Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not As Bad As It Sounds. . .

Since he has been in training, Garry has been spending most nights in a hotel near the base. This week we were able to visit him because the girls had a day off from school, and they were so excited to go. They love trips and hotels and their Dad. Could there be anything better for them?

They were SO excited that they told everyone that they saw. Everyone at school, everyone at dance class, EVERYONE.

Here's what they usually said, "We're going to go see our Dad today. He's in a hotel."

I could gage by the parent's reactions that they thought Garry and I were separating, he was staying at a hotel, this was part of his visitation, etc., etc. . .I could see all of these wheels turning in their heads. And I thought, "Should I explain?"


Friday, October 30, 2009

MoMolly MomomoMolly

This week Molly turned eleven months old! She is a fascinating little turbo of a baby. I'm asked at least three times a day how old she is because she walks FAST but is so petite. She looks like she should be learning to crawl, not running!
Last week we took the girls to the Haunted Forest in St. Mary's County. Emma and Macey got a lot of candy and, quite accidentally, Molly discovered Dum-Dums. Now she's an addict. If she can reach the girls' candy buckets, she will sort through and pick out the Dum-Dums. I know I should take them away, but it's so cute I let her keep them once she has found them. That and she has a really strong grip and a really loud yell.

This month she also learned to blow kisses. Too cute. She likes to babble and communicate and clap and blow kisses, and we love love love our Molly!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Day

I have realized that my day consists of me saying the same phrases all day long:

(*) go to the bathroom, right now!
(*) did you hit your sister?
(*) stop jumping on that!
(*) don't hang off of that
(*) get off of that/her!
(*) ooohhhh...did that hurt?
(*) don't do that, please!
(*) What do you say? Please? That's better.
(*) Did you eat it all gone?
(*) Who smells?
(*) Did you use soap?
(*) Just a minute. I said, just a minute. JUST A MINUTE!
(*) No. It's night night time. No! Well, okay, one drink.

Did I miss anything?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can You Take The East Coast Out Of The Girl?

I moved here in January of 1998. I spent six years in Virginia and five years in Maryland.

In a few weeks this girl is leaving the East Coast, but I wonder how hard it will be for the East Coast to get out of the girl.

For example, on Thursday my brother-in-law recommended a realtor that might be able to help us find a house to rent and then buy when it was time. I promptly sent her an email at 1:00 pm and waited and waited for her reply. Nothing on Thursday. Nothing on Friday. Nothing on Saturday.

I talked to Stephanie about whether I should find someone else. Could I rely on someone that did not check and respond to email immediately? Stephanie suggested I give her until Monday.

I called my sister and explained that this woman was not responding to email. "Did you try calling her?" she asked.

Pick up the phone? What! Isn't everyone a slave to their I-PHONE, Blackberry, or at least laptop?

Apparently not. She did respond to my email and asked that I call her anytime. ON THE PHONE. Sigh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is Her Problem MY Problem?

It's pretty widely known that Molly is a fabulous baby but for one dramatic flaw. She is almost 11 months old and still wakes up about twice a night.

Over the last few weeks there have been some days I have not turned on Molly's monitor. Either I forgot to turn it on or had it turned down or the girls had changed the frequency. And on these nights Molly has MIRACULOUSLY slept through the night. I do not think that she awoke and screamed for hours and finally gave up and slept. Our rooms are really close and I am a light sleeper. I would hear her if she ever cried.

I have come to the conclusion that her little problem might be my problem. Since we put her in her crib, when I've heard start to stir or cry a little I have raced downstairs to get her a bottle and get her back to sleep before she woke up the girls. So maybe all this time she has just needed to wake up, get oriented again, and go back to sleep on her own? Maybe I've been racing to put her back to sleep when she was able to do it on her own this whole time?

But now I wonder, do I keep the monitor turned off?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Call Me Charlie

There are a lot of downsides to having Garry in training in Quantico, but the one that I struggled with this week was being the sole focus of my kids' neediness. "Mama! Mama!" is pretty much all I hear all day long. Oh, it was so much better when those "Mamas!" were sometimes replaced with "Dadas!"

