About Me

My photo
With three children, 3 year old twins Kaylee and Karissa and one year old Lena, life is a bit hectic! But with a wonderfully supportive husband, a great babysitter and some special friends it is all possible.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mother Nature, Take a Break

Kaylee, Karissa and I are safely home in Virginia having missed an earthquake that registered 5.9 on the scale and Hurricane Irene.  There was no damage to our house from either event luckily.   We pretty much traveled south as Irene headed north and only ran into some wind and rain in New York and Pennsylvania.  So besides having to pay cash for gas instead of  using a credit card because the credit card system wasn't working, we faired very well.  Charlottesville didn't even lose power! 

On the other hand, my brother Mike and his wife Melissa and their 4 1/2 month old twins Blake and Lyla are now homeless.  Flooding in New Jersey from hurricane Irene sent them packing to New York to stay with Melissa's sister.  Mike returned to his house last night to rescue their cat (he was fine) and survey the damage.  Though the water has now receded, during the height of the flood, there was 3-4 feet of water on the first floor.  Everything on that floor is pretty much lost.  Items on the second floor are ok.  Fortunately they rent the house rather than own it, so they don't have to deal with the damage to the house, but it looks like they will have to move again after having lived there for 1 month. 

So our thoughts are with them and we hope that renter's insurance and FEMA can help, clean -up is quick and they are able to find a new place to live as soon as possible.  Wish we could do more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An extra pair of arms

Now that I have been managing Kaylee and Karissa in the company of at least one other adult for the past 6 days I realize how wonderful it is to have an extra pair of arms around.  Now, when I hear "mommy up", I don't have to try to hold both girls, or choose between the two, because there is always someone else around like Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunt Kirsten.  My husband Eric is wonderful at home when he isn't working, but to have someone else around ALL THE TIME is truly vacation!  (If we were independently wealthy and Eric didn't have to work this situation could happen all the time!! I'll keep dreaming!)

I wonder how this will all work when #3 arrives.  How will I be able to give all of them the cuddle time they need.  Do I need 2 extra pairs of arms?  Will I have to just sit on the floor with them all day long so I can gather them into my lap whenever needed?  Maybe we will have to live in just one room stocked with food, diapers, a VERY LARGE diaper pail, clothing and toys all within my measly two arms reach so needs can be met without me having to go out of site, or stand up and potentially dump a child off of my lap.  (Sounds a bit boring, but it might work!) 

I know we will figure it out, but until then if anyone has an extra pair of arms they would like to lend me, please send them my way!  If you have 2 extra pairs, all the better!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

To the alter!

I promise neither of the girls are getting married, we just attempted to bring them to my parent's church yesterday.  Now, Kaylee and Karissa don't sit still for more than 54 seconds unless strapped into their carseats or their stroller.  Fortunately the minister is very kid friendly and doesn't mind if kids make noise or wander around a bit so I knew we at least had a fighting chance.  Since my mom sings in the choir, it left Dad and I to deal with both girls.  Two adults, two toddlers, pretty good odds.
It all started well.  The girls were mesmerized by the music, the candles, Grandma waiving to them from the choir.  When that got boring, we kept them busy with animal crackers.  So far so good, 15 minutes down.  Then Karissa started playing peek a boo with the people in the pew behind us (Thank you to the Gordon's), while Kaylee was entertained by a beach ball we had brought with us.  Another 5 minutes down.  Then it was time to sing a  hymn, so they were content to stand on the pew in front of us and dance a bit for 3 more minutes. 

And then....Kaylee decided it was time to take a tour of the church and off she went down the aisle.  Quickly I grabbed her and managed to get her squirming little body back to the pew which took up 2 more minutes. Of course, Karissa then wanted to see what was out there and let us know by shouting DOWN as she wiggled and flopped herself out of the pew. 

