Monday, June 30, 2008

My Three Foodies and one Wino

People have marveled at the lack of "crap" my kids eat. For the most part they eat a variety of nutritious meals- CJ eating exclusively Gluten Free of course, but collectively all of them eating more than their fair share of fresh fruits and vegetables. They eat what we eat and that means very few grilled cheese sandwiches and more exotic flavors. I am not a short order cook, so if I am preparing a meal it is designed to feed the masses- all nine of us, everyday and night.

Don't think these kids are deprived of anything though. They have older siblings who have been kind enough to introduce them to the likes of Chipotle, Wendy's, Snickers bars and Reeses PB cups. I look the other way at most of that and I know eventually they too will be ingesting horrid choices. For now, they eat beyond their 2 year palates and are miniture foodies.

We have been regularly frequenting the 5 for $5 Friday Nights at Whole Foods and while Jeff and I sample 5 new wines paired with food, the kids likewise, sample all kinds of new things too. The produce department and deli/cheese case are always a hit.

Maybe they are learning too much too soon? I did not realize how closely Natalie pays attention to what is being said. Example: We experienced a great Friday meal at WHOLE FOODS and the featured wines were described in great detail. Our personal favorite that night evening was a crisp Fume Blanc matched with a pistastio crusted wild salmon fillet. Over the top delicious. Jeff and I ooohed and ahhed about it for a while. We discussed purchasing a few bottles to have on hand, we talked about how it was good value and it was our favorite tasting of that night. The server had said that it was a nice and refreshing summer wine selection- Fume Blanc is great with fish and chicken- it was fruity and slightly spicy. We finished the Whole Foods night with a cafe style meal and some fresh scoops of gelato. CIAO!

When we got in the van we asked the kids what their favorite food item was- Eli liked the chocolate gelato, CJ loved the corned beef and Natalie raved about the salmon. Just jokingly Jeff asked her which wine she liked, and she LOUDLY said, THE FUME BLANC! She said it with perfect pronunciation- FOOMAY BLONK. My little foodie likes FUME BLANC! I was beaming with pride for about a second- then I realized, she is totally soaking in everything! I have three foodies and a wino. So much for talking negatively about anything - except on my blog of course!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday School....why not?

Sure, it is Saturday but why not extend our little homeschool preschool to a 6 day a week program? The kids are game and so am I! BRING IT ON! My two year olds are sponges and I want them to soak it all in... even on the weekend!

We started today's lesson with a field trip to the library. The New Albany taxes are hard at work for wonder the tax rate is so blasted high in NA, the facilities are totally impressive! The library was a huge and instant hit with my "class." You see, I gave birth to my own preschool classroom and now in addition to wearing the fancy MOMMIE hat, I am now donning the Teacher cap too. Regardless of which hat I am wearing, reat assured I am stylish! Today was a peppermint green Lacoste Ball Cap by the way- very festive and "posh tennis mommie" looking for the shee shee poo poo New Albany crowd!

My class loved the small playroom area filled with toys, touchy feely and pop-up books,

wooden puzzles

and plush leather reading chairs.

All of the kids took turns reading to me and to each other- it was hilarious to listen to them make up stories and words based on the photos on the pages. We learned about baby animals, construction vehicles and we studied the season of Summer since it is a timely topic.

The New Albany Library is a great resource for us because in addition to being filled with educational books there is an awesome soundproof room for children and a quiet zone for parents. How cool is that? This means that I can leave my classroom with a substitute teacher (Argenida) and take a break in the Parents or in my case, teachers' lounge where it is COMPLETELY SILENT and they have computers with high speed access for errr, ugh, ehhhh, grading papers(?) and posting blogs. So yeah, this whole summer school thing and homeschooling teacher slash mama thing is working out for the best- even on Saturdays!

Friday, June 27, 2008

We're Homeschooling this Summer

I have decided to home school our own little bunch for the summer. I have grand plans of the places we'll go, the field trips we will take and the lessons we will learn. I have the energy (thanks METABOLIFE!) so why not spend the summer homeschooling them? I can do it- afterall, you should see some of the whack-jobs that are homeschooling- if they can do it, so can I!

