Monday, December 22, 2008

Online at Home?

Is it possible?
One more day of school....and then a total of 12 whole days with David and Sullivan! He took off for the whole break so that we could relax. (and get some projects done around the house.)
A good friend joined the staff at school today, which is so exciting! It will help to have a partner in crime....and someone who feels equally passionately about public education to commiserate with.
Well, now that we're online, I'll be checking in more frequently....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the Season...

So I'm wondering where all these people are who have been scarred for life from their parents allowing them to ponder the existance of Santa?
I am kind of over the whole pro/con santa nonsense and am on a serious mission to find this disenfranchised group of poor individuals whose parental betrayal has left them confused and hurt and unable to trust again.
I'm just not too sure about that argument. That's all.
I mean, really, people believe whole-heartedly anyway that a jolly fat man lives at the North Pole and communes with elves and penguins? And then in one evening manages to stuff his portly self into tiny chimneys? And what about the houses with no fancy brick chimneys? Lord knows Santa wasn't hurling himself into our little wood-burning way. I still sort of thought it was possible,though. I can remember writing a letter after pouring over the Kiddie City circular. I listened for sleighbells and hooves on the roof. But I also looked really hard for my parents' stash. Never did find that, by the way.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I have to get Internet.
This is ridiculous.
I have no idea what the latest drama is on The Hills.
Are Speidy still together? Are the tabloids lying?
And who won America's Next Top Model?
Yes...these are the deep issues that keep me awake at night.

I do love this season. Nothing like being cozy at home. (or someone else's home where I can use the Internet...)
Thanksgiving at the new house was perfect. (almost perfect, we were missing some family members that would have really made it perfect...)
I'm hoping that D has the Christmas lights strung when I get home soon.....
We finally have one of those crazy neighbors that puts all sorts of awful decorations on the front lawn...they have one movable one....Micky and Minnie are popping out of a gift box, but the timing and manner of their movements puts them into a rather compromising position, if you know what I mean. I chuckle every time I drive by.

It's been a crazy few months, for sure, but that just makes all the quiet moments all the more sweet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

so it's not harder or easier....just different.
although I do miss the days of doing whatever whenever....although it didn't feel like it at the time. but there's no putting 23 kids into cribs and running to the bathroom in an emergency. you just have to sit it out and wait.
no work today, though! gotta love those "sick" days....
(I have a feeling that all the days I take off will be more for the son than for me....I guess that's pretty normal...)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

busy busy busy
harder than being a stay-at-home mom? a working mom.
hands down.
I don't know what people do when they have many kids and two parents working.
Fortunately I have a handsome partner in crime.... wakes up with Sullivan, they have breakfast together, and he takes him to school every day. I get to pick him up and hang out in the afternoon - we make dinner together and eat as a little family in the new house. As we figure out the routine of it all it gets easier.
Kindergarten is fun and kind of crazy. 23 five year olds. And me. Learning how to read and write and play with our friends. And how to flush the toilet and wash our hands. They can be pretty cute.
I voted today...that felt good. So excited to see how things go.... I loved driving to work this morning... so many people lined up outside of schools and libraries... people that had never cared about voting before. Anyway, it's in the air.... I love it.
(And I'll try really hard to not say I told you so.)
Although I think I just did.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sullivan met Miss Vicky today - she's his new teacher!
He got to do finger painting and had a snack with the kids... there are a whopping 5 kids in the class! So much for being lost in a crowd of crying one year olds.
He seemed to do fine....I, on the other hand, was a little upset, but it's fine.
He's going to love it and I think he'll actually learn a lot from the kids - so that's all good.

I would also like to say that since we bought our Hybrid nearly three weeks ago, I have had to put gas in it ONCE. I feel pretty good about that. I feel especially good when I park next to moms in big SUVs and mini-vans and know that our gas costs about 1/8th of theirs per month.
(Sorry if you have either of the above....nothing personal.)

Oh and kindergarten. Do your teacher a favor and teach your kids how to sit on a chair, how to walk up stairs, how to use scissors, and if you have time, how to read and write.

Happy Columbus Day...(even though he was kind of a creep....)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thoughts for the evening.

1. Being a full-time working mom is hard and tiring. But it's so nice to come home to a sweet little family! I think we'll all get through this. Sullivan starts his preschool class next week...I'll have to pack him lunches and send in a blanket for him to sleep with!
2. This election is old news. McCain/Palin are just sad - reaching for the Ayers stuff. It makes me wretch a tiny bit. It's especially sad that so many people just believe whatever they hear and don't go find out information for themselves. It's also funny to me that the same people who loathe the NY Times are the same people who Tivo Hannity Colmes. You tell me whose side you would rather be on. Blech.
3. Thank God for SNL. At least someone has their ear to the tracks. There's something to be said for political satire - I think it's a necessary part of the process, and they are able to be honest and thoughtful in an intelligent way. (and funny)
4. I'm sick and it STINKS. How can you be absent from your brand new kindergarten class?? You can't...silly. I have no voice, and I can't yell at the stinkers, but we'll see... at least in third grade, when I didn't have a voice, I could write directions on the board and they could read them. No such luck in K.

