Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween/Reformation Day

Here are my three trick-or-treating kiddos just a few hours ago. Hank was a ninja and Madeleine and Elisabeth were our cats, Maisy and Moppet who, as you might have guessed, are gray and black respectively.

They scored scads of candy and I can't wait to dig into it once they're asleep (shhhhh! don't tell them!).

And now, Joe and I will switch gears into Reformation Day and go downstairs and watch Luther with Joseph Fiennes.

New Project

I am not a crafty person. I am not selling myself short and I'm not simply being modest; I'm being honest. When it comes to being creative, it's just not in me.

That said, there are things in the creative world that even non-creative people can do with the assistance of creative people. Like sewing, for instance. Non-creative people, like me, can still enjoy mending things that need to be fixed and we can even enjoy creating things that other, more creative people, have designed for us. I am one of those people. I enjoy taking nothing and creating something useful. It's one of the reasons I love to cook so much; when all that basic, plain food is mixed together in such a way that something delicious and beautiful is made by my own hands, it makes be feel very satisfied and fulfilled. And when people enjoy that creation? Even better!

So, it's not surprising that I would also feel drawn to the creating and making of useful things like pillows, duvet covers and Halloween costumes.

Except I have a small problem. I don't know how to sew. Sure, I can do basic things like sew a button on a shirt or mend a rip along a seam, but that's it. I'm not too proud to admit that, until yesterday, the very idea of a sewing machine frightened me to my core.

Yesterday that changed. I needed to make cat tails for the girls' Halloween costumes and I decided I was going to use that easy project to figure out how to use Madeleine's Singer Simple sewing machine. And you know what? I did it! It took me all day but, by the end of the day, I figured out how to wind the bobbin, load the bobbin, thread the needle and raise the bobbin thread. My first cat tail's seam was uneven and awful, but my second? Pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Next week Madeleine and I are going to make a pillow or two so that I can get some more practice in, but our next major project? Madeleine wants to duvet cover for her comforter. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Months

I can't help myself from posting more pictures of Caroline. She's just so stinkin' cute. And, today she is two months old, and I'm certain that necessitates some sort of post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Elisabeth Meets Grape Juice

This is what happens when a four-year-old tries to pour grape juice. I do not advise repeating this experiment at home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caroline Smiles

Caroline has been smiling for a little while now, but it's only recently that she's been smiling back at us often enough that I could finally capture a couple of her gorgeous smiles on film. Or pixels. Whatever.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Scenes From the Weekend

Hank's 7th and Elisabeth's 4th birthdays celebrated in Door County. As always, a fun and relaxing time.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Last night Hank had hockey practice for the second time this week. Also, his soccer season hasn't quite wound down yet, so for this week and the next we're dealing with three practices on three different evenings each week. And Madeleine, while she only rides once a week right now, is probably the owner of the activity that takes the most time because the stables are the longest drive, she is expected to care for her horse both before and after her lesson and her lesson is a solid hour. Grandparents, when hearing of these activities, look at me like we're crazy, especially since Joe isn't reliably able to get home early enough to help out with much of the driving.

The thing is, I don't always mind it.

All day long I'm at home with four small children who, while conversant in many topics, don't always stimulate the same kinds of discussions I might have with other adults. I have managed to get to know all the parents on Hank's soccer team, I have a friend at the stables and now I'm getting to know a lot of the hockey moms and dads, many who I really like. For me, these activities are social hours and a chance to relax and unwind. If I could sip of glass of wine while Hank's team was on the ice or in the viewing room at the stables, that would be better, but still, I'll take it.

Even the other kids don't seem to mind. Elisabeth has a handful of little sibling playmates on Hank's soccer and hockey teams, and she always asks to go to the practices even when she has the opportunity to stay home. And dinner? We're a late to bed family to begin with, so eating after 7 p.m., or even later, doesn't really phase us. Plus, Joe's more likely to be home to eat as a family if we eat at 7:30 or later. It's not ideal, but it's OK.

So there. We're not crazy. Well, at least not because of our somewhat hectic evenings anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Door County

We started heading up to Door County to celebrate Elisabeth and Hank's birthdays with family in 2006. I really didn't want to be home that year since it was the first anniversary of Mom's death. I wanted to be long gone in a fun, happy place focusing my my kids' birthdays.

