Thanksgiving. Ish.

Please feel free to skip this post, as it is full of self-pity.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And tomorrow I will write about everything for which I am thankful. 

Today? Is Thanksgiving Eve. So, I’m really only feeling ‘thankful-ish.’ And really, not even that much.

All I can think about is how sad I feel. How much my heart and soul seem to literally hurt. How much I am trying so hard to keep it together, when I feel like I am constantly on the verge of tears.

So, tomorrow I will be happier. At least I will pretend to be.

Today? Not so much.

My family is separated this holiday, which is not at all unusual for us. The married siblings almost always spend Thanksgiving with our in-laws, and then we all spend Christmas together. As such, my little family and I are with my in-laws in Water Sound Resort (in the panhandle of Florida) for the week. My twin brother and his wife are visiting her family in Sarasota. And my older brother and his family are with Nani and Botsie in Chicago. They typically go to Evansville, but there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that we were leaving them alone this year. 

Because Jobear usually came home. 

We never had to worry about it – which is probably silly anyways. They are grown adults, and are so in love with each other it’s a little sickening. Seriously. Lots of pats on the bottoms and whatnot. But we always knew our little brother would be there, and it never occurred to us that it would be any different.

But this year it is. Different. 

And it feels horrible. And it feels sad. And it feels empty. I can only imagine how unpleasant I am to be around on the days leading up to today, and I can only hope that everyone around me can grant me a bit of understanding. I want more than anything for us to all be together. But, really? I want more than anything to not think about how the fact that this Thanksgiving being so different will mean that this Christmas will be even more different.

I guess what I’m saying is that I miss you little brother. I miss you more and more every single day. And the holidays seem to hurt more than a regular day – which already hurt a whole heck of a lot already. 

We love you. We talk about you every single day. We cry at memories of you, and we laugh at memories of you. And it gets easier to talk about you, but it doesn’t get easier to live without you.

I know this Thanksgiving you probably will be with Grandpa-PA, fishing up a storm, talking about airplanes, drinking the best beer and smoking the finest cigars. And we will try not to be too sad, because that would make you so, so angry at us.

But, I’ll be sure to drink a bit too much and swear a bit more than I should (that is, any more than I already do on a regular day, right?). Because, that’s what would make you the happiest. 

And I hope more than anything you will be watching, and will feel happy and will know just how much we love you.

Jobear. Happy Thanksgiving. Ish.

DEEP Breaths …

Those of you who read this blog know that Paige can be … um, passionate? To say the least.

Let’s just say that spending the past 2 weeks in Florida, with various grandparents, has not done much to quell her energy level. Said energy level and passion came to a full head this morning. She had been awake since about 3:00 am (with off and on ‘cat naps’ after that). She had waffles, sausage and strawberries for breakfast. She spent time with her Gramma, Aunt Tricia and Uncle Brian. She and her sister played hide-and-seek. We did school work. We were getting ready to go for a walk.

It wasn’t quite yet 9:00 am.

Paige went to get her shoes on. And accidentally scraped the door over her little toe. And there was a scratch and a tiny bit of blood. Which she saw.

And proceeded subsequently to … how do I put this delicately? She lost her shit.

I know, I know – I have a potty mouth. But, honestly? Sometimes there’s no other way to be as descriptive as I need to be. And, trust me. There is no other way to describe what happened.

There was screaming. There were lots of tears. And all of a sudden being hurt took a downward spiral into a full on tizzy. A hissy fit, if you will. I was patient, for a bit. I understood she was hurt, but as the screaming and kicking continued, I felt my sympathy quickly being replaced by anger.

It was a super-proud moment for me. I also proceeded to lose my shit, and I yelled. We both got all kinds of worked up.

I adore days like this. 

No, wait. The opposite of that.

Derrick came into the room, I tossed Paige into our bed, and I ordered everyone out of the house. Gramma wanted to stay (which is EXACTLY what Paige wanted to happen), and I may or may not have basically ordered her to leave too. (Sorry, Gramma. I know you know it was nothing against you!)

So they all left to go on their adventure. And I stayed behind with Paige. Who drew this particular crying and screaming fit out for 27 minutes. Yes, I timed it. It was horrible. My head was pounding, and I felt like crying too.

Then, as quickly as it began, it stopped. I walked into the room and climbed into bed with her, and we had a long talk about how acting this way means you don’t get to do what you want to do.