It was then that I was encouraged by some other church goers to just let them go (Thank you Elsie and Eleanor!).  They said the girls would probably come right back anyway.  So I let them go.  Next thing I knew, they were both on the alter during a baptism.  (they were not scheduled to be baptized that day)  So Dad and I run to the alter, grab them and carry them out as they giggled the whole time.  I spent the rest of the time entertaining them downstairs while the service continued upstairs.  We made it in church about 27 minutes.  Not bad for 2 active toddlers.  Maybe next time I'll ask if they can deliver the sermon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We made it!

Karissa, Kaylee and I are in Malone!  The trip was pretty good. Friday morning we put the girls in their carseats at 5:30 am and they never went back to sleep until about 11:30 that morning!  Fortunately Kirsten (SIL) didn't get car sick from having to turn around a million times to give the girls their sippy cups, crackers, toys etc.  We definately overdid the sippy cups since everytime we stopped they were soaking wet and need both diaper changes and wardrobe changes!  The little divas.  After a night in Syracuse, the girls and I headed to Malone this morning.  We made the trip in 3 hours and 20 minutes without stopping!! They were a bit mad at me by the end, but got over it as soon as they saw Grandma and Grandpa.  Once again they were a bit wet and their carseat covers needed to be washed, but all is done and here we are for a week!  I only feel a little bad that Eric is at home reconfiguring closets, digging up the yard and working all week.  We will try not to have too much fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I leave tomorrow with Karissa and Kaylee for a trip to my mother in law's home in Syracuse, NY and my parents in Malone.  The trip from Charlottesville to Syracuse should take about 7 and 1/2 hours.  With kids...a bit longer!  I am not brave enough or stupid enough to attempt this trip by myself and since Eric has been at his new job for only 2 months he cannot take time off, so my sister in law Kirsten has volunteered to ride with us.  (Maybe for her first and last time!)  She is on her way to Syracuse to sell pottery at a craft fair.  She makes really cool stuff and if you ever want to check it out her website is:  http://www.kirstensclay.com/

Now, I have been packing for this trip for the past 4 days.  It is amazing how much needs to be packed for 2 little beings.  Clothes, food, pack and plays, booster seats, books, pacifiers, sippy cups, juice, diapers, wipes, toys, baby jogger, children's tylenol, thermometer etc.!  I think I have it all, but fortunately we will always be within 10 miles to a store, so if there is something I have forgotten that we cannot live without, all is not lost!  (I hope).  I should try to remember to pack a few things for myself too!

The plan is to leave at about 5:00 am with the girls still asleep, and then stop for breakfast when they wake up around 6:30 or 7:00.  If is all works according to plan, we should be in Syracuse by tomorrow afternoon!  Interstate 81 here we come!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Toddler wrestling

Today was a day of wrestling toddlers.  It started with trying to change their diapers this morning, then trying to get them into their high chairs at breakfast, followed by trying to get them into the baby jogger for a walk, then into their car seats for a trip to the park, then back into the carseats for the trip home from the park.  Throw in a few more diaper changes and I am one tired mommy!  So if there are any parents, grandparents or caregivers out there with any advice about how to decrease the daily struggle please let me know!  I think Kaylee and Karissa will be winning the wrestling match soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taming the Jungle

The good news:  we have a fully fenced in backyard.  The bad news: it is comepletely overgrown, the grass isn't grass it is violets, and from time to time you can find poison ivy.  Two toddlers with a poison ivy rash?  no thanks. Fortunately Charlottesville has many wonderful playgrounds nearby.  Even so, the convenience of a backyard would be wonderful, especially when #3 arrives.  (Hopefully we will stop referring to this baby as #3 sometime before his/her 5th birthday)

Anyway, soon after we moved in I called a landscaper to see what could be done about the yard.  He had such wonderful ideas that had me picturing an oasis I would never have to leave.  Space for flowers, toys, and herb garden, nice shady areas!

