Sunday, July 29, 2007


Last night we went to the house of some great friends. John is from Ireland, and much of his family was visiting. As with any night spent at their house, as soon as plates were cleared, the music started up. John is a fabulous bodrah player , and he and Fitz love to get together and jam. We sat out on the deck and sang old Irish songs until deep into the night. So deep into the night, in fact, that the kids all ended up sleeping over.

At one point, Fitz turned to me and said " I am so jealous of the culture of Ireland." We are both very Irish, but it's very different having grown up in the true culture. They have literally hundreds and hundreds of songs, beautiful sad old balads, and hilarious story songs, and you yell out one line and eveyone jumps in.

America is so big, there is so much there, that it seems culture can get watered down a bit. Sure we share the culture of many different places, but it's not the same. Each song last night seemed to bring up old memories, or old neighborhoods, and people and places 'back home'. It was such a joy to watch them all. I was so happy to just be able to share a little bit last night.

It also reminded me once more of the fact that Pipo has that... he has his own culture from a small country that is rich and beautiful. And I need to always keep that alive for him. He loves his Haitian handdrum (though he was pretty interested in the bodran last night!) and we do try and find opportunities to imerse him in Haitian culture... I just hope it's enough. Watching this family together last night, I knew the power of having others around you to share those memories. And I am so thankful that Pipo has his best friend from Haiti in the next town to share some of those memories.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lobster Feast

Tonight was the annual Fitz family lobster feast at Nana and Papa's. Most of the kids like to just suck on the little side legs, but Margaret has always loved lobster. We have discovered that Pipo loves lobster too. Actually, I think love is too mild a word... this is a child after my own heart he is crazy for lobster. He tore that thing apart like no tomorrow, and didn't waste a single scrap of lobster meat!

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After a long day on the beach and then the lobster feast, we sent the kids up to bed so the adults could enjoy dessert and coffee. Not long after, as my aunt and uncle were leaving, Uncle B called out that we should come look "and bring the camera!" Apparently Emma was too tired to make it all the way upstairs to bed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Driving to the beach today, I was listening to the kids chatter away in the back of the van. Apparently, Emma had told one brother or another that she actually has 11 fingers. There was a big discussion on whether or not this was true, and frighteningly enough I found myself thinking "hmmmm". It made me stop and think of the sometimes blind, perfect view we have of our children. Was it possible that Emma really does have an extra finger and I had never noticed? It might explain her amazing ambidextrous, simultaneous writing ability she has had since she could hold a crayon.

Now of course I knew it wasn't true, and Emma was just trying to pull one over on her brothers (once again), but it did make me stop and think. Perhaps it's the blind, unconditional love that makes them all perfect in my mind. Or perhaps it is the sheer exhaustion of keeping 7 kids busy in the summer that has fogged up my brain... but I did surreptitiously look at Emma's fingers when we got to the beach.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


After writing that post Tuesday night, I crashed hard. As soon as the kids were in bed, I was in bed too. I knew the next day was Wednesday, knew we might have a crowd coming over for dinner, but I was so tired, and figured whatever needed to be done could wait until the next day. The next morning I woke first and stumbled out to the kitchen to get a start on the day. I was groggy and tired with my mind set on making 7 lunches for the day. But I walked into a sparkling clean kitchen, leading into a sparkling clean family room. I was so completely shocked. Fitz had stayed up late, cleaned everything up, scrubbed the kitchen, and even scrubbed the floors. I walked back into the bedroom with my jaw hanging, wanting to thank him, and he just said "I knew how tired you were, and I knew you would be stressed with people coming over tonight.

This, in a nutshell, is how it works... working mom or stay at home mom. It's having that partner who knows you inside and out... knows when you need that extra boost, and knows what will make you the happiest person alive. (And I've done the whole single mom thing as well... so I totally appreciate this.) For the almost 11 years we have been married, I am constantly amazed at our partnership. Amazed at how we finish eachothers sentences, finish eachothers thoughts, complete eachothers lives. If there is anything, any day that I am lacking, Fitz will be there to fill in. I am so incredibly thankful to be living with my best friend, who will pick up my slack, count on me to do the same, and appreciate each and every day of this crazy life we have built together.

