Bad News Comes in Threes

They say bad news comes in threes.

If that’s the case, I’m very nervous right now.

Because today I was hit with two bouts of bad news.

First my father called me and informed me he is having hip surgery today.

All of a sudden I realized my father was old. Isn’t that the kind of thing that happens to old people?

“Well, your lucky, I told him. First, you didn’t slip in the shower or anything. At least you have a good story, you did it riding your bike. And second, you are basically in one of the best places in the world for the problem you have now. Boca Raton for hip surgery is like getting plastic surgery in Korea. Everyone is doing it.”

All kidding aside, it’s bad news. Replacement anything is almost never as good as the original. I just hope since my Dad is in good shape, he’ll recover well.

The second bit of bad news was that Anjelica gave me two weeks notice today.

She was always overqualified for this job. I knew in the back of my mind I was getting a bargain.

I’ll be very sad to see her go, though. We have fallen into quite a comfortable routine. And I’ll miss her conversation each day.

But it does open the door wide open. The twins are older now. Unlike when she started a year ago, we no longer feed them bottles, we no longer feed them at separate times as the older kids, and they feed themselves for the most part. They entertain themselves a lot more, are walking and need less constant carrying.

It’s made me stop and think – am I ready to take on this job alone or do I still need help?

As for the third piece of bad news, I’m hoping I can count my recent broken toe, or maybe the big bill we just got slapped with to fix out dishwasher. Somehow they seem to pale in comparison, but no one ever said they had to be equal, right?

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First Day of School 2013

The older boys went back to school today.

Jack starts 1st grade today.

Jack starts 1st grade today.

Since it was the same set up as last year, I was pretty unemotional about it.

Summer was long and hard, but it had it’s rewards too. Th biggest one, perhaps, was watching the friendship between Jack and Ben grow.

Ben is in his last year of Pre-K. This pose is the extent to which I could get him to co-operate for the picture. I feel sorry for his teachers this year...

Ben is in his last year of Pre-K. This pose is the extent to which I could get him to co-operate for the picture. I feel sorry for his teachers this year…

What did Mommy do while the older kids were at school this morning?

I sat on the couch with my feet propped up. Besides an abnormally amount of poopy diapers, the twins played nicely in the basement together.

I justified my morning ‘lounge about’ to myself. After all, I still had a broken toe. Keeping it propped up was so nice, it didn’t throb all morning. But truthfully, I probably would have lazed around all day anyway. After this summer of tending children 7 days a week, 14 hour days with frequent night wakings, I felt I deserved it.

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Block Party 2013

DSC_0381Another year, another block party.

I could write on, but I think the pictures do it more justice…

This year they hired a spray paint tattoo artist.

This year they hired a spray paint tattoo artist.

Look how great the tattoos came out!

Look how great the tattoos came out!

All the kids loved the Magician, "The Great Scott".

All the kids loved the Magician, “The Great Scott”.

"The Great Scott" also does balloon art.

“The Great Scott” also does balloon art.

Is there anything better on a summer day than ice cream from the ice cream truck?

Is there anything better on a summer day than ice cream from the ice cream truck?

Emma Jane organized her annual craft table.

Emma Jane organized her annual craft table.

Here is Neena's Piñata.

Here is Neena’s Piñata.

Block party's band.

Block party’s band.

The twins were a lot more mobile compared to last year. Unlike last year, my father was not in town to lend a helping hand. But my amazing husband managed to find a way to juggle them all afternoon…


He juggled all the kids AND still had time for conversation!

He juggled all the kids AND still had time for conversation!

Susie, the party organizer.

Susie, the party organizer.

Later on the kids got to push all the buttons in the cop car.
Later on the kids got to push all the buttons in the cop car.

Another amazing year. Thank you Susie for organizing!

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Dad Leaves

The realization that this is the last day of summer vacation is that only thing that kept me from being in complete distress when my Dad left this morning.

He was so much help, and in the very best way.

Not only is he the lowest maintenance guest a person could host, (eating whatever is put in front of him, leaving less mess than he makes, not ever, not even once, asking to do anything for himself) but he also very unassumingly finds ways to help. Dishes were done, laundry was left upstairs folded and neat. The best thing he did was he put the kids first, even if it meant putting down the dish he was cleaning to pay attention to them.

I had a play date one afternoon. The woman sat upstairs gossiping, Dad was downstairs getting beat up by a cackle of kids.

Dad kept Jack and Ben in giggles at our rooftop lunch at the EBC

Dad kept Jack and Ben in giggles at our rooftop lunch at the EBC

Even though he wasn't wearing swim clothes, he still found humor in Aaron dumping this water all over him.

Even though he wasn’t wearing swim clothes, he still found humor in Aaron dumping this water all over him.

Curious Sam gets much closer to Dad's computer than he would ever be allowed to mine!

Curious Sam gets much closer to Dad’s computer than he would ever be allowed to mine!

For all the pictures I got of him with the kids, there were many more moments where he babysat while I did things with other kids or alone. School meet and greets, shopping, and date nights are a few things that come to mind.

His presence in the house made for a much more calm atmosphere. I found myself more relaxed, I worried less about pushing everyone to get out every day because I knew they could have a blast with their Grandfather anywhere.

Until next time Grandpa Devensky! We’ll miss you!

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Fresh Picks (July 31)

A few weeks ago we received Poblano Peppers, Celery, Cucumbers, Broccoli Raab, Red Potatoes, Slicing Tomatoes, Cauliflower and Yellow Chard.

