Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Good Night!"

Last night I got to choose the bedtime story, I'm pretty consistent with my selection, I almost always pick "How do Dinosaurs say Good Night?" - it's an amazingly illustrated story - a classic. Anyway, Avery asked if he could read it to Amelle and I, which I gladly agreed to. I then decided it would be fun for the kids if I acted it out while Avery read it - I was wrong, the only one I entertained with my grossly over-animated gestures was myself. Anyway...get to the point of the blog already...right?

The gem came at the very end of the book. Avery read, ...they tuck in their tails and whispered "good night!" and then busted out in laughter. I mean a really hardy belly laugh, "Mom isn't that funny, they whispered "Good Night!" They must've been like "Good Night!" he said in a whisper, but with all kinds of enthusiasm, because it was followed by an exclamation point, then he giggled and repeated it a few times, giggling in between each one until he had me laughing and trying to whisper "Good Night!".'s truly the simple things in life. Kids are so awesome, it reminds me what an honor it is to be a parent.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Now I know what you people were talking about

I'm exhausted. It's 9:30 pm and I'm about to pass out. Today was my first day at my new job. Great job, I love it..I've never seen so many people happy to see an HR person - amazing - my desk had cards signed by everyone and a plant, lunch dates fill my calendar the rest of the week - it's nuts. But that's not the point of this blog - just my tired mind going off track.

Anyway, everyone used to tell me "I don't know how you do it - 3 kids, full time work, school...I just don't know how you do it". I really never knew what the big deal was. Now I know. As of today, I officially have no idea how I did it - it must've been the Lord.

My day started innocently enough - I got up at the crack of dawn (5:30ish with Amaya). I got the kids lunches ready and got them all dressed and out the door, then headed out myself at 7:30. No problem. Had a great commute - okay, it was just okay, because I had Jermaine's car and I couldn't figure out how to get the radio on (since his ipod was at home) and had to sit in silence until I randomly hit a button and NPR came on. Then I had to listen to NPR for the remaining 35 minutes - which stunk, since it repeats itself every 10 minutes. No traffic though - just a bunch of pine trees.

By the time I arrived home at 6:40 I was so hungry I thought I'd skip the whole meal preparation thing and just eat the refrigerator. But before I could do that, I had to feed 2 out of 3 kids, hold Amaya who was excited to see me and give each child a little one on one (I must stress "a little"). It was Amelle's first day of Kindergarten, so I wanted the details on that. Then I had to prepare their lunches for tomorrow and get all their clothes together for the next morning, then bathe them, then read them a story, then put them to sleep, do a load of laundry, clean up the dinner mess, then chat with Avery who has made it a habit of coming downstairs to chat for a few minutes after I put him to bed, then say "Hello" to my husband, then answer personal e-mails and now blog and soon go to sleep. I'm pooped.

How I ever squeezed school in, I'll never know.

Now I finally understand how people could never understand how I did it. It was definitely the Lord.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Ramblings

Church is so good. I would imagine that even non-believers would benefit from the sermons, but I don’t know, maybe that’s the Spirit in me talking. Today we were challenged to ponder whether or not we want to live a life like Elijah – leaving a legacy, living for the Lord, or if we want to live a life of earthy comfort like Solomon. I want both. The Spirit in me wants me to live like Elijah, but since I’m an earthly creation, I enjoy earthly comforts. I struggle with being “of the world”.

I like the idea of living like a king (Solomon), having all of the luxury items I want at my disposal. But those things don’t fulfill and cannot sustain. I think that’s why so many celebrities end up on drugs or depressed, or worse. When you can afford all of life’s luxuries and you still feel empty inside, you realize that you need something else to fill your soul. You really never hear about missionaries strung out on drugs - and these are people who have very little in terms of earthy comforts, but are sustained and deeply fulfilled by doing the Lord's work. The bottom line is that only Jesus can fill that space, though most try people to satisfy that longing with one thing or another.

Its like having an itch that you can't get rid of. It feels better when you scratch it, but then it comes back once you stop scratching. If you're occupied with other things you might not notice it, but sure enough, as soon as things quiet down, there it is again. The only antidote for that itch is the Lord. He is deeply satisfying.