So working mom/stay at home mom.... having that partner who's "got your back" is key to not losing your sanity. I can't imagine a better teamate than Fitz. He is everything I am not, and then some.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Working mom

So for one week a year, I work full time. This is the week. I am coaching the youngest girls section at our friend's soccer camp while our 7 all attend camp as well. I am exhausted. Completely, utterly exhausted. Maybe it's the being up until midnight washing soccer clothes so there will be enough to go around for all 7. Maybe it is the being up at 6am to pack a cooler full of food to feed 7 hungry soccer players. Maybe it's that a body nearing it's 40th year has no right to be on the soccer field for 6 straight hours.

Honestly... age old debate aside, I don't know how working mothers do this. One week a year is enough for me. More than enough. Plenty. Today was the only day I could take Kaleigh to finish shopping for her upcoming camping trip. Fitz had a camp show tonight, so after rushing home from camp, I showered all the stinky, sweaty players, sent some off with him, took a couple with me and headed to Target. Buying travel sized toiletries reminded us that she needed a haircut before the trip, and this was our only free time to do it. It was late by then and we hadn't eaten so we ran through the drive through. This reminded me that if my own soccer players wanted to eat lunch, I needed to buy bread for tomorrow. One more quick run to the store before we headed home.

On the drive home, I was trying to figure out how people manage this. And I decided if I was ever to work full time, I would need to have a really well-paying job, so I could hire a housekeeper. And a cook. And a laundry person. And after a day like this a masseuse. Yes, defintely a masseuse.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Capital H

Last night, Charlie...our adHd (his doctor put the capital H in there) was sitting in front of me while I brushed his hair. He is growing his hair out this summer, and it had gotten tangled while he ran and ran and ran all day, so I was taking my time, and trying to do it gently. After much squirming and moaning, I asked him if the brushing hurt. He said "No... it hurts to sit still!"

I could write an entire post on ADHD, and maybe I will one of these days. But for now, I will just say this. It honestly is physically painful for some kids (and adults!) to sit still.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Time heals

I’m sitting here on the bus up in Winsdor mountain NH… our favorite place in the world. It’s our fourth summer here, and I am amazed thinking of the journey of our family over the past few years.

Two summer ago, I sat on this bus surrounded by notes: phone numbers and addresses scrawled on papers, formal documents, handwritten letters and it seemed the cell phone was permanently attached to my ear. I was frantically making phone calls to doctors, politicians, anyone I could think of who could help us. A picture of Pipo was taped up on the fridge on the bus. Our son, who we had never met, waited for us in a hospital a world away. I don’t know how much of camp I remember that summer, I was so caught up in my battle to get Pipo here.

The battle won, and our new son settling into the family, I found myself sitting on this bus again a year later. This time fighting another battle, the battle for his health. I sorted out his pills, read up on the side effects of the new oral chemo drugs he was taking, and tried to keep infections at bay. Pipo was trying to figure out one more huge adjustment of many in his life… figuring out what camp life was all about. He loved the games, wasn’t sure about the food, and was learning to love the water. Our son who had never been swimming in his life talked himself into jumping off the highdive by the end of that summer. So many things beyond health were a challenge for him that summer. His English was getting better, but still a struggle, and he was still learning how to fit himself into our large, crazy family.

So here I sit, another year gone by. It’s the first day of classes for our kids today, and I am watching Pipo out beyond the bus, playing soccer. There are 5 other kids out there, and they all look like teenagers. Pipo is a good foot shorter than all of them. I recognize the counselor from South Africa, on of our Jamaican friends, and the new Indian counselor. Pipo had walked across the field full of confidence, shaking hands with the new counselor, and pointing over here to the bus, probably explaining it is our home for the next 2 weeks. I watch the counselors trying to divide the small groups into teams, and subtly looking over at Pipo, wondering how he will do in this group of nearly grown men. The game starts, and they give him a little room to move the ball, obviously holding back a bit, feeling sorry for the ‘little guy’. Pipo doesn’t waste their kindness… he takes off with the ball immediately, passing off to a teammate and running with the ball. The other guys, taken by surprise, are not quick enough to follow, and Pipo get the ball back and heads straight for the net, blasting a shot off quickly. His teammates laugh and high-five him, and the game gets more serious now. This kis can obviously hold his own, and they will treat him with more respect.

I am so incredibly in love with this kid. He can be a complete pain in the tailbone, his stubbornness rivaling my own, but I stop and look at where he has come in such a short time, and I know that stubbornness is what makes him who he is.

POST SCRIPT: before anyone mentions how “lucky” he is, you might want to read my thoughts about that in THIS post. Fitz has come up with the best response yet to that statement. Pipo is an incredibly unlucky kid, who finally caught a break. And we are incredibly grateful that we were the ones chosen to give him that break. I am in awe of this kid every day.