So I looked at him and said, " Sounds great, but our budget is a concern, how about we discuss the bare minimum and you can give me an estimate."  He looked a little put out, but no harm done.  So a few days later I get call that tree removal, disposal and a new lawn (grass seed, not sod) would be about $5000.00.  I wish I would have gotten a quote for everything he was planning!!!  The backyard is less than 1/6th of an acre.  Ouch!

We resorted to plan B...of course, we could do it ourselves!  So we purchased a used wood chipper, Eric got the chainsaw going and away we go "Taming the Jungle"  Now, I shouldn't say "we" because my job in this whole process is to be pregnant and to take care of the twins, so it has been Eric, with some help from his sister Kirsten and her boyfriend Randy.  (Thank you so much, including the use of your chainsaw!)

So the wonderful fenced in backyard is a work in progress and hopefully this fall when the weather cools off  we will be ready to plant a lawn.  I can't wait to get out there with the girls, but in the mean time, off we go to another park! 

Oh, the deck needs to be replaced too! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Power Outage

We have now lived in Virgina for 2 months.  In those 2 months we have lost our power twice.  This shouldn't be a big deal coming from the rural Adirondack Mountains right?  We should be used to it.  The first time the power went out it was 4th of July weekend.  I was at the grocery store stocking up for company who were coming the next day.  Typical things like meat, ice cream, milk, juice, eggs.  Pretty much everything that needs to be kept cold in 90 degree weather.  The power was out for 13 hours.  Ouch.  Ice cream was a bit mushy by the time it came back on. 

So last night we were finishing up bathtime when the lights began to flicker.  We quickly got Kaylee and Karissa to bed and minutes later it all went dark.  I naively say to Eric, "it can't possibly be out for as long as last time."  I was wrong, it was out for almost 16 hours this time.  Perfect.  Once again, mushy ice cream. 

What caused the two outages?  Trees!  Ok, they had help from violent thunder storms with high winds and hail, but really it was the trees. 

We lived in the woods for nine years and never lost power for that long, maybe for 2 or 3 hours once or twice, but never for almost 16. 

So, my advice to Dominion Virginia Power, as worthless as this may be, cut down the trees that are close to  the power lines before they fall down and knock 17,000 people out of power. Then you may not have to pay crews overtime to cut them down in the middle of the night!!  And no one will have to eat mushy ice cream.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You are Mommy!

Who am I?  I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, physical therapist, runner, probably forgot a few. I am pretty sure I am not a grandmother yet.  But really, these days I am mommy.  Mommy up, mommy down, mommy juice, mommy cracker.  Mommy, mommy, mommy all x 2!!  It is wonderful, exciting and exhausting.  Someday I know I will be able to identify myself again as a runner (hard to do these days at 30 weeks pregnant!) and a physical therapist a good friend, wife, sister and daughter.  But now my primary roll involves two little beings who are incredibly cute, funny, needy and a bit bossy!  But each day they surprise me with what they can do, what they understand, the new words they learn and their wonderful laughter. 

I am learning that as wonderful as mommyhood is, taking a little time now and again to just be me is essential to being able to be the mommy they think I am.  So it is my goal that sometime in the next few weeks I will find time to file my nails rather than just cut them, comepletely dry my hair instead of just my bangs and maybe even paint my toenails! 

Here's to all the mommys out there!!  Go be yourself for a little while!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thirty weeks!

Ok, 10 weeks to go until life changes once again!  Everything is going well with the baby.  New doctor is very laid back which is great.  No computerized documentation for him, just a little due date wheel and a tape measure! This is nothing compared to my last pregnancy when I had to have ultrasounds every 4 weeks and constant check ups.  So far no swelling, it is nice to still have ankles! Next check up is at 34 weeks.

Kaylee and Karissa have no idea how their lives are about to change, but Karissa may be getting suspicious. She laid her head on my belly the other day and got kicked.  Gave me a funny look.

A few weeks ago Kaylee looked up at my belly and said BALL!  I wonder if she wonders why I won't let her play with that ball!!

