Friday, January 29, 2010


Rob is a natural athlete. Sports come easily to him. A college baseball player, there are few activities that he finds challenging. Twelve years ago, though, he retired from golf. After years of perfecting a baseball swing, he decided that it just couldn't be undone to master the golf swing. And Rob, being Rob, decided that if he couldn't be great at a sport, he should retire.

Rob's inability to master golf has bothered him since the day he stopped playing. When people asked him if he was a golfer, he'd pull out the retirement joke but I have always sensed that he didn't find it funny. Turns out I was right. Today, Rob went to an indoor golf center and took his first lesson.

Since returning home he has talked golf non-stop. About grips, swings, more lessons. Since he returned home I have thought golf non-stop. About money, Rob's time away from home playing golf, why women don't say they have to play golf on a warm and sunny Saturday morning leaving their husbands to fend for themselves for hours.

And then, the following: This high tech golf center has the ability to show Rob's swing, posture and grip on the computer screen. And they can split the screen to show the him how closely he matches Tiger. "You know," Rob says, "So that I can be more like Tiger."

And I was worried about too much time on the golf course...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


At the end of last winter I promised myself I would be better about taking the girls outside this winter. Until yesterday I had not lived up to this promise. It has been so cold and so easy to stay inside. So easy until I realize that both girls are literally bouncing off the walls. All of Caroline's sensory issues are coming back- after seeming so much better since last spring. Katherine is building obstacle courses throughout the house that get more and more dangerous each day.

Yesterday, the girls played outside with one of our neighbors and I realized that the girls didn't care it was cold. They just wanted to run and jump and skip. They played chase and Duck, Duck, Goose. At one point, the mail man arrived and they even included him in the game as he walked past. The girls laid on the frozen ground and looked at the clouds. Katherine shouted, "I see a cloud that looks like a balloon." You could see her breath but she didn't mind.

So... today, when the girls asked to go to the playground, I ignored my first response. It was cold and late. But we went anyway. The picture above shows both how dark it became as the girls continued to play but also how happy they remained.

Let's hope I remember today as the weather gets colder.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Sleep Over

For close to a year now, Caroline has been begging to go on a sleep over. I remember being quite old before I tackled this particular milestone but somehow, like so many things, sleep overs start earlier in this day in age. Between her frequent night terrors and incredibly early rising, we have said no to her requests again and again. Recently, she had started to feel like a "bad person" because she couldn't have sleep overs. The unfairness of her friends participating in such fun events had translated into a reflection of herself as a person.

Thanks to the wonderful investigative work of our sleep specialist, we are finally getting to the bottom of some truly biological reasons for Caroline's poor night time sleep. As a result, we have actually been able to help her in definitive ways and the night terrors are basically gone. While this has gotten us closer to sleep overs, I was still hesitant to subject any of our friends to our wake up time. One good friend, however, decided that it would be only one morning out of their lives and she was up for the challenge.

Last night was the night. The bags were packed and off we went. On the way home from dropping Caroline at her friend's house, Katherine looked sadly at Caroline's empty car seat and I cried. I couldn't tell if I was crying because I was afraid she wouldn't be able to do it and would then feel worse about herself or if I was afraid she would be able to do and that would mean that our baby was really growing up.

This morning, those sad tears became happy tears when I heard Caroline's voice over the phone. She had done it and the confidence and bliss in her voice was beautiful.

Our baby is really growing up and it is an amazing thing to watch....

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So I've written a lot lately about the beauty of reading. The wonders of Caroline reading chapters books on her own, Katherine being motivated to do the same, the girls sharing their love of reading... Today, I was reminded that even beautiful growth comes with challenges.

On the way home from her art class today, Caroline began reading the pizza box that held her oil painting. Apparently, oil paints takes forever to dry and pizza boxes are a great way to transport a wet canvas. "Oven fresh pizza. God Bless America. Come Back Soon! Say no to drugs." If I was a good whistler, I would have whistled. Perhaps that would have distracted the question I knew was coming. "Mommy, what are drugs?" I did the best I could to explain the differences between drugs that help sick people get better and the other kind. I tried to compare the bad kind to cigarettes. While the cigarette thing distracted her a bit, the next question was, "Mommy, why would any one smoke cigarettes if they are bad for you? Maybe the person who invented them didn't know they were bad."

And now I'm off to remind myself that I still love the fact that Caroline can read anything she gets her hands on...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We decided to move to New Jersey two and a half years ago(has it really been that long!?). One of the factors that weighed heavily in our decision was proximity to family. We love our Richmond friends, miss the somewhat warmer climate and still wonder why Ukrops is the only store on the planet with helpful people to bring your groceries to the car. All that said, though, it has been wonderful to be three hours from my mom (instead of 10), just a few minutes from Rob's parents (instead of 6 hours) and an hour from Rob's sister and her family (instead of 7). This weekend we had the family here to celebrate my mother in law's birthday. It was one of those days that made me glad that we were here. The four cousins ran like wild through our house for hours. They created obstacle courses and jungle gyms in our house before the big guys finally decided to brave the cold and play outside until darkness came. They all crowded around a new popcorn maker, giddy as if toys would be flying out instead of popped corn. Days like this would not have been possible if we had not moved.

Hopefully, as I am shivering through this ridiculously freezing winter, I will look back from pictures of this weekend and remember why we are here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Contagious

This morning, Katherine insisted that we leave her alone. When I snuck in to see what she was doing, she was "reading" a chapter book. Apparently, she would like to share Caroline's magic and attention!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So Fun

I wonder if I will ever get over the amazement of this. I had begun to read to the girls during breakfast when the dog needed to go out... This usually brings on squeals of anguish as if I will never return. Today, it was strangely quiet as I let Jenny out and then back in. When I returned to the dining room I saw why. Caroline had picked up right where I had left off and all were happy. What a beautiful thing to see... waffles, pjs and books. Does it get any better?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to Reality

Tomorrow the girls go back to school, Rob goes back to working in the city and I go back to doing what I do when Rob and the girls are doing what they do.

I love routines so a big part of me is happy to be getting back to one but another part of me will miss the laid back, lazy days that allowed us to do things like this

and then leave the table looking like this

knowing that there will be plenty of time to get back to it.

My wish for the new year is more messes like the one above with more time to relax and enjoy them... Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best Words

Rob and I ushered in 2010 with much the same fatigue as the years leading up to it. We were asleep very early last night, after being up much of the night before with a congested, crying Katherine. Last night we went to sleep too early to report to the public given that it was New Year's Eve. Even with our super early bed time, we woke exhausted after being up with Katherine again. We had sensed that her ears were bothering her, as they often do, but were left feeling hopeless. After a very bad experience with Tamiflu a few months ago, Katherine has refused medicine. Any medicine. Even Motrin. After two unsuccessful attempts at holding her down while shoving Motrin into her little mouth, we gave up.

Rob's mom generously offered to take the girls for a bit today so that Rob and I could nap. When we arrived to pick the girls up, I got a look at Katherine and could see yucky stuff coming out of her ear. She has ruptured an ear drum before so I knew what we were dealing with and that we would need to find a way to get some type of medicine into the poor soul.

After much talk, bribing and begging, Katherine took the medicine on her own, swallowing it from a cup like the big girl she is becoming. Bribes aside, she decided on her own to take charge and do what she needed to do. The smile on her face was contagious. You could feel the pride washing off of her.

A little while later, she walked up to me and squeezing my leg in a huge hug, said, "I am so proud of myself."

Hearing these words from her mouth and seeing the look on her face made all the tiredness and stress almost worth it... almost...