Finally I reached my "Mama! Mama!" limit and told the girls that for the rest of the day I was to be called Charlie.

They thought that it was pretty funny, and it worked! My nerves recovered enough to be "Mama! Mama!" again by the end of the day.

It took awhile to learn to respond to "Charlie!". I'd hear the girls talking about Charlie this and Charlie that and would just think that they were acting out Charlie and Lola.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Little Girl, Big Attitude

Little Miss Molly may be a petite little thing, but she carries around a lot of attitude. Garry and I have both noticed that a few months ago when you gave her a snack or a treat, she would take it and accept it in such gratitude and wonder. The day that I gave her a graham cracker, she looked at me with eyes of amazement. In her gaze, I could feel her trying to tell me that after tasting the sweet goodness of that graham cracker she knew that her life would never be the same.

Now whenever I give her a bottle or a snack she snatches it away with an attitude of "Where the heck has this been?" And she has started to get her own snacks. Though she is only ten months old, she is a fruit snack addict. They are a treat I try to save for dance or church, when I am desperate for her to be quiet and good! But today she went into the pantry and found some herself and brought them over. Hmmmm......

We've also had problems introducing her to shoes. She has gotten really good at walking without shoes and considers them to be horrible hinderances. I should have named her Blossom or Star or Daisy because she also hates coats. She just wants to be free.

On Sunday I forced a pair of shoes on her. She finally got one off and then proceeded to stomp on it. Perhaps she was trying to put it back on?

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Would You Trade? What Would You Pay?

My Dad always talks about how strong I am. Not physically. Just with regard to determination and goal-setting. But he warned me that when I get sick I allow even the littlest thing to overwhelm me.

Not that losing thousands of dollars is a "little thing" but neither is it the end of the world that I feared it might be. This weekend I thought a lot about the challenges and trials friends and family members are facing. Would they trade their trial with ours? Would they pay $18,000 to make it all go away. Almost definitely.

How lucky and how blessed we are that our "trial" had a price tag on it and with the help of friends and family we are finding a way out.

Money is just money, and I do feel bad about all of the DRAMA. Hopefully from here on out I can go back to loving and laughing and joy. . .through editing, of course.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I have noticed that when I see someone go through a really hard time, I judge what they are going through and mentally go through all of the reasons why I would never be in such a similar situation.

But here I am, in a tough situation (see provious blogs). We never knew that a job offered in June and benefits promised in writing in July would still not be processed and available in October. It's not life and death. Everyone is strong and healthy, and Garry still has a great job that provides for us. We are blessed. But I still worry about losing the money we have saved to take to Utah and buy a new home. Without that, what will we do? Rent? Where? For how long?

But over the last few weeks I have received a crash course in compassion. The next time I see someone struggle and worry about their future and their family and their home, I hope I will not judge. I hope that I will remember, express sympathy and understanding, and extend help.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The last few weeks have been really stressful as we have tried to get ready for the big move. Before anything can happen, though, we need what is referred to as a Transfer Order Number. Without this number, we are nothing and no one in the transfer department will talk to us because we do not have a number.

The hard part is that all the paperwork is done, we just need it processed to get this magic number. PROCESSED. We just need someone to enter it into a computer and spit out a little number. It's a problem because the transfer department was supposed to help us sell our house. They were supposed to help us with realtor fees and taxes, something that totals over $18,000. Since we are essentially cutting even on the sale of the house (and in this market, we are considering ourselved lucky) we really need the help promised by the Department of Justice.

When we agreed to a settlement date, we had no idea that we would not have a transfer order. Garry has worked very hard to get any movement at all on this one little number (after all, it just has to be processed!) but we are now seven days away from settlement and still no magic number. We were hoping to push back settlement but the buyer is locked into a loan rate that expires in 7 days.

So what do we do? Default on the sale? Put the house back on the market and start all over, hoping that the next time a buyer comes around we'll be ready? Take out a loan for $18,000 and pay it ourselves? These are the questions that have literally racked me over for three weeks.

