Thursday, December 30, 2010

Question for all...'s been a battle for quite awhile now, but hasn't really been an issue until, of course, P came along. Since the kids keep saying that they are afraid to sleep in their beds, every night, I lay down on the floor with the two of them in E's bedroom. I lay down in the middle so there is no arguing about who is next to mommy and they cuddle close to me. I stay until they fall asleep - for E that's very fast, but since e is still taking naps at pre-school, she takes much longer...sometimes up to an hour...and, of course, I often fall asleep, too. I typically wake up about an hour later and go to my room. Then, in the middle of the night, e usually wakes up and joins me...often with E by her side. Now, I have to say that I really don't mind this whole process. I get to cuddle with my kids, and I know this stage is not going to last forever -- so I'm enjoying it while I can. I'm pretty sure I'm not creating some Oedepus Complex or anything like that with my kids. This gives us time to talk about the day and be close. I think it's also possible that once e starts kindergarten and stops taking naps, she'll be more likely to spend the whole night in E's room.

When P visits, it's a bit more of a problem. He feels left out when I spend so much time putting them to bed (I know, waah, waaah), and doesn't like when they come in to invade our bed during the night or early in the morning (don't worry, we are both fully dressed). I explained to him that I am working on the bedtime routine, but they really need me right now. They will be on their own when they are ready. In fact, I've been having a lot of conversations with them about "being ready" so they can make the transition. I've thought about putting e in her own bed after she falls asleep, but she is a fairly light sleeper. I'm pretty sure she would wake up as soon as I picked her up.

So, should I just not worry about this and tell P to basically get over it? Should I be more forceful in getting them to sleep on their own? That just seems like a very long torturous process....I don't know....thoughts?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Long Time, No See...

e swimming at the hotel

Well, I've been a really bad blogger lately, haven't I! I'll try to update everyone on what has been happening! We went to Hawaii for a week the week before Thanksgiving...had a really great time. The kids even traveled well for such a long trip. It took us about 18 hours to get there and three planes. Fortunately, the trip back was a red-eye, and only two planes, so they slept quite a bit. The day after we returned, I put them in the car again and we drove to NC to spend Thanksgiving with P and his daughter. That is a VERY long drive and not one I want to do again. We stopped at our friend's house in DC which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from my house...P's house is another 7 hours from there.
E swimming with a sea turtle!

So, how did things go, you are wondering? Well, I have to say that I think the honeymoon period is over. I still really like him, but I'm not so sure, anymore, that he is Mr. Right. It is definitely different seeing someone on their own turf. I am also not willing to make that trip again very often, or even at all....It's WAY too far to drive with the kids for a weekend, and if I flew there, I would still have to pay to have the kids taken care of for the weekend. That's a lot of expense and hassle just for a weekend. Besides, I really like spending time with the kids...although, I know that time away with another adult is also a good thing.

So, here are the things that are bothering me....The distance...I just don't know how willing I am to work on that aspect. So far, he seems okay with traveling, so that's good. I also think there are some generational differences between us (he's about 19 years older than me)...he smoked cigars while we were visiting...a lot...he watches old movies all the time...he talks about the news business all the time (he used to be in the news business) and how terrible things are run these days. When he's not talking about the news, he's talking about jazz. And, a lot of complaining! I was considerably colder when I returned from NC and he definitely noticed it. I, of course, didn't talk about all the things that I just listed - just a couple. And, of course, he said all the right things that just made me melt.

He's coming for a visit again on Thursday, so we'll see how things go. I'm not sure how long he's staying...he didn't say...just left it open...I'm not sure I'm thrilled about that. I have lots of work to do, so I'm kind of hoping he doesn't stay too far into the week. I doubt I will have to worry about it.

So, maybe I should just enjoy the fact that I can have sex with someone for awhile and not worry about all this relationship stuff? I don't know. I think he is really in love with me, and I do kind of like the idea of having someone around to do "adult" things with. I'm just beginning to think that I need to find someone with closer interests. So, should I reopen the online dating portals? Do I even tell him that I am doing so? I would say no...especially since he is not in the area. Does that mean that I'm cheating on him? This is very complicated.