And now I'm getting into bed. Sullivan is down for the night and David is at the new house scraping and meeting with the plumber to figure out how to retrofit our cast iron tub with a shower.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Finished my second day back at teaching and looking forward to my first official weekend as a working mom. (Although I just had two days off for the Jewish New Year.)
So I was expecting to have the classroom teacher in the room with me for the whole week. Her lesson plans might as well have been in Sanskrit and her classroom routines...well...I'd been in there for one day. And these kids are young. 5 year olds. So I was wondering at around 9:45 this morning (when art was wrapping up) where the teacher was! What happens next? What's the schedule? And it dawns on me that she's not coming back. That was fine - we had 45 minutes before lunch - just enough time for a short little circle time to introduce each other and read and talk about what we do to get ready for school. But lunch ended at 11:15 and I had no plan, no copy paper, no whiteboard markers....she took everything. Fortunately she left her nonsensical lesson plans which were of NO help at all. So it's me and the 5 year olds. For 4 hours. I was smart enough and have worked with enough kids to know that's a long time. That's a long time for me to be sitting there.
I have much more to say. But since I'm officially an employee of the Philadelphia School District, I guess I should take one for the team or whatever.
But in all my life, I've never seen such a system - one that seems to not care for students, teachers, or learning....that overprograms in the hopes of looking like they have it all together.
There is a closet in the room that is, no joke, halfway filled up of Philadelphia's failed "curricula" - meaning that they started using something and then switched and switched, and then switched again.
I'm off. No more Internet fun for me. I have to go figure out what to do tomorrow!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hey Anonymous. This one's for you!

This comment was in reference to my post about my predictive text not allowing me to swear in text messages.
Just thought the people should know.

Anonymous said...
I wouldn't care for that kind of freedom of expression. Is that what you plan on feeding your sweet Sullivan when he gets a bit older and can copy cat your every word or deed? Seriously, is there something more meaty to blog about or do you persist on keeping up with your image? Like your Obama post that spiked up 80 something comments?

(first of all? the post wasn't about Obama...but whatever - and the post just inspired another post which garnered a whopping 85 or something comments. last time I checked, my high was 11.)

And you wouldn't care for that freedom of expression? Really? Interesting...I wonder if they'll try to pass a law about that as well. Protect the sanctity of our ears and all...

So friends, apparently not everybody shares our sense of humor about foul language on text messaging.

For further reference? anonymous comments are completely pointless. All that means is that you're willing to say things like that, but not brave enough to just admit who you are.
and leave my child out of it. sweet sullivan? sounds like something you could get put in jail for - that's totally creepy.
although I'd rather he know what the words meant than go using them behind my back because he thought I didn't approve.

Ready? Shit! AHH! Go running for the hills. I'll have you know that the word, "shit," for example, in other countries is considered no different than saying, "darn" or "excuse me?" In the Netherlands, I heard "shit" used from the pulpit. Whatever your perspective.

Whether or not he chooses to use them is going to be up to him. Although, I'm not exactly sure how privy my son is to text messaging, and mine in particular. Our kids live in the world, I hate to break it you, and unless I keep him locked up in the basement with myself and the rest of our family (actually, he'd probably have to be locked up with you to avoid all the evils, apparently), he's going to be exposed to anything that someone will share with him. I'd rather be the one he learns from, actually. Not some creepy little kid named Billy who pins him down in gym class and elaborates on the finer points of life.

And, for your information, every other word out of my mouth isn't a swear word, but I happened to be one of the kids who came home from school one day and asked my mom what f**k meant. And when she told me? Lord knows that it's not one I frequent.

I would be offended that you don't find my blog "meaty" enough for your taste except that I don't really care. Aren't I free to write about whatever suits my fancy? I don't remember checking any boxes on agreeing to specific content allowances...

I appreciate the fact that this is a public place. You're free to write whatever you want. But if you don't like it? Don't read it.

And keeping up with my image? Well, that has been a challenge for sure. Maybe you could send me a few pointers. What else would help?
Let's think....
I could pontificate about the value of a public school education. (slanderous!)
I have thoughts about the faiths of our founding fathers. (Oh stop!)

any other ideas? I just love to stir up the pot.

hmm...and it's a good idea I have one of those traffic meters...let's go see who stopped by this morning.

Friday, September 26, 2008

So if I weren't already a raging liberal based on my thoughts on abortion, government, and Harry Potter, we went and bought a hybrid this week!
It's a gently used hybrid, but earth-friendly nonetheless.
That along with our 85 year old new home (we settled this morning and were in there right away trying to figure out where to begin our journey of renovations...) has really launched us into a whole other realm of life.
What to do next?
Buy a boat perhaps?
Go on a Disney cruise?
The possiblities are endless. (well, as endless as our bank account which has taken a pretty big hit as of late.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


"Wands at the ready! We are seeking "professors" and assistants to lead our
Harry Potter clubs and one night events. Our programs are currently geared to
ages 7-12 and occur in the evening, many on weekend evenings, set-up and
clean-up required. Current background checks needed.
If you are enchanted by the idea of immersing in nights of Harry Potter
mania creating potions, making wands, dueling wizards,
teaching defense against the dark arts and
shopping at Honeydukes then send us an owler of interest
(or email...or call 610-648-0405!).
Dark wizards need not apply!"

David just sent me this posting he found on Craigslist. How funny? I think we'd make a great McGonigal and Dumbledore. Actually, I'd probably be more akin to someone in the Malfoy family, what with my bad temper and all....I'd be flinging those forbidden curses right and left. It would be dangerous, for sure.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On Friday, Sullivan's PT recommended we take him to "Everybody's Park" in Horsham. I'd driven by it before, but always thought it was just sort of a cute little name to mean that everyone is welcome to do their business there.
Anyway, it's a park designed specifically for kids with special needs - the equipment is user-friendly and it is all completely ramped - nice and wide.
Perfect for a little boy to walk through with his Dad.
The entire ground of the place is covered with recycled tire flooring so it's super bouncy and new-walker friendly. Definitely go check it out - kids of all ages and backgrounds were enjoying the space - I imagine that it's even better during the week when all the older kids are in school.
The walking is getting better - he becomes a little more courageous each day...our boy is definitely NOT naturally inclined to be a risk-taker, which makes us (and him) all the more proud of his little accomplishments.
One more week as a Stay-At-Home mom - while I'm excited to get back into the classroom, there are some obvious worries - I'm just trying to enjoy these last days with him. (sniff sniff - as if these are our last days together, give me a break!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

since when has text messaging started censoring my language?
shit for example - the predictive text does not recognize it.
bastard, a favorite, is also not known.
thank you at&t for preserving the sanctity of the art of text messaging.

interesting And supports my cause - double plus

A Conservative for Obama

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

Leading Off By Wick Allison, Editor In Chief

THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

(The article is online here.)

Had a visit with our old friend Dr. Rychik today. Have I mentioned yet how much we love him? Sullivan now greets him with a big smile and even a hug.
Things are looking great - his pulse is great all the way down in his feet, which means that the arch reconstruction is doing its job. His weight is great too - it jumped up from the measly 5th percentile to the 25th percentile...whatever that means. Better than going down, I suppose.
We'll be looking at the spring of 2010 for the third and final part of his heart reconstruction - although that's pretty far away, there is a light at the end of the tunnel - we just can't see it too well yet. But it's there...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

1. I got a teaching job, finally - thanks for nothing, Philadelphia School District. I start on the 29th of September - I pushed it back so that for the next week we could focus on the next exciting news:
2. We close on our new house in just over a week! I am SO excited to start ripping down wallpaper, choosing paint colors, sewing curtains. I'm daily inspired by a blog called Design*Sponge and can't wait to get to work.
3. They're ripping up the sidewalks on our street (ironic since our street has one sort of sad streetlight and there are streets all over the place with No sidewalks, but whatever) and so when Sullivan went down for his nap yesterday, I guess they started jackhammering. Convenient. (I happened to be out - this news is via my Mom) Anyway, it immediately woke him up and he started shouting "truck, truck, truck" from his crib. His version of truck sounds more like, "Duk, duk..." I feel sometimes like he just gets cuter every day. He is this incredibly funny sweet kid. Just like his dad. (collective aww.)
4. I'm now officially a resident of Montgomery County (after mainting my NY residency for the past 16 months) and a registered Democrat. Congratulations, me. The beauty of it all, and this was a shock - I'm extremely wary of beaureaucracy - it took all of 15 minutes. Walked in, filled out the papers, took a picture, signed a couple things. Done.

Monday, September 15, 2008

and oh yeah.
Sullivan can walk!
getting up to walk is a different story, but the man can move.
the only bad part of this is that now we are phasing out his PT whom we (and he) has come to love. we shall miss her!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I've been shocking myself lately when I think about how my views have changed over the past 10 years. I try to think about 20 year old Sarah and about what she thought was important and valuable, and it was such nonsense.

As I come to my own conclusions about politics and such, I've come to a few conclusions:

1. I hate when politics and (conservative) religion are mistaken for each other. It makes it really hard to discuss or debate political thought when one's faith are all tied up in it. So you think abortion is wrong and you refuse to vote for a candidate who has a pro-choice vote? What's to talk about? Since when does being a Christian = conservative republican. Thanks, in part, to my friend Annie Lamott (I wish we were friends) I can see that being a Christian doesn't mean you have to talk and look a certain way. The end is the same, but the means are up for the taking. I'm just afraid that people are missing out on so many other things that are important and that will impact generations for a lifetime and then some.

2. This whole abortion thing has me the most befuddled. I have to say that I've been moving farther and farther away from an alignment with a pro-life movement. (I've never been super into any of it anyway...) I don't know, though. I guess I think two important things....a. The government has a responsibility to uphold the ability for citizens to choose for themselves. b. abortion is just not a black and white issue. it's so much more than just some irresponsible lady walking into a clinic to get rid of an inconvenience. fact of the matter is that before roe v. wade, the leading cause of death among women were botched abortions - they had friends do it or they tried doing it themselves on the bathroom floor. I guess it's just more of a symptom of other social problems, and getting rid of it won't solve them. Tell me why the majority of Pro-Lifers offer abstinence as the only reasonable birth control? Anyway - I hate abortions - I've seen it and it's awful but truth be told, neither side is blameless - I guess I've just decided that the issue is more complicated than I wanted to admit and I think that the freedom to make an informed decision yourself is something I don't want to lose.

I guess this election has me thinking a lot, and I think it's kind of sad that so many are willing to settle for the norm. The same old thing. It would be amazing if there was finally something to look forward to - a positive change just in the way people think when they walk into a polling booth.

And that is all I have to say, for now, about the election. I'm sure you have some thoughts of your own, and I'm sure you'll love to post them. Can't wait :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

not exactly an update, but humourous nonetheless.
we read a heartbreaking story in the Inquirer this morning about the sad lack of teachers in the Philadelphia School District. How the poor children had to go to schools with vacancies totaling 160. How the rise in gas prices and the competitive nature of the suburbs are luring teaching away from the city. Who wants to drive to these jobs?
I promptly sat down and wrote a letter to the writer - the poor district who can't find teachers? How about the 450 teachers on a waiting list? How about the district sits around on their thumbs and hasn't hired teachers ready to teach? How about some conspiracy so that teachers have their salaries pro-rated - because a substitute will have been in my class until I get hired, I won't be paid for a full calendar year of teaching!
It was a sad little article to be sure. Meant to tug on the heartstrings and make people feel bad for the vacant human resources waiting room.
Give me a break.
On second thought, maybe I'll run for mayor....or superintendent. Do you have to live in the city to acquire one of those positions?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Philadelphia School District is jacked up. It's absolutely amazing that a district that services so many children appears to put them last on their list of priorities. The bureaucracy and "their way" of doing things is completely archaic and ... well ... dare I say lazy?
As someone who has been approved to teach in the district, I have no choice but to sit and wait until they fill "high need" positions. In my mind, a classroom without a teacher is high-need whether there are 30 positions open or 85. But no. Foreign language is more of a high-need area. Only because they have so much more trouble finding teachers to fill those positions. Grade level teachers are a dime a dozen, I'll give them that, but I'm actually high up on their list of over 450 candidates. Give me a job already! The first day of school is tomorrow.
I was reading an article about why large urban school districts have such trouble attracting highly qualified experienced teachers and one of the largest problems is a late hiring timeline.
The district would rather pay a substitute teacher to start the year with my future students rather than just stick me in somewhere. Anywhere. I actually want to teach in the city, if you can believe it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We decided today that Sullivan needed a little new season sprucing up.
We took him for his very first haircut.
Although he did cry (loudly) throughout the process, the lady did say that he was an angel compared with a lot of the kids that pass through the horsey seat.
Anyway, it's amazing how it aged him. He's a real kid now!

Before....all that golden hair!

Not too sure about this business....(I'm trying to distract him with a Wheels on the Bus rendition.)

Big Boy haircut!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I always think of all the good stuff to write when I'm in the shower.
But then it disappears....
down into the drain with the soap suds.
I was struck by inspiration not once but twice today....I totally forget what.
And tonight I was out with a friend, and when I pulled out my wallet...well...there was no wallet to pull out.
And drinks were on her.

Where does this mind go?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Part of the fun (maybe the only fun part) of buying a house is deciding how you want to decorate it. Sullivan and I have collected paint samples from all over Montgomery County - Lowes, Home Depot, Benjamin Moore....who knew there were so many different decisions? Even a shade of white - there are like, thousands to choose from. Is it a warm shade or a cool shade? Too blue or too yellow?
Oh my lord and the kitchen. It seriously hasn't been touched (painted, upgraded...) since 1945. No joke. They might have put down some peel and stick tiles around 1976, judging from the color and pattern. The blank slate is quite inspiring, actually. David has been especially (so sorry) cute with his diagrams and movable pieces drawn to scale. It's just a whole new phase of a relationship - what's our aesthetic? It's really exciting to bring together two different backgrounds and interests (and some common ones, I mean, we've lasted for what....7 years?) and see what you come up with. I've been thinking of a name for ours. With little luck. But it might catch'll have to stop by late October and decide for yourself.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A long day at CHOP and a sad boy, but the news was good so we're thankful and relieved. David and I went into the procedure room with him - David held him as they put the gas to his nose and helped the doctor get him onto the bed. That part always makes me tear up.
Anyway, we've been super into the Olympics this year, especially watching Michael Phelps, and it always makes me think about little Sullivan. I think part of the mourning, in a sense, with his heart, is that he really won't be able to get up and just do whatever he wants. He'll have to be aware of his own limitations and be smart about his physical activity. I don't want to place those restrictions on him, though. I want him to be able to pursue what he wants, but I just want him to be well-informed. So we watch these crazy Olympians, and I wonder what story Sullivan will have to tell someday. I love the little human-interest clips. Phelps and his breakfast, Kristy Walsh and her engagement ring, the 32 year old gymnast competing for Germany because of her son's health....will he have a tale like that someday?
So the news today was good. His cardiologist said that he could confidently say that his heart is performing at 100% of its ability. When Dr. Rychik explains what he looks at on the echo, the anatomy that he describes is totally foreign to me....his heart is so uniquely crafted...they've closed things, opened things, repaired arches, spliced veins and arteries to make new ones. It's all really quite amazing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

If you didn't see the 6 inch scar on his little chest, you might think that sullivan was just another 14 month old. (and he is)
These days, I don't spend a whole of time thinking about the intricicies of his heart, but every once in a while we have reminders.
Because of some of those reminders, Sullivan's cardiologist requested that we come in on Monday morning for a sedated echocardiogram. While I'm grateful for the technology that allows his doctors such a detailed view of his tiny little heart, to think about our little sweetie being put to sleep to allow them to do so, is almost too much.
I was so glad that our visits to the doctor had become less and less frequent, but this step is just a precaution so that we have a better picture of "the whole" picture.
He's making so much progress - cruising, fine motor skills, his inferior pincer problem (oy vey). It's hard not to see this as a set-back. Another long day in a waiting room? Holding a sedated baby, waiting for him to wake up from an unwanted nap? Ugh.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I guess kind of a lot has been going on.
  • House stuff is going well - we're waiting to see if they will make the repairs we'd like.
  • Job search is still in full-swing. I got a very cryptic message from the Philadelphia recruitment office. Apparently they have a psychic on staff. It read, "You will soon have a position."
  • Sullivan is just as cute as ever. I hate to be the parent who gushes, which is why I never do. While some struggle with an inflated view of their child(ren) I am struggling to get over my low expectations of my own. Maybe it's a way of dealing with disappointments? Not that I'm disappointed in him.... just in things. How they've turned out, I suppose. Anyway, the past two weeks have been full of these little milestones for him - it's so encouraging to see him proud of himself and figuring things out. Like stacking his blocks, turning pages, identifying characters in the book, emptying and refilling everything, climbing up anything. He prefers to keep his cup in the cup holder on the tray, and hates anything superfluous sitting around. He's quite the character.
Anyway, all that to say...things are good. Busy, but good.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

We just finished with our home inspection.
It was a surprisingly fun and informative afternoon.
It's nice to hear from a professional that our crappy new house
is actually full of potential, sturdy, and will survive much longer
than any of us will.
He lives in a 125 year old home that he's invested a lot of his own
time into, and it was really encouraging to hear his advice and positivity.
There's a part of me that fears we've bought into a Money Pit,
and I have visions of david falling through the ceiling and dangling over
the dining room floor for the evening. (ala tom hanks)
we certainly have our work cut out for us, but it's not even that bad.
a little paint, some new floors - maybe a new kitchen in the next 8 months....we'll survive.
If you've ever seen our little NYC kitchen, well, you know we've come out of the pit of hell.

