From The Home Office

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some R.E.M.?

Mason (11 months) has a bad cold and he's been very congested for two days. Needless to say, I'm swimming in a stupefied haze due to lack of R.E.M. sleep. I know lots of parents complain about lack of sleep but, truthfully, missing sleep hasn't ever bothered me in my mommy career. I enjoy cuddling a baby late at night (or early in the morning) when they don't feel good and need mommy's lovies. And, Mason just learned how to give sloppy kisses. You can imagine the horror on the other children's faces when Mason, with his runny baby nose, tries to give them a sloppy baby kiss. Heh... …

Flippies, White Noise and Update on Richard

If you're looking for a unique gift for grandparents, check out "Flippies." Flippies are custom flip books. This is one of those "wish I'd thought of that!" products. Very cool. Mason (almost 11 months old now!) is a very good napper...provided there's a steady stream of noise in the background, such as television, soft voices, etc. The problem is, we have other children whose voices are anything but soft. Richard recently downloaded "white noise" to his computer and we played that during Mason's nap yesterday. He slept for three hours! …

Update on Richard’s Vasculitis

I'm writing this on Monday night. Richard's vasculitis is coming and going and it got worse over the weekend and included something new - red lines under his skin (no, not the blood poisoning type). And, his other ankle swelled up. As of this morning, we've been waiting a week for a referral to a rheumatologist. I called the doctor's office right when they opened this morning and expressed my frustration (you know how I can be!). They immediately called Richard back and told him they can't find a rheumatologist who can see him before July! …

Update on Richard’s Rash (RR)

The results of Richard's biopsy are in. He has Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis, or LCV. We already pretty much knew he had vasculitis, but needed the diagnosis before they can proceed with more tests to see what's causing it. Basically, there is a 50% chance it's caused by an autoimmune disorder or medication or something he's eating, and there's a 50% chance they'll never know what's causing it. It could be caused by Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Hepatitis C, or it could be due to his thyroid medication (the doctor doesn't think so), or....maybe my cooking? Okay, humor does help in times like these. Honestly, we're praying it's nothing serious and that we'll never know what causes it. Because, if they do find out what's causing it, that something might be serious. If it's just a transient thing, chances are it's an anomaly and very minor. …

My Super Cool New Notepad

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Gene Papin (http://www.papincraft.biz), who creates neat stuff out of wood. I was especially impressed by his beautiful wooden pens. Well, last week, a nifty package arrived in the mail and I was thrilled to open it and find a notepad that Gene had made with one of his saws. He "engraved" it with my initials and a smiley face with his saw, going all the way through every piece of paper - the entire pad... …

Escape!

Lucky Ali (age 16) is in Florida for a 10-day Spring Break trip. She went with a friend and the friend's family. They have visited Epcot, Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and a few other places. Ali will probably sleep for a week when she returns. She's having a fabulous time and, while she says she misses her mommy, I know she's lying. …

My Paranoia – Children Who Are Choking

Gene Papin (http://www.papincraft.biz), a writer and woodworker, sent me an email last week in response to my missive on choking parts in squeaky toys. He said, "One of the things I do is make toys, along with scroll work. With regard to small children, if the toy fits inside the pasteboard roll (inside lining) of a paper towel roll, it will go down a small child's throat and choke him." …

Squeaky Choking Hazards and My Future Mud Room Jungle

Two of you wrote in last week advising me of the dangers of giving Mason chew toys with squeakers in them because they're a choking hazard. Chay Duggan told me to remove the squeakers with a screwdriver. Good idea. Wanted to pass that along in case any of you decided to start shopping for your teething baby in the doggy toy department, too. …

Chew Toys for Little Boys

Mason (age 9 months) has a particular fondness for soft plastic or rubber toys he can easily chew on. If he doesn't have a toy to chew on, he'll clamp down on your arm, your neck, or any soft flesh he can find (just ask Percy, the dog). …

Spring Flood!

After bragging last week about our temperatures getting up into the 50's, we had a massive winter storm on Friday night. We only got about six inches of snow but then we were deluged with ice and then rain and flooding. On Saturday morning, we literally had a muddy river of cold water flowing down our street, complete with ice chunks. …

Spring Cleaning and Spring Building

It's finally warming up a bit in Maine. The thermometer actually got above freezing last week and it was over 50 today! Some of the snow is melting, but there's a ton of it so it'll take awhile. …

Flu Bug Departs; Spring Fever Arrives

We're all feeling much better. It looks like Richard escaped the bug, even after kissing me while I was feverish. Zach spent three days in bed. He had it worst of all. …

Sick…and Tired

I had a sore throat on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, I warned Richard not to kiss me, but he did anyway as he left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. It's so romantic to have a husband who will kiss you, no matter how snotty or miserable you are...but boy is he gonna be sorry when the incubation period is over! …

Digging Out, Leaving On A Jet Plane, And Ha-choo!!

