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Sunday, March 30, 2008

How do we dare?

We went to the spring fair at the Bangor Auditorium on Saturday with Emilie, Skyler and Reed and Charissa and Emerson. Amazing what a fun Saturday looks like now- a rockin' time at the kiddie carnival and a somewhat frantic- hope the kids don't melt down before their naps- lunch at, you guessed it, Bugaboo Creek.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the tears were flying (some kids- not the moms, we held it together really well) and Emilie said, "How do we even dare to leave the house with them? How are we not kept in a padded cell?" We chuckled. We laughed. We tee-heed. And then I got to thinking... how do we dare? My mom often says this to me when she goes out with the girls and I. "How do you do this when you are alone?" I just do. There was Emilie with Reed strapped to her back chasing after Sklyer, Charissa trying to decipher which rides Emerson could go on without launching himself off into a future head injury, and Sandi and I tag teaming our girls through the maze of people, strollers, carnies and rides.

So why do we do it? Just look at the pictures... (most are blurry because I inadvertently switched a setting on the camera that makes Sandi want to throttle me.)

The teacups.

I was having fun. Maya was contemplating jumping ship and wondering
about the future state of her spine.

Sandi was the designated slide goer-downer. Emilie and I had kids strapped to us and Charissa was nervous about getting ill (which was funny, but we didn't make fun of her. She complains that she if often the butt of the joke but she doesn't realize, even though I keep telling her, this is a huge compliment.)

A picture is worth 1,000 words!

The Moms packing babies.

Reed was fairly self-sufficient.

And then we all went home to sleep. Or at least the kids did...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Muffins to the rescue

We had one of those unstructured days that kind of loomed ahead -there was a chance for great serendipity as well as a case of severe cabin fever/what am I going to do with these two kids kind of feeling.

Mindy and Emerson came over for lunch which was wonderful. Good times were had by all.

The hard part is that we didn't leave the house all day. This is normally a recipe for disaster but Maya really needed a chance to catch up on her zzz's and she doesn't always sleep when we're out. At 2:30 p.m., with Ella already up from her nap, the cooped up feeling began. With no friends on the horizon to visit with, Ella having already lost TV for the rest of the day for not listening to me, what were we to do?

Muffins to the rescue.

Banana streusal to be specific. Maybe we're just trying to bribe company. Who knows. It worked. No one came, but we feel better. Baking tends to lift the spirits and occupy the three-year-old.

Ella said the following to me, while she twittered around the living room in one of her fancy dresses to up-tempo classical music, "I'm on stage. All the people are watching me." She waved her arms grandly. This is direct pay back. This is me when I was little. All the world was my stage. Perhaps it still is.

Earlier today: "Can I have whipped cream with my breakfast?"
"Why?" (Long story- I had given her some the previous morning.)
"Because yesterday you didn't eat your breakfast."
"Mom? When you were a little girl, did you want whipped cream and your mom didn't give it to you?"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nightlights and Easter

Ella has labeled this the "coolest nightlight in the world." It was a gift from Gram and Gramp.

And these are the biggest bunny ears in all the world. Luckily, while I was not well, I was well enough to bear some of the burden of the chocolate eating.

My angel food cake- one of those "happy" mistakes. It looked nothing like the picture but with some innovation, it became it's own wonder to behold. This was almost two weeks ago- long before the Influenza saga.

Maya chillin' in the Bumbo on Easter morn.

Ella, the mix master with the egg dying. All the eggs ended up a lovely pink/purple hue.
And that's a wrap on Easter. Fortunately for me, Sandi didn't include any of the pictures where I look the same as our slushy, mud-soaked, pine needle laden front yard. Thank you, Sandi. Hey, aren't we doing a great job keeping the blog up-to-date???

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the neighbors down the street/things you wouldn't say

Hel-lo Handsome! This is Reed Manhart- our godson and future heart breaker of the world. He will put Brad Pitt to shame. George Clooney will have to retire his "Most Beautiful Man in the World" title and concede to Reed.

We've been playing over at the Manhart's just as much as we possibly can since they moved to town. I actually told Emilie she would have to let me know if we were there too often. (And, in true form, she said, "Are you kidding? This is why we moved to Hampden.")

Lately, one day a week when Sandi works, the girls and I go over and play over there. The kids play, share dinner, share a bath, and then Reed goes to bed and the girls (note the matching jammies) eat decadent desserts (bunny lollipops this night) and watch a video while the adults eat a QUIET dinner. It is so lovely.

