Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Musings

Francesca would like to know why we wish everyone a "Merry" Christmas when on every other holiday we say "Happy" (Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween...)

Gavin has announced this year that he would like to celebrate Hanukkah. He learned all about it in school this week. I am not sure if he likes the idea of presents for 8 nights, or what. I told him he can go to my brother and Pam's if he would like to partake in a Hanukkah celebration. They celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

We have a new addition to our family this Christmas season....it's Blue, the class fish, from Francesca's first grade class. She wanted to take Blue home for Thanksgiving, but someone else had already volunteered. So she volunteered for this break the first day back from Thanksgiving break. So Scott picked Blue up at the end of the day and safely brought him home to Francesca's room. Francesca was very worried about Blue's safety given the presence of our cat Picky-Picky. That would be a real Christmas treat for Picky, fresh fish! So hopefully we will not kill the fish over the break. That would really suck.

To you and yours, from me and mine, a Happy, Healthy and safe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and any other holiday I may have missed!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Wallet

Gavin wanted a wallet. Why, we are not sure. Francesca has some girly kind of wallet, which totally would not do for him. Scott has been promising to get him one. He went to Jembro yesterday and bought him one for $3. Gavin LOVED it. He was so proud of his wallet. I don't think he'll be putting it in his back pocket though, it's probably bigger than Gav's right butt cheek. He showed me and Francesca what was in his wallet, and let me tell you, if he ever decides to have a big adventure on his own, he's all set.

Contents of Gav's wallet:
Scott's business card
A Dunkin' Donuts gift card (not sure if there is any credit on it)
A Metro Card (Scott thinks he may be able to get downtown with it, Gav VERY excited by the thought of hopping on the subway)

I am sure that Gavin will continue to collect treasures in this wallet. I can't wait to see what else he hides in there!

Gavin Lost a Tooth

OK I was thinking on my way to work this morning that I had not blogged about Gav and his tooth, and then someone commented that I had forgotten to blog about it! So Monday night Gavin showed us his really loose tooth. Gavin actually has 8 loose teeth, according to his most recent dental visit. Like Francesca, Gavin has really teenyweenyteenytiny teeth. It was getting close to bedtime but Scott and I were afraid to let him go to sleep with such a loose tooth. That's because Gavin is a grinder and we were afraid he'd grind grind grind that tooth right out of its' spot and swallow it! When Francesca lost her first tooth she was eating popcorn at the time and her tooth was so small...well you get the idea. Thankfully she did not realize it and we were able to keep her occupied until we were able to run to my mom's (she saved all of my teeth) and grab one of my old ones, and then, POOF, Oh look Francesca, your tooth fell out! She was 4, she believed us. May she never read this. My mom actually made me return the tooth to her too! But back to Gavin. He sat on the counter in the bathroom and twisted and wiggled and pushed and pulled. Scott offered to tie a string to it and then tie it to the bathroom door. NO NO NO said Gav. He even swished water around in his mouth about a hundred times hoping that would do it. No. We finally had success brushing the teeth over and over again and then it just popped out! He was so excited. The tooth fairy brought him $1 and some stickers and a Matchbox car. He told me last night that he has another loose tooth. I hope it falls out a little easier than this one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peace on Earth...blah blah blah

There may be peace somewhere, but it ain't on Wesley Avenue. Well, at least not if you are Francesca and Gavin. They argue incessantly. Scott said they argued all the way to school (well all of the 1 minute it takes to get there) and proceeded to yell at each other once they both went into the gym to line up with their respective classes. They yelled across the gym at each other. What were they fighting about you ask? Francesca accused Gavin of stealing her turn to put another mini ornament on our Christmas tree Advent calendar. This is a big deal in our house. The kids deliberate over who gets to put the next ornament on and which ornament it will be. Yes you did, no I didn't, yes you did, no I didn't. And so on...Scott finally said that Mommy (me) put an ornament on and maybe they should yell at me. Thanks hon!

Last night they fought over the layout of our Nativity scene. I bought a manger this year at Wal-Mart (amazing what you will find for $10 when you are there at 4:45 on Black Friday). We finally found the big bag of people/animals that my mom had given us last year. Gavin meticulously placed every figure where HE thought they should go. Francesca took issue with this, mainly because she thought there SHOULD NOT BE 3 BABY JESUS'S IN THE MANGER. Well in Gav's defense he placed all the Baby Jesus's in different parts of the manger and had different people/animals looking at them. She did not like this and told him so. Loudly. He proclaimed that he was IN CHARGE and she should just go away. She then not-so-accidentally swept a few pieces off the buffet where the Nativity scene is set up and walked away. I thought a throw-fest would ensue but amazingly Gav just picked up the pieces, re-configured them and walked away. We will see how long all those Baby Jesus figurines last. I tried to tell them that maybe Baby Jesus should not be there at all until Christmas morning, but they did not want to listen. I told them that when I was little, their Uncle Rob, my brother, would hide the Baby Jesus and we would have to find him. Every day. We also had to find my brother's glasses the year he was 5 and hid them in the Christmas tree but that is a whole other story! So maybe ALL the Baby Jesus's should be hidden until then. That was a no-go. Oh no. Baby Jesus (all 3 of them) were staying right there. So stay they did. For now.

So there you go. Stay tuned for the story of Gavin loosing his first tooth. That happened 2 nights ago but I need to run out for lunch now so I'll blog about that later!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Ate WHAT???

Last night was my holiday party for work. My parents picked the kids up from school, fed them dinner at their house and then brought them over to our house, got them changed and put them to bed. We got home around 9:30 and all was well, kids were asleep. No reported problems and my parents went home. This morning my mom leaves a message on my cell phone telling me that she forgot to tell me a funny thing and to please call. So I call and she starts laughing before she can even get the story out. I am like her in that respect, I do the same thing.

She tells me that once they got to our house she was getting the kids washed up and ready for bed. My dad was downstairs, apparently in the kitchen where he spied a plate of Christmas cutouts. My mom and the kids came downstairs and saw him holding one. The conversation went a little like this...

Pa: "Linda, these cookies that Dineen made are awful hard. What's in them??"

Ma: "I have no idea....."


I am so glad he only got one bite into them and did not break a tooth or something like that. He really would have been pissed off about that. In my defense, the ornaments had broken a little bit (well a few of them had dropped) so they looked a little "crumby". The reason they were on a plate was because Francesca wanted Scott to try to fix the broken ones. I guess they sort of looked like cookies. Really hard cookies. Oh boy did I get a good laugh at work over that one. That made my day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Francesca's New Vocabulary

Thursday night, after all the Thanksgiving hoopla was over, Francesca and Scott settled into our bed to watch Andrew Zimmern's food show on the Travel Channel. I can't think of the title of the show right now to save my life, but you know the one; he travels to exotic locales and eats things that we would not, in our right minds, ever eat. Gavin and I chose to snooze on the couch and forgo television altogether. Francesca really got into watching it, and apparently asked Scott a few questions about what things Andrew was eating. As in...

"Daddy, what is that man eating? They said he ate the brain, stomach and...the what?"

Scott: "Go ask your mother to explain that word to you."

Francesca: "Mommy, what is the tes...test...TESTICLES! Andrew Zimmern was eating the testicles of the WILD WHORE!"

Me: "WHAT??? SCOTT! Turn the channel! Francesca, the testicles are part of the willie...sort of. And it's a WILD BOAR, not wild whore! Isn't it time for bed?"

Francesca: "HE ATE PART OF THE WILLIE??? THAT IS DISGUSTING! Why would he do that?"

Well, all weekend long we had to hear about Andrew Zimmern and his delicious wild boar testicles. I really really hope she doesn't go into school and tell people what she watches on TV. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's New...

Not too much, actually, which could account for my lack of blogging. I will say, however, that the LaDore children seem to be taking some pretty hard stands on the political future of our country. Let me just say that both Scott and I are INDEPENDENTS, which mean that we don't force the political views of either party down our children's throats. We really don't talk politics in front of them, because they have a tendency to repeat what they have heard, usually at the worst possible time.

Gavin seems to be anti-Obama. He's 5, so I am not sure how he can be anti-anything, except, nail-clipping, tooth-brushing and showers. At any rate, all one has to do is mention President-Elect Obama and Gavin launces into his "BOOrack Obama" chants...as in..."Boo-rack, Boo-rack". We have explained to him that President-elect "Boo-rack" will be leading our country for the next 4 years and that he should not mock his name, but Gav doesn't care.

Francesca is very interested in the idea of a President, and how one becomes elected. Last night she told me that she knew that 2 people with the name "Clinton" were trying to be President. She asked me if they were perhaps brother and sister, or maybe cousins? No I said, Bill Clinton was our President at one time, and his WIFE Hillary had attempted to run, but she was beat by the aforementioned "Boo-rack Obama" in the primary. Ohhhhh she said...got it.

A few nights ago, Scott was reading Francesca a book she took out from the library, called "So You Want to be the President". It had interesting facts about all the Presidents and she was enjoying it. I was brushing Gav's teeth when all of a sudden I heard Scott say "WHAT? WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT? REPEAT IT FOR MOMMY!" Oops I thought, what did she hear??

Francesca: "Did you know that George W. Bush took money from the poor people? Did he really do that?"

Scott: "Francesca where did you hear that? I hope you did not hear that at school...wait a minute, Dineen, when was the last time my mom babysat??????"

Grammy Carol, I know you are reading this, and we love you, but NO MORE POLITICAL COMMENTARY TO THE CHILDREN. Scott then explained that no President is perfect and the beauty of being an American is having opinions...Democracy at work right on Wesley Avenue!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's New

Yeah yeah I haven't blogged in a week or so. Soooo busy. I have to blog about the Vermont trip and Halloween. But tonight I am glued to the TV watching the election returns. But I have 2 quickies for you all.

Gavin apparently thinks Barack Obama is Italian, as he keeps referring to him as "Rocco Bomma". As in "Mommy, did you vote for John McCain or Rocco Bomma today?". My kids are too cute. They went to vote with Scott. He said that Francesca was yelling "WHO DID YOU PULL THE LEVER FOR? MCCAIN OR OBAMA??? TELL ME DADDY!"