Have no fear my friends, I will never EVER aspire to be like Michelle Duggar, making their modest clothes by hand, teaching scriptures and wearing my hair starched with Aqua Net. No wholesome swimwear for this homeschooling mama slash teacher! We won't end up there. No, no, no, you see this is a temporary back up solution now that we have been formally ousted from the FCBMRDD preschool summer camp. I want to just spend the summer with my kids doing what they were supposed to do otherwise- ONLY BETTER!

Today was our first day of arts and crafts. Thankfully Crayola makes these bright markers that are truly washable. My little Jackson Pollacks are hard at work:

Tonight we will go have dinner at the club, the invade the Easton Art Festival and browse the artisian booths...I doubt I will find anything more perfect than my very own original Preschool Picassos!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Slutsky Circus

I used to call our group a zoo, and last Halloween we were indeed a whole zoo. Now I am beginning to think we are really a circus. Everyday is LOUD, there are death defying acts of juggling skill- climbing acts and small people scaling tall barriers, there are some circus artists riding tricycles, tumbling gymnasts, and jumping acts

and scary stunts

and of couse the circus animal tamer and ring leader (moi!) I think maybe we will start selling tickets! Hear Ye Hear Ye, step right up...get your tickets here, the Slutsky Circus is in town!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My first official Blog VENT of FRUSTRATION

I am posting a matter of fact VENT about the triplets Summer Pre-school Camp Program "SITUATION." It is my first real chance to bitch and moan on the blog- it probably won't be my last-- but when something like this happens you do whatever you can to avoid keeping it internalized. You gotta let it go somehow, someway and my blog is my blog it is all mine, so I am gonna let it rip! If you are reading today and you are under 18 or prefer not to read 4-letter words that you can't say on tv (REST IN PEACE GEORGE CARLIN) than look away now...this post is ugly. Long Winded, Factual and Ugly.

The triplets were approved for Early Intervention services through Franklin County. Help Me Grow is the umbrella that finds services for clients based on need. In our case all three kids were assessed by Help Me Grow and were found to be speech, PT and OT delayed at 18 months of age. We were given the go ahead for services until age three. They were born under 3 pounds each, at 28 weeks (they would have automatically been able anyway) but we needed a baseline test of what they were doing developmentally, and at the time they were behind full term singletons in all areas.

This past school year they all attend the Early Education center classroom at the FCBMRDD based pre-school, 4 days a week in the mornings and it helped tremendously. They each got various therapies during classtime to help them grow and develop to where they could be caught up to non preemies. It was like a light went off inside their heads, how much of that is coming with age and how much of that is influence- hard to say. But the school experience was fabulous all the way around. They LOVED school! You have seen the photos. THEY LOVED IT.

Back in April they were enrolled for the Summer program. I filled out mountains of paperwork, releases, emergency contact forms and attached copies of their medical and shot records... TIMES THREE. I wrote the checks and attached them to the paperwork. It was tedious, but I thought it would be worth it. The camp-preschool which is 3 afternoon days a week started today. On May 9th we got formal letter(s) in the US Mail, 3 letters actually, one for each child from Kathy Mortimer, the director of the Summer program stating they were enrolled for the Summer P.M. session on T-W-Th starting June 24 at 12:30. HOORAY.

In May it was time to decide about testing them for Fall of next year. There is a standard series of tests done to determine eligibilty based on physical, occupational, speech, gross motor skills etc etc. IF they did not qualify I was going to have to seek a different school that had room to place Three 3 year olds in one time slot. I was okay with seperate classes but wanted only one drop off and pick up time and place. (understandable). As you can imagine, finding a new school is daunting enough with one toddler but when you are talking about three it magnifies things. We had a hunch they had come too far in all areas to be considered delayed anymore, but wanted to make sure we were not overlooking something that could use help. So back on April 16th we have this intense sit down meeting with all the therapists from the current pre-school and they tell me that the Public school district where we live usually does the testing for the three year old program, so we contacted them to join our Fall meeting-planning session. The public school psychologist sat in with us and said the tests are only administered by the Gahanna school district in mid-August or we could ask the current Early Education team to evaluate them sooner. It would be my choice- since the tests were standardized. Same tests different times. Hmmmm, I thought....test them now, and have all Summer to make other back up plans for Fall? Or wait until late August for Gahanna to give us the results and hope that the qualify under the guidelines and have to scramble if they don't?

