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Archive for December, 2007

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Christmas was amazingly fun for us.

“Santa” spent lots of time buying the “perfect” gifts for the boys. Lots of time wrapping the gifts. And lots of time putting everything together.

(“Santa” didn’t go crazy with gifts since the boys are 8 months, 2 and 3! But William and Alexander got about 15 gifts each, along with camping tents.)

So… you can imagine the laughter in our house Christmas morning when every single gift Alexander picked up he delightfully screamed:

“DUNKIN DONUTS!!??”

With a smile from ear to ear.

And as we unwrapped the trucks and trains and Star Wars figures and DVDs and games… each one greeted before they were unwrapped with a resounding:

“DUNKIN DONUTS!!??”

So next year (and every year after) Alexander will be getting a box of Donuts… all bringing us back to the Christmas he was two years old, and so very EXCITED about getting Dunkin Donuts!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and Happy New Year!!

May 2008 bring all your hopes and dreams and prayers to life! May it be filled with laughter, love, blessings and good health!

And may it bring you all the happiness you deserve and desire!

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Originally posted May 16, 2007… re-posted now as I enjoy a little vacation!

I had a glimpse into Mommyhood through my sister’s rearview mirror.

It ain’t always pretty, is it?

Not that I didn’t before, but now I really give all the Mommies out there a ton of credit for simultaneously keeping their eyes on the road and their sanity while driving with children.

Let me set the scene.

It was Monday afternoon. All three of Audrey’s boys were napping while we (the Pinks & Blues Girls – Audrey, Mom and I) were working in Audrey’s home office.

William and Alex were upstairs in their bedrooms, Benjamin was in the office with us.

Since it was after lunchtime, I decided that it would be a good time to make the trip to the post office (between noon and 12:30 it’s so crowded there, you’d think they were giving away free Forever stamps).

Audrey said she’d come to the PO with me, while Mom wanted to stay and work on a blog post. And that way she could stay with the still-napping boys.

But as soon as Audrey and I were leaving, we heard one of the boys upstairs crying for Audrey. And when one’s up, they’re both up.

So we went upstairs, retrieved William and Alex from their rooms, and decided to take them with us to the PO. That way, Mom would be able to write while Benjamin napped some more.

But by the time we came back downstairs with the two older boys, Benjamin had woken up. And he wanted his Mommy.

Audrey would have just stayed home with all three boys while Mom typed, but by that time William and Alex were all excited to go on an adventure to the PO.

Mom wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing and typing with the baby crying, so it was decided that Audrey and I would take all three boys to the PO with us.

And so we buckled the boys into their seats in the minivan, William and Alex in the “way back” seats and Benjamin in the middle row. Audrey sat in the seat next to Benjamin so that he could see her.

So it was just me in the front. Steering the ship. My eyes on both the road and the activity in the back seats.

Our first stop along the way was Mom and Dad’s house (which is about a mile from Audrey’s). I was craving a Diet Cherry Coke in an if-I-don’t-have-one-now-someone-will-pay kind of way. (I blame PMS.)

And Mom and Dad always keep their fridge stocked just for me. :)

As I pulled into their driveway, the questions from the backseat began… William asked, “Janie, why are we going to Grandma and Pop-up’s house?”

“Auntie just has to get a drink really quick,” I explained.

William: “I want to come see Pop-up!”

Me: “Pop-up’s not home, honey. He’s at work. I’ll be right out and then we’ll go to the post office.”

William: “I want a sippy cup!”

Audrey: “Can you get him a sippy cup filled with water?”

Alex, chiming in: “Wa-wa! Wa-wa!”

Audrey: “OK, get two sippy cups with water. And get me a bottled water while you’re in there.”

As soon as I shut the car door, I heard the boys start crying. They wanted to come in. So I ran frantically around the kitchen, grabbing my soda and Audrey’s water, filling the sippy cups with water, juggling everything as I ran back outside as fast as I could.

