Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Scotch ....3 fingers, please.

These kids are about to drive me to drink! Today I've had one disaster after another. After breakfast, Emma threw a fit because Andy tore her favorite "magazine" (really and American Girl catalog). While I was making their lunch, Renee emptied the fireplace of all the little stones and tossed them all over the living room carpet (the kid's got an arm). During nap time, Andy snuck out of his room went down to my bathroom took the toothpaste and Kevin's toothbrush back to his bathroom where he did heaven knows what with them causing me to have to throw out the toothbrush because he loves to play in the potty. Then he climbed up on the sink, opened the medicine cabinet turned on Emma's Hello Kitty toothbrush and started clearing the shelves of all the (thankfully) childproof-capped medicine. My kitchen floor is covered in chunks of grilled cheese, dried-up and stuck-on Rice Krispies and drips of milk from the "drip-proof" cups. The Christmas tree looks like it was decorated by a deranged elf and there are cookie crumbs under the dining room table where Andy and Emma enjoyed contraband Christmas cookies. I need a glass of something strong before I start wrapping Christmas presents for the girls and boy on Santa's "nice" list. Santa and I need to have a little talk, maybe over a couple stiff drinks?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Emma's Ballet Recital




I don't know if you've ever seen a 4-year-old perform, but you absolutely should jump at your next opportunity. You never saw anything this adorable/ hilarious. I swear to you, I wanted to run up on the stage just to squeeze her when it was over.

The YMCA ballet classes performed a Christmas program at the senior center. All the girls wore red leotards and white tutus with sequence. Emma's class danced to "Jolly Old St. Nicholas". So there she was with 7 other girls. The look on her face when she was performing was priceless. You could see the pride in her eyes as she mimicked her teacher who was in the back of the auditorium. She performed flawlessly as did maybe 2 other girls. The rest were standing or waving, one was crying. Then the girls had to gallop in a circle, but only 5 of them wanted to. The other 2 were planted firmly in their spots until the circle met them. Then the traffic stalled. I could see Emma up there saying "Go!" and she pushed a little girl out of the way so the rest of them could finish. It was all very graceful and done on tip-toe. At the end of the performance the girls all blew kisses to the audience.

The rest of the show was pretty much the same. Adorable girls galloping into a dead stop when someone else didn't move. Another girl ran off stage to kiss her mom and was brought back only to spend the whole song tying her ballet slippers.

I can tell you this: Even when my kids are grown, I will never turn down an invitation to a preschool dance recital. It's too good too pass up.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Can I Get Down?

Andy's favorite words at dinner time are "Can I get down?" Here is a video of Andy entertaining us around the dinner table.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Family Members

Recently my mom came to town to visit me. Having last seen Andy when he was 2 weeks old and never having met Renee, she was due. More about that later.

Turns out, a benefit to our move here is our close proximity to Cincinnati. "Who cares about Cincinnati?" you may ask. Well, now I do. You see, the cousins my mom told stories about throughout my childhood are real. Until recently I wasn't at all sure they weren't figments of her rather active imagination. How do I know this? I've seen them with my own eyes- hugged them, even. They are truly generous and kind people who I am proud to call my family. I took pictures...I hope you can see them, too.

My Grandmother's family tree


































Mary Clare, my mother's cousin on Grandpa's side, and Mama




















Mama at her parents' graves


















Mama and her cousin, Margaret

















Mama and her cousin, Lois


















The cousins: Lois, Mary Clare, Barbara and Margaret


















Me with Mama's cousins: Bob, Bob's wife Sharon, Mama, Margaret, Lois and Me and the bust of my Great Grandfather Schaible sculpted by Mama's late cousin, Dorothea

Monday, November 06, 2006

Renee's First Birthday


Well, I know it sounds cliche', but it seems like just yesterday Renee was born. This past year just flew by. It was quite a busy year for our family. Getting a house ready for the market, house-hunting, buying, selling and moving cross-country is all very exhausting. Add to that a broken arm and 6 weeks in a cast for the primary care giver and you've got yourself a whirlwind of a year. No wonder she seems to have grown up so fast.