Anyway, so far so good in VA!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Feeding toddlers is challenging.  Feeding 2 toddlers is messy.  And sometime in the last month, both Kaylee and Karissa have decided they don't like their high chairs.  When we do get lucky enough to get them to sit in their chairs we have maybe 7 minutes and 36 seconds before it starts.
(If they stay in their chairs even that long.)  If you have ever fed toddlers, you may know what I am talking about.

So lets say you give them yogurt, one minute they want to feed themselves, the next they want you to feed them, but change their minds as the spoon is coming to their mouths and grab the spoon.  Just as you let go so they can feed themselves, they pull as hard as they can and... FLING there goes the spoon and the yogurt.  Ok, on to safer, less messy food...peas.  Kaylee loves peas, can't get enough until she has eaten some arbitrary number of peas (which of course only she knows).  So you bravely give her 5 or 10 at a time when all of a sudden....FLING,  there they go on the wall, on the floor, on the dog. 

You can only imagine the mess the other morning when I gave them yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast. Not sure what I was thinking.  I am still trying to chip the oatmeal off the wall. 

Sometimes is it a one handed fling, sometimes two.  They have perfected both.  At least the dog is happy about all the food on the floor! 

Thank you to Jill for advising us to feed them in the bathtub, we may resort to that soon!
Anyone want to invite us over for dinner!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I don't like snakes. I can handle spiders, rodents, large bugs, but I tend to panic around snakes.  Unfortunately, Virginia has more snakes and bigger snakes than northern NY does and even has a couple of poisonous ones.  Great!

So a few weeks ago I took a "baby boot camp" exercise class which happened to be at a park.  The girls stayed in the stroller for most of the class, but at the end they were allowed to get out and play.  So Kaylee ad Karissa had a great time playing in the sand volleyball court along with some other kids who were close to their age.  I was about 10 feet away from them while I chatted with some of the other moms after class when I noticed Kaylee started running towards the woods.  What was she after?  A snake.  (this kid has no fear).  Thank god it was faster then her.  But this thing was big....we are not talking python big, but at least 5-6 feet long and about 2 inches in diameter big.  That was no garter snake.

So what do I do?  Calmly walk toward Kaylee, call her name and pick her up while making sure Karissa was safe.  What did I want to do?  Scream, freak out, cry, sprint to the car with a child under each arm, anything to get out of there. 

Now being new to VA, I figured the natives were used to snakes and wouldn't get too nervous about a snake slithering near their children.  I didn't want to make a scene.  So, once I had the girls in a safe spot away from the snake (who by now was probably safely in the woods herself) I calmly mentioned to one of the other mothers that I had just seen a large black snake over by the volley ball court.  Her response?


So, what I have learned:  it is ok to freak out about snakes in VA, not everyone finds them commonplace, and keeping my children away from them is probably a good idea. 

It turned out to be one of the non poisonous snakes, but still...yuck.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dishwasher is working!!

Yesterday I asked Eric if there was anything he needed me to work on while the girls napped.  He responded by saying, yes, you could work on getting the dishwasher fixed. (it had stopped working the day after we moved in)  To which I responded "Great you mean I just need to call a repairman?" His reply...no, why don't you look online and see if there are any parts we need to order. (Built a house on our own, should be able to fix a dishwasher right?)

Now part of the problem with the dishwasher:  we can't get it out from under the countertop to fix whatever part needs fixing because whoever redid the kitchen floor installed the tile after the dishwasher was installed, so you can't pull it out without practically taking it apart, or tearing up the tile.  Genius.  I am not sure which project would take longer. 

So this morning before the girls woke up (they slept until 7:30!) I started my quest to figure out what was wrong with the dishwasher. We have about 10 and 1/2 weeks before #3 arrives, we need to get it working.  Beides the dish drainer is taking up valuable real estate on the limited coutertop space. 