Anyway, the kids had a really nice Hanukah and a nice Christmas (we celebrate both). Santa had to give e an IOU for a DSi that didn't arrive on time. I ordered it from China and I'm beginning to think that it got lost in shipping....I have to say, though, that the customer service from this company has been beyond extraordinary. They have communicated with me regularly, and even said that if the box was lost in shipping, they would express a new one and send me an extra 20 games with it for free. So, for just over $300, I got the DSi, 248 (!) games, some other stuff, and now, potentially another 20 games. I figured I can sell some of the games to game stop and maybe even make money on the deal. Yes, I'm always looking for a good bargain! :-)

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DC Weekend

Well, the more time I spend with this guy, the more I love him. We spent the weekend in DC and had a great time. He stayed with a friend of his and I stayed with a friend of mine (one of E's half siblings). Turns out they lived a few blocks from each other in the same neighborhood. How's that for coincidence?

We arrived around 8:30 Friday night and went straight to his friend's house to say hello and have some dessert with them. They had some other people there, too, some of P's friends, around the table. My kids were a little antsy and shy, though, with so many people, and having just spent three and a half hours in the car. They were all over me which made it difficult to carry on any conversation with anyone. So, we didn't stay long, but it gave me a little bit of an opportunity to meet P's daughter, as well. She is just a doll.

Saturday, we went to a local Renaissance Festival. I have never been to one of these things and was really amazed at how seriously people take them! Some really incredible costumes. I'm not sure what people do with these costumes the rest of the year, but it is clear that they look forward to wearing them for the Festival. P said that he could tell his daughter was sizing me up at times while we were at the festival. I really liked her...sweet, unassuming, smart, easy to get along with. P and I went out for a nice dinner later that evening and had some time by ourselves (well, without kids and friends, anyway). We spent a couple hours talking at dinner about just everything. I can tell he just adores me, and I really love him, too. I know we've only been seeing each other for a very short time, so you are all probably thinking that I am somewhat naive about this whole thing or that it's my hormones talking. We both feel like we've known each other for years...kind of soul mates. I think, as you get older, you just know these things.

Saturday night there was a black tie event that P forgot was happening that weekend. He didn't want to go, anyway, but there were people there who flew in from all over to go to this event. Apparently, by midnight, they were all calling him and texting him to try to get him to go to the after-party, since they found out he was in town and he told them he was having dinner with me instead of going to the party. Besides, he didn't have his tux with him (the after-party was more casual). Anyway, we opted for breakfast/coffee the next morning.

So, Sunday we had breakfast with another author friend of his and a producer from Hollywood. P was in his element. I told him that next year, we were going to go to this party because it was a great networking opportunity for him. His next book should be out by then and he spoke to the producer about a movie idea that will hopefully have some traction by then, too. I really liked meeting these two guys - both old friends of P - both really great guys. I think a person's friends say a lot about someone.

P and his daughter left late morning to head back to NC and we went to the Museum of Natural History with my friend and all the kids. Lots of fun, but we didn't spend too long there since we wanted to get back on the road, too.

P is coming back to stay with me for about five days next week...can't wait. Then, the kids and I are off to Hawaii for a conference (I know you feel sorry for me) for a week. The day after we get back, we will get in the car and go to NC (with a stop in DC to break up the drive) to spend Thanksgiving with him and his daughter.

I just can't seem to get enough of this guy...SO opposite of the way I usually am...Usually, I can't wait to get my own space after several hours with them (or in some cases, several minutes).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now I Know

He's THE one. No question. I guess when it's right, you know. We spent an entire week together (barring a couple days in the middle) and I still didn't want him to leave. He arrived last Sunday, stayed until Wednesday, went to visit his sister, came back on Friday and left again yesterday afternoon. Last Monday, we spent the entire day together without the kids. That was a treat. We talked a LOT. After the kids went to bed at night, we would spend many hours more talking and enjoying each other's company. I really enjoy being with him. The "L" word even came up before he left and we both agreed that we have something very unique and special together. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed being with someone so much. He's really great with the kids, too. They really like him and say that he's a good tickler. I thought that was pretty funny. I guess that's all it takes to impress a 4 and 7 year old! We are meeting again this weekend in DC. Hopefully, he'll have his daughter with him, too. I'm looking forward to meeting her.
He came to E's birthday party on Saturday at the roller skating rink, too, and was a great help. I'm not used to asking other people for help, so that's taking me a little while to get used to. Fortunately, he offers, but I did tell him that I'm not used to asking and that I just do everything myself. The kids had a great time at the party. Three hours of non-stop roller skating. E is getting pretty good at it - even e is getting to the point where I don't need to hold her all the time. On Sunday, I took the kids to one of e's friend's birthday party. They live on a 60 acre farm with lots of animals and places to explore. E and e had lots of fun chasing the ducks and turkeys, playing with all the other animals, and going on the hayride.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Four-Day First Date