On a more interesting note, we pulled up to our current abode this evening and a neighbor was standing with a guest on the street. We thought the guest was vacating the parking spot and so stopped up the street a bit. The neighbor, and we've lived here for nearly 15 months now, looked in the car and said, "are you looking for an address or a parking spot?"
We've lived across from this person for more than a year now and have had many conversations. The same little black civic has been parked across the street from her driveway for who knows how long? All we could do was chuckle. Such is life.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I like to think genetics play a part in how much weight a woman gains during pregnancy. I'm pretty sure, if I remember correctly, that I had a healthy pre-pregnancy lifestyle. Living in NY helped - no car to sit in. Walking and climbing, running around the reservoir, membership to the New York Sports Center. So nearly 60 pounds later, I don't know what happened. Anyway, I'm proud to say that this morning, I successfully put on (and zippered and buttoned) jeans from before I was pregnant! I have officially 10 pounds to go until I'm back at pre-prego weight. Pretty good. How did it happen? Torture. Less 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee. 50 miles of bike riding a week. (5 days a week for 10 miles) walks. nothing crazy, actually. what if I had been doing something crazy? who knows what could have happened? anyway, we're not quite there yet, but I'm pretty proud. And no...sadly the baby didn't weigh 60 pounds. He didn't even weigh 8. Shocker.
And oh yeah.
We bought a house.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I bit the inside of my lip a couple days ago and it developed into the most painful swollen sore ever. It's awful.
For some strange reason, while I was brushing my teeth tonight, I was overcome by a strange desire to scrub the sore. I did and it was so intensely's funny. I don't know why I had the urge, but I did. And now, even more strange, is that while it's still swollen and uncomfortable, it doesn't hurt as much.
I was trying to decide if the pain from the scrubbing was so bad that now the pain blanches in comparison.
But then I remembered someone once saying that it's the white part of the sore that makes it hurt and if you get rid of it, it will stop hurting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

sorry if you don't want to hear about this....not really sorry, actually. too bad for you.

so the last house we loved was an easy one - nice, new stuff....duh.
it's funny to be considering a home that needs a little TLC. it's completely livable - the work would come as we were living in the home. but it's going to have to happen.
on the one hand, it so exciting. you get to pretty much start from scratch. I don't have to put up with someone else's idea of pretty tile or cool flooring or creative cabinet arranging. we would make those decisions ourselves. that's the exciting part. it would be completely ours.
on the other hand, it would be nice to move into our already dreamy house with landscaped backyard and fancy kitchen.
it's easy to talk us into the romantic idea, that's for sure.
there's also something to be said for buying and living within (or below) your means. there are plenty of new and exciting ways to bring used things into your home that doesn't involve picking them out of someone's garbage - our living room sofa was such a gem for years when I was little.
anyway, we'll see. I didn't want to get ahead of myself - the last rejection was a blow to the ego. but sure enough, I have clippings from Dwell and Metropolitan Home, websites for recycled countertops and glass tiles and floors. did you know you could buy countertops made out of recycled paper? pretty cool.
anyway, we'll see.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

still looking...
so we are actively looking for a home, and it's hard.
I'd thought choosing a name for a baby was hard.
I'd say we're pretty picky, as one should be when they're making a huge investment,
and we actually walked into a home and LOVED it. It was totally not in a neighborhood that
we'd ever thought about....we wouldn't have even seen it if our realtor hadn't tricked us. we
had asked to see one home in particular, it was a crap-hole, and she said that she thought we
would love this one. we did.
long story short, someone else beat us to the punch which totally stinks.
anyway, we're still looking....looking...the market stinks right now, I've decided.
I feel like we're looking at the same houses we looked at 6 weeks ago.
Our house is out there somewhere, the people living in it just need to up and move.
(I wouldn't mind if they renovated the kitchen on their way out, either.)
Thanks. Would you mind?

Friday, July 11, 2008


07-10-08 057
Originally uploaded by p. magilicutty

3 cousins...

07-10-08 056
Originally uploaded by p. magilicutty

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

confessions from a whatiffer

Life is absolutely full of what ifs. All day, all questions...
I have to go grocery shopping? What if all the moms go at once and it's crowded with screaming kids?
I need shorts? What if they're not on sale anymore?
He just woke up from a nap? What if he's still tired?

Anyway, as life gets more complicated, so do the what ifs.
We want to buy a house? What if I don't really have a job in 5 weeks?

Here's to rising above the what ifs and making brave (and wise) decisions.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What happened to my dear old friend the Stink Bug?

I miss the days of last summer, chasing them down and flushing them towards their demise.
Come to think of it, I may have wasted a lot of water doing that. Oops.
Where are they this summer?
I can say that I saw and killed one back in May and haven't seen one since.
Perhaps drawing and quartering the little bastard, and sticking each part of his body
onto a little toothpick, to be an example to his friends, worked.
Just kidding.
I hadn't really noticed or remembered until VanMan and I were out on a walk and it came to me.
Anyone know what happened to our little friends?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

4 Years!

Getting engaged, looking for apartments in NY.

The wedding.

Many highlights, traveling, and a baby.
It's been an adventure, to say the least.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I look back of pictures of myself when I was little (under the age of 12) and there's a self-confidence that disappeared sometime shortly thereafter.
I see a similar look in most girls...understandably things feel like they go downhill just around 12 years old. (I stress FEEL)
Anyway, I have to say that there's something that clicked around 30. I realize that I'm new to my 30s, but I have to say that it's a refreshing feeling.
And this isn't an excuse for bad jeans or VPLs, but I just feel okay in my own skin every once in awhile and I don't think I've felt like that in years. (Even when I actually looked better and now when I look at that skinny 25 year old, I wish I'd enjoyed it more but c'est la vie.)

eww...this is incredibly "Ya-ya sisterhood" - I feel like I need to have a little pow-wow and do a dance of sisterhood or something. a little embarrassing but true nonetheless.

