...or Mine as the song goes. And, Elmo has a scene in which he chants Mine Mine Mine Mine!!! while fighting over a blanket with Zoe...this is where Lucy got Mine!!.....or, she could have heard Sean and I arguing over who got the last bit of ice cream....

Maria, the Mum

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lizzie, Dodo, Casper, and Ira

Lucy’s last day at Puddle Duck was Friday. We treated it as any other day…in that I was not sure how to explain to a 17 month old that this was her last day and she needed to make the most of it and exchange contact information with her peeps so I just sent her to school. I wrote notes to her teachers, even gave them a magnet with Lucy’s picture in it.

When I picked her up, she was fine, I got a bit emotional…..especially when her teacher Liz gave me a little photo book she had made full of pictures of Lucy with all her friends. I gave the book to Lucy in the car and she opened right up to the page that had the picture of she and Liz….and she kept chanting Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie…..she continued this chant (and carrying around the book) until she got into the bath. I added extra bubbles to her bath in hopes of distracting her.

Before we left, Lucy spent an extra moment with Elmo the fish saying a special goodbye…and then she and Lizzie had one more hug and it was all over.

The Big E
We became friendly with another couple at day care: Matt and Courtney. Their son is Benjamin. They’re 10 years younger than us (Ok, 12 years younger than Sean, 9 years younger than me, averages out to ten) and Benjamin is 4 months younger than Lucy but we all get on like wildfire and we have great fun with them (and yes, they will still be our friends even though we pulled our kid out of PD)

Courtney grew up in Springfield, MA, just 1.5 hours west of us. This past weekend, we went out to Springfield with them and hit the Big E Fair (the proper name, is I believe, Eastern States Exposition)

I bought Lucy some kooky monkey bag to take with us to England but more importantly, I got two bags of Kettle Korn.

Because we’ve (Ok I've) been wracked with guilt about taking Lucy out of Puddle Duck, I thought it best to compensate for said crime by buying Lucy something…….so we bought her a beta fish.

We picked one up on Sunday afternoon at Petsmart…it was either a Beta Fish or two cats and since we did not have an extra $280 in our pockets, we settled on the $3 fish and the $8 tank. Sean picked out a beautiful blue one and Lucy promptly kissed the container he was swimming around in. We bought the $8 starter tank kit and headed home.

Lucy and Daddy decorated the tank with stickers (Hello Kitty, Monkeys and assorted animals) while I cleaned the tank and gravel and filled it with water which I then conditioned. As they were decorating, there was much discussion about what the fish should be name…

Lucy, asked Sean, what should we name the fish?


I’m not sure why we expected anything other than Elmo….

Ok, says Sean, Elmo it is.

No! Lucy shouts, DODO!!

Dodo? asks Sean

DODO! shouts Lucy with a grin on her face as she again leans in and kisses the container the fish is swimming around in.

Dodo Mama!

Ok Lucy, Dodo it is, I agree. And Lucy spent the next few minutes chanting Dodo, Dodo, Dodo.

We spent a bit of time trying to figure out how often we should feed the fish and then realized we did not know how we were going to get him from the container he was in into the tank as the girl at Petsmart told us not to keep the water he was in….we debated draining it and then quickly dumping the fish into his new home but then we thought that may traumatize and kill him…so Sean suggested we use a slotted spoon. I’m not sure what made us think this was a good idea but I was all for it and while Sean stood with Lucy on his hip watching the whole exchange and subsequent transfer with a look of fear and concern on her face…and every once in awhile, she would reach towards the fish with her chubby little hands and call “Dodo” with a bit of a lilt and with a great expression of care in her voice.

So I grabbed a slotted spoon out of the drawer making a mental note as to which one I was using vowing never to put it in my mouth again, and proceeded to chase Dodo around the jelly jar sized container he came in…I might have bonked him on the head a couple times and Sean drew his breath in sharply which caused Lucy to declare “Oh-No! Dodo!!!” I can’t get the stupid fish on the spoon….

New plan of attack, I’ll dump the water out in the sink, tip Dodo onto the spoon and then lower him into the tank….so I rush over to the sink, dump the water pout using the spoon as a shield to keep Dodo from falling out and then realize I’ve left the tank on the table….and Dodo is dangerously close to becoming a fish out of water so I stop dumping water, push Sean and Lucy out of my way and dump Dodo into the tank with just a little bit of the nasty container water…..

DODO! declares Lucy as she claps and squeals. Her Dad drops her to the floor and she stands at the table watching Dodo float around his new domicile with a little smile on her face…..

Sean leans down peering at Dodo and says…is he bleeding? His gills look like they’re bleeding….we’ll be lucky if this fish is still alive by morning.........what are we supposed to tell her when it dies? I refrain from bonking him on the head with the fish spoon and tell him to just enjoy Dodo with Lucy.

Bag full of prizes
My friend Melissa told me that when she was younger, every weekend her mother and Aunt would take she and her sister shopping and they were always getting “prizes.” The prizes would range from a little piece of costume jewelry to nail polish, to a toy, to a new outfit or shoes. Nonetheless, one of Melissa’s fondest memories is getting prizes….and it’s something she did with her daughter and now does with her nephews and now, its rubbed off on me because I love having and giving Lucy little prizes. I have a shopping bag in the closet full of little prizes…it’s the Prize Bag if you will…..

Now, before any one passes judgment, these are not things that Lucy has seen in the store and starts crying because she wants……they are things that I’ve picked up when she’s not with me…..and for the record, none of these prizes have cost me more than $2. I find them mostly in the Dollar Section at Target (socks with Elmo, Abbey and Hello Kitty on them, ink stamps of Elmo and Cookie Monster, board books, those silly rubber bandz bracelets) Ok well there was the big bouncy ball that costs $2.79 but that was to replace the one that Angela, Cooper and I deflated while using it as a volleyball so it was not technically a prize.

I was using these prizes to lure her into her car seat when I picked her up at Day Care (in a vain attempt to avoid the 30 minute wrestling match)….I’m also hoarding them to use on our trip to England… know to keep her occupied on the plane and the 4 hour drive to Halifax….and sometimes, I give one to her for no reason other than I like to see the smile on her face when she is presented with something……she really is quite an appreciative little imp…..and it makes my heart melt to see her face light up when she is presented with something as simple as a $1 ink stamp in the shape of Elmo or a pair of socks with Abbey on them…..

Our neighbor Pat decorated for Fall/Halloween on Saturday while we were at the Big E.

Sunday morning, when we took Lucy outside, she spotted the ghost that Pat put in her shrubs and started making ghost noises….she pointed at the ghost and said “OOOOOO” make her voice all shaky and wiggly like we all do when we make a ghost noise.

