Friday, January 28, 2011

Things You Don't See Every Day

Glowing snowmen

Kitty gifts

Being prepared (reserve buckets of water in the shower)

Decapitated flamingos

Poodles drip-drying in the shower

Hexagon shaped houses in the snow

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tag! You're It!

J is off at Public School today with her friend. I've already taught L to play solitaire, cut out the coupons from last Sunday's paper, helped L make a bead craft, and researched tractor cup holders on the internet.

This whole time, however, I can't get this silly song out of my head.

Now you've got it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deja Vu

I'm nervous. The last time it snowed this heavily for this long, our power was out for 8 days. I've already shovelled twice in front of the garage, and filled up the wood bin on the back porch.

JP couldn't make it up our driveway this evening (which has not yet been cleared), so Dad had to pull him up with the tractor. He is now putting chains on the truck, and asking about stocking up on water.

Our giant generator is still sitting in the barn in the original box...not hooked up and ready to roll.

I am going to go get a shower so that I don't miss the chance.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Week in Pictures

It has been another crazy week on the Ridge. Actually, it was one of the smoothest weeks we've had lately, I just felt a bit stressed, due to starting my new job while managing the homestead on my own!

Good news: Work was great, and JP made it home safely from TX Friday night!

We started the week with mist in the valley and ice every where else.

The girls were "skating" in front of the garage while still in their jammies.

The new work clothes I ordered arrived and were in perfect shape despite the way we found the box.

Later in the week we got 6-8 inches of snow overnight. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to shovel out in front of the garage, where snow had drifted to a foot deep in places. I ended up with this pile of snow, that came up to my waist. My Dad scooped it away with the tractor in about 2 minutes.

JP was initially unable to find his truck in the long term parking at the airport as it was completely buried in snow.

Yesterday, we enjoyed being together again as a family. We also went to Outback to celebrate my birthday with a big old chunk of beef and a bloomin' onion. John made this delicious cake, studded with an entire pound of crushed Heath bars!

JP and I have been trying to decide what to do with our mattress lately, as it is no longer comfortable, but only 7 years old. We finally decided to do surgery. We removed the pillow top from the combo mattress/box springs...

and replaced it with 2 - 2 /12 inch memory foam mattress toppers from Sam's Club. Ahhhhh!

Tonight the Steelers won the AFC championship and are Super Bowl bound...wooooo!

It ended up being a pretty good week after all

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Missed the Munchkin's Birthday (again)

During the hustle and bustle of our crazy Christmas with my even crazier family, little L turned a whopping 5 years old! The day didn't pass by completely without celebration, as it does some years. (Usually Dec. 27th is the day we are travelling home from where ever we have been celebrating Christmas.) She got more Birthday wishes than normal, and we celebrated at Sarris Ice Cream Parlor with 2 of their "Sundaes for Four", which was more than enough for all 14 of us!

A couple of days later, Grandmom made a cake to celebrate birthdays for both L and her cousin, who turned 6 on the 31st.

It wasn't until the beginning of January that we went out for her Birthday meal (our family tradition is to go out to eat at the place of the Birthday Girl or Boy's choice) and had her special cake. She chose Golden Wok (our local average Chinese buffet) for dinner, and a pink poodle cake for later.

Now the munchkin is officially a big girl!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Missing My "Tweet"heart

I'm doing the single parent thing this week while JP is learning about Hyperbaric treatment down South. It hasn't been too bad, but I'm getting tired. Luckily, this week I started my job, so I have actually had interaction with adults and been away from my children for a few hours. It was much needed, let me tell you!

The thing I miss the most is the constant companionship. Since he's been home for the past 6 weeks, we've had micro-conversations all day long. Now he's in class from 7 AM to 5 PM or later, and we just get a short phone call at night when he tells the girls "goodnight" before he starts studying.

I'm not a Twitter person, but I can definitely understand the appeal it might have to some people. You can continue to have those micro-conversations all day long, even when you are at work, or even (if you must) in the bathroom.

We recently bought new cell phones which include a limited monthly texting plan. I hadn't ever texted before either, but it is a great way to get in touch with JP while he is far away. He knows we're thinking of him, and it's the next best thing to having him here.

Just a few of our notes:

Monday 8:52 AM
Conference to start soon. Have a GREAT day with Dr. P. Give my love to you and the girls. Welcome back to the adult centered work force (vs. Motherhood) :) Love, JP

Monday 10:32 AM
got it. luv u.

Monday 5:58 PM
girls r going to bed early tonite - 7:30 ur time. plz call early

Tuesday 8:28 AM
mornin babe! 32 & sunny here but ice everywhere. girls r skating in thr jammies

Tues 8:28 AM
Not much going on. Already in lectures. Way too early start. JP

Tues 11:51 AM
i love you daddy (heart)
that was from j
i love you daddy (heart) lam

Wednesday 9:14 AM
hope ur havin an ok AM.

Wednesday 10:00 AM
still waking up. JP

Wednesday 8:31 PM
i love you daddy good night (heart) j
lam i love daddy (heart)

Wednesday 10:35 PM
miss u. luv u. wish u were here. (heart)

Thursday 7:59 AM
didn't sleep well last nite. nerves?

Good morning. Class has started. JP

Thursday 12:31 PM
fun time in or! how r u?

Ok, but still in class. Glad OR went ok. JP

He's home tomorrow night, and I can hardly wait!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Got the last of the "Holiday Cards" sent out: Check.

