Friday, June 27, 2008

Triple Bypass

OK, just a quick post. Yesterday was the big day. Wednesday went without a hitch and the kids spent the morning with Grandma Linda and Grumpa (my dad picked the name and it is not a misspelling. He loves being grumpy, it's his personality!). They spent most of their time outside with cousin Liam who lives next door. At around 11, Sean walked up and picked the kids up and spent the afternoon with them. They took a great 2.5 hour nap and were happily playing when I arrived after work. Sean runs up to me and said "Aidan had a poopy diaper and I had to change him!" He was so proud of himself. He hasn't had to clean poop yet so I had a bit of concern in the back of my mind the first time Sean watched the kids. He had to bribe Aidan to change his diaper and gave him a cookie. Amanda then wanted a cookie and asked Sean to change her too. Sean was very confident and everyone had a good time. I'm so glad Sean is doing well with the kids. We can now feel great about having a new babysitter! It was good to have Sean in the area especially since there is so much family around. He knows that there are about a million people he can call if there is any problem. I am so proud of him.

We hung out at Meeker's house for a few hours that evening and then my dad walked down to visit. He wanted to take us out to dinner before the surgery. We went to a nice little place in town and had a wonderful dinner. He expressed some nervousness with the surgery which is very unlike my dad. I'm glad that he was sharing his feelings with us. We had a great conversation and when dinner was over, we really needed to get the kids home. It was after 9 and way past bedtime. The kids have been so busy this week that the exhaustion is catching up with them too. We said goodbye and wished dad luck. It was very touching seeing dad interact with Jon and the kids while exchanging I love you's. Linda broke down a bit with concern about the surgery and we reassured her that things would go well.

Surgery time... They got him in about an hour behind schedule but not too bad. The surgery lasted about 6 hours and he came through with flying colors!!! I received a phone call letting me know that he was in recovery and doing well.

Friday morning... I dropped the kids off at Julie's. I am very relieved that I have survived this week. I made it to work and the kids are in good hands. I just got a call that dad is doing very well! He is awake. His nurse last night happened to be Kelly Meeker's step sister. She is keeping an eye on him for us. She said that he was wide awake this morning and his color was very good. They removed the breathing tube and he is resting comfortably!

I plan on going to visit this weekend. I am just so relieved that the big part is done and now it is up to dad to rest and recover. Kelly's step sister said that he will be out of ICU today or tomorrow and should be out of the hospital by the middle of next week as long as everything continues to go well.

There is so much more I could elaborate on since this has really been a crazy couple of days but I'll save you the boredom :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I miss my mom :(

Wow! I never thought I would say that. Actually, that is not true. I missed my mom all the time while living in Colorado. Now that we're back in NY, I have spent way too much time with my mom and we were getting on each others nerves. This time it is purely selfish.

My mom and Oscar went to Montana last Thursday for a friend's wedding. They will be gone until the 30th. They are planning to visit Yellowstone as well as some other scenic places in the Rocky Mountain area. I've spoken with mom a few times and they're having a blast. I'm very happy for them. I'm also very stressed :) We love having the house to ourselves. It is great to feel like an independent family again. Unfortunately we are struggling to take care of the kids without mom and without full time daycare.

The original plan was to have my father and stepmother take care of the kids while we were at work. That would have been great. My dad is having triple bypass surgery tomorrow. He is very optimistic and most everyone is being very nonchalant about the whole thing. In my own selfish world, it throws a wrench into my plans.

Thursday (the 19th) I brought the kids to dad's for the day. It went very well. Yeah! One day down. On Friday my dad and Linda were heading up to see Linda's son in upstate NY. Linda has a new granddaughter and they have not met her yet. They figured it was the last time they would be able to visit for a while since dad will be having the surgery. So, I brought the kids to my cousin Julie's house (Liam's mom) and she spent the day with Aidan and Amanda. I heard that it went well. Taryn actually picked the kids up so that Julie could do a few things that she needed to get done before I was able to get there from work. I still need to get in touch with Julie. I spoke with her to watch the kids tomorrow and Friday while dad is in the hospital. We confirmed last week but I haven't spoken with her this week. I hope we're still on.

The weekend was nice. It was a bit hectic trying to do all the normal weekend things while arranging for this week. On Saturday we took the kids to a small carnival in the next town over and they had so much fun on the rides. On Sunday we did a little bit of everything. We had some cleaning, some grocery shopping and then dad wanted us to come down and visit for dinner. My cousin Ann was visiting with her parents up the street (she lives in Virginia) so we walked up to say hello. It was nice to see her and we visited for a few hours. We then had dinner with dad and spent some more time hanging out. By this point it was 9:00 and we needed to get the kids home and to bed since a rough week was about to start.