Aside from all the craziness, Renee's first year was delightful. Never was there an easier baby. She was simply a joy to be around from the day she was born. She started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, God love 'er. She ate everything we ever fed her with nary a complaint, who could blame her for rejecting baby food meat- ugh! She smiles and laughs so easily and has a high threshold for pain, an unusual trait for a baby, to be sure, probably developed by her older sister and brother playing with her too hard.

Renee's favorite thing is probably dancing, as witnessed in the video posted earlier. She will dance to even the faintest music. With her enthusiastic wiggling, she can persuade me from even the grumpiest of moods. She is a ray of sunshine in our hearts. Her Daddy and I love her so much, it almost hurts. Happy birthday, our sweet, darling ReRe-CoCo-Cups.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Andy turns 2


It's hard to believe but it's true. My young Andy turned 2 years old. I don't know where the time goes. Next year he'll be 3 and going to preschool. What's going on around here?

It's so funny to watch kids grow up, especially in the toddler years . They learn so much inside a year. Last year Andy had never had cake and now his favorite word is "chocowit". A year ago, he was the youngest child and he still slept in a crib in New Jersey. Now he's the middle child and in a big boy bed in Ohio.

He's become obsessed with dinosaurs, seemingly out of the blue. One day I tried to get him dressed to take Emma to school which means taking off the dino jammies. It was never a problem before, but this day he had a leg-kicking, arm-waving, eardrum-busting tantrum like I have never heard. He kept yelling something indecipherable, or so I thought, until Emma came in and said "He says he wants to be a dinosaur". From then on it's dinosaurs everyday. Don't ask me how this came about. I don't know.

I made him a Blue's Clues birthday cake because, even though he just runs around when it's on, he always asks to watch it. Blue called Andy on the phone and talked to him about his birthday. "Bow bow bow". Andy and Emma both got a giant kick out of this.

For his birthday we went to the Circle S farm, a family friendly place with a hay barn and a pumpkin patch. It was the perfect day. We walked through a sunflower maze and a corn maze, the kids climbed bales of hay to the top of a slide an came rushing down. We stopped for lunch and apple cider and the kids climbed on giant pumpkins. We took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch and enjoyed looking at about 100 pumpkins before we settled on our 4, which are now on the front porch.

And now our young monkey is 2. An exciting year is ahead. He will learn to use the potty, peddle his tricycle and learn to be more independent. I look forward to these new accomplishments only slightly more than I feel sad about him leaving behind his baby days .

One if by land, Two if by sea, Three if by funny farm

We recently returned from our "vacation" to Boston. What took me so long to add this post? Well, I had to let time soften the edges of the memory. Nobody wants to read a rant! We were completely exhausted from travelling with 3 small children who don't understand the idea of waiting quietly or resting in the middle of the day. So, now that enough time has gone by and I can look at our pictures and think, "That was fun", I'm ready to write.

We spent the weekend at a wedding with Kevin's family. The kids were pretty good at the ceremony, unless you count Renee trying to pull my dress off every 2 minutes. When I got up to go to communion, I almost had a "wardrobe malfunction" in the middle of church- YIKES! The reception was pretty fun. Emma had a good time dancing with the ring bearer and flower girl who are her 2nd cousins, by my calculations. She wanted to stay up for the wedding cake so badly that she just kept dancing until she hit the wall. I was spinning her in circles and she was laughing until all of a sudden she stopped moving dropped her hands to her side and went catatonic. She spent the rest of the night in Daddy's lap until the cake finally came.

The next morning there was a brunch for the out of town guests at the hotel. Andy met his cousin and his friends and quickly started acting like a boy. He had a good time wrestling with the bigger guys. It was pretty cute to see him wrestle with boys since he's always running around with Emma. Poor kid always has to be Prince Charming. Later that day we went apple picking at Nashua winery. I recommend you never pick apples at a winery. They are the snobs of the pick-your-own industry. We ate extra apples just to make up for their snottiness.