Okay, I have to admit that four days for a first date is pretty long! But I also have to admit, it was really nice to have him here. There are clearly some things that will drive me crazy - but that's true in any relationship. We both had a really good time, though. We both felt close and very comfortable with each other and I was actually sorry to see him go this morning. He's coming back this weekend, just for one night, for E's birthday party. This long distance thing is definitely going to be tough. We talked about a weekend away somewhere...I'll have to figure out when we might do that and what to do with the kids. When the weather starts to turn, it's going to be even more difficult. We definitely have some challenges ahead of us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quick Update

Okay, so he arrived Sunday around noon and he is still here. We spent Sunday at one of the local Fall places, where we could go through a corn maze, take a hayride to the pumpkin patch, and do lots of Fall things. It was a lot of fun but I wasn't sure he was warming up to the kids (we took another kid along, too...the little girl up the street I told you about earlier, who seems to practically live at my house when she stays with her father). I think he just didn't want to overstep his boundaries with them.

We had a little bit of alone time Sunday night, but then the kids woke up because they noticed I wasn't in the room with them. Oh well. We did have all day yesterday, though. The kids were in school (E was in his after school program all day since it was a holiday), and I played hooky from the one class I was to teach in the afternoon. I have to admit that it's been really nice to be close to someone again. It's been a really long time!

Last night, he started to warm up to the kids some more....he played his trumpet for them (they loved that - I did, too), and tickled them a lot. They seemed to warm up to him a little more, too.

While I'm really enjoying this time with him, and it feels very comfortable, I'm not sure yet that he's THE one...we'll see. I think that takes a lot of time. I'm enjoying our conversation, but he's talking a lot about work...he's retired now, and I don't really know a lot about his industry, so that has me a bit bored.

He leaves tomorrow morning. We'll see what happens after that. All in all, for a very long first date, I think it's been going pretty well. The fact that I'm feeling a lot better about my body and everything helps, too. I'm down to about a size 6 from a year ago when I was about a size 18 or 20...and maybe even pushing that. So, this new sense of actually feeling sexy is kind of nice. The toothless, muscle-bound guy that delivered my wood over the weekend also clearly made a pass at me. I guess if things don't work out with my trumpet-playing friend, I have an alternative!

Monday, October 4, 2010


He's coming for a visit! Our correspondence and phone calls had been going really well. The conversation was easy and relaxed, but we always tiptoed around anything that had to do with "us." So, I decided to go out on a limb. Our meeting in DC is three weeks away and I really didn't want to wait that long to see him. Besides, we would be with a lot of other people the whole time and not have any real "alone" time except for the fact that my friend offered to watch the kids while we went out for dinner.

So, I asked if he would consider coming for a visit. I figured that he knew I couldn't go there any time soon (it's about an eight hour drive), and his schedule is much more flexible but I'm sure he didn't want to invite himself over. So, I took the plunge and asked him, having no idea as to whether I was overstepping my bounds or not....He's coming to visit this weekend! Not sure of the exact day yet, but probably Saturday and will stay until Tuesday. That's a long time for a first date! Not exactly the way I had envisioned things to go with a first date with someone, but since he lives so far away it's a little difficult to get any time with him at all. I guess this time together will be pretty telling! I'm obviously very nervous about seeing him again, but also very excited. It's been a very long time since I've been with anyone, but I am really ready to have a relationship now. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update on The Man Situation

Okay, I'm trying not to read too much into this. I still have no idea whether this guy is interested in me or not. We email each other regularly, and now talk on the phone usually several times a week. I really enjoy talking with him. The conversation seems to flow pretty easily. We have really gotten away from talking about the horrible event over the summer, so that's good. Of course, it still comes up once in awhile, but for the most part we are able to find plenty of other things to talk about.

DC is halfway between us so we are meeting there next month. He kept saying that I was welcome to come visit him in NC and I kept saying he was welcome to visit me in PA. He said he would show me around Rome if I wanted to visit with him, and I invited him to meet us in Hawaii for Thanksgiving (I have a conference there). But everything seemed too far away distance wise, or too expensive right now. So, I suggested we meet halfway. We both have friends in DC that we will stay with. I'll have the kids with me. He may have his daughter with him, as well. The weekend of Oct. 22nd was the soonest time I could stay at my friend's house, so that is when we will meet there. I wish it was sooner so I could figure this thing out! The not-knowing is really killing me!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Look What We Did!

