Monday, February 26, 2007


We finally got snow!!

For once, the weather forecasters were wrong - but wrong in a good way (at least as far as I am concerned). They had said that we would be getting 1-2" of snow starting around midnight Sat night, and then it would turn over to ice, sleet, and freezing rain mid-day.

The snow came - but the sleet didn't. So, instead of 1-2" of snow, we got about 5" of snow and no ice. Its nice pretty snow. I was actually driving in it for a brief time yesterday and it was beautiful falling down among the trees that I was driving under. Of course, my driving trip didn't take me far as I turned around and came home. The roads were not great for driving at that time and while I am pretty good at driving in the snow, many people around here aren't and all I needed was someone to lose control and run into me. So, I turned around and headed home - not getting my errand done that now will not get done this week, as it isn't something easily done with 3 children and Mike is in Denver until Friday!

The other downside is a big hole we now have in the front yard. We have an unusually shaped front yard due to a lane/driveway on either side. I grant that its unusual, but anyone who has driven by here a few times would know what it looks like. However, it appears that the snow plow driver didn't - and decided instead to plow up a huge hunk of our front yard. Then, to add insult to injury, he then pulled back, lifted up his plow, and just DROVE through the front yard.

So, I'll be filing a complaint with the Homeowners Association that hired the plow driver and having to get my lawn reseeded this spring.

But, it is a beautiful snow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A few photos from Emma's birthday

Here are a few photos from Emma's birthday weekend.

Her birthday was Friday. On Friday night, we gave her her present - a Dora the Explorer Sit and Spin. It plays music and sings songs. She is as interested in pushing the button and playing the music as she is in sitting on it.

On Sunday, we had friends come over to have cake with us. We got Emma a Dora the Explorer balloon which she carried around the house all afternoon - she called it her "Dora Boots balloon"

So, our "Baby" is now a "Toddler"!

And here is a video of Emma. We can't seem to get the sound to work - so if you do, please let me know how. It is Emma dancing to the music from her Sit-n-Spin - if you get the music you will see how unbelievably cute this is!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Emma!!

Today is Emma's 2nd birthday!!

I don't have photos to share yet - because the camera is in the shop - but I am borrowing one from a friend this afternoon and then I'll share some current images!!

Just a quick flashback to 2 years ago:
Emma was born on a Wednesday. For the 4 weeks prior to her birth, I had been on bedrest, in the hospital, and then back to the hospital for DAILY testing. Yes, every day - including Saturday and Sunday - I had to go and bed monitored. I have very low amniotic fluid and Emma was breech and they wanted to make sure she was developing ok during that time.

On Wednesday, February 16, I went in for my 2 routine tests AND I had my weekly checkup with the OB. So, I had THREE appointments that day. Normally, through the graciousness of friends, I was able to fit them in while Michael was at preschool and Samantha at school (with the friends helping out when the time went over). But this day, the appointments were way too long, so Mike stayed home to be there when Michael got home from preschool.

My non-stress test, monitoring the baby's heart rate (ups and downs) was fine, but my biophysical profile (which is a specialized sonogram) couldn't register much movement or diaphragmatic movement (breathing). They even brought in the ACTUAL radiologist (who you never see, its always technicians) and he couldn't get these to register. So, they sent me over to the OBs office next door. When I walked in the door, the OB just wrote me a note and sent me back over to Labor and Delivery.

I had been eating trying to raise my blood sugar and increase movement in the baby, so they were forced to wait 4 hours before they could do the surgery - we were having a C-section because she was breech. So, I spent the afternoon sitting in a pre-op room reading a book and watching other babies come in and out from the OR while waiting. During this time, Mike was running around furiously getting Michael to one house and Samantha to another so that they could stay the night, still get to school, and he could be at the hospital with me. He walked into the pre-op room a mere 10 minutes before they were ready for me!!

They hooked me up with an IV and sent me WALKING down the hall to the OR!! That was a sight, I'm sure!! In a very short time, the Doctor was in the operating room and in no time flat, Emma was here!! All 6 lbs, 12 ounces of her with a round head, just like her siblings!! By far the smallest one I had, seeing as she was a full 4 (or possibly 5) weeks early.

