From The Home Office

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. …

Mason’s Feeling Much Better!

We don't know how to even begin to thank everyone for their prayers and warm wishes sent after learning Mason was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit last week. We received hundreds of emails from all over the world. After I read a few dozen, I started saving them to print for Mason's baby book. He's going to have one thick baby book and he's going to love reading those loving notes someday! …

Welcome Home, Mason!!!

Last Wednesday, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a somewhat painful contraction. Since I'd had three weeks of off and on contractions, I didn't give it much thought... …

Yes (Sigh), I’m Still Pregnant…

Mason's due date came and went on Father's Day. I sure was looking forward to giving Richard the ultimate Father's Day gift. However, it's now going to be a bit late. …

False Signs Of Labor

I've been monitoring my body for the past two weeks, and even taking notes, and have come to the conclusion that I've been misinterpreting my body's actions and nothing, and I mean nothing, I've experienced means that labor is imminent. …

Baby Breech

After bragging over the past few weeks about the baby being fully engaged and ready for launch, we were shocked to learn last week that Mason's head is NOT fully engaged after all... …

The Birth Blog

We are having the baby at home (unless something happens, of course), and Ali, our 15-year-old daughter, will be helping Richard blog the event with frequent updates and maybe even some photos (no nudity, not to worry - I'm far too modest for that!) if things are progressing slowly. We were originally going to set up the blog up for family and friends, but so many readers and authors have asked to be notified of the event that Richard set up an email list so we can tell everyone when I go into labor and where to access the blog. …

My Salad Tree

We escaped the northeast flooding and it was sunny and warm here all weekend long. My computer was in the shop so we spent the entire weekend outside. …

Are We Nuts? We’ll Let You Know!

Here's something you may or may not know about us. While Richard can fix just about any computer or electronic gadget, we usually hire someone to fix things around the house (plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.). We've always wanted to be a bit more handy, but just haven't gotten around to learning about those types of things. …

Driving Us To The Poor House

The weekend was absolutely gorgeous here and we spent several hours lounging in the sun while watching the river lazily slip by. Well, the children and I lounged. Richard did some work on the RV and bought supplies to fix the fence where it shifted during the winter due to frost heave. …

Our Green Thumbs

Max enjoyed helping me plant seeds for leeks, onions, two different kinds of sugar peas, green beans, tomatoes, hot peppers, and much more. I'm wondering if the garden is even big enough for the ambitious plans we have for this year! …

I Can Count On One Hand…

I've been fighting a croupy bug for almost two weeks now. I'd get a little better, then worse, then better, again. I felt better on Friday and ran some errands. We then went to our friends' for dinner that night. On Saturday, I woke up very ill and spent the day in bed. I can count on one hand how many days I've spent in bed for an illness...and that includes childbirth. …

A Friendly Family Wager…

Zach (age 19) got two new Beta fish over the weekend. You can't put them together because they'll fight to the death, so Zach's aquarium has a separator in it. Since Zach is such a busy guy and is rarely home, and since we have four cats, the rest of us placed a friendly family wager on how long the fish would survive. Frank bet three weeks, Ali bet six weeks, I bet three months (the 4th of July to be exact), and Richard just rolled his eyes and shook his head. …

Sugar-Free Momma

Two weeks ago I got to drink a nasty orange concoction and then have my blood tested. Last week, the results were in and I was told I'm borderline diabetic. I was pretty discouraged by that news and was ordered to cut way back on sugar and carbs for the remainder of the pregnancy (lots of protein and veggies, brown rice instead of white, that sort of thing). …

Bloody Thursday

Unfortunately, we had to take a surprise trip to the emergency room last Thursday night. No, it wasn't for one of the children. It was me. …

More Maxisms

Gifford's opened for the season last weekend and we were very excited. The opening of Gifford's is a sign that Spring is imminent. We asked Max (age 4) is he remembered what Gifford's was. His response was a puzzled look. …

Maxisms

Last week, I told you Max (age 4) said he was pregnant. The other night, he crawled up on our bed, lay down, and started rubbing his stomach and moaning. I looked at him and noticed his face was quickly turning red. I knew he was pretending something and asked, "What are you doing?" …

Max is Pregnant

After weeks of feeling the baby move in my tummy, Max (age 4) has announced he's pregnant, too. His baby is a "grill" (that's how he pronounces girl) and if you put your hand on his tummy, he pushes it way out and says his baby just kicked you. …

Is That Gatorade in Your Ear, Dear?!

The old cell phone model I use is a gadget our children now call archaic. Richard keeps asking me if I want to upgrade but I always say no. My first excuse was that I didn't want to spend the money. Only when Richard let me know the new phone would be free with our plan did I admit my true reservations, whining, "But then I'd have to learn how to use a new phone all over again!" …

Man Can’t Live On Bread Alone…Unless He Eats Here

Before we knew it, I had three humongous piles of bread dough on the table. We had to remove all but one shelf in the oven because the dough was rising so high. It was actually fun...albeit a bit scary (how big will it grow?!). …

Online Dating for 4-Year-Olds!