And yesterday I just collapsed on the phone when my Mom assured me that there was something to learn from all of this -- there was meaning.

What meaning can be found in THIS? I wonder if sometimes we look for meaning and purpose when there's just life?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Really? Now?

This morning was really hard. I woke up and the house was FREEZING. I realized that the heat was not working. I went downstairs and found that the pilot light was not lit, and so, using the expertise gained just a few weeks ago (see previous blog), I lit the pilot light and waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally I realized that something was still really wrong and so I called a neighbor who came and looked at it. It turns out that I needed to turn a switch over from pilot to on but you can only move the switch when its had time to warm up. Ironic, no?

Amongst all of this I had kids complaining about the cold, runny noses, and being hungry. And did I mention that I was alone? What fun.

To add to the fun, our cable and Internet and phone lines kept going down as Comcast was working on the lines outside of our house. In all of this I was emailing my realtor regarding problems with our settlement date and getting all the parties at the table by next week.

It was a really stressful time, and I told the girls after breakfast that I was really busy and needed them to watch tv or play with toys but there were things I needed time to take care of and address.

Emma, sensing my stress and I guess trying to change the subject walked up to me while I was peeling an apple and asked, "Mama, how does a baby get in your tummy?"

Someday I'll look back at this and laugh. But not any day soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Have You Done THIS?

Yesterday Emma woke up and was feeling a little warm. But, then again, my hands are cold and so I think that everyone always has a fever. But, she was a little lethargic, too, and just wanted to cuddle on the couch.

Garry is usually our point-man-in-charge of all sicknesses, but I tried to fill in since he is gone. I gave her some Motrin, dressed her warmly, and tried to feed her breakfast.

The Motrin did the trick and soon she was her bouncing, jumping, climbing off EVERYTHING self. So, I sent her to school.

A few hours later she came off the bus, looking like death warmed over.

"I have a fever," she told me. "School wrote you a note."

Oh no! A note home from school, probably demanding to know why I sent my child to school with a fever and clearly sick and telling me that Emma was not to come back to school. Didn't they know the magic that Motrin can work? Didn't they know that when I sent her to school she was fine? I braced for the unkind words surely written on the pages.

Instead, I found a quick note saying that Emma was not herself that day, they took her to the nurse, and she had a temperature of 99 degrees.

Today she is home; we're kickin' it and watching movies. She is probably well enough for school, but I am not going to risk THAT again. Can you imagine what her teachers would think if I did that two days in a row?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Yesterday I was reading an article in an old Newsweek about lucky people -- people who seem to survive anything and come through feeling blessed. The article focused on a lady who was running late to a knitting club meeting, fell on the stairs and impaled herself on a knitting needle. She survived, though the needle knicked her heart, AND they found the beginnings of breast cancer and were able to treat it before it spread.

In the article, there is a test. When you read the following domain name (just read it, don't actually go there) what do you read:

Scroll down . . .

Alright, did you read opportunity is nowhere OR opportunity is now here?

According to the article, your attitude depends on what you read and how lucky you are since lucky people are happy people who tend to be in the right place at the right time and are open to the world around them.

So, how lucky are you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calling My Bluff

My house just is not as clean as it used to be. Being under contract, it is liberating to be able to leave the house a mess and know that it is okay, but at the same time I miss having a clean house a little bit.

So yesterday I decided to get some of it back, but thought that it was unfair that I face the daunting task on my own. So I told the girls first thing in the morning that they could not watch television until their room was clean.

Well, they called my bluff and just played all morning with toys and with each other.

And I learned something. Having them watch PBS in the morning is not for them, it's for my sanity! Oh, that little threat backfired in so many ways. Because they were not kickin' it with Sesame Street, they made even bigger messes. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emma!

On Sunday Emma turned five years old! Because her birthday was on a Sunday, she essentially had a birthday weekend since she took cupcakes to school on Friday, had a party and went out to dinner on Saturday, and then had her actual birthday and friends over for pie on Sunday. Cupakes, cake, ice cream, pie! What a weekend! In fact, on Sunday morning when Emma told Macey that it was her birthday, Macey honestly said, "Again?" Emma opening presents on her birthday.
Taking cupcakes to her school. How fun!
Hanging with her sisters at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Party time at Chuck E. Cheese's!

