From The Home Office

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. …

What? Another Hurricane?!

We had a wonderful time visiting Richard's family in Corpus Christi, Texas and the heat wasn't as oppressive as we'd feared. We stayed at a nice campground on the beach there and we had lots of family time and even a day of shopping, which the children particularly enjoyed. Ali even got her very first set of silk wrap nails while we were there. I can't type with long fingernails, so I just had a manicure. …

Heat, Humidity…And A Break!

We're at a a campground in South Texas this week. Since Richard's dad and step-mom have to work during the day...we get to, too! So, our official "vacation" period is over. It's terribly hot and humid here. What's worse, there are storm clouds teasing us, but not a drop of rain in sight. The nice thing is it's so windy here that the clothes I set out to dry this morning are already ready for folding. …

Vacation? When?!

We're relaxing (sort of) at my mom's ranch this week and visiting old friends and relatives. We're in town for my 20th high school reunion. That'll be fun. Since it's really hard for business owners to take any time off, I do the bulk of my work at night when we're visiting family and friends. It's quiet then and I can get a lot more done in a shorter period of time. Plus, I don't have relatives whining that I'm working instead of chatting... …

We Think We Can, We Think We Can…

We got pretty nervous when Hurricane Rita was taking aim at the Texas coast last week. We'd already turned around and driven back to Maine when Hurricane Katrina hit and threatened the gas supply. We finally got up the nerve to venture out again... …

Things Break…in Threes

In the past two weeks, my laptop's hard drive had a meltdown, our main drive here at the home office died and our refrigerator broke. …

About to Head Out Again!

We'll be hitting the road again next weekend, right after Zach's birthday. We feel the oil companies may have hyped the gas shortage and I really don't think it's fair that I miss my reunion when there seems to be plenty of gas... …

Unexpected Trip Cancellation

We were pretty dismayed and spurred into action when we learned last week that there was an impending gas shortage. Let's face it - nobody with any conscience drives a 6-miles-to-the-gallon, gas guzzling RV across the country for leisure when other people need that gas to get to their jobs. …

Frank’s Oops And Our First UFO…Or UFL?

Since last week, Frank has been injured, we've seen a UFO (or maybe it was UFL?), we were unsuccessful at touring a winery, stayed at a really bad and very crowded campground, watched two rabbits fight, and visited the Henry Ford Museum! …

Where Are We Today?

Since last week, we've traveled through four states, toured a quarry, stuffed ourselves as an ice cream factory and visited the boyhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband. …

Staying in Summer!

The evenings are getting a bit chilly here in Bangor, Maine...and that's our cue to head south and west in an attempt to extend our summer by a couple of months! The RV is packed and we're leaving early tomorrow morning. Yeehaw!! …

Awe…. First Carnival!

We took Max to his first carnival / fair last night. He could NOT stop talking about the "rowrrrr coaster!" …

Getting Ready To Head Out Again!

We've finalized our itinerary for our next big RV trip. We're once again taking our family and business on the road. We'll be running our business from campgrounds that offer wireless Internet access and have plans to visit most of our relatives and many old friends along the way on this trip. We're leaving Maine on August 19th. It usually starts cooling off in Maine in late August so we'll be heading west and south in just the niche of time! …

Our Little Comedian

Frank, age 12, who has always been the class clown (before we started homeschooling him anyway) has a very quick, very bright sense of humor. He can really keep us rolling most days. …

Party! Party!!

We've having a big party this weekend and are really excited! Since Ali's birthday is three days after Christmas, she has a birthday party at the end of June each year, instead of December. We call this her half-birthday. This year, we were on the road in June, so her party is this weekend. It'll be a 70's theme and we've invited (gulp) 40 of our closest friends and neighbors. We even had to rent a big tent for additional shade in the yard. …

Mommy? Mommy?! MOMMY!!!

I've been having a hard time keeping on task lately so we had a family meeting to try to get back on track with our work schedule. I am the children's primary caregiver in the mornings and Richard takes over in the afternoons. One problem we've always had is that, even when Richard's on kid-duty, the children still come in and ask me for things - i.e. "Mom, can you take us to the pool?"; "Mom, have you seen my robot?"; "Mom, do you think my favorite jeans are in the washing machine?" "Mom! Frank flushed my eye shadow down the toilet!" and "Mom, Max is giving Percy a haircut!" …

Chilly Fireworks

Our Independence Day holiday was very relaxing. We took the day off, attended the parade and spent time with the children. Ali treated us all to homemade macaroni salad, homemade apple pie and homemade cake (God bless her) and she and Richard cooked hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. …