I brought her out into the sunny and quiet living room, and got her some books to look at while I caught up on some blog ready. She desperately wanted to use technology. I knew she desperately needed to unplug for a bit. I put on some music, and we snuggled together on the couch.

Just the two of us.

Together we took deep breaths.

Together we enjoyed the calm.

Together we settled down and regained our senses.

Together we told each other we were sorry.

Together we told each other how much we loved each other.

Sometimes, us girls just need a bit of time to disconnect from everything and reconnect with each other.

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And, suddenly, all was right with the world again.

The Happiest Place on Earth (most of the time)

We did it. We survived Disney World. In fact, not only did we survive it, we enjoyed it. And each other.

Last week, Derrick, the girls and I spent seven full days in Orlando with Susu. My brother and SIL, Rob and EJ, joined us about halfway through our trip, along with my three nieces and my nephew. All in all, we had 6 kids under 10 years-old (although, by Disney standards, the 10-year-old is an “adult.” Which she LOVED.). For the first 4 days it was just our little family and Susu. We frolicked in the pool at the resort, and one day we even ventured to Universal Studios*, where the girls basically had the run of the park.

*Sidebar – we actually thought we were going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And actually didn’t realize we were NOT at Hollywood Studios until we were well into the park. You know – when I may or may not have asked someone where the Toy Story ride was, and he told me “At Disney.” Oops. Oh well, a good time was had by all! Luckily my kids are too young to know the difference! Hahahaha!

Our first day with the entire crew was a miracle. Truly. An-honest-to-God miracle. We grown-ups commented multiple times that all the stars seemed to be aligned for some reason. All 6 kids lasted ALL day at the park – like, through-the-Electric-Parade-that-didn’t-start-until-8:00pm all day. Never again will this be achieved.

We have used up that ticket at Disney…

… as we quickly discovered the next day while at Animal Kingdom.

Derrick had to travel to New Jersey for the day, so we were one grown-up down. The kids smelled weakness, and Blair went in for the kill. After falling asleep in the stroller, she awoke to find she had peed through her diaper and shorts, had a hugely poopy diaper, she was hungry, and she was in a bad mood. Scratch that. She was PISSED. And, in true Blair fashion, she let everyone (like, in the world) know about it. It wasn’t pretty. We were waiting for Rob, EJ and their two oldest to get off a roller coaster. We were surrounded by about 200 people – it was shoulder-to-shoulder crowded. I somehow kept my calm, despite the fact that she kicked me in the fact three times, the chest too many times to count, and successfully covered my wedding rings and fingernails with poop (sorry to be gross – just painting the picture).  Luckily Paige, Addison and Nate were kept happy with an ice cream bribe.

No joke, people – she was screaming at her highest volume and decibel level for a good 15 minutes before Rob and EJ came back. During which time EJ promptly grabbed her from me and walked away (have I mentioned how much I love her?).

**Sidebar 2: Thanks, humongous lady on the riding scooter and her husband wearing overalls with no shirt underneath. Your expressions of concern in the form of saying how loud and obnoxious my child was were SUPER helpful. I had JUST been telling Susu that I hoped Blair woke up and covered me in poop, bruised my body and ego, all the while screaming and piercing the eardrums of everyone within a 3-mile radius. Jackasses.

Anyhoo – that brief incident aside, these kids were ridiculous. Like, probably what angels in Heaven must act like. (Okay, Nate had a tiny outburst after having breakfast with the Princesses, but honestly? What little boy wouldn’t. The poor kid had been showered with estrogen, wet kisses and girls trying to pick him up every second of every day since he arrived. And really? He just cried for a bit – but was still polite enough to bless his daddy when he sneezed. I heart my nephew.)

Enough of the chit-chat. Here are just a few of the 300+ pictures I took while we were there (I couldn’t add anymore – only because I’m super impatient and it already took me 40 minutes to get these uploaded).

Enjoy.

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Woohoo!!!! We are in FLORIDA!!!! With SUSU!!!

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The girls, with Alice in Wonderland

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Is Really IS A Small World!!!

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Cousins. Seriously? So stinking cute.

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Just some cool kiddos at a 3D movie starring Mickey and Donald

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Yeah I did – best aunt ever bought all the kiddos these just in time for the Electrical Parade.

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Just the beginning of this parade. If you ever have a chance to go? Do it. Amazing.

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Sigh. Moments like these? Heart skips a beat.

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Bear channeling her personal fave – Cindy. The diaper hanging out was her own addition.

