Friday, February 29, 2008

EMHE update

Today is the reveal... the "move that bus!" day. After much thought, we have decided not to go. It is in the single digits right now, and people are already heading over there... at 7:30 am! The family won't be there until after 2, so these people are going to be standing in the freezing cold for hours and hours... no thanks! As a concession, I told the kids we could take the shuttle over last night to get a glimpse. That is the new house behind them. It really is an incredible scene. I've always wondered if they really do a whole house in a week... and yes they do. Actually, all told, it was about 4 days from the time they demolished the original house. Last night they were doing most of the 'finish' work. It's an amazing thing to watch. Volunteers with bright blue shirts swarm everywhere... some were laying down new turf, some were carrying trees, others were unloading furniture, people were finishing up on the roof. Everywhere you look there are small things being done. A modern day barn raising.

I am so incredibly happy for the Giunta family. They will be in a much better place now, and with a lot less stress than they have had the last two years. I will also be happy to get our little town back to normal... it's been an insane week! They are expecting 5000 people or more today. ABC is saying they have never seen anything like this. (Though I wonder if they say that in every town!) The episode will air in May. I will give a heads up when the date gets near. It should be an amazing show.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just because...

This came up on a message board I belong to... one of my all time favorite movie scenes. So because things have been crazy here, and I can't come up with another blog topic... enjoy this.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Extreme Makeover

I am was so excited today to find out that a local family has been picked for this show! Their oldest son is in Emma's class, and they are just the nicest family. They were whisked off to Disney today, and their house will be torn down tomorrow. Next Friday, we will all be gathered around yelling "Move That Bus!"

I have mentioned before that I love this town. And I will say it again. Back in August, ABC came to 'scout' out the house and neighborhood. The family had not been chosen, they were just looking at several possible families. It didn't matter that they hadn't even been chosen yet, a couple of thousand of us showed up that day, including our entire highschool cheerleading squad. The producers said they had never seen anything like it.

You really can't beat a small town... everyone knows everyone, and you know they would all be there for you if anything happened.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


In the backyard we stood

Bundled in coats and hats

Against this New England cold

Running, yelling, laughing

Amazed at the gift they've been given

Children up past their bedtimes

Allowed to be outside at night

We watch the shadow start to cross

And they jump, wave their arms

Try to make bunny ears

For all the world to see

On this biggest shadow ever

They see themselves

As part of that enormous shadow

While we adults

Marvel at our smallness

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I got home yesterday afternoon from a 3 day stint at the hospital with Pipo. He woke up Sunday morning with a very high fever, headache, and then his nose started to bleed. Enough to make this battle tested mom pretty nervous. In the end, the bloody nose was a coincidence, and the fever and headache we are assuming was some type of run of the mill virus or infection. But given his complications, and the fact that he had just gotten over pneumonia last week, his pediatrician and kidney specialist both agreed he should be kept for 48 hours with IV antibiotics. They don't take any chance with a kid with a compomised immune system, and that's just fine by me.

It's amazing to me that having never been in the hospital overnight (other than for childbirth) and none of my kids having been in over night other than a scheduled procedure... I've been there twice now in not much more than a month. This is a streak we want to break. ER visits I can deal with, especially when I accept the fact of what type of children I am dealing with. Hospital stays... I'd like to avoid.

With Tommy, I was nervous not knowing what was up with him, he was nervous about everything, and the entire short ordeal was absolutely exhausting on all of us. With Pipo, he is so completely used to hospitals, having spent the better part of his young life in one in Haiti. I knew it was all precautionary, so I wasn't worried about him. It happened to be a quiet weekend at our little local hospital, and there were not many other kids in the ward. Pipo was doted on because of this, with many a nurse stopping in to say Hi, and bring him little treats because "he's just so cute!" They also gave us the nicest room on the floor, as it was unoccupied.

So yesterday morning, I woke up at dawn, anticipating the early AM nurse coming in for vitals. I sat sipping a cup of tea in a rocking chair in the corner, facing two huge windows looking out over the Concord river, and watched one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. Then I flipped open the menu, and called room service (I love this hospital!) and ordered us up a couple of hot breakfasts. I sat and read my book for a bit until our pediatrician stopped by, and then spent a great 20 minutes chatting away with him.

All in all, it's hard for a busy mom of 7 to complain about a getaway like this. It reminded me why I used to tell the birthing center nurses at the same hospital that I came back every year for my "annual spa vacation."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our quiet one

I love Valentine's day. I have great memories of waking up to a big goofy card from my mom, usually with Snoopy on it, and then getting a small heart shaped box of chocolates when my dad got home from work. Whatever he brought home for my mom, he would bring home a smaller version for me. I always wanted to make it a special day for my own kids too. So every year I get some silly little things for each of them, and lay them out on the table to surprise them at breakfast. Last night, I fell asleep after an exhausting day, and woke in a panic at 4am, realizing that I had forgotten to lay out the surprises. I jumped up and put together their little heart covered bags of treats, wrote their names on each, and brought them out to the table. When I got there, I got a surprise of my own. Laid out very neatly, covering the table, were 8 handmade valentines. I picked up the one saying "mama" and was so surprised when I opened it. It was from EJ.