So in summary....teens and 20s stink. 30s feel good.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The hunger strike is over.
He still spits all fruit out of his mouth, but at least he's eating.
We're embarking on a new chapter of life this week.
We are officially meeting with our realtor on Wednesday night
to look at a first batch of homes we're interested in!
I won't divulge any of our secrets just yet, but we're both really
excited about the prospects. We'll see!
Needless to say, although we love Nana and Pop-pop,
we are ready to be in our own place.
(the picture is of our last home in NY - I've been missing our little apartment!
Even crazy Jimmy who sat on the stoop talking about politics and the moon.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So Father's Day was super fun, I thought...we started the day by making dad breakfast in bed.
Sullivan and Dad enjoyed morning cocktails - whole milk for the boy and a Bloody Mary for the dad. (He's going to kill me for adding this..sorry, man.) We then took lunch up to Valley Forge, where we spent the day on a long hike around the park. I love going up there.

In other news, Sullivan is on a hunger strike. I don't know if he thinks he's Gandhi or what...maybe he's discontent with the current political state of the world? Hopefully he's not waiting for GW to be out of office. His refusal to eat makes me very upset and so I've circumvented it by fitting in food in surprising places. I basically have to hide foods in his favorite things: pancakes and eggs. He'll eat anything that's cooked into one of those.
This morning he had ricotta pancakes with berries. The boy that snubs blueberries and strawberries was munching quite contentedly on them. Once a day he has eggs with zucchini and chicken (or another combination of veggie and meat) cooked into them. He eats it with no complaint.
This is a huge pain. Why won't he just eat the effing green bean? It makes no sense. He has some extreme disdain for most things that wind up on a plate and instead of just ignoring them, he picks them up, makes a nasty face, and forcefully throws them onto the floor. Yesterday, he made a little pile of the offensive green beans, neatly stacked on top of his sippy cup.
It's a good thing he's so cute.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A few things:
1. I declined the job. I love teaching...who was I kidding??
2. It's very awkward having a professional observe your interactions with your own child.
3. Strawberry pie is delicious.
4. Two guilty pleasures: So You Think You Can Dance (because I do even though I can't) and The Bachelorette
5. Love flowers. Always have always will. I'm pretty easy to please.
6. Nothing is better than a sweet morning with the men you love. (husband and son)
7. I love frozen veggie burgers for the baby. Ain't no shame in taking a few shortcuts.
8. Life is a balance. Nothing is more important than the other, so they all deserve equal parts of love and attention. Not terribly complicated but not terribly easy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One year ago today, Sullivan was "Delive(red)".
Home after 13 days in the hospital.

One year later....what a joy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today is the THIRD time I'm speaking with this organization, who apparently, is trying to hire me. I suppose one should be flattered...they're essentially offering me a promotion, before ever working a day, because I declined on their most recent offer due to an embarrassingly low salary. Not that money is everything, but the job is based in K.O.P. so when you factor in the cost of the gas, tolls, and the extra hour of babysitting a day, not to mention no summer vacations and the other perks of teaching....well, a better paying teaching job, closer to home, is sounding pretty good. Which is too bad, because if they were willing to relocate their entire office a little bit closer to here, or just let me work full-time from home, I'd definitely take it. In a heartbeat.
Speaking of which, what is with gas??
My lunch money in high-school used to be enough to fill the tank.
Since Cheltenham had off-campus privileges, we would pool our lunch moneys, get gas, and go eat lunch (for free) at one of our homes. Plus, our parents would all be at work, so it was always a super fun (and not always well-behaved) lunch period. Oh the excuses I had to make up when I'd come in late to Mr. Umfer's 6th period French class....but I digress.
Anyway, all I'm saying is that I guess I could just say NO, but I'm feeling like I should leave the door open.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

So Sullivan's birthday party just happened to fall on some freak heat wave. When the outdoor thermometer registered a whopping 80 degrees at 9:30 yesterday morning, we knew it was going to be a long day.
I had imagined the kids, frolicking on the back lawn with the parents sitting around under paper lanterns, sipping cold beverages and laughing over funny little anecdotes or planning summer trips to the beach.
Instead, sweaty and gross, I found myself making repeat trips to the A.C. to cool off, and finally gave in around 12:30 with a complete AC lockdown. Windows and doors sealed, AC on full blast.

Anyway, this new influx of "big boy" toys has inspired a very late spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new! Why is it that as the kids get older, the toys get bigger? ALL of his toys, seriously, used to fit into a pail. Like, a sand bucket. One sand bucket. No longer. These things are large and can't just be thrown into the pail anymore. They require a room unto their own.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Year

A brief story of Sullivan, through pictures.
An ode to the man, if you will.

Our boy was a world traveler before he even saw the light of day.
David and I flew to Prague for a week when I was about 24 weeks pregnant.David was able to go see Sullivan just a few hours after birth.
This is the first time we are meeting!

A whole two weeks - I won't bore you with all the details...sufficed to say, we are glad that's over.
Moving on...

Ages 1 month to 6 months...between surgeries 1 and 2: #2 - November 2007:

Unremarkable is great news.

And months 6-12. Lots of adventures, traveling across the country, crawling, friends....

