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March 06, 2009

I'm a Sucker

In the end, it doesn't really matter what *I* think about what others are doing to their lives.  I honestly have a very unselfish motive for caring so much about everyone: I just want the best for people.  I like to see people happy.  I like when people are comfortable in their own skin.  I like when people can stand up for what they believe.

I've had an emotionally tough time accepting a lot of things over the past several years.  I've tried to fix family rifts, tried to make wrongs right, tried to repair broken hearts.  I've been through my share of personal problems, trying to still be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend (to name just a few).  When people I care about hurt, I hurt.  I can't turn that off.

And I've come to learn that I don't want to turn that off.  It's what keeps me sane (there is a note of irony there).

We get one chance at life.  You never know when your time is up, so people, you damn well better make the most of it.  Sometimes it sucks, some days you can drive yourself batty with worry about everything.  It's easy to do, especially in these times of uncertainty (or should I say absolute uncertainty - Mrs. Steinberg, I think you'd be proud).

But today, it was 68 degrees and sunny (yah!).  I had fresh air flowing through my house.  And my youngest sister had a very healthy (very - as in 9 lbs 2 oz) baby boy.  My husband and children are all under my roof tonight, safe and sound.  I still have a job that I enjoy that also has great health benefits.  I live in an awesome neighborhood with lots of friends whom I trust.  Life could be so much worse.

A new life that affects mine was born tonight.  I have four kids...I'm obviously a sucker for babies.  I might not even be able to meet my nephew until Memorial Day, but I'm excited for them.  I'm hoping and hoping and hoping that everything turns out ok with that particular situation, but again, it's not my life.  It is all good tonight, and that's what matters for now.  My sister is doing well, embracing her new role as a mom with her (pretty awesome) boyfriend beside her, and I'll take that.  She knew what she was getting in to, and stuck by her decision.  They are young, but there is something in their maturity that tells me they just might be ok.  And I completely respect that.

Like I said, I'm a sucker.  Welcome to parenthood Abby and Blayne, and Brayden, I can't wait to meet you.

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October 31, 2008

So Not Humorous

It's been a busy week here.  Connor lost his first top tooth (finally) on Wednesday, and the other won't be far behind.  But the real craziness for him happened Thursday.  The trio stay at school in their after school program until Aaron or I can get them.  They love it, and have tons of fun, including being able to play in the playground.  The kids have been getting more courageous lately, and trying to do more and more physically.  Thursday was a beautiful day, so of course the playground was the place to be.

My phone rang on my work line and my cell phone, while I was on a call.  Then Aaron alerted me that Connor had gotten hurt and needed us to get him.  The seriousness in the voicemail had me quickly at the school door.  He had tried to skip past some of the monkey bars, and fell hard, straight onto his left arm.  They had some ice on it and a makeshift sling, but it was obvious how much pain he was in.  One of the ladies who had helped him quietly cautioned me that it didn't look good.  Something very sweet to note, both Caden and Jordyn were literally crying for Connor because they didn't want him to be hurt so badly.  They were worried sick over their brother.  Even further, Caden chose to sleep in Jordyn's room last night rather than without Connor in their room.  Now that is a sibling bond for sure!  It's nice to know your siblings have your back like that!

Our brand new hospital recently opened and was the closest, so off we went.  Everyone we encountered was so nice, and they also gave him something for the pain pretty quickly.  From the moment they cut off his shirt, it was easy to see a break was obvious.  The x-ray technician brought me to the x-ray directly and it didn't take any words from her for the tears to come to my eyes - the picture said it all.  It was very obvious this situation wasn't good.  His humerus was completely cracked in half, and not lined up.  Not humorous at all.  See for yourself:

Broken Arm

An orthopedic surgeon explained he'd give Connor some analgesic to make him groggy and unaware, and he'd try to manually reset the bone back into place.  After he came out of that, he didn't remember any of it, but I always will.  Watching his eyes dilate and him slip into another zone was very difficult.  Worse was watching the doctor try to wretch the bones back in place.  Seeing some tears fall from his eyes made mine do the same.  I couldn't watch most of it, but I was glad I could be there.  He came out of it pretty quickly and easily, and said he had a happy dream.  Unfortunately the x-ray confirmed what the doctor thought: it was not successful.  Surgery with full anesthesia would be required.  After I kissed his head and watched him wheel away, I lost it.  So scared for my sweet boy.  Surgery...such a nasty fracture...what could I have done to prevent it...what could I do to change it...would a different doctor have been able to secure it.  Nothing to do but wait and try to keep my worst fears and thoughts from overtaking me.

