Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Big brother

Poor little Tommy has pneumonia, and we came home yesterday with a bag full of meds. He is not too happy about the 2 different inhalers and 2 yucky tasting liquid meds. Ths morning, as I was trying to get him to take everything, Pipo (the king of meds!) came over and sat in front of Tommy, telling him he knew how hard it was, and giving him advice on how to do it the best way. Finally, as Tommy started to get teary, Pipo ran and got his stash of candy and small toys from down-town trick or treating, and told Tommy if he was good he could pick anything.

Pipo knows as much as anyone how hard it is to be sick and have to take meds, but even beyond that, he can be such a great big brother. Tommy has the advantage of getting lots of one on one with him as well, as he is usually tagging along on all Pipo's trips to specialists in Boston. And he just thinks Pipo is the greatest.

There are so many factors you think about when bringing a new child into the family, especially a larger family. So many different interconnected relationships and adjustments to make. I am incredibly thankful for how well all our adjustments have been. Yes, we have our moments when they all bicker like any siblings will, but all 7 of them truly love eachother and have fun together. And what more could a mom want.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Haven't been updating here lately, but life just takes over sometimes. Soccer is winding up (though Kaleigh's team made the playoffs...yeehaw!), the RedSox are winning, and Halloween has taken over everything for a bit.

This is one of those times of the year where I remember how much I really love our neighborhood. The other day, our clan and a bunch of the neighborhood kids all decided to try out their costumes while bikeriding. I regret that I didn't have my camera out, but we had a lot of cars slowing down staring bewilderedly at Superman, Batman, Wolverine, a skeleton and a zombie of sorts, all zipping by on bikes.

And then the 'ghosting' started. If you are unfamiliar with ghosting it is a very cool tradition our neighbors have all been doing for several years. We sneak around at night, leaving treats on eachothers doorsteps, and doing the old "ring and run". The kids wait every year for this to start.

On the Thursday before Halloween, we have 'downtown trick or treating'. They close down Main Street from 4-6, and every kid in town comes down with costumes on. All the businesses are handing out candy, and some even set up little haunted houses inside. Even our fantasic dentist is out there in costume, handing out toothbrushes and floss! Another "can't miss" event.

Today we got home from our usual weekend round of soccer, and found a note on our door to head over to the neighbors. They had made caramel apples, and had everything laid out to carve pumpkins. When all was done, they spent close to an hour jumping in a big leave pile. These same neigbors will be over on Wednesday night for a big chili supper followed by trick or treating.

Fall in New England is fantastic anyway you look at it, but in a small town, it is even moreso.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Singing and reading

A while back, someone gave Pipo the illustrated book of "He's got the whole world". Tonight, Pipo got the book down and told Fitz to get his guitar out. He then started to read/sing, and had Fitz play along with him. A beautiful scene in and of itself, but when you know the background, it is even more beautiful. And not the adoption background per se... the school background. When Pipo first arrived we did not focus on academics. I told the school I only wanted him to learn English and adjust to the structure of school. He had never been to school in his life, and with his health issues and all his other adjustments I just didn't want to overwhelm him. So last fall we started from scratch. And I really mean from scratch. With less than a year of English under his belt, he didn't even know the alphabet. Last year, in 3rd grade, Pipo did very little of the regular curriculum. His ELL teacher and his aid did most of his academics with him, and it was all modified. It was amazing to see the progress he made, but it was still not what his classmates were doing.

So now, a year later, Pipo is doing ALL of the 4th grade work. I received his progress reports this week, and he is getting all As so far. Real As... doing the real work. He is still getting reading tutoring, and vocabulary can still stump him sometimes (the other day he told me he liked my outfit because it 'rhymed'. It was a 'matching' warm-up suit.. but hey...match/rhyme...they are not that far off!) but he is doing the same work as his classmates with very little assistance. This boy has come so incredibly far in such a short time. And he certainly does have the whole world in his hands!


When we were first married, we had a big 100lb lug of a dog, named Guinness of course, because he was black and tan. He looked like a huge, dark wolf, but was about as viscious as a marshmallow. I loved that dog. He was my companion, best friend, protector and partner in this crazy mom thing. Even though he was about the least aggressive dog I had ever seen, he was fiercely protective of the kids. If anyone came in the yard when the kids were out, he would walk in a big circle keeping between the person and the kids. Tail wagging the whole time, but no one was getting near his babies. He slept under the cradle or crib of whoever was the youngest in the house at the moment. When a new baby came home, he would just re-adjust. Once, when we were up in NH and Margaret was only months old, I had placed her in a bassinet up on the dining room table while we unpacked. Guinness came running up to me with one of her onesies. I laughed, and took it fom him. Then he came up with a bottle. I laughed again and put it away. Next it was a pacifier, and this was just too much. As I took it, he started pushing at me with his head, and I finally realized he didn't know where she was. I lowered the bassinett so he could see her, and he walked off, content.