We had a VERY busy weekend....yesterday was go, go, go right until the kids went to bed. They slept really well! Saturday, I took them to my University for an event the students were having - a vertical wind tunnel. It sounded REALLY could experience the feel of skydiving without jumping out of a plane. So, off we went...the process took way longer than I thought, so we ended up being late for a birthday party in the afternoon, but it was SO worth it. It is essentially a very powerful fan that allows you to fly above it.Here we are suited up in our flying outfits...yes, I am Superwoman!

E had a blast! e had fun, too, but was too scared to fly, so E got to go twice...lucky him. Since he was so light, they were flipping him around upside down and right side up...He loved it, as you can see!

Sunday was the first day of Sunday school, another birthday party, and swimming lessons....both of my children only made it through half their lessons. E just doesn't want to do it once he gets there...I think he's a little bored...or maybe it's because the water is so cold. e is just cold. We'll try again next week, but I don't see the water getting any warmer....that is a big deterrent....not sure what to do about that.

Both Saturday and Sunday night one of the little girls who lives up the street came over. She's pretty much like clockwork...right around dinner time, she shows up. Her parents are divorced and she is with her father on the weekends. I don't think he really knows what to do with her, so she always ends up at my house. I often end up feeding her and just watching her for the evening and often for the day, if we are at home. I guess I'm glad she has a positive influence with me to help her get through her time with her dad, but I'm also a little annoyed that they are always playing at my house. I think he's an okay guy...just doesn't know what to do with a kind of immature 7 year old.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coming Out of The Fog

e found a giant moth

We rented a pontoon a few times while in WV. E LOVED going out on the tube!We visited Coopers' Rock in WV. It is quite a view!

Well, I'm finally starting to come out of the fog of the horror that happened last month. I think there are just some things that happen in your life that scar you for the rest of your life. This is one of those things. I try not to think about the terror that my friend went through during her last moments...when she awoke, with her neck slit, saw that her own son had killed her and fought for her life. I am trying to focus on all the positive experiences we had together. I'm sure, in time, those are the memories that will fill my thoughts about her.
The kids at the castle

So, the day after I found out about her death, we had scheduled to go camping at the family camp we go to for Mother's Day weekend. We LOVE this place. It was just the vacation I needed. No tv, no phones, no cell phone service, nothing but nature...except when I drove to the top of the mountain to check my messages and check on my friend's mom. All our meals are cooked for us, and in the morning, the kids go to group time...kind of like their camp time, during which they went on hikes, went swimming, built gnome homes (for all the gnomes living in the woods, of course), visited the animals in the nature center, went on pony rides, or whatever else the counselors could think of to keep them busy.

e and E playing in the woods

E getting a sailing lesson

e swimming in the lake

After their group time, they return to the cafeteria for camp songs, where I join them. We have lunch together, then there are any number of planned activities we can participate in. But, while they were in camp, I took sailing lessons, went on hikes, went canoeing, got a massage, and went on the zip line. The kids wanted to see me go on the zip line, so I did it a second time later in the week....kind of terrifying and fun at the same time!

E and e playing by the lake

And, e with the stinky fish they found!

We decorated cupcakes one afternoon

And helped paint a mural another day...

The afternoons we spent doing artwork, hiking, boating, whatever. A couple evenings they had kids night out, so I had more free time to relax. There is always lots of singing camp songs and acting crazy. A great way to bond with the family. Love, love, love this place. We will make it a tradition. I never have to worry about the kids, since everyone is watching out for everyone. The second to last day there, I spent the afternoon kayaking and sailing while E went sailing with someone else and e played on the beach with a friend. SO relaxing.

The 40 foot climb to do the zip line and me going across!

After being away for over a month, though, it was nice to get home. Of course, I had to leave a few days later to go to my friend's funeral, which was horrible, as you might imagine. The priest talked a lot about forgiveness...I know this was my friend's mom's doing, but I just don't know if I can forgive this kid. It was a heinous, violent, cold-blooded act. I just don't know.

There are some good things that have come out of this...I've really been trying to make lemonade out of the whole situation. My friend and I did a lot of work and research together. She is the reason I spent so much time in Italy and was to spend most, if not all, of my summers there in the future. So, I have taken over that part of the company to continue the college trips and executive retreats there. It will be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it. I'll keep you updated!

Last but not least...I'm hesitant to even say anything to jinx it. BUT, over the past couple years or so, my friend had been after me to meet a guy that she used to date. She was forever trying to fix me up...usually with strangers that looked attractive, but always trying to fix me up, nonetheless. While we were in WV, she says to me, "I've got the perfect man for you!" She then proceeds to show me a picture of some random muscle bound man wearing a speedo on the beach in Italy. He did look good! We had no idea who he was, but she was convinced she could find out for me.