However, what started out as a one-time escape has now turned into a tradition that everyone enjoys (especially, me, I think!). I'm finishing up cake, laundry and lists for packing this evening and, if all goes well, we'll be on the road around lunchtime tomorrow.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


When Joe and I found out last year that we were expecting a new baby right about the same time I was going to start our third year of home-schooling I had a bit of a panic attack. Not only would I have a new baby to care for, but two students to teach, one of whom was moving from kindergarten work to more time intensive, laborious 1st/2nd grade work.

Sonlight's literature based/quasi-Charlotte Mason-y/quasi-classical method has always intrigued me and I considered it strongly but eventually decided not to pitch the idea to Joe; there were too many things we were already using that I liked and I didn't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. Ultimately I suggested to Joe we splurge on their reader packages for Madeleine and Hank. My thought process was even if our new baby was colicky and high-needs at least they'd be reading some quality literature each day, with much of what they were going to read corresponding to important historical events. It was a bigger outlay than we wanted, but boy oh boy do I not regret it!

For the past two years I've struggled mightily with what the kids should be reading. Madeleine gravitates towards everything. If there are words printed on paper she generally shows interest. In that category, of course, are a lot of worthless books, i.e. simplistic vocabulary, elementary sentence structure, subpar plots, etc., etc. I spent a lot of time discussing the issue with Joe and wringing my hands about how much I should intervene and dictate to her what she could and could not read.

I struggle no more. Madeleine has an aggressive reading list to finish this year for school and the books are everything Joe and I want, she doesn't complain because she gets to spend school time reading, she generally finds she enjoys the books she's assigned and, best of all, I don't bother her any more about what she chooses to read in her spare time. I've also found that while she still picks up a book that I wish she wouldn't choose, more and more often she's choosing books that I would choose for her.

Then there is Hank. Hank is a great reader. The problem is he is convinced he doesn't like to read. The real issue isn't that he doesn't enjoy reading, the issue is there are other things he'd rather be doing. Sonlight's list of assigned reading has helped me with Hank immensely as well. He's now reading every day and realizing as he reads through these assigned books that he likes them. Don't tell him I told you, but there are days when he'll read more than what is assigned because he's enjoying the book. For him too, many of the books are historical fiction and he has learned a lot just by reading about Swedish immigrants and the Pony Express.

We could do all these things were I to spend time researching books, creating a reading list, visiting the library, etc., etc. but I know my weaknesses. I won't and I don't. It just simply wouldn't get done and my kids and I would still struggle about what to read, how much to read and all the rest of it.

A recent highlight was Scholastic's Harriet Tubman biography. Madeleine enjoyed it very much and, even though we're still pre-Revolutionary War in history, she was asking questions about the Civil War and will be better prepared (and interested, I bet!) when we do get to learning about the Civil War.

This year it's finally all coming together in the sense that everything I had hoped to get out of home-schooling we are. The kids are interested and engaged in what they're learning, and they're learning a lot. To a large degree, I am so thankful to Sonlight for that because the fighting and angst about books that were read last year was causing a lot of consternation around our house.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

A blog post based on today's events would look like this:

Oversleep, rush the kids out of bed, eat breakfast and make coffee, drop Elisabeth off at school, come home, work with the kids (spelling, reading and math this morning), organize the pick-up of Hank's old ice-skates that someone from our town bought on eBay, clean kitchen, wake Caroline up for diaper change and quick feeding, pick Elisabeth up, talk to other moms on playground as kids play at Audubon for awhile, talk on the way home about H1N1 and the importance of washing hands, get home, unload car and start lunch.

Blogable? Not so much.

This afternoon I will make lunch (ham and eggs today), relax for a little while (right now), get through grammar and history, the kids will work on Latin on their own, Madeleine will practice piano, the big kids will do their chores (unload dishwasher, put laundry away, wipe down bathroom sinks and feed the cats) and at some point I'm gong to throw dinner together since the evening will be rushed. Hopefully the kids will have time to get out and play before evening (they almost usually do).

Blogable? Not so much.

This evening will we eat early, take Hank to soccer practice, go to church for a bible study, come home, get the kids ready for bed (quickly; it will already be past their bedtime), lights out and that's it. Time to relax. While we are at soccer and church about five or six episodes of The Office will record for us and we'll watch a favorite or two after the kids go to bed.

Blogable? Not so much.

In addition all of the exciting events mentioned above I will also do laundry (one load down, one more to go), wash dishes oh, say, 40 million times (at least that's what it feels like), nurse and change diapers a ton and various toy and school books clean up.