When Guinness died I was heartbroken. I couldn't walk down the pet food aisle for months without my eyes filling up. I told Fitz I never wanted another dog, as he could never be replaced. But in 2003, when Tommy was just months old, Fitz came home one afternoon with a puppy in his hands. He told me "kids need a dog." Maizy was a tiny,scruffy, timid little thing. She was cute, but she was not my dog. I have always been a big dog person, and this little furball would never do. I think for that first year, I didn't even like that dog. She wasn't Guinness and I deeply resented that. When the kids used to be acting crazy and silly, I swear Guinness used to look at me and roll his eyes, completely understanding. When the kids act crazy and silly now, Maizy is right in there with them. On nights Fitz worked, and I was home alone, Guinness would jump and pace at every sound, then come up beside me letting me know he was on guard. Maizy will hide under the couch. While Guinness would be on watch on the side of the road, protecting the kids from the street, Maizy will chase their bikes right in the middle of the road, and then lay down in front of cars.

Almost 5 years later, I can truly say I love this dog. She is not Guinness, but that's not her fault. She puts her paws over her eyes when I am mad at her. She dances on her back legs when Fitz gets home from work. She will wrestle with Charlie for hours. She sees big dogs walking by and jumps in the van to bark at them from safety. She buries every little treat you try and give her. She is goofy and silly and timid, and I can't imagine this family without her.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Saturday morning I am up at 7 showering to try and wake myself up for the day ahead. 4 kids have soccer games, 1 is at a sleepover birthday and one has a party to go to later on in the day. Fitz has a show… camp open house, which we are all expected to attend eventually. After I am dressed, I sort through shinpads and cleats, making sure they are all there, and start getting everyone dressed. By 8:30 all are dressed and fed and I begin the rounds. First game is Emma’s, so I load up the van and head over to the field. It’s picture day as well, so we sort that out and get her over with her team. Once she is settled, I leave Margaret there to watch her game and load everyone else back in the van. We zip over to pick Charlie up at his friend’s house and then off to the other field for EJ’s team pictures. Drop EJ and Pipo off there and run back to catch the end of Emma’s game. Grab Emma and Margaret and run back to the other field to catch EJ’s game. Leave at half time to run Emma to a birthday party. Back to the field to catch the end of EJ’s game and get Margaret over for her team pictures. Watch the first half of Margaret’s game, and then run off to pick Emma up from the party. Catch the end of Margaret’s game and send Pipo over for his team picture. Run to the store to quickly grab some snacks and drinks for starving children. Catch the second half of Pipo’s game and then run over to camp to see the end of Fitz’s show. It’s almost 5 now, and we need to pick up the boys’ friend who is sleeping over. Back to the house to start dinner. (Actually Fitz starts dinner so I can throw laundry in) Feed kids and put on a movie. Run to Target with Kaleigh to find new bedding for her room. Home at 9 and I am wiped.

Sunday morning, I am up and showering again at 7. Get the kids all up, fed and dressed as 5 of them have CCD at 8:15. Zip back to the house to clean up a bit and then over to church to pick up the kids and go to 9:30 mass. It is hospitality Sunday, so we are there until 11:30. Run home and get Charlie changed for soccer, and EJ ready for a birthday party. Fitz runs off to another show he is doing with the rest of the kids. I drop Charlie off with his coach and head 3 towns over for EJs party. Off to the store while he is at the party and pick up a few Halloween costumes, and then some groceries. Pick EJ up and head back to town to pick Charlie up from his game. The we are off to Fitz’s show, and to find the rest of the kids. It’s a massive fundraising event for a good friend of ours who’s son was in a terrible car accident. Run around the festival for a couple of hours, and then pack the kids back up to head home. Drop off sleepover friend and back to the house to start dinner. Cook dinner while running kids through showers and helping other kids with homework. By 8:30 everyone is fed, bathed homework done and in bed. And I am ready for it too.

So in the middle of the evening chaos tonight, while I am at the stove cooking dinner, and yelling up the stairs for Charlie to make sure he washes his hair, and EJ is on one side of me asking how to do his math homework and Margaret is on the other side asking about her science home work, Pipo asks me “Is it fun being a mom?” I just stood there for a minute, thinking to myself, “Is this fun? Is this fun???” And really… it is. It’s exhausting and stressful and sometimes (okay a lot of the time) insane… but it is fun, and I wouldn’t change it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Columbus day

Most of our kids are happy about Columbus day. They are happy to have a day of nothing, no school, no homework, no soccer... most of our kids.

Charlie is not happy that we celebrate Columbus. He tells me that the Indians were here first, so why should we clebrate the guy who took their land away? Out of the mouths of 7 year olds... makes you think.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Some people are just clueless. Standing outside school, waiting to pick a couple of the younger ones up, a mother I know (vaguely) came up to chat. I couldn't even tell you her name, don't remember the last time I had spoken with her, but I 'know' her from around town. She said something about us wanting to adopt, and I said, very proudly, "Yes, he's right here!" and motioned to Pipo who was standing just a bit in front of me with some friends. She looked surprised and asked all the usual questions about when and how and where from.

So the conversation moves on, and later on, Pipo looks over his shoulder calling "Mom!" to tell me something. This woman taps me on the shoulder and with a look of amazement, says "Oh, that's so cute... he calls you mom?"

WHAT??? I just looked at her for a minute with my jaw hanging open at a loss for words. Finally I looked at her and said, "well I AM his mom, what else would he call me?"

She suddenly needed to attend to one of her kids... go figure. Some people just need to be slapped.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Wild ones

Look what surfer boy Charlie learned to do.

And so guess what little sister Emma needed to practice for a solid hour so she could be better. There's something to say for good old fashioned sibling rivalry.

These children are never getting their licenses.