I sometimes find myself looking for fulfillment in the wrong places (sometimes in people, sometimes in "things), and then I remember (or am reminded) that my fulfillment comes from the Lord. Elijah had that, he was a prophet and he did the Lord’s work. He lived in the wilderness and was fed by birds (1 Kings 17) for cryin’ out loud – he didn’t have luxury, but he had the best thing of all – the Lord.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Somethin' Fishy

The past couple of days I've been smelling something funky in Amelle's room. It's not an odor that hits you when you walk in, it's like a smell pocket..kind of like when your swimming and you hit a warm spot. The first time I caught a wiff of it I assumed it was Amaya passing gas, so I carried on. The second time I did a quick survey of the area for a dirty diaper, but saw nothing and went on with my business in hopes that it would go away (huh!). This morning I walked through the smell pocket again and after a more thorough survey of the area, I noticed this: Yes, the same pet rock that I had been so proud of just weeks ago had turned into a swamp of sea creature parts and spare toys. Remember this:
from last week? Well, it ended up being a companion for Mr. Rock. Not a good thing.

 Posted by Picasa

Last Day

I blogged about my first day in Maine with the kids at the beginning of the summer, we'll here is the "last day" of summer blog. Avery starts school on Monday, Amelle on Tuesday, and I start my new job on Tuesday! you hear it...the song "back to life, back to reality" just played. It's been an awesome summer. I've really enjoyed everything about it (except for the kids bickering). Amaya started daycare last Wednesday, so our last few days were actually Amayafree, I mean, carefree. So on Thursday, our last day with Wendy and Will, we started out the day by going to Chuck E Cheese (we're regulars there). Then we drove to a mall that was an hour away to take them to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. The kids enjoyed that, then we dragged them to a bunch of stores, which we semi-enjoyed (it would've been better if we didn't have 3 bored kids in tow). We topped off the mall visit with an ice cream (positive reinforcement) and headed back to pick up Amaya. Yesterday, which was our real last day, we went on a playdate with a family we met at Avery's open house and then ran around trying to pick up a few last minute school supplies. Not as lazy and peaceful as our first day, however, I'll look back at this summer with a smile on my face just the same.

Here, the kids throw pennies into the life-like alligator outside of the Rainforest Cafe.

Amelle takes Will on a waterjet ride at Chuck E Cheese (the blind leading the blind)

Will enjoys the sights, but not the sounds of the jungle at the Rainforest Cafe.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Locks of Love

After years of hair combing chaos and tears, Amelle finally said goodbye to 10 inches of hair. That hair has caused so much grief to our family over the years that I almost felt bad donating it to locks of love – I mean, haven’t those parents been through enough, without having to comb through that thick curly mess? Amelle was quite apprehensive about getting the 10 inch trim, not so much because she’d miss the length, but because she was frightened to death that the hairdresser would have to comb her hair. I actually had to pull out the card that no parent ever wants to pull out, “I’ll do anything you want if you let the hairdresser cut it”. Avery’s eyes got big and he immediately tried to whisper something in her ear that he undoubtedly would benefit from. Amelle demanded a lipstick and some gum, which I gladly agreed to. I also threw in a trip to Chuck E Cheese (I was planning to take them there the next day anyway), and a swim in the pool with no hair cover. That, and the 10 lollipops the hairdresser gave her weakened her to the point that she removed her hands from her head and allowed them to cut a straight line across her dry, uncombed hair, all while she stood with her face buried in my lap.

Combing hair has been a battlefield in our family for years. This summer Amelle actually banished me from her hair altogether and elected Jermaine as her stylist. Jermaine, though always willing to help out, never did fully accept his new role, which caused some degree of strife for all of us.

Amelle absolutely LOVES her new hair. She’s been alternating between wearing it up and down and flipping it all around. I think it’s adorable; a 100% improvement all the way around. Jermaine, Amelle, and I are all absolutely elated about her new do. Sylvia – not so happy, but I’m sure she’ll come around once she sees it in person.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Zams

Yesterday we went over Heather's house - she has a three year old girl and 1 1/2 year old twin boys! What a handful! Actually - they boys are more than a handful (they're big - as in wearing a size 4T). Heather describes herself as "in a constant sweat" (which may explain why she is so tiny). When I spoke to her over the phone yesterday she informed me that the boys had knocked over her grandfather clock, broken 3 out of 4 of her kitchen chairs, they reguarly climb her built in bookcases, they opened and emptied the refrigerator (until she installed a lock on it), they open and pull the racks out of the oven, and then get inside (they've pulled off two of the locks that she's installed), they ripped her sofa to shreds, and Graham enjoys smearing poop all over himself and his brother, should he go #2 while in his crib. I guess that would be the definition of "hands full".

