Thursday, August 30, 2012

Update on editing job

I finally heard back about that little editing job.  I figured after so much time having passed, I probably didn't get it.  Still, I admit I felt rather disappointed when the official "no" came in my inbox.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I will go with the philosophy that it would have worked if it were the right thing.

This week, the girls start school.  Stephanie will only go for 2.5 hours each day, but that is 2.5 hours I don't have now.  I know too well how quickly those little hours will go, how easily they can be lost on errands and cleaning and kitchen work...but with a master plan and a lot of discipline, I might be able to turn that time into some exciting new projects.  We will see.

Thank you, as always, for your encouragement and support!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Defining territory

Last night, the girls were running from Papa in a giggle-coated game of tag.  They've taken to declaring just about any available spot "base" or "free" so they can stop at will.  Last night, all "bases" were off.  They ran and giggled and ran and squealed until Ellie demanded to know where was free?

Papa answered, "Switzerland."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School starts next week...for both girls!

love this girl

We've known for a while that Ellie will be attending Sewickley Academy.  A few weeks ago, Stephanie was screened for their pre-kindergarten program.  Although the pre-k class is full, we were hoping they planned to make an exception and give her a spot anyway.  Why else would they screen her mid-summer, right?  Or not.  They screened her so she can officially be the first spot on their waiting list.  However, with just over a week until school starts, it's not looking good for her to attend.  Furthermore, no other local preschools had availability in the morning either, which is her best time.  I had never really considered standard preschool anyway; I always wanted Montessori until age 6, which also isn't available.  Hmmm.

I have been more than fine with the idea of Stephanie being home with me again this year.  I feel an awareness of how fleeting these younger years truly are, and I was happy for the time with her.  Although she did well in her previous environment, she never really warmed to the idea of school.  Or so we thought.  Lately, she talks a lot about school.  She misses her class, her friends, her teachers.  She asks when she will go back.  She's ready.

What to do?

This morning, we visited a small, non-denominational preschool run out of the Presbyterian church at the bottom of our street called FriendShip.  It has been highly recommended to us, and just yesterday some moms told me the afternoon class only has 7 kids (everyone likes mornings) and 2 teachers.  That sounded pretty good to me.  I called and we were invited to visit.  Stephanie didn't want to go ("I don't want to go to school!"), but after we checked it out, she didn't want to leave.  I signed her up right away, and she will start the same day Ellie does.

I don't love that it isn't a Montessori environment, but it definitely isn't just daycare.  It reminds me a lot of Ellie's peuterspeelzaal in Holland.  There are weekly themes, alphabet learning, walking field trips (fire station, small grocery store...), but it's only 2.5 hours per day.  She will still have mornings with me, and then she can play with other children and be in a learning environment after lunch until we pick up Ellie from school.

Plus, she's excited, and that's the point that really matters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New opportunity?

For years, I've been wanting to expand my writing.  Our crazy changeable lifestyle gives me every excuse (and often reason) not to, but I still want to do it.  I have purchased two different new domain names in the past 2 years: the first I felt was perfect for me and the second because the perfect first name doesn't really apply now that we're stateside again.  Hm.

Recently, I've really been enjoying the posts at DesignMom.  This week, she posted some assistant positions to work on her site.  I felt that the book editor position was right up my alley with a much more realistic time burden than a whole new blog for myself, so I applied.  She has other applicants, many of whom seem to have well-known blogs themselves, but I was excited to try anyway.

Fingers crossed!

Stephanie speak

Stephanie came to see me and moments later there was an odor.  I asked if she "made stink."
She sniffed the air several times and said,

"No, it wasn't me.  I didn't feel a bump in my bottom so it wasn't me."

Later this same morning, we were in a parking lot when we all noticed a strange smell coming from the street.  Stephanie announced,

"It smells just like elephant fur!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baby Lily

This past weekend, my brother Robert, his partner Christina and their baby daughter (my niece!) Lily came for a visit.  This was their first travels with a baby, and it was wonderful to see them.  Seeing my "little" brother as a smitten father is incredibly sweet, and having a darling baby in the house again, even for a short while, was marvelous.  It reminded me and Markus of just how much our girls have grown and changed, and how quickly (too quickly!) it all happens.

Lily meets the baby doll

what a face!

fingers and feet

father and daughter

Christina and Lily


Lily celebrated her first birthday last month, but we had a little party for her here too.  I miss our life and our friends in Perth, but being able to share time with family again helps me know in my heart that this choice is right for us at this time.  I wouldn't want to miss this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Weekend


What a week!  I tell ya.  When some women get PMS, they become homicidal.  I just cry.  A lot.  Somehow, homicidal seems more feminist.  Sigh.
But the drama is over as the hormones recede.

