Monday, January 31, 2011


Most of the people I saw today couldn't even discuss the fact that we are getting more snow this week and maybe, according to one meteorologist, "an ice storm of epic proportion" on top of it. In trying to focus on the good things that have come out of this ridiculous winter (seeing as lots of quiet time is certainly not among them), I couldn't help thinking of the gorgeous pictures we've taken of the girls in all this snow.
Last Thursday, Caroline had only a two hour delay despite the foot of snow that had fallen over night but Katherine had a snow day.
The pictures above show our little snow bunny enjoy waist deep snow...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Katherine was feeling grumpy the other night. As she pouted in her room, Caroline wrote an acrositc poem to cheer her up...

Everyone loves her
I love her!
Nothing but great!
Everyone hug her!

I really don't think there is anything better than sisters..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You know you're desperate when...

you start hula hooping in the snow! As the girls walked out the door for school this morning, the flakes were yet again falling. Inches of snow had begun to collect during this, the quiet part of the storm we are expecting in full tonight. I just got off the phone with a friend who said, "Oh, we're only supposed to get nine inches." It's as if we have become immune to snow. Nine inches is no big deal and hula hooping in the snow has become a perfectly normal pass time. Perhaps tomorrow we'll bring out the water balloons and s'mores.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Post Strep Reactive Arthritis

Two weeks ago, Caroline went ice skating. We spent the next few days thinking that the pain in her legs was the result of lots and lots of falls. After the pain worsened, we saw our pediatrician, our chiropractor and then an orthopedist. At that point, we thought Caroline had synovitis of the hip, a swelling of the tissue around her hip. And then the pain moved to her knees, wrists and ankles. No longer confident with our initial diagnosis, we saw a rheumatologist who then sent us to a cardiologist. After that visit and more blood work, the rheumatologist felt pretty sure that we were looking at something having to do with an undiagnosed and asymptomatic strep. We have been treating Caroline with antibiotic and Aleve since late last week. Today was our follow up with the rheumatologist who officially gave us the diagnosis of Post Strep Reactive Arthritis. We are looking at another month of antibiotic and Aleve before redoing the blood work and visiting the rheumatologist one more time.

I am again reminded that medicine is an art not a science. The rheumatologist is unsure how long Caroline will need to be on either medicine nor how soon before Caroline's symptoms will be completely gone. I am again reminded that second opinions are important and am wondering if I need to get one. With this diagnosis, there is the possibility of prophylactic antibiotics for years.

Even with all these questions, however, I am thankful that we have learned as much as we have. We are in a much better place than we were at this time last week. Caroline has been to school and even went to Great Gym Games, her favorite after school activity, today. She came bounding out of school with the renewed energy that movement with no pain can bring to a little girl who been sitting still for two weeks. So for that and much more, I am thankful.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Katherine continues to be one grumpy little soul so I was awfully glad when she gave me one of the biggest laughs I've had in awhile. As I was putting away my laundry earlier, Katherine picked up my bra and held it in place.

As she pranced herself in front of the mirror, she exclaimed, "Look! I'm Mommy! Look at my giant boobies!"

This comment marked the first time that any bra of mine has been described in such a way. It sure is true that all is relative...

Friday, January 21, 2011


We have had a week filled with uncertainty. Caroline began having joint paint almost two weeks ago. At first we believed it to be the result of multiple falls during her first adventure with ice skating. As time went on and the pain moved throughout her body we became less sure. Over the past two weeks we have seen our pediatrician, our chiropractor, an orthopedist, a rheumatologist and a cardiologist (we thought for a blip that it might be rheumatic fever but this now looks unlikely). We are now awaiting more blood work that might give us some answers to this puzzle we are living. In the meantime, we began treating Caroline with Aleve and it is working beautifully. We are finally hearing her laughter and fast moving feet throughout the house. Katherine is beside herself that Sissy can finally play with her again.

But... Katherine also now feels like it's ok to express her jealousy. It's amazing to me that with children even negative attention equates attention. Katherine has been pretty grumpy and it's been clear that she's wanted some of the hugs and concerned looks that Caroline has been getting. But nothing stated her jealousy like the letter she dictated to Caroline last night. It read:

Dear Parents:
I think you hate me because of Caroline's leg. Is that true? I am planning to live in the basement because everyone hates me. Expect Caroline. Caroline is going to be my new mommy. I will be upstairs to sleep, eat meals and I will go to school. Do you really hate me? Please respond.

Katherine xoxo

p.s. Be honest.

As I write this, my eyes are wet again. How can such a tiny body feel such strong emotions? I am sad but also proud. After giving Katherine hug and after hug and telling her how incredibly much we loved her, she ran off, playing and laughing. How proud I am to have a little girl who feels safe enough to let the world know her feelings. How proud I am to have a little girl who stands up for herself in this family of strong personalities. How proud I am.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One of those days...

I can't believe it but I am on a writing streak.

I have been journaling since December and have written nearly every day both here and on my professional blog. I must say though that tonight, I am suffering from 'one of those days.' You know the kind so... if you want to continue following my writing streak, click here...