Watered the plants on the high shelf with the help of the step ladder: Check.

Finished pile of mending: Check.

Ironed JP's shirts, helped him pack, and got him on the way to Houston: Check, check & check.

Ordered new clothes for work since the condition of the ones in the closet is pathetic: Check.

Sledding and snowball fights with the girls: Check.

Going to bed in preparation for re-joining the work force in the AM: Check.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Me, while trying to convince J that she should not wear the silver star shirt with the pink and brown heart pants to her Doctor appointment: "I'm even going to change my shirt."
J: "But why? That shirt is BEAUTIFUL!"
Me: "Because it has holes in it and it's sloppy and stained. It isn't respectful of others to look sloppy when you visit."
J: "But you're a COUNTRY girl!"

J, while at above mentioned appointment: "Look! I can SKIP again!"
(Yes, she is feeling much better already after having her knees aspirated and injected yesterday.)

Crazy cat, Ernie, who has only half a brain at most, attacked the snow shovel while I was clearing the snow from in front of the garage. At least 4 times I scooped him up along with the snow because he didn't move out of the way. It didn't seem to bother him in the least.

Now, Miss J is having problems sleeping...probably due to the steroids. She says that her mind is playing tricks on her and won't let her "change the channel" (what JP tells her to do when she is having scary thoughts at night). I am already feeling the effects of shoveling 4 inches of snow off the drive, along with the piles that I only pushed half way off after the last snow...time for bed and a heating pad!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Home Fires

It has been cold this winter. Below freezing cold for days on end, with a respite of 35 degrees thrown in here and there. It has been lovely to keep a fire burning in the wood stove in order to keep the house in the 70 degree range, and know that my electric bill won't suffer because of it. I can usually start a new fire in the morning with the embers left from the night before, using the previous day's junk mail as tinder.

Since we were out all day, and there was no fire, the stove was cold and dead tonight. I tried unsuccessfully for at least an hour to get one started, but it would only smolder and smoke. Finally JP did his thing, and it is roaring again...but not in time for me to bask in the warmth before climbing into my cold bed.

Instead, I am warming my brain by munching Godiva dark chocolate in tiny bites, and feeling warmth in my heart thinking of the wonderful people at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh that we encountered today.

J returned to see her Rheumatologist this afternoon for joint injections in her knees. She was dreading this procedure, which is the common reaction when you inform someone that they are going to have needles stuck in their knees. The procedure was planned down to the last dot on the consent form. The nurses gave J a stuffed puppy to hug during the injections. The Music Therapist had even been scheduled to help with diversion. She sang songs with J, including "Stinky, Stinky Diaper Change" (sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"), "Jimmy Picks Boogers" (sung to the tune of "Jimmy Cracked Corn"), and an original composition about our dog and cats.

It is incredibly difficult to watch your child suffering and be unable to help. I am reminded often these days of my brother and sister-in-law, who spent many months in and out of the Children's Hospital several years ago when my nephew was ill. I asked my brother once, "How do you do it? How do you take him to all of these appointments and know that they won't all be pleasant, that he will still have a terminal illness? How do you go on?" He told me "I just do it. He's my son, and I do what I have to do for him."

No child should have to experience what so many of the patients at Children's do. No parent should have to watch their child suffer. But it happens. Life is not fair, as I tell my girls so often. The wonderful thing is that there are those special people who make the hard things just a little easier, with a stuffed toy, a silly song, a joke or even a hug. I feel extremely lucky that our situation is one of the better ones that walk through those doors in Pittsburgh, and I admire my brother and sister-in-law even more for their walk, which was incredibly more painful than ours.

So, with the powers of dark chocolate working their magic on my brain, and the cockles of my heart glowing, I will go warm my toes by the fire before dashing off to bed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Same Old, Same Old...

Whew! December was a busy month! Just days after returning from our R & R in Florida, Christmas arrived (ready or not), along with 8 extra family members who celebrated Christmas, Birthdays and New Year's with us. Now, 8 days into 2011, I have finally finished putting away the extra bedding and towels, taken down the Christmas tree, and baked a second Birthday cake. I was hoping to slow down a bit, but January is plowing ahead, regardless of my desires.

JP and I had Pre-Employment Physicals last week, which shocked me into reality. Soon our lazy limbo period will come to a close and our late nights, sleeping in, and afternoon naps will have to become a thing of the past as our jobs begin in 2 weeks.

J is deep into school already, and we are nearly caught up from vacation. She has testing with her Cyber Teacher next week, as well as another visit with her Rheumatologist. We had a brief spark of hope regarding her arthritis last week, when the Rheum. informed us that her Lyme Titer was positive. After confirmation blood work, we discovered today that it was a false positive, leaving us with no doubt of her diagnosis of JIA.

L was very excited to go back to Preschool this week. She has been a busy girl for the past 2 weeks, celebrating a birthday and 2 Christmases within 72 hours. We have Birthday Party II this weekend so that she can have the pink poodle cake she was hoping for.

New Year's Resolutions...did you make any? I just use the start of each new year to renew my efforts of becoming more organized and improving my time management issues. Speaking of time management...staying up late to blog is counter productive. Time for bed.

Happy 2011 Everyone! I wish you all the best in achieving your own New Year's Resolutions this year.

Just a few pics of our fun Holiday activities with family: