Friday, May 30, 2008


Tonight we had been invited to a dinner to celebrate a good friend's graduation. He is one of the the sons of the family responsible for bringing Pipo into our lives. I had spent the day feeling out of sorts and sorry for myself. It had been one of those weeks where we decide which bills should be paid, which ones will need to wait. I was feeling very, very poor.

We arrived at the dinner, which was held at a gorgeous country club in the next town over. "Tonight at least..." I thought to myself, "tonight I will eat well." The kids were full of energy in the warm Spring night so we let them run around the quiet golf course a bit before we sat down to eat. I watched as they ran across the lush green fairways, looking for turtles in the beautifully maintained man made water hazard. Finally, it was time to eat and we all sat in the spacious restaurant of the club.

During the course of the meal, Fitz asked Conor (who still lives in works in Haiti) about the conditions there with the food issues. Conor immediately stated "It's terrible." He told us how Fond des Blanc, the small village where Pipo is from, is in the worst shape of all. It is very rural, and what meager supplies that are brought in by the US government rarely make it out that far. He told us of a recent shipment of "protein biscuits" that were delivered from Unicef and distributed at the local schools. For many of the children, it is there only nourishment of the day. I looked down at my smoked salmon with spring vegetables, and was suddenly incredibly humbled. I was embarrassed for my feelings earlier in the day.

Conor went on to tell us of a main road leading into Fond des Blanc. The road passes a large lake, next to which are dry, arid fields. It would take so little to tie into the lake, irrigate those fields and triple the crops. But the money is just not there. I looked back outside at the lush greens of the golf course, the man made water hazards. The stark contrast of those two images have not left me all night.

Pipo asked about his grandmother, still living in Fond des Blanc. He asked about the exchange rate for US dollars in Haiti. And then he pulled out his wallet... $20 he earned last weekend cleaning out the shed. He handed it to Conor, and said "give this to her... she can buy a lot."

Once again... humbled. I sit here in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. We call ourselves the richest country in the world. But how often do we stop and think... really think about that? I know I wasn't thinking about it today, as I went about my day feeling sorry for myself.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where it all began...

It's hard to believe that those early Memorial days started right here, with Margaret's first birthday... even harder to believe that she is already 11. She has turned into such a fun, laid back funny kid. She dreams of owning a bookstore/coffeeshop someday, so she can read and drink coffee to her hearts content. And I am confident that that is just what she will do. Happy Birthday Margaret!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

11 years ago, we bought our house and moved in at the beginning of May. Margaret was about to turn 1, and I was past my due date with E.J. We had our families over for a 1st birthday party/house warming. The following year, it made sense to have another Memorial day party to celebrate E.J.'s 1st birthday and Margaret's 2nd. Then came Charlie, then Emma... Fitz and I laughed this morning at how many of those early parties I was either hugely pregnant, or holding a very, very newborn baby.

I wish I had started these lined up cake pictures earlier, but I love the ones I have, and it is so fun to look back each year at how much they have all changed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Birthday season

It's birthday season here in Fitzville. Now is the time that people all seem to ask me how old all the kids are. And my standard answer at the moment is "it depends which day you ask." Charlie just had his last week... Emma turned 7 today... Margaret will be 11 on Thursday, and E.J. will be 10 the following week.

We are all gearing up for the annual Memorial Day bash here on Monday. It's amazing to me that 11 years ago, we were celebrating Margaret's 1st birthday, and a new (to us) house. I was past my due date with E.J. It seems a lifetime ago. Each year, we added another baby, and another cake. Emma is the youngest of the birthday crew, and at 7 has the world in her hands.

There is something magical about 7. I can remember being younger, and thinking if i could pick a favorite age to be, it would definitely be 7. As a teacher, 7 year olds were my favorite as well. 7 is just old enough to be joining in the big kids games and really getting it. It's just young enough to still believe in everything. It's gap toothed smiles, and dirty knees... it's first one up in the morning and last one to drag up to bed, begging just one more drink. It's princesses and fairies and ballet dresses, It's best friends and secrets and playing dress up.

Happy birthday to my self proclaimed princess.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Friend

While the rest of the crew (and a good number of neighborhood kids) had a loud, rambunctious, intense game of foursquare going in the driveway, Tommy sat in the middle of it all, completely oblivious, and playing with his 'new friend' for close to an hour. I love this boy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Haven't posted in a while. It seems that the day from this post has turned into a month of days like that. It's amazing how many major events have been all in a row, on top of the usual sports/school schedule we maintain. We had a daddy/daughter dance, the prom...
an Irish step recital...
a fencing competition...
a 50th Anniversary party where I saw a few of my many, many cousins I hadn't seen in years... and finally... someone turned 8! He saved up his First Communion/Birthday money, and ordered himself a surfboard... is anyone surprised?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


EJ has been complaining of the occasional knee pain, usually after soccer or baseball. So at his physical today he brought it up with the doctor, who confirmed what I expected... osgood schlatters disease. A very complicated name for growing pains. Kaleigh has Osgood Schlatters, so I knew the symptoms.

In the car ride home, EJ was proud to announce his new diagnosis to all the siblings. Between his own difficulty in remembering exactly what it was, and not pronouncing it correctly, the conversation that followed was hilarious. The final diagnosis from the kids actually had me laughing so hard I almost drove the car off the road.

So it is now confirmed... EJ is suffering from Ostrich Bladder disease.


Today is... track, followed by 'Little Warriors', followed by fencing and irish step, followed by softball/baseball, followed by a Spring concert, followed by soccer.

Wouldn't it be great if time was relative? If you had a really busy schedule, you were just alotted more hours that day? Like a timer you could set... I would only set it for a few hours on Mondays.... but I would add a hefty amount to Sunday mornings, just because. Today I would like about 4 or 5 more hours. Even just one hour... to let me slow down a little for all the in-between times of getting the kids all here and there.

***Update... So I get a call as I am running around that the Doctor who Charlie and EJ are on the waiting list for has 2 openings for 3pm today, can I do that? Ummm, sure...

I happened to glance down and notice the shirt I am wearing. Why did I not already know what shirt I was wearing? Because on days like today, it's pretty good that I make it out of the house dressed. I grab whatever is on the top of the pile and throw it on. Don't even ask what my hair looks like. But I obviously grabbed the right shirt...