Our family

Our family

Friday, June 29, 2007

Pre k Graduation

I can't believe it, my big boys are truly becoming big! Graduating from the pre-k program and all ready for the "big kid" school. Home-schooling is looking better to me everyday. Can you imagine them eating their little lunches in school? I just cannot imagine them trying to open their little milk box and putting the straw in. How will they nap? What if Chris doesn't like the noise? What if some of the kids are mean? Do you know that the kindergaten will be eating with the 8th graders!! They use a buddy system. Chris better get the nicest buddy that ever walked the school yard or I will in that school taking names and..well you know the rest. By the way, Matthew wants to be a worker (read: day laborer) and Chris wants to be a tonado catcher (I think they are supposed to just chase the storm but Chris wants to catch them before they hurt anyone)

I remember last summer Matthew used to have some difficulty with the bigger boys next door. I remember him shouting over his shoulder as he climbed the cement divider between our properties, "you are not my friends any more! And you will never play in my backyard ever!"

I was so hurt for him. I met him as he climbed over the divide. "what happened?"
" they made me wet momma, even though I said no make me wet!"
in ear shot of those boys I said to Matthew loudly "your right! They are not your friends at all, they only ask you to play if there is nothing else to do. Don't play with them ever again!" I could have honestly cried. So I brought Matthew in...Don't you know 20 minutes later he says " momma I'm going to go outside and play with the big boys."
What was this, we hate those boys, you and I will just be friends. Ah but he was over it. And don't you know the next day I was opening my car door and who pops up but the nieghbor kid. "uh I am sorry about well, yesterday, and um, Matthew got um wet, it was like um an accident and I'm like sorry"
Well that was that. They are as thick as theives now, and I realize my boys can hold their own. Each year a little more steady.
I used to think parenting, marriage and home ownership looked like the most boring prospect in the world. I succefully put it off until the very last moment but now I see it is really the most breath-taking ride in the world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Camping montage

Click the picture and play the montage. The pictures are much better than that actual weekend. We had a rough trip down and Ami's health was in swift decline. However those kids were in heaven. Their Aunt Ruth their favorite Aunt in the world, was living next door! Matthew's biggest challenge was to go knock on her door he was so nervous. They loved having special time with Marty and Beth. They love those guys and who can blame them. They are endlessly patient and are always up for another toss of the ball or walk.

Having Gram and papa there is of course sends them to the stratsphere of excitment. They love spending time with them. Cara is particuarly attached to Gram. Her face just lights up when she sees Gram. Even when whe was very small she would react so happily to seeing her Gram. I never understood it but..... only kidding.

That said Mark has taken to Papa quite nicely, I noticed this for the first time last July at the family reunion he was rough horsing alot with him and he continues to feel braver and braver with dad agian a mystery to me...but who can account for taste?

It was nice to see the babies starting to bond with Marty and Beth. Beth and Mikie seemed to find some common ground and spent some quality time together which is fantastic.

Thank you all for coming down and I hope that everyone walked away with good memories!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Father's day

We had Minneapolis not 3 weeks ago. Then a camping trip punctuated with extra stress do to Ami death. I was beginning to think we just could not bear anymore stress. I felt exhausted and a bit overwrought. So when Father's day rolled around I had pretty much nothing left to give. I didn't buy any body anything. Thank goodness for preschool teachers and their clever arts and crafts projects.

Chris decided we should go to the planetarium. There is a beautiful one on Long Island. I said fine, but didn't even have the energy to pack up a picnic. So I sent Steve out to pick up things appropriate for a picnic, forgoing the peanut butter and Nuetella sandwiches we normally endure.

I dress the kids nicely and we head out. They fell asleep as planned in the car on the hour drive to the Vanderbilt planetarium. The peace! The quiet! We arrived and headed right into the show. All five kids were perfect. Entranced by the show. Only Cara calling out STAR! SUN! which is useful information, was there any outbursts at all.

We then walked the grounds until we scouted the perfect picnic grounds. Steve had packed a picnic fit for a king! cheeses, fruits, crackers, lunch meats, drinks. Our spot was shady and surrounded by open fields, where literally my kids chased butterflies and each other. Cara's beautiful curls bouncing in the sunshine as she ran about. We were like a family from an Eternity perfume ad.

There was no fighting, no stress, no problems. We ate, we played and we had the best day or our year so far. I really mean it. Of course we didn't have our camera. I think that just had to be. No one else perhaps can really see even with pictures and words the intimacy and joy even a large, overwhelmed family such as mine can really share. You just have to be there, but to be there you have to make the huge sacrifices and the missteps that me and Steve have taken to finally achieve the moment.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is a sad day at the Bo house. Our beloved, sweet dog Amstel "Ami" has died. She was with us for 15 years. A good run for a dog. I adopted Ami at 9 months old. Her first night at my house she got into a case of canned bear and pierced several open. So when I had gotten back to the apartment she had taken a beer bath. I knew then that she was going to be a friend for life. And I was ever so right. Together we learned every part of Central Park. She swam in the brambles, the lake and every fountain they had. She summered in PA with my folks, where she swam in their lake and chased the deer.

Then she met Steve. On our 1st date, I confessed to owning a dog. On our 2nd date he brought her a treat when he picked me up. This was Ami's love story. The two of them hit it off. Soon they had moved in together in Bayside (I followed about at 1 1/2 years later)

Ami was the most playful and humorous dog you could ever meet. never ferocious unless she knew damn well Steve would be their to back her up. Steve and I swore the dog could understand a joke. At one point we administered one of those checklists used in early childhood development assessments. She scored at the level of a 5 year old for social skills. Of course she fell apart in the language and dressing yourself sections. I think the assessment was biased.