And soon enough the boys have their sippy cups, Audrey had her water and I had my Diet Cherry Coke. All was right.

The post office is about five miles from my parents’ house. As we made our way there, we passed by Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Mommy! Let’s get munchkins!” William exclaimed.

“Not now, William. We’re going to the post office!” Audrey reminded him.

Alex: “Doh-doh! Doh-doh!”

I glanced in the rearview mirror to witness two minor tantrums taking place.

You know how Dire Straits wanted their MTV? Well William and Alex wanted their DD.

I relented. “All right, guys. I’ll stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way back home. But you have to settle down right now.”

Right then and there I found that the promise of a deep-fried ball of dough dipped in a glazed coating can be an effective tool in quieting a tantrum.

(Just a quick note to self.)

We made it to the post office without incident. Since the boys were being pretty quiet, and Benjamin was napping again, I decided to just run in quickly by myself to mail our packages and check our PO box.

By the time I came back out 5 minutes later, there was minor chaos in the minivan.

Benjamin had woken up and was getting fussy. Alex had taken his shoes off and was inserting his socked foot into his mouth. William was on the donut tangent again.

Back at the helm, I tried to get to Dunkin’ Donuts in a safe yet timely manner. In the rearview mirror, I could see William and Alex playing and laughing together in their carseats, but getting a little rough with each other.

Since Audrey was tending to Benjamin, it was up to me to calm them down.

I couldn’t believe it when my Mom’s voice and words came right out of my mouth: “Boys, if you can’t settle down, we’re not getting munchkins!”

The threat was palpable enough to put an end to the horseplay.

We made it to our Dunkin’ Donuts stop, and the two munchkins for each William and Alex were much-appreciated special treats.

We were able to have a fairly quiet rest of the drive home, interrupted only once by Alex’s shoe flying through the air.

His “trow thoe” warning would have been better received, I think, had it happened prior to said “thoe” being “trown.”

As I walked back into Audrey’s house, carrying Alex and covered in sticky honey-glazed fingerprints, I asked Mom, “How did you and Dad make it through all the roadtrips with us four kids?”

It was a rhetorical question. I don’t think Mom could have answered if she tried.

And so I have a newfound appreciation not only for my parents’ sanity, but for the sanity of every parent who must contend with the hazards of driving, screaming children, shoes flying in the air, and demands for donuts all at once.

Because after just 30 minutes of that the other day, I was ready for a nap!

- Jane

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Grandchild Love

Originally posted on March 15, 2007… re-posting now while enjoying a winter vacation!

Ah… grandchildren!

Sophocles wrote, “Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” And that being the case, then grandchildren are the little sailboats that take us to lands and places that we otherwise could never imagine!

Take today for instance. Audrey, Jane and I started working at around 7:30 am at my home. We each have a room designated as a home office (of sorts!), but we usually work from my home. I live in a busy town area and we all love the sounds and scents of a new day bustling all around us. I also have coffee brewing at the crack of dawn and have ample and varied breakfast supplies always available! Often, Audrey brings her two little guys (William 2 1/2 and Alexander 1 1/2) with her and Jane always brings her two beautiful dogs (Ryder and Bismarck), my granddogs! Today it was William, Rydie and Biz in the workday mix.

As we settled in to research and write, the most magnificent sounds floated in from other rooms in my home… William ringing each of the bells in my bell collection in my dining room; William asking, “Grandma, can we do laundry?”; William asking Rydie and Biz to “please play with me on the couch”; footfalls and pawfalls as boy and dogs romped around us… William asking, “Grandma, can we put your ‘aflections’ (his word for reflectors) in the sun?”; “Grandma, can we make coffee;” Grandma, can we clean the poop in the back yard;” “Grandma, when can we eat lunch?”… and so on.