The girls hard at work (and, again, accidentally and curiously, matching) in the Manhart's sunny new dining room.

Still handsome...
Part II- things you never thought you'd hear yourself say
Last night Ella was in the bath. I was cleaning up the kitchen and talking with her to make sure she was okay playing in the water. She stays in there playing for 30 minutes sometimes.
"Momma, look at my fingers!" she yells.
"Why?" I ask- and I swear I actually said this- "Are some of them missing?"
Where does this stuff come from??
As a side not, Mindy and Charissa have a blog now and it is really worth checking out, especially (sorry Charissa) for a hysterical video clip of Charissa singing. The address is

When Maya gets bigger...

This is the refrain we've been hearing 600 times a day:

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to hop on one foot like me."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to eat pizza like me."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to play with me."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll try to steal my toys."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to blink her eyes. See like this." (blink, blink)

"Someday, Maya will be able to climb on the back of the couch and put her arms up in the air like me. When she gets bigger."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to sleep in my bed with me."

"When Maya gets bigger, she'll be able to stick her tongue out like this." (waggle, waggle)

What Ella isn't saying: when Maya gets bigger, she'll compete even more for your attention, she'll take my stuff and you'll probably let her, she'll take over my bed and she'll be able to do the nifty things I can do and what will have left to show off with?

Oh, Ella, we love you just because you're you (even though I have been stuck in the house with you for the past 6 days and I felt like I was going to yank my hair out of my scalp one by one for the sheer fun of it.) Seriously, though, I'm back to work to day, up and showered in REAL clothes and I feel so much better (seven days later.) But last night I told Sandi I would take the movies back because I just HAD to get out of the house. Ella said, "What's wrong with this house? I like it here."

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Influenza go away...
Don't come back (or I'll bite, kick, scream, spit nails and otherwise protest fully) another day.

Never a good sign when you have two posts in one season titled with major sicknesses. And that doesn't include all the other posts we could have written called "snot," "cough," "congestion" or "fever."

It seems our lovely party (pictures of which indicate a good time was had by all) was a veritable germ fest. By late Tuesday, I was coming down hard with what has been verified as Influenza A (the most rigorous and severe of all the Influenza strains- nothing but the best for me), Ella had a cold, Emilie had the stomach flu, Mindy, Charissa, and Emerson all had varying degrees of severity of the stomach flu, my sister Kathryn had bronchitis and my niece Michaela was coming down with a fever, Brevan had an intractable 103 degree temp and Sandi's parents and Kristi had chest colds. If anyone else got sick, I don't want to know. See if I serve tofu dip again.

If you haven't had Influenza (it's a respiratory flu- high fever, exhaustion, body aches, sore throat, wet cough, and a general feeling of death) it is no picnic. This is the sucker we get the flu shot for and this year they guessed the wrong strain and there have been huge Influenza outbreaks. I was in bed sick for 3 full days and have been two more trying to get back up to speed. Luckily, they have a medicine (Tamiflu) that shortens the length of the flu from 2 weeks to 5-7 days and you can take it if you catch it within the first 24-48 hours which we did. When the nurse called with my lab result she said, "Dig yourself a hole. Crawl inside and pull your Tamiflu in behind you." That is exactly how I've felt.

Now, to the "angels in disguise" part of my story. Sandi called in to work once this week and has no more earned time from her maternity leave. Here I am, not incredibly sick but not well either, faced with taking care of the girls for 14 hours. I haven't been a day in the past five without two naps, some of which are several hours long. Today, Maria and Jeanine came over and picked my girls up (both of them), and took them out for almost 4 hours! I crawled into bed as soon as the door closed and do you know what it was like to sleep in a quiet house with no thought of getting up to help out or wondering how long I had been asleep? Heaven. I cannot thank these two enough. And they brought them home tired which means that, while I slept almost the entire time they were gone, now they are both asleep and I am going to go lay on the couch. This proves to me that one essential component to the modern mother's bag of tricks is friends who love kids and have free time. You two are lifesavers.

So, off to the couch for me. I didn't include pictures with this post. I didn't think it was necessary.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Celebrate Good Times!

We had a really fun party on Sunday to celebrate the adoption. Here is a picture of Jane Clayton, attorney extraordinaire who made all this possible. We dedicate this post to you Jane. You're the best. And you look great in pink!

