Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh, and by the way...

Thanks to Tamera and Justin, I have a lovely little Nikon D80 in my hands here. I've never owned a decent digital until now, I have a quite a few good film cameras left over from all the portrait work, and many, many vintage and antique cameras...but I simply haven't got the time or money to deal with film/processing these days. My little point and shoot digitals have been good friends, but how I have missed using a "real camera"! This is a very welcome happiness!!!! Still need some necessary cords, and to free up some computer space, but I have been playing with it all day and the boys look ten times more angelic, and fifty times less dirty through it's magical lens. Yay! Here's a couple of shots from Tam's computer...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winding Down The Holiday...

Howdy all. Justin headed in to work this morning, feeling pretty decent (driven by his trusty babysitter, Jared). He has an MRI on Friday. Keep your fingers crossed! His gasifier made the front page of the Valley News yesterday, which was great. We are swimming in a sea of Christmas gifts here...the kids are in heaven as I've just let the house be a toy-filled disaster for several days. Eli's favorites are his road-side emergency set from Jude, his pirate sword from Santa, pirate hat from Tam and all the diggers...oh, and the chocolate, he says. It's hard to tell with Ira, he's mostly just lovin' the boxes. We really missed seeing everybody at Gram Sheehan's, it was SO sad to stay behind, but the rest sure felt good. And it was nice to be able to hang out with Tam a little more while she was here. She left a few hours ago, and Eli is pretty down about it, even though he was all very "Bye. See you later" casual when she headed out. Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know that all is well. I'll try and upload pictures onto this blog at some point soon...just head over to my flickr account if you want to see them for now! Love, Em

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What's Up With Justin

Night before last, I heard a choking sound in the night and I asked Justin if he was OK. He didn't answer, so I sat up and jiggled him. Nothing. I snapped on the light and he wasn't breathing. Very white and scary looking. I tried to lift him up, roll him over, anything, but he was dead weight. I was screaming his name by this time. Finally he says "Whhuuutt", and half comes out of it. But three seconds later, he chokes again and stiffens up, eyes clenched shut, and stops breathing. Eli had woken up, and was just staring silently from his bed with big eyes. I wanted to run down stairs to call 911, but I didn't dare leave. Plus, I couldn't even think of what to do. I was desperately trying to roll him on his side, in case he vomited, but I couldn't budge him one inch. I slapped him in the face. I was blowing frantically on his face as well, because that's worked before, when he's had a seizure. I was crying, and a complete mess. He'd wet the bed and it seriously seemed like he was dying. Or already dead, maybe. He had seizures as a child, totally unexplained, but they were always brought on by pain. He has had maybe three in the whole twelve years I've been with him, all times when he hurt himself badly, and they were quick and seemed more like a version of shock. This time, he was just sleeping. And it was three in the morning. Never fails, everything happens around here at three AM. Anyway, it seemed like forever, but he probably was only out for a few minutes before he came to, confused and cold, hungry and tired. I got dressed in a hurry, got him some yogurt, crackers, some vitamins and water. Hated to go downstairs for even a second. He threw up a few minutes later. Poor Eli was just curled up tiny and terrified, in a corner of his bed, clutching his stuffed fox. Luckily Ira, the world's lightest sleeper, was sleeping through it all. Anyway, I changed the bed, somehow around the baby. Justin didn't want me to call the rescue squad, he just wanted to go back to sleep. I know sleep would have probably been the best thing for him, but I was too afraid to let him. My brain was just a jumble, I had no idea what to do with the kids, who to call, what to do. It's kind of terrible that I can't think at all in an emergency. I never knew I'd be so useless. Kinda sucks. I got the phone, put on a movie to keep Justin occupied and nursed the now awake baby. At eight, I called the docor to see what she thought. Mom and Dad came down to stay with the boys while Sue and Mike drove us to Dartmouth. Justin threw up some more when we got there, while they were doing his blood work. He is the one person who hates needles even more than I do. (Or did...after all the needlework involved in having babies, I don't care so much anymore.) We spent all day in the ER. They did a CAT scan, and an EEG. Everything seemed basically normal, but they want him back in a week for a MRI. They prescribed an anti-seizure drug, but he hasn't taken it yet, because as a child, he was allergic to anti-seizure drugs. They just gave him more seizures. The docs told him he wasn't allowed to drive, go on roofs, ladders, take baths, etc, until they figure out what's going on with his brain. He thinks his body was just maxed out and that's why it happened this time. He ate poorly the day before, the kids have been sick, so we have had little to no sleep for ages, plus STRESS. So much stress over work, etc. Jared spent the night here last night with us, just in case. Justin slept from nine last night to almost eight this morning, and that was good. I slept not at all. To continue to fun, Dad took Mom to the hospital this morning because she dropped a hunk of firewood on her foot and can't walk. Seems broken. Right after we got that call, Eli crushed Ira's left hand in the dining room door jam, so we rushed him down to the pediatrician's office. Well, rushed as best we could...the carseats are in Justin's car and I haven't driven a standard in years...yee haw, I'd forgotten how humiliating it is to stall out four times in a row! His hand will be OK, just very bruised and swollen for a while. While we were out, we ran into two different people that Justin is supposed to be doing jobs for, so had to explain everything...I don't know what we are going to do. He needs to eat and sleep better, and not stress. I can only see this situation adding to his stress though. Where will money come from? How will he get to work? How can he work? Should I get a job? But then what about the kids? I would hate for something to happen while Justin is taking care of them. What about Eli's school? It is really expensive, but he loves it so much. And if I was working, Justin couldn't pick him up or drop him off or anything. Thank God I don't have seizures, because my stress level is pretty damn high right now too. The upside to yesterday was the cool, financial aid kid who came into our room at the hospital and said "Dudes, you guys are gonna have to pay zero for today". Excellent news as I was in private horror, thinking of the costs, on top of all my chiropractic bills lately. Anyhow, the porch roof is nearly ready to collapse under the snow load, so I need to figure that out before the rain adds to the weight this afternoon. Although I am thankful that we are all here and OK, for the most part, this year, and this Christmas, are not going down in my book as my all time favorites. Please forgive us everyone, if we don't get out much this holiday season. We need some time to unwind and get healthy. If we don't see you, have a wonderful vacation and celebrations! Love you all, Emily