Our memories of Ami are countless. The joy and smiles she left us with will not be forgotten. Ami was a one in a million dog. She never ran away or caused us problems. Always true to her sheep herding heritage, it was her personality to keep us all as close together as possible. Herding Steve me and the twins by nipping at our heels. Her inability to herd well, the twins as toddlers, was a source of much concern for her. By the time the triplets arrived she had gone into full retirement.

Here is to you Ami, the fine dog that you were, you will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


We seem to be struggling to get life back on track since our trip. My endless guilt which always is ready to bubble over by the mere fact that I work, has run out of control since the trip. So I am running back and forth between the house to have time with the kids and the office to get some work done.

Last night was the au pair's birthday. For those of you that never had an au pair which I am guessing is the majority of people. They are not merely employees. In fact au pair mean "on par". They are not like a second mom, which is what one person said to me....which I did not take well and they are not like a daughter. They are more like a distant relative who was sent to you. You are responsible for them, you end up caring about them and counting on them. So being her birthday, I wanted to thank her for the great care she gave my kids while I was away and help her celebrate her first birthday far from home.

I decorated a superwoman cake, and Steve prepared a big meal the night before that only needed to be heated up the day of the fiesta.

Well yesterday like all days got complicated. I left work at 11;15 to pick up the boys. They run out excited to have been invited to a playdate. Oh great a new plan. I say okay. It is not the norm to drop kids off at these things at this point. So I have to stick around. I feel so guilty that I am not at work and now to get anything done, I will have to work later and cut into precious baby time. Finally I tell the mom who is great, that I have to go. She says the boys can stay. I feel relieved. Chris declines and goes to the office with me-which I was secretly so happy about. She kept trying to entice him to stay but I was like its okay, let's go Chris. I worked until 5 picked up the Matthew, went to return books at the library and get Dalila a card. I got home at 6. Steve was not there and no dinner was cooking. We had forgotten to tell Dalila to put the food in the oven.

So no food for our fiesta. I felt terrible. In preparation for her birthday party, Dalila had bathed and dressed the babies in the party best, But it was 6PM and there was no food, no decorations, no balloons, no people.

Steve ran out and picked up chicken I heated up the side dishes he had prepared, hung the signs, wrapped the gifts and the party began at 7. Dalila was the perfect honoree, ignoring the snafu, laughing with the kids, helping out, raving over the rather sad cake

We all danced to the Spanish music station, Cara looked beautiful in her party dress and carrying her yellow balloons. Dalila thanked us many times for the party and presents. I hope that she was able to see what we were trying to convey to her: that she is important to the family, that even though we are wrapped up with so many demands, that she counts too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Finally it is behind me, the trip to Minneapolis, nothing against the town but I hated to leave the kids. Before anyone gets a picture of me as some Madonna eternally devoted and attached to her broad, the truth is I just felt really uncomfortable leaving them without family to take care of them. Our nanny is fine but I know her only 7 months and her English is very poor. It just seemed like a recipe for disaster, but God was good and we were able to get through with out any major incidents.
Christopher did get stung by a bee on his face while I was away, so while I am standing around trying to sell our wonderful product at this gigantic expo, I get a call from the pre-school to come pick up Chris he's been hurt and needs to see a DR. Being 1200 miles from home makes it difficult to get Chris who is now sobbing on the phone to me. I try to comfort him and I tell him "oh Christopher you poor baby, momma is giving you a big hug right now. Can you feel momma giving you a hug?"
"no." answers Christopher in his what is my crazy mother saying now voice. It is great how much can be conveyed in one simple word.
After many phone calls I orchestrate his medical care and comfort from what feels like a universe away, while dealing with potential clients and keeping my own tears in check the entire time.
Back as I am, my normally crazy life can continue to run amok. The nanny needs to see a DR. thankfully nothing serious. But that means I have to locate a Spanish speaking doctor that accepts her insurance and then drag the kids over to the office to make sure it goes well.

Of course there is no parking so Dalila hops out of the car to find the doctor on her own. I find parking and begin to drag the 5 children down the crazy crowded blvd. The sidewalks are crowded and the road is jammed with cars. Cara sees a woman covered in a burka with only her eyes showing and she strikes up a conversation. Chris sees a hot dog cart and says he wants one, the lady says we don't sell hot dogs. So Chris looks closer at the cart and say oh you only sell Halal food. I think he has mis-read health food, but no, it says halal food. The spacial food that religious Muslims eat (similar to kosher for the Jews). I am astounded.

Most would shudder to bring there little ones to this crowded ethnic neighborhood, but I take comfort in the fact that there lots of little ones in these neighborhoods. And like Steve has said there is like an invisible rope tying our kids together. They seem to have a strong survival instinct and never go far from the group. Any wanderings are quickly corrected with a stern word or two and Christopher and Matthew feel responsible for the "their babies" and will use force if necessary to stop any dangerous or perceived dangerous behaviors. This as you can imagine, has its pros and cons. They hold hands on the busy streets. One big boy takes two babies, one takes one baby and is charge of opening doors. I walk right behind them so I can keep everyone in view. I feel like a vigilant jail guard in these more high risk situations. My focus is complete as I sweep my eyes continually over the group. They on the other hand love the outing. Cara has taken to calling Mark, Mark Alejandro, and saying "I Cara" to anyone who even glances in her direction.

Last night I went to look in on the babies sleeping in their cribs and was shocked to see that they are not babies at all. They are so big. They keep trying to let us know each day that they are not babies anymore. They have something to say, the world does not just impact them, but they impact the world.