For whatever reason, Eric decided to try turning the dishwasher on again just to make sure no new problems had arisen. 
And guess what, it worked!!  Why?  I have no idea.  Do I care?  NO!  Have I been washing dishes by hand for the past month and a half for no reason?  Probably!  Is this one more project we can cross off the list and not have to spend time on?  Let's hope so!!

It's a good day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Minivan

So as I have mentioned, we have 17 month twins and are expecting a third baby in 11 weeks (a little frightening).  Anyway when we moved here our family car was a Subaru Forester.  Now for all of you who have kids who need to be in carseats you know the seats are enormous and it is virtually impossible to fit two convertible seats and an infant carrier in a 5 passenger car.  So away we go shopping for the ultimate "family vehicle."  Or as good friends like to call it the "loser cruiser." 

Now as any parent will tell you, especially parents of twin toddlers, you don't just go spend all day Saturday leisurely test driving vehicles and plan to go back time and again to find the perfect vehicle.  No, you find the best deal possible first on http://www.autotrader.com/, make sure the vehicle is still available before you leave the house, pack up the diaper bag with sippy cups, lots of snacks, and toys, heave the double stroller into the car and cross your fingers. 

Once there you find a sales person as fast as you can, tell him you need to look at this one specific car, each take a 6 minute test drive while the other pushes the stroller around in circles in a vain attempt to keep the babies occupied.  Get a trade in price for the Subaru, barter with the sales person for oh about 30 seconds, sign paper work, and hopefully you are on your way home (once of course you have switched the carseats, stroller, toys, diaper bag and sippy cups to the new vehicle).  All said and done in less than an hour right? 

Three hours later, after chasing the girls around the showroom filled with $80,000 Cadillacs, we leave in our new (used) 2008 Honda Odyssey!  One look back at the parking lot as we left....our 2005 Forester that had survived 6 winters in Northern NY (you can imagine what the underside of that car looked like!!) and about 500 pieces of Kix cereal that had fallen out of the car seats when we transferred them to the Honda!!  We drove away in a hurry!!

We love our new car.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The first two weeks

Our first 2 weeks in the new house were a little rocky...

As I have mentioned we have an aging dog named Maggie.  She is an 80 pound lab/rottweiler mix who is not particularly thrilled that her position as number 1 child has been downgraded to third place.  She likes to remind us on a daily basis by curling her hip every time the girls get close.  Unfortunately she is slow to interpret that lip snarl equals solitary confinement in the bedroom, tail wag happy dog means hanging out with the family in the living room, but we are trying our best. 
Anyway within 4 days of moving into the house, Maggie got sick.  Vomiting, diarrhea all over the carpet 3 times (really gross).  So, I find a vet, make an appointment, load up the dog and the girls, walk into the vet's office and... Maggie proceeds to have more diarrhea all over the floor.  So I have to leave her in the office while I push the stroller through a different so I don't have to roll it through poop. Then the vet tech has to come to the front, scrape a stool sample up from the floor and clean up the mess.  So much for first impressions!  The good news, Maggie got better. 

The next day the dishwasher broke and began leaking all over the floor before we could get the water turned off (we still have to fix it!), the kitchen light stopped working (got that fixed though, thank goodness for Lowe's!)  and we found poison ivy all over the back yard (Eric is still working on that one poor guy)  Thankfully no one got a rash. 

A few days later Kaylee was stung by a bee, which resulted in on and off screaming for the next hour and a half, a swollen hand and maybe some angry neighbors! (But I never checked on that one)  Then Karissa got a weird rash, which thankfully went away on its own. 

Fortunately we survived the first couple of weeks without any other mishaps and each week gets better and better.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Move: best laid plans...

Moving is stressful.  Selling a house in one state and buying a house in another is really stressful.  Scheduling the closings 2 days apart is just crazy.  Expecting it all to happen without delays is really nuts, but that is just what we did. 
So our plan was to close in NY on June 6th, Virginia on the 8th.  Eric would drive the moving van to VA in time to sign the closing documents.  Kaylee, Karissa, myself and my parents would follow 2 days later.  That would give Eric some time to unpack the van and at least get beds put together prior to our arrival.  Then mom and dad would be with us for a whole week helping unpack and helping with the twins before their flight home on Thursday, June 16th. I could go to my new Ob-gyn on the 14th while mom and dad were still in town to watch the girls.  Eric would start his new job on June 20th. We would be all settled in and ready to start our new lives!  Perfect!