It took Sean and I a minute to figure out what she was doing and why…..I’m still trying to figure out how she even knows what a ghost is and what it says!

Now, every time we go out or come in the front door, she makes the ghost noise….


Words, Words, Words
Lucy has so many words now its hard for me to keep up…I was trying to keep a list of them but I’ve lost track. Yesterday, when I picked her up she came running over with a Lego bus in her arms and yelled “Mama! Bus!” then she told me to “March. Whats even more brilliant is she uses her words in context!

Let the Wonder Years begin
Since Friday was Lucy’s last day at Puddle Duck, it only stands to reason that Monday was her first day at The Wonder Years. Sean and I took her in together so we could get the lay of the land and meet her teacher.

As soon as we walked in the room, Lucy spotted a basket full of Elmos and started excitedly yelling Elmo! Elmo! Elmo! One of the teachers started talking to her and pulled the basket of Elmos down…Lucy was playing with her while we spoke toher head teacher Georgette (which is just such a big name…a mouthful for me even as an adult so I wonder how the little kids pull it off…)

We hung out for a few minutes after we finished talking to her teachers and more kids started to arrive..…she said “hi” to everyone who walked through the door and offered them an Elmo to play with…

We waited about 10 minutes and decided to make a break for it as she was playing quite nicely with two kids…so we ducked out of the room and made our way down the hall to the front door…….by the time we got to the front door, Lucy must have realized we were no longer in the room because all of a sudden, we hear her crying….then she started wailing….then I started to cry so Sean pushed me out the door….

I cried the entire 8 minute drive to work and after much reassuring from Sean, I was fine. But the day could not have been any longer……it dragged and dragged and dragged…. ….I’m pretty confident that the world stopped spinning on its axis round about 1:30pm and time literally stopped…..

5pm finally gets here and I’m out the door before the clock hits 5:01….and I drive like a mad man to get to my baby. I arrive at The Wonder Years, throw open the door and speed walk to Lucy’s classroom…its empty! I panic..then remember they told me they sometimes move into the room next door when there are only a couple kids at the end of the day….

I approach the second door and hear music and singing and clapping and laughling…I see Lucy through the window twirling….she’s dancing and laughing with the teacher and another kid….I walk in and she sees me, shouts Mama and then grabs my hand and starts showing me around the room..the tank with the three turtles in it! The Lego Bus (she can say bus)! The big box of dress up clothes! The Elmo cutout on the wall!

And when it was time to leave, she gave Georgette a big hug, picked up her new Miss Kitty Lunchbox, yelled Bye! and headed down the hall towards the front door smiling and laughing all the way.....and, she DID NOT fight me when it was time to get in the car seat

Is your car running?
The other day, our neighbor Dave says to us hey, I noticed the other night that Sean's car was running for like 15 minutes or so and then stopped...was everything all right?

Yep, we say, everything was fine....except Lucy discovered where we keep our keys (basket by the front door) and found the button on Daddy's key fob and likes to press it...its the button for the remote start

And she found Mummy's key chain as well.....and likes pushing the orange button on the back of the key fob with the word "Panic" printed next to it.......the Panic button, when pressed, makes the horn on the car start honking...and does not stop until it is pushed again.....

We might let Lucy watch too much TV.....
So we're eating breakfast one morning and Lucy starts chanting something with her mouth first we had no idea what she was saying.....until she swallowed her pancake and then we clearly heard her chanting IRA, IRA, IRA, IRA!!!

Ira is a car dealership chain down here...and they run this commercial with these little kids singing Ira, Ira zero down at Ira!!  Only a matter of time before she can say zero down at Ira......we're so proud....

Day 2
By all accounts Lucy had a good day.....until I got there to pick her up. When I walked in the room, she was sitting at a table playing with a puzzle. She hopped up when she saw me, came over and gave me a hug and then pointed to a little boy (Jacoby) and said Elmo. The she started whining Elmo, then she started crying Elmo and next thing I know, she is on the floor having a full blown tantrum and keeps calling for Elmo.

Apparently Lucy had been playing with the big Elmo doll and had Kylie swaddle it in a blanket for her to play with.....when she decided she was done with Elmo, Jacoby picked Elmo up and started playing with him. Lucy caught sight of Elmo's leg when she came over to give me a hug and decided that she wanted Elmo back....but Elmo was playing with Jacoby....but Lucy did not care...she wanted Elmo back.....poor Jacoby just stood there looking at Lucy.

I tried to distract her with her binky, her monkey and my car go
I tried to distract her by telling her Elmo was in the car waiting for her (which he really was) and that Dodo was at home waiting for her......she did not fall for it
I chased her around the room trying to get her coat on her and when I tried to scoop her up, she went all limp noodle on me

Kylie and Laura, the two teachers, were quite sweet and patient with Lucy and I....both pointed out that Lucy was a bit tired (they're on a different lunch and nap schedule at WY than she was on at PD and she has not quite adjusted) and that this was totally normal for a child Lucy's age just coming into a new school/classroom......

Then Lucy decided she was done.....and came over to me and said "Dodo, Dada, Elmo" She put her arms out for me to slip her coat on and then picked up her bag and headed to the door....

Maria, the Mama

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sssshhh, Whatever Mum, Oh-no, Uh-oh, Round Up

A couple Sundays ago, after a weekend of playing outside both days, Lucy and I were winding down after her bath by watching Elmo in Grouchland.
Daddy walked in the room and started talking; Lucy held up her finger in front of her mouth and shushed him!
SSSSHHHHH! she declared
Daddy, a bit stunned, stifled a laugh and kept talking.
DAAddddy! SSSSSSHHH (with finger in front of mouth a second time)

Stiff as a board, limp noodle
Lucy fights me when I try to put her in her car seat....almost everyday
Sometimes only for 5 minutes, sometimes 10 or 15......the record is 32 minutes (give or take)

We have the same routine when I pick her up: I get to Puddle Duck, gather up her things and then retrieve her from her room. She usually lolly gags for a few minutes so she can finish her snack or help the teacher pick up whatever is on the floor or finish the song they were any case, within a few minutes of my arrival, she is ready to leave. We hug the teachers, wave to our little friends and head to the front door. Lucy leads the way and usually beats me to the door where she waits patiently for me to catch up. Out the door, we open the gate and she reaches up and takes my hand because she knows she does not go beyond the gate without a hand. We stroll over to the car, she knocks on the door to get in, I open the door and she climbs in (as best she can)...this all sounds so peaceful and fun and like a special moment shared between Mother and Daughter right?

Well, as soon as I lift Lucy into the car and try to put her in her seat, she starts screaming. Then, she makes her body go rigid, like a board...then, when she's tired of holding that pose, she throws her head and her arms back and goes limp like a noodle...the whole time screaming blue bloody murder. Then, she'll squirm out of my grip and stand in her seat, throw herself over her seat so she's on the other side of the car from me, jump down into the floor and in general, does everything to get as far away from me the the five feet that is the back seat of my car.....

