Pool Party

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pizza at the pool

Well, we made it through Rebecca's pool party without any disasters (i.e. thunderstorms). We actually really lucked out with the weather, and all the kids were great. I took advantage of the event as fodder for my first MassMoms.com post. If you're interested, you can read it here.

The guests were all having fun, so we decided to take Rebecca's gifts home unopened. Therefore, I'm violating my 'kids don't have to write thank you notes to other kids' policy, since she didn't have a chance to thank her guests in person. I know - what a hypocrite! The gifts were very thoughtful, and virtually every one came with a card, made by the child - I was very impressed! Here's a picture of our favorite:

The little girl's entrepreneurial and artistic older brother helped her. Greg and I were literally on the floor laughing when we read the back. Too funny!

Check out all the pictures here.

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Happy Birthday Rebecca!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I can't believe it has been six years since my little Becky-Boo came into this world. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. It was still three weeks before my due date, and I was lying in bed late on a Wednesday night after a long day of work. Suddenly I felt a small stream coming from a place where liquid usually does not flow without my permission. It woke me up, but I wasn't sure what it meant. It wasn't the big gush that would signal my water had broken, and I wasn't experiencing any labor pains. Having skipped Lamaze classes, I felt rather under-informed at this point, and actually got up and Googled "small amount of liquid with no pain". The web was rather ambiguous on the subject - possibly it was labor, but it could mean nothing. Fortunately while I was sitting at the computer, the answer came to me - in the form of pain. Not too bad yet, but regularly spaced and getting stronger.

Under informed I may have been, but I did know that a first birth usually takes many hours, and most women are more comfortable if they spend the first few hours at home. I sat and did a crossword puzzle for a few hours. It wasn't so bad, I could handle this. I didn't wake up Greg, figuring he was going to have a long night, and I might as well let him sleep while he could. The contractions finally got strong enough, and close enough together that I figured it would be reasonable to start the forty-five minute drive to the hospital, so I woke him up.

Me: "Greg ... I think my water broke a little while ago".
Greg: "If your water broke, you would know it" - he rolls over and goes back to sleep.
Me: "No - I'm in labor. I'm having contractions".
Greg: "Really?" - starting to wake up - "Do I have time to shower? I'll be quick".
Me: "Um, I guess".
Ten minutes later, I've called the doctor, and she agreed I should come in, and would meet me at the hospital. I've called my parents, my sister in Maine. They are all getting ready to come to the hospital. The contractions are getting worse.
Me: "Hon? This is really starting to hurt. Are you ready?"
Greg: "I'm almost done shaving."
He's shaving?
It's 3:45 AM and we're in the car, backing out of the driveway.
Greg: "Do you mind if I swing by Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee?"
Me (figuring it will help him wake up for the drive): "OK." It hurts, but I can handle it.
The Dunkin' Donuts in the gas station two minutes from our house is closed, so we drive through the center of town to the other Dunkin' Donuts in Holden. It's a cold wet morning for July, and we see a fox jump into the bushes as we make our lonely way up Main Street. The other Dunkin' donuts is also closed. It's four AM - who gets coffee in our town at four in the morning? Disappointed, Greg continues to the highway and we start the drive to Emerson Hospital. My contractions are increasing and I'm starting to think this isn't so easy anymore. As we pass through Acton, Greg asks the question.
Greg: "Can I please swing into the Acton Dunkin' Donuts? It should be open by now."
Me: "This is really hurting. I think I need to get to the hospital."
Greg: "I'll be quick", we're a few mere miles from the hospital when we take this detour. This Dunkin' Donuts is also closed.
Greg: "I know the one in the gas station is open this early." It's getting close to 5 AM.
Me: "Let's just go."
Greg: "OK, can I swing by it? It's on the way to the highway."
Me: "The highway is right there."
Greg: "But if I take 2A, there's a Dunkin' Donuts right before you get back on Route 2."
We approach the Mobil station/Dunkin' Donuts on 2A. If you live in New England, you know there's roughly six Dunkin' Donuts in every town (I made up that number, but you get the point). The Concord rotary is ahead and it's only a five minute drive to the hospital.
Greg: "We're in luck - it's open!"
Me (mid agonizing contraction): "Don't even think about it".
Greg: "But ... it's open".
Me: "Get me to the hospital, now."
Greg: "Really? But, it's open."
Me: "I don't care if you drop me at the door of the maternity ward, and come back, it's two miles away. Get me to the hospital NOW!"
We pass by the brightly lit Dunkin' Donuts with all the happy coffee drinkers inside. Greg drops me at the maternity ward door, and goes to park the car. To his credit, he did not go back for his coffee - yet. He joins me inside several minutes later, and the doctor establishes that yes, I am in labor. I'm actually only four centimeters dilated, but my contractions are severe and right on top of each other. As we start to fill in the paperwork for the epidural, in strolls my Mom, with the largest Dunkin' Donuts coffee we've ever seen.
Greg: "Ohh, she got a coffee".
We briefly tell her the story of our drive in.
Mom: "I got a big coffee, we can share".
Greg: "No, I want an iced coffee".
Soon he hands the precious paperwork to my Mom and makes a mad dash for Dunkin' Donuts. I'm hit by another contraction so the nurse grabs one of my arms and tells me to breathe. My Mom throws down the paperwork and grabs my other arm, and repeats the Nurse's instructions.
Did I mention I blew off Lamaze?
Contraction passes and Mom starts filling out the longest form ever created.
Mom: "Do you have Diabetes?"
Me: "No".
Mom: "Heart disease?"
Me: "No".
Another massive contraction starts. Mom puts down the paperwork and there's a repeat of the 'relax and breathe' session.
Contraction over. Mom picks up the paperwork.
Mom: "Have you ever had major surgery?"
Me: "No".
Mom: "Kidney problems?"
Me: "No".
Another contraction.
After agonizing third relax and breathe session, the paperwork continues. I watch the monitor, the next is already building.
Mom: "Have you ever had an organ transplant?"
Me: "You're my freaking mother!! If I ever had an organ transplant, a heart attack, a stroke, or even a hangnail, I think you would freaking know it!!!"
OK, I said that in my head. Here's what really happened.
Nurse: "I think it's important to get the paperwork finished as fast as possible so we can call the anesthesiologist".
They haven't called him yet?
Me: "Just check 'no' for everything".
Mom: "Really?"
Anesthesia guy arrives. I never knew having a huge needle jabbed into my spine could feel so good.
Anesthesia guy: "That should be the last one you feel" ("that" meaning the enormous contraction I was currently experiencing).

