Saturday, July 26, 2014

day at the beach

Today we took a day trip to the beach.  We went down to Atlantic City, which is usually a fast drive, but due to rain and traffic was a little longer.  The weather cleared up shortly after we got there and we were able to have some fun in the sun.

The boys putting the sand in "sandwich."
Lunch on the go
I had a great time with the kids at the beach.  Asher and I ran in the waves and held hands and jumped.  Benjamin would join us for a little and then run back.  Charlotte got a little wet and screamed- she was scared of the waves. The boys loved playing the sand and making sand castles.
Kitty Cat also built a sand castle
Our friends tried to get their daughter to nap in the tent, and Charlotte thought that was a fun game to play.
Needless to say, no one napped.  Asher, with his hoarding tendencies, loved picking up shells (and pieces of shells).
Big boy with his shell collection
Fortunately, he was agreeable to picking out a select few to bring home.  I thought we all had a wonderful time, but when we got home, Benjamin told me he was never going to the beach again, he didn't like it, too much sand.  I said, too bad, you are going to the beach again, we go to Maine next week.

The kids took brief naps in the car on the way home, then were wide awake when we pulled up at the front door.  Eric, on the other hand, needed a nap.  So I took the kids to the playground, because after getting rained out at the beach, the weather was beautiful at home.

Kitty Cat likes the swings
We had a great time at the park, for the most part. Unfortunately, shells were not Asher's only souvenir from Atlantic City, as he had also picked up a secret treasure off the street- a razor blade with curved edges!  I found out when he dropped it out of his pocket at the playground.  You know, in front of about 4 other parents whose children were NOT carrying weapons to the park.  I panicked when I saw it, and he grabbed it and was holding it tightly in his little hand, while I panicked more that he was going to cut himself.  Then we had a little chase until I got him, got it out of his hand without any bloodshed, and dropped it in the garbage can.  Which resulted in Asher in hysterics as I had thrown away his "treasure."  I made a joke to our audience (people who will probably never let their children near us again) that that was what I get for taking the kids to Atlantic City.

I would say that, overall, it was a good day.  At dinner we recalled our favorite parts- the water, the waves, the sand castles, the shells.  I am glad we still have many beach days ahead of us this summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I have been living with a constant level of anxiety all week- Sunday evening we discovered both of our (indoor) cats had fleas!  What a nauseating feeling, to go from thinking your house is relatively clean and peaceful, to wondering what items were contaminated and how to de-contaminate them.  I couldn't sleep, I was constantly feeling as though fleas were jumping on my ankles!

Monday morning, Trouble climbed on my head while I was asleep and started meowing loudly.  At first I half-woke... then remembered the fleas and leapt out of bed!  There were several fleas on my pillow.  I ran down the stairs, shaking my head, and made Eric comb my scalp to see if there were any in there.  I am getting chills just remembering, it was awful.

We put a flea-killing liquid on their necks, and then Monday got an oral medication to make them toxic to fleas.  But all of a sudden, I was seeing flea-signs everywhere.  Of course, once I knew what flea-signs were, I realized I'd been seeing them for weeks, not knowing what they were.  Bad mommy.  We washed all our bedding, I put it back on, and right away, a flea.  So on Monday night, I couldn't sleep again.

I did load after load of laundry.  I say "I" because Eric has claimed laundry incompetence and it has become a job only I can do.  And then I rewashed things if I saw a flea come near them.

Then we borrowed my mom's cleaning lady for the day yesterday so she could do a major cleaning of our upstairs (where the cats spend most of their time, hiding from the kids).  She did a great job.  And now we have to fire our current cleaning woman so we can hire this other woman instead!

The excitement of flea sighting has become like celebrity sighting in New York City, except I'm not seeing Dennis Leary at Tao, I'm seeing a live flea on the bathroom rug.

I haven't seen any fleas today.  I still haven't slept well, and every night I hope that will change.  We haven't had anyone over all week- I would feel terrible if someone came home from our place with fleas.  The positive of all this is that several things have gotten attention and are looking cleaner and neater than before.  But not worth the stress!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Charlotte's 18 month well-visit

I took my girl for her 18 month visit today.  Our pediatrics practice moved locations and lost half of its staff, which means that the doctor we'd been seeing for Charlotte since she was born isn't there anymore.  I'm inclined to just leave the practice, too, but want to stick it out a little longer and see what happens.  The doctor who started the practice, and who is still there, is a great and thorough doctor, so as long as we can continue with him it should be fine.

On with Charlotte- she is doing great!  She weighed 27.6 lbs (93rd percentile), and measured 33.5 inches tall (97th percentile).  She has grown about 2 inches in the past 3 months! (Assuming their measurement is accurate).  Regardless, she is growing and developing and thriving.  The doctor seemed pleased with her physical abilities and noted that she is very flexible- which I had just noticed myself.  He said it wouldn't be a bad thing to get her involved in gymnastics, especially given the level of energy she was exhibiting during her appointment.

Her current vocabulary is:
kitty, dog
ball, balloon, bowl, bow, boot
more, mama
down, up, dada, done
cheese, this, that, banana ("nana," stands for all fruit)
uh-oh!, yay!, and wheeee!