Blogable? Not so much.

Pretty much I would say I could copy and paste this post every day because it's a fairly accurate picture of what most days look like here. So, instead of boring you with details (which I already did) I leave you with this ridiculously low quality video of one of my favorite Office moments. The Jim and Dwight scenes are among my favorites and this might be my absolute favorite.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hank's Birthday Wrap-Up

Phase one of birthday week is over. In some ways it's really nice to have two kids so close together to have one week of cake baking and cooking and also because they can share their family party (this coming weekend) but in others it's a pain (same reasons; cake baking, etc.),

Hank had a fun day Saturday. He had a soccer game, he went to the park with Joe and played baseball for a few hours, Joe took the three older kids to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and in the evening we all made our own mini-pizzas (the birthday boy's request).

Hank's request for Boston Creme Cake is always enjoyable because we all love how it tastes, but from an esthetic standpoint I never love how it looks. I know, I know. Not important. Hank was very happy with his cake.

He then opened a Matchbox car from Madeleine and a small rubber band propelled airplane from Elisabeth. Again, Joe and I will wait with Hank's present until this weekend when we're up in Door County with grandparents (and others).

Does anyone want some cake? Between Elisabeth and Hank's birthdays this past week we're swimming in lots of delicious cake!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hank!

October 17, 2002.

October 17, 2009.

It's been a fantastic seven years, Hanker. Happy Birthday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Birthday Follow-Up

Don't worry, if you're sick of hearing about Elisabeth, tomorrow we'll switch gears to Hank since he turns seven tomorrow.

How did the birthday girl celebrate? She went to preschool in the morning and after the kids came in from their hike (an impressive hour and thirty minutes in the rain!) Caroline and I visited the classroom (big kids were with Dad and Diana). We picnicked on the floor and Elisabeth was awarded the special treat of holding a beach ball of the earth and walking around a big, felt sun cut-out in the middle of the picnic four times as the kids sang a song about the earth going around the sun. Then she blew out a birthday candle as the kids sang happy birthday and then ate their snack (whole grain crackers and bananas).

Afterwards we met a friend for a special birthday lunch at Boston Market (I have no idea why E wanted to go here; we rarely ever go, and it's been months since we were there). The kids had a great time!

The necklace she's wearing was given to her at preschool as a birthday gift. There's a "4" on the other side.

The party continued at our house after by having a play date. The best part? No bossy older brothers and sisters telling the two friends how to play!

While the kids played and Caroline slept, I whipped up an angel food cake for the birthday dinner that evening. That evening, as I finished a batch of Fannie Farmer's Seven Minute Frosting, E walked in and decided she wanted to frost her cake. "Really, Elisabeth, are you sure you wouldn't rather do something more fun?" I pleaded, I cajoled, but it wasn't to be. Elisabeth wanted to frost her own cake. For those of you who know me well, you know I about died. I am not an artist, I never pretend to be, but if I were, food is my palate. Imagine, if you will, working on a painting if you're inclined that way, and having your four-your-old daughter ask if she could help you touch it up when you were almost finished. Yeah, that's how I feel about cooking and the cake. But I let her. Everyone should be proud of me.

She did a pretty good job though, no? (I did clean up the edges of the platter once she finished, and she allowed Madeleine to help with the sprinkles.

And, like I said yesterday, we feasted on grilled cheese sandwiches and broccoli. After E blew out her candles (five because our family has always added one for good luck ever since I can remember) she then opened presents from Madeleine and Hank that they had saved their own allowances to buy. She will open her present from Joe and me next weekend in Door County, but Madeleine and Hank were too excited about the gifts they'd chosen to wait (a knock-off Barbie from Madeleine who announced after E opened it, "It cost THREE dollars!", and a play cell phone a remote key chain thing from Hank).

Elisabeth went to bed exhausted, but very content with her fun day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Birthday Girl

I thought I'd share some pictures of the birthday girl throughout the years. I am so irritated though because I can't find any digital copies of her birth pictures. They're not in my external hard drive for some reason and though I might have them on a CD somewhere I am not even going to look since my optical drive is broken (thanks, Hank).

Anyway, I'll share what I can easily find.

Elisabeth's baptism. She was eight days old.

November 2005, just under one month old here. That's the breaker of the optical drive holding her.

December 2005. Two months old. Her first smile caught on camera!

March 25, 2006. Five months old.

Elisabeth sampling carrots in May of 2006. She's seven months old.