We were sent back to post-op and then checked into our room for the night by 8pm. I felt like I was "old hat" at that since I had spent 5 days there just the previous month. I was just so happy to NOT be pregnant any more and have a baby who really did love to sleep - I had to wake her to feed her!

So, here we are 2 years later with a baby that won't stand still - she is always on the run and always has something to say!!

Happy Birthday Emma!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The curse of a verbal child

Emma has been quite verbal for a while. I think she was about a year old and one of the women in our babysitting co-op said that Emma said "Thank you". She has MANY, MANY words - I should count just to see.

She is also trying to learn manners - well, more accurately, we are trying to teach her. We tell her that we don't respond when she yells for something or throws a tantrum and that she is to say please.

So, in her sweetest voice, she comes to me a couple of minutes ago, after being "rescued" from her crib by Samantha to say "My shows please. My shows".

That would be Noggin! My lifesaver while I'm doing school with Samantha and Michael. They have lots of cute shows (and a few annoying ones) and two cartoon characters that "MC" between shows (because there are no commercials) named "Zee" and "Moose". She loves everything about Noggin. You can be guaranteed to get lots of hugs if you are at my house at 6pm - when Zee and Moose go "night night" and Emma cries!!

How can you NOT turn the channel for a child that uses such good manners at such a young age.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Verdict on the dishwasher, and other things

So, we paid a GE repair specialist $179 to come to our house this week and a) replace a piston in the dishwasher that wasn't quite broken but would be soon; and b) tell us that the dishwasher problem was in the hose that was wound back behind the cabinets in the kitchen. Its either a clog or the line is frozen. I voted for frozen since the highest the temperture got this week was 28 degree.

The long term solution to this problem isn't easy - it probably involves removing cabinets or counters or both!!

The short-term solution seems silly but works. About 2 hours before we run the dishwasher, we open up the cabinet doors between the dishwasher and the sink, AND we remove the cover from the bottom of the dishwasher. Then we run a spaceheater into those spaces for a couple of hours. It heats the hose up that is behind those cabinets and enables the water to flow through - thus allowing the dishwasher to ACTUALLY work!

But how obnoxious is that. We have known something is wrong with the back side of the house there when it comes to temperature. I have always felt a breeze under the cabinets in the winter time - yes, literally, a breeze blowing on my feet. We feel certain there is insulation on that wall but perhaps not enough; or perhaps because its a bump out, it doesn't get the appropriate insultion from the basement. When and if we do ever remove the cabinets or countertops (Which is always a possibility because we have always wanted granite), we will find some super insulation and fill back behind those cabinets to the point I will never feel a breeze again. In the meantime, we are heating the cabinets from the outside and washing our dishes!!

In other parts of our life, basketball and cheerleading is continuing. Yesterday didn't see nearly as much time at the gym, but still a few hours, nonetheless. Emma hasn't been feeling 100% so its tough being at the gym when she really should be asleep in her bed.

Emma turns 2 at the end of the week. Two always seems anti-climactic. One is such a big deal. At three, the kids often have a few friends at preschool that you invite over. But then there's two. Of course, we'll have a cake - if not for Emma, then for the other kids who think you are supposed to have cake for a birthday. Perhaps I will invite over our friends, the Legeers. They have a baby 3 months younger than Emma and Lauryn is a friend of Michael's from preschool!

And lastly, our camera is in the shop. Neither of the kids will own up to their role it in, but it had clearly been dropped, as evidence by the DENT in the housing and the break in the LCD screen. We could use it to take photos, but not change the settings, nor see the image we took. After much trepidation, I packed it gingerly in a box (insured for AT LEAST the cost of purchasing a new one) and shipped it off to Canon with assurances of return within 7 days of receipt. We'll see. Since our back-up camera is also broken (slippery fingers in this family also), we are camera-less right now and I am hoping to take a friend up on a generous offer to borrow her "backup" camera until ours returns.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The $20 remedy

Emma has been sick for a few days. She has been acting lethargic and has had a fever. After sleeping for 3 1/2 hours in the morning, I called the Doctor and set up an appointment. (As an aside, she was also experiencing her "pooping" problem again, too). After spending an hour at the Doctor, we didn't get much of an answer other than a) her ears are clear; and b) she looks ok to me (mind you, this Doctor doesn't realize that sitting still ISN'T characteristic of Emma)

By the time it was bedtime last night, Emma was acting like her normal self. Running her mouth and watching her favorite "Baby Show" (that would be Teletubbies). Mike says she got the $20 remedy - that is, we just needed to pay the $20 to the Doctor for her to feel better!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Things we have plenty of ...

