Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Motherlode

The twins love anything pointy. They play with carrots. They play with pencils. They steal all the toothbrushes from the bathroom, and we find them days later behind couches and under chair cushions. The forks from our silverware drawer have a nasty habit of disappearing.

Saturday we had a party at our house. I usually don't keep paper plates or plastic utensils in the house, because the kids will waste them (nah, not MY kids) use them liberally, but this time I was so busy I just couldn't face three dishwasher loads of dirty dishes.

Result: I bought piles of paper products and a mega pack of heavy duty plastic flatware.

Flash forward to Sunday afternoon. I am still dealing with the aftermath of the party. I thought the twins were watching a video, but when I walked into the living room, I found this instead. Busted!

Noelle gets the spoons, Natalie gets the forks.

And by the way, I hadn't gotten around to vacuuming the carpet yet. Don't judge.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Location

Looking through my list of blog posts, there were several in there that I had drafted but never published. Back in the first week of November, we took a trip to the Florida panhandle, escaping the onset of winter for one golden week. We had the beach and the gulf to ourselves.

Total freedom
Bonfire on the beach - one of my husband's longtime dreams
My sons re-enacted the Normandy invasion. It was fine until I fell into a shell hole.

Natalie's favorite pastime: covering herself with wet drizzled sand

The twins received more baths in one week than in their entire lifetimes combined.
Cable tv - the highlight of any respectable beach house.

Seriously, are there really people who would take their chances in there?!?!?


Clare & Noelle

Conor & Natalie

One of the many glorious sunsets

Horseback riding on the beach (no, that is not me)

Kayaking in the gulf

We discovered it was less expensive to buy fishing gear than to rent it.

At first we didn't have any luck. Conor was actually the first one to catch anything.

Brian finally succeeded in snagging a whiting, although he didn't get any keepers. Oh well.
Life is good, anyway.


And finally... I know that the ocean is full of living things. It's just that at the NJ shore, where we usually go, the extent of wildlife is the hordes of noisy gulls and the occasional dead horseshoe crab. Wading in the gulf with real. actual. live. fish. and real. actual. live. crabs was an indescribable wonder for me. Once I learned what to look for, the crabs were everywhere. Our mission (well, mine, anyway) became to gather as many of the crabs as possible.
Witness the fruits:

Friday, April 9, 2010

February - better late than never.

February was kind of a slow month for blogging. I was mainly focused on our homeschooling, since the school year will be over before I know it. But here and there were moments I want to remember and share, so here goes:

In February:

My dear husband turned 42.
He had so many "helpers" that he didn't even get to lay a puff on the candles. They were out before he could even open his eyes from the birthday wish.
The kids pooled their money to buy a heavy-duty pair of gloves for the woodstove, so Dad could stop singeing off his wrist hair.

We celebrated his birthday by going to dinner, alone. It was our only night to be fancy!

Love you, honey!

Our parish started a terrific Catholic Bible study this month, on Saturday afternoons. One of the Saturdays I was in a jam, and asked Scott to babysit his little sisters while I was out. When I returned, all was well, and I walked into the dining room to see this:

It may not look like much, but what you're seeing here is inconceivably rare: my three sons, Scott, Brian, and Conor, playing rummy together. This is the first time the three of them have done anything like this together since they were all tiny. I nearly fell over when I walked in the room, but it was such a pleasant shock! Scott's been spending a lot more time at home since he hasn't been allowed to drive, which is another story for another time. He's going stir crazy, but has been spending more time, and nicer time, with all of us as a result.

Clare is more of an avid reader than ever, and I am impressed by her reading skills. She is so excited about the book she's currently reading. It's called A Child's Geography of the World, and she is handling it admirably. She's so pumped because there are over 400 pages and about 80 chapters, and she just. can't. believe. that she's reading it!!!

What else happened?

I started to learn how to knit.

My sewing machine is finally out, up, and running again for the first time in over two years.

My "loose" pants, from last summer's weight loss, aren't loose anymore. :(

Noelle learned how to hop up on the toilet herself (instead of crying for me to lift her on) and taught Natalie how to do the same. Score! Fist pump!

We took the kids bowling, twice in the past week. And the entire right side of my body is aching and protesting at every movement. Who knew bowling was so strenuous? Conor was so good at Wii Bowling that he thought he'd be awesome at the real thing. Guess what happened? He wasn't, and he was quite upset about it. But the second time we went, he even got a strike, and it wasn't a lucky accident. Brian wasn't too bad the first time out, but the second time out he learned how to hold his arm the right way, and improved dramatically in a few minutes. Natalie is probably the funniest. The ball weighs half of what she does, and yet she insists on using her tiny fingers in the holes to hold the ball in precisely the correct way. I will have to get pictures next time!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Okay, I know it's been over three years. I know I should just let it go already. But every time I shave my legs, I can't help thinking about this one lady and this snotty thing she said to me.