We recently taught Max (age 4) how to use the TIVO controller so he can now rewind and replay his favorite parts of Blues Clues over and over again. However, today, I kept hearing the same dialogue from the television in the other room. I investigated and discovered that Max was watching an eHarmony.com dating service commercial over...and over...and over again (sigh...). …

Spring Fever…

We've had a really unusual winter this year. As I am writing this, there is no snow on the ground. Yes, that's right. It's supposed to be the coldest, nastiest time of the year for Mainers. But, it was in the 50's last weekend, sunny, breezy, and downrights Springish! I ran errands on Saturday and didn't even need a sweater. …

Izzy’s Emerging Development

At the new sonogram, she was MUCH bigger and they couldn't get her entire body on the screen at one time. She was moving her mouth (chewing) for a few minutes, and later was sucking on her finger. Max thought that was just the neatest thing in the world. (He thought the blue goo they put on my belly was pretty neat, too.) Needless to say, we were all absolutely shocked into hysterics, when the technician panned over Izzy again and a very prominent, very large... …

Baby Sign Language And The Full VBAC Story

In anticipation of the new baby's arrival, we've all been learning sign language. Babies can sign long before they have the ability to speak. Surprisingly, Max (age 4) has tackled signing with gusto. He can easily learn and remember 5-10 new signs each day. He's been watching a baby signing video and he's now teaching all of us new signs. He was signing to me at a lunch last week with some women I'd never met and I had to tell them that, yes, he can speak. He just prefers signing right now. It's really neat to watch him get so excited about learning something new! …

We Had To Hire A Midwife…

Richard and I have hired a midwife to deliver the baby at home. It's a long story that I'll try to detail next week (I'm a bit behind this week because of the virus). Basically, the local hospitals won't allow VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), even if the doctor doesn't feel it's in the patient's best interests to go through that major surgery... …

Ali’s Hackin’ Now

As you may recall from last week's missive, Frank was sick with a severe case of strep throat for several days and, when he started showing signs of improvement, Max start showing symptoms... …

Frank’s Holiday Hack…

On Christmas night, Frank was lying in bed watching TV, despite the fact that many of his new toys from Santa were still lying on his desk, unopened. He even had a friend over for the night. I was concerned, but he didn't feel warm so I decided to wait until the next morning to see what might be going on. …

Is Everyone On Vacation This Week??

I'm wallowing in the glow of the firelight (well, the fake flames on our heater), enjoying the snowflakes dancing on the other side of the dark, cold windows, munching on leftovers, and savoring an entire week off with my family. I hope you're all doing the same! Happy holiday hugs to all! Ang …

I’m Shakin’ My Presents!!

The children are terribly excited about Christmas coming on Sunday and I have to admit their excitement is contagious. I, myself, have a hard time going to sleep at night with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. And, since I'm pregnant and craving sweets like mad, those sugar plum temptations are quite overwhelming right now! …

“Secret” Family Recipes? Ha!

We give candy and cookies to our friends here in Bangor for Christmas so Ali and I are baking up a storm this week. I'm trying to make Peppernuts for the first time ever this year. My mom's been making them for years. We received them in a tin each Christmas from one of mom's friends for years and the lady would never give out their secret family recipe, despite all those years of begging and bribes from my mom. My mom was into ceramics at that time (she even had her own kiln) and, one year, the neighbor's daughter came over and asked my mom to make a ceramic teddy bear for a friend. She was willing to pay. Mom said she, of course, couldn't take the girl's money, but she would like the girl to run home and get her mom's peppernuts recipe. …

Could It Be…A Girl?!

We went for a prenatal check-up last week and Max had to stay home with Zach. I told Max we were going to to the baby doctor to have them make sure the baby is okay. Max must have misunderstood me because, when we got home and walked in the back door, Max looked at my empty arms and demanded, "Where's the baby?!" …

Angela Spills the Beans…

We had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving Day! It snowed here all day long and between that, and the homemade hot chocolate, and the cute snowman Frank built, and the children bringing down the Christmas decorations from the attic, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation playing in the background, the day couldn't have been more warm and magical. …

Global Economy? Ha!!

Isn't technology great? We can watch TV shows from all over the world now. Case in point? Postman Pat. Here in the U.S., HBO airs this darling children's show each day. Max adores it and we even hear him talking in a British accent sometimes when mimicking lines from the show. (He also uses a Texas accent when mimicking lines from King of the Hill). Anyway, Max really wants a Postman Pat Doll (and his kitty, too) for Christmas. The problem is, I can't find anybody in the U.S. who sells Postman Pat products. Oh, I found tons of people and companies in the U.K. with the dolls, but nobody will ship to the U.S. - not even amazon.co.uk! …

Snow…Bird…

We were shopping one night late last week and heard another customer tell the clerk that it was snowing outside. The children got very excited and Max (age 4) yelled, "I want a snowball!!!" We walked outside with our purchases and were delighted to see beautiful, graceful snowflakes floating to the ground. …

No Snow…Yet

Well, Percy came down with the illness Mittens has so we now know it's "Kennel Cough." They're both doing much better. I just hope the other three cats don't catch it, too. Ali's really good at giving the animals their medicine. They fight me, but adore Ali so much that they'd let her pour anything down their throats... …

It’s Time to SHOP!

Halloween is over and it was a truly wonderful and magical day. Max was almost able to keep up with the big kids this year and actually covered two entire blocks before he started dragging his feet and asked us to carry him back home. We're now gearing up for Christmas shopping. …