Monday, December 15, 2008

Small Talk

So, up until today, The Baby has had those basic few words..."Dadda, Momma, Uh-Oh, Down, Dog and Ball", but today he just started blurting out whatever we said. He nailed "Grampa", "Cheese","Thank you","Hair","Pitsy" etc. It was crazy. I mean, he still says things like a baby, but it's understandable. On another awesome note: Justin drove his truck powered completely by wood this weekend, for the first time!!!! Needs a bit of tweaking to reach maximum efficiency, but still....pretty great!!!!! OK, I'm off! Can't wait to see everyone at Christmas! XXOO-Emily


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting A Tree


So...The Baby...not a fan. He knocked Santa's glasses off in his fit, and Av kicked him pretty good in the shins with her hard, plastic mary janes. (Luckily Santa is having his knees replaced next month.) The Kid had quite a list for Santa. Mostly tools. He wanted to know if the reindeer were really parked down on the fairgrounds in a barn.

This has nothing to do with Santa, but the three of them looked so funny watching the oil guy fill our tank on Friday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spiral Of Lights

The Spiral Of Lights is a Waldorf tradition. Each child travels, one by one, holding the hand of an angel, up a path of pine boughs. At the center candle, they light their own candles and place them around the edges. There is no speaking, only a harpist playing. It's a time of peace and joy. A time to silently reflect, to make wishes.

Deep Mid-winter drawing near,
Darkness in our Garden here-
One small flame yet bravely burns
To show a path which ever turns.

Earth, please bear us as we go,
Seeking Light to send a-glow;
Branches green and moss and fern,
Mark our path to trace each turn.
Brother animals, teach us too
To serve with patience as you do.

We walk with candle towards the light
While Earth awaits with hope so bright;
In the light which finds new birth
Love may spread o'er all the Earth.

Deep Mid-winter drawing near-
May light arise in our Garden here.

-Nancey Foster

A good friend Craig lights his candle. Craig is right in the middle of his chemo treatments. This is his second giant fight with cancer, as he battled it ten years ago. Craig is one of my dancers, and the father of Eli's close friend Gus. When I watched Craig walk slowly up the path, with determination in every step, I suddenly felt like such an ass for all my petty complaints lately. He is full of energy and humor, despite everything. (He made me laugh so hard the other night because he said can suck his nostrils closed now, without those pesky nose hairs in the way, and then he showed us.) This whole advent ceremony was beautiful. Calming for me. I was in silent hysterics over the way my own child was all business, dragging the angel at top speed to the center. But then all my laugh-tears changed and just kept flowing because the little ones just looked very pure and hopeful. So wonderful. I feel much better now. Grateful.