When we arrived yesterday, though, everything was under control. Heather was composed and seemed to rescue one boy from impending danger, and then the other, while attending to Madeline's needs - all with an amazing amount of finesse. It was like a scene from the matrix, where she moved so fast and flawlessly that she actually looked like three people. Wendy and I sat back in amazement.

All that, and she insists that "it's getting easier".

Avery puts a football under Graham's shirt to give him a "big belly" - which Graham seemed to enjoy immensely. Camden wonders why, since Graham doesn't seem to need help in that area.

Nothin' like a good old fashioned game of tag!

Otis gets in on the fun. This photo depicts the emotion where fun and scared meet.

Amaya discovers that climbing up slides is fun.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Support Local Small Businesses

The kids have been on a making money kick lately (thanks to Avery's friend Ryan, who is trying to save up to buy a gameboy). Ryan always has Avery on some kind of crazy kick. On one hand it's really funny and boyish, on the other hand, it creates lots of parenting challenges for Jermaine and I.

Last week they were scheming up the idea of having a lemonade stand. I crunched the numbers for them (Heathcliff Huxtable style) and showed them that the money they would make, would not be worth the hours of sitting out in the sun. We only have 10 neighbors and we live on a cul-de-sac, so they don't get any drive-by traffic. I advised them to try a dying concept: work for your money. Jermaine and I agreed to come up with chores that the boys could do in exchange for money.

Apparently this concept didn't fair well with the future entrepeneurs. Last week I found them perched behind a box in the front yard with Amelle's cash register and some rocks. A handwritten sign informed me that there was a rock sale going on. I tried to ignore it; what kind of cockamamie idea is a rock sale?! Who is their market? I surely didn't want to encourage stupidity, and wasn't about to buy a rock from my own yard so I quickly moved on. Fortunately the sale only lasted about 15 minutes.

The next day as they set up for their rock sale again I suggested that they sell something more appealing, like flowers. I recommended that they go into the field behind our house and cut some wildflowers. This was a selfish act on my part because I secretly wanted some of those flowers to supplement the sparce sunflower bouquet that was depressing my dining room. I was happy to buy the first bundle.

Once the neighbors came home from work, the sale was on. Our neighbors bought up the entire supply of flowers. Avery had even picked some wildflowers from the property next door and sold them back to the homeowner! (oops!) :-) Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mountains and Mexican Food

Jeff and Dawn came up this weekend for a visit. For those that don’t know – Jeff is Jermaine’s best friend and Dawn is his lovely wife. This was their second trip to Maine this summer (hopefully that makes all of you who haven’t even visited once feel bad). On Saturday we went for a hike at Mount Agamenticus (Mount A).

The kids get soooo excited when we have friends and family visit (okay, their parents get excited too). There is just nothing better than spending time with people you love. On Saturday night we went out for Mexican food (I mean, we are in Maine and you know how Maine is known for it’s Mexican food).

Editors note: The pink backpack belongs to Amaya, it was filled with our water and fruit - Jeff was just being kind by lugging it up the Mountain for me (Jermaine was lugging up our 18 lb baby). I think he was a little self-conscious about wearing a pink backpack, when I asked him to go stand next to his "sweetie" so that I could take a photo, he thought I meant Jermaine. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

So Predictable, Not So Provocative

My life is embarrassingly boring, the blog only exacerbates it. Yes we went to Fort Foster again yesterday for the umpteenth time. The clouds were amazing - hopefully you can see that in my new Picassa picture-thingy.

So I promised something provocative, and I'm generally not someone who backs down on a promise but I've got nothin' for ya.

Okay, here's something provocative: If you could visit any one day in your life (as an observer - like in a Christmas Story), which day would it be? I think for me it would be a random day from my childhood - like, say, June 20, 1979 - (or the nearest Saturday to that date). ...just after my birthday, so I'd have some new stuff to play with. I'd get to see my mom and dad married, I'd see my grandmother, my old neighbors. It would be summertime, so I could hang out all day. Wouldn't it be awesome to go back in time and observe days in your, watch them happen? I hope we get to do that in Heaven. Probably not, but it would be cool.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Picassa Experiment III

Is this fun or weird?
I'm done for the day. Thanks for bearing with me.
Tomorrow I'll try to have something provocative to say (hey, there's a first time for everything!).
 Posted by Picasa

Picassa Experiment II

This is kind of fun...a little Brady Bunch flava
- we don't have a housekeeper, so I added the family pets.
Posted by Picasa

Picassa Experiment I

I'm playing around with Picassa today, so if you see a lot of weird posts from me, just be patient.