Its like wrestling an alligator.

I try to pin her down but I'm afraid I'll hurt her. I try to throw the straps over her arms but she someone how manages to get her head in the way and I end up bonking her with the metal buckle....right on the forehead. In the meantime, 5 other sets of parents have come and gone...and couple of them give me an encouraging glance, they've been there with the four year old their hanging onto. Some give me a look like what the hell kind of Mom are you.....those parents are the ones whose kid is still small enough they carry them in and out of day care in their car seat....I used to be that parent wondering what's so hard a bout getting a 25lb kid in her car seat...just throw her in there and call it good.....last time I pass judgement....maybe
Sometimes its only a 5 minute fit, sometimes there is no fit, sometimes it goes on and on and on with no end in sight...those are usually the days I just tackle her, pray I don't leave any bruises and force her into the chair.

I've tried the distraction technique: leaving books or stuffed animals or a toy in the car and bribing her with it...sometimes it works, usually she just uses whatever it is as a weapon.

Sometimes, I try singing her into her chair....

Sometimes I try the hey, we'll do it your way know, like reverse psychology...yeah, doesn't work.

I'm usually frazzled and totally stressed out by the time I got her in her seat...and if its a drive when she decides to cry the 2.5 miles home/8 minutes home....well, lets just be thankful I'm not operating any heavy machinery.

Anyway, I'm hoping this is only a phase.....that's what Catherine's Mum Liz tells me as she went through it with Catherine who is a year older than Lucy.......I hope she gets over it soon....The new day care, Wonder Years, is 3.1 miles/9 minutes......I'm not sure I can handle an additional .6 miles/1 minute of screaming.......

She rolled her eyes at me
We were in the car one day, I forget where we were going but I turned around and told Lucy to stop what she was doing (kicking the seat and throwing whatever she could get her hands on).
She rolled her eyes at me.....

This past Sunday, I asked Lucy to finish her vegetables, she rolled her eyes at me...again....

Yogurt is good for your skin, and your hair
In a vain attempt to get Lucy to start using her spoon, and to eat yogurt, I have been giving her a container of yogurt a couple times a week - usually at dinner because I know she'll be going straight into the tub.

She starts out with one or two tentative dips in the yogurt with the spoon and licks it off. Then she gets a bit more confident and sticks the spoon in and pulls out a glob of yogurt...78% of it makes it to her mouth, 17% hits the tray of her high seat and 5% lands on the front of her shirt.....the percentage that makes it to her mouth drops drastically with each spoonful. Then, she resorts to just sticking her whole hand in the container and licking the yogurt off her hand. At some point, she will pick the container up and try to drink the yogurt...and when nothing comes out, she gets frustrated and squeezes the container as hard as possible......which results in a geyser of yogurt usually landing on her head or in her eye. And when it lands on her head, she laughs and starts ti rub it...because I showed her how to wash her hair and anytime there is a glob of something on your head it must be shampoo so one must rub massage it into her scalp and through her hair paying close attention to the ends........Good job we have a washer, and a tub...and patience....

For the longest time, everything was Uh-Oh. Now, we've switched to Oh-No which takes on a whole new meaning.

Oh-No is used for when something is not where it should be (ie Elmo is on the couch not perched on the table next to Lucy while she is eating)
Uh-Oh is when Lucy drops something

Oh-No is when a squirrel is spotted under the deck and does not run off no matter how loud daddy yells, stomps and claps at it...and Oh-No is actually chanted in this situation: OHNOOHNOOHNOOHNO
Uh-oh is when Lucy tries to put something somewhere it should not be and it does not fit (ie her shoe in her hippo shape sorter)

Oh-No is used when Mummy or Daddy is trying to strap Lucy into her car seat or high seat and she does not want to go
Uh-oh is when Lucy bonks me in the face as I'm trying to strap her into the car seat

Funny thing is when she says Uh-oh, its sort of under her breath in a quiet voice and she will hold her little hand in front of her face, her open palm over her mouth.
When she says Oh-No it is enunciated and said in a loud confident voice...and she stretches her mouth into an O so her chin sort of drops and her eyes get really big....and sometimes she will hold her hand in front of her face or she will tap her head with both hands at the same time as she says it.....and when she's chanting OHNOOHNOOHNOOHNO, she will often times clap in rhythm with the Oh-Nos

Elmo, Ebby, Ollie, Abbey, Papa, Noni
When Lucy is in the throes of a fit, say when I'm trying to strap her into her car seat, she will scream/chant and cry the following pretty much in this order:
ELMO ELMO ELMO.....oh no.....Ebby, Ebby....OLLLLIEEE, Abbey, Abbey.....oh no..Noni Noni Noni.....PAPA PAPA PAPA, oh no oh no.....

Elmo is, well, we all know Elmo
Ebby is our next door neighbor's dog
Ollie is the next door neighbor;s other dog
Abbey is Abbey Cadabby from Sesame Street
Noni is my Mum
Papa is my Dad

Summer is over
Things have quieted down, summer is officially over and fall is here
The leaves are changing color and the nights are a bit cooler
We're headed to the Big E this weekend in Springfield....its a Fair.....yep, we're making another pass at the better have Kettle Korn

Soon we'll go apple picking and pick out pumpkins for carving and we'll decorate for Halloween
I love decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas

We're still trying to decide what/who Lucy should be for Halloween: Sean says Abbey Caddaby, I say Lord Voldemort

We're finalizing plans for our trip to England

I finished my Christmas Shopping

Sean got his sleep machine thing and has been doing great with it....we're both getting better night's sleep

We haven't caught any more mice but I'm not taking any chances, the traps are still laid

Cooper and Angela came down this weekend for Lego Fest.
Cooper and Uncle Sean went to Lego Fest and took over 200 pictures.
Lucy and I took Auntie Angela to Talbot's and watched her try on over 200 articles of clothing, she bought one.
Lucy adores Cooper and followed him around everywhere

Lucy starts her new day care, The Wonder Years, October 4th, wish her luck

We missed my in-laws anniversary, so a Happy Belated Anniversary to Sue and Colin. May the next year bring you much love, health and happiness....and may the first 44 always be remembered and cherished. See you in a few weeks!

Mama Maria

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kettle Korn, The Bloody French, Corky, and Oscar

Going to the Fair
All I'm going to say about the Fair is this:

No Kettle Korn
We missed the Sheep Dog Trials
Rick Charette and the Bubble Gum Band were playing too late for us
Oh, and Lucy almost ate goat poop

Trip Home
Trip home did not take 8 hours like it did a couple weeks ago, only took 5. We broke it up by stopping at LL Bean in Freeport....where some out of control French Canadian kid popped Lucy in the face while his parents watched. Sean confronted the parents, who had no reaction what-so-ever...Bloody French. So we got some ice from the 1912 Cafe and left LL Bean.