The very youngest children go first, and start the spiral...sorry, these pictures loaded in out of order. Here is my sweet boy lighting his candle.

Snow, Snow, Snow

The snow is coming down pretty hard this morning, I drove sooooooo slowly taking The Kid to school. Yesterday, the wood furnace went out and I could not figure out how to turn on the oil burner, so we were rather freezing until Justin came home! It was 0 in the sun during the day, and 8 below last night. Brrrrrrr! It's been a tricky few days because after being adjusted by my chiropractor last week, I was told not to lift things until I see him again this week....well, that's impossible! I tried to push The Baby in one of those folding umbrella strollers into school earlier, but the snow made that...interesting. Oh well, I provide amusement for the rest of the mothers. The auction this weekend went well. I was insanely stupid to wear heels with a messed-up back, but it was fun and we raised over 15 thousand. We placed the winning bid on a mini drum set and tiny baby grand piano for X-mas gifts for the boys...a decision I fear we may live to regret. Couldn't help it though. We had The Baby with us and he looked so adorable sitting on the little stool and playing away with the band. Nobody would bid against us because they said he simply had to have them. Anyway, Patrick and I were in charge of the making announcements/closing bids/introducing musicians/etc all night, so we had to stay until the end. It took up most of the weekend, but I'm glad the school made a decent amount off of it. Both The Baby and The Puppy are chewing on the curtains right now, so I'd better go! -Emily

Thursday, December 4, 2008

just saying...

...that today was lovely. Other than the sleet, The Baby vomiting cheese all over the car, and the chiropractor electrocuting me, all is well. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

9AM And Not Shaping Up To Be A Great Day...A Bad, Bad Story.

Well, the sun is filling the dining room right now, so maybe, just maybe, things will turn around! I have to say, even though the puppy is very sweet, he was the root of many problems this morning. The Kid wanted a cereal bar for breakfast, and since we were running late for school, that's what he got. The second he unwrapped it, he dropped it, and the dog ran off with it in an instant. So, I got The Kid another. By this time, the dog has figured out that people food is WAY better than the crap stuff in his dish, so he jumped up and snatched the second cereal bar. Finally, the third bar got eaten by the human child. Putting the baby in his (Hanna Andersson....should NOT be a piece of shit) snowsuit, the zipper broke. As it is his only snowsuit, I just sort of wrapped it around him anyway, and headed out the door. The Kid stood in the cloud of exhast, breathing deeply and saying, "This smoke smells funny" From the other side of the car, where I was buckling The Baby in and frantically hunting for a tissue (because a sneeze had just exploded gobs of snot all over his face) I yell "Get out of that, it's poison!" or something to that effect. He then claps his mitten over the filthy exhast pipe and says "Look Mom! I can make it stop!" Had to dash back in because I remembered it was soup day, and the children all bring veggies to add. I grabbed a giant head of broccoli, slipped on the icy steps, but made it the car in one piece. At school, I decide to lug The Baby instead of put him in his pack, so I can keep his snowsuit closed against the wind...OF COURSE the closest parking spot is on the other green, so we have to cross two roads. Normally, I never cross if I can see a car coming even from a long distance, as an example to The Kid, but today we were so late...there was a truck WAY up the hill, so we crossed, but the stupid broccoli fell out of the basket in the middle of the road. Bending down, I almost lost hold of The Baby. By the time we started walking again, the truck passed right behind us, honking and the driver giving me a dirty you-are-the-worst-parent-in-the-world look. In the school mudroom, some mother pulling her kids boots off had left her coffee in MY kid's cubby. He tried to move it out with his mittens on, and it spilled all over my wool coat. The "Queen Bee" or the head cleaning lady/mother tells me that it is my weekend to clean the school. (I panic a little inside, because I have already overbooked the weekend and cleaning both buildings takes around six hours if you don't cheat. Which I will, no other option.) The Baby and I go home. I lay him down on the bench to pull off that damn snowsuit, and the puppy jumps up and claws him across the face. He screams for a good ten minutes. I put him in his high chair and pour him some juice in his new sippy cup that has a snap-on lid. As I press the lid into place, a huge spray of apple juice blasts out of the spout. (Good thing I still have on my now grungy coat.) He settles in with some food, a red welt from one eye across his cheek. I turn on the computer to write, since that's the only way I calm down and feel better. Two hours later, I finish this blog post using the neighbor's wireless, because our's lost signal right after I wrote this post for the first time. This is my second typing of this...and it better work, because I WILL NOT do it again. I will just sit down and bawl. After several trips to the basement, I came to the conclusion that our wireless router has kicked the bucket. I feel so frustrated today. I hate arriving at school, looking a mess, while other parents chuckle and say things like "Heh, heh! Looks like you've got your hands full!" I can't figure out why they DON'T have their hands full. What's their secret? They have as many, if not more, kids than I do, and yet, they are combed, pulled together, and seem to have an extra hand for that dang coffee. I don't get it. And I get insanely mad at Justin because when I'm just looking for a little empty sympathy, he acts like his day was harder and "What's the big deal? You just had one little baby for most of the day." And I'm thinking "YOU just had to hammer hunks of wood all day! Got to go to the bathroom by yourself, eat lunch with adults, drive around listening to the radio instead of backseat wailing!" My mind always has to cover three thousand things at once. Right now I'm typing a few words, then running out into the dining room to take wooden plates from the kitchen set away from the dog. Typing, and changing a poopy diaper. Typing, and rescuing my books from getting their dust jackets torn even more. Typing, and answering the phone. Wondering how I'm going to juggle the Silent Auction Gala (and set-up the day before) a portrait session, photo show for a project I worked on this summer, AND somehow find 6+ hours to clean the school. Probably, as usual, I will eliminate the things that I don't HAVE to do (anything remotely enjoyable) and just be miserable. Again, I apologize for this depressing post, and all my depressing entries. Please note that I mostly only write when the day is too icky to handle. My silly way of coping. So all of those many, many entry-less days were probably just lovely. Toodles. -Emily