This is a collage from Lost River there a way to see the photos that are underneath? If not, what's the point? Posted by Picasa

A week behind...

Not last weekend but the weekend before (sounds like the beginning of a handslapping game that I used to play as a young girl...), anyway...Wendy and I ventured out to York Animal Kingdom with all SIX, yes 6 children (9months - 9 yrs). The boys stayed home and did housework (the kind with hammers and nails).

Here are some photos:
Here the kids feed the ducks (for my readers who are visually impaired). Note to self: not all photos require captions.

Avery gets brave and feeds a reindeer - yes, it's real. In my humble opinion, the reindeer feeding was the best part of the day. I mean, when do you ever get to feed/pet a reindeer? I don't think I've ever even seen a real reindeer before. I think I actually might've thought that only Santa had reindeer - all others were just "deer". (I've told you before that I'm not bright).

Amelle, Avery, and Mina had a ball with these two fun mirrors while Wendy, Will, & Joelle waited in a crazy-long line for the restroom. They were having so much fun I decided to take a peek at myself. Unfortunately the mirror made me about 400 lbs and about 4' tall, minus my 3' long giraffe neck which ended with my unusually small head - not so fun...I resembled a I quickly retreated.

We had a nice time and the kids were great. I think we've finally arrived at a place where 2 adults can manage all the kids. I can remember when Amelle was a baby, Mina & Avery were in the 2s and Joelle was 4 - how did we ever make it through that year?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

White Mountains

This weekend we took a trip up to see the Caseys in the White Mountains. The trip down the Kancamangus Highway was nostalgic for me because we vacationed in the White Mountains with my dad every year. I haven't been back there in years, so poor Jermaine had to listen to me reminisce about everything all day..."we use to....", "my dad use to..." blah, blah, blah... As it turns out, Wendy and Shaun were having parallel conversations, according to Wendy, Shaun would say "we should eat here, they have good meatballs", Wendy was like, "What year was that - 1978? It's a hardware store now".

Here are some photos...

Avery scales the side of this very high rock-climbing structure. Go figure, we travel all the way to the White Mountains to climb a simulated "mountain". Avery is so naturally athletic - this was his first try - Spiderman, look out.

Here's an interesting shot. I thought it would be a good idea to get someone to take a photo of all of us, so we all gathered together and I asked a stranger to point and click. It was the first picture of all of us - ever....or so we thought. Notice anyone missing? We're terrible parents.

Here Wendy, Will and Amelle get soaked in the bumper boat ride at Clarks Trading Post. I love Amelle's face in this picture - I was nervous about her getting on one of those boats and then crying out in the middle of no where - but she was aggressive on that thing! The added twist is the ability to shoot water at other boaters and spectators.

I wish I could post additional pictures; but I'm at my blog max. It was such a good time. My dad would've loved to have been there with us.

Friday, August 11, 2006

While The Cat's Away... I'm feeling a bit liberated. As of today, my family (the ones on the "left"...oh, did I insert the wrong photo?) are all unable to access the internet for an entire week. The Caseys have ventured to the White Mountains and my mom is cruising the Mediterranean. That means they can't check my blogs, which means I can basically say anything I want.

So, I've always hesitated to tell this story, but now I'll spill it. My brother was really adopted. Yes, it's true. I don't think he knows about it, but I found some documents while I was rifling through my parents important papers one time. He was born in a South American jungle, the offspring of a Tarzan-type fellow and a very feminine gorilla. My loving parents were honeymooning in the rainforest when they stumbled upon my infant brother wrapped in a large banana leaf. My parents searched the jungle for days to find his biological parents, but there was a war raging between the civilians and the Tarzan/ape people and they were an unfortunate casualty in the fight for equal rights to the beachfront. I digress. So my parents brought the infant home with them. They actually put him in their luggage in order to get through customs, really, they did. They named him Shaun and hoped to give him a normal life. He grew up and married Elvis' lovechild, Wendy. Together they raise 3 children, two beautiful, normal girls and a wildly handsome little boy that is 1/4 ape and 1/4 Elvis.