We confirmed that dad would watch the kids in the morning on Monday and then he had an appointment in Westchester for pre-op stuff. Our friend Meeker's son Sean offered to watch them until I got home from work. I got to Beacon on Monday night. Everything went well. Sean was tired but he had fun. The kids were in a great mood. We tentatively scheduled for Sean to watch the kids again today and I told him I would call to confirm. I got home Monday night, we had dinner and then I called dad to confirm our plans for Tuesday and Wednesday. Oh no! Big snag! Dad can't watch the kids on Tuesday. Too much to do before surgery. Crap. Call Sean... Nope, can't do it either. Has a rehearsal to go to at school for a moving up ceremony that they do with the students. Crap! Call Julie... No answer. Call Taryn... She has a field trip to NYC with her students. She won't be home until late at night... Crap! I called my boss and took the day off. I HATED doing that. I am not the type of person to leave someone hanging. I am also not one to be an intentional hypocrite. I always hated working with the people who seemed to always miss work due to problems with their kids. I always thought that it was unfair that they would get additional time off since they were parents. Oh well, time to move on. I needed to accept that this was the way it had to be for Tuesday. I spent the day with the kids worrying about work and worrying about the rest of the week.

I called dad last night. "Can you PLEASE watch the kids tomorrow morning???" He searched his mind and didn't foresee any problems. Yeah! I dropped the kids off this morning and he is supposed to call Sean when he gets tired so that Sean can pick up the kids (he lives 3 houses away) and watch the kids until I get done with work. Since dad is having surgery tomorrow I don't want him to wear himself out too much with the kids today. Now we just have to make sure Julie can watch the kids tomorrow and Friday. Taryn is done with school for the year tomorrow. She has half days today and tomorrow but she has plans on both Thursday and Friday so she can't help us with the kids. She will watch them on Monday so that should cover us until mom comes home.

Jon saw how worried I was and commented that this is how it will be once we have our own house. I don't think it will be this difficult. We'll have a set schedule and hopefully it won't be so much last minute arrangements. I just want to survive this week with my sanity.

I thank my mother every day for watching Aidan and Amanda. She doesn't think it is a big deal. This week is an example of how much I appreciate my mother. I miss her!

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from this week. Fortunately the kids do not realize the stress I am feeling. They don't seem to have a care in the world and they absolutely love visiting with all the family and friends!!

Aidan and Amanda love hanging out in papa Oscar's hammock in the backyard.

This has got to be the cutest picture ever! The Meeker's have a cute little bench in their front yard. It is perfect Aidan and Amanda size.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The title of this one is deceiving. It is really about Father's Day but the underlying theme is all about cousins. I wanted Jon to have a nice relaxing father's day. I knew that there wasn't a present or a card that could have said or showed what I felt. Instead I decided to make the day as enjoyable as possible.

I had planned on letting Jon sleep late. He woke up before all of us! I heard him gently whisper "the kids just got up" and he was already up and dressed. So much for letting him sleep late. I got up and since we didn't really have the necessary items for a big fancy breakfast, I got the kids ready and we headed to the diner. Jon is still getting used to how diners work. We have had a few meals at the diner but not Sunday Breakfast. It may sound silly but people who are from the east take them for granted. Denver doesn't have diners. The few that do exist are based on the novelty of them and do not live up to the high standards that "east coasters" have established. Anyway, I digress. We arrived at the diner and the line went out the door. Jon was flabbergasted. The line moved quickly and we had an amazing breakfast. More food than you know what to do with! The kids ate so much. I couldn't believe that we actually cleared so many plates. I think Jon may now be addicted! :)

After breakfast, we headed home for a few hours before heading to my cousin's house in Beacon. We must have eaten too much at breakfast because within a couple of hours of arriving at home we were all asleep! I was the first to wake up around 1:00. The kids and Jon were still sleeping so I layed down again for another hour. What a nice relaxing time! I don't know if we've ever done that before. The kids woke up next. I mentioned the party we were going to and the kids got very excited. Their excitement woke Jon and before I knew it we were packing up our stuff and we were out the door.

Beacon, NY, I still call it my hometown although I haven't lived there since I was a teenager. It is where many family members still call home. My cousin Mary lives across the street from her parents. Her brother, Michael and his family live a few houses down the street. My dad lives next door to Michael. The list can go on and does go on. To put it as easy as possible, I have a huge family and they all live very close. We arrived at Mary's house for the bbq. Most of the family was already there. We were greeted at the back gate by a warm rush of happy partygoers. The grill was heating up. The pool was full of kids. There were conversations in clusters around the yard. Many conversations stopped to greet us. Aidan and Amanda were immediately overwhelmed by all of the people that introduced themselves. "Hi guys, I'm __. I'm your cousin" Yes, they have all met before but when you are 2, it is hard to remember 6 months ago when they saw them last. There are many generations. This is my dad's family. He has 2 brothers. One brother has five children. The other brother has three children. There are lots of kids and they have lots of kids. Ahh, the Irish Catholics.