The Wonder Years
We have been at Puddle Duck for almost a year and in that time, Lucy has made some wonderful friends and endeared herself to the Staff......but we have been a bit concerned about the environment of late. Teacher turnover has been high, Lucy's been coming home with her diapers on all haphazardly, teachers complain openly about the work environment and at times about one another....and that's just to name just a few things.
So we made the very difficult and emotional (because it makes me cry every time I think about it because I'm afraid we're doing the wrong thing and I'm ruining her life...which I guess as a parent we'll feel like on more than one occasion....but look, I'm new at this so cut me some slack and let me beat myself up for a little bit longer and work through it because I know in my heart, we are doing the right thing) decision to switch to a new day care...The Wonder Years....first one to make a Corky crack gets a slap upside the head.
So if you happen to think of it on October 4th, say a little prayer for Lucy at her new Day Care.

Only caught one, but the traps are still set, I'm not taking any chances

No, we're not talking about me...though we could be because I had a four day grumpy spell....Sean introduced Lucy to Elmo in Grouchland....see Elmo's blanket accidentally ended up in Oscar's can, Elmo went in to retrieve it and somehow opened a door that threw him down a tunnel (which looked like an acid trip) that landed him in Grouchland....and Elmo is trying to find his blanket...I have no idea how it ends (I'm assuming happily) as Lucy of course does not have the stamina to make it through an entire movie yet but it is great fun watching her react to what she sees.
And its been a learning experience because she can now say Oscar.

That's it for now, I'm too emotionally spent to keep writing or even make an attempt at  being witty and funny.......maybe Sunday evening as I'm sure we'll have great fun this weekend....we're going to see my cousin De who I'm terribly excited to "get to know" and I'm sure at some point, there will be a trip to a toy store because I feel terrible about taking Lucy out of her Day Care and I need to compensate...and that is not spoiling her because she is not even asking for anything so just let me do it with no judgement ok? Great, thanks....told you I was grumpy!!!!

Maria, the Mama (because that's what Lucy calls me, that's my handle now!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

JC, AFF, Chim Chiminey, Throw Up and Mice

I've been working on this blog for a few days just seems every time I sit down to work on it, I get distracted, interrupted and sometimes, lose interest....I think I lose interest because I write too much....I'm a annoying...see, this is why I can’t fulfill my dream of being a writer; I talk too much, have no direction, and get bored way too easily (so character development is out and I’m pretty sure that's key to writing)

Earl, JC and his Dad
Anyway, I left off on with Mikel's Wedding - that was back on August 21st.

Last night, Lucy awoke in the middle of the night and as I was cuddling her (waiting for her to fall back asleep) I started to worry about my little sister. Not because she's married but because she's in Hawaii on her honeymoon and is supposed to get on a plane tomorrow to come home but this Earl guy could make it difficult for her to land in Boston. Hey! Earl! Leave my sister alone! Don't touch my sister!

Not sure why I got all worried and worked up about it; probably because I haven't been to Church for a few weeks (try keeping Lucy quiet and in her pew for an hour some Sunday morning). I think it’s because I miss Church (notice I said miss and not missed; big difference) And no, I'm not a Jesus freak who is about to start preaching about going to church to save your soul from the devil....but I am a big fan and go to Church because I like to and because I need to - and if that offends, well, look deeper within yourself because it really should not.

My point is, I miss my pal JC and his Dad - I really need to get back....I guess I did not realize how much my time spent with them grounds me...

No can do, Richard's in Australia
Awhile back, Sean’s boss went to Australia. We were trying to plan a couple days off (or days we could leave early) to get some things done including a couple doctor's appointment. But every time we tried to do or schedule something, Sean would say, No can do, Richard will be in Australia. So for a few weeks, every time someone asked me to do something (Sean, a friend, someone at work) I would say Geez, no sorry, no can do; Richard will be in Australia.

No one thought it was funny but Sean....

I busted out with that line this morning when someone came in and asked me if I could do something for him. I looked at him, paused for a moment and said, No, uh uh, no can do...Richard's in Australia.
My co-worker looked at me all pissed off and said Well when the hell is he coming back?!? He's been there for like a month now...

This portion of my blog below was started Sunday, it was, at one point, 5 pages...but I whittled it down because frankly, I could have kept going and never ended.....

We've never Bonded
A couple weeks ago, Sean informed me Lucy did not like him....that they had never bonded or connected and that he was second fiddle to me....all because Lucy would not let him hold her that night as we were trying to put her to bed. So I tried to empathize with him but he kept yammering on about how she did not like him. I said honey, what makes you think that? He responds by telling me that for the past few days, Lucy only wanted me. Yes, I say, and for the week before that, she only wanted you. Babies go through phases Sean…and she have been through Mummy phases, Daddy phases and remember that week she did not want either of us, she only wanted Elmo? It did not make him feel better so I let him work through it….

First thing out of Lucy's mouth the next morning? "Daddy!" As she gave him a big grin and giggle and reached up for him....but no, they've never bonded or connected.

Papa and Noni
I forgot to mention in my last blog that Lucy can now say Papa (my Dad) and Noni (my Mum)
And now, she will randomly yell out "PAAAPAAA! NONN-NI!"
Funny thing is, when she yells Papa, her voice gets deep, when she yells Noni, she goes all high pitched

Time to get your Folk on
The American Folk Festival was on up in Maine this past weekend. It started Friday, August 27 and ended yesterday, the 29th. As I blogged last year, and as many of you already know, Sean goes up every year to lend his time and muscle (he is way stronger than he looks, and I’m being totally serious). It’s been a family affair for a number of years (Dad, Sean, Felicia, Teresa all working; Mum and various other offspring attending only because Dad could score us movie star parking and free food)

Usually, we both (and now all three) go up…Sean takes the bus up on Tuesday so he can work Wednesday through Sunday and I would follow up Thursday night or Friday morning...all so I could get there for the opening ceremonies on Friday because it’s a Parade and I love Parades…and I love blueberry smoothies and Kettle Korn which we all know, always taste best at a Festival/Fair...I pretty much go for the Parade, the Smoothie and the Kettle Korn.....and if I catch an act or two great...but I am not one of those people who can camp out for the day or drag my chair from stage to stage knocking over old people and kids as I bum rush the stage in hopes of getting my picture snapped and ending up in the BDN (Bangor Daily News) while wearing Birkenstocks, a prairie skirt, and a tunic top...not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We decided this year Lucy and I would skip the Festival...we had a tough drive back from the Wedding and are planning to go back up Labor Day Weekend for the Blue Hill Fair so we did not think three weekends in the car was fair to Lucy - for the first time since 2003, I skipped the Folk Festival....Sean may want to correct me and say Maria, we started dating in 2005, that was our first festival..Yes Sean, it was but I did do stuff before I met you.....and yes, I love you and stuff is way better now that you are in my life

So Sean heads up Tuesday and Lucy and I were on our own from Tuesday night to Sunday.