Don't tell anyone I told you, it's been a Casey family secret for years.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Where Did We Go Wrong?

As you may recall, I’m a big fan of subjecting children to low-level suffering in order to build character. However, I have failed at inflicting this type of character-building pain on my children. This is evidenced by the two premadonnas that prance around our house like the King and Queen of the World.

Our children are so completely unappreciative and prissy.

A few weeks ago I found myself literally begging Avery to go to the beach. “I don’t want to go; the beach is boring” he’d whine. What?! This is the same kid that asked “when can we leave” while we were at Disney World! (because he wanted to go to his Grandma’s house). Are we the only parents on the planet that have children who complain that they want to be someplace else when they’re at DISNEY WORLD?! They are completely unimpressed by everything. For Avery’s birthday we surprised him with an ATV – I don’t think he even smiled when the gift was presented to him. Jermaine was beaming, Shaun had tears in his eyes and every other person there had smiles from ear to ear. Other children screamed with glee and excitement, but Avery just sat there looking befuddled.

Each trip to the grocery store is met with “my feet are tired, can I ride in the cart?” ..or “It’s too cold in the grocery store”. Then I find myself explaining to them that unless we go, they won’t have milk for their cereal, or syrup for their pancakes. They don’t care about that though. Same deal at the mall, all of the sudden both children turn into quadriplegics. In church I can’t get them to stand to worship the Lord because their “legs hurt”. I try to explain that Christ endured the cross for them, the least they could do is stand up for a song of praise, but I get nowhere.

Yesterday I asked them to clean their trash and toys out of the back of the minivan, “Why do WE have to clean it”. “Because it’s your disgusting mess”, I explain. So as they’re cleaning I’m crackin’ the whip commenting on what a gross mess they’ve created and “didn’t daddy JUST clean this out two weeks ago and tell you guys to keep it clean?”, and “don’t forget that spot” and “why did you leave ice cream in the car?!” when I notice that some of their DVDs have taffy all over them. I have warned Avery repeatedly about taking care of his DVDs. I’ve instructed him to put them back in their cases when he’s finished watching them. So we come in the house and I show Avery that two of his DVDs are ruined and I dramatically pitch them into the trash. He was like “that movie wasn’t very good anyway” and “that DVD was already broken”. I looked at him squarely and said “Don’t you care that you’ve ruined your belongings?” He looked squarely back at me and politely answered, “No”. (He wasn’t being fresh, he was being honest; he really doesn’t care).

When I ask him to clean up his room, he tells me that he has too many toys and that we should give some away to kids that don’t have many (which we do).

Where have we gone wrong? A little parenting advice, please….

Monday, August 07, 2006


Perhaps this blog entry is a little too diaryish, but what the heck, we can all be real here…right?

Have you ever wondered if maybe you might’ve suffered from a mini-stroke and didn’t know it? Two weeks ago I hired a babysitter while I took my comp exam. I figured that I’d need her for 6 hours and that I’d pay her $7 per hour. I spent almost the entire ride to the exam trying to figure out what the total would be…I couldn’t figure out what 6x7 was! …I even tried to remember 7 x 7 and then subtract 6, but couldn’t remember that either. Then I tried 8 x 7, figuring that I’d just subtract 12, but that yielded nothing. I broke out in a cold sweat, there was nothing there; it was like I was brain dead. I ended up adding up my sixes….6+6= 12, +6 = 18 +18 = 36. Now it could’ve been that I had a lot on my mind (I was on my way to a six hour exam that would seal my graduate school fate), however, the thought did cross my mind that I may’ve suffered a mini-stroke that only affected the math portion of my brain (what’s that, the left side?) Apparently the right side is still in tact, because I passed the test. Fortunately, you don’t need to perform basic single digit multiplication in order to get your master’s degree.