I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to the weekend!  Weather-wise, we are expecting a cool front (hooray!).  Family-wise, we are expecting guests!  My brother, his girlfriend/partner/lady and their baby daughter are coming for a visit.  They are on the road right now, and we're all very excited. I've been cleaning like a mad thing for the past few hours (ahem), but the end result is pretty darn satisfying.  Even the girls noticed.  When I enlisted them in a major playroom tidy, my older daughter had a meltdown...but later when the room was all clean, she stood back, put her hands on her hips, and said, "I'm feeling very proud of myself!"  Amen, sister.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Gossip: a twist in the saga

So, I just received a call from the pediatrician's office.  He says we can see him after all.  Which really begs the question...

What the heck went down yesterday?!

Part of me is very happy this is over with no apparent hard feelings (he is our neighbor, so we do have to see him from time to time), but part of me wonders what happened in the first place.  Maybe he was having a bad day?  Maybe it was the office staff?  I have no idea.  I doubt we'll ever know.

I smiled and said we would just stick with a different doctor for now, but to please thank him for thinking of us.


Ran into the neighbor who recommended him in the first place.  I called her yesterday to ask about the urgent care clinic, but I hadn't updated her when we were dumped.  She said she saw him last night and asked if he'd met us.  She told him she knew we'd missed our appointment that morning but that I "felt appropriately bad about it" (I was in my crying phase when I called her about urgent care).  She went on to say that she had told us that he would never leave us high and dry if a child needed care and that it would be all right.

And today his office calls us and offers us a place back in the fold.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The black brush

After months of settling in process, there are still a few loose ends.  We still haven't met our doctors or dentist.  I have appointments, but most required a month-plus wait.  Our pediatrician appointment was this morning at 9am.

The girls are up so early each day that usually by 9, we're all starting to get a little stir-crazy.  An appointment at 9 was perfect.  Yesterday, I remembered to get the records ready.  I double-checked them twice.  

This morning was a lovely morning.  The girls played.  We baked muffins.  We all sat together and munched and chatted until it was time to walk to their art which point I remembered our appointment.  Nearly an hour too late.

It was a simple, honest mistake and I took full responsibility for it when I called the office to see what we could do, but I am still painted with the black brush.  New patient who cannot be bothered to show up for her very first appointment, especially one with so many things (back-to-school physicals, prescription refills...) to check off the list.  They let me know what that meant for my mothering skills.  I wonder if it would give them satisfaction to know that after we rescheduled in six weeks' time that I cried for an hour.

The irony is that if it had been a stressful, crazy morning, there is no way I would have forgotten.  I would have been eager to run out the door with somewhere we had to go.  But it wasn't and I did forget.  I feel bad, but that doesn't mean I am bad.  I hate being painted with that black brush.

Earlier, I was upset.  I thought I was dramatizing a bit when I talked about the black brush, but it seems I wasn't.

Change "black brush" to "Black List."

One of the receptionists called us again this afternoon, saying she needed to reschedule us with someone else in the practice.  She was the nicest person I had talked to this morning, and she said she told him I was very sorry, that I had called less than an hour late with an apology.  She said the doctor had then told her that if we cannot keep our appointment, we cannot see him at all.  One strike and we're out.  She seemed embarrassed and emphasized that he made her call.  Apparently, this isn't policy.

To add insult to injury, this doctor is our neighbor.  He literally lives two houses down from us.  The reason we waited this long to see him is because all the families on our street use him and rave about how great he is.  Although we haven't met him yet, he knows he's our neighbor (another neighbor told me she told him about us and her recommendation).  I'm glad he is wonderful to them.  He has been awfully harsh towards us today.  It's going to be hard smiling when I see him in the street, but I will do it.

In the meantime, I took my daughter to a very friendly urgent care centre, where they happily did her physical and gave us prescription refills.  No appointment.  No wait.
We were there when the receptionist called me about my Black List status, and the doctor we were seeing was kind enough to be shocked.  She said she has not met a doctor with a one strike policy (usually it's three and sometimes not even then).  At least I can feel somewhat reassured that this isn't what to expect now that we're back in the States.  It has been a hard transition.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Papa chew toy

They call him "Papa chew toy".  He is the entertainment source of choice.  On a hot, hot day when we all would rather be inside, he still provides the best fun: "tossing" Stephanie and a serious indoor tennis match with Ellie the Champion.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Drawing dolphins

A couple of days ago, Stephanie called me downstairs to look at what she'd been doing on the chalkboard: drawing a family of dolphins!

 drawing dolphins

She was very proud of her work. Usually, she prefers to colour in with markers or paint rather than draw her own, so this was a delight to see. Of course, the painting is pretty great too. She and I have been painting together most mornings when Ellie is at camp. Today, Ellie is home from camp (they are having a field trip from 8:30am-5pm which was too much for us), but Stephanie is still engaging in a morning ritual as I type up this blog entry to share with you.

  morning watercolor time


cool chick in Mama's sunnies

Could you not just eat this girl up?