Big Sister

Believe it or not, growing up in a household of all brothers never really left me feeling like I wanted to have an older or younger sister. I didn’t have any experience with sisters. I was just fine hanging out at my older brother’s sporting events, playing/arguing with my twin brother, or dressing my little brother up like the sister I never had. In my mind, I had the best of both worlds – all the playmates with none of the drama.

Up to this point, watching Paige and Blair interact seemed a lot like watching some sort of anthropology experiment. I have been appalled to see that these girls fight rougher with one another than my brothers and I ever did. (Well, that might be a bit of an overstatement. I vividly remember Rob lining all of us up so he could practice hip-checking before his next hockey practice. Nightly. Which, oddly enough, we were thrilled to do.)

They steal toys, bite, pull hair, push and punch. Worse still, they say horrible things to each other – Blair already tells Paige (and, disturbingly, Derrick and I), “Anybody! I NO like you!” And don’t get me started on the mocking. It’s out of control – just today Blair was walking around the condo singing “I got honey! Paige not got any honey!” She didn’t get honey. No one got honey. But that didn’t prevent a 10 minute fight about honey.

Then, all of a sudden, something changed. I’ve been noticing over the past month or so that they seem to be playing together more often. And playing together for longer periods of time. It’s nice, but I still always find myself waiting for the screeches and screams of playtime gone wrong. They are less frequent.

Then, this past week, at Disney World, Paige all of a sudden became a big sister.

She looked out for Blair. Pointed out things she knew Blair would love. Held her hand and called her “Honey.” Had her sit on her lap during their performance at ‘Enchanted Tales with Belle.’ She held her hand to meet Belle (Blair was NOT a fan of meeting most of the characters). And cheered for her when she successfully performed as a dancing plate.

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Paige called Blair over to have her sit on her lap during the play. She said “come here, honey! Sit with me!”

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Meeting Belle

Oh, sweet cuteness. I don't give a rip what people say about not letting your girls like princesses. They can like them all day if it means more pictures like this.

Oh, sweet cuteness. I don’t give a rip what people say about not letting your girls like princesses. They can like them all day if it means more pictures like this.

I’m not going to lie. It got a little dusty in there … my eyes began to tear up.

And then? And. Then.

This happened.

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My heart skipped a beat. A tear ran down my cheek. All was right with the world.

This is what it’s all about.

I wonder if it’s too late to ask my parents for a sister …

Naptime. Hotel-Style.

Today began a three-week journey to Florida for the girlies and I* (Derrick will be working intermittently, and you will notice I don’t call it a vacation. New definition: vacation, n: a trip you take without  your children).

Yes, yes…I know. Three weeks! We are so, so lucky! You’ll be reading lots about it here, but the girls will be spending a week at Disney with Susu and their cousins, a week in Longboat Key with Nani and Botsie, and then a week at Watercolor Resort with Gramma and Grampa. I mean…how lucky are they? All three sets of grandparents back-to-back?!?!?!

*Sidenote to potential burglars (robbers? thieves?): Don’t even think about it. We have an alarm, a dog and a neighborhood watch. And, also? Nothing worth stealing. Except the dog. You can have him. 

We left this morning around 5:30 am. No need to set our alarm, as Paige was up at 5:15. Honestly, contrary to our travel history, it was fairly non-eventful. We only stopped twice. We had just a handful of meltdowns. We packed lots of snacks, activities and movies. D and I only fought once … an hour or so, but for us? That’s huge!

We arrived at our hotel in Atlanta around 2:15. Blair fell asleep about 20 minutes before we arrived (of course). We got to our room, and both girls were obviously ready to be out of the car, but also exhausted from being up so early. Normally? We wouldn’t care. We’d run them ragged and put them to bed early.

But, tonight? We’re visiting my oldest friend. Actually, my longest friend – she’s only less than 2 months older than me. At my wedding she brought a picture of she, Jay and I all lined up in our pumpkin seats. We like to joke that she knew my parents before I did. Also, her kids are good. AKA – it’s crucial my kids nap.

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Back to the hotel – a large-ish room with about a 2 feet “partition” separating the “bedroom” from the “living room.” We let the girls watch a show (um, because they hadn’t watched enough television during the 8 hour drive down here? I am SUCH  a good parent), then decided it was time for quiet time/nap time.

I think you see where this is going.

We put Blair’s pack and play behind the partition, turned off the lights and all fell soundly to sleep.

Hahahahahaha!

Not so much.

Here’s a visual of what this looked like:

This is the screen partition. That 'blob' is Blair. At many points there was an actual hand on the screen, but I wasn't fast enough to get it. This is not zoomed - I was literally this close to her.