He asked if I had worries about her speech and I said no... since at this age the boys had 2 words or so apiece.  He said what I described sounded right on to him, which is nice.

He asked if I had any concerns at all about her, and I said no.  I really don't!  He also commented that she seemed very good-natured, which I agree with.  She is such a charmer; while we waited for her shots she played a little in the hallway and by the time we left, everyone in the new office knew her name.

She is healthy and well- and our next appointment is in 6 months, when she turns 2!

Monday, July 7, 2014

first weeks of camp and other fun things

at the end of the first day of camp
The boys started their first week of summer camp on Monday, June 23rd.  Last year they were at camp at the JCC; this year they are in a camp at a nearby private school.  This year seems to be going much better!  To start, there were no tears at drop-off the first day, or any day since.  Asher has a very positive attitude ("I can't wait to get to camp and meet all my new friends!") which hasn't allowed Benjamin much time to mope.  Asher says he has made new friends, but he can't remember any of their names.
Asher upside down on our swing
They have swim two times a day at camp, and we are doing one private lesson each week with their assistant teacher from school, Miss Alex.  Asher is going gung ho with the swimming and practices dunking his head and blowing bubbles each time he's in the pool.  He has been wearing a little swim vest that gives him just enough buoyancy to swim on his own, and he now loves swimming all around the "big" pool (the main pool at my aunt and uncle's; not the hot tub which is the "little" pool).  Benjamin has been more cautious, but is now wearing a vest both at home and at camp to allow himself to float without anyone holding on to him.  It is my goal to have them both swimming independently by the end of the summer, but we'll see.
Photo by Asher: Benjamin with construction spoon
Benjamin on the swing
Benjamin double-spooning cake and ice cream
We went to DC the day before camp started for my grandpa Sy's memorial.  All 3 kids got impatient and were monkeying around on the coffee table in the room where the memorial was held.  Fortunately they were still quiet, but it clearly wasn't their thing.  I did like having them meet some of the family they've never met before.

We went to the aquarium, the zoo, and the Please Touch Museum on weekends and weekdays before camp started.  We've seen many friends and socialized at our house, at the pool, and around town.  We seem to be in a good stage right now.  The boys are verbal, somewhat reasonable, and good company.

I love these boys- even at their worst they are sweet and funny.  They wake up early due to the early sunrise and often play together in their room, or take an iPad and watch something until it is time to get up.  The other morning, Asher came in to complain that Benjamin was calling him a "nonsense guy."  A few minutes later, Benjamin came in to complain that Asher said he was "disgusting."  If those are the worst insults my guys know, it is evidence I have really reigned in my former potty mouth!

I certainly had more in mind when I started this post (2 weeks ago), but procrastination and fatigue have left my mind blank.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

4 years, 11 months, 13 days

That is how long my body has been used in the service of someone(s) else.  I started my IVF on July 16, 2009, and went from pregnancy to breastfeeding to pregnant to breastfeeding.  And now, it might be mine again.  Charlotte seems to be finished with breastfeeding- she asks to nurse, but then won't really latch on.  Instead she pulls off and says, "Yuck!"  I am fine with us being done- 18 months is plenty of time for both of us.

Last night, instead of nursing, we sat in her chair and read "Goodnight Moon" together.  I think she likes it because of the kittens, so we are constantly flipping back and forth to find more pictures with the kittens.  But she likes it.  Then we had a hug, a kiss, and into bed with her kitty cats.  I thought I would feel sad, but I felt good- that we can replace that special time with something else special, that we'll always have our little moments together.

There are things I'm looking forward to doing if I'm not nursing, like maybe Botox (that's not a joke), and face creams with salicylic acid.  And one day, maybe a breast lift.  All vain and self-centered, and easily put on hold while I focus on more important things.  But with no more nursing and no more pregnancy, my body will be all mine again- hard to imagine.

Here are some pictures of Charlotte from the past week:

"wearing" Mr. Potato Head's glasses

climbing on the table to eat her brother's ice cream

Wearing her new apron

Taking selfies with mommy

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Charlotte is 18 months old!

my girl at the park this morning
My baby is 18 months old (yesterday)! How did my baby become a big girl? Big girl decided today was the day she would climb out of her crib for the first time- how did someone as unathletic as myself get 3 monkeys for children?
lemon cake with strawberry frosting
Here is Charlotte at 18 months:

She has 12 teeth: the 4 front teeth on top and bottom, and 4 molars.