There were a couple of her ex's there that I sat with at the funeral. One, I thought was coming on to me, but he kind of gave me the creeps...not sure why...nice guy, just a little too consoling. The other one, however....the one that she has been after me to meet for the past couple years was very nice. We had dinner together after the visitation the night before the funeral. His sister joined us as did another friend of mine. We sat together at the funeral and at the luncheon following. He's been emailing me almost daily since. Not in an overbearing way, but a very natural way. SO, we'll see what happens. He is a retired news producer, now writer. He's published two books and is working on his third. I think one of the first is being made into a movie, but I haven't gotten the details. Since he is a writer, his emails are very visual and almost poetic in their imagery. If nothing else, I'm enjoying his friendship. He lives in NC, so I'm not sure how feasible a long distance relationship is...on the other had, where there is a will, there is a way....I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crazy Turned Nightmare

Just a brief update to bring you up to speed on everything. So, after all the craziness of West Virginia, it all turned into a nightmare a week ago last Friday. About 8:15 in the morning I got a call from my friend's mom telling me that she had been killed while traveling in India. She went from Sri Lanka to India to do some touring with her 15 year old son. Her mom proceeded to tell me that she was stabbed to death in her hotel room and that her son was being held as a suspect. It's all just beyond comprehension. I couldn't believe it and felt really bad for her find out that his mom had been killed and then to be held as a suspect. How terrible! Well, it gets even worse. As the details started to spill out, it is looking like he really did do it.

My friend sent me a text around 12:30 am that morning and then called her mother (who was with me). I'm guessing she went to bed just after that conversation. Later, during the night, her son allegedly cut her throat, dragged her body to the beach nearby, and then tried to board a plane to Delhi.

I leave tomorrow for the funeral. I'm just devastated. She was one of my closest friends and I just can't get my head around how a son can feel so much violence towards his mother. She was such a good person. I thought he was, too. He had so much going for him...spoke Italian fluently, German fairly well, too, well traveled, studied in Italy usually about half the year. I took him to Cyprus and Egypt with us last summer and he has watched my kids on several occasions. I will never get it. I guess you never really know people. It turns out that since he is a minor, it's very rare for minors to be tried as adults in India, so the most he will get is probably three years. Insane. I will really miss her.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Going Crazy....REALLY Crazy

Well, this summer has really taken off and we have been full of travels. Around the end of June we drove 3 1/2 hours to upstate NY to see my aunt and some cousins who I haven't seen in about five years. The aunt is now 92 (I think) and has been the picture of health her whole life, until she broke a hip last year. As you know, at that point, you just never know how much longer they will last, so I thought a trip was in order. I'll post some pictures from that trip soon, but it was nice to see the house where my mother grew up and visit with some cousins.

Then we drove another five hours to CT to visit my siblings. That was a lot of fun. We got there during a heat wave and spent a couple days on my brother's boat. Thank goodness for that because it was REALLY hot and about ten degrees cooler on the water. The kids had a blast. We stayed at my sister's house and for some reason, E kept peeing in the bed! I think my sister was a little put off by that...and that fact that the kids were in and out of the house a lot. She's not used to having little ones around any more!

From CT we went to RI to visit with my other sister and took a day trip to visit with another 96 year old aunt. I'm sure the kids were just loving visiting all these old people! But, ya gotta do it. Then back to CT for a few days visiting friends and going to museums before making the 5 hour trip back home. On the way, we stopped at the Crayola factory and met up with one of e's half siblings. It was really nice to meet them and the girls look quite a bit alike.

The day after we got home, I had to get back to work. I run a week-long entrepreneurship camp for high school students every summer and that was the week. Once that was over, I had a few days to get things in order, then we were off to WV so I could do some work there...

So, this is where the craziness sets in. Originally, a friend of mine who I have been working with for about six years, asked if I would come out to WV to help her run a couple camps. She said that a girl from Italy (who we met last year) was coming to the US for the summer and that she would stay with us for a couple weeks. Great. I was really looking forward to seeing her and having her as our guest. The Italian girl was supposed to come the week of my camp. In fact, I planned to have my camp that specific week because it overlapped with a basketball camp I knew she would want to attend. Then I was hoping to have a little travel time, show her the area and go to NYC for a day.

So, I paid for E to go to camp until the end of July and planned to go to WV to help the first two weeks of August and then go to a family camp close to where we were staying in WV for the third week. My friend said there would be plenty of help to watch the kids while I was working those two weeks and they would be kept busy.