This is the screen partition. That ‘blob’ is Blair. At many points there was an actual hand on the screen, but I wasn’t fast enough to get it. This is not zoomed – I was literally this close to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is what Derrick, Paige and I looked on the OTHER side of the partition. AKA, about a foot and a half away. Thanks again, Apple, for keeping us all entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aaaaand THIS? Is what Derrick could see from his seat, and what I saw when I leaned forward. I honestly almost wet my pants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naptime over. Suz? Thank God you’ve known me forever.

 

 

 

Rookie Mistake (aka, Dad’s in charge)

I left the house this morning for a meeting. I was gone for a little less than 2 hours. Derrick came back to work from home while I was gone (the girls asked if he was babysitting them – um, no. He’s actually your parent.).

I ran a couple of minutes late, so we briefly passed outside as I was walking in and he was walking out. He was on the phone, so I only go to ask my most important question, “Did the girls watch TV the entire time I was gone?” I’m not being rude or discounting D’s parenting skills here – I’m just being realistic. A morning spent in front of the television/iPad/iPhone makes my girls crabby and crazy. Which is obviously only okay if I’m the one causing said crabbiness and craziness. Right?

Anyhoo – Derrick shot me a dirty look politely responded that while they were playing with the iPad now, they actually spent most of the time playing quietly in the basement.

Moms? Seriously? When is a child playing quietly ANYWHERE ever a good thing?

I went to check it out, and found this:

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Um…jewel stickers. All over the slide. And the surrounding carpet. I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with these stickers, but I’m pretty sure the adhesive is Super Glue. I had one stuck to the bottom of my boot a few days ago, and I had to use a knife to get it off.

That being said, it was pretty hard to resist a cute, smiling Blair asking “Do ewe see ma decorwation, Mama? It bee-ewe-tu-ful!”

I had to agree, it did look beautiful.

Than I had to gently remind Blair that stickers go on paper, not things. To which SHE reminded ME that stickers “go on people, too.”

Touche.

So, we had a good lesson, and she even helped to clean it up herself:

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All is well again. Except for the new sticker on the bottom of my boot.

I think I’ll let Derrick get this one.

 

Child of Technology


Okay, this will be brief. But cut me some slack. A) I’m trying to keep up with my promise to myself to post more. B) Paige has been sick with a high fever since Sunday evening, and I’ve been stuck at home with 2 non-sleeping, coughing, grouchy girls since. C) I’m tired. And maybe feeling a little lazy. AKA – I’d rather be shopping on MyHabit.com.

Also – spoiler alert to my friend, Kelly. This post features your daughter’s birthday card.

So, we are home today and it is the … what, second? third? day in a row the three Feldmann girls have been stuck inside with the sickies. Hand to God, I feel like my kids are sick more than they are healthy. They’d better be winning attendance awards when they get to Junior High.

Poor little Paigers has been running a fever since late Sunday afternoon, and last night it reached 104.6 degrees. Scary. Thank God we have a nurse in the family (I’m looking at you, Aunt EJ). Whom I may or may not have called in a panic. And interrupted a concert she was enjoying (ahem, which I was supposed to be at. I’m looking at you, Paige). And then I may or may not have cried.

Whatevs. I worry. It’s what I do.

So, Miss P seemed to have a little window today where she wanted to get up off the couch. In an effort to move both girls away from the television for a brief stint, I suggested she make a birthday card for her friend, Audrey. We have a present, but no card yet – what a perfect opportunity to be crafty and creative!

She disappeared, and I began Clorox wiping every surface she has touched recently. I assumed she went to the basement where we keep an art table and crayons/stickers. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later I heard her coming into the room, proudly proclaiming the card was done, and asking me to look at it.

Expecting a drawing on construction paper, I was a bit surprised to see her carrying my iPad. She sat down and patted the seat next to her, then showed me this:

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And then she asked me to print it on the printer.

Um…

This? Is a birthday card she found and customized on the Nick Jr. Draw & Play* App I have on my iPad. She somehow found a specific birthday card, customized it, and saved the picture to my Photo Stream.

I am speechless. Which happens rarely. Almost never.

Who brought the genius????

Oh, wait. I did.

*I have no support from Nickelodeon. I wish I did, since they play a very important part of every day in my life as a homemaker. This App? Cost $4.99. And it was worth. every. penny. Keeps my girls busy forever. And by “forever,” I mean “longer than 5 minutes.”