The surgery itself lasted two full hours.  The surgeon said it was a very clean break, but that wasn't good for keeping the bone in place.  He ended up needing an open incision, along with three pins to secure the fracture.  The break is very high near his shoulder, so he will wear an immobilizing brace for a while to promote healing.  All I can say is luckily it's his left arm since he is right handed.

After being away from him for almost 4 hours, they brought me to the recovery area.  He hadn't woken up yet, so I was there when he did.  He did pretty good, just the normal disorientation and shivering.  They kept him comfortable and at least his pain was well under control.  It was 2:30 am before we arrived at his hospital room for overnight observation.  He rested well, other than the 2 hours of 15 minute checks, and then 1/2 spans after that.  He was able to eat a good breakfast and we were discharged shortly afterward.  We have some pain medicine and are just taking it hour by hour at this point.  He was always in good spirits when he was awake, and always telling the nurses how much he liked it there, and what good care they took care of him.  He was definitely full on sweetheart.

As a mom, this was so incredibly hard for me.  All I can say now is I'm so thankful everything turned out ok in the end.  We'll have a long recovery with the location of the injury and the 3 protruding pins, but hopefully the bone will heal with no problems.  I am currently exhausted beyond belief, but wanted to write this update for the many caring friends and family we have that need an update.  We will of course keep you updated as to his progress.

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September 29, 2008

They are Growing Up!

It's fun to say that I have 1 3 year old and 3 7 year olds.  It just sort rolls off the tongue as well as gets some wild reactions from strangers.  But likewise, it's just hard to believe how old my kids are getting, and how quickly.  For example, in the past couple of weeks, these events have transpired:

  1. We no longer have any children in diapers.
  2. We no longer have any children in a crib.
  3. We have a daughter with pierced ears.

It's amazing to see how grown up older daughter looks with her shiny earrings.  And younger daughter in her big bed.  It goes by so quickly and while I tried my best to suck every last second out of the baby days, they are now officially gone.  And gone for good this time.  No chance of a surprise pregnancy.  It tugs at my heart.  I am very proud of the little people my kids are blossoming to be, but I am still a bit sentimental at the times gone past.

Not to leave my boys out, they are handsome little men themselves.  They joined Cub Scouts and it's so cute to see them interacting with their fellow den members.  And it's exciting to see Aaron telling them all about it, as he was an Eagle Scout himself.  I am so happy they can have that experience together.

I guess all I can do is keep making every day matter...after all, soon enough it won't be funny when my daughter walks up to me with a pooched out belly and asks: "Do I have a baby in my tummy?"

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June 24, 2008

7 Years Ago

7 years ago right now, I was getting my first real view of my firstborns.  From the wee morning hour when they were born, I only had a quick glimpse of them before they whisked them away.  I had a Polaroid of each of them that kept my attention for many hours (of which I am still grateful to the nurses who were thoughtful enough to do that - thank you again), but I needed to see my babies in person.  The delay was my slow recovery from the combo spinal/epidural of my emergency c-section.  When I was finally able to sit in a wheelchair and touch them for the first time, my first thought was very simple: they were perfect.  It's very difficult to carry triplets and after all of the scares of premature birth, there they were....33 weeks and 2 days, all 3lbs5oz, 3lbs8oz and 4lbs6oz worth of them.  It was finally real.  The long, long road it took to reach that point was over.  Everything was going to be ok.