At the last minute, she calls and asks if we can get here early...the 15th. I say the best I can do is the 21st. Okay, I've paid for E to be in camp that last ten days, but if I'm getting free care and accommodations, I'm willing to eat it. Btw, I payfor e's daycare whether I'm there or not. We get here and find out we can't get into the building for two more days. We are staying in an old monastery next to a vacant castle. I thought the kids would be able to go exploring in the castle, hiking on the grounds (there are trails in the woods behind us, but they have all grown in over the years), and spend time swimming at the lake (get here and find out there are no beaches). The reality was that, when we got here (after spending two nights in a hotel - which my friend did pay for), there are no trails, no a/c, it's hotter than hell for the first week or so, we can't easily swim in the lake, the hiking trails are grown over, there is nothing to do in the area, and oh yeah, she wants me to send the kids to camp for the two weeks (which are now a week earlier than anticipated - this appears to be on my dime) while I'm working....

Okay, I'm trying to go with the flow, so I work the two camps (which were run so badly it was embarrassing), but then I have a week and a half before I can get into the family camp where I have a reservation...and there is NOTHING to internet (I'm tethering my blackberry), no tv, no kids activities in the area. No washing machine, either...I feel like I spend two hours a day just washing the sink....oh, but there were the couple of times that E peed in his bed (which is a mattress on the floor), so I had to wash the sheets and comforter....but, of course, they don't fit in the sink so I had to find an outside faucet and wash them on the ground. Are you getting the picture?

One especially wonderful day was when my friend left me to run the high school camp on my own for a couple days (oh, and did I mention she's only been here for less than half the time and right now she's in Sri Lanka for another week and a half?). I took them to the local town along with another professor who is here visiting from the Czech Republic. I was not feeling well that day, but did the work anyway (I am woman, hear me roar, right?). SO, I'm stuck here with a half dozen teenagers (whom I am constantly cleaning up after! I felt like I was following ten Pigpens), one of whom is ADD and repeats EVERYTHING 20 times. She had the heart of gold, but had to tell me things over and over and over again...constantly...then I'm stuck with the Czech guy, nice guy but wants to tell me all about himself and the fall of communism in the Czech Republic. Half the time I can't understand what he's saying and the rest of the time, I just don't understand (or care about) the topic...oh, and did I mention that my stomach hurt so bad that I felt like I was having labor pains????? Lord get me out of here...

So, here I am, still stuck in WV. My family camp reservation isn't until the 15th. I could stay here another week and get some work done, but I'm going so crazy that I'm contemplating going home (driving five hours) for a week and then driving back this way to go to the camp next week. I have pleaded with the camp to find a way for me to switch weeks and they are seeing what they can do. But either way, I'm screwed. If I go back this weekend, I have to drive about five hours each way (yes, I would come back for the camp - the kids and I were really looking forward to it and it will be relaxing - it's the same place we go for mother's day weekend). When I get back home, I can no longer get E into camp there, so he would be bored spending the week with me. I'm pretty sure I can get e back into daycare, but E is stuck. If I am successful at moving the camp up one week, I still won't be able to get E into camp when we return. So, there's the big question. Do I stay here and be miserable for one more week, but the kids will be able to go to camp here, or do I put all of us through the long drive back and forth, put e back in daycare and keep E with me during the week? Ugh. I just can't win.

So, that's why I've been offline for awhile. I'll post some pictures when I get back to my own computer at my office....I am working on my netbook which has no connections for that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trip to the Harbor and a Circus

E and e inside the Baltimore Aquarium
I decided to take the kids for a field trip last week. So Friday, we drove to the Baltimore harbor, stayed in a hotel overnight and went to the Aquarium the next day. It's about a 2 1/2 drive to get there. Luckily, we ran into very little traffic and it really did take us just about that time. The hotel we stayed in was nice, but since we all sleep in one bed (they still have to be attached to me at night!), it was a little difficult for me to sleep. They were so excited to stay in a hotel and go swimming there.
The next morning we got up and went to the Aquarium. Luckily, I had bought our tickets online so we didn't have to deal with a lot of lines or delays getting in. The Aquarium is very cool and very big! And, I have to admit, my kids were not the most cooperative! I get very paranoid when we are in big places and have to keep yelling at them to stay close so I can see them. Of course, E always likes to run ahead and now e often joins him. I always say that wherever we go, everyone knows my children's names because I'm constantly telling them to stay close! Other than that, they were really great.
While there, I was going to try to meet up with my best friend from high school. We've gone our separate ways, but have stayed in touch over the years. It's been about 10 years since I've seen her, so I sent her an email asking if she and her family wanted to meet us after we finished at the aquarium. She was really excited about it. We spoke Saturday morning and made a plan to meet around 3:00. Then she called around 11:00 and said that it was 90+ degrees outside and getting hotter. Her husband and son had just come from a swim meet and were spent and they didn't want to go out walking around the harbor in this heat. Okay. Is it just me, or is that the wimpiest thing you ever heard? You don't want to go out and meet up with an old friend because it's too hot outside? Come on!