Emma is a fabulous girl. She loves to draw and play with Molly. They are best friends, and I am a little jealous over how much Molly loves her big sister. When Molly sees Emma's bus in the afternoon, she starts waving like crazy and yelling "EMMA! EMMA!" Um, she doesn't do that when Garry & I come home.

Emma loves to climb trees, she is trying to learn how to swing all by herself, and she is getting really good at the monkey bars. She just started dance class, and loves to be a ballerina princess. She also does well at soccer and has a mean kick -- scholarship material for sure!
We love our Emma!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Sad FHE

I have been trying to hold Family Home Evening (FHE) the last two weeks though Garry has been gone and he has always been the biggest fan of faithfully holding FHE. The girls really enjoy it, and so I have tried to keep up the tradition.

Here's my sad story and my sad attempt. Sunday night I had a dream that Christ was coming. I was afraid that He was coming to my house and so I spent the day scrubbing and cleaning and getting rid of any R rated movies that might be around the house. (For the record, I do not think that we have any). But He did not come to my house and so I went to church and walked in and there was the Prophet.

I was disappointed, and I walked out.

So, I woke up ashamed on many levels. That I did not realize that the message from Christ or His Prophet would be the same, that I did not choose to stay and listen, and that on Sunday I spent the afternoon cleaning the girls' rooms instead of listening to General Conference.

To make up for it, I determined to teach my girls about service for FHE since that is what President Monson was talking about while I was cleaning. I made some banana bread, had a quick lesson with the girls, and loaded them up in the van.

We were going to take the banana bread to a family whose son has not been feeling well lately. They were not home. Sigh. So we tried to take it to someone who has not been feeling well lately and has really struggled the last few months. She was not home. Sigh. So we tried to take it to a family who helped us fix the furnace problem last week. They were not home. Sigh. So we tried to just take it to some friends. When we were pulling into their street, we saw their van pulling out. Big sigh.

Can I mention that this whole time Molly screaming from the back seat?

So, we went home and ate banana bread. A lesson, an activity and a snack. Not bad.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macey Goes To School!

Macey has started preschool again! After watching Emma go to school for several weeks now, she has been anxious for her turn. We took her to the mall and let her pick out a new outfit. This is what she picked out -- a little Tinkerbell outfit and matching vest. Very cute.

This year at school is a little different for Macey. Last year she went with Emma and had lots of friends there from church. This year it's just her! I felt a little sad as I dropped her off, she seemed so alone, but she yelled out "Bye Mama!" and waved as I headed out the door.

When I picked her up I asked her if she had made any new friends and she said, "No, but I rode a bike." Well, that's something!

Friday, October 2, 2009

That's My Girl!

I have been teaching Emma how to play the piano, and generally she is doing well. (Though it would be nice if she would practice more). In the last few months we have really been drilling finger numbers. Thumbs are one, pointers are two, tall guy is three. . .well, you get the idea.

I thought that she understood them pretty well but was still amazed when she hurt her finger and cried out, "Mama, I hurt my number four finger!"

Ah, that's my girl!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Falling Through The Cracks

Today Macey started preschool at First Flight. (Pictures to follow soon!) Having one daughter in preschool and one in Pre-K creates an interesting schedule.

First, we take Macey to preschool. We leave at 11:40, get there at 11:55, sign her in, and go home.

Then I have a short, useless amount of time until I walk with Emma at 12:30 so that she can make her 12:40 bus.

Then I take Molly home and we chill until I leave to pick up Macey at 1:40. There's a longer break and then I leave to get Emma from the bus stop at 4:15.

This afternoon around 1:30 I was congratulating myself for getting the girls where the needed to be on time when I looked at Molly and thought, "Hmmm....when was the last time you ate?"

Poor Molly. It's a busy schedule and something has to give.