DSC_1001I steamed the cauliflower right away and fed it to the twins. Once again I noticed when you at them right away they are delicious.

Poblano peppers were stuffed with a quinoa mixture and baked. Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers. They were super spicy, but yummy.

Celery was used in turkey burgers, and tuna salad.

Cucumbers were made into an Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad.

Broccoli Raab and Yellow Chard were sauteed with garlic and dusted with parmesan and topped with lemon. At the same time I diced and roasted the red potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper and paired it together.

Finally the tomato was cut into up for lox and bagels.

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Broken Toe

I blame the late night with the girls the night before. I was up late, drinking too much wine. I was tired the next day.

But it could have been the fact that I was holding a baby in one hand while trying to take a cookie sheet out of the cabinet. I was off balance.

Whatever the reason, I very clumsily dropped a heavy cookie sheet on my toe Monday afternoon.

After two painful days, I got an X-Ray.


Broken toe. The Middle toe. I can’t believe I’m back in the boot. Again!

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Dad’s Visit So Far

My father told me once that the saddest part of separating from my mother was the fact that he didn’t live in the same house as us anymore. He said that all the really funny stuff, the bonding moments, happen when you are just sitting around your house hanging out. One moment nothing much is happening and the next thing you know you find yourself in a full on uncontrollable giggle.

My father is the master of hanging out. He can come over and hang out. He’s not worried about what we are doing next or asking questions about what’s for dinner. He just gets in there. Any chance he gets he’ll start messing around with the kids, goofing off until they are in that elusive state of the uncontrollable giggle. He can do it with all my kids and any age. It’s really quite a gift.

Dad drew a picture of Jack

Dad drew a picture of Jack

DSC_0162 DSC_0213Yesterday I realized I trapped him in our house for 2 days watching various kids while I went out, sometimes with other kids and sometimes not, to do whatever I wanted or needed to. He didn’t even notice.

Adam and I are not like this. We feel the need to have activities and fun things planned every day. So, Dad’s visit is taking on a mix of both.

At the Beach

At the Beach

At Highland Park Aqua Park

At Highland Park Aqua Park

Dad is planning on staying long enough to shore me up until school starts, thank goodness. Next week before school starts I’ll need all the help I can get.

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Brandy Leaves

Turns out Brandy’s visit benefitted me in a way I never thought about. It became a bit of a vacation for me as well.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day kid free, shopping with Brandy. I did not manage to take any pictures for the blog, shame on me, but I’m hoping Brandy will send me her’s to help you all with some visuals.

We hit all the stores that I’ve heard 16 year olds would love, American Apparel, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and H & M.

Turns out it’s not just for 16 year olds. I spent more than Brandy on clothes yesterday!

I also learned lots about today’s youth. Did you know they sell records again? With today’s popular music? And that plaid is in again? Or did it ever go out? And that you can buy a very trendy top for the same price as a sandwich? How is it possible that clothes are so cheap nowadays?

After a morning of shopping we hit one of my favorite sandwich shops from my days in Hong Kong, Pret A Manger and took it over to Millennium Park. Brandy saw Cloud Gate AKA “The Bean” and Crown Fountain, two towers that have images of faces that change every 15 minutes. Right before the faces change, they spit water from their mouths.

We had a laugh about how we’ll never understand modern art. Can you imagine the approval process from the city? “So let me get this right, you want to make a giant bean, and you want to make two fountains of faces spitting water?”

Brandy was even approached to be in a documentary, called Outfit.

Later, we put some of the kids to sleep and left the others with Grandpa to put to sleep. Brandy, Adam and I went over to the East Bank Club for another thing I’ve been wanting to go for ages. We kayaked from the Club over to Navy Pier to see the fireworks.

IMG_5065 IMG_5070

There were a ton of kayaking companies all doing the same thing. It was really cool being on the river, seeing all the buildings. I noticed it seems like it doesn’t matter where you are in the states, boating is the same everywhere, full of a bunch of drunks!

Luckily the river is quite wide. It’s definitely an unusual way to tour the city. I would do it again. Perhaps to take visitors to, our a cool date night with your husband.

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More Victims

Hahahaha. HAHAHAHA. That’s my maniacal laughter people.

My father showed up today. He was instantly hit with the full romper room.


So far he seems okay. But I think he’s lucky this time. With Brandy here to soften the blow, he does not have to dive in full blast.

We decided to brave dinner out at a sit down sushi/chinese/thai place. We actually had one adult per kid, how bad could it be?

There were a few rough patches. Neither twin would sit in the high chairs, then when we finally got some rice for them, Sam threw it straight into Brandy’s water glass. But other than that, it went reasonable well. The glass of Sauvignon Blanc helped.

Tonight I could tell the kids are very happy with all the extra family members around, and with all this help, so are we.

DSC_0147 DSC_0152

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Brandy Arrives

My next victim has arrived. My niece, Brandy, showed up last night to help out for the week.

With each new helper, I’m not sure how the dynamic in the house will shift. Some kids like some visitors more than others. Some people come to help and they do a lot of house work, some play with the kids, some want to cook. All of it is helpful. There is so much to do around here, every little bit helps.

I wasn’t sure which kids would attach to Brandy, but it turns out, it’s pretty much all of them (Aaron is still being a Mama’s boy, but I think that will change when he gets more comfortable). They are fighting over her already like, well, like she’s the only girl in a roomful of boys.


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