And now off to bed with reminders that "tomorrow is only a day away."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Sometimes eavesdropping is truly a beautiful thing. Without it, I would never have overheard the conversation below...

Caroline: I'm really making a big mess here. That's my hobby!

Katherine: That's why we have a mother. If we only had two fathers than we'd have to do all the clean up.

So enough said, on a few different levels...

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day of Service

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. This day was originally created to be a 'Day On' as opposed to a 'Day Off'. To recognize Dr. King's legacy of service, Americans are called to volunteer on this day to work together in an effort to find solutions to some of our country's greatest challenges.
For years, our church has participated in this day by hosting the children of CAMP, an after school program that we founded in our neighboring city of Paterson. The children of CAMP come to church for stories, arts and crafts, entertainers and lunch. The children and families of our church volunteer both to help the day run smoothly and to meet new friends. This was the first year that we brought the girls but it will not be our last. For Caroline who routinely complains that our house is the smallest in Ridgewood, I relish opportunities to introduce her to children who lead dramatically different lives than we do.
Hopefully, the lessons of this day will last throughout the year inspiring us to do more volunteer work as a family. Maybe then, Caroline will realize that living in the smallest house in Ridgewood is pretty nice place to be.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I was sitting down to write about our week with doctors. Caroline went ice skating on Saturday for the first time and by Sunday afternoon she couldn't put any pressure on her right leg. After visits to the pediatrician, chiropractor and finally orthopedist, we've determined she has inflammation of the fluid around her right hip. This can be brought on by overuse injuries or by a fall. It's been a tricky week and her pain and stress have been a bit contagious.

Then, as I was sitting down, I remembered that I hadn't seen a Facebook update from a friend whose daughter was having a MRI this week. This little girl was a client of mine for a brief time this summer due to language issues she was having following a brain tumor and two surgeries a year ago. I went and found the update and it's not good. Her cancer is back. So, suddenly my post about doctors seemed pretty unnecessary.

If you are the praying type please pray. If you are the 'sending good thoughts' type please do that too.

And of course, give your little ones extra big hugs today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I have finally gone back to yoga after months away. As I sat listening to my teacher on Monday, I thought and thought about how much I have missed my time in yoga not only for the benefits it brings to my body but also those it brings to my mind. The passage below was so great, I just had to share...

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson


I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost...I am helpless.

It isn't my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don't see it.

I fall in again.

I can't believe I am in the same place

but it isn't my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in... it's a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


More snow. Again. I am feeling like it will easily be March before we see grass again. March before the girls can go our for recess or play in anything other than snow pants. Katheirne is starting to find open spaces at places like our chiropractor's office to run in circles. She is like our dog, Jenny, not quite sure what to do with all her extra energy. Despite getting close to a foot of snow, I looked out the window this morning and felt like the girls could have gone to school today. After our nearly two foot storm a few weeks back, today's snow looked like merely a dusting. While I do not like the cold or the feeling of being trapped in our houses until we shovel ourselves out, I do like the calm. The slowness. The deep levels of play that the girls invest in when given so much uninterrupted time. Perhaps we can take the lessons of this snow-filled winter and slow ourselves down. Without all the white stuff to make us do it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Being Four

I've often heard that four is a "good age." I must admit that Caroline's fours are a bit of a blur. We still weren't sleeping very well and Katherine was a toddler so four seemed pretty hard. This time around, I must say that four has not exactly been a breeze. Katherine continues to have very strong opinions and doesn't shy away from letting us know about them. Her tantrums both remind us the terrible twos and give us previews of her teenage years. If the amount of door slamming that goes on around here is any prediction, we had better reinforce our doors before Katherine turns thirteen.

But then there are moments like this morning that let me know that four really is an age of wonder. Katherine called me into her room right when she woke up. Before she left her room she used her flashlight to fix a small piece that had fallen out of a Playmobile scene she had created. And then out in the hall she picked up her magnifying glass and began to examine the rug.

Katherine's eyes were barely opened. Her face still spoke of sleep and yet she had stopped and paid attention. I had been awake for over an hour at this point and I'm sure in those minutes she noticed more than I had this morning. So perhaps this is what four is all about. Still being young enough to pay attention to the world around us... We spend so much time and energy trying to be older and wiser. I think, though, that I will embrace tomorrow with the mind of a four year old. Who knows what I will discover...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Mouths of Babes...

Perhaps it's the weather. Snow, snow, snow with more predicted for this week. Perhaps it's the news of the weekend. Whatever the reason, I am feeling a bit melancholy today. As I sit down to write this post, I am so grateful for the notes I keep to remind me of the wise words of my children.

After an early dismissal school day on Friday, the girls built a snowwoman- a pregnant one this time, I guess she is a bit round in the middle- and took care of some shoveling. By the end of the day, I was snappy. I was bothered that my schedule had been disrupted and equally bothered that Caroline gets so bothered when her schedule is disrupted (yes, I see the irony...). She too was grumpy throughout the day. When Rob asked me what in the world was the matter, I said, "I just didn't get anything done today!"