The weather during the week we spent in Boston was beautiful. We couldn't have had it any better. Thanks to Uncle Scott we were able to stay in a really nice hotel right in the Theater District 2 blocks from Boston Common. We spent most of our time walking in the Common, playing at Tadpole Playground, and having picnics in the grass. One day we walked over to the Public Gardens to see the Make Way for Ducklings statues. The kids got a big kick out of climbing all over them. Right around rush hour we walked across the bridge and the kids kept screaming to the live ducks, "Hello, ducklings" at the top of their lungs. We got several chuckles from the passersby. One day we walked all the way through Beacon Hill and over the highway looking for the Charlesbank playground, but turned the wrong way. So instead of playing we had a lovely walk along the river on a crisp autumn day. We found a hollow tree to play in and some beautiful weeping willows to sit beneath.

If you ever go to Boston with kids, you must not miss the Boston Children's Museum. We had the most fun with the kids there. After the renovations are complete it will get 5 stars from me. Right now it only gets 4 because it doesn't have a restaurant and the elevators are soooo slooooow. But the kids had such a good time doing all the experiments with the Blue Man group room, they got to shop in a little mercado, they did art projects and story time. We were there for 4 hours and didn't even get half way through. They even had an awesome playroom for under 2 years. Andy and Renee played house and trains and climbed a little tree house. Truly, it was lots of fun for Kevin and me, too.

After all the walking around and all the great restaurants and seafood, Kevin and I thought it would be so nice to retire in Boston. That is until 2 am when the comedy club next to our hotel let out. One minute, we're sleeping soundly 12 floors up, next minute- FIREWORKS! Some schmuck was setting off firecrackers in the parking lot and another group of people are yelling profanities at each other. I went back to sleep and dreamt of retiring in Ohio and travelling to visit more exotic places.

Will I go back to Boston? Abso-freakin-lutely. But not until my kids are much older.



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Graeter's Ice Cream

So far, one of our greatest finds in Ohio is Graeter's Ice Cream. Our family eats a LOT of ice cream and we consider ourselves quite the ice cream connoisseurs. By unanimous decision we have declared Graeter's as the best ice cream we have ever had. This stuff is the perfect consistency... not too hard, not too soft. And their specialty is these chocolate chunks that they add to the ice cream that somehow do not get "break-your-teeth" hard when frozen. Their ice cream is so popular that they even sell coolers and dry ice for those traveling several hours for a taste of the sweet "Double Chocolate Chunk".

Oprah has included Graeter's Ice Cream as one of her "favorite things" and as you can see... Andy boy definitely agrees

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006 Top Cities to Live

The secret is out about Columbus. This year in their annual list of best places to live, Money Magazine ranked Columbus as the #8 best place to live in the country. Columbus has clean air, good schools, and low crime rate. Throw in a thriving local economy and a good mix of cultural activities and it makes a great place to live and raise a family. Oh, and don't forget about Graeter's Ice Cream (I'll talk about that later). Columbus even beat out New York City which came in at #10.

By the way - Mom and Dad - Overland Park, Kansas came in at #6 on the list of small cities.

Columbus Dispatch: "Columbus among 'best places to live'"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Go Fly a Kite



The Turkeys took advantage of the nice weather over the long Independence Day weekend to fly their kite. Unfortunately Renee had a stomach virus which kept us around the house most of the weekend. Andy and Emma went to a birthday party of one of the neighborhood kids and had a blast playing in the bounce house that the family rented for the occasion. On Saturday evening our town had their big fireworks display along with musical entertainment, face painting, festival food, and the works. I took Emma to see the fireworks while the other kids went to bed. Emma kept telling me... "I'm not going to be scared of the fireworks", and sure enough she wasn't. She loved the show and especially enjoyed the big finale.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Boxes Boxes Everywhere