Emilie, Sam and Reed Manhart. You can see the somewhat glazed look in Reed's eyes (no, not Sam's although he did accuse me of pushing the Sangria) - Reed did not feel well that day. Emilie has an AMAZING blog- I am reluctant to post the address for fear you will all switch over and start reading hers instead of mine BUT there are some great photos from the party (and one of the beautiful cake which I am missing). It is I promise if you go once, you'll go back again.

Okay, side note. I am on board with the photos so be expecting them from now on. Also, there were a lot of wonderful people at the party. If your picture isn't on here, it's because you didn't look good and I didn't think you'd want it posted. However, I did use it if it was funny...

Skyler, normally a very cheery girl, was not pleased with what was being served. Michaela, our niece and Ella in her new twirly dress accompany Sklyer, but with a tad bit more joy, for the floor picnic.

Mindy's mom, Kathy, on Maya duty and "talking shop" with Kristi about real estate (Kathy is a real estate agent.) Dwight looking on and appearing very interested.

Maria and Jeanine (as in the loyal blog commentor). Jeanine looks as though she just discovered that the creamy dill dip was actually TOFU dill dip. I didn't disclose this but it was good, no? Okay, maybe not to Jeanine. (Just kidding Jeanine- we love you.)

Sam telling Meredith and Baby Rosalyn his woes.

Happy Charissa sporting her kicky new haircut.

Brevan, the ever serious engineer, working away at the train table.

Cooperation at the rice table. Sandi built the rice table and the train table (Dwight and Patti gave her the train set for Christmas). I told her it was like we were running our own Montessori school. Charissa rated each of the play stations (there were 5) by levels of fun, problem solving and tactile stimulation (she's a therapist- can you tell?) and Sandi was very proud that her two stations received the highest ratings.

Skyler did have a good time- really. The thing is, early she had dropped some rice and was told to pick it up and she did it- grain by minuscule grain. She wouldn't even come and eat chips until she was done picking it up. Here she is thinking, what a mess these boys are making for me to clean up!

Ella and Tia hamming it up!

Diane and Brevan are comparing who has the better pictures.

And here, this is my favorite part. People brought us wonderful and unexpected things- Jane brought framed certificates of adoption, Martha brought champagne. We got photo albums and picture frames and an awesome book for "Daring Girls" containing everything from slumber party games to scientific experiments. But this one... oh, Jeanine made this masterpiece for us and it will have a very proud place in our home.

Look closely. I tried to take it to show detail but it was tricky. The outline of each letter is "Carver" over and over again and contained inside are "Sandi, Suzanne, Ella, Maya" in continuous loops. Brilliant. I told her she should market these. I think they would be big sellers- custom made for each family structure. I see millions ahead for her...

It was fun, really fun. Ella and I had the same reaction when everyone left. We wanted to cry. She actually did. It felt like the closing of a chapter - such a monumentous one for us. So we have the rights we've wanted for so long, now what? Yes, of course, we will sit back and enjoy our babies and each other (oh, yeah right- I forgot we were supposed to be doing that too!) and look foward to what comes next. Maybe in a year or two you will be logging on to see pictures of our wedding...

Adoption Day... rewind

Okay, here we are... the official family of four. Want to see how it happened?

(All these beautiful pictures are the work of the talented Bangor Daily photographer Bridget Brown who we cannot thank enough for documenting the major events of our fall and winter- getting ready for the adoption with the photos in the paper, preparing for Maya's arrival, photographing Maya's birth and then the culmination of it all, our adoption day. Thank you so much Bridget- we love you!)

Dwight, Patti and Brevan being sworn in... I think the goldfish were not.

Mindy lovin' up Maya.

Maya's happy it's official. She told me right before she spit up.

Here's everybody!

Judge Woodcock holding Maya.

Ella with her lucky elephant Emerson had brought her that morning.

Sandi shaking the judges hand. Thanks Judge Woodcock. Your speech was moving.

Mindy smiling, Charissa trying to pretend she isn't crying and Emerson - very excited about the proceeding and about checking his laces.

Brevie giving "Bay-ba," as he calls her, some of his notorious kissing.

How does it feel? This is the question posed to us now. It feels amazing. It feels like relief beyond any description. It feels whole. In one word? HOME.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wouldn't it be nice if...

I have been playing this "game" in my head lately to improve my mental outlook. It usually makes me feel significantly better to project some positivity into my future.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could get all the bills paid, the laundry done, the dishes in the dishwasher and eat lunch before the girls wake up?

Wouldn't it me nice if Ella decided to release excrement in the toilet instead of in her pants?

Wouldn't it be nice if the Chase credit card site would send me my new activation code for their website in time to pay my bill online?