The kids run off to play with their cousin Liam. Liam is turning two in a few weeks. He is Michael's son and lives next to my dad. Aidan, Amanda and Liam have become very good friends. They will actually be celebrating their birthdays together since they are so close. We'll have one big family birthday celebration. Anyway, the kids were entertained. Jon and I went to visit with the family. Jon was given a nice cigar by my uncle. Many of the guys went over to the side yard and smoked their cigars while the rest of the folks hung around and chatted, had a few drinks, played darts and swam in the pool.

It was a wonderful day. Jon took the kids swimming in the pool. Amanda did not want to get out. Unfortunately I did not bring my swimsuit so Jon had to take turns with the kids. They swam with their older cousins a bit but eventually Amanda's lips were purple and I had to pull her out. She screamed! She has not been able to stop talking about the pool since that day.

After a nice long afternoon of visiting, it was time to head home. It was Sunday night and we had to get ready for another long week ahead of us. My mom is heading on vacation on Thursday and there is a lot to do to prepare for their trip.

ETA: I forgot that I never posted this... Ooops...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Finally! A wonderful weekend...

This weekend was wonderful. Despite weather in the 90's with high humidity (which Jon isn't used to and I almost forgot), we had a great time. Before I get in to the details of the weekend, I must add that Amanda is doing great and is almost back to normal. No more fevers, no more ear goo, just a little bit of maintenance ear cleaning to make sure she doesn't get another infection. Aidan has been running a bit of a fever this week but no other symptoms. We're keeping an eye on him to make sure nothing gets out of control. I'm happy to say that things are slowly getting back to normal.

Anyway, on to the weekend!! We found out late on Thursday that my step-sister, Diana, was visiting from L.A. for the weekend. She works for DIC entertainment who produces shows/products like Strawberry Shortcake and Inspector Gadget. Anyway, she had to work in their NY office for a couple of days so she was able to stay with us for the weekend before heading back to Cali for work on Monday. Friday night after she arrived, we took the whole clan to Casa Mia, a wonderful Italian resturant that we all love. Aidan and Amanda ate almost an entire kids pizza while the rest of us pigged out on a ton of wonderful food. We were so stuffed at the end of the meal that we could barely move! There was a lot of fun conversation and laughter. It was the first time in many, many years that my mom, Oscar (step-father), Taryn (sister), Diana, and I were together. Add Jon, Aidan and Amanda and we had a great crew. We were only missing our other sister, Jen, who lives in Australia with her husband, Andy, and their son, Rory. There will be another nephew arriving soon as Jen is expecting baby #2 in a few weeks. Just a little history, Jen, Diana, Taryn and I have been together since we were barely teens. We're all very close in age. Jen is the oldest and a year older than I am. Diana is a year younger than me and Taryn is a year younger than Diana. We are now 33, 32, 31 and 30. It was definitely interesting when we were 18, 17, 16 and 15 in high school. I wasn't sure if Oscar would survive 4 teenage girls.

After dinner, Jon and I put Aidan and Amanda to bed (they were absolutely exhausted) and we went to visit a friend of ours, Kelly, who was celebrating her birthday on Friday. Kelly is absolutely hilarious. She was born 6/6/66 and she has flaming red hair (yes, it is entirely natural although starting to get a bit of gray, hehehehe). She always loves to say that she has "one better than the devil." We always have a good time with her and the rest of the clan from Beacon. Most of the people involved are related to me in some way. My cousin Mary and her husband were there as well as my dad and step-mother, Linda. We had a huge group of people and we had a few drinks and some great conversation. We didn't call it a night until almost 2 and we knew we'd pay for it on Saturday.

Saturday morning wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated. One of my best friends, Jen, from high school lives a few miles away and when I told her that Diana was in town, we decided that we'd have to do coffee in the morning. Since I have been away from New York and away from Dunkin Donuts for so many years, that was the plan! I ran up the street and picked up coffee and donuts for everyone. Jen brought her 6 month old son, Michael (or "Small" as we like to call him) over and we got to visit and take a time machine back to the early 90's. After a few hours and a lot of coffee and laughter, it was time for Aidan and Amanda to take a nap and for Jen to get Small in his carseat and go grocery shopping. We put the twins down for an early nap because Oscar wanted to take the family out for a cruise on his boat!