When I look through my blog, I find very little about EJ. Charlie probably gets the most coverage, as he provides me with the most material. I could probably just keep a daily Charlie blog to keep you all entertained. EJ, on the other hand, is our quiet one. He has always been quiet, sitting waiting for us to get around to him. It's a tough place to be in a big family, but he holds his place with complete grace. Even as a tiny baby, I can remember our hectic mornings. I would be racing around trying to get a hyper, scattered Kaleigh ready for school, feeding a loud demanding Margaret, and there would be EJ, sitting quietly in the middle of the kitchen floor, waiting for his bottle. Every so often, he would look at me with his big blue eyes, and say very softly "baba?" I would usually reply "hold on a minute buddy..." and he would just sit, quietly waiting for me to get to him. He never got upset, never held it against his sisters.

He hasn't changed much from those days. He is still so patient, so understanding of all those around him. This morning in the excitement of Valentines day, he had lost a special prize he had wanted to take into school. But he stopped in the middle of his search to help Margaret fasten her new necklace. He stopped again to help Tommy find socks. And once more to help Pipo fix the broken part of his lego car. He never ended up finding what he was looking for, but he still went off with a smile.

As quiet and helpful as he is, he is also the least outwardly emotional. He dreads hugs, will duck kisses, and turns red at the merest mention of "I love you". So I was shocked to see these cards this morning. Each one was different. Each one had a reference to some favorite thing of the recipient. And each one was signed "love EJ." He must have gotten up in the middle of the night to lay them all out. The thought and effort of all of this makes me think of what this whole holiday is all about. It's not the Hallmark cards, the expensive flowers, the boxes of chocolate. It's the true, honest love and thoughtfulness you give to the ones you care about it. And this little boy surely gets that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hypothetically speaking...

So let's say your child does an absolutely perfect forgery of his father's signature on his homework log. Let's say it's so perfect that even his mother can't tell the difference... and let's say this child is only 7... and this child has some major fine motor issues... major enough to warrant occupational therapy at school.

Would you call this child a criminal, and punish him, or would you say he is gifted and commend him for his efforts and praise him for how far he's come with his handwriting?

Friday, February 8, 2008


Emma left earlier today for a weekend trip to Vermont with our friends Tim and Joyce, and Emma's buddy Annika. How can one teeny tiny girl, all of 40 lbs, make the house seem so empty?

It's always amazing to me that just one kid not being here, and the difference is so noticeable.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sweet 16

It's hard to believe, but as of today I have a 16 year old. We had a surprise party saturday night, and a cake and trimmings tonight with the Wednesday night spaghetti crowd, but I still don't think it has sunk in yet. I am clearly no old enough to have a kid that old!

Thinking back over 16 years, though, I don't think a mother could be more proud of a child. As a first born, she has really set the bar here, and will be a tough act to follow for all our kids, but no one could ask for a better role model.

She's mine, it's her birthday, so it gives me the right to brag. This amazing little baby, so incredibly tiny, who walked at just 8 months. Who spoke in sentences at a year old. Who could rock climb with the best of them at 3. Who grabbed the microphone from Fitz at 4 years old to warm up his equiptment, and recorded with him when she was 10. Honor roll every term, captain of ever sport, Varsity as a freshman... and still a down to earth great kid. What more could I say.

The one story that to me sums up her personality is from when we first started talking about Pipo. Kaleigh was just 13, and the only one in the house really old enough to grasp the reality of what we were about to get ourselves into. Before we had made any decisions, we sat Kaleigh down to talk to her about it. Her response was immediate, she couldn't wait to have another brother. We tried to tell her that this would be different than anything else we had done in our lives, that it may mean big changes in our family. We had a heart to heart talk about racism and how it may affect us all. Again, her response was immediate... he is my brother, I won't let anyone say anything about my brother. And then she went and did this. I don't know if you've ever clicked on the link in my sidebar, but Kaleigh's response to all of this was to write a song about racism. I have always been tremendously proud of this kid, but this moment topped them all. It is such a shining example of how passionately, persistently, determinedly she faces every thing in life. She's amazing, and 16 years later, I still can't believe she's mine.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Extreme insurance?

I had this conversation with Charlie recently...

Charlie: My neck hurts (rubbing neck)

Mom: Charlie, why does your neck hurt?

Charlie: Well... I was doing flips off the refrigerator....

If this is what life is like at seven years old, how will we make it thorugh his teen years?