Tough day at the office….I was behind from being off the week before and it seemed everything I touched went to shit…I could not wait to get home and go to bed early. But as with most couples, I could not sleep without my husband and stayed up way too late watching TV. Watched a couple crappy police dramas....which led me to being convinced at one point there was someone on the back porch...turns out it was my own reflection....I may have a slight case of paranoia especially when I'm home alone

At bedtime, Lucy and I were in her room reading books…every few minutes, she would run to the door, stick her head out and look left and right while yelling for Daddy….terribly endearing but also slightly heartbreaking.

Lucy wakes up crying three times during the night, neither of us slept well

Rain all day...cold, drizzly rain (I hate it when people describe rain as wet....) that soaks you even though you can barely see it coming down

After dinner, we're about to head upstairs for a bath when I hear this metallic sound, like something vibrating. So I walk into the living room and look at the heating registers because sometimes, Lucy drops her toys in there...but then I'm thinking why would the heat be kicking on?

And just as I think that, I hear this loud grinding noise that turns into an even louder booming noise which then morphs into a buzz....I throw open the basement door and the sound gets louder.

I run down over the stairs, throw open the door to the laundry/utility room and see smoke.
Double time back up the stairs, grab Lucy, the phone, my car keys and turn off the emergency oil switch. And of course it’s the one night my two next door neighbors (the ones I would call if I needed anything) are not I call my husband...I know I know, rookie mistake but I was panicked.

He says call John the Oil Guy....right I say as I happened to grab the magnet off the fridge with his number. So I call John and he can tell by my voice that I'm.......scared....yep, I was scared, no problem admitting that! So he says throw the emergency off switch (I did I told him) and tells me that Frank the Oil Burner Guy will be right over.

I look in the basement window, no flames so I know it’s safe to go back in...At the same time, I look on the ground and see pieces of the fan blades from the chimney...

We have oil heat and when new homes were built with oil heat, especially town houses as we live in, the builders, to save a few thousand dollars, did not install old fashion chimneys; instead, they put in motorized chimneys. When we had the oil burner serviced in February, Frank said the chimney would need to be replaced sooner than later......sooner had just arrived.

Frank arrives within half an hour, assures me we are safe in the house and says he can replace the chimney Thursday but I have to move everything out of the utility at 10pm, I'm in the basement wrestling with the storage shelf, tool boxes, storage bins and a Christmas tree stand. Oh, and then I have to move the stupid dumb elliptical out of the way of the bulk head door so he can get in and out. I swore a lot while moving everything

Lucy wakes up 4 times during the night...........

Frank calls me, we have a new chimney and our bank account balance is substantially lower than what it was 24 hours ago….someone remind me why we bought a house?

Pick Lucy up from Puddle Duck and all the way home, she is calling out for her Daddy. We get home and it’s the first nice day all week and all the neighborhood kids are out. We stay outside and play for a bit but the kids only distract her for so long before she starts looking and yelling for Daddy.

We have dinner and I drop her to the floor to play for a bit while I finish cleaning up our dinner dishes. She was in the living room playing when all of a sudden, I hear her come running into the kitchen and she stops short in front of the refrigerator. She starts pointing at pictures of Sean calling out Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. She stands on her tippy toes and grabs one of the pictures that is encased in a plastic magnetic frame, clutches it to her chest and starts crying. Then, I swear this is all true, she puts her right arm up on the refrigerator leans into it resting her forehead on her arm and start sobbing while calling for her Dad…..Daddy, Daddy, DAAADDDYYY.

I’m at the sink doing the dishes trying really hard not to laugh because for all her pain, this is actually quite funny. I kneel down next to her; Oh, Lucy, honey, it’s okay. Daddy will be home soon (yeah right, not for another 3 days, who are we kidding, I miss him too)

She picks her head up, looks at me with crocodile tears falling down her face and wails; Daaadeee! Punctuated with a sob and throws her head back onto her arm. At the same time, she stomps her left foot and holds up the picture she pulled off the refrigerator.

So I scoop her up and snuggle her and carry her up for her bath. She held onto the photo right up until I dropped her in the tub at which point, she set it on the shelf in the bathroom her line of vision from the tub! She took said photo to bed with her….

Lucy only wakes up once....but I'm tossing and turning worrying about money because that's what I do - and I miss Sean.

Lucy wakes me up at 5am. She's crying and when I go in her room, it appears that she has been sick, little bit of throw up in her bed, more in her hair. I clean her up and take her into my room with me for a half an hour snuggle before I have to get in the shower.

Lucy seems ok though she does not really eat much of her breakfast.....which is not entirely unusually…she’s never been good about eating first thing in the morning and often times ends up having breakfast at Puddle Duck.

I get to Puddle Duck and tell Cheryl that Lucy did not eat much breakfast and notice a sign that says there is a stomach virus going around the infant room.....for a split second, I consider taking Lucy home because she may have said virus…..but she has none of the other symptoms and it could have just been a fluke she threw up, right?

At noon, I get a call that Lucy is running a low fever, is lethargic and she is burping which smells like rotten eggs. Crap.

So I pick Lucy up from Puddle Duck and we head home….within minutes of being in the house, she throws up on me....I clean her up, change my clothes and we snuggle on the couch. Lucy burps and I pick her up and head for the bathroom a mere 15 feet away, but she throws up on me again. So we clean her up, I change and we sit on the floor in her bedroom for a bit just relaxing.

I decide I should take all her animals out of her crib and line it with two towels so if she is sick in the night, I can just drop the towel in the wash. As I’m doing that, Lucy….well, Lucy’s bum explodes. Poor kid…’s coming from both ends. So we get a clean diaper, another dip in the tub and this time, I leave her naked (diaper only) mainly because I’m running out of clean PJs

Once Lucy has calmed down, I take her downstairs and make her some rice and toast for dinner
She gulps her water and plays with the rice and eats a couple pieces of the toast…but really just wants to be held.

I’m standing in front of her chair, between the kitchen table and 5 feet from the sink when Lucy starts to cry…and then opens her mouth and throws up all over the front of me. She throws up so much that it drenches me and pools on the floor….I move towards the sink and she throws up again …it hits the floor and I slip in it.