Last weekend I was in CVS with Francesca, picking up this and that. We were in the feminine hygiene aisle, picking up some necessary items. Francesca was intrigued. Hmmmm, I could see the wheels turning in her head as she picked up a box and turned it every which way trying to figure out what one would do with such things.

Francesca: "Mommy, what do you DO with these things? Where do they go? How do you use them?"

Me: "Ummmm...Ummmm...well...ladies use them."

Francesca: "What for?"

Me: "Well Francesca. They keep ladies fresh."

Francesca: "YOU MEAN YOU CAN GO BAD????"

Oh my God I almost fell down laughing in aisle #12. It was such an innocent statement. I have explained many things to my kids (remember the 'how are babies born?' post?) but I could not could not even begin to explain THAT to her. As it is I only have about 5 more years before I have to explain it all in depth. She really made me smile that day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gavin Gavin Gavin

Every day I ask Gav what happened or what he learned at school today. His new thing is to tap one ear and then the other. At first, I thought it meant "stop talking Mommy and listen to me". Oh no...Far from that. He told me that it means "the things I learn go in one ear and out the other...so I can't tell you what I learned. It slipped out already." Okayyyyyyyyyyy, one guess where he got that little gem. He can thank his father for that one. I told him last night that maybe if he puts his hand over one of his ears things won't slip out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goings-On with the LaDore's

Hmmm...what have we been doing? Well on Oct. 11th we went to the Danbury Railway Museum for the Pumpkin Patch Train ride. That was fun. The kids wore their costumes and got to pick free pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. They loved the train museum and could have spent hours there. Then we went for lunch and headed home. It was a nice, sunny fun-family day!

This past Sunday we took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Francesca is very into the following science-related subjects - the weather, the solar system, hurricanes and tarantulas, so we thought this museum would be fun. Gavin is interested in dinosaurs and fish so there were things for him too! We started out in the Hayden Planetarium space show, which was loud (according to Gavin) but very neat (Francesca). From there we walked through the exhibit of the solar system and then had lunch. Gavin impressed some lady at the salad bar by requesting cucumbers, shredded carrots, broccoli and grilled chicken. She remarked that she had never seen a kid ask for veggies before. Aha I thought, you have never hung with the LaDore's!!

After we finished lunch we headed to the 4th floor and worked our way down. The kids hung in there. A few times Gavin complained he was tired, but once he found exhibits that interested him, his "exhaustion" quickly faded. They both seemed to enjoy the Native American peoples exhibit, especially after I told them that Pa's (my dad is Pa) grandmother was a Native Sioux Indian, which makes me and the kids a little part Indian ourselves. And yes, Francesca, she DID have the long braids! Francesca also liked the South American peoples display; she is all into Machu Piccu and the ancient ruins lately, so she loved seeing the replicas. Of course both kids were very amused to see the people wearing loin cloths or no clothing at all - "Look Mommy I see his willie! And her boobies! Why don't they have clothes on? They should cover their willies!!!" WHY OH WHY are my children so fascinated with genitalia? Francesca even pointed out the baboon's protruding body appendage. I know these museums strive for accuracy but could they maybe just turn the animal/people ever so slightly so as to hide the willies????

I am proud to say that we walked all 4 floors of the museum. We were all very tired last night. But we had fun. Our next city excursion will be to either the Childrens' Museum of Manhattan, the new sports museum or the Intrepid. Scott is away tonight, on business in New Jersey, so I can blog in peace with the kids sleeping. But I must sign off now, because if Miss F starts sleepwalking and finds that I am not in my bed all hell will break loose. I don't want that, seeing as how she has already cried because Daddy is not home tonight. Blah blah blah...like I am chopped liver...she forgets that I endured 2 bouts of bedrest, preterm labor and then after all was said and done 2 failed inductions and then a C-section to bring her into this world! But who's complaining???

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Not Going!

We are going to Disney World next February - YIPPEE!!! It's my parents' 40th anniversary next July and they are celebrating by taking a family trip to Disney! So that's the 2 of them, the 4 of us and my brother Rob and his wife Pam. We are excited. Well, 7 of us are excited. Gavin wants NO PART of this trip. He has character issues...Not his character of course, that is just A-OK. He has issues with Mickey, Minnie and any other big-headed over-sized character. He keeps telling us he's not going. Scott has told him that we will be taking a monorail from our hotel to the Magic Kingdom. We've told him that we may run into 'Lightening McQueen' at the Disney Hollywood Studios and take several different train rides in the different parks. We've talked up the pools, the LEGO store, the GREAT FUN THAT IS DISNEY. It's not working. The other night, out of the blue, we had this conversation:

GAVIN: Mommy, when you are in Florida (note the YOU here), when you go outside and go to the front of the hotel, the lobby, what do they call it, could you do me a favor?

ME: Umm...sure Gav. What do you mean 'when YOU are in Florida'? YOU are coming with us!

GAVIN: Mommy, when you go to the lobby, could you buy a postcard and send it to me?? Because I am staying home.

My son is too much...way way way too much.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The dreaded Flu Shot

Today the kids are off from school. My parents are watching them. My mom brought them up to my office for their flu shot. I told them both last night that they were getting flu shots today, and they both ignored me. Totally ignored me. Pretended that if they didn't react, maybe just maybe I would forget about their flu shots. Ha! As if that would happen. Gavin has asthma and Francesca has had a tiny murmur since birth. They NEED their flu shots.

So they came running over to my triage area, all smiley and happy. Until I said "come on let's go find Nurse Shannon." Noooooooooooooo they screamed. Gav dug his heels into the floor and hung on to my desk and said he was not moving no no no!! So I picked him up, dragged him and Francesca into an exam room and held fast to Gavin while Shannon quickly gave him his shot. You would think that I had just pulled his toenails out one by one with pliers, the way he was screaming. Francesca actually hid under a chair! I got her out too. My whole office knew they were there. How could you not hear them - they were screaming loud enough for people 3 states away to hear! But it's over for another year. Hopefully we will all stay healthy this winter!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Out and About

I went to church this morning (the rest of the family stayed home). Then we went to Chef Central so I could get some baking supplies. On the way home both kids of course started to complain how hungry they were...what else is new?! Scott and I decided to take them to the local Chinese Buffett in White Plains, since we were about 5 minutes away from it at that moment. Francesca was so excited, and said she could not wait to have "orphan cookies". We could not figure out what she meant, until she said it again and we realized she was talking about fortune cookies.

Francesca only will eat fruit, white rice and crispy noodles while there. Gavin truly "gets" the concept of a buffett, and goes for several plates. He had one full of fruit - watermelon, apricots and honeydew. His second plate had sweet and sour chicken (minus the sauce so it was just chicken), rice, boneless spare ribs and a mushroom/pepper/meatball on a stick thing. He ate everything but the pepper. Then he had another plate of the meatball things plus more fruit. And then a little piece of cake. We're not sure where he puts it all sometimes. He fell asleep on the way home. The kids are doing arts and crafts now while Scott and I are folding laundry and doing stuff in the basement.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Busy Saturday

This morning started with our furnace kicking on; Scott and I thought, "hey it's cold but not THAT cold". So he hopped out of bed and turned it off. Not ready for those high heating bills just yet. We had a busy Saturday ahead of us. I had a list. It began with the library. The LaDore's love the library. We never leave the library with less than 10 books. Today we were probably at around 12-15. Makes for one heavy tote bag!

Our next stop was Home Depot. Home Depot, on the first Saturday of the month, does a FREE kids' project workshop. Scott and the kids discovered this last month while wandering through Home Depot. They made mini football goalposts. Today's craft was a wooden firetruck. So the kids grabbed their Home Depot orange aprons (given to them last month at HD) and away we went! Once we got there we realized other people knew about this great find too. But the kids signed in and we found spots at the long table and set to work. Gavin and I were a team, and Scott and Francesca were as well. The kids did pretty good, even doing the hammering on their own (for the most part anyway). The only injury was Daddy's thumb, tapped by Francesca's hammer once or twice. Kids' workshops at Home Depot are such a great thing! Plus they are FREE FREE FREE (readers with young children take note).

After we finished at HD, we headed for Target for Halloween costumes. Francesca decided on a "cute witch" or "pink witch" or something like that, while Gavin chose a Red Power Ranger. Mommy and Daddy did not get costumes. Sniff sniff...

We then did some more errands - quick stop to my parents' house, gas, the ATM, haircuts. Then we went to the Port Chester Rams football game. Scott and I are both graduates of PCHS and we live 3 blocks away from it, so it is fun to go. We ran into our friend Ed while we were there. Gavin and Francesca made a beeline for the concession stand, proclaiming they were STARVING. They had hot dogs, because there is nothing those 2 kids love more than a good ole' dirty water dog. Gavin even asked Scott for more money so he could go up and get himself a snack, BY HIMSELF THANK YOU VERY MUCH. When his sister tried to follow him (or "help Big Guy" as she put it) he turned around, looked at her, pointed and yelled "YOU STAY THERE!!!". We had to laugh, especially when a woman looked at the guy she was with and said "those two sound like an old married couple". We left at halftime, but I think they must have won the game, because we heard lots of beeping horns and that usually signals a win. Haven't heard the beeps in a long, long time...go PC RAMS!!!!

I then headed to the grocery store by myself and Scott and the kids stayed home. Dinner was quick and then Gavin passed out on the couch. Hopefully F will do the same and Scott and I can watch a movie! More stories tomorrow I hope!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gavin's Morning Musings

Gavin usually gets up right around the time I am getting out of the shower and drying my hair and putting on my makeup. This morning I heard a little knock and then he entered the bathroom. He gave me a big hug and kiss because when I got home from teaching last night they were already asleep.

"Mommy, Daddy did not cook for us last night. He took us to Burger King for dinner. But look! I got a toy in the Kid's Meal. Let me show you. But first I have to go to the bathroom. Mommy, you know what? I am going to sit to peep. Let me tell you why. I want to read the directions to my toy and if I stand to go peep I can't hold the toy and directions because I have to hold my willie so I don't pee all over the walls. That makes Daddy mad. If I sit, I can peep and read the directions."

He sits...

"Actually Mommy since I am sitting I might as well go poop too. Since I am sitting you know..."

Oh my he makes me laugh. But you know what, he thought it through and gave me a good argument why he should sit instead of stand.