On moving in day, the 18 wheeler pulled up in front of our house at 8 AM. We were all excited with anticipation and soon our new house had boxes stacked at every turn. Unpacking has been an overwhelming task but we are finally starting to get somewhere. Who knew we had so much stuff! Of course, it's hard to get things unpacked when you have 3 Turkeys pulling things out as quickly as they are put away. They did however have fun playing with the empty boxes and rolling around in the mounds of packing paper... so did Mary.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Goodbye Garden State

As we pulled off of Wellington Avenue for the last time we were filled with mixed emotions. The last few days in our house were so crazy with packers, movers, and loose ends that we hardly had time to think about what was going on. Once we got on the road we had about 550 miles to think about what we were leaving behind and what our new lives held for us.

We had a pretty nice drive over 2 days and the Turkeys held up great. We stopped every few hours for a bathroom break or food, but it was the portable in-car DVD player that really made the trip bearable.

Once in Columbus the big day of our closing finally arrived. With checks in hand we walked into the Title agency office and 30 minutes later (and about 30 signatures) we walked out with the keys. The kids were VERY excited to see their new house for the first time so we drove straight over to the house for the big introduction. As we unlocked the door for the first time, everyone barreled through the door and ran to explore the house. Renee loved the carpet of the great room, Emma enjoyed hiding in the closet of the playroom, and Andy found a special place under the kitchen desk. We all just ran around for an our exploring every nook and cranny of the new house.


Finally we decided to had back to the hotel for one more night before the moving truck arrived. We decided to top of this very special day with one more treat so we stopped for ice cream on the way back to the hotel. We were all exhausted from the past week but thrilled to finally be in Ohio with our new home.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Kingdom for a Decent Slice!


All of our neighbors love Cici's pizza. Three of them recommend it highly. "It's all you can eat," they say. "It's the best," they promise. Having had more than our share of cheap pizza in college, Kevin and I just look at each other in bewilderment over these kinds of accolades. For those of you from Texas, it's the Pancho's of pizza. It's the Ramen noodles of pizza.

Then we started trying the different pizza joints around here. Suddenly we understand why our poor neighbors seemed to have no taste buds. It's all terrible. In much the same way the Olive Garden is an insult to Italian food, the pizza we found in Ohio is an insult to pizza. "How can you screw up pizza?" you might be thinking. Well, several ways. First, make it with provolone cheese and then cut a round thin crust pizza as if it is Chicago style deep dish, so that it's all rectangles except for 4 tiny little inedible triangles at the corners. Pity the fool who orders pepperoni. A normal pizza has maybe 10-15 . Try 100 on Ohio pizza (I'm not kidding!). It's obscene, and not in a good way.

My lucky friends in New York/New Jersey, count yourselves blessed. Do you deliver?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Welcome to Ohio


WE MADE IT!

We have arrived in Columbus, Ohio and started settling into our new home. Over the last month things have been very hectic with the packing, unpacking, and trying to find our way around town. It has been a LONG time since we have had a chance to sit down and post any updates. We had a great trip from New Jersey to Ohio and everyone is starting to get used to the new environment. We have a lot of stories and pictures to share so we will try to catch up over the next few weeks. We REALLY miss everyone in New Jersey, NY, and Connecticut, but we love Ohio. Stay tuned for more soon...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Top 10 Things I WON'T miss about New Jersey

Although we LOVE living in Northern New Jersey, there are a few things that we can't wait to leave behind. Here are a few...

10: Full Service Gas Stations

9: HUGE Property Taxes


8: Alternate-side parking

7: West Nile Virus


6: 95 degrees and 90% humidity

5: References to the Sopranos


4: Noreasters

3: Tolls on the Garden State Pkwy


2: Bruce Springstein/Bon Jovi

1: Jughandles



Leave a comment and let me know if you have any other ideas!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter


Emma dominated the Easter Egg hunt while Tige and Andy walked around clicking their Easter Eggs together. We had a beautiful day, but not quite enough wind for the traditional kite flying. Instead the kids enjoyed some time at the playground. Dinner was a feast on Cornish Hens and Orange Rice. Andy especially loved the corn on the cob, eating 3 ears! All of the kids has WAY too much candy and sugar overload, which made for an early bedtime for everyone.