So there’s throw up in my shirt, on my shirt, on my pants, on my face, in between my toes, all over Lucy’s face and tummy….she rubs her face and then throws her hands around my neck burying her hands, covered in throw up, in my hair. Back upstairs, back in the tub, serious snuggle time.

She finally falls asleep and I lay her in her crib and go downstairs to clean up the kitchen floor
I walk down to the kitchen and flick on the light to see a mouse eating her throw up. I jump up on the chair screaming like a 6 year old in a fun house, grab the broom and start whacking at the mouse…then whacking the counters and cupboards hoping to scare it away. He ran towards me, he turned around, ducked under the sink, popped back out, ran under the fridge and popped back out again finally disappearing under the sink. I hate mice. So I call Sean, screaming like a sissy because the stupid mouse kept popping his head back up. Sean laughed at me

Lucy was up and down all night - I think we slept for maybe two hours

Lucy spent the whole day in my arms...and in between bouts of being throwing up on both of us and having diarrhea, she whimpers and naps. I get her to eat a bit and make sure she drinks lots of water, but she is miserable.

Around 5pm, Lucy has a nice long bath...I put clean clothes on her and we open the back door to get some air. I need to empty the trash so we step outside - Pat is out with the dogs, Lucy smiles for the first time since Thursday! We play with the dogs for about an hour - Lucy seems to being feeling better and I have hope.

Until I walk back into the house and realize it looks like a bomb went off.....there’s laundry piled up in the basement and on the first floor. Toys are strewn all over the place as I just kept pulling them out in an attempt to amuse Lucy. My work bag and lunch are still on the floor where I dropped them Friday afternoon and there are dirty dishes in the sink and the dishwasher is full....and then Lucy throws up...and I see two more mice...and Lucy has diarrhea, and throws up one more time.

I call Sean and beg him to come home as early as possible Sunday morning because I am a bit overwhelmed and on the edge.....

Lucy is up and down throughout the night.....and I'm nerves are shot and I'm convinced there are mice everywhere in the house...I even wear my slippers to bed so I don’t step on one or one does not take up residence in my slippers.....

Lucy wakes me up by calling DAAADDDY. I walk in her room and she is standing in the middle of her crib holding Elmo and the picture she brought up earlier in the week. She has a big old grin on her face and starts bouncing up and down when she sees me...

Daddy will be home today I say
She claps and giggles.

Clean diaper, breakfast, we play...she takes a morning nap! I take a quick shower (FINALLY) and get a couple loads of laundry done

She wakes up, is bright eyed and bushy tailed...she's laughing and chattering and doesn’t fight with me when I lay her down to change her diaper and I dress her in proper outfit (figure we should make an effort to dress her up for Daddy...I mean she's been in nothing but a diaper and throw up since Friday)

I toss her in her chair for some lunch and as she's eating, in walks Daddy! Had you seen her face, you would have thought it was Santa Claus who walked through the door - she shrieked with delight, held her hands out for him and started chanting.....Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy!

But no, they've never bonded or connected

I'm relieved Sean is home and immediately demand he takes us out as we have not left the house for two days. We hang out at PetSmart for an hour watching the dogs and then go to Target for mouse traps (my dad sent 4 home with Sean, we bought 8 more. I tried to get him to buy poison and 20 traps but he suggested that was bit of over kill....and here I thought that’s what we were looking for! We get home and Sean lays 12 traps....I still think we should have more but he tells me to have patience

I finish the laundry, Lucy has dinner and a bath and I am so glad we are all together again....until we go to bed and Sean keeps me up with his snoring....and just as I fall asleep, Lucy wakes up screaming.....and we settle her...and just as I fall asleep, Sean snores so loudly it startles me and I jump up from the bed and then Lucy starts crying.....
And I'm still tired

Crazy day at work...I mean it’s out of control and I'm a bit frazzled.....admin is out sick, we have a new person who is still being trained and I’m trying to work on our insurance renewal...and nothing is working as it should be

I pick Lucy up from Puddle Duck and she is borderline cranky - they tell me she was fussing all afternoon. We get home and play outside for a bit but as soon as Daddy gets home, we go in for dinner

Sean finds one dead mouse and resets traps...after he tried to get me to identify the body (jerk)

Lucy gets a bath, we eat dinner, I finish laundry, we sit down together and watch a TV show and then decide to have an early night...we go to bed.....

Sean falls asleep first ...and starts snoring.....bad.... and then he stops breathing, I jab him, he catches his breath, and starts snoring again.......

Yes, he does have sleep apnea, diagnosed back in June and yes, he is getting one of those mask machines to sleep with but no, we don’t have it yet.......

I'm so tired I want to scream. I could go to the spare room and sleep but it’s hot and there is no ceiling fan in there....Sean is still snoring, I start reading

I just about fall asleep when Lucy starts crying

I go get her - she is screaming blue bloody murder. I am too tired to play the "let her cry it out" game

We go on the second bedroom and lay down together (please, do not pass judgment on me for letting her sleep in the bed with me until you have walked in my shoes over the week I just had!)

She tosses and turns and cries...and finally falls asleep....I watch her for a few minutes...she really is breathtaking and I helped make her.

I start to drift off to sleep when all of a sudden, I hear this deafening guttural snort...are you effing kidding me?!?!? I CAN HEAR HIM SNORING IN HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wake up exhausted

Sean sends me an email and asks me of he had a lot of apnea episodes the night before as he’s really tired....if I could have gone through the computer and slapped him, I would have
I ignore said email

Quiet night at home....oh, except Lucy fell head first into the bath tub. She was leaning over it as Sean filled it running her hands under the water and she leaned a little too far...Sean caught her by the foot inches from her face hitting the bottom of the tub...he pulled her up and she was laughing.....

Lucy woke up all out of sorts.....tugging her ear, but no drainage...crying while she was eating and drinking...Sean said I bet she’s cutting a back tooth...I agree and he takes her to school leaving a note telling them we think she is cutting a tooth, please use teething tablets and Motrin (which we have left at Puddle Duck) if need be

I get a phone call at 11:30am telling me she has been crying all morning and is just not happy. And has a slight fever...did you give her teething tablets and Motrin? Not yet...just wanted to let you know if she does not get better, you have to come get her. Ok, I say, I understand. But how about you give her the teething tablets and Motrin and let her have her nap and see how she does. Right, okay, yeah, we should do that
I pick her up at 5:15pm and they tell me she had a blast in the afternoon...full of energy, lots laughs...dopes

Auntie Dodo and Ba (Donna and Robin) came over for dinner.

Sean cooked perfect chicken on the grill, and we served it with salad and corn on the cob...good food, lots of laughs, great company. These two sisters are like the Golden Girls (Dorothy and Rose for those of you wondering) We're very fortunate to have them in our lives.....