Port Chester Day, PCMS Carnival, The Mets

We went to Port Chester Day on Sept. 13. We spent a good part of the day there. The kids were very excited because there were blow-up things for them to jump on like a jumping castle and blow-up obstacle course. The kids went from thing to thing and we stood around holding their shoes. I was kind of bored. But then I discovered zeppoles and I stood around eating zeppoles and holding their shoes. I talked to other parents who were standing around holding their own kids' shoes. Plus we listened to the various musical acts that were playing. Francesca volunteered to go up on stage and sing along with Lou DelBianco, a local childrens' entertainer. A bunch of kids went on stage and sang "Around the World" with Lou. It was cute. Then they did some sand art and we went home. Until it was time for fireworks. Then we returned. Minus Gavin. Gavin is not a fan of fireworks. Gavin opted to stay with my parents. My parents only live a few blocks from Lyons Park where PC Day was being held. But I guess he stayed inside during the fireworks. It was a win-win situation for the LaDore children. Francesca ran around the park that night with some of her friends and had our undivided attention. Gavin stayed with my parents, pretended he was an only child for a few hours, and had their undivided attention.

The next Sunday we went to the Port Chester Middle School carnival. More blow-up jumping things. More games. No zeppoles but they did have pizza fritta, although whoever made it was obviously not a professional because the one I snarfed down at the fireworks display the week before was much better. Anyway...the kids even played Laser Tag inside a dark, blow-up enclosed space. The vest that they had to wear was so big on Gavin we thought he would not be able to stand up if he was knocked down. But he did OK. They played a bunch of games at the carnival too. Francesca chose plastic blow-up instruments and animals as her prizes. Gavin chose yo-yos. 5 of them in fact. He kept going back to the same booth, putting his sunglasses on and smiling at the 8th grade girls. I think they just let him win the game. They thought he was "soooooo cute" and adorable. They all knew him too, because those girls all had me as their religion teacher for 5th and 6th grade CCD class so they remembered Gavin from way-back-when. Gavin loved being the center of attention, especially since there were girls involved.

Last Saturday we went to the second to last baseball game at Shea Stadium. It rained a little but we sat through it. Eventually it stopped, the game started, and we had a fun time. Gavin really got into it, clapping and yelling right along with Scott. I had a bad cold and was miserable. But it was fun to be there, especially since next year the Mets will play at their new stadium, "Citi Field". It was a fun day.

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I know I've been slacking in the blogging dept.; I keep saying to myself that I need to sit down to blog. I even wrote it in my planner - "blog!" Today 2 people reminded me that I was doing some major blog slacking. My sister-in-law emailed me to say that I was not keeping her up to date with the kids' "goings-on" and then "Anonymous" commented along the same lines - could they both be Joelle? Who knows. At any rate, I'm back and full of stories.

School has been going pretty well. Gavin loves kindergarten. He runs in every morning and half the time doesn't even stop to kiss and hug his daddy. I was off this past Monday and brought the kids to school. Gavin started to run in and only when I yelled "Hey where's my kiss" did he turn around and come back to give me one. Gavin has discovered the joys of buying lunch at school. Francesca will only buy lunch on pizza day (Fridays) and "Brunch for Lunch" days, when they offer French Toast sticks with either sausage, ham or bacon. Gavin is more adventurous and has sampled not only pizza and hamburgers, but the cafeteria delicacy "rotini with meat sauce" - yesterday's lunch - but is not sure why the cafeteria ladies choose to serve green beans with the rotini. He did enjoy the side of Italian bread though.

Gavin comes home full of stories and details about school - who was bad, who was good, who he played with on the playground. His teacher told us at Back to School night that he tells her every morning what is going on in his life since he last saw her the day before. Uh oh, Scott and I thought, we'd better watch what we do and say at home; he's liable to tell her EVERYTHING that goes on at home! Gavin was also lucky enough to be chosen "Singer of the Week" one week by the music teacher. We found this incredibly funny since we can't remember the last time we heard Gavin sing anything. He claims to have sung "Humpty Dumpty" at school.

Francesca likes 1st grade. She just is not as enthusiastic in the mornings. Poor Scott. He has to deal with her and her moods in the mornings. Last week I tried to make the mornings a bit easier. Francesca and I sat down on Sunday night and picked out a week's worth of outfits, based on the Weather Channel's predictions and when she has gym and has to wear sneakers. Everything was examined and tried on, and accesories and shoes were picked. Then we actually wrote it all down on an index card so there was no confusion about what she was wearing on a particular day. The only problem we had was with her socks. She always complains about her socks. "Bumps in my socks" is what she tells her father. This infuriates Scott. Especially when she starts this crap as she is exiting the car in front of school. A few mornings I have called Scott at work to see how drop-off was and he is still exasperated over our daughter's sock issues. Aside from her potential wardrobe malfunctions she is doing fine.

It is nice to have them both at the same school but sometimes I think they don't like sharing the school with each other. Francesca has a year up on Gavin so she thinks she is a bit "cooler". Gavin has an "I-don't-really-care-what-you-think" attitude and ignores his sister on the playground. I picked them up from the after-school program one day and Gavin told me that his sister "tackled" him:

GAVIN: "Mommy, Checka attacked me on the playground. She tried to tackle me and her friend helped! That wasn't nice."

ME: "Francesca, why did you tackle your brother?"

FRANCESCA: "I wanted to say hello to him and he would not say hello to me. I was just holding on to the back of his collar so he would stop and say hi!"

GAVIN: "Mommy, I DID NOT WANT TO TALK TO MY SISTER. I told her to leave me alone and she would not!"

School is good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Francesca the Fish Feeder

Francesca's 1st grade class has a fish; a Japanese Fighting Fish to be exact. Its' name is "Blue". She is the "official" fish feeder. I guess it is her job every day to feed Blue. 2 days ago she even took an interest in feeding our cat, Picky Picky. She came home, changed her water and gave her a few cat treats. Which Picky happily ate. I hope Francesca is not like my brother when he was 6. I had 2 fish, Arnold and Willis (named after the brothers on the TV show Diff'rent Strokes). Robert fed my fish one day and killed Arnold. I should say that he smothered them in fish food, just covered the top of the bowl. Arnold ate too much and his stomach probably exploded. Oh well. I hope Francesca has an easy hand when it comes to the food...

Gavin and the Rosary

So, as previously mentioned, Gavin is making a nice transition from nursery school to kindergarten. He is happy to get up in the morning, get dressed, and come downstairs for breakfast. Yesterday he came downstairs dressed and accessorized - by 2 sets of Rosary beads. Nope. Not happening in public school buddy.

"Ummm, Gavin...You need to take those off, honey. You can't wear Rosary beads to school."

"WHY NOT MOMMY? I could wear them to Our Lady of Grace."

"Yes, Gavin, I understand, but Park Avenue is not OLOG and you can't wear them to school. Why, Gav? How do I even explain this to you...At OLOG you learned about Jesus; at Park Ave. you don't. Remember? No praying in the mornings at school anymore. There are alot of kids at your school, and not all of them are Catholic. Some are different religions and go to different churches or places to pray. OK???"

How do I even START to explain separation of Church and State to my kindergartener??? Ugh! While I am very happy that he is being religious I also don't need a call from the school telling me my son is throwing a hissy fit because they didn't say Grace before snack. Readers DO NOT FLAME ME. :)

"Mommy? Can I wear my Rosary to Church on Sunday? Is that the right place to wear it?"

"Yes Gav. Right place. And you can even wear the glow in the dark Rosary too."

Happy little boy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What we've been doing...

Last night as I was talking to my sister-in-law, she reminded me that I have not blogged since returning from vacation. The last few weeks of relaxation before school started took hold, and I never sat down to blog. We've done some fun things with the kids - an afternoon at Rye Playland, a whole Sunday at the Bronx Zoo, a loooooong playdate with Jane and Gwen, and several trips for ice cream.

School started last Thursday. Since I had planned ahead (for the most part) there was no running around last minute for school supplies. New backpacks were in their closets (thanks Mom) and both kids had new outfits for the first day. I labeled EVERYTHING, including each and every one of Gavin's crayons (2 boxes of 16 each) - and don't get me started on how many pencils I labeled for Francesca. But I feel better knowing they have THEIR stuff to use, and I felt very vindicated at the end of the last school year when F actually came home with supplies bearing her name!

I knew Gavin would be OK on the first day. I had the day off so both Scott and I could bring them to school, and I could attend the Kindergarten parent coffee. Gavin marched right in the front doors of Park Avenue, acting very much like a BMOC. That's "big man on campus" for those of you not in the know...I guess in Gav's case it would be BGOC - "Big Guy on campus"...ha ha ha. Anyway, we found his class assignment and stayed in the corner of the gym where his class was meeting. Francesca by this time was already sniffling and sniveling with Scott in another part of the gym. By the time I went over to her it had snowballed into full-scale boo-hooing, for which neither of us had any patience. Several people tried to comfort her - us, her friend's mom, her old Kindergarten teachers' aide, her new teacher, the speech teacher, the principal and the school psychologist. UGH!!! Finally someone disentangled her from us and away they went (I later found out she was fine, just pissed that Gavin had a half-day and was going out to lunch with me). Gavin did not make things easy on her either:

"Oh Checka...I won't need lunch today...wanna know why? I have a half day and mommy is picking me up...oh and we are going to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch, and you are not..."

Thanks for making things easy for us Gavin, we soooo appreciate your help! So far so good with school. They both like it and have been relatively problem-free in the mornings while getting ready for school. I should have lots and lots of stories to blog about now that school has started. I promise to be better!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Catskills, Big Indian and the Bear that never was

Monday we left Bennington, headed for Big Indian in the Catskills. Our friends Gloria and Judy have a cabin there that we have been fortunate enough to stay at for the past few summers. It is sooo quiet there - they don't have a TV so it's REAL quiet! But the kids adjust, they love running around outside, looking for "treasures" and stuff to pick up. We had to go grocery shopping in VT before we left because there are no big grocery stores anywhere near the cabin. We couldn't even get cell service unless we were in the parking lot at the lake 10 minutes away. But that was OK, sometimes it's nice to be removed from the outside world. I did miss watching the Olympics though. Thankfully the little local deli/market had a nice selection of newspapers so I could snag the NY Post and NY Times every morning. We did have to watch out for the bears that may run wild around the area. We saw more than a few deer, but thankfully never a bear. Although Francesca (and me too I will admit) kept watch over our shoulder making sure there were none!