Okay, whatever. I had also contacted a friend of mine from college. I think it's been about 20 years since I've seen him but we've also stayed in touch. He's done the whole Bohemian Save The World thing over the years with Peace Corps and other organizations and has lived in different places around the world. He met up with us and we had a great time. We caught up on old friends that we had and what life is like for each of us now. He's just a great guy (and I know you're wondering...he's gay, so no opportunities there!).

E and e played in a fountain while there (e went European with her shirt off since I didn't bring their bathing suits!). At one point, E came over to talk with us and my friend asked what was in his hair...of course it was a booger that had found its way there after playing in the water. So, I wiped it off. A few minutes later, E comes back and talks with us and proceeds to pee on the pavement...okay, well, water does that. So I told my friend that before long we'll find a way to throw up on him, too...maybe even do a number two! He thought that was funny, but a few minutes later, E had tried to drink the water from the fountain, choked on it, and came running over with a little vomit coming out of his mouth. I guess I have to be careful what I say! I got him cleaned up and he was back to playing in no time. Luckily, there was no poop involved....this time.
Last night the circus was in town. This must be another small-town thing, because I had never seen a circus like this before I moved here. It was basically a one-ring circus with the same half dozen people doing different parts of the show. They were actually quite talented! After every couple of acts they would try to sell you something. It was really entertaining to listen to their shpiels! The kids had a great time, though. I don't think it matters to them that it's not Barnum and Bailey!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Good Part About Living in a Small Town

Luminaries along the track
While I always say that this town has drawbacks and strangeness (see earlier post about the strange things about living here, there are a lot of wonderful things about this area. One thing is that when something bad happens, the area really pulls together. Recently, a couple local high school students were in a bad car accident on their way back from their prom. One is still in a coma, the other will be paralyzed from the waist down. A huge tragedy for both families. The local towns continue to put signs up offering strength to the families and kids, and do fundraisers to help the families with their bills. The newspaper posts updates on the kids' progress regularly. You just don't see that in a big city.
Luminaries in the football stands
We also band together to support cancer (its end, of course, not supporting its' existence!). Every year, there are several Relay For Life teams that do various events to raise money. The largest event is held at my university. For 36 hours people walk around the track, buy luminaries in honor or in memory of someone with cancer, or do something else to raise money (raffles, etc). The luminaries are put all along the track and it is really quite touching to see them all lit up. People camp out over night and there is constant entertainment - from local bands, to karaoke, to contests, etc. The kids and I entered a frozen t-shirt contest. I had never heard of this, but they have a bunch of t-shirts that they have folded, soaked, and then frozen. The goal is to be the first team to put on the t-shirt. I have to say that it is much more difficult than it sounds! It would also be a great game for a kids party.

Walking the track
Also, here is a video of E and e at a recent picnic. It's amazing how busy and silly two kids can be with a little grass and water. First, they collected the grass and laid it evenly around the faucet, then they built a moat, then a mountain. They were quite a mess by the time they were done! (sorry about the glitch -- I had to shoo away a bee!)

E and e getting silly

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catching Up

Well, my semester has been over for awhile now and I have been playing catch-up around the house. I took 13 more bags of clothes to Goodwill the other day and still really trying to get the house in order. It's actually turning out to be a good thing that we are not doing a lot of traveling this summer because it's so rare that I get to spend time getting things organized.

E has signed up for swim team, so he's swimming four nights a week. I'm seeing quick improvement in his skills since he is getting a lot of feedback. He loves it, too...Thank goodness. e and I spend time doing various things while I try to watch him swim - off and on. e LOVES basketball. So, while E is swimming, e and I go into the gym with her Dora ball and she shoots some hoops. It's actually pretty funny to watch her since there are all these big college guys playing around us. Then we go color her Tinkerbell coloring book. Hopefully, these activities will continue to keep her busy...Swim team goes for several weeks!

e playing basketball...with the big boys in the background!