Here she is in August of 2006 at 10 months old.

Elisabeth's second birthday. October 2007.

And, man, how time flies. Here she is about a month ago with her new baby sister.

Elisabeth's Birth Story, Four Years Later

Since this blog's inception I've put off telling Elisabeth's birth story because there is so much more to it than just her birth. But I've decided to post it this year because, one, I try and treat my kids equally and I've posted their birth stories here and secondly because this really has turned into a virtual family scrapbook that I know I will save for my kids. As hard as the story can be to tell, Elisabeth's entry into this world should be a part of the record.

I still remember the day vividly. It started on a Friday, a full twenty-four hours before Elisabeth's birth. It was a crisp, October day when I started having intermittent contractions. At that point I was twelve days past my estimated due date. That Friday afternoon I hoped against hope these contractions might take off. I called my mom and complained to her (again) about how late I was and how I was never going into labor. I did tell her, though, about my intermittent contractions and I was to later find out she started emailing people and telling them she thought that night might be the night. I went outside and talked to neighbors. I cooked, I cleaned.

And then evening hit. The wind grew blustery. I grew frustrated at my lack of increased contracting. I quickly realized I could focus on nothing else and decided to go out for a walk. The night air was crisp and the sky was dark. I can't remember who called who, but at some point, very early in the walk, I talked to Mom. I am sure I was testy with her since she was all too optimistic that this was it-- full-blown labor-- and suggesting maybe she should drive up to begin the wait she'd been planning for weeks. I remember standing under the streetlight on the corner of Courtland and Elkhart and saying good-bye and hanging up my cell phone. I can't remember if I told her I loved her. I suppose it doesn't matter. I know she knew. With that I walked home and went to bed, determined to ignore the contractions that refused to escalate into full-blown labor.

It was a restless sleep. Some contractions woke me, some didn't. At some point in the evening, Hank awoke. Joe left to settle him back into his own bed. Every time Joe would rise to come back to his own beg, Hank would wake and whimper, so Joe stayed put. The night had an air of restlessness and discomfort about it.

A little after 1 a.m. on Saturday, October 15 I heard the phone ring. It didn't occur to me that a call at that time of night had to equal bad news; it didn't send the same pangs of dread and fear shooting through my being that it now does. I tried to answer it, but missed the call. I stumbled downstairs into the kitchen to check the caller ID. It was Bob, my stepdad's cell number. Maybe it was because at that point in my life death had never touched me too closely or maybe it was because I was still half asleep, but I immediately assumed it was Mom calling to see if I was ready to head to the hospital. I was annoyed. Irritated. I called her house and left what I remember thinking was a kind message, given the circumstances, but I'm sure my voice was laced with annoyance.

Really, though, it was Bob calling. He was in a car with my dad headed to Milwaukee. Mom was on her way, though she was taking a different mode of transportation: a Flight for Life helicopter. I found this out a few mere moments after leaving my message for Mom.

The rest of that night was a blur. Waking Joe. Driving to St. Luke's Hospital. Realizing my contractions were intensifying, but trying to ignore them. Brain hemorrhage. Stroke. Unconscious. Consults with neurosurgeons. Decisions, decisions. Joe arriving at some point. Finally we were ushered into Mom's hospital room. All present stared in abject horror. Disbelief. Wanting to be anywhere else, but yet, not wanting to be anywhere else.

Finally a kind nurse approached me. She looked at me and told me that St. Luke's did not deliver babies. I remember nodding. The nurse fidgeted. "Um," she began uncomfortably. "You might want to say good-bye." I nodded. Clearly if I left I'd say-- oh! And then it hit me; she meant I might want to say good-bye.

I remember everyone leaving the room. I remember standing there and not knowing what to say. You know when you're watching a movie and there's some tragic scene where someone has to say good-bye to someone they love and they always say just the right thing that you know they'll remember forever and ever? Well, it wasn't like that at all. I don't remember what I said. I called Joe in to be with me. I remember saying a prayer. I remember Joe baptizing her (we found out later she'd been baptized as a baby but, at the time, I thought she had not been). And then we left.

We drove over to St. Mary's, clear on the other side of the city, and found out I was, in fact, in labor (which I knew). Labor was miserable. I had had a previous c-section with Hank and I had wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) but all I kept thinking about was getting back to St. Luke's. Well, if I have them do a c-section, it will be over faster I thought to myself. But if you have a c-section you and the baby will have to stay in the hospital longer I argued back.

