The Mansion House

This story started several months ago. The boys often talk about growing up and buying a house. Sometimes they decide that they will live together when they grow-up but Wyatt has a new plan now. One day he asked about really big houses and someone said, “you mean a mansion?” “YES, I am going to live in a Mansion House when I get big”, Wyatt replied.

Weeks later, Wyatt informed my mom (Nonni) that she could come live with him in his Mansion House and he mentions this house on a regular basis. It seemed like Wyatt was concerned about taking care of Nonni.

One day Wyatt was spending the night at Nonni’s and while she was cooking a cheeseburger for him, he told her that she would be able to cook for him at his Mansion House and she would also be able to do his laundry. It no longer sounds like Wyatt is planning to take care of Nonni.

This past weekend, he asked Nonni if there are houses with elevators. She told him that sometimes big houses have elevators and maybe his mansion house would have an elevator. She went on to explain that she might have trouble walking up stairs and an elevator would be helpful. He didn’t respond and walked away.

He returned 10 minutes later and told Nonni that his Mansion House probably wouldn’t have an elevator. But she shouldn’t worry about the stairs. “If the Mansion House doesn’t have an elevator, I will get you a jet pack instead.”


Wyatt has a Way with Words

Wyatt was asking for a pencil to work in his Word Search book in bed. My mom told him he shouldn’t take a pencil to bed in case he falls asleep with it. Wyatt: “You think I don’t know how to use a pencil? I use a pencil every day at school.”


Juliana had a sewing class and Scott was walking through JoAnn’s with the boys. Before they came in the store, he had warned them not to touch anything. As they were walking, they started talking – “I’m touching my arm.”, “I’m touching my head.”, “I’m touching my knee”, until Wyatt started yelling, “I’m touching myself, I’m touching myself, I’m touching myself.”


Wyatt was procrastinating at bedtime and would not stop talking. I told him to go to bed and he kept talking. I stopped him and said, “Wyatt what do you think Mommy wants you to do?” He responded with “come and snuggle with you”. Sure, I can’t turn down Wyatt snuggles even if it is past his bedtime.


My Dad occasionally takes both boys out to dinner on a weeknight when I am still working. Recently he was driving to dinner with the boys. They had already decided where they were going, but Wyatt was still negotiating.
W: G, How about if I pay you $3 to go to the other place instead?
G: I don’t want to go there.
W: How about $10?
G: No.
W: *thinks for a minute* OK, What if I give you $10 and a pig?
G: I want to see the pig.
W: I don’t have the pig now but I will give it to you later.

After a pause, Ruslan broke the silence and in a very man-to-man voice said, “G, You’re not getting a pig.”


Wyatt and Giant Owl Went to the Dr Today – One of Them Has a Fracture

I didn’t think we would make it this long without a broken bone in our household. With the way the boys constantly roughhouse, climb and jump off of everything, and run full speed without a second thought of obstacles in their path…we are lucky that there have been few injuries over the years.

The boys played outside after school yesterday and when we came inside, they went up to their room. After a few minutes I heard Wyatt scream and he came downstairs crying. He said that he fell and hurt his arm. By fell he meant that while the boys were leaping off of Wyatt’s bed into a giant bin of stuffed animals, he landed wrong and fell on his arm.

We applied ice but there wasn’t any obvious injury so we went on with the rest of the evening. At bedtime he said it hurt too much to go to sleep and I gave him some medicine and he was soon asleep.

This morning he immediately complained that his arm hurt too bad. We decided that it made sense to take him to the Dr and he was worried about what would happen and asked to take Giant Owl. I explained what he should expect if the Dr sent him to get an x-ray and he and Scott headed to the Dr. When it was time for Wyatt to get x-rays on his arm, Giant Owl also got an x-ray (his “name” is Owliver).

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Then Scott and Wyatt went out to breakfast and Wyatt ate a giant plate of bacon and lots of other food before they came home. We got a call with the x-ray results and he has a fracture in his right arm and he has an appointment with ortho on Monday. In the meantime, the Dr says it won’t get worse and manage pain as needed. So now we wait and hope that Wyatt has a speedy recovery.

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I Find Their Promises to Be Disingenuous

I sent the boys upstairs to change for bed last night and soon Ruslan returned. As he came down the stairs I could hear him yelling, “where are my underwear?” As he rounded the corner to the kitchen started to tell him that his underwear were is the same place as always, and then I saw what he was wearing…or rather what he wasn’t wearing.