I chose to have them evaluated back in early May by the folks at FCBMRDD where they were anyway - and at the follow up (findings and results of the tests discussed) meeting May 15th it was explained that they were too advanced to continue at that school in the Fall of 2008. I understand it is a mixed blessing because in order to be dropped from the program the kids have to test high enough in all categories to be considered "not in need of services". In the May 15 meeting Debbie New who sat in on the meeting but did not actively participate, mentioned they may not be able to be enrolled in the Summer program. It has been over a month since that meeting and I never heard another word from the FCBMRDD.

I showed up with all three kids in tow today for the first day of Summer Programming and was disappointed to learn that all three of the kids were indeed dropped from the summer schedule. So basically, to make a long story short, by doing what is best for my kids and testing them sooner rather than later, I sabotaged their ability to attend school this summer.

The FCBMRDD Summer program director, Kathy Mortimer could not have been more condscending and rude to me- as if I should have known better than to just show up with the three letters of congrats you are accepted into our Summer Program letters bearing her signature and expected to have a place there. She curtly stated that the May 9th letter she sent me was premature because they were disqualified after the results on May 14th. As a government agency, provided by the county they should have handled it better. How totally unprofessional. They did not send me anything in writing telling me of the change in status for Summer, they did not return my payment, and they did not make it known that this was even possible back in April or May. I would think that they would have had time from May 15 to June 24 to return my payment, call or send a letter notifying me of the cancellation of summer school. Kathy Mortimer pressed on and on about how they have not returned any payments yet. So how was I supposed to know anything different from the original acceptace and enrollment instructions she sent me?

To put it bluntly: Those assholes at the Franklin County Board of MRDD fucked us. They screwed my kids over and they make no excuses about it at all. It is harsh to say but seriously.... if the tables were turned here is what I would have said to someone in the same situation back in April- why not phrase the scenario this way:

"Mrs Slutsky, we know you have triplets and it is challenging to find a school that will be able to accomodate your three children in the Fall. I understand your urgency to want to get them tested now, but let me explain that if you test them in May and they do not qualify for services for Fall 2008, it will automatically render your summer enrollment void. The spot they currently hold in our 3 day a week camp will be dropped. they will not be allowed to attend at all. However, if you chose to have the Gahanna public school district do the testing as they planned for August you will have already completed the Summer Session and will just need to make other arrangements for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year."

What would you do now? How do you change it once they are rejected? You can't change it after the fact, so you just suck it up and blame the ignorance of an agency that is designed to HELP KIDS not penalize them. My kids qualified to be there, they should be there, and if they had given me options in a logical manner they would be there now. So I am sitting here at my computer google searching some other summer activites and plans to get us out of the house this Summer. It is not easy to find activities for two year olds, especially when you require three spots in a class or time slot. You can damn well bet my kids will be busy- now I just have to get more creative about it.

Picnic at the Pool

Since Daddy is gone for two nights Mommie decided to schlep all the kids and their dinner to the pool. Ahhh yes, a refreshing change of scenery. The wind in our hair, the sun at our back, the fresh air, the mess: ELSEWHERE! We just pack it up and move it out. We are not talking about some gourmet fare transported in a linen lined basket with cheese and crackers, caviar and bon-bons folks. (Dreaming) This is paper plates and some ziploc finger food transported in a recycled Whole Foods paper bag with handles. Last night was blueberries, cherries and grapes with organic, free range, gluten-free chicken dino nuggets, corn puffs, and Trader Joe's version of cheddar cheetos- with no red dye #40! My kids rarely get to eat this much packaged crap, so believe me they were lovin it. When you are two years old, a picnic at the pool is cool and eating on a table with a bench is fun. Making a mess on concrete is frowned upon, but not time-out worthy like in the kitchen back home. So overall, picnics at the pool ROCK OUR WORLD!