The other thing on my mind is that since I’ve been wearing flip-flops all summer long, my heels are like sandpaper and I don’t know what to do about it. Jermaine’s feet are like silk and mine could be used to smooth spackle. I had a pedicure about a week ago and the poor woman who worked on my feet spent about an hour scrubbing them. Her arms had quite the workout! I left with the soft feet that I so desire, but a day later, the roughness had re-appeared. It’s not all bad because I can use my heels to quite effectively scratch my bug-bitten feet and legs. It’s actually like having a loofa…a built-in exfoliant. Does anyone have any advice on what to do about this? My grandmother use to put lotion on, then plastic gloves, then thin white gloves over that to treat her rough psoriasis-ridden hands. I’m not going there – so don’t suggest anything crazy, I’m not going through great lengths to solve the problem, but if there is a product out there that can help, I’ll try it.

Lastly, have you ever skipped breakfast before church and then been so hungry that when the communion plate came around you looked for a large cracker-thing, like it’s going to take an edge off the hunger? I haven’t, I was just wondering if any of you have.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My First Niece

Today we spent the morning at Fort Foster celebrating Joelle's 9th birthday! I can't believe that it's been NINE years since she was born! I remember the whole event like it was yesterday. I was so clueless around babies when she was born. I remember being nervous while feeding her. About 2 years later the floodgates opened and our family blossomed with Avery and Mina, then Amelle, Will and finally, Amaya!

The weather was just perfect this morning. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

Happy Birthday Ms. Nine-Year Old (going on 25!!). I love you Joella-bella! ...or as I used to call you when you were a baby..."Sweetpea".

Don't worry Shaun, just because she's getting older, it doesn't mean that we are.....or does it?!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pets ROCK!

Yesterday both children came in from playing in the yard and informed me that they had new pets. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer that they weren't going to pull out a snake, and opened my eyes to a see their delightful new pets. Amelle proudly held up a glass baby food jar that she had procured from the recylcing bin, filled with water, and carefully placed her pet into. I smiled as I saw the rock quietly submerged at the bottom of the container. "He's beautiful!" I proclaimed, with much excitement. "What's his name?" I asked. "Mr. Rock, and Avery has one too" she announced. Avery then showed me his pet, which he initially named "Japan", but then later changed to "Rockie". Later that day I took Amelle to the pet section of Walmart and purchaed small glass fishbowls and colorful pebbles to adorn the bottom of the glass.

I think the children were as excited about those pet rocks as they would've been if we had gotten a dog. Avery put a large rock in the bowl next to his little pet rock, so logically, I asked him if that was Rockie's friend, and he said, "No, it's his house".

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Now What?

So I handed in my laptop and cell phone at Cardinal on Sunday and I finished up my final two classes last week, what? I went from having no time, to having all kinds of time. For months I've said that August would be my month, well, August is here and the clock is ticking! Yesterday I accepted a position and I will begin work at the end of the month. I'm so excited that they've allowed me to push back my start date to coincide with the first day of school.

I'm not someone who is entirely comfortable with having nothing to do (though having three kids around hardly qualifies as "nothing to do"). I began my week with making Avery write in his journal, I implemented a rewards and recognition program for the children, I started working on the 2nd edition of our family newsletter, and I have begun designing a website for a local christian organization. Some of my other plans are to organize the house (things are moved in, but they aren't where they belong), do some painting around the house (during Amaya's naps), tackle the kids summer reading lists (6 pages long), do some recreational reading of my own, and most importantly, try to enjoy the last few weeks of summer with the kids, knowing that this is a rare and unique opportunity - a blessing from God, really.

With my new found time I'm toying with the idea of getting into a watercolor painting class this fall/winter for fun. Even if it never happens, it's really exciting to be able to think of ways to fill up time that was previously spent doing school work.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Maine Roots

Well, I successfully made it through my first day without my spare set of hands. We brought Ariel home last weekend and have resumed life as "The 5 Moores". Ariel was such a huge help to me; it was so wonderful to be able to take showers in peace! That's not to say that the six weeks went by flawlessly. Having a forth child (who is use to being an only child and who is 5 years older and smarter than our oldest) had its own unique challenges. I no longer owned the car radio, the computer or the passenger side window (which I like down, but she likes up - for hair reasons). I could no longer spell out words that I didn't want the children to hear, I could no longer have alone time with my husband after 8pm, and I found myself having to answer to another person all day, which was definitely an adjustment for me. On the other hand, Ariel was great company for me and the kids, and I enjoyed our time in the evening, folding laundry together, reading, and chatting.

One of our awesome neighbors purchased a willow tree for Ariel, so that she would always have roots in Maine.