Thursday, April 13, 2006

What's new with the Turkeys?

Renee has 2 teeth that have come through on the bottom and she is eating cereal for the first time today. She can regularly roll from her back to her front and once in a while she will roll from her front to back. She is very happy and smiles at everyone (except when she is hungry). She still has crazy hair, but the bald spot on the back of her head is filling in.

Andy weighs 28 pounds and is 2' 11'' tall. That puts him in the 75th %ile for weight and the 95th %ile for height. Andy uses about 15 - 20 words in context and will attempt to repeat just about any word that you ask him. He tries his best to keep up with Emma, running, spinning, jumping, and climbing and does a pretty good job. He loves bread, spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and rice crispies - but he is still not big on fruits and veggies. Andy hates having his teeth brushed.

Emma weighs 36 1/2 pounds in the 52nd %ile and is 3' 4'' tall in the 50th %ile. Emma's favorite thing is the Disney princesses. She loves to dress up like a princess with her dresses, jewelry and shoes. She is doing very well in pre-school 3 days a week and has lots of friends at school. Emma is learning to draw and can even write her name. Emma loves to sing at the top of her lungs, especially the music of Laurie Berkner. Emma's favorite food continues to be PB&J.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

House officially on off the market

5 days after we "officially" put our house on the market, we have signed a contract and taken the house off the market. This real estate market in Northern NJ is just insane. We had a Sunday open house with a huge amount of traffic, and by Monday evening we had multiple offers on the property.

We are very relieved to have this behind us because it REALLY sucks trying to keep the house in showroom condition with 3 kids tearing it up. I am not going to celebrate until we actually close, but things are moving in the right direction.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Broken Bones

Last Thursday Mary was on her way downstairs to answer the door bell when she slipped from the top step and fell all the way down the stairs. Even worse, she had just gotten Andy up from a nap and was holding him. Fortunately Mary's protective instinct kicked in and she cradled Andy as they fell. Andy was a little shaken up but walked away unharmed. Mary, on the other hand, ended up with a broken right arm and several very deep bruises on her legs. She saw the orthopedic surgeon yesterday and now has a cast from her hand up past her elbow. She is still in some pain, but coping very well. The doctor says she will be in the full cast at least 3 weeks and then they will transfer to a smaller cast just on her forearm for another few weeks. As bad as this was, we just thank God that it was nothing more serious than a broken arm and that Andy was not hurt.

Monday, April 03, 2006

3 Turkeys are on the move

Many of you have heard that our family recently decided to relocate from Northern New Jersey to Columbus, Ohio. My company is relocating their corporate headquarters to Columbus and I have a very unique and exciting opportunity available with the company in Ohio. Mary and I agonized over the decision and in the end we decided that this would be the best thing for our family. We will truly miss the beauty of the Garden State, the action of New York City, and most of all our close friends and family in this area. We are looking forward to new adventures and experiences in the Buckeye state.

Check out our future hometown at www.experiencecolumbus.com.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Emma's Birthday


Emma celebrated her 4th birthday with a party at Chuck E. Cheese. Many of Emma's good friends from school and playgroup were there to celebrate with her. They had pizza and cake and played games for hours. There was even a special guest appearance from Chuck E. Cheese himself. Everyone had a great time and Emma can't wait for her next birthday!



Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Andy Takes NYC

Andy made his first ever trip into New York City this weekend to see The New York Rangers play the Atlanta Thrashers at Madison Square Garden. It was a Father/Son day and we joined Ted and Tige in one of the luxury suites.

We rode in on the train from Northern New Jersey and Andy loved looking out the window. He made friends with many of the other passengers too.

Unfortunately the Rangers lost the game in overtime, but Andy had a great time running the halls of MSG with Tige.