Ruslan had been in the process of changing into his pjs when he stopped to come downstairs and was only wearing his pj shirt. I quickly learned that this had nothing to do with underwear when Wyatt came running into the kitchen talking a mile a minute trying to explain what he and Ruslan had been talking about upstairs. This conversation was so important that he was partially dressed as well and wearing only a shirt.

Wyatt explained that they had a plan for their bedroom. And then Ruslan joined in and they excitedly told me that they wanted to push their beds together and sleep together in one big bed. “We promise that we will go right to sleep and we will be so good!” This is where I reminded them that they currently fall asleep in separate rooms because they never go to sleep together.

As they were jumping up and down in the kitchen, while wearing no pants, they implored me to rearrange their room and continued to promise me that they would be so good.

I sent them back upstairs to finish changing their clothes and followed behind to tuck them in. Wyatt was dressed and trying to move his bed, heavy bed + carpet meant he was having no success. I explained that we were not moving any furniture at bedtime while he continued with the promises. He finally seemed to realize that it wasn’t going happen and told me that I am mean.

He continued to protest as I tucked him in and then he suddenly changed tactics, maybe I didn’t understand the plan and he told me that he could draw a picture for me. Anything to change his focus, so I handed him a notebook from my bedside table and told him to draw a picture and we would talk about it another time.

The picture includes their beds with them lying down with stuffed animals, the bin of stuffed animals next to Wyatt’s bed, the rocking chair, bookshelf with lamp and the door to their room.


I’m not even sure if they believe themselves when they promise that they will go right to sleep, probably not.


Farewell 2015

After 10 years of working from a home office, I had to start commuting a few days a week which toppled the work-life balance once again. I also managed a huge project which pushed the balance more to the work side. Work hat versus Mom hat, the balance effort continues.

Although Juliana had pneumonia in December, most of us had a healthy year. Scott developed neck pain and numbness in his arm/hand in the spring which resulted in disc surgery in September – this was my least favorite part of the year. Now on to some of the 2015 highlights.

Juliana finished third grade and started fourth. The boys graduated Kindergarten and moved on to first grade.

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We went on several vacations last year. Scott and I went on a cruise which we timed perfectly with one of the coldest weeks of the winter in Pittsburgh. School was closed three days that week while we were cruising tropical waters and visiting Honduras, Belize and Mexico.


We went on a quick family vacation to Washington, DC in July. We dragged the kids through lots of museums and memorials.

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In September we split our vacations. Scott went to Ireland with his parents and brother and I took the kids and my mom to Disney World.

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We went to several concerts with friends.

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This was the third year that we had season passes for Kennywood. In addition to taking all of the kids several times and going with friends, I also took each child for a solo day where they got to choose all of the rides. Wyatt was tall enough to ride several more thrill rides and he took full advantage.

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After a few years of going to a fair amount of Pirates games we purchased 2 seats of 20-game season tickets. Since Scott wasn’t able to attend many games I went to a lot of baseball games this summer.

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It wasn’t a perfect year but there were a lot of good times.

The Story Behind The Christmas Card


There has been a family picture on our Christmas card for the past three years and that was the plan for this year as well. Coordinating outfits were selected, a location was determined and the weather was simply perfect. It was a lovely November afternoon and everything was perfect until Scott woke up sick . . . → Read More: The Story Behind The Christmas Card

Traditional Christmas with a Lot of Star Wars


I was really looking forward to Christmas this year. Juliana is heading into the pre-teen years and I know our years of wrapping lots of fun toys are numbered and soon the only present options will be electronics and gift cards. It was also a year of Star Wars presents.

My brother and sister-in-law . . . → Read More: Traditional Christmas with a Lot of Star Wars

Santa and Our Annual Christmas Card

We went to see Santa at our local mall this past weekend. When I told Juliana that we were going to see Santa, she told me that she was too old to have her picture taken with Santa. However, when it was time to leave for the mall, she had changed into a pretty . . . → Read More: Santa and Our Annual Christmas Card

The Fantastic Four or Three-Quarters


One week before Halloween Wyatt went from normal, wild Wyatt to going to bed early, on his own. And then the fever started. Over the next five days Wyatt spent a lot of time sleeping with a fever from 101 to 103.5. Just as Wyatt was showing signs of recovering, Ruslan came home from . . . → Read More: The Fantastic Four or Three-Quarters



A decade 2 whole hands The Big 1-0 Double Digits Anyway you say it, Juliana is ten years old today and she couldn’t be more excited.

The is very little middle ground with Juliana – it is either the best of times or the worst of times – everything is awesome or . . . → Read More: TEN