Happily, it was the last. From there on I felt no pain. I chatted with my parents. Greg came back with an enormous freaking Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee. My sister arrived. It was like a party in the delivery room. Then it was time to push. That was hard, but I didn't mind. As long as I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore I didn't mind anything. After about thirty minutes of pushing, there was the crown of her head. They put a mirror at my feet so I could see - not pretty! Was my Dad really watching this?

A few more pushes and that was it. The doctor asked my husband if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord. He deferred to Auntie, and my sister did the honors, and then they handed me my beautiful baby girl. At 7 pounds 1 ounce, I was kind of grateful she was slightly early.

I can't believe six years have slipped by since that morning. I can't believe what a bright, funny, wonderful little girl she is. I can't believe I agreed to have eighteen 5 and 6 year-olds to the town pool for her birthday party tomorrow night. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to it. Happy Birthday Baby!

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Some Adult Conversation

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There's not much going on with the kids this week (at least not until Saturday's pool party - more on that later). But there is some fun stuff going on with me that I know everyone can't wait to hear about! Bear with me - my definition of 'fun' has changed over the past decade.

  1. I had a fabulous dinner last night with the Ballet Moms - thanks guys. You know you're having fun when it's 12:15 AM, and you have to get up in exactly five hours, and you're still disappointed that everyone has to go home, and wish they could stay later. You guys are the best! And thanks to my fabulous husband for cooking us another delicious gourmet meal. We all had some much need adult conversation, food and wine!

  2. OK, this seems pretty lame, even by my standards, but Greg and I finally watched a (semi) adult movie Sunday night - Tropic Thunder. The DVD has been sitting on the bookcase shelf since we received it from Netflix in June, which tells you how often we have a chance to sit down and watch a movie together. If you haven't seen it yet (and I know the chances of that are slim since it came out a year ago and we are probably the last people on the face of the planet to see it), I have to recommend it. Especially if you like fun, slapstick comedy - hilarious.