So now you are up to speed:
I worry about things out of my control
I miss JC and his Dad
Sean went to the AFF
Chimney blew up
Lucy was sick and threw up a lot
We have mice
Sean snores and
We have really good friends

We're headed up to Maine for the Labor Day Weekend
We'll take Lucy to the Blue Hill Fair where she can see all kinds of animals, the Sheep Dog Trails and hopefully, Rick Charette and the Bubble Gum band

I just want a bag of Kettle Korn........and a quiet night's sleep............

Maria, the Mum

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Wedding, Darth Vader, a shiner, 7.5 hours

My youngest sister Mikel got married this past weekend....which I’m actually still processing because she is the youngest of the 7 Kearns kids and I just can’t comprehend her being someone’s wife…..not for any other reason than she was my baby!

When she was a kid, she used to climb into bed with me, I took her everywhere with me when I was in High School. When I did not get a part in the school play, she bought me an orange dinosaur to cheer me up (which I still have, it’s now 23 almost 24 years old). She was there when I was dropped off at College and came back for my Graduation. She wrote me letters and drew pictures for me while I was away; I still have all of them. She was the one I called when I made the move from IL to MA and was having a meltdown because I could not get everything packed...she was 17/18 years old and talked me off the ledge...and never told anyone how much I swore or that I cried!

Mikel helped me paint my apartment, celebrate my 30th birthday and nursed me through a breakup with what’s his name. Mikel has kept my secrets and grounded me when I’ve started to take myself and the world too seriously.

Mikel was there was Lucy was born....gave Lucy her own dinosaur.....and then agreed to be Lucy's Godmother.......

And now she is married……to a Yankees fan….

Quite some time ago, Mikel asked her 5 sisters, her sister in law, her future sister in law and her best friend to stand up for her. We all agreed. She also asked her brother to stand up for Winston; he agreed.
So that’s 8 maids a milking, 8 groomsmen ushering, one bride a blushing, one groom a grinning, 4 parents (his and hers) beaming and 140+ guest a coming…..

We wore floor length navy blue dresses with closed toed shoes (I mention this because I was super excited I did not have to shave my legs or get a pedi). The groom and his groomsmen wore tuxes with a vest and Mikel wore an ivory strapless dress with a ruched bodice. We all looked stunning (hair done, make up done, double sided tape and pins strategically placed….)

Rehearsal dinner was Friday at the Sea Dog (a New England dinner….no, not beans, hot dogs and brown bread; clam chowder, mussels, and a steamed lobster with corn on the cob and corn bread!)

Mass was at St John’s in Bangor, the Reception was at the Hilton in Bangor.

Now as we all know, planning a wedding is stressful enough; but planning it with such a large party is even more stress….and there were a few tears, snipes and snaps along the way but for Mikel had every detail planed right down to a classy T – and it was, hands down, one of the best Weddings I have ever been to.

Highlights of the Wedding Week:

John (brother) and his family arrived the Saturday, August 14 from Tulsa, OK. He, Christina, Jack (6), Gregory (4) and Alexander (almost 2) stayed with us Saturday night. We had a cookout, walked down to Mr Charlie’s for ice cream and the camped out on the living room floor (ok, it was an impromptu camp out as we went to blow up the air mattress and discovered the pump was broken)

We (Sean, Lucy and I) got to stay with Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill.
Auntie M gave Lucy a pail…she filled it with acorns collected in the driveway…and rocks.

Thursday night, we had a cookout down at Mum and Dad’s house. It was great fun to watch all the cousins: Cooper, Jack, Gregory, Alexander and Lucy playing together…..until Lucy fell off the deck and scraped her face on the patio stone….wicked shiner for the Wedding. She’s tough though; she cried for 15 seconds and then demanded to be put back down so she could keep playing with Alexander.

We went out to UB’s farm in Newburgh (Home of Rickey Craven) for a long walk (an expotition, just like Pooh went on with all his friends to find the North Pole). We saw turkey feathers, UB’s gardens, a brook and collected lots and lots of rocks

The morning of said long walk, we were waiting for Christina so we could head to the Farm…I said to Jack, does your Mum always take so long?
Yeah, he replied, with his hands in his pockets as he was kicking at stones…….but Daddy takes longer

On the actual Wedding Day, Jack, Gregory and Alexander came down to Mum and Dad’s house while we were getting ready. The boys were all dressed in their suits.
Jack, I said, you look really nice…he responds with Yeah well if I had a mask on, I’d totally look like Darth Vader!

Speaking of Darth Vader, Jack does a great Darth Vader impression, you know, the breathing thing? He taught Lucy…..she’s been busting out with it at random moments….

When we were walking down the aisle at the start of the Wedding, I of course scanned the crowd for Sean and Lucy. And there they were…Sean looking handsome in his blue silk jacket holding Lucy who was dressed in a little flouncy white dress adorned with a pink flower at her waist. And in her hair, her Dad had strategically placed a white and pink bow…and I swear I heard her call Mama…but I think it was actually someone coughing.

In the middle of the Mass, the part where they were exchaning vows, someone was making monkey noises....

Lucy had a blast at the Reception; she dominated the dance floor….of course it was during the cocktail hour and there was no dance music playing but she twirled away

During the best man’s toast, we were all sitting at our tables listening with silly grins on our faces….there was a moment of poignant silence in the middle of the best man’s speech as he had just said something really nice when Lucy yells out…MAMA!!! She said Mama! We clapped at our table, a couple of people congratulated me and Lucy kept calling me Mama……Now she won’t leave me alone…..

We drove back to Boston on Sunday; 7.5 hours of car time…usually a 4 hour drive. Not really a highlight but totally worth mentioning. I’ve been making this drive back and forth for 10 years now and have never seen the traffic this bad. We usually don’t pick up traffic until Portland; Sunday, the traffic started in Bangor……and continued all the way home…absolutely brutal trip. Sean and Lucy both lost their shit in Portland….we stopped in Scarborough for about 15 minutes and then got back on the road…only to sit for the next 3.5 hours in traffic….then they really lost it at the ME/NH border so we stopped for dinner and crawled the rest of the way home……

So my youngest sister is married, Lucy’s shiner has faded and she’s finally saying Mama

Sean is back up in Maine getting his folk on and last night, our chimney broke…but that is another blog…

Maria, the Mum

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fruit Loops, Dad's Boxers, a Play Date with (blank)

Fruit Loops
When I picked Lucy up last night, there was a little bracelet in her box made out of fruit loops (it's Learn About Circles week in the Toddler Room) I was all excited about bringing home her first piece of crafted jewelry. I went into the Toddler Room to get Lucy and she was hanging out with her teacher Liz and helping her pick up the toys.
Liz and I were chatting and Lucy worked the Fruit Loop bracelet out of my right hand and slipped it on her wrist. 2 minutes later, we go to leave and I look down to see Lucy bite the LAST FRUIT LOOP of the bracelet off smiling as she swallows and says MMMMM!!!