After a nap for the kids and a bit of planning, we were off to the marina! We fed the kids, Diana went to the deli and got sandwiches, snacks and drinks and we were off. We didn't get the boat ready to head out until almost 4 but we were ready! The temperature on Saturday was around 90 and the humidity was a bit high. We got to the boat at about 2:30 but we needed to get it ready. It has been in the water for almost a month but Oscar has been so busy with work and everything that it hasn't had a maiden voyage yet this year. We had to put up all of the canopies and sweep up the decks from the winter. Oscar has a pretty good sized cabin cruiser with a nice living area below deck and a bathroom and small kitchen area. After a bunch of sweat and hard work, we popped a few beers and hit the river. We headed north toward Kingston and we had a great ride. The breeze off of the water was wonderful and we had lots of fun. I'll try to post pictures later if I can figure out how that works. After getting to Kingston we headed down the Rondout Creek to refuel and get some dinner. It was about 8:00 at this point and we docked up and walked around the area. We stopped at a great little Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful meal complete with Margaritas! After dinner and a nice walk to enjoy the evening, we got back on the boat to take the 3 hour cruise back to Newburgh. The kids were able to fall right asleep in the cabin. It was great. We settled them down there and they had fun poking their heads out the front hatch. It was a perfect size for them. The hatch opened at about shoulder level so we didn't have to worry about them climbing out, they could just do a fun game of "peak-a-boo" until they passed out. Boy did they every pass out. They had so much fun and excitement that they were out cold after about 15 minutes. We went up to the top deck and had a great ride home. At about midnight I was exhausted and went and joined the kids in the cabin for the rest of the ride. I slept soundly until we docked at about 1. It is a good thing that my step-father loves boating in the dark because we had a wonderful, long trip!

We all slept in on Sunday morning and Diana arrived at around 9. She stayed at her grandmother's house a few miles away since we literally have "no room at the inn" since Jon, Aidan and Amanda and I are staying there. She came up to say goodbye to us. Mom and Oscar were going to take her to the airport for her flight. I made bacon and pancakes for everyone and we had another great morning and breakfast. After they left for the airport, Jon and I took Aidan and Amanda to Walmart and Sam's Club for a bit of shopping. The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. I got the rest of the laundry and cleaning done and we just had a good time!

This was a good weekend! Now it is Monday and we're all back to work. We're supposed to reach 100 degrees today and all I can say is "thank god for air conditioning!"

I am really going to try and post some pictures this evening! I know that I'm not supposed to finish a post without pictures so I'm going to try to get better :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Touch a Truck

First of all, Amanda is doing much better. She has this yucky ear goo but I understand that it is normal (as normal as you can get) for ear infections. She has had a good few days and although we have to clean her ear on a regular basis (which she does not like), she has been in a very good mood. Lets hope that this can finally be done!

On Sunday we took the kids to an event called "touch a truck." The local United Way had brought about 50 different types of trucks to a big parking lot at the Orange County Government Center. My cousin Erin was visiting from Georgia and she and her boys, Patrick (4) and Kamu (18 months), joined us. The weather was nice and in the upper 70's. The kids got to climb on a ton of different vehicles. They went on an 18-wheeler from toys r us and got to pretend to drive. They did get to pull the air horn which was not fun for all of the parents standing around. Imagine hundreds of kids all wanting to pull the cord! After the truck, they climbed around an ambulance. Amanda loved it so much that she cried when we told her that we needed to leave the ambulance for the next vehicle. The favorite of the day had to be the school bus. They were so excited! Amanda buckled herself in to the seat while Aidan jumped in to a seat with Patrick. They were so cute and they all kept rambling about how they couldn't wait until they could go to school!

There were so many vehicles to see and "touch." The Orange County Choppers had a bike there and there were military vehicles as well as large construction items. We spent a few hours until it was getting hot and very crowded. The kids were all starting to melt down so we felt that it was a wonderful time to call it quits and head home. I think they all had fun and we may very well do this again the next time around. This was the first annual so hopefully it was successful enough to bring back next year. I'm sure the kids will like it even more in a year from now!

I took a few pictures. I'll see if I can find time to get them off of the camera and on to the computer!

Edited to add: here are a few pictures that Taryn took on her cell phone. I haven't figured out the placement and editing so I hope they're OK.

Aidan in the Toys R Us truck

Aidan, Amanda and Patrick

Amanda in her favorite vehicle, the ambulance!

Amanda's 2nd favorite, the school bus. She actually buckled herself in the seat and then couldn't get out. Aunt Taryn had to help her out here!

Ah, cousins :) Aidan and Patrick in the school bus.