Oh, I forgot to mention the scubbing-unidentifiable-poo (chicken possibly?) off my boots this morning. OK, It's all actually seeming almost funny now, in a pathetic-fate-hates-me sort of way. See? This is why I write it down. Otherwise, I'd go nuts.

Icing on the cake is: I shouldn't have bothered to scrub the boots, as the right sole fell off a few minutes ago. Ha ha! Oh my God! I can't BELIEVE this day! Seriously, WRETCHED!!!!

Would you look at that! 15 minutes and I need to go pick up The Kid!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in Amherst

And as always, there are many, many more photos on my flickr page! (Oh, and you should go there anyway, because my computer was acting up when I wanted to post other Thanksgiving shots from Jim & Myra's they are all over on flickr instead of here.) Thanks for the wonderful time, Sylvia & Dan!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranky Computer

OK, my computer is not letting me upload photos just go to

to see pictures of what's been going on in the last week or so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Pup

We had sent in applications to several New England humane shelters trying to adopt a puppy, maybe by Christmas or spring, because their puppy waiting lists are really long. The applications rival the ones for adopting children. I was shocked. Not that ANYBODY should be able to just pick-up a puppy, but seriously, do they really need my tax info and all that? AND the adoption fee was $400. These aren't purebred dogs, these are who-knows-what that somebody found in a Walmart parking lot. We were going to try to do it anyway, but we were getting such a run-around! Nobody would ever tell me the status of any dog that we applied for, nor would anyone even tell me that they had recieved our application. One snobby lady basically told me we wouldn't be getting a dog from them, ever. Yesterday, we happened to see a litter of farm puppies for sale ($150) in the classified, so we took a ride to "just look." (Yeah, right.) We already had all these rules about what kind of dog we wanted, etc. We we looked at the two remaining puppies (both male, which was on our "no list") sitting there in the pouring rain in a tiny kennel, way out back of a tumble-down barn, (which the guy said was built poorly because he didn't build it...he was in jail when it was built, so his bastard step-son did it.) there was no way we weren't taking one. The woman said that her mother was going to take the very last pup left, so I didn't feel as bad leaving it. They were half Australian Shepard, half "Chug". Strange combo, but very sweet and all this little boy has wanted to do is cuddle since we brought him home. He doesn't make a peep, slept blissfully in his crate last night, and stole The Baby's toast this morning, so he fits in perfectly already. The Kid has named him Captain Burdock and just loves him. It's a little soon to replace Dublin, but this tiny guy needed us, and seeing how happy the boys are to have a dog again, I think it will be just fine.