The latest on the weight loss...I'm feeling SO much better these days. Fifty pounds down and still averaging about 2 lbs a week. It's been so great to be able to play harder with the kids, run up and down stairs again, and just feel better about myself, overall. Now, I just need to get some updated pictures of myself so I can post them on eH and start dating again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm a Baby-Head

That's e's newest occasional name for me, or anyone she's mad at. It's usually preceded by "you're mean!" Well, what can I say. The REALLY bad people are "stupid-heads" and "shut-up heads." Fortunately, I don't ever get those titles. I just have to laugh.
E and e on a foot bridge during our hike

Finally getting a chance to post about our Mother's Day weekend. Last year, we tried a family camp located about three hours or so from here. We loved it so much, we decided to make it an annual tradition. The camp does a special weekend for Mother's Day every year. It's really a wonderful place. It's actually kind of the Wisteria Lane of camps, I have to say. Everyone is happy and smiling, the children all play well together....everyone obviously drank the punch on the way in.
e and E on the "kissing bridge"

There are non-stop things for us to do during the weekend. Arts and crafts, bonfires, tea-time and massages for the moms, hiking, boating (when weather permits), horseback riding, a zip line, archery, educational hikes, lots of other activities for the kids, you name it. Everyone stays in cabins and the camp does all the cooking. We eat with the same people every day so we get to know each other fairly well. There's lots of music and dancing around the tables when it's time to clean up the dishes (which we do ourselves), and lots of crazy activities/games to bond kids and parents. We had a blast. Sunday morning (Mother's Day), at breakfast, all the kids are asked to go to the kitchen. They then all come pouring out at once carrying flowers for their moms. I usually have a hard time holding back the tears at that one!
E climbed up the bank a lot faster than his mom!

Even though it's a long drive there, it's so much fun. This year, though, we froze! Friday night when we got there, we hardly needed a jacket. During the night, we had a great thunderstorm which, of course, brought the cold weather and made it VERY windy Saturday. I think it was in the 40s all day on Saturday, then into the low 30s Saturday night. While the cabins have heat, they are not insulated very well! So, the kids were fine, but I was freezing! It even SNOWED Sunday morning! After breakfast I took the kids on a long (cold!) hike around the lake - hoping that the cold air and long walk would put them straight out for the long drive home. No such luck! e slept for less than an hour and E merely rested his eyes for about 20 minutes. Oh well. The intent was good!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Busy Weekend

Wow, did we have a busy weekend! The weekend before finals, each semester, my university has a big party for all the students. This party includes lots of inflatable things to jump on, a band, lots to eat, and other stuff to keep everyone busy. It turned out to be a perfect day, so I took the kids over. They had a blast jumping, running, and doing everything they could to burn off energy. That evening, my Dean had an end of the year picnic at her house. The kids were absolutely exhausted by the time they got home that night!

E at one of the inflatables at the party
e about to go through the obstacle course inflatable at the party

Yesterday was the last day of Sunday school for the year. There is always a big potluck lunch on the last day and other ways to celebrate the day. After the usual morning service, the kids got to paint one of the ceiling tiles for each classroom, then we had a talent show and the potluck. E did a magic trick which was actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, I had to help him with it...I felt bad for being the only parent having to help with their kid, but he had to ask an audience member to cut a string. If that audience member accidentally pulled on the string, it could have ruined the trick, so I told him to just call on me as his assistant. He was really excited about the whole trick. e didn't want to do anything this year...maybe next year.
E doing his magic trick

After Sunday school, the kids got a great opportunity to meet a concentration camp survivor. This woman was in a camp that did a lot of plays and operas. She played the cat in 55 performances of an opera called Brundibar. So, my university put on the opera with her as a guest. Fortunately, it's a lighter opera and is more kid oriented. It's about an organ grinder who has monopolized a city corner by bullying everyone away. A couple of kids need to get some money to buy milk for their mother and they want to sing on the same corner but keep getting bullied away. Finally the animals (cat, dog and bird) rally the help of other children to help them and overpower the bully - who runs home crying. They are finally able to get milk for their sick mother. It's a cute play, but of course, I was thinking about the origins of it and of this woman playing the same role 55 times in a concentration camp...all I did was cry through the whole performance! Out of 62 children in her camp, only four survived. Such a sad story. But, it gave me a great opportunity to talk to the kids about the Holocaust and how terrible it was and how few survivors are still around.
e and E with the Holocaust survivor they met...she wrote a book which she signed -- a copy for each of them.

All in all, a really fun weekend!