Wouldn't it be nice to have a patient and fun afternoon with the girls?

Wouldn't it be nice if Sandi could get a good night sleep tonight?

Wouldn't it be nice if I could get a good night sleep tonight?

Wouldn't it be nice for Maya to sleep so that we can achieve the above two items?

Wouldn't it be nice if more than four people commented on this blog so I would know people are
actual reading any of this?

Wouldn't it be nice if Sandi would actually show me how to put photos on the blog so I could do more than just bore you with text?

Wouldn't it be nice if the trash got to the dump?

Wouldn't it be nice if, when I finally sit down on the couch in the evening, neither that cat or the dog need to drap themselves on me and demand some of me, all of which has been given to the girls all day long?

Wouldn't it be nice if my house was really, really clean and could stay that way for more than 24 hours?

And, in appreciation of actual manifestation...

Isn't it nice that Mindy offered to get me the cannellini beans I forgot during my marathon grocery store trip this morning and that I need for a recipe?

Isn't it lovely that Ella has been asleep for 2 1/2 hours?

Isn't it wonderful that even though my plans for a play date fell through for this afternoon, Trish is going to come over and for pizza - paid for with a coupon she won at a basketball game?

Isn't it nice that (even though last night was atrocious) Sandi slept a seven hour stretch the other night?

Isn't is so nice that Sandi's co-workers threw a baby shower for us and gave us all kinds of adorable outfits and things for Maya (and a hula-hoop for Ella which she forgot at Skyler's and we had to make an emergency trip back last night to retrieve it)?

Isn't it so great that we have a thing going with Emilie to do dinner and bath time with our kids once a week while Sandi is at work? (And last night Sandi got to come unexpectedly because she took call all day yesterday and spent the day with us.) And wouldn't it be nice if one of these times when we leave, neither of the girls is crying?

Isn't it nice that Mochy wants to lay out on the thawing lawn to enjoy the early spring (I'm going to call it that) sunshine? And isn't it great that she keeps the delivery men on their toes when she takes off down the driveway barking ferociously at them?

Isn't it cool that Ella is doing math adding and subtracting her fingers, household objects, chocolate chips and jelly beans?

Isn't it great that Maya has been going to bed in her crib? And won't it be nice when she stays asleep in it?

Isn't it great that I have so many wonderful friends and family and that this weekend we are going to have a small party to celebrate our adoption? (Yes, it is!) And isn't it great that there will be champagne? (Yes, it is!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ode to March

(Emilie, this one's for you)

Oh, March. Poor March. You get such a bad rap. You are misunderstood by most, but not by me. Here are some of the things I love about you...

March is the month when the birds, fully emblazoned with optimism, begin to sing (even if it 35 degrees outside.)

March is when the sap begins to run in promise of yummy pancake and maple syrup breakfasts on a slow summer morning.

March is the month people start to come out of hibernation. Look around -they are everywhere- and not just at the mall. People are out walking, like for exercise.

March is when every drop of rain washes away a bit more of winter.

It is in March that you can rejoice in (feel jealous about) the southbound trips of all the people around you that have been to Florida, Jamaica or the Caribbean.

For the first time this year, March is the month when the clocks change and it is daylight during dinner!

March is when you feel the itch to clear cobwebs from corners, reorganize your kitchen shelves and fantasize about getting out your summer clothes and opening your windows (or is this April?)

March is when you make summer plans with your friends and decide on dates for camping trips (and if you're really organized- again a shout out to Emilie- actually make reservations.)

March is when we get our taxes done!! I met the deadline and our tax appointment is in the morning. No small feat.

March is a time of meteorological upset when you don't know if you will want a vest or a down parka to make a quick trip to the store. C'mon, embrace the variety friends!

March is the beginning of the Mud - a big deal when you are three. March is a good time to get some quiet time inside reading or working on photoalbums or winter projects that will get thrown aside in the hype of summer. (Or so I understand this can be done from people without small children.)

March is a good time to buy a house to rehab and get back on the market for the spring rush (a.k.a. to "flip.) We found the perfect house in Bangor that is going under contract for us to buy!

But mostly, March is the time when Mainers complain about the weather and you can just sit back and remember that every March looks like this, that every March someone, or everyone, complains and that every year Spring comes and we relish every tulip, every crocus and every blade of green grass because we EARNED it!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Adoption Day

This morning we woke bright and early and marched downtown with an entourage of loved ones to become a family.

Okay, not exactly, but not too far from truth either...