It's been a crazy first year of life...lots of ups and downs.
I have to say that for a heart that is 'incompatible with life,' Sullivan is pretty compatible.
We're blessed to have been given the opportunity to raise this little boy!
Happy Birthday Sullivan Lowing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I hate the phone.
I've been wondering why I've learned to dread it, and I think it's due to the overwhelming amount of bad news I've received upon answering it.
I used to love to answer it....when I was little, it was a huge thrill to be the first one to get it.
I hardly ever answer the phone when someone calls. I wait until I have the time to listen to a message, in anticipation that there will be some great catastrophe meeting me at the other end.
Of course, I don't remember when the last time I got seriously bad news over the phone even happened....figures.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

time to make the decision I'd been dreading.
which is funny because I'm looking for a job, so you'd think I'd be happy to have options to choose from.
maybe teachers understand this, but it's a deliberate thing to decide to take a non-classroom job.
usually it's because people are stressed out or overwhelmed...teaching can be challenging, for sure.
anyway, the question of the day: do I take a non-teaching job?
I genuinely love being in the classroom and am good at what I do, but had been thinking it might be nice to take a job that still had an educational focus but took me out of the classroom. now I'm not sure either way.
oh brother.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

so nobody warned me that as they start moving, messes start growing.
pillows and heavy objects strategically placed over dangling cords, toys everywhere...
it's about time for Mrs. Lowing to head back to work.
Just in time!
i've been thinking that working moms need a little applause.
there are all these groups and stuff for stay-at-home moms, but where's the love for the moms in the offices? (or classrooms, in my case.)
the big one year mark is quickly approaching...outrageous.
it's time to party.

On a side note, I have found it helpful, as one who is currently abiding in the home of my childhood, to make the bed each and every day. Something I would have scoffed at in my earlier days. Trust me. It's far less depressing. Sure, I'm sleeping in the same room I did almost 30 years ago. But at least I have a very cozy and neat ginormous king-sized bed. (when your husband is 6'5", fulls and even queens just don't cut it.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

He kind of looks terrified, huh? It's still cute.
He actually really loves the swings, maybe he was staring at the scary lady with the mullet watching over David's shoulder.
Anyway, I've been thinking about how exciting this season in life is. And I never do this, but I am about to attribute my good mood to the current state of politics.
Is it because G.W. is about to be on his way? Perhaps...this has been a long time...too long.
I really just, for the first time, am super excited about this election - if only for what it represents - a change in the climate. I have my own favorite candidate, but honestly, if either Obama or Clinton end up in office, it would be pretty cool. Historical, obviously.
And I'm the one who always keeps my passport current so I can flee the country at a moment's notice. I have been discouraged about and embarrassed for our country one too many times in recent years. I am so ready for the change that this coming election will bring.

Friday, May 16, 2008

On the Move

as it turns out, when you stop worrying about something, it inevitably happens.
and he crawls!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

as it turns out, nearly 12 months old is a little too old for not crawling.
anyway, we had sullivan evaluated and he qualifies for PT which he'll start receiving once a week, as soon as the doctor can get her act together and fax a prescription over to them.
he's already been more active - up on his hands and knees, moving around, no crawling yet, but all signs pointing to it in his near future.
when we first saw the cardiologist in NY and he questioned sullivan's quality of life with his CHDs, we were devastated....things have been so much better than we (or he, apparently) ever imagined.... still his words haunt the back of my mind, "always behind...", "under-developed..." etc.
blah blah.
understandably, the boy has had some significant trauma to his torso - I suppose these things take time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

always something to worry about.
granted, my son, after time spent in the hospital and recovering at home (unable to lay on his stomach) has missed out on almost 2 months of tummy time. that's like me being bound to bed for 6 years, or that math right?
so I shouldn't be surprised that he's not crawling around yet. right?
you'd think.
instead, I find myself comparing him to the other kids his age....they're almost walking...
still he sits....rolls....sort of scrunches around with his toes when he really wants to get something. (usually just food gets him moving.)
anyway, I just want to have grace for him...instead I find myself getting frustrated with him and (how awful) feeling embarrassed that my baby isn't doing what the others are!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

sullivan and I just successfully completed our first cross-country trip.
we flew out to LA super-early on the morning of the 24th and took a red-eye flight that got in at 6am on Tuesday morning.

some thoughts/highlights:
1. My packing for the plane was in vain. A napkin and the people around were enough to keep him happy for a 5 hour flight.
2. He loved his cousins (and they loved him).
3. The change of scenery couldn't have come at a better time. Just what we needed.
4. I think a move to a more gentle climate is in order. I hate cold weather.

Anyway, the trip was super fun.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm considering ending (for now) my life as a stay-at-home mom.
In the past few weeks, I started getting things in order to begin applying for teaching jobs.
I have mixed emotions about this.
I really love teaching - I'm proud of what I do in the classroom. I think I could do better and go further with it.
I also really love being with Sullivan. These years are certainly precious with him.
But in the long run, what better job to have with a family?
Summers off, vacations...especially once our kid(s) is(are) in school as well.
Me working would definitely free us up, though, to save money for a house, be able to do some things that we have dreamed about....??
It seems that either way there's going to be a sacrifice. And, I certainly don't think one way is better than the other. Given the right situation, I think child-care could be really beneficial - he'll be almost 14 months old by that point.
I don't know...we'll see.

Friday, March 14, 2008

so tired.
every minute fiber of my being feels exhausted.
it's pretty ridiculous.
on top of that, I took up a new hobby
(a completely old lady hobby)
I just 'graduated' from a class I got as a birthday gift,
and have completed one project and just embarked on two new ones.
it's funny...I started it because I thought it would save some money or something....
something to do, but also as a way to be a better consumer.
And then I went to the yarn store today and spent 72.00 on a bag full of beautiful yarn.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I've been wondering when I'll stop filtering my experiences with Sullivan through the lens of his heart. Probably never.
Are his lips blue today?
Are his hands and feet warm enough?
Why is his color off?
Is he eating enough?
I'm reminded of the first time I fed was while a nurse wearing purple, latex-free gloves hovered over us, reminding me that if I was unable to get him to take the bottle, an NG tube would be inserted sooner rather than later.
Since he's sick this week, I'm reminded of that start to our lives together.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The boy is taking his 4th nap of the day.
He was up last night with his first stomach virus.
It's funny.
We've survived two open heart surgeries
and nearly 3 weeks of living in the hospital
and it's the 12 hours of vomit that almost set me almost over the edge.
How's that for a little perspective.
He's feeling much better today, although we're headed to the doc.
He has a fever now and has been tugging at an ear.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sullivan is 9 months old.
I assume that these landmark ages are just as meaningful to all parents...
I know that they are for me.
He is clearly well and healthy - you might not notice any difference between him and any other 9 month old if you didn't know to look.
But still...I think back to the first time we heard about his heart....they asked if we wanted to continue the pregnancy! We went home that night with little hope and lots of questions.