We spent most of our time at the Pine Hill Lake/Belleayre Beach. This is a state-run, manmade lake. They basically poured concrete on one side of the lake and dumped a whole lot of clean sand on top of it. $7 a car to get in and stay all day. Which we did. We had sandwiches, drinks, snacks and sand toys. Francesca and Scott tanned (naturally), Gav got a little pink and then tanned, and of course I still have a sunburn on my chest and legs even after using sunblock. One day we even rented paddleboats and paddled around the lake. Well Scott and I did most of the paddling, the kids sort-of helped. They insisted on having 2 seperate boats ("the boys and the girls") and kept telling us to try to bump the other one.

One morning we went to Sweet Sue's, which is this awesome place in the middle of nowhere (actually nowhere is Phoenicia, which could be considered urban nowhere because it has a main street, a gas station, a bank, a few restaurants and a library - BUT STILL NO CELL SERVICE). Sweet Sue's has fabulous breakfasts and strong coffee. This is what we had for breakfast -

Dineen - chocolate chip pancakes - yum yum yum
Scott - huevos rancheros - mucho bueno
Francesca - french toast
Gavin - fruit (naturally because that's Gav for you, but the fruit was fresh and sweet)

Our family did a few things this year that we had not done in the past. We drove up Belleayre Mountain, hoping to find the Belleayre Chair Lift ride open. It was not. Instead, we found the Catskill Mountain Nature Center. We were the only ones there that day. It was free and fun! The kids loved it! They explored the room, looking and touching all the exhibits. Which was OK because they were there to be touched. They put on a puppet show, pretended to be birds collecting worms, climbed inside a tent, and completed giant puzzles.

The other really fun thing we did was on our way home. We went to the World's Largest Kailadoscope (I know I spelled this wrong but you know what I mean) in Mount Tremper. It was in this hoity-toity complex of gift shops that was next to a hoity-toity spa and resort. IT WAS SO COOL. I can't even begin to tell you how cool it was. We were the first group of the day. The guide brought us into the windowless room and told us to either stand up against the back supports or lay on the floors with a pillow (provided and since we were the first people of the day I did not worry so much about lice - my brain runs wild sometimes, I admit). Francesca and I got down on the floor with our pillows while Scott and Gavin stood. The lights went out and the show began. The kailiedoscope (trying a different spelling this time, still wrong I think) is in an old silo. It is an electronic show that is beamed to the top and set to music. Our kids are still talking about the coolness of it all, days later. If you are ever in Mount Tremper or Ulster County you have to go to the Emerson Spa and see the World's Largest K (I won't bother botching the spelling this time).

We got home Friday afternoon. It was a fun vacation but all good things come to an end. Plus the cat really missed us. Even the kids noticed that Picky Picky was in an especially pleasant and meowy mood when we got home. She nuzzled us instead of trying to bite us! We unpacked, rested for a little bit, went through the mail and then went out to dinner since we had no food in the house! A great end to a fun vacation! Stay tuned for more LaDore adventures. Be sure to keep reading, because we are planning to return to Bennington in October, when the town plans to host a "Thriller Dance-a-thon" which purports to be a large gathering of people doing the Michael Jackson "Thriller" dance moves, along with other cities across the world, in order to try to break a Guinness Book of World Records record. I am not making this up, I swear. Scott and I decided that this is an event not to be missed!!!

Vacation Wrap-Up

OK, I am really too tired to post right now, but it has been a while and before my dear SIL Joelle sends me an email telling me she has not read anything new on my blog I figured I'd better sit down and let you know about the LaDore's vacation.

We started out on 8/16 heading up to Bennington, Vermont. For those of you not familiar with Bennington, it is in the southwestern corner of Vermont. Robert Frost is buried there. Grandma Moses painted there - she may be buried there too, I forget. It is where my dad was born and raised. It is also home to the Battle of Bennington Monument, which actually took place across the state line in Hoosick, NY. Whatever! Anyhoo, we always go to Bennington around this time of year because it is "Bennington Battle Week". This year I had other ideas, as in Lake George. Scott put the kibbosh on that real quick, telling me it is "tradition", that we have gone to Bennington in August every year since Francesca was born. He's right - she attended her 1st Battle Day parade at the tender age of 3 months. So off we went. The kids were sooooo excited - they love love love Bennington. Not sure why. Maybe it's the clean, fresh-air smell. That's my favorite. Maybe it's the apple cider donuts we get at the Apple Farm. Maybe it's the Hampton Inn pool (a close second). Nooooo, bet you can't guess. I'll tell you. It's the Bennington Monument. Why, you ask, are my kids so fascinated with this Mini-Me version of the Washington Monument? I couldn't begin to tell you! But I do know that as soon as we hit a certain part of VT Rte 7 and they could see the monument they were jumping around in their seats and pointing. Francesca has always loved the monument. In fact, she has a little wooden replica of the monument that she would carry around with her, until we had to confiscate it after she started using it as a weapon against her then-infant brother.

So we stopped at the Monument, walked around the grounds and then went up to the top (it was free that day). Yikes, I did not like it last year and I did not like it any better this year. IT WAS HIGH AND I HATE HEIGHTS!!!! But up we went, and I started to freak out as soon as the elevator door opened. Gavin had his camera and wanted to go right up to the OPEN (but barred) windows and take pictures. I almost started hyperventilating. I kept trying to pull him back towards me but Scott would not let me, trying to tell me that the open (but barred) part was higher than even Gavin could reach. Gavin is like Harry Houdini, he can get out or wiggle his way into, anything! I thought Scott may actually punch me, because once Francesca saw me freaking out she decided to follow suit. We were probably only up there for about 10 minutes but it seemed like a lifetime! I was soooo happy to get down back down on the ground and vowed never ever to go up it again.

Then we went and checked into the Hampton Inn. It is the biggest (but still only 3 floors) and one of only 2 chain, hotels in Bennington. In the past, we have stayed at the Best Western, the Paradise Motor Inn and even Darling Kelly's (when F was a baby - I felt like we were staying in one of the rooms at my grandparents' house). The Hampton Inn has 24-hour fresh coffee (a plus for the parents), afternoon cookies, a hot continental breakfast and most importantly an indoor pool!!!! We CANNOT stay anyplace that does not have a pool! The LaDore children must swim. We ate at Carmody's that night, a local bar and grill where you instantly feel welcome even though it's been a year since you last set foot in the door. The kids and I walked up to the local chocolate/candy store and bought fudge and goodies while we waited for a table.

Sunday morning we got up, ate breakfast, and then went to put our chairs out along the parade route. We can do this in Bennington and not worry that they are going to be stolen, as they would be if we did that at home. In fact, you can kiss a good viewing spot goodbye if you don't put your chairs out by 9 or 10 am the latest! We got ours out by 9:15 or so and then went for a ride. Then they dropped me off at church and Scott and the kids went to the VT state fish hatchery. My parents and grandparents used to take me and my brother there when we were little. For a nickel, you get a handful of stinky fish food pellets to throw in the fish ponds. The kids love this. They go throw several handfuls and watch to see if any fish jump up to ge the treats (the fish always do). Then it was time for the parade.

Oh the parade. We pretty much always sit in the same spot, right near this cute little antiques store called "Junque" and across the street from the big white-trashy family. Granted, there are alot of people who could fall into this category in this town (I still love you Benningtonians but I speak the truth). 3 years ago we sat in front of their house and shared the sidewalk with 1 guy, his 2 girlfriends, a gaggle of kids and someone's mother-in-law. At one point, one of the kids got some red lollipop stickyness on his face. To be nice, I pulled out a wipe and handed to his mom (at least I think it was his mom, it may have been his auntie or his dad's baby momma #2). But I digress....No, she didn't need my wipe, she just took off his tee shirt and wiped his face with it. Ewwwww...Do you see why we sit ACROSS the street from them now??? Anyway, my day isn't complete until I see "our friends" at the parade. Then there is the 35 year old still getting around town on his BMX bike. I should shut up now because if Scott and I ever hit Powerball we are buying land in Bennington and building a log cabin and these people could be my neighbors!!! But the kids love the bands and picking up candy that is thrown and of course the fire trucks, because the parade is sponsored by the fire department.

We swam in the pool Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday morning before we left for the Catskills. Catskills coming up in the next post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grumpy Checka

This daughter of ours is a real grump. I can't even begin to imagine what the teenage years are going to be like. I imagine there may be alot of alcohol involved (on me and Scott's part, not hers; we will need a stiff drink every night) and probably a belly piercing or maybe a tattoo (her not us). Yesterday I asked my mom to meet me at the library with the kids after I got out of work. She obliged and even took them a little early to choose their books. Well of course Miss Grumpy a bug up her butt about something, not sure exactly what. She huffed and puffed like the Big Bad Wolf over some (imagined) injustice committed by me unto herself. When we got to the car, my mom asked the kids for hugs and kisses. Gavin was more than happy to give Ma his cheek but Checka gave a humpf and got into the car. My mom said "Checka are you going to give me a kiss?" to which she answered with a humpf and a sigh. Gavin looked at my mom and said "I think that's a NO Ma!" We laughed and laughed and even F giggled a little at her own sillyness. I love Miss Grumpy but boy am I tired of her moods...