We did wake up early. We drove instead of marched. We were surrounded with almost all of our family, some of which arrived in a three car caravan and we drove in our van which is called an Entourage. And of course, we didn't just become a family- we've been one all along.

Today was our Adoption Day. Today was the day the Penobscot Probate Court and Judge Allen Woodcock and the State of Maine noticed that we are in fact a family- complete with two moms and two magical little girls. Judge Woodcock said lovely things - there is no greater title than "mom" and "mom", that there is no expectation of perfection in this job of parenthood (which he called a "transendent" experience) but it is expected that we will do our best and when we fall short we will try harder next time, that there will be unexpected joys, disappointments and some sleepless nights ahead (if any of you have read this blog before, this is a well documented fact) and that there is no harder, more rewarding job than being a parent. All these things are true, have been true and will continue to be so. Still, there was something so purely amazing about having someone so official recognize us.

Ella has been excited about her "doption hearing" for a while now after attending Emerson's in January. I think she was just happy to have her peeps with her- my mom (Gramma), Sandi's parents (Gram and Gramp), Auntie Krick, Uncle Mike and Brevan and Mindy, Charissa and Emerson. Our friend Bridgett came and took pictures. I cannot thank all these people enough for celebrating this momentous day with us. (And I thank Trish who choose not to come and share her germs- we missed you, though.) Thank you to our attorney Jane Clayton who pulled this all together. Thank you to Dwight (Sandi's dad) for treating us ALL to a celebratory breakfast after.

This day means very little to a family who is already a family. It also means everything.

We love you all, Suzanne and Sandi- the newly official parents of both our children.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Anatomical Alternatives

Penobscot River early a.m. in March

Ella is learning the difference between girl bodies and boy bodies. I would go so far as to say she is interested in the penis. She wants to know whose got 'em and who doesn't. I think this curiosity is normal and perhaps magnified by the fact that she bathes with both her cousin, Brevan, and her friends Reed and Sklyer (plus she has the added benefit of seeing Emerson - almost 2- run around pantless from time to time.)

Driving in the car a couple of days ago, out of the blue, she says, "When Brevie gets bigger will he no longer have his penis?"

Apparently she thought he would outgrow the need for it. I bet Brevan hopes this isn't the case.

Then last night Ella had the following exchange with Sandi. Sandi was feeding Maya and told Ella she needed to switch her to the other side.

Ella: Mommy, what would happen if you had three boobs?
Sandi: I don't know. What would happen?
Ella: Well... that would be silly!
Sandi: What would happen if you had three hands?
Ella: I'd have more hands to pick up my toys with.

My note: I would be happy to see her use the original two.

And a P.S. on manners: I have been on Ella about "please and thank you." I reiterated it again at the table the other day and she replied, "I just want my stuff now!" It's going really well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

then and now...

We had a single friend over for brunch the other day. By single, let me highlight, one who is without children. I was struck, as I made brunch with two children hanging off me and carried Ella on my back while on all fours to the kitchen table to eat, by how much our lives have changed. It was literally like the proverbial lightning bolt of realization, remembering what it "used to be like."

Then: I used to listen to (and enjoyed singing) all sorts of music in the car.
Now: The Annie soundtrack, anything Raffi or "Puff the Magic Dragon" on a loop.

Then: On the weekends, sleeping in meant until 10 a.m.
Now: Sleeping in is anything past 7:30.

Then: I was quick to get ready if I needed to be, but enjoyed a hot shower as much as the next girl. I shaved my legs often.
Now: I get ready as though competing for an Olympic qualifying round. And you can infer from Ella's comment about the "fur" on my legs how much shaving gets done.

Then: I finished phone conversations with the usual "Hello" and "Goodbye." My friends did the same.
Now: It is commonplace to hang up the phone uttering "Sorry, gotta go NOW" or to have my friends do the same (usually punctuated with crying in the background for one of us.)

Then: I lost my cool over things like overdrawing my checking account, being wronged by someone I was paying to do work, or the basement flooding.
Now: (thankfully) all that stuff is thrown into the "too big to handle myself" pile and I (occasionally) cry over things like a spilled cup of expensive organic milk, Target not being open when I went there early to beat the crowds, changing Ella's clothes for the 500th time, or losing internet for a day.

Then: I used to enjoy a quiet cup of tea while gazing out the window.
Now: I consider a relaxing cup of tea one where no one is attached to me.