  3. I've volunteered and been accepted to be a blogger for MassMoms.com. That's the Mom Blog for the Worcester Telegram where roughly a dozen Moms (and Dads) post great information on a large variety of topics, all having something to do with being a parent in Massachusetts. I have tons of great ideas for posts and can't wait to get started. I'll put links to my MassMoms posts (3 or 4 per month) here since frankly, it's easier than posting the stories twice.;-)

That's it for now. We have a busy couple of weeks coming up: Rebecca's birthday party this weekend, Maine with the Ballet Moms (and families) on the 31st, then a week in North Conway, NH, the second week of August. So hopefully I will have some fun posts coming up!

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Pool, Magic, Sleep, Whiffle ball

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This was the first nice week of the summer, and yesterday was a glorious end (it rained buckets this morning). I took the kids to the pool for a couple of hours. Rebecca is finally starting to swim - it only took three years of swimming lessons! She does this kind of treading water stroke where she slowly drifts toward her destination. Every once in a while she breaks into a crawl attempt, gets some speed going, and then runs out of steam. Still, she swam from the slide to the ladder (about 15 feet) twice without any help - and is very proud of herself. I was also very proud - she has actually been practicing a lot this year and working very hard to learn

Magic Keys

We packed up mid afternoon and headed to the senior center where magician Steve Rudolf performed his Starship Magic Show. The act was designed for about Rebecca's age and at times Gregory got more entertainment from my keys. He was also quite fond of Squeaky, the monkey puppet (unlike myself - you can probably imagine what Squeaky sounded like. Thank goodness I had a tired two year old on my lap giggling and snuggling simultaneously - how often does that happen any more?). By the end, it was way past Gregory's nap time, and he fell asleep during the five minute drive home.

Whiffle Bonding

Tonight there was some man bonding in the backyard over whiffle ball - guys are so weird. The matching outfits was not planned, but I found it amusing enough to take a picture.

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Wilco, The Concert

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wilco, the fans

This summer, we have tickets for three shows - something that hasn't happened since before Rebecca was born. Greg and I trekked out to Lowell last night to see show #2, Wilco, with Eric and Sara Treem and my brother, Kenny. This has to be about my tenth Wilco show, and lets just say they've really broadened my horizons with some of their opening acts. Last night's opening band, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, was by far the best one (despite some of the band members appearing, um, well, let's just say it looked like they had themselves some fun before the show?). Greg and Kenny were both familiar with Oberst's work with his other band, Bright Eyes, which they said is awesome. This performance was good enough that it made me want to purchase his new Mystic Valley Band album, and also get a hold of some Bright Eyes tracks. For an interesting look at the beginning of this band, check out this free documentary.

Under an ominous sky, the crew quickly changed up the stage and front man Jeff Tweedy led out Wilco, opening with their new song, 'Wilco, the Song'. The rest of the show was a thoroughly enjoyable (albeit slightly shortened) mix of old and new. Unfortunately, right about the time they were getting ready to start the encore, it started down pouring. If you've ever seen Wilco, you probably know they love the encore, but this time it wasn't meant to be. I was willing to stick it out, and even donned my Mom's bright blue raincoat (I've been borrowing this for the past five years - thanks Mom!). Although a canopy covered the band, the wind was blowing the rain all over them and their instruments were getting soaked. So that was it, just one song for the encore and then they had to go. Probably for the best since I threw out my back the night before, and had been standing for five hours straight at that point. I held up pretty good, but by the end I was really starting to feel it. Want to see someone who wasn't experiencing much pain last night? This guy:

That's Taylor Hollingsworth (I think) of the Mystic Valley Band, with some pans to Conor Oberst. Despite appearing somewhat incapacitated, Taylor's guitar playing was fine (according to Greg, who would know - his exact words: "That guy was jamming out"). I must be getting old or motherhood must be taking over, since I mostly felt concern for his health. Go figure.

Note: This show was Saturday, July 11 and this post was written Sunday. I tried to upload the video to blogger to for two days and finally gave up this morning and uploaded to YouTube.

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Friday Twilight

Friday, July 10, 2009

That's right. Tonight I became the last person on the planet to watch the movie 'Twilight'. Very cool! Greg is on the beach on Plum Island as I speak (or, er, write) with five other husbands and my brother, all fishing. I talked to him earlier and he was very excited that he actually caught a fish (not a keeper - thank goodness!). Since he's staying there tonight, the kids and I decided to schedule a Friday evening 'o fun.