Tag Sale, Part 2

I forgot to mention Gavin's favorite (and first) tag sale "purchase" of the day - his old comforter off of "his" bed at my mom and dad's. He was HORRIFIED that my mom would even THINK of selling it. He actually dissolved into tears and hid in the basement after we told him that he could not keep it. Scott found him about 20 minutes later still crying. So after looking at his sweet tear-stained face we all said "OK Gav you can keep it". He was so happy that he dragged it upstairs to his room and put it on his bed. Neatly. He has proceeded to make his bed (with 2 comforters on it) for the past 3 mornings. So I guess I can't complain too much about it...Now if I could only find something that would make Francesca make HER bed!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Tag Sale

Saturday was our tag sale. As much as I enjoy getting rid of things, I absolutely hate having a tag sale. The haggling, the touchy-feely kids with their moms, the early-birds.....it just drives me crazy. But it was time to do it, so do it we did. We were not as successful as in years past but we did get rid of our stuff. Whether we sold it or it went to the Salvation Army store it wasn't coming back into our house. Well there were a few things that made it back into the house, by way of Francesca and Gavin. They each "bought" a few things at the tag sale. Actually Gavin did - he rustled up a few quarters and handed them over to pay for his purchases. Francesca just blatently grabbed items off the table, huffed at us and walked away. These are the "treasures" that they each saved from the tag sale table:

GAVIN: a Boppy pillow; a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt (which was too small); a book or two; my brother's old dartboard and darts (Scott was actually in favor of that one)

FRANCESCA: a cosmetics bag; a shirt; a wooden cutting board (by that point she was just looking for anything to take)

We were exhausted by the end of the day and tired of trying to hide things from the kids. Thank goodness it will be another year before we do that again!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Sweetness that is Gavin

Well, sometimes...Last night he was so tired he fell asleep on the couch at 7:30. Thankfully he was already in his pj's. I was able to transfer him up to his bed and he slept until 6:15 this morning! So nice...He woke up in such a good mood. Happy and sweet and full of kisses and hugs. He got dressed without complaint and bopped downstairs, ready to start his day.

He watched me make Francesca's lunch and then told me to get out of the kitchen because he had to "do something". So I left. I went upstairs to wake up Scott and Francesca. When I came back downstairs, avoiding the kitchen of course, he had pulled a chair into the pantry so he could reach the cookie cutters. Then he got the bread and the peanut butter and proceeded me make me lunch! Exactly as how I make Francesca's. This is what my lunch bag had in it:

-2 peanut butter sandwiches, one in the shape of a star, the other in the shape of a heart
-a bottle of water
-Goldfish crackers
-fruit snacks
-a note written on a napkin that said "I love Mommy. From Gavin L."

Plus he wrote "MOMMY" on the paper bag and drew a happy face and a heart on a piece of paper and taped it to my lunch. I felt sooooo loved at that moment. When I ate it later for lunch it was truly the best peanut butter sandwich (sandwiches actually) that I had ever eaten. He was so happy when I called him later to tell him that I enjoyed it. It was a nice mommy moment!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tag Sale Woes

We are having a tag sale this Saturday. We do this every year, usually somehow on the hottest day all damn summer. This year the weather report is forecasting a high of 77, which is not bad. Last year it was so hot we sold water! And sold out of that! Francesca is selling lemonade this time around. Our problem is that the children do not want to sell any of their stuff. We have tried being rational..."Come on if you sell some toys you will have more room for new stuff". Doesn't work. We have tried being stern - "You ARE selling some of your toys!" We have tried appealing to their love of money (especially Gavin) - "Selling some old toys will fill up your piggy bank..." - nothing is working. They see items in the boxes and they take them out, telling us that whatever it is "is my faaaaaaaavorrrrittttte toy, Mommy how can you sell that, I play with it every day" - as I brush the dust off of whatever that toy is. Gavin has gone so far as to march upstairs holding things behind his back. They wear me down. Grammy Carol if you are reading this could you come over and amuse the children in the backyard on Saturday? My mom will be helping me with the hoardes of hagglers -"Oh this is marked a quarter, can I have it for 10 cents???" - NO says my mother. I need to make sure my children are otherwise occupied so I can sell their "treasures", ha ha ha...

Monday, August 4, 2008

The President's Job, According to Francesca

Last night, after all the wedding hoopla, we settled in to read some books. I read Francesca "Otto Runs for President" about a boy/dog who runs for class president. I told her that this year, our country would be electing a new President. She was very curious about why this was happening:

ME: "You know, this year the people in our country will elect a new President."

F: "REALLY??? Why?? Did the other one die or something?"

ME: "No, but after 4 years, or sometimes 8 years, we have to find someone new."

F: "I understand, he has a hard job. He has to go on TV a whole lot and go to a bunch of meetings. He wants to rest now."

ME: "Yes, I guess he is tired."

F: "And his daughter got married, I saw it on TV. He had to plan the wedding, I bet. He needs to retire. Planning a wedding is really tough."

Well that, in Francesca's option, was W's greatest contribution to the United States; helping to plan Jenna's wedding.

The Belle of the Ball

Yesterday was a busy busy day. It was Barbara and Pat's wedding day. Barbara is one of my co-workers, also a pediatric nurse. Pat is Scott's cousin (actually his dad's cousin but who's counting). They have been dating for 5 years and yesterday got married!! They met at Francesca's 1st birthday party, over strawberry shortcake. It's very sweet actually (the 2 od them I mean, not the cake, although that's good too). We were all in the wedding -

Me - Matron of Honor (or special person as I call myself, I hate the word MATRON)
Scott - Best Man
Francesca - Flower Girl/Fairy Princess/Belle of the Ball
Gavin - Ring Bearer/Mini Stud Muffin

The kids performed their parts beautifully. Francesca tossed lilac flower petals, and then later picked them back up, only to re-toss and re-pick all afternoon. She had her hair curled especially for the day and could not stop bouncing her curls, a-la-Shirley Temple. Gavin "carried the pillow" as he called it, WITH THE REAL RINGS!!! I told Barb she was taking a chance with that one but they held tight (so tight I almost could not get them off the pillow). They stood still throughout the ceremony and even walked back down holding hands. It was so cute. The kids knew they were on display, so to speak, and smiled from ear to ear the whole time.

The reception was fun, we all danced alot, and we got home by 4:30, exhausted and ready to collapse. It was only 4:30 in the afternoon but we were beat! After quick showers all around we got our pj's on and relaxed for the rest of the evening! It was a special and fun day!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Further proof that I am getting old...

Tonight we went to Carvel to get some ice cream to beat the heat. Francesca was shimmying around the ice cream store, eating her chocolate ice cream and bopping to the beat of the music playing. Later when we got home I caught her humming the hit song "I Kissed a Girl". Oh my, I am so not ready for her to grow up. Then, I went into her closet to look for her party shoes which she needs on Sunday for her role as a flower girl in my friend's wedding. There at the bottom of her closet (along with many other things) was one of my COSMO MAGAZINES!!!!! WHAT???!!!!! It's a good thing she can't read too well just yet. I don't even want her looking at some of the pictures in Cosmo! Oh my. Scott was sufficiently horrified as well, although he did think it was a teeny bit funny.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The (mis)adventures of camp

So there are some new faces at Gavin's school/camp. A few girls, which of course pleases Gav to no end. But a few boys too. One in particular. I won't name names (to protect the guilty party). He is about two times the size of Gavin, and at least 1 year younger. I admit Gavin is on the teeny tiny size but this kid is HUGE. According to Gavin, this kid has a pushing and biting and shoving problem. It seems he has a problem with everything...well except eating, he has NO PROBLEM doing that. The other day Gav could not wait to tell me what this kid (we'll call him CHUNK) did.

"Mommy!! You are not going to believe what happened! CHUNK thought Ethan's nose was something to EAT! So he reached out and bit it!! It was so red. He thought it was a snack! But it wasn't! It was his nose! He got a time out and he was bad."

Oh boy. I told Gav to stay away, CHUNK might think Gav's arms would be tasty to snack on. Every day, Gav can't wait to get in the car and tell me what happened with CHUNK today. Those poor nuns. They have at least 2 more years of him. Gavin has 3 more days, 3 too many if you ask him. Gavin has even taken to hiding his snack because he said CHUNK liked what his lunchbox looked like and wanted to know what was in it. Oh boy. Those nuns must be doing alot of praying these days...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The little things in life

Today I was off. I was super busy, running all kinds of errands by myself. One plus was that I picked both kids up a little early from camp. They were both surprised and happy. When we got home Francesca decided to watch Hannah Montana (again) and sing along with her microphone. Gavin was redoing his train table tracks yet again. I was flipping through a cookbook I picked up from the library. All of a sudden Gavin's ears perked up like the cat's when she hears a bird.

"Mommy!!!!!!!!!! I hear the ice cream man!!!!!!!!!!! Quick!!!! Money!!!!! Mommy!!!!!!"

Gavin goes tearing down the stairs and flies past his sister who also heard the ringing of the ice cream truck. Even I was excited - it was Jim, the guy with the soft serve! Francesca got a small chocolate soft serve with rainbow sprinkles. Gavin got a muti-colored Popsicle. Gavin said that ice cream is one of his favorite things about summer.

On another note, my sister-in-law Joelle emailed me that she was very happy that I blogged today. I am glad that I could make you happy Joelle!!!

I am a bad blogger

I have not blogged in over a week! Yikes! My sister-in-law Joelle reminded me a few nights ago that I have been "slipping" in my blogging duties. Joelle, I apologize that I have not given you any good stories about your niece and nephew lately.

A little about our weekend...

Friday night we met some friends (and ran into Joelle and family, who reminded me of my blogging responsibilites) at the Oakland Beach to watch the fireworks. The kids had fun running around, playing in the sand, snacking...until Francesca saw (and wanted) ice cream - at 9:30 at night - and all bets were off on good behavior. We said that awful, awful word to her - NO - and she started with one of her famous flip-outs. It's a good thing that the fireworks were over and we were leaving anyway. She pouted the whole way home. Oh well.

Gavin, on the other hand, was being all sweetness and light for some reason. He drew me a picture and then handed me a quarter - "It's for you mommy, for being the best mommy in the world" Oh my word, can he lay it on thick...No wonder he has so many girlfriends at camp. He is Don Juan de Big Guy (get it...like the Johnny Depp movie Don Juan de Marco)...anyway. My heart melted and he beamed. He probably figures that the next time he does something bad I will remember that and forgive him.

Saturday night we had our friend Roland ("Uncle Rol" to the kids) over for dinner. Having Roland over is like having a much taller, much older and way more hairier version of Gavin at the house. Gavin LOVES Roland. He could not wait for him to get there. The kids were playing on their Slip & Slide and when he got there, they took turns getting tossed down the slide by Roland. A good time was had by all!

Sunday we got some errands done and then cleaned the basement. Ugh. Yuck. It is not totally done but it was a good start. The kids now have a place for all of their arts & crafts stuff. Francesca decorated the cork board that Scott hung up with her and Gavin's artwork. Then we went to my parents' house for dinner. Gavin spent most of the evening there pouting in the garage, after knocking over his plate onto the floor. Scott brought him into the garage "to have a talk with him" and then when it was time to come in Gav refused. So there he stayed. He is one stubborn child. I hate to say this, but my son would be one good P.O.W. (God forbid) - when his is mad he refuses to look at you, stands looking at the wall with his head down and arms crossed, and when is spoken to, grunts in return. No enemy would get info. out of him. He eventually came back in when he heard dessert was being served.