Let me set the scene for you: It is late December, the time when most real women I know shave their legs only when necessary, and until the arrival of spring, the leg hair is usually well hidden under fuzzy socks and long pants.

NOW, imagine me eight-and-a-half months pregnant. THEN, realize that I'm eight-and-a-half months pregnant with TWINS. This brings the question of leg hair into perfect focus. I can barely reach my knees. Indigestion is ever-present. Breathing is even difficult. On top of all of that, I have bronchitis. Sex life is at a grinding halt. Leg hair is a non-issue.

Two a.m. December 26th, just a few hours after going to bed on Christmas night, my water breaks during a coughing fit. The hospital says to be there at seven a.m. to prep for a nine o'clock cesearean. I decide to take a shower while waiting for dawn, and in a heroic effort, I even decide to shave my legs, since so many people are going to be seeing them in just a few short hours.

It's the first surgery of my life, I'm preparing to welcome twins into the world and praying that everything goes smoothly. I am understandably anxious as I climb up onto the operating table. In fact, I am nearly numb with fear and anxiety and disbelief that this is really happening to me. But I am bravely trying to joke and make nervous small talk with the nurses. Since it's such a momentous occasion, I say, I even shaved my legs! And the snotty little size ten in the designer scrubs points to the outside of my right knee and, with a smirk, says, "You missed a spot."

I was too nervous and afraid at the time to be able to react with the proper indignation. I mean, seriously? How shallow can someone be? What was the purpose of such a snide remark at such a sensitive moment? I don't think I said anything at the time, but I feel certain God wouldn't have been minded if I had kicked her right in the chest.

Rant over. I feel a little better now.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

We enjoyed a wonderfully sunny, beautifully warm Easter weekend, celebrating the Resurrection AND Sarah's birthday, and visiting with family and friends.

Their cousins brought their bikes, and they all tore up the sidewalk.

Noelle and Natalie are just learning to use the pedals, instead of scooting with their feet.

"C'mon, sister! What are you waiting for?!"

Noelle, Natalie & Michael exploring in Pap Pap's garden.

Adele and Conor


Anna & Adele

Colleen & Scott

Andy, bringing the forgotten birthday cake

Uncle Mike thought the cake was a platter of brownies, and nibbled off part of the crust before we could sing "Happy Birthday!" LOL

The guilty party and the birthday girl

The lineup - Noelle(3), Natalie(3), Michael(4), Theresa(6), Clare(8), Anna(8), Conor(11), Adele(11), and Brian(13), representing nine of the fifteen Stefo grandchildren.

Our much-delayed and long-awaited family portrait, courtesy of Aunt Michele
(traditionally taken at Christmas, but hey, whatever works)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Many Coifs of Sarah

Our oldest daughter, Sarah, started out in life with a small fringe of dark hair.

As a toddler, it started coming in as a wispy, sunshiny blonde.

As she grew, it steadily darkened.

By age 14, you could still call her blonde, although it was a dark honey blonde by that point. But you would have been equally correct to call it light brown.

That, however, was also the year she discovered hair dye.

At age 15, she came home one day and stayed mainly in the shadows. This was because, as we were soon to learn, she was no longer a blonde. I can't remember if it was chestnut, or magenta, or somewhere in between. That was also about the time she eschewed long hair, permanently.

Her days as a blonde are part of history now.
She has been sporting a patch of bleached platinum hair on the right side of her head for at least three years.

She's been favoring the darker colors lately. In fact, she came home for Easter weekend with jet black hair.

These days, we never know what she's going to come home looking like.

I am still learning to pick my battles when it comes to raising children. When it comes to appearance, the boys aren't allowed to have mohawks, or color their hair, or let it grow unkempt. We are strongly against body ink and piercings, except for one on the girls' earlobes. However, I gave in long ago on the hair issue, at least where Sarah is concerned. Changing her hair (within reason) doesn't really hurt anyone (except her poor hair).

Today, our first baby, the one that turned us into a family, celebrates her nineteenth birthday. She was our honeymoon baby, born eight months and 27 days after our wedding. She's been with us for the entire wild ride, hopefully none the worse for wear. When I look into her face, I can't even see a shred of the child she used to be. But I am as proud to call her my daughter today as I was on the day we welcomed her into the world.