My second thought was amazement that all of that 'baby' was inside of me.  No wonder I felt so miserable.  They were beautiful, perfect, and our children.  I was instantly smitten.  There was never any time required for me to bond.  My heart was immediately taken to an alternate place where it can simultaneously burst with love, happiness, hurt, worry and fear...just to name a few.  I thought I understood emotion up until 7 years ago, but those 2 minutes that it took to pull 3 babies out of my womb redefined my emotions forever.

At their younger birthdays, it was more a reflection of how easier some things became.  It's not hard to remember the difference between leaving the house with three breastmilk-drinking babies versus three somewhat self-sufficient kids.  I used to always reply to the questions of how we are doing with "some things get easier, some get harder."  Every year I understand the implications of that statement with more magnitude.  The new catchphrase seems to be this: "small kids, small problems.  Bigger kids, bigger problems."

Now they are 7.  It's literally shocking that 7 years have gone by already.  They are now really their own little people dealing with their own problems.  They have to fend off peer pressure, competition and all the fun and yuck that comes with growing up.  I hope and pray that we make the right decisions to give them the best opportunity to thrive in this world; one where we are just like every other previous generation and think the world is going to hell.  I want to equip them all with the personality traits that will help them succeed in life.  And after 7 years, one thing is very clear: being a parent is harder than you'd ever believe.  It comes with more joy and heartbreak than I ever thought I could feel (but yes, it is still always worth it).

7 years under the belt, and I've learned a lot.  A lot about myself, my husband, my family, the world.  Life is one big continuous journey - the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know.  Parenthood fits right in there with one big exclamation mark.

Happy 7th Birthday, my sweethearts.  I hope the first 7 years of your life have been good ones.  I know you have made my last 7 years worth every minute.  For as long as I live, I will never forget or underappreciate the miracle that 7 years ago brought to my life.

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May 13, 2008

Cookie Monster, Where Are You?

For Mother's Day, we took the kids to see Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music.  If you don't already know, Haley is a Sesame Street fanatic.  She adores Elmo and Cookie Monster, and she loves watching Sesame Street every chance she gets.  When we told the kids where we were going, initially the boys feared it would be lame, but I knew better...and I was right!

We first walked in, and Haley calls out: "Cookie Monster, where are you?"  It was so adorable!  Even the girl scanning our tickets commented how cute it was.  We got to pose in front of some Sesame Street backdrops, and then the anticipation of counting down to the start of the show was exciting.  Finally, it started, and Haley was in heaven.  The girl was practically quivering with excitement to see all of her "friends" up on stage, and sing songs she knew!  She was singing and dancing, and even the trio joined in and had fun.  It was seriously the perfect Mother's Day gift.  Leave it to me to get teary eyed at a Sesame Street show!

The day started off great too, with the older kids proudly giving me their Mother's Day presents they made at school.  They were just beaming with pride, and those are the best kind of gifts.  My four munchkins make being a mom the greatest thing in the world.  I love you guys, and thanks for making it the best Mother's Day so far!

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August 24, 2007

Happy 11th Anniversary, My Love!

11 years ago was one of the four happiest days of my life; the day that Aaron and I were married.  How fun to look back upon our wedding day!  My own wedding was only the fourth wedding I'd ever been to at that point (two of them being in the previous two months), but thanks to the "new" thing known as the Internet, I was able to do all sorts of research.  I had it all planned out (with Aaron's input and approval, of course), and it played out perfectly.  It was everything I'd hoped it would be, and I was surrounded by my closest friends and family, as well as those of my new husband's.  For all intents and purposes, it was a perfect day.

It was especially emotional for me, after having a rough start to 1996.  Aaron was involved in a serious car accident which left him with a permanent injury and the loss of a coworker, who was also a friend.  While we may have been marrying young (by today's standards, anyway), we certainly already had our first major test of our relationship and had passed, stronger than ever.