So it's now Monday, everyone is at camp and I am off because I am working the long shifts the rest of the week at work. I have a long to-do list, but I think I can get most of it done. Time to fold laundry. Check back later this week for more LaDore adventures!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Francesca's New Word

Why oh why are my children SO OBSESSED with genitalia??? It's not like I am an OB/GYN or a porn star. They do not have examples of genitalia thrown in their faces every minute of the day. Scott and I don't have nude statues or anything of that nature in the house. So why, why must my children get SO EXCITED over these things????

Tonight (and last night too) we took the kids to Rye Beach to beat the heat. How fun it was to come home from work, quickly eat dinner, throw on our suits and head to the beach 10 minutes away. We don't even have to pay to get on the beach after 6 (but we did have to pay to park - small price to pay for such fun). Anyway, tonight we were all in the water splashing around. Our little guppie, Francesca, was swimming around under water, with her eyes open by the way. Next thing you know, I hear Scott yelp and Francesca giggle.

"Ha ha ha Daddy. I got you. I grabbed you in the PENIS!!!!"

Oh my God. First of all Francesca, you are too old to do that and think it is funny. Second of all you grabbed Daddy's thigh. She was easily confused - there is alot of Daddy to grab (Scott I love you I know you are reading this and cursing me...). Next we have to explain that PENIS is not a word that she should be using, although readers you do know my fondness for medical correctness - see last week's "where do babies come from" post for further explanation. Where did she learn such a word? From a friend in Kindergarten; she just chose to save that little gem until the right moment!

So fast forward to home. I was giving Francesca a shower when she (correctly) said:

"Mommy! Daddy has a PENIS. Big Guy has a PENIS. You, Mommy, DO NOT have a PENIS."

Yes Francesca, thank you for pointing that out. I can now sleep easily tonight knowing that everyone in my family has the correct genitalia. I can see it now; my daughter is going to be the one in middle school who explains the birds and the bees to all the other kids. Although...the way we are going, it may be the 4th grade...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boyfriends, girlfriends and faces being licked

Francesca told her father a few nights ago that a boy at camp "likes her", or at least that is what SHE was told by someone else. This made Scott go even more gray than he already is, and if you know Scott, you know he is gray enough already for not-yet-35. Upon further questioning, Little Miss Blond Hair Blue Eyes mentioned that the purported Romeo is older, perhaps in 3rd grade, and she is not sure of his name. But she will find out. Great. Stay tuned.

Gavin, on the other hand, is ALWAYS looking to expand his harem of "girlfriends". He realizes that once camp is done, he may never see his 3 sets of twins, plus the new "extra one" ever again. No wait, one of the sets of twins has an older sister who is a friend of Francesca's from nursery school. We will continue to see them from time to time. I have to tell him that; he will be relieved. Anyway...Gavin has had his eye on one particular girl from T-Ball and kindergarten registration. He was very excited to see her, of all places, in church last night. They both had to stop and wave and make google eyes at each other at the end of Mass (at least Gavin was googling at her, not sure if she was returning the gesture). He was soooo excited to find out that her family goes to the same church as ours, and immediately informed me that he wants to go to that Mass (Saturday @ 5:30) instead of our usual one, Sunday @ 8. That particular Mass is populated with old ladies, not cute 5 year olds. That made his night, he was smiley from that point on!

This afternoon I was running to meet a friend who is planning her wedding. As I was leaving, I gave the kids, and then Scott, kisses. Gavin was sitting next to Scott and watched intently as I kissed my beloved. Then he turned to us and said:

"Ewwwww...you and Daddy just licked each other. THAT IS DISGUSTING!"

I tried to explain that I was just giving Daddy a kiss (a quick and relatively chaste one at that) but Gavin would have none of it. He just wrinkled his nose and turned away shaking his head. Good. I hope he feels the same way at 16. Doubt it. Suddenly Mr. Where-do-babies-come from has turned into a little angel. Humpf!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

You must HATE ME!!!!

You would think that my daughter is 16, not 6. On July 4th, she was pouting over something, probably because I said NO to her. So she looks at me and says

"YOU, DADDY and MA are being mean to me. You must HATE ME..."

Umm, no Francesca, we love you very much. I said no because whatever it was she wanted to do, it was not the right time to be doing that. I don't even remember what IT was. We eventually got through that crisis and fast-forward to today. F came upstairs to ask me if she could go on the computer. I said no because she had already had 2 10-minute turns on the computer. Of course she did not like what she was hearing, hence this is what I heard...

"Again, Mommy, you must hate me! Hmphhh!"

And she stormed away only to come back 5 minutes later, this time asking somewhat sweetly. The answer was still the same - no.

"Once again Mommy, you said no. And I still think you must hate me! Goodbye! I am asking Daddy!"

This game of hers was getting real old. Real old. I don't think I pulled this crap until I was in middle school at least. I don't know - Mommy if you are reading this please figure out how to leave a comment and tell my readers what an angel I was. And don't lie and say I was a bad child. You know I was not. Anyway...Francesca and Gavin were playing in the sandbox this afternoon and she was complaining (again) that he had too much of the sandbox. I decided to make it fair and draw a line down the middle. She said I gave him just a little bit more space, and, you guessed it, accused me of "hating her" and giving Big Guy too much sand. I cannot even believe this child sometimes, I am not sure where she gets it from.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Francesca is enlightened...

Overheard while driving to the grocery store:

GAVIN: Checka, I fooled Mommy. Buggy is a girl. And she is having a baby! This right here (points to small seam at the back of stuffed animal) is her heiney, and this (points to spot above it) is her cookie. That is where the baby comes out of. Listen, if I squeeze her the baby giggles (makes squeaky giggly noise).

FRANCESCA: What, Big Guy? What do you mean her cookie? MOMMY IS THIS TRUE???? You told me that me and Big Guy came out of your stomach, that the doctor cut you open and took me out. Big Guy too. Who is coming out of the cookie? Babies??

GAVIN: No Checka it's true, Mommy told me. Tell her Mommy.

At this point I have put my head down on the steering wheel and started to hyperventilate. I explain to Francesca that yes, babies can come out "that way" and also try to make it perfectly clear that this IS NOT something we discuss at school or camp, because everyone else's mommy and daddy should have the pleasure of explaining it to them themselves.


Just wanted to say thanks to whomever is reading this blog! I just made it to 1000 hits today, so someone out there is reading...Please readers, leave me a comment every now and again, so I have some proof that someone is reading this blog other than my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law (who lets me know when it's been too long in between posts). Hope you are enjoying the adventures of Francesca and Gavin, there's alot more to come!

The Birds and the Bees...AGAIN!!!!

Why, oh why, does Gavin always ask ME these questions???? And always on the way to his Catholic nursery school/camp, where he should not be discussing such topics??? He brought his stuffed bug "Buggy" in the car this morning and asked me when Buggy was going to have babies. I told him never, as Buggy is a stuffed animal and therefore does not reproduce...well I didn't use that particular word...So then he asks me how old he has to be to have babies. I told him much much older, and by the way, you will not be having the babies. That will be your wife's job, someday in the future.

"Why can't I have the babies? "

Once again, Gav, you don't have the right parts. God made the boys to have one set of parts and the girls to have another.

"So where does the baby come out once it is ready? Your heiney?"

Oh my God I am saying to myself, I AM NOT HAVING THIS CONVERSATION RIGHT NOW. NOT NOW, NOT ANYTIME SOON. Ummm...well Gav, the baby comes out of the "cookie" (which has been our family slang for the va-jay-jay ever since Francesca was a baby - why I don't know, don't ask!).

"Wow Mommy, how does that happen? Are the cookies that BIG?????"

I can't I can't I can't discuss this with my 4 1/2 year old. To divert his attention I suddenly announced it was donut time and hurredly pulled into Donut Delight in Stamford. I am so going prematurely gray right now....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Camping Adventure

Yesterday I turned 35. I do not freak out about birthdays, doing so just wastes time and energy. I guess I can now say that I am officially in my "mid-30's". I figure I can't truly be that old, I can still remember what happened on most of my previous birthdays. Anyway, I decided that for my birthday I wanted us to do something fun. Camping, for us, is fun. So I found the "Brook-N-Wood" campground online, in slightly-upstate Columbia County (specifically Elizaville), 90 miles away. So we packed our camping gear and away we went yesterday morning.

Once we got there and set up our campsite, we got changed and headed for the pool. The campground was full of things to do and we took advantage of all of it - the pool, playground, hayride and even an ice cream social in the evening. We skipped BINGO and "Manhunt" at 9PM though - the kids were already sleeping. This morning we got up, cooked breakfast over the roaring fire, and went back in the pool. Before going to the pool, Gavin decided to go "peep in the woods" - his favorite camp activity! Not 2 minutes later he comes running back with his shorts around his ankles, screaming his head off.

"A spider tried to get me! It almost tried to bite my willy off!!!! ARRRRGGGHHHHH"

Oh my, we could not stop laughing. It was too funny...well not to Gavin. The rest of the morning went off without a hitch. We swam for awhile, then went back, got changed, tidied up our campsite and checked out. We definitely plan on visiting the Brook-N-Wood again, maybe this time with something to keep the spiders away!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kindergarten is finished

Today was Francesca's last day of kindergarten. She got a good report card and brought home her yearbook. We got next year's supply list (Hello Staples!). Camp starts in 1 week. Gavin is already at camp, continuing on at Our Lady of Grace until August. We are going camping on Saturday for one night. It's my birthday. I wanted to do something fun. We love to camp. Hopefully we will have fun and come home without any tick bites.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Camp Rock

Francesca is OBSESSED with Camp Rock, the new Disney movie starring the Jonas Brothers (or Mr. Jonas, Mr. Jonas and Mr. Jonas as Gavin calls them). All we have heard for the past 2 months was "June 20th, June 20th, June 20th Mommy is the day that the movie comes out". For her graduation she wanted only Camp Rock things. So my mom got her Camp Rock underwear, a Camp Rock shirt, a Camp Rock nightshirt. We got her Camp Rock sheets. I washed them as soon as I got home from work. I dried them. I got ready to change her sheets - oh she was soooooo excited, she would be laying on head on Joe Jonas. At least I think it was Joe - maybe it was Kevin or Nick. Who knows...Anyway, as I am just about to start stripping the sheets off her bed, she stops me:

"Mommy, don't do it. I don't want those sheets on. Joe Jonas's eyes are TOO BIG. They are staring at me. It's freaking me out!!!"