These ordinary moments… no, these extraordinary moments… all within the mechanism of my ears and the twinkle in my eyes. These gifts of grandchildren all innocent and warm and total love… unconditional love. Putting on latex gloves to clean up doggie poop becomes the highlight of a little life. Pressing the coffee maker button to “on.” Seeing a magnificent rainbow of “aflections” in my hallways. Sorting laundry by colors: “This one is blue, Grandma. This one is yellow, Grandma,” and so on. A cadence of bells enthralling a child and adults alike. Slumbering doggies’ breathing sounds.

Anticipation of lunch.

People often ask me how I get so much work done in one day.

This is not work.

This is living!

- Sharon

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I’m on vacation this week and I forgot to scan pictures for Throwback Thursday before I left home! But I did have some old pictures that I had used for TT on my other blog (but never before used on this blog!), so rest assured, TT is still on. ;)

This first photo is circa 1983 – Dad, Audrey (in the middle) and me. We were hanging out in either my bedroom or Audrey’s bedroom. Doesn’t Dad look like a ’70s porn star!? (and yes, he was wearing shorts!)

This next one is from December 1997 – it’s (left to right) Dad, Mom, me and Audrey, posing as we were getting our Christmas tree at a tree farm. I was a senior in high school here and Audrey was a sophomore at Brown.

Pinks & Blues Girls Blog is your Throwback Thursday Headquarters!

Join in on the Throwback Thursday fun! Sign Mr. Linky so others know you’ve participated and can check out your Throwback Thursday photos on your site, and don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know you participated!

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All together, now… Jingle Bells!

From our family to yours… Merry Christmas!

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I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I absolutely love wrapping Christmas presents. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

I love looking at each present before I wrap it, thinking about what the recipient of the gift means to me, and smiling as I anticipate the look on his or her face upon opening it.

This love of wrapping goes back to my childhood, when I would help my Mom wrap Christmas gifts.

She always, always gift wrapped right on her bed, spreading out the wrapping paper, the scissors, the tape, the ribbons and bows, the gift tags – and, of course, the presents – all across her bedspread.

I would help my Mom as much as I could… handing her the scissors, writing names on gift tags, keeping as many pieces of tape on my little hands as I could until she called for one.

Mom would tell me the stories behind the gifts… how she had remembered my Dad mentioning how much he loved something, and so she couldn’t wait to see his face when he opened the gift and saw she had found it. Or the traditions behind gifts for other relatives, and how those traditions began.

I remember marveling at how meticulously she creased the gift wrap when she folded the ends into a perfect “V”… and trying to memorize exactly how her hands worked their way around the gifts so that the finished product looked so neat , so even and so perfect.

Even now, as an adult, after years and years of trying to get my gift wrapping abilities to match those of my Mom, I am still in awe of just how quickly and perfectly she can wrap any gift.

With each gift purchase during the Christmas season, I think about how I will wrap it. There are some gifts that come in their own boxes, so wrapping is pretty easy to determine.

But then there are the gifts that you can play around with a little… try to keep the recipient guessing with the type of gift packaging you decide to use.

There is one gift that I am absolutely giddy about giving my husband, Steve, this year. In the off chance that he reads this post (admittedly, the odds are comparable to the odds of us winning the Powerball jackpot), I won’t say what the gift is right now, but I just know would never expect it – and he’s going to love it.

I wracked my brain to come up with the best way to wrap it without him having any clue as to what it is. Of course, Mom helped me come up with the perfect idea.

I rolled the gift up and put it in the kind of tube that holds pictures or posters. When Steve saw me put it under the tree (and I told him it absolutely was not a picture or a poster), he was completely confused. Which was precisely the reaction I was going for.

For me, it really is more fun to give than it is to receive.

I couldn’t wait to wrap all my gifts this year, which I do right on my family room floor, with the wrapping paper, the scissors, the tape, the ribbons and bows, the gift tags – and, of course, the presents – all spread out around me.

And now I can’t wait for tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, which is when my entire family gets together at Mom and Dad’s house for a big dinner and gift opening.