Reality:  Closing in New York was delayed by a week, which of course delayed closing in VA.  What delayed the NY closing?  The buyer of our home forgot to sign her tax return for her mortgage company. Oops. When her funds were finally available, instead of being wired, her mortgage company used FedEx. Now I know FedEx is fast, but snail mail, really? So much for the electronic age!

Plan B:  Mom, Dad and I go to Viginia first so I would have help with the girls on the long trip down and would be able to get to my MD appointment.  Luckily we were able to stay at a  house our real estate agent owned. 
Finally, On Wednesday the 15th we had confirmation that we could close in Charlottesville at 4:00 pm.  (remember Mom and Dad have to fly home about 14 hours later).  So, mom, dad and I pack up clothes, toys, sippy cups, pack and plays, food and strollers from where we were staying and head to our new home. Eric arrives at the house with the moving van, I go to the lawyers office to sign documents and pick up the keys.  And guess what....can't close! Our mortgage company's computers were down!!! They couldn't wire the money until the next day.  So much for the electronic age!

So, we head back to the real estate agent's house,  unpack clothes, toys, sippy cups, and pack and plays for one more night.  Mom and Dad fly home at 6:50 the next morning having never seen the inside of our new house. 

We finally closed 10 days after our original moving date.  And then we had to unload the moving van...

No wonder the housing market has failed to rebound! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh what have we done...

Welcome!  7 weeks ago my husband Eric and I and our 17 month old twin daughters Kaylee and Karissa sold our home near Lake Placid, NY and moved to Charlottesville, VA. We left a home we loved, family, friends, jobs and everything familiar to return to a place that we had lived in and loved 10 years ago. 

For 10 years I worked as a full time physcial therapist.  Life was predictable.  Eat, work, exercise, socialize, sleep for a full 7-9 hours at night on a regular basis.  Then in February 2010, Kaylee and Karissa arrived and predictability was a thing of the past, along with 7-9 hours of regular sleep!

When the girls were born we lived in a home that we had been building mostly ourselves for more than 5 years,with the help of a few friends and the occasional contractor.  It was almost finished.  We had it made: a beautiful new home, 2 beautiful new babies, familiar jobs, wonderful friends, grandparents nearby.  So what do we do?  Decide it would be a great time to finish the house, put it on the market and move 750 miles.  Why? 

The decision to move was made over a period of a few years with frequent discussions between Eric and I, and many lists of the pros and cons.  In the end it came down to the three C's...career, climate and culture.  (Had our lab/rottweiler mix Maggie been involved in this discussion we would be living in a one room cabin with my parents next to a lake so everyone she knew could be in the same spot, could take turns letting her swim, and would drive her around in the car for 2 hours a day.)  (Oh, and the babies would live outside in the dog house!)

Fast forward one year:  we are still in New York in the middle of winter, house is on the market, Kaylee and Karissa are thriving, sleep is pretty good for all, I am back working part time. I am getting excited about the move and believe it will even be fun to show the girls all the new things to do in Virginia.  And then more exciting/unexpected news.....I find out I am pregnant.  This means, if all goes well, Kaylee and Karissa will be 20 months when baby #3 enters the world.  Three under the age of two....who needs sleep!

After a few more discussions between Eric and I and many nights of second guessing our decision to move, we decide to go for it, because life needs to be really exciting sometimes and why not do everything all at once?

Somehow in the next 4 months Eric was able to find a job in Charlottesville, we were able to sell our house in New York, buy a house in Virginia, pack, move and begin our new lives...this is where our story begins.
Let the good times roll!

Next post:  The move