She has several words, including: up, down, kitty, dog, woof, boot, done, more, dada, mama, no (sometimes), sometimes she says Elana, Papa (for Papa Nick), nana (from banana, and she uses it for all fruit), stuck, duck, and truck (all pronounced the same).  All animals other than dogs are kitties, all fruits are nanas, all birds are ducks, and most people are dada.  She can also say eye, and says "ah" for hi.  She has just started putting together 2-3 words.  She will say "no more done" or "no done, more!" when Eric stopped feeding her M&Ms.  She also says "kitty down" when she throws her stuffed kitty cat on the floor.  I love her voice, and I love walking in the door to hear her call, "Mama!"
feeding herself cake

Her favorite foods are fruits, graham crackers, cookies, eggs, pancakes, french toast, string cheese, yogurt, pasta, spinach, and who knows what else. She doesn't seem to like any meats anymore, and is definitely more picky than she was a few months ago.  I remember the boys going through this, too.  What happened to my adventurous eater?!?  She is still nursing 1 or 2 times a day, but barely.  She would rather play "name that body part" and poke me in the eye, pull my hair, and stick her fingers in my mouth.  If she is done nursing, that is ok. I didn't really think I'd nurse her at this age, but it is such a small part of our day now that I don't think much about it.

Charlotte is developing a strong personality.  She's confident, playful, silly, and fun; and she can be headstrong, difficult, and full of attitude.  She's very engaging and social.  She has a royal wave and will wave and blow kisses to anyone and everyone.  Older men in particular love this about her.  Almost everyone who meets her loves her.  Her attitude comes out when we don't do what she wants us to do RIGHT AWAY, or exactly the way she wants it.  For example: if she wants a banana, and I peel a banana and break it in half, she will throw the half I hand her on the floor.  If I peel the banana and let her break it, then she is happy.

She likes music, but seems to have inherited my sense of rhythm.  That's ok; we can still dance together!  She likes to chase her brothers, play peek-a-boo, and climb and play outside (she LOVES outside and cries anytime someone goes outside without her).  Unfortunately, Charlotte also likes TV.  Sometimes she will come in and ask for TV (she has a sound for it that doesn't so much resemble the word).  I have great feelings of guilt that I will let her watch TV more than I read to her.  Awful.  She likes to buckle buckles and is in a big phase of doing it herself.  She also discovered her screech and can drive us nuts with it!

Charlotte sleeps through the night (hurray!) and takes 1 nap a day.  Her nap is about 2-3 hours long most days.  She's like her brothers and will pretty much poke herself in the eye to stay awake if anything else is going on.  But she is generally in a good mood and well-rested.  She puts herself to sleep at night and at naps with her thumb and her kitty cats.

So, that's my girl at 18 months.  Now that she is a big girl, I definitely have a baby craving, but the rational side of me knows we are done.  We can't afford the 3 we have!  I do love babies, especially mine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

relationship lessons from When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally is probably my all-time favorite movie.  My sister and I have watched it so many times that we know most of the lines by heart.  We can do a whole scene together, which amuses us, but not so much everyone else.

This movie captures so many truths about relationships; the themes withstand the test of time, and that's why this movie has remained popular for so long.  Here are the "truths" that I see come up again and again in my work and personal life.

1) Men and women can't be friends.
This isn't a whole truth, but a mostly-truth.  I have some male friends, but at some point in our relationship, there was sexual desire on at least one person's part.  We were only able to become friends after that desire was acknowledged, if not acted on.

In my work, I see that friendships between men and women, especially when one or both party is in an unhappy relationship, can be dangerous.  Often one person is using the friendship as a substitute for the intimacy they would like in their own marriage.  Friendships often begin innocently enough, but can shift into something else over time.

2) He's never going to leave her.
We all know someone whose husband left for the "other woman," and it does happen, but more frequently, he's never going to leave her.  Don't get involved with a married man under the premise that he is going to leave his wife for you.  More likely, he is just an asshole having a midlife crisis, and at some point in the future, you will be alone and he will be back playing happy family.

3) When you know what you want for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible.
When someone is ambivalent, they will let things drag out.  I can remember my own college relationship, which lasted for 2 years, only 3 months of which were truly good.  We would: break up, get back together, go on a "break," get back together, take another break, get back together, talk about moving into together, talk about getting married, break up, get back together, and ultimately, break up.  We tried every iteration of a relationship in the hopes that it would work, but in the end, we weren't right for each other and broke up.  When something is right, you'll know. If you have to sell yourself on the idea of being with someone or rationalize your relationship to other people, it's not right.  And when you know it's right, you want to make it happen and seal the deal as soon as you can.

(I should also add, I am friends with my college boyfriend and his wife. We actually can be friends. But first we were more than that, and got that out of the way.)

4) "It's not that he didn't want to get married, it's just that he didn't want to marry me."
This relates to #3. If you find yourself making excuses for your relationship, or the reason why you are remaining unmarried when what you really want is to get married, then it is probably time to move on.  I can recall a high school friend explaining why she and her boyfriend weren't going to get married: "We bought a house together, and that's as good as getting married."  They broke up shortly after, and she was stuck in a legal battle trying to get rid of that house, because without being married, there were no laws governing their break-up.  I'm not saying get married so you can split your assets more easily, but that if you find yourself doing something that's uncomfortable for you, then it's a sign you might not be in the right relationship for you.

5) Sometimes, she really is faking orgasm.
What can I say?  Sometimes, it's just not going to happen, and the woman doesn't want to disappoint her partner, so she fakes it so that everyone can finish up and go to sleep.  So, sorry, Harry- maybe you're not so hot in bed!