Then: Impulse buys were things like a costly bottle of wine, a new book I bought rather than borrowing from the library or a new, but unnecessary tube of lipstick.
Now: Impulse buys are in the $1 section at Target, a humidifier shaped like a pig, 5 econo packs of Goldfish and forget the extra lipstick. I've switched to all-day color to save the reapplication time.

Then: Sandi and I loved spending hours in the kitchen making up things and eating a romantic quiet dinner together.
Now: Need I even say it?

Then: When dining out, our destination was Thistle's or some quiet coastal restaurant that we saved up for to have a really nice meal.
Now: Governor's (for the train) or Bugaboo Creek (for the talking animals). We are in and out in 45-60 minutes flat. We even get the check when we order.

Then: A late night was 1 a.m. going out dancing.
Now: I could usually fall asleep around 8 p.m. and we never go out after 7.

Then: I used to call it the bathroom or the toilet.
Now: It's all about the "potty." Why do we all call it that?

Then: A trip to the grocery store was a mere chore.
Now: A trip to the grocery store can either be equal to summiting Everest (with the girls) or (by myself) a tranquil experience some might associate with a spa treatment.

Then: I had an entire list of endearments for Sandi.
Now: I catch myself calling her "Mommy." How romantic.

Because I have been listening to "Annie" a ton - utterly my fault since I introduced it to Ella- the phrase that Ms. Hannigan sings about her orphans has been stuck like gum in my mind- "drippin' with little girls." This is my life. I admit I feel like waking at 4 a.m. to have some time alone except sleep is too important.

Who am I kidding? When our (adored) single friend left with no child or baby carrier or diaper bag in tow, I thought, for a flash, lucky her. Then I turned to my girls, Maya with a huge, gummy grin and Ella ever exuberant about every aspect of life, and I smiled. Sandi and I are the luckiest moms in the world. We'll drip with our little girls any day of the week (but don't wake us -or them- while sleeping!)

Thus, here the opposites are true:

Then: Christmas was fun, but a passing wonder.
Now: HELLO! It's Christmas. Nothing is more magical with kids.

Then: Expressions of love were common and appreciated in our house.
Now: The outpouring of love, kisses, snuggles and pats on the bottom - our cups runneth over.

Then: We were so excited to have kids.
Now: We are (mostly) so thrilled to be parents.

Then: I got to hear "I love you" many times a day.
Now: When Ella says, "I love you, Momma" with no prompting- no sweeter words were ever uttered.

Then: I slept all night.
Now: (yes this is true) I get to feel my child relax into the comfort and safety of my arms when she wakes up from a bad dream or the little one needs settling. We get to be their havens, the place they go when they are sad or hurting or scared. We are the center of their world and priviledged to be so.

Then: I looked at life with the eyes of an open-minded and playful adult who was often burdened by the way life looked back.
Now: I see the potential for fun and whimsey in each moment. I notice the birds on the trees, the appreciation of the sun shining just a bit brighter than yesterday, the pride in learning a new skill- however small, and the utter ecstasy of dancing, running, leaping and laughing from deep in your belly.

Thanks to my girls, who are so fresh and unencumbered, I have realized that the point of being here, the point of my life, is to be, feel and live joy in every way possible.


The good news is we just found out about the tax rebate. Hello $1,800 to the Carver Family!! (We just found out because we have been living under a rock with very little communication from the outside world.)

The "other" news (I won't go so far as to call it bad) is that I still have a TON to do to get our taxes ready. Imagine a checkbook with an extraordinary amount of transactions. Now add to that a business checkbook with less comings and goings but a savings account too. Now picture all of 2007- remember what you did in 2007? Where you shopped? What you spent? Imagine me at the computer entering every single transaction for our personal and business accounts for all of 2007 before we can even begin to prepare our taxes.

Last year at this time, as I was entering in all of 2006, I SWORE I wouldn't do it again. I hereby declare, for all 5 of you blog readers to witness, I am going to keep up month by month for 2008. I am making a testiment for my future sanity. I made a tax appointment so that I would have a deadline (March 11) and the best news is that I am already one checkbook register down and half-way through July 2007. I haven't started the savings accounts or the business but they are so much faster, I always start with the hardest. I figure I have a good 8-10 hours left. Not so bad, you say? It sometimes feels impossible with the girls. Every time I type in that I had a debit card transaction at Hannaford I think, "Why? Why so many groceries? And for the love of God why 3 times in one week? That's two extra transactions!"

I've got my head about me now. I'm halfway. I can do it. And there may even be a tax return to make it all worth my while. The crummy part is that I am already 2 months behind already for entering in 2008 by the month...
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