There's a LOT more snow on the ground now. We got hammered by the blizzard and the boys (mostly Matt and Zach) spent a couple of hours cleaning up the mess last week. It's still pretty deep out there but at least we can get the cars in and out of the driveway. As promised, here are some blizzard photos... …

BLIZZARD WARNING! WHOO HOO!!!

I'm writing this on Tuesday. We're preparing for the blizzard, which should start on Wednesday morning. We're supposed to get 8-14 inches of snow and the wind chills are supposed to be -20 - -40. Brrr! We're sure there won't be any school tomorrow, so the children are in a festive mood. …

Dreaming About Spring

It's so cold here that the entire family is suffering from severe dry skin. From my nosebleeds to Max scratching his knees raw, it feels like we're keeping the moisturizer industry in business these days. …

Too Cold For Babies to Be Outside

It got so cold here last week that we couldn't take Mason out to dinner with us. Max decided to stay home with the big kids, too, so Richard and I had a real date for the first time since before Mason was born. It was very nice and very romantic as we ate at a new restaurant in town...and then went to Home Depot for some new bathroom lighting (sigh). …

The Electrician’s A Capella

We had a snow day last Friday so the children got an unexpected three-day weekend. We have tons of snow now and it's been incredibly, uncomfortably cold with highs in the single digits and wind chills in the deep negatives. One of my eyeballs started to freeze when I was walking through a brisk wind at Frank's school the other day. …

Mason’s Mobility

Mason is keeping us all in shape these days! He went from spinning in circles on his belly last month to scooting, crawling, and pulling himself into a standing position by the sofa all in the past two weeks. …

Gingerbread Poop

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about our Gingerbread Poop! While we were making anatomically correct gingerbread people just before Christmas, we made a piece of gingerbread poop. …

Holiday Recovery

We did not have a white Christmas so we didn't get to go tubing and skiing with Richard's dad and step-mommy. However, it did start to snow about two hours before they were scheduled to leave. Oh well... At least they got SOME snow while they were here! …

We’re On Vacation! Yea!

Richard's dad and step-mommy are in town so we're on vacation this week. Our Boxing Day party was yesterday and we're going skiing and snow-tubing on Thursday. Whoo hoo! Happy New Year, everybody! This week's Maxism: Mason (age 6 months) has started speaking! Last week, he said, "Na Na Na Na Na." Max came in the room and, when he heard Mason, looked quite surprised. He sat down next to him and responded, "What? What? What? What? What?" Hugs, Angie P.S. Write your autobiography in 2007! Afraid you can't remember your childhood? Yes you can, using my memory triggers! Sign up for my popular and FUN class, How to Remember, Write and Publish Your Life Story! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/wwu/courses/memories.html

Touching Other People’s Babies…

On numerous occasions, I've told the girl next door to NOT bring her son over when he's sick...at least not while Mason is so small. She did just that last week, assuring me he was no longer contagious. Yeah, right... …

Fretting About Undelivered Gifts

Well, there are less than two weeks until Christmas and, while I did my online shopping early, there are still a few undelivered gifts floating around out there somewhere. I placed one large order with a company I've never shopped at before. They sent me a receipt when I placed my order and I've heard nothing since. …

Peppermint Bark and Snow

I'm writing this on Monday. Each year, when we get a good early snow, I drag the children outside for the annual Christmas card photo. We usually get a bit of snow in November but we haven't had any this year so far. It's snowing right now, but there's only a tiny bit on the ground. I prefer a raging snowstorm (heh...) for the photo but it looks like I might have to settle for a dusting this year. I told Ali to ride the bus home if it's snowing at 2:00 p.m. Richard will pick Frank up and Zach has promised to be here on time, too. I'll bundle up all the children, drag them outside and make them stand and smile for a good five minutes while I snap a few dozens photos, looking for just the right one. Matt is part of our family now, too, as he lives here when he's not at school. But, he won't be home from school until December 20th and it never snowed over the Thanksgiving holiday while he was here. So, I might try to superimpose a photo of him into the snow picture. We love Photoshop! …

Our Cuddly Monkey

We had a wonderful and very long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I only got online to check for emergencies each evening. And, boy oh boy, did I pay for that on Monday when I had a flood of emails to answer. The time we spent with the children made it well worth it. We feasted on Thursday, shopped and wrapped presents on Friday, bought our tree on Saturday, and decorated it on Sunday. …

Tradition!