Then, after our meal the kids just splash around and play for hours! I am not sure what I will do when summer is over....maybe we should move to a summer year round climate so I never have to serve dinner in the kitchen again? Vegas? Scottsdale? Palm Beach? San Diego? Hmmmm, that is a thought!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A night in the life of a Queen

As mentioned in the HELL post, we got new baby gates to confine the kids to their rooms at night. No more roaming the halls and escaping their own beds. Once we tuck them in this is what it looks like: and this is what it looks like ten minutes later when we re-open the door to see what the noise is all about: Here is the view inside Natalie's room after thirty minutes: and here is video what I was able to see an hour and a half after we closed the door to the boys room: This is what they call KABOOMING!

Finally almost 3 hours after the inital bedtime, this is the sight of pure HEAVEN:

and then, somehow, someway, this is what my King Size bed looked like at 5:53 a.m.- no room for Mommie or Daddy-grrr!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Greetings From Hell

The title is two fold. You see GAHANNA, the suburb of Columbus neighboring where we live is the HEBREW word for Hell, okay, so the Hebrew word for hell is Ga-haynah, it is pronounced the same. Gahanna, Ga-hayna, either way with the recent nap and bedtime routine I am living in HELL.

Since the cribs are gone our little people have been holy terrors going to sleep in the freedom of a bed. They fight the nap and bedtime like nobody's business. They are two years old. It is what they do. I know it is a phase but they are wearing me out. Did I already say I am living in HELL?

Today we went to Babies R US and paid retail (GASP!) for 3 new baby gates. The tallest ones they had. Once installed they keep all the toddlers confined to their rooms. Okay, so they can still get out of bed, but now they must stay in the room. Why didn't we think of this sooner? Perhaps if I weren't so tired I could have discovered this miracle weeks ago?

Oh, and to add to the misery, ughhh I mean Neighborhood is having their annual garage sale next weekend, so if you are trying to buy used clothing and crappy furniture that looks like Hell - c'mon over, I am selling everything that is not nailed down.

More blog updates tomorrow for now, I am just sitting at the computer listening to the P-A-R-T-Y upstairs and I am doing my best to keep from shouting...GO TO HELL!

Friday, June 20, 2008

They are Buckeyes

As I type this I am shaking my head in disbelief. My kids are OSU Buckeyes. There are worse things to be, right? Everyone knows that the Buckeyes have the best damn fans in the land, but honestly, I never imagined being called the Mother of Buckeyes. Until today. See- I admit it, I have publicly outed myself. There might even be a self-help support group I could join?

I am not from Ohio, did not go to school here, and I married a Hoosier, but alas, we live in Columbus. Buckeye Pride is in the water here- but in the babies defense, they were born at the University (OSU) Hospital and technically they were Buckeyes from day one. Given the high level of care they received in the NICU at OSU, I can't complain. Consider that from the time they arrived at home Mitchell has been brain-washing them with various OSU chants, stats, jargon, & encouraging them to watch games with him, and because they worship the ground he walks on, they too, worship the Buckeyes. I am glad Mitchell is not a Scientologist! (as Seinfeld would say, "not that there is anything wrong with it")

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Baby is ONE Year old

Our sweet baby girl. She is already a year old. Sheeesh that was quick. She is technically a toddler now, but you can damn well bet I am not ready to admit it. I am still squeezing her into a size 3-6 months gymboree stretchy sleeper because I can not and will not grasp the fact that she is my last baby. Sure her toes are jammed up into the footie part of the pj's and they are skin tight, but I refuse to believe she has outgrown them- she is a ahem, sniff sniff, a baby.

Last night we officially celebrated the one year milestone. We gathered at the pool for mousse cake and ice cream. At the request of Natalie there were party hats, balloons and a BIG cake. The older kids and their friends, Uncle Howard & Aunt Diane with the boys, and Argenida all were there to honor BABY Charlotte. Baby Charlotte people, not Toddler Charlotte, not Charlotte, I said BABY CHARLOTTE and now I am yelling it.