That’s when I get to enjoy one of my other favorite parts of the holiday – seeing my family (innocently and unknowingly) show complete disregard for my meticulously-performed gift wrapping effort and tear into their carefully and lovingly chosen gifts.

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

- Jane

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I’m a thee, I’m a thee

I’m outing myself…

I’m a doting Auntie.

Well, how can I not be when I have 7 cutie nieces and nephews who are always doing and saying things that make me laugh?

Like Alexander, who thinks seeing his picture just after it’s taken is the coolest thing. But, at 2 years old, he doesn’t understand that a video is different from a photograph… and that he can’t “see” a video as I am taking it of him.

So here he is, thinking I’m just taking a picture, saying “I wanna see, I wanna see” – which comes out like, “I’m a thee, I’m a thee.”

His face at :20 is just priceless.

- Jane

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It’s a busy time of year.

OK.

I have lists literally falling from every coat pocket.

OK again.

There are gifts to purchase. Gifts to wrap. Special people to acknowledge, like my wonderful mailman, web designer, hairdresser, bartenders at favorite restaurants. My husband and I always visit Mrs. Couture, our wonderful, dear friend (at 90+ and still pouring brandy into our eggnog!) each Christmas Eve day. I have twenty-two people coming to my home for Christmas Eve dinner. And this doesn’t even count Christmas Day.

OK, if I may repeat myself.

So as my husband and I headed out to do some “things” last evening… the unthinkable happened.

I was looking all right for someone who had worked all day, helped Audrey with her 3 boys for 3 days in a row while her husband was out-of-town, and had not slept in my own bed or used my old familiar sink in all that time. Etc., etc., etc.

But I had the appropriate make-up on. An appropriately warm outfit. My softest pink (of course!) cashmere Burberry scarf around my neck. You know, in case I bumped into anyone I know (thanks, Mom for that lesson!). All for the last-minute mall shopping.

But what I didn’t take not of… God help me… was that I forgot to change into my boots.

As I stepped through the swishing doors of our local mall, I realized that I had on MY SLIPPERS.

Now my slippers aren’t Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty. They are actually brown suede with a fur lining. But they are slippers just the same.

And when one realizes the faux paux… of course one knows that someone will see you. And, Mom, someone did. Actually, three people did.

There was one of my husband’s employees, who just happened to be out shopping. “My wife will be happy to see you,” he said happily. “She’s right over there.”

“Oh, we’re on such a mission,” I stammered. “Please tell her we said hello!”

And there was a friend of Jane… with her new boyfriend. And my husband’s cousin. Good times.

Now my husband was getting the biggest kick out of all of this. Husbands are funny that way.

But this night taught me one important lesson. You must pay attention to every last detail!

- Sharon

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Throwback Thursday #30

This first Throwback picture of Audrey and me (left to right) was taken at Santa’s Village in Massachusetts in 1983. But doesn’t it look like we’re somewhere more exotic, like the Swiss Alps? So yeah, that’s where we were… the Swiss Alps. ;)

We used this next picture as our family Christmas card photo back in 1994. Left to right it’s Audrey, Keith, me, Mom, Aimee (Adam’s girlfriend at the time, now wife), Adam and Dad. It was actually taken on Thanksgiving Day that year. And judging by the attire, I guess plaid was “in!”

This last picture of Mom, me and Audrey as taken on the night of my high school holiday dance – the Winter Solstice – in December 1996. I was a junior in high school and Audrey was a freshman in college.

Pinks & Blues Girls Blog is your Throwback Thursday Headquarters!

Join in on the Throwback Thursday fun! Sign Mr. Linky so others know you’ve participated and can check out your Throwback Thursday photos on your site, and don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know you participated!

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Boys will be boys… and they don’t want to stay inside on a freezing-but-sunny day when there’s snow and a hill to sled on!

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So what’s a Mama, Grandma and Auntie to do?

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Break out the winter gear and brave the cold with the boys!

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**Don’t forget to enter our Pinks & Blues Virtual Baby Shower if you’re a mama-to-be due between May and August!**

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