It turned out I didn't have a choice in the matter. I was vigilantly monitored and at some point that afternoon my choice was taken away from me; off to the operating room we went because of some sort of fetal distress observed on the monitors I wasn't watching. I was calm. Unlike with Hank, I wasn't very worried. Elisabeth's heartbeat was strong and I could sense there wasn't a strong sense of urgency in the medical staff attending to me like there had been during Hank's birth. I had the c-section and at 1:36 or 1:37 p.m. (I can't remember which) Elisabeth was born.

She was completely wonderful from moment one. Her cry was hearty and she was the absolute perfect anecdote to what was a very trying time. She went to recovery with me and I was able to poke and prod, count fingers and toes, nurse and coo over such a perfect baby girl. There Joe and I decided to change her middle name from a family surname we loved to Mom's middle name before she'd married, which was Jane. I am still so thankful we made that last minute change. Elisabeth Jane.

I realize upon writing this I seem to have focused more on the sad than the happy. I mean what I've said in past years: Elisabeth's birth was a happy, joyous occasion. I felt the same feelings of elation upon holding her in my arms than I did with my other kids. In that room where I first held her, there was no dark cloud. The horrific events of the night before melted away with each suck and coo that came out of that swaddled little bundle of pink.

So, that's it. The story of Elisabeth's birth and the story of Mom's death, so intertwined and intermingled they are impossible for me to separate. The bad comes with the good. Just as there is no way for me to tell the story of Mom's death without including the happy details of Elisabeth's birth, there is also no way to tell the complete story of Elisabeth's birth without remembering the sad events that also took place.

It's easy to assume that thinking of Elisabeth's birth makes me sad and melancholy. You would be wrong. Thinking of Mom reminds me of birth and the gift of life, and that even life really, really stinks, God is gracious enough to give us good things, and not because we deserve it, but because He loves us.

Tonight we will celebrate our four-year-old's birth with grilled cheese sandwiches and broccoli (the birthday girl's request) and cake and just like in that recovery room four years earlier, we will delight in the gift that is a bubbly, stubburn, loving, redheaded little pistol. And we'll love every minute of it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Penance

As I listen to Hank crying and carrying on about his punishment for his latest bout of naughtiness I have to wonder, who is being punished more? Him, for being sent to the basement to *gasp* fold laundry or me for having to listen to and see the wailing and theatrics that are emanating from his mouth and eyes, I am certain, purely for my benefit.

Never mind. It was a rhetorical question; I know the answer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


If I start raving about something chances are the rest of the world has been excited about whatever it is for years. The latest example? Text messaging. I always thought texting was stupid. Why not just call the person? Why not just send an email?

Ever since I got my iPhone I've fallen in love with texting which, if you think it through, is really saying something since I can send and receive email on my iPhone. But texting is different. It pops right up and greets you with a friendly little chime. It's a nice, easy way to send a quick thought to someone (or to get ahold of a husband in meetings or wherever and unable to answer his phone).

So, texting. It was the thing to do five years ago (or more). And I am just now realizing how great it is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

French Press

I'm back to using a French press. I was given one eons ago, way back when we still lived in Janesville and Joe was in law school and I was working full-time. I never used it. I was an exhausted new mother of one and I preferred to mainline coffee in the fastest, easiest way possible, and that way was never a French press.

It was purged at some point between Janesville and Milwaukee.

Lately though, I think my taste buds are changing. I do love waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, but lately I've been able to pick up hints of that awful this-pot-has-been-on-the-burner-too-long taste, even when it has only been sitting for thirty minutes or so. And that second cup of coffee? Blech. By the time my first cup is gone, the second cup definitely has that somewhat burned, yucky flavor.

So, with some of my birthday gift certificate* (again, thanks Bob and Alex; I'm still using it!) I bought another Bodum French press. It's a small one (32 ounces, I think?), but it's perfect for me during the week and even ideal for Joe and me on the weekends when we both have a tendency to drink too much coffee without some policing.

I wish it could be instantly made when I wake up, but the difference in taste is worth the wait.

*By the way, my other splurge was for a new, larger electric frying pan that I love, love, love-- so thank you!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lost Teeth

A few nights ago Hank lost one of his top front teeth and last night he lost his other top front tooth. He looks so cute!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I love my kids. But is it OK to admit I don't always like my kids? I mean, they're my kids and I would jump in front of a bus for them and all that, but man alive, sometimes they're really, really annoying!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

House Follow-Up

You snooze you lose, right? The other offer was accepted. Our realtor is still in contact with the listing agent and if the deal falls through we have decided we will write an offer, but it looks like we missed out.