Best Birthday Gift Ever
Lucy gave me a 40 minute temper tantrum for my was the best gift I received. The Pandora bracelet Sean gave me was a close second.

Dad’s Boxers
So remember how I said I had connected with the Mum of an old childhood friend? Well, she just reminded me that when we were younger, we (and by that I mean we his daughters) used to take my Dad's boxer and sew them shut so we could wear them as shorts! And then we'd throw them in the wash and they'd get put back in his drawer…...Seems to me I also remember stealing his button down oxford shirts to wear…..

Uncle Michael married into our family. And when they divorced, he stayed in our family

When we were kids, we used to spend time at Uncle Michael's each summer.
For some of us, it was weeks at a time; for others it was a few days here and there.
All I know is this:
Whenever you were with Uncle Michael, you ate steamed hot dogs (he got tired of making us lunch so he would just throw hotdogs and buns in the steamer and we’d eat them throughout the day), watched Hill Street Blues and F Troop, were surrounded by Playboys in the bathroom, never got in trouble with him, got scared by Mrs Grace Peasley, made forts in the living room, and were allowed to play with things you probably would not be allowed to under normal circumstances (power tools, hide and seek in the coal bin, driving the truck)......

Sean, Lucy and I spent the weekend with Uncle Michael and Maureen (Nennie) at their home in Barrington, NH. It’s a great little house on a lake and it could not have been any more relaxing than it was. Lucy was so relaxed she fell asleep while we were paddling in the lake!

And Uncle Michael is still the same (albeit sober) He built a FROG (Furnished Room Above Garage) and stocked the bathroom in there with Playboys (bottom drawer of the vanity if you’re looking for them). He let Lucy "drive" the boat and ring the captain’s bell as many times as she wanted and told Lucy that Mrs Peasley had moved with him to Barrington....she may not have understood but I did!

Sean got to sail, Lucy got to dig in the sand and brought home at least a dozen more rocks for her collection and I got to simply be and enjoy

Yeah, No!
So Lucy's new thing is saying "yeah" to everything while nodding her head.
A week or so ago, everything was "no" with am empathic shake of her it’s nice to see her being so positive.
Hey Lucy, want to go play outside?
Nod and a smile with an excited Yeah!
Lucy, want to go up and take a bath?
She runs for the stairs while nodding her head and says Yeah!
Lucy, want to read a story?
Yeah! she says as she nods her head while reaching for the books in the box next to her toys
Lucy, can you say Mummy?
She looks up, smiles like the imp she is and says.....with a shake of her head.....NO!

Laughing String
We've booked our tickets to go to England. The Sykes Family will finally get to meet Lucy.....Sean is terribly excited as am I despite my irrational fear of flying. We'll visit family, some friends of Sean’s and his old school...Giggleswick....which I think is quite funny to say...I think its funnier when I say Laughing String but only I think that’s funny...I'm just hoping to see where Beatrix Potter used to live and write.

Anyway, we’re going in November.....I know it is not the best time of year weather wise but frankly, it was the most cost efficient and the easiest time for us both to be off work for an extended period of, it saves me the cost of shipping our Christmas gifts!

A Play Date with ________
Last night, I went to Target to pick up a few things.
I pulled into a parking spot and was going to get out of the car when this big old Hummer pulld into the spot next to me....and he parked so close, I could not open my door! I made eye contact with the driver and gestured to the door; he laughed at me, shrugged his shoulders and scurried into the store. Who does that? I don’t even know what to say… I move to a new spot.

I head in to the Customer Service desk and am in such a state of flurry and bewilderment I misplace the receipt for the item I need to return.
Now I know at Target, if you paid with a card and the purchase was in the past 30 days, they can actually access the receipt and you can return things without having said receipt.
I ask the girl to do so and she says Nope, I need the receipt.
But I know you can do this I say, could you please try?
Nope, I need the receipt.
So I’m thinking you little snot nosed twit! I ask her again nicely
She refuses
I call over the manager who happens to be standing there and I explain that I have misplaced the receipt but have the card I made the purchase on could I please return the item
She says of course we can do that
So I say thank you so much but I think you should know, this young lady refused to help me. She would not let me return the item insisting I needed the receipt.
And would you believe the young girl looks at me and says
Why do you have to be such a narc?

Then I go the baby section. I swing into an aisle and this woman says, I think I know you. You look very familiar.

I'm sorry, I say, I'm not sure who you are...but I do have one of those faces…..
I don't even know what that means but I’ve heard it used in movies and it always seems to get the fugitive out of whatever situation s/he's in so I thought it would work for me.
I continue shopping

She catches up with me in the next aisle and says
You do look awfully familiar, how do we know each other?

I just smile and keep moving muttering I'm not sure we do.......
So I turn the corner into the diaper asile and bam! There she is

I know how I know you! You're Lucy's mother! From Puddle Duck!

What? Puddle Duck? Yes, Lucy's my daughter.

I knew I knew you! Yeah, my __________ is at Puddle Duck…....and _________ just loves Lucy! Every day, Lucy waves hello to us and then waves goodbye when I come back at night! She has changed so much and she is just so cute…...can you believe how blonde she is? How is she blond you have dark hair? So how do you like Puddle Duck? We love it!! _____________has learned so much.....and just adjusted so nicely (to what I have no idea..)

Now, I'm leaving blanks because I have no idea what she said her child’s name was and have no idea who she is - I think she said her name at one point but frankly, I just wanted to get diapers so I could go home and have leftover birthday cake!

And for 20 minutes, she went on and on and on about her child, Puddle Duck and Lucy and babies and diapers and changes and baby talk and blah blah blah

Normally, I love talking about Lucy but it's been a tough week at work, I have a ton of laundry to do and I left Sean home alone with the leftover chocolate, I had just been boxed in by a Hummer, called a Narc and at some point, tripped over my own foot causing me to stretch a little too far and I think I may have pulled something...really, I just want to go home....

She was still chattering away so I try to extract myself by saying something about having to get home to do the place cards and program for my sister’s wedding (ok not entirely true….I mean my sister is getting married but Sean is doing the program, not me and I’m not doing the place cards, I just suggested some to her….but God understands…I think he could tell I was desperate…)

Well she latches on to that and starts talking about her wedding(s) and another 5 minutes pass before I say it’s been lovely chatting with you (I said it was lovely chatting with you?!?!? What the %$#&?!?!) but I really need to be going.

We really should get _________and Lucy together for a play date

Sure I say (anything to get out of there!)

So I think I may have made a play date for Lucy with _______
I’m just going to apologize in advance for standing them up…………sorry.

Maria, the Mum