Gavin tells me today that there is a new girl in his class at camp. Maybe she can be his 7th girlfriend he says. Didn't know he was interviewing, I thought 3 sets of twins was enough. Guess not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Graduation, Part II

Today was Francesca's turn. She graduated (or "moved up" as the school likes to call it) from Kindergarten at Park Avenue Elementary. Like Gavin's graduation, there was singing and speeches and all-around cuteness. There was over 200 people in smooshed into the gym at Park Ave., plus it was a very muggy, sticky morning. Ugh. When it was all over, we had to collect our children in the cafeteria, where they were eating cake. At 10:30 in the morning...great...I have never seen 100 children sitting so nicely as they were this morning, shoveling cake into their mouths.

My mom was nice enough to keep both kids at her house today. We thought Gavin would want to see his sister's special day, so he got a get-out-of-camp-free pass today from camp. When I spoke with my mom later in the day, Gav was bugging her to (yet again) assemble his train set that resides at her house.

"No Gavin, I cannot stand to do that again, to try to put that train set together."

"No, Ma, it's OK...you can sit and do it."

My mom and I really laughed over that one. He is a quick one, my Gavin. So now summer begins. I have 2 graduates now, no more nursery school tuition (well no more once camp ends) and 2 lists of school supplies to start hunting down. My babies are growing up. Oh boy. Someday I will blog about their dating adventures. Well, given the way my son is, that could be next year, as he is trying to woo some unsuspecting kindergarten girl by offering her his lunch.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gavin the Graduate

Oh my baby graduated yesterday from pre-school. It was too cute. He had a light blue cap and gown and was near the front (they lined them up by height and he is teeny-tiny). All the children carried red roses down the aisle. When the children were asked by Father Bob what was going to happen after graduation, Gavin called out "We will go to a new school!" and Father Bob said "Yes, you will. Very good!" Very good indeed, I thought for sure Gavin would say that after graduation you get gifts or something like that. Phew! My family and I breathed a sigh of relief. Gavin sat so nicely throughout the mini-Mass, all the songs and the actual handing out of diplomas. He did, however, grab his diploma from Father Bob, instead of reaching out his hand and taking it nicely. Oh well. He did not move from his seat during the whole time, I couldn't have asked for more than that! After everything was done, Gavin posed for pictures with Francesca, Ma and Pa, Grammy, Uncle Larry and finally me, Scott and Francesca.

After the graduation we quickly headed home, got changed, and headed back up to Stamford to Cove Island Park for the family picnic. The kids had a blast, and Scott and I managed to sit on a park bench (for a few minutes) and relax. We also took a ride on the tram around the park. The kids liked that. The highlight of the picnic is Sister Luigia and her water pistol. It's not just a water pistol, it's a Super Soaker. With a backpack attachment. That nun is fierce with a water gun. She was soaking everyone, parents included. Plus she kept asking the kids to go grab her some water bottles so she could refill the gun. We had our own tiny water pistols, but you can't squirt a nun. I think God might get a little pissed off at that...By the time we left, the kids were hot, sticky and very very tired. But it was fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My baby is growing up.

I'll really feel that way on the first day of Kindergarten. Today Gavin had Kindergarten orientation. I wasn't as nervous as last year's with Francesca. I knew what to expect. I could be calm, cool and collected!! Gavin was really excited. He was hoping to see Francesca's classroom and was a little disappointed to not see Francesca (current Kindergarteners were dismissed early to prepare for the new kids' visit). When we got there, Gavin spotted one of his TBall buddies. We sat next to her and her mom, and when it was time for the kids to leave with some teachers to do a craft and see the classrooms, Gavin, ever the gentleman, hopped off my lap and held out his hand for his little lady friend to take. Then he ever so nicely guided her out of the cafeteria and into the hallway, shielding her from all the other 5 year old Don Juans...

After we heard all about what next year would entail, the kids returned and sang us a song. It was so cute, and unlike Francesca last year, performed with a smile! I cannot believe that next year BOTH of my babies will be in elementary school. Yippee!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our Saturdays are free again...

TBall ended today. Whew. It was fun, but it was hot, and some days I could not take the whining that came off the Nissan City bench. Who pushed who, who touched who, who didn't want to sit next to this person or that person...Our final game was at 1PM and the end-of-season PCYBL BBQ was at 3PM. I have to give kudos to the PCYBL; every child got a trophy and we all ate for free! By the time the BBQ started the we had been at the park for close to 3 hours. Francesca was whining (of course) because she took too many spins on the circular swing on the playground, she thought she was going to throw up. She told this to just about everyone who came within 2 ft. of her. Gavin was OK until Scott picked him up and he bumped his chin on Scott's shoulder. This caused him to bite his tongue, hard I might add. There was blood of course, and crying. His tongue now has a rather large black and blue on it. Anyway, after we handed out team pictures, got something to eat, and gave our team a big round of applause for their trophies, we left. We were tired and sweaty. The kids both said they will do it again next year. I will post their pictures soon. They are too cute for words.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Birds and The Bees...and Gavin

Just when I think it's safe to take a deep breath and relax, Gavin comes up with a zinger. We were driving to school this morning and listening to the radio. The news reported a car accident (or what I like to call "2 cars bumping" - doesn't scare the kids as much). I wasn't really paying attention but apparently Gavin was; see previous blog post "Hey Shithead" from back in February, which explains how well he really does listen! Gavin says to me,

"Hey Mommy, do you remember when Daddy bumped the deer with the minivan??"

Actually Gavin, yeah I do, and Daddy did not bump the deer, the deer bumped, or should I say jumped, into the minivan...exactly one week after we got that damn car. Anyway, there is NO WAY Gavin would remember that, as I was 5 MONTHS PREGNANT WITH HIM AT THE TIME.

"Well Mommy I remember that. Where was Francesca? Was she scared?"

So after I try to explain to him that he did not witness the minivan massacre (neither did I, I was at work) he asks me if him and Francesca were inside my tummy at the same time. No, I told him, she came first. Then him. Well, that was not good enough for Gavin.

"But why did Checka come first? How did we get there? Are you sure we both weren't there at the same time? That can happen you know, my girlfriends are all twins, they were in their mommy's tummies together! What did you and Daddy have to do to get me in your tummy? Did you order me from God?"

Okay...I am not going into that with you right now, I thought. Not now, not in a year, not in 5 years. Yes Gavin I ordered you and Checka from God. Yes, I apologize for ordering her first. I still love you.

Sometimes I wish he wasn't so smart :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Soaked on Sunday

Today was a really nice day. After church, we grabbed our packed picnic lunch, got some breakfast, and headed off to Brooklyn. BROOKLYN!!??? Why, you ask, did we go to Brooklyn? Well, we were on an adventure, headed to the Prospect Park Zoo. We have a family membership to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which includes the Bronx, Central Park, Prospect Park and Queens Zoos and the NY Aquarium at Coney Island (another great reason to go to Brooklyn). It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and we walked through the gates shortly after the 10AM opening. The kids loved watching the sea lions being fed, the petting zoo and the aviary. We loved the fact that it was not as huge as the Bronx Zoo. We also really loved the fact that there was no gift shop. Well, there was a gift vending machine. It dispensed small stuffed animals at $5 a pop. At first Scott and I grumbled, but then I figured we actually were getting away pretty cheaply, compared to the loot we've brought home from other places in the past. It was fun to walk around, see everything and have lunch while watching the sea lion feedings. After 2 1/2 hours, we headed home.

Once we got home, the kids decided they wanted Daddy to fill their kiddie pool so they could cool off. Great! We could sit outside and relax, we had no other places to go or things to do (Scott had mowed the lawn Friday night and I went grocery shopping yesterday). So they splashed and we sat. I enjoyed a nice cold gin and tonic and a book. Then the water fight began. Gavin and Francesca were already splashing us and squirting us with their pails and water pistols. I am not sure how it got out of hand, one minute they were filling up the water pistols, the next minute I had filled a large bucket in the basement and was ambushing Scott. He had the hose, I had the bucket, the kids were in between us running around...Eventually Scott and I were SOAKED and he picked me up and dumped me in the kiddie pool. By the time our friend Roland stopped by to say hi we were drenched. After the kids took showers and we put on some dry clothes we grilled outside. F and Gav were soooo tired but just did not want to go to sleep, thankfully they did eventually. It was a nice day, I hope we have a summer full of them!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008


This morning, Francesca was buttering her toast and commented on our choice of margarine:

"I Can't Believe It's Not Butter? Mommy, is that a joke??"

I was howling. I forget sometimes that she is learning to read. Plus our kids are mini-advertising geniuses. They know EVERY sign, brand, slogan...Scott and I thought that was so funny. She got confused, because of course, it LOOKS like butter. No further explanation needed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mud puddles are so much fun

Right now I am soaking their clothes from TBall. Their sneakers are in the washing machine. I hate mud. They love mud. I run from mud, they run towards it, embrace its' mushiness and jump in headfirst. Ugh. Francesca was scooping up great big handfuls of mud and sand that was supposed to be the squares enclosing the TBall bases. She was supposed to be playing third base, not squishing mud through her fingers. I guess mud is part of being a kid. I think it was way more fun when I was the kid making mud pies, not the mommy praying for it to come out of the clothing. To my mommy, I now apologize for all the mud pies I made. I can just imagine all the cleaning that came along with them!

I really hope the field is dry on Friday when it's time to play our next game!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


We went to the PC Coach Diner after church this morning. Gavin protested a little, as he wanted to go to th IHOP in Larchmont. However, with a vote of 3 to 1, the diner won. I love IHOP, but didn't want to wait 45 minutes to be seated. So over a leisurely breakfast of eggs and hash (them not me, I don't touch the stuff) Scott told the children how him and I used to come to the diner in our much younger years, late at night, for our old standby of iced tea and fries with cheese and gravy.