Ah, I always get that Fiddler on the Roof song stuck in my head around this time of the year. Matt and Aubri are home again, but this time for the entire week. So, the house is quite full and very festive! …

Holidays Coming Fast and Furious

This weekend, Matt and Aubri were home so we had a fun time with them. Aubri is always a huge help with the baby and Matt and Aubri both helped put up a new storm door. Things got a bit confusing and Aubri's dad had to come over and save the day. They'll be home for a whole week for Thanksgiving so all the children are excited about that. …

My Baby Brother…the Missionary

My brother sent us all into a panic this week when he phoned and emailed my mom to let us all know that he and his beautiful wife are currently stuck in another country. …

Mom Comes And Goes…

My mom came to visit for the weekend. I hadn't seen her in a year and she was only here for about three days total so I was very sad to see her go. I don't know when we'll see her next so that made her parting all the more painful. …

In-Laws Gone; Mom Incoming

Richard's mom and her boyfriend left on Tuesday morning. We had a fun visit and, on leaving, his mom hugged me and said I was a "good hostess." So, I want to thank all of you who sent in easy recipes for me to use while they were here! I'll admit, we did eat out while they were here, too, but that sure can get expensive. I enjoy cooking at home much more. We took them to Bar Harbor for a day, to our favorite antique mall, and spent Sunday driving to our land, which was resplendent in its fall colors! It was gorgeous and we are dreaming of next spring when we'll start building. …

Fall Cleaning

In anticipation of the arrival of my mother-in-law this week, we cleaned the house from top to bottom. Ali (age 15) complained the ENTIRE time I spent in her room rearranging drawers, sorting clothes, looking under her bed and hope chest (pretty scary!), and arranging her books, among other fun things. But, she was very happy with her new room when I was finished. The very next morning, I walked into her room and was horrified to discover it looked like I've never even been in there! …

PTSD Update, School Shootings and Lack of Lunch

Last week, I posted a note about my recent surgery that followed a litany of other challenges we've experienced over the Summer, including the doctor telling us Mason might die, and my resulting anxiety attack. I went to the doctor last week and posted an update to last week's missive on Wednesday afternoon. If you read the issue before the update was posted, you can see the update HERE. …

My Cancer Scare

I'm a high anxiety type of person and nothing makes me more anxious than something that is beyond my control - namely health issues. Two weeks ago, I was literally freaking out. I can't think of a more accurate term. I was too upset to write about it then, but I can write about it now. …

Baby Sneezes…

Max has been nursing a cold and I was terrified Mason would catch it. After our ordeal with Mason's hospitalization when he was 12 days old, I was absolutely thrilled when, at his 2-month checkup last week, the doctor said these 6 magic words, "You have a perfectly healthy baby!" …

Troubling Truck Stop Bathroom Conversation…

We stopped at a truck stop diner for lunch during our trip last week. Richard offered to take Mason to the men's room for a diaper change, but I am a bit nervous in truck stops so I told him I'd take him to the women's restroom instead. That was a decision I would live to regret. …

Kids’ Orifices…

I was sitting next to Max in the RV on the way from New York to Massachusetts. He kept making blowing noises with his nose. When I saw him put his finger in his nose, I asked him if he needed a tissue. He replied, "No." I said, "Don't you have boogies?" He said, "No, it's a rock." …

Angela Is On Vacation, But…

We're currently on vacation in Pennsylvania. We left last week in our RV and meandered our way down here. The weather is a bit warmer than we're accustomed to, and humid, too, but the delicious home cooking found here, along with the beautiful scenery, makes it all definitely worthwhile! You can read about our travels here: http://www.wirelesstrips.com Now, if you'll excuse me, the children want me to take them swimmming. ;) GUEST COLUMNIST! …

One Of The Scariest Days Ever…

Last weekend, Max, who will be five years old next month, came upstairs, into our bedroom, and asked if he could watch cartoons. I told him no because I was working, and needed it to be quiet. He walked out. Richard was downstairs preparing for our upcoming RV trip. Mason (age 7 weeks) was asleep on my lap. The other kids were away for a day trip to a friend's camp. About 30 minutes later, Richard came upstairs and asked, "Where's Max?" …

Goodbye Grandma…

Last Thursday afternoon, Grandma finally decided to leave us and join her parents, husband and sister. We were sad because we'll miss talking to her, but also happy for her because she's been missing her husband for so long and now they're together again. The memorial service will be in Pennsylvania at the end of this month so we'll take the RV down there in a couple of weeks. …

Chapstick (R) Butt Balm

While the in-laws were here, we drove out to our new land. When we got there, which is located an inconvenient distance from any store, I was horrified to realize we'd left the diaper rash cream at home. Mason has very sensitive skin and his bottom was flaming red that day. In a panic, I reached for a tube of Chapstick that was in the diaper bag... …

Oh Dear! The In-Laws Are STILL Here!!

We've been to Bar Harbor, on a day-trip to our land, out to a great lunch with author Mark LaFlamme (The Pink Room) and his wife, and to an endless array of restaurants. We've been shopping, the women have been cooking together, and the men have been fixing things around the house. …

Oh Dear! The In-Laws are Here!!

Richard's dad and step-mom are here for a 9-day stay. We'll be entertaining them during the day on most days and we'll be working nights to stay caught up. We have lots of fun, touristy activities planned. …

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