Anyway, 9 months old and doing well!
It's crazy to see him leave infancy and move into acting more like a little boy.
He's still a baby, but he has these mannerisms and this personality that he will probably always have.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

dirty apples??

I've been inspired to make my own baby food.
I don't know why - I wasn't a crazy breast-milk only mom...
sometimes I forget to wash apples before I eat them.
But this is fun.
I love picking out things to go into it....
spices, ingredients, liquids.
it probably breaks all the baby feeding rules.
we haven't had any adverse reactions, yet, save some irritated bum after a little spinach.
Today's treat?
Get ready for this....
brussel sprouts and potatoes, pureed with tofu, and a little water.
He loves it.

I love it because it looks so pretty.
All the sweet little containers, just waiting to be thawed and served.
It greatly appeals to my love of order.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cold Day

It's 11am. Baby is asleep and I'm left here to wonder what to do. This napping time always presents a problem for me. Is it possible that I'm really that unproductive? It's this part of my personality that has me thinking that it might be a good move for all if I head back to work. I crave structure. When given large amounts of free time, I have no idea what to do. I'm looking around my bedroom at any number of "chores." Last night's wine glass still on the nightstand. Dust on the TV. Old flowers that should probably be thrown out. But still, I am at a loss. And then, when he wakes up, I feel like I just wasted two hours or so on nothing.
Anyway, who cares? It's all just nonsense anyway.
So this big page. A lot has happened over the past year. I kept meaning to write it down, what I thought, how I was feeling, but what's the point unless you're ready? And I just haven't been. Maybe it's this season. Melancholy is inspiring. Bare trees, depressing snow "storms". Speaking of which...what's with snow? I feel like the days of missing school and going sledding are done. Will I be able to do that with my boy?

What's this story, you ask? Long and pretty uninteresting, but it's changed my forever, so it's a big deal to me. When we found out we were pregnant, it was quite a shock. And I always wonder, what's the surprise? Either you did something to prevent it or you didn't. We didn't and I was still surprised. Figures. Anyway, the entire first month or so was kind of a roller coaster. After our first ultra-sound at about 6 weeks, the OB didn't even think the baby was viable. His heart beat was too slow. I refused to use the progesterone they prescribed. I thought, "if this baby is meant to be born, he will be." And so we waited the alloted time and were delighted that our baby appeared to be improved. And he was.

At around 16 weeks, something suspicious turned up on yet another ultra-sound. Barely two weeks later, I went into surgery to have a 10cm tumor and an ovary removed. And we thought that was a nightmare.

January 11. We were all excited to go for the big ultra-sound. They were going to measure bones, find organs, etc... We knew something was up when the doctor took a little too long hemming and hawing over the images. 5 hours of ultra-sounds and echo-cardiograms later, it was confirmed that our son had a variety of complex heart defects that were "incompatible with life." Needless to say, it was fairly devastating news for new parents. The rest of the pregnancy, essentially, we spent preparing for the birth. Where would it happen? What would happen after birth? When would we bring him home? Where would home be?
I so wanted to be the typical expectant mother. My biggest worry would be whether I was breast-feeding or bottle feeding. Those newborn sized diapers in the drawer? I actually thought about whether it was impractical to buy them even - maybe by the time he got home, he'd be too big for them.
We moved out of our apartment in New York, and moved in with my parents. We didn't know what to expect and we wanted to be able to concentrate on him. The support that we would have outweighed our desire for our own sweet home. In the span of just a few weeks, our lives had completely and totally changed. New home (not our own), new job, baby on the way. I decorated my old bedroom to make a nursery for him.
Labor couldn't have been more predictable. I could be written about in textbooks. I had decided, in the hopes of giving him every advantage, to have a natural childbirth. My water broke, and about 14 hours later, he was delivered. Very quietly. It was actually one the most peaceful moments of my life. Of course, they then took him right away - I touched his cheek as soon as he came out - I knew that once he was gone, it would be some time before we would be able to see him. I stayed behind and the took him over to CHOP to get him started on the medicine that would keep him alive until his first surgery. I can't really remember too much from that first week. I held him for the first time right before they took him to surgery, but even then I knew that they only did that in case he didn't survive. It would have too much to lose him and have never held him. But, he did better than they thought. (Or better than they told us. I compare it to waiting for a table in the restaurant. They have to tell you that it'll be a 90 minute wait because then, when it's only been 60 minutes, you think they did a really great job.)
Anyway, he came home on June 14th. I think. Like I said, I don't remember too much. I was just glad when that part was done.
So that's the beginning. Since he's been home, I guess it's like having any other baby. He eats but I always worry that it's not enough. He sleeps but I worry that it's too much. He cries and I worry that it'll send him into congestive heart failure. All normal fears, right? :)
He was back in the hospital in November for part 2 of his surgery. Again, it was routine and he was sent home just in time for Thanksgiving.
Again, I think that having Sullivan has been simultaneously the most amazing and most scary thing ever. Sorry this was a long story, but now at least you're caught up.
I guess my point is just share it. Enjoy.