It was a simple and lovely evening- just as a first birthday should be. The photos speak volumes so listen to this:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thanks J-date

Reflecting back on the few short years ago when I was single and living in Prairie Village, KS, Jeff was a full time single dad to Amanda & Mitchell in Columbus, OH.... where has the time gone? Gee Thanks J-date- Ugh, I think.

I guess we are one of those J-date success stories, where Jewish boy meets Jewish Girl and they end up living happily ever after. I just don't think either one of us thought that this would be our real life family photo 2008. If you would have asked Jeff 5 years ago where he would be today, I doubt at all he would have envisioned a wife, 4 new kids including triplets, an aupair, a house in New Albany and all the laughs we get every single day and every night.

Most of my blog enteries are cheerful and positive like sunshine, moonbeams and rainbows but I am not going to totally blow smoke up your ass...there are nights like last night when we wonder what we did? We are bordering going crazy. Cribs to beds is pure HELL. I said it. We are considering this
(joking) (kind of- maybe?)We are beyond sleep deprived. Full and total exhaustion is mildly stating it. At various times during the wee hours all the little ones took turns playing the PITA active night owl. My head hit the pillow and I was out like a light. Then 15 minutes into my sleep CJ was shrying- Mommie snuggle, Mommie Snuggle, Mommie Snuggle....for a half a freaking hour. With eyes half open I got him out of his room, and told him to be quiet and go back to sleep in Mommie's bed. We barely got cozy when Eli starts saying Daddy I pooped. Daddy I pooped....until Daddy got up and dealt with it. Then he noticed that CJ was in our room, so he proceeded to camp between all of us. We drifted off to sleep in our KING sized bed full of toddler bed hogs who kick, wrestle, drool and genuinely take up room, until about 4:00 a.m. when Natalie entered our room and said loudly, "I AWAKE- Eat Brefkest please!"

Read my blog and envy me? Read my blog and wonder how I stay sane? Do you know me and think I am completely nuts? Whatever the case, Here are a few photos that will explain it all in better visual detail. This is what gets me through nights like last night....

So as I drive down the freeway today fully medicated into a state of bliss, I suddenly noticed the exit signs and I was not sure which way to go? Gee Thanks J-date!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cheap Mommie and Rich Daddy

Father's Day was a celebration of our Daddy. We took our special Daddy to Easton for a little breakfast to start the day.

Cheap Mommie bought Rich Daddy a new leather wallet. He requested a techno-rigged "mousetrap wallet" that would snap at the fingers of nameless "takers" who opened the cash section looking for the first national bank of dad- New Albany Branch. Like a mousetrap with cheese his wallet is filled with green bills that attract rodents in our house, so he wanted a better system of filing. No luck on the pest control, he had to settle for what frugal Mommie found at TJ MAXX.

We let deserving Daddy indulge in a nice Cuban Cigar, and a late afternoon nap while Mommie took the kids to the neighborhood pool for a few hours. Keeping with my theme on being frugal...the best pool toys for our kids are my big yellow colander, a few plastic bottles from the recycling bin and a couple of otherwise disposable cups from fast food restaurants. All the other kids were borrowing our toys- they were jealous of the propel bottles. Sure, I could spend boatloads of cash on fancy floaties, stacking blocks and other made for the pool entertainers but honestly, our kids are all too happy with what I frugally offer. If it is not broken, why fix it?

The same philosophy is true with teeting toys. I have opted to get a bit more creative with baby Charlotte. I have not bought her any of the popsicle looking silicone rings that vibrate or a $230 Silver Tiffany Teether. Her teething toys are available at Whole Foods, right in the organic produce section. They are biodegradable, disposable, GREEN friendly and full of vitamins. I found that a partially frozen, fresh strawberry is her ideal tooth soother, The seeds are just nubby enough to provide texture and the juicy fruity taste is at its' peak this time of year. Okay, so I have to spend a few bucks on stain remover, or strip her to just a diaper and let her go to town out on the deck where she can be hosed off before returning to the great indoors. Seriously, when you look at how much she is enjoying herself, why would you let her suffer sucking on some sterling silver bauble?

This frugal mommie has found some real winners using the contents of Daddy's new wallet.

Blog Archive

The older crowd

The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

A blast from the past...makes it all so real now