To which Katherine replied, "Yes, you did. You took care of us."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Limited Air Time

Talk about a family member that gets limited air time here at Love Bug and Rolley Polley. Sure Jenny drives me crazy but so can my kids yet I write about them all the time. This morning, I looked at our dog and realized that in only a few short months, she will have been with us for nine years. That feels like a really long time. As I was petting her, her tail wagged like crazy. Just a simple pet brought on unbelievable excitement. It reminded me of the time years ago when I thought about the fact that our pets were called 'pets' because they like to be pet. Such a simple act that brings such joy. Jenny is much like our children in that giving her just a touch of attention can lead to hours of asking for more. There are certainly days that I avoid eye contact with her pretending to say, "If I can't see you, you can't see me." But then there are the days when I pay her just the tiny amount of love and she reminds me why we love our pets, the petting and all....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Footy Pajamas

My one word resolution for this year is 'trust.' It was a word that literally just appeared in my brain when I wondered what my word could be. I'm still not sure how it is going to manifest itself this year but I do know that I am calling on it already.

In my continued Murphy's Law life, as Caroline is sleeping later (finally!!), Katherine is beginning to get up earlier. This morning, I was sitting in the kitchen with Katherine initially feeling upset that once one is sleeping, the other one is up. Then, not to get too hippy dippy on you, I saw the word 'trust' in my mind. Trust that this is what needs to be happening right now. Trust that Katherine needs a little bit of alone time with Mom right now before her day gets going.

I looked at Katherine in all her footie pajama cuteness and decided that we don't have enough pictures of the every day things. I pulled out the camera and Katherine jumped up to pose. I do believe that only a four year old can give such a big smile before six in the morning...

And then as if Katherine had read my mind, she asked me to take a picture of her footie pajamas. No kidding. It was like I had said aloud what I know I hadn't. So I shot the picture below of Katherine admiring her footies.

So I guess I was right to trust that this morning was the morning to be grateful for footie pajamas...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Warning: Self Promotion...

It has come to my attention that there are people who come here to read my posts who don't know that I also write a professional blog. So please come on over and sign up to receive notices when new material is written. And if you come here to learn about my girls, no worries. They are the main characters on my other blog as well...

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I love having holiday traditions. When I met Rob, he introduced me to many of his Italian traditions. I now understand that holiday meals can last all day. And that fish, not meat, is the food to be served on Christmas Eve. It took me a while to get used to those truths but one tradition that I was quick to embrace was New Year's fondue. Growing up, Rob would have his friends over for New Year's Eve and his mom would prepare a feast of cheese, meat and chocolate fondue.

Last year was the first year that we trusted the girls around a pan of boiling oil so this weekend marked our second annual New Year's Day fondue adventure.

Note: Somehow, these pictures are in reverse chronological order... I can't seem to move them and I hear little feet upstairs so in my new year's effort to release perfectionism, I'm publishing now...

Catching up...

Some how these pictures were never included in my snow pictures from last week so here they are in all their 'out of order splendor." This was a big day for us. Caroline has always embraced sledding with the same adventurous spirit that has led her to water slides and surfing. Katherine, on the other hand, has always watched 'Sissy' sled from the comfort of my arms. Last year, she did dip her toe on the hill, sledding a few times and coming up with a hesitant smile. This year, though, she couldn't get enough. She went up and down the hill so many times her legs were shaking at the end. Fellow sledders stopped to listen to her joyous laugh. A sledder is b born...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

To welcome in the new year, we completed our second annual New Year's Interview from one of my favorite bloggers, Teach Mama.

And in case you find yourself getting a tad bit bored along the way, hang in there. One of Katherine's answers towards the end makes it worth the read...

What is your favorite color:

Stacey- purple

Rob- blue

Caroline- light blue


What is your favorite toy:

Stacey- iPad

Rob- Kindle

Caroline- American Girl Dolls

Katherine- American Girl Dolls

How do you like to spend your time:

Stacey- reading

Rob-playing golf

Caroline- reading/writing

Katherine- drawing

What is your favorite holiday:

Stacey- Christmas

Rob- Christmas

Caroline- Christmas

Katherine- Christmas

Who is your teacher:

Stacey- I think I need to find one :)

Rob- Bob

Caroline- Mrs. Sickles

Katherine- Mrs. Jain and Ms. DePalo

Who is your best friend:

Stacey- Rob

Rob- Stacey

Caroline- Loretta

Katherine- Ruby

What is your favorite song:

Stacey- Down Easter Alexa

Rob- Firefiles

Caroline- Dynomite

Katherine- Three Little Birds

What is your favorite book:

Stacey- The Hunger Games (this year)

Rob- Open

Caroline- Harry Potter

Katherine- Dora Goes Camping

What did you love about last year:

Stacey- my literacy presentations

Rob- fun vacations

Caroline- class parties

Katherine- eating lots of hot dogs

What do you look forward to next year:

Stacey- Writing more

Rob- fun vacations

Caroline- 3rd grade

Katherine- the school fair