Sumo Wrestling

Our history lesson the other day tied into the origins of sumo wrestling and our text's activity guide suggested a sumo wrestling match.

Our ring was much smaller than regulation size, we threw pretend salt instead of real salt and neither child had any idea how to wrestle properly, but they had a great afternoon and even fattened up again later in the evening to show Joe the activity when he got home.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Packers Versus Favre

No, Packers versus the Vikings, I mean. But really, is anyone even paying attention to anyone else on the Vikings besides Favre? I sure hope the Packers are paying attention to Adrian Peterson. And have been tightening up their offensive line.

Only six hours until kick-off for the grudge match to top all grudge matches. I'm already nervous.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


I was up in the attic sorting clothes for the kids and so, while I was up there, I dragged the Halloween decorations down. It's only October 3. I feel like it's too early to have them up, but I must confess I enjoy the soft glow of the strand of orange lights in the dining room. So, is it too early?

Friday, October 02, 2009


As I said in my blog post this past April, Madeleine has finally found an activity that she loves to put her whole self into. She is now at the stables no less than three or four hours at a pop, she reads about horses, she talks incessantly about horses, she wants to watch TV shows and movies about horses, her room has horse stuff all over it... you get the idea. She's obsessed.

So obsessed that all she asked for, and received, for her birthday last year was entry in a week long riding camp this past August. Her trainer for the week was not the same cautious woman who teaches her regular classes. This trainer didn't want to have the kids working on only their flat work all week, no, she wanted to get the kids jumping. So, she did. Madeleine started jumping low verticals and small x jumps (two poles crossed like an x). But after camp that was it, she was back to her regular trainer in classes designed only for flat work.

However, a few weeks ago her trainer talked to us about moving Madeleine up to a combined class: a half hour of flat work and a half hour of jumping. The kids and I all headed up for her first official jumping lesson two weeks ago, video camera in hand, and watched Madeleine work Cocoa Puff over all the beginner jumps. I didn't take any pictures because I was busy filming for Joe, but my lingering thought from watching Madeleine while she is riding is how mature she looks. Here is this thin nine-year-old girl controlling this 1,200 pound animal-- and she looks like she knows what she's doing while she does so.

Madeleine has always looked forward to her riding lessons more than anything else during the week, but now that she's jumping I think she's looking forward to them even more.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A typical day

So today went like this:

7:10 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. oversleep, race to get kids out the door and forget Madeleine's first piano lesson of the fall.

8:16 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. drive to preschool, drop Elisabeth off, drive home, nurse Caroline, finish writing grocery list, greet Dad as he arrived for two seconds and then race out the door with Caroline.

10:31-11:30 a.m. get gas, realize en route to Pick-n-Save that there's not enough time to get through my entire grocery list so I tear through the store to get us through lunch, head into Stone Creek coffee for a latte and drive up to the Audubon to get Elisabeth.

11:31 a.m. - 1 p.m. Talk to Elisabeth about what metamorphosis is, arrive home, make lunch, eat lunch, start dinner, put dinner in crockpot, nurse Caroline and leave for grocery store. Again.

1:01 p.m. to 2:13 p.m. drive to Pick-n-Save, buy lots of groceries and happily note the total amount spent wasn't as much as I thought it might be.

2:14 p.m.-3:40 p.m. drive home, unload groceries, nurse Caroline, talk to Dad, realize Madeleine is going to be late for her riding lesson, tell Madeleine to hurry and get ready for riding, argue with Madeleine about why she can't wear her nice, new jeans to riding, help Madeleine put on her half chaps and shoo her out the door with Dad.

3:41 p.m.- 6:37 p.m. log onto computer, check blogs and Facebook, go to Target's website and buy gray sweats for Madeleine and a black sweater for Elisabeth for their Halloween costumes, nurse Caroline, see neighbors walk up driveway, answer door, shoo Elisabeth out to play with neighbors, prepare acorn squash to go with dinner, wash dishes, mash up acorn squash, pour a glass of wine, sit down at computer and compose blog post.

And now Joe is home. Madeleine and Dad should be home from the stables any minute. Time to go enjoy my wine with my family and then eat dinner. I'm hungry!