It started with four hours at the pool this afternoon. For dinner I made a yummy corn and potato chowder which neither of them would touch. They ended up eating toast and animal crackers (what kid doesn't like potatoes? oh yeah - mine). For a special treat, after dinner I decided it would be a good idea to pile the couch cushions on the floor and play 'King of the Mountain'. Rebecca pretended to be everything from a mermaid of the mountain, to a crocodile, and Gregory just jumped on the cushions shouting "I'm the man!".

They were actually tired enough to go to sleep fifteen minutes before bedtime, so I decided to run downstairs and start a laundry before settling in to my movie. As I bent over to pick some clothes up off the floor, I threw my back out (I guess King of the Mountain wasn't such a good idea after all). Although I couldn't stand up straight, sitting wasn't so bad, so I took some Advil and watched 'Twilight'. When the credits rolled, I was still unable to stand up straight so I hobbled to the bed, and here I am, flat on my back, blogging on the laptop. Did I mention that Greg and I have tickets to see Wilco tomorrow night at the Tsongas arena in Lowell? That's right, what could be better for excruciating back pain than three hours standing in a mob of dancing people? Should be interesting.

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Plover Love

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rebecca in the freezing water

Sunday was a beautiful, sunny, warm day here in fickle Massachusetts. What can one do but hit the beach? We drove up to Newburyport early Sunday morning and met up with the Treems, Corbins, Nutters and Celonas on Plum Island. I'm ashamed to admit this was Gregory's first trip to the Atlantic Ocean, but at least it was a great one. Lot 1 in the bird sanctuary became our spot for the day, since Sandy Point parking was already full when we got there at 8:55 am (the rest was closed due to plover mating season). Happily, there was not a greenhead to be seen for the entire day.

The kids had a ball playing in the sand and surf. Gregory with Momma at the beachThe water was painfully, numbing cold. We're talking Titanic cold (ok - according to the NODC it was somewhere around 59 F, but it felt Titanic cold). I love swimming in the ocean, and I'm usually a trooper when it comes to getting in, but on this trip I didn't get in past my knees. Luckily, there was a strong breeze all day which made it pleasant to sit on the beach without swimming. Most of the kids did get completely wet at one point or another (usually not on purpose) except for Gregory (because of 'the fish') and little Willie. Who would have thought the babies have the most common sense (except Ella - she's a wild child!)? The guys all fished, although the only fruit of their sand spikes was a single skate.

The two 'little men'
in the Barbie jeep

Time flew by, and we backed up around 3:00 PM and headed back to the Treemhouse to rinse off 9 extremely sandy kids and a fabulous barbecue. Gregory and little Willie were very fond of the Barbie jeep. Thanks for hosting us Eric and Sarah - we had a great time. We'll see you Saturday for Wilco!

Here's the video I managed to take with the digital camera. The background noise is the wind, which was too strong for kite flying (we tried).

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Berries, Fireworks and Camp (oh my!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hard at work (not!)

Happy 4th of July! We took advantage of the first sunshine in weeks today and filled our day with all kinds of summertime fun. This morning, Rebecca went to the town recreation department half day camp (swimming, tennis, crafts and drama). Gregory and I went strawberry picking during which he demonstrated an amazing talent for eating berries, but not too much interest in actually picking them. He also got to feed a goat at the farm petting zoo and play on the backyard playground, which included an antique tractor. For a longer description of our berry picking experience, click here. We met Rebecca at the pool at the end of camp with a picnic and ate lunch on the grass while we waited for free swim. After a few hours of pool time we returned home. I wanted to try to get Gregory to sleep since the fireworks were later in the night. No luck there, but we did get hit with a few medium thunderstorms, which put our fireworks plan in jeopardy.

Farmer Gregory

The thunder finally stopped about 7:30 PM, and we could see blue sky in the distance, although it was still raining at our abode. I packed up the car and made Greg take us to Rutland to see if the fireworks were still on. They were, and as the sky cleared in the nick of time, we set up camp on an overlooking hill and waited. This was Gregory's first fireworks experience, so we weren't sure how he was going to take it. He was very excited during the walk to the festivities, and when we asked him what a firework was, all he would say was "beep beep". As soon as they started in earnest, he decided that they "hurt my eyes". Greg advised him to close his eyes, which he did, and within two minutes he was asleep (you know you're tired when you fall asleep with dynamite exploding over your head). Rebecca was delighted and watched the whole show excitedly. By the time we arrived home they were both fast asleep.

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