Cold air
Static Electricity
Dirty Dishes

It is certainly cold here. Michael asked this morning if he could go shovel the walk and the thermometer said 12 degrees. I told him it was a bit too cold to be outside shoveling. This is day 3 of freezing cold weather and its at least a couple more days of the cold.

And, the cold dry air is causing a lot of static electricity. I have been shocking Emma a lot and each time I shock her, she gets a funny look on her face and puts her hand where I shocked her - she is definitely trying to figure out what is happening.

And, yesterday we realized that our dishwasher no longer pumps water. It currently has water sitting in the bottom of it and Mike is looking for a repairman to come out and tell us what's wrong. When you have 5 people living in a house, 4 of which are home all day, the dirty dishes pile up. We usually run the dishwasher overnight, so right now we have a pile of dishes on the counter waiting for me to go wash them!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Funny the things we remember

Today is February 5th. Whenever I see that date, I have vivid memories come rushing back into my mind. I will always remember February 5th. I was 13 years old in February of 1983. On the 5th I went on my first skiing trip - with our church group. We went to the Homestead Resort, about 2 hours away from home. I can vividly remember the windy roads going up the mountain. I can remember my ski lesson on the bunny slope and my first two or three times down the bunny slope. I can see in my mind vividly getting in line for the ski lift to go up to the intermediate hill. My first trip down was quick and exciting. And I remember getting in line to go up again.

I remember starting down the hill at the top. I can remember thinking that I was going faster than I wanted and that the snow felt icy. The next I remember, I was laying on the ground and I remember seeing skis stuck in the snow in an "X" formation. And I remember sliding down the hill on a toboggan.

I can remember laying on the table with a ski boot on my foot getting ready to get my leg x-rayed. And I can remember their telling me my leg was broken. I can remember my mother crying on the phone when she was told (gosh, she didn't cry when I told her 18 months ago that I had broken my foot!)

On February 5th, 1983, I went skiing for the first time and broke my leg. 12 weeks in a cast, my dance season cut short and many activities changed that year. I bet that my mother doesn't remember that it was Feb 5th. But I do, and I think I always will.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Upward Cheerleading and Basketball

I received a flyer in the mail in November for a basketball and cheerleading league held at a nearby church. I hadn't ever heard of this league before, but the flyer came at a perfect time, as I was interested in getting Michael involved with basketball, and Loudoun County doesn't have a very organized program.

So, we signed the kids up for "Upward". Michael plays basketball and Samantha is on a cheerleading squad. Its a nice program. They have over 300 children signed up, assigned to teams from 5 years old to 12 years old. They practice once a week and play games on Saturday. For a reasonable registration fee, each of them received their full uniform, that they get to keep!!

The kids are having a good time and have met some new friends. And, I am continuing my family tradition of spending most Saturdays in the winter, all day, at the gym!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My son, the artist

You always wonder when your kids are really little what they are going to be good at. And what they are going to be interested in.

Michael likes to build things. He loves his K'nex and his legos and even Emma's blocks. He loves to build things. Sometimes it just to knock it down. Other times we can't get him to take it apart.

About a week ago, I went into Michael's room looking for him because he was suspiciously quiet. Very unusual for him, which often means he's doing something he shouldn't.

But not this time.

He had decided to make a picture out of the coins in his room. He made a bird. He didn't copy a picture or anything - he just designed it himself

It's a Bird!!!

He says his next creation is going to be a spider.

Reporting on the "no snow" storm

This is how they lead off the news report at 5pm tonight.

We were expecting a little bit of snow with a little bit of ice on the top.

Now we aren't even going to get that.

We want a big snow storm - or at least a decent size snow storm and haven't had one yet.