"That was when I was wooing Mommy, guys."

"Wooing, daddy??? Did you mean mooing? What's wooing?"

No Gavin, he told him, wooing was when I was trying to get mommy to like me and date me. And give me kisses!

"Kisses!!! Eww!!! That's disgusting! Why would mommy want to give you kisses???"

"Well, Gavin, if mommy didn't like me and give me kisses, you and Checka would have never been here..."

"EWWWWW...still, why did she have to kiss you?? That is really disgusting!"

And that is a discussion best left alone for a few more years!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Master of His Domain

Gavin and I ran into Stop and Shop quickly last night before we went home. I had to pick up dessert for my religion class - it was our last night and we were having a pizza party (and I did not bake it myself, geez sometimes I disappoint myself). Anyway, Gav was happy. The lady who sliced our cold cuts gave him a piece each of bologna and turkey. Ah, what a life. Bologna and turkey just for smiling and saying please...

In the meat and poulty section I spied chicken breast for $1.99/lb. What a deal. Who cares if I had to buy 3 lbs. or more - we have a deep freeze! So there I am mulling over whether I want to buy the chicken, and Gav is getting antsy. Now that he has finished his little snack he wants to make a beeline for the OJ and grab some to take home. I asked him (why I don't know) if I should buy the chicken.

"Gavin, should mommy buy chicken?"

"I don't know mommy. I am not the master of chicken. You are."

"OK. What is daddy the master of?"

"Steak. Daddy is the master of steak because he cooks on the grill."

"Are you the master of anything?"

"Oh yes, Mommy! I am the master of cold cuts!! I am the master! Now get me some more bologna!!"

Then I started giggling to myself, thinking of the Seinfeld "master of his domain" episode. I couldn't even explain to Gavin WHY I was laughing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Francesca's Birthday Party - the recap

Our weekend was hectic. I stressed all week about the weather. If it rained, how was I going to squeeze 13 kids (plus an assortment of parents) in my living room?? Saturday morning when I woke up I was soooo happy to see the sun. It wasn't really shining yet, but it was trying to peek through. The day started off good - went to Weight Watchers and didn't gain. Didn't lose, but hey, can't win 'em all. I am still down 25 lbs. which is a major accomplishment considering I will eat almost anything that isn't nailed down. My kids and husband are proud of me too - 2 weekends ago, we went to our friend's daughter's birthday and Francesca proudly announced as we walked through the door, "MY MOMMY LOST 25 POUNDS. DOESN'T SHE LOOK GREAT??" Thank God we were the first guests to arrive....Anyway, back to the party. After WW, T-Ball and various trips to pick up balloons, beer, ice, the cake and Garden Catering, we were home and ready for the party to begin. Both kids were itchy with excitement.

All of our party guests arrived and all the kids hung out on our swingset. It's so nice to see kids just playing - no XBox, no computers, no heavily scheduled activities. Just playing. Running and jumping and swinging and yelling. Lots of yelling. After a quick lunch of Garden Catering chicken nuggets, fries and potato cones (my favorite) the Bear Bus arrived!! The kids loved the Bear Bus, and we loved that they came to us!! That took about 45 minutes or so, and then the kids decorated sand pails with foam stickers. Then we had cake. And fruit. A watermelon bowl to be exact. Scott decided to make a scalloped watermelon bowl at 11PM the night before. Gavin loved that more than he loved the cake. He couldn't keep his little fingers out of it.

After that party was over, we had about 1 hour before our family party started. Time to make some Sangria!!! Yum-O, as Rachel Ray would say. That was fun too. Francesca had a good time, Gavin crashed and fell asleep on the living room rug. We covered him with a blanket and left him under the watchful eye of our nephew Nick (or "big scary Nicky" as Gavin likes to call him. I guess when you are Gav's size, someone as tall as Nick is scary. Nick is tall. Gavin comes up to like his kneecap...no, maybe his hip. Anyway, Nick is tall!) Scott and I were exhausted that night. But the kids had fun. We had fun. Francesca is already planning her 7th birthday! Poor us!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The birthday cake dilemma

I ended up ordering her a Barbie princess cake from Harrison Bake Shop. You know, the cake where there is a Barbie standing straight up in the middle and the her dress is the cake. The thought of doing all that baking and decorating and praying that it looked good was just too overwhelming yesterday. But I am baking 25 cupcakes right now for her to take to school on Friday. They will get iced tomorrow night. I still have to bake some sort of cake for our family party Saturday night but that is no big deal. As long as it has a candle in it, Francesca will not care if it is a Bundt cake or a 27-layer cake.

Scott comes home tonight. It's a good thing, because Francesca was pretty peeved in the middle of the night when she walked into our room looking for her daddy. Once she woke up a little and remembered he was not there, she huffed and then snuggled under the covers with me. Humpfh! I guess I am not the one she wants in the middle of the night (mostly because I tend to sleep through her calling us)...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Am I nuts?

Without knowing the question, those who know me would say yes. Francesca's 6th birthday is coming up this Friday, and I have a whole load of baking to do. Friday it is her turn to bring snack into her kindergarten class. Our school has (supposedly has I should say) a healthy eating initiative, so I can't just send her with a pack of Oreos Double Stuff. I have tried, since the beginning of the school year, to send healthy stuff. She has brought in Go-Gurt's, bagels, pretzels, HOMEMADE low-fat, low-sugar chocolate chip muffins (see how nuts I really am?) and most recently mini yogurts. One of the memos sent home by the principal stresses how we should make sure that if we are baking for the class, we use applesauce instead of oil and "healthy" ingredients. Yeah, OK, are they going to test my cupcakes' fat and calorie content? Anyway...Her Royal Highness Princess Francesca Audra has decreed that she wants "fruit kebobs" for her healthy birthday snack. While this is a great idea, I will not be responsible for one 5 year old poking another's eye out with said kebob skewer. No way. I have to figure this one out.

Meanwhile, I have her birthday cake to contend with. Scott suggested I buy a bakery cake. Oh no. I make a damn good cake. I am a good baker. I may not be perfect, but I can bake. She wants a princess castle cake - with turrets. So I have been looking online for recipes. From what I can see, this castle cake is going to be a little labor-intensive. I haven't committed to this cake just yet, but I think I will need to start baking the layers tomorrow night, freeze them for a few days and then decorate late into the hours of Friday night/Saturday morning in preparation for her birthday party on Saturday. Then get up for TBall Saturday morning. Then have 15 kids at our house for the "Bear Bus" birthday. Then have our families over that night. I am nuts. Did I mention my husband is in Las Vegas on business??? I have to bake the Princess Castle Cake. When she was 2 I made her a Crayola Crayon box cake. When she was 5 I made her a Ladybug ice cream filled cake. For Gavin's birthday last year I banged out Thomas the Tank Engine. I think it's time to go print that recipe and make sure I have enough flour, sugar and vodka (for me not the cake) to see me through the weekend! Check back next week for pictures!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Gavin and I were driving to school this morning and he noticed that his old, well worn and loved, owned first by Francesca (but we'd never tell him that) teddy bear had a few unidentified sticky things stuck to his fur. So he tried and I tried to pick them off, with no success. So he thought that maybe we needed some help...

Mommy, you need to get the 'tweeze nips' to take this piece of something off of teddy.

The what? I thought. "Tweeze nips"?? Did he mean to say Cheese Nips? Why would I use a Cheese Nip to remove the sticky pieces off of teddy??

Gavin, do you mean TWEEZERS???? Not "tweeze nips"...

Yes Mommy - Tweeze nips...cheese nips...tweezers...you know what I meant, didn't you? Just get the tweezers and remove the sticky stuff from teddy.

Once we were stopped at a red light and I had stopped laughing I was able to remove the sticky little pieces of what may have been candy from teddy's fur. Tweeze nips...too cute.

Friday, April 25, 2008

And they're back...

My little darlings came home last night. I think this may be their last mini-vacation with their grandparents for awhile. There was alot of whining this trip. Oh well, they are not perfect. They took a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, visited a pretzel factory, and did alot of swimming. I think Francesca's favorite part was seeing the Amish. She kept telling me on the phone about the Amish - "Mommy, I saw the Amish, I saw the Amish!!" She was very excited about the grape jelly she bought "from the Amish lady". I'm glad the Amish made her so happy!

Scott and I had a nice 2 nights without the kids. We went out to dinner Wednesday night, to Pasquale's, where we were able to converse without being interrupted, and out for ice cream Tuesday night. We kept saying how much we missed them, and they told us when they got home that they missed us too. And really, that is all a parent wants to hear from their child.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And they're off...

On vacation, again!! Those two kids of ours are away again! Seems like yesterday I posted about their trip to Mystic and Newport. Now they left this morning for Strasburg, PA. It's spring break week in the Port Chester school system, which means Francesca spends her days with my parents, unless me or Scott is able to take a day off. So, my mom and dad decided it was time to take the kids back to Vermont. The kids have been talking about this for 2 weeks or so.

Yesterday, I called my mom to see if she made reservations and she sighed "Big problems, Dineen. The hotel pool is under renovation. I don't know where we are going to go." Big problems is right. Scott and I were all set to have 2 blissful, uninterrupted nights of sleep, with no Francesca coming in our room at 2 AM and no Gavin crawling in between us, "because his sheets were cold". This would not do. Plus, if the kids didn't get to go anywhere I would have 2 very grumpy children on my hands. So I got to work. I tried to give my mom ideas - different parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania. Finally they agreed that Strasburg, PA might be fun. Strasburg is home to the Strasburg Railroad, the National Toy Train Museum and close to many, many other things. My mom was able to make reservations at a hotel with an indoor pool and they were all set. Phew!!

Francesca and Gavin set off this morning with packed suitcases, backpacks filled with their Leapsters and small toys, and 2 Webkinz each. Plus I believe Happy, Francesca's stuffed unicorn, snuck into her suitcase. And 2 Thomas the Tank Engine trains in Gavin's. Of course. Can't go to the National Train Museum and not bring one of your own!!!

As much as I wish Scott and I were there with them, it is nice for our kids to make memories with their family outside of memories shared with us. Someday, they will be older and look back on times with their Ma, Pa, Grammy, and other assorted aunts, uncles and cousins and smile. I know that when I think of things that I did when I was younger I smile too.