This strength has certainly come in handy throughout the past 11 years.  We've endured the typical trials: financial worries, career changes, loss of loved ones to name a few.  Then came an unexpected biggie, a time in our lives I 'fondly' refer to as infertility hell.  That certainly tests not only your relationship with each other, but your personal limitations.  We graduated from that one to face the next: triplets (if you are curious, the day I found out I was pregnant with them and the day they were born healthy were two more of the happiest days of my life).  Juggling two careers, work travel and infant triplets saw its share of stressors; good times and tough ones, too.  Four years and some months after the birth of triplets, came another surprise; while at first it was a bit of a shock.  Did you guess it?  Yep, the day I had another healthy miracle was the fourth in the four best moments in my life thus far.  And now here we are 11 years later, trying to be good parents to four wonderful kids while remaining happily married.

Our wedding invitations were very easy to pick out.  On the front of it said: "This day, I will marry my friend - the one who shares my dreams."  He was my best friend 11 years ago when I said my vows, and he still is today.  Sure, from time to time we have our differences, but that is part of any relationship.  We are both willing to communicate and to change when necessary, and that goes a long way.  I have spent all four of my best days EVER with him - in fact, he was an integral part of all of them!  Our life together is more wonderful than I could have imagined all of those times I wished upon stars or blew out my birthday candles.  And we have four incredible kids who are a mixture of both of us.  How cool is that?  I wouldn't want to share this honor with anyone else.

So before I go on too long and embarrass you any more, honey, I'll stop.  Happy 11th Anniversary.  For me, the years just keep getting better and better!

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August 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Happy birthday, grandma.  Grandmas are always special, but you know you weren't 'just' my grandma.  There are a lot of people missing you today, and I wanted to just share my personal thoughts.

I know you are still with me, because I talk to you pretty much daily.  You are still everywhere in my life.  I see you all over the place.  I see you in the things I do, the things I say, the things I want to call you up and tell you.  I see you in my mom, in my kids, in people I meet.  I feel you in the songs we listen to, in the birds we hear, in the emotions provoked from things you've said.  I hear you in the things I say, the things you've said, the things I should say to people.  Every now and then I will catch a scent and swear it was you walking by.  I cook and I taste, ever so slightly, the things you used to cook (although I've never made 'shit on a shingle' and I probably never will...and I STILL cannot recreate the fried potatoes, no matter how hard I try).

In 2003, I was supposed to take you to Las Vegas to celebrate your 70th birthday.  I really, really wanted to do that, because I know you would have enjoyed it.  I hadn't been back there since 1999, and I really thought the next time would be that trip with you.  I don't need to tell you that it didn't work out for us to go that year.  On a fluke, I was there last month, and had the strangest twist of fate I've experienced in a very long time.  An elder lady sat in the aisle seat next to Aaron and I, and I felt my heart drop to my knees.  That was supposed to be you sitting next to me!!!

I am probably overly social most time, but yet I could hardly utter a syllable to her.  She reminded me so much of you.  She was traveling with a friend and went to talk to her during the flight.  I could just see you and Millie doing such a trip.  Finally when we were almost there, I managed some conversation, which only make me think even more of you.  After we landed safely, I was promply hit with such a wave of emotion, I cried.  I could not hold them back any longer no matter how hard I tried.  Here I was, in Las Vegas when it should have with been you, sitting next to someone who could have been you, and I was simply overcome.  But then I realized yet again, you were still with me.  If it means I have to cry during those especially poignant moments, I guess that's the small price I'll pay.

Caden, Connor and Jordyn swear they remember you, and I believe them.  You spent a lot of their early days with them.  Jordyn was 'your' girl for a long time and I know she honestly remembers it.  We all still talk about you all the time, so you are fresh in their memory.  Then Haley came along, one you never met.  But she definitely has your fiesty spirit.  Everyone knows she's named "Haley Faye" because it sounds like "Hellie Faye," a name we all know you were so 'fond' of hearing.  I hope each time we say it, you hear it too.

So, on that note, I guess another "Happy Birthday."  I hope you and 'pa (among the many others we have lost and hold dear), are getting a good laugh at us still down here.  We miss you dearly, and look forward to seeing you again one day.

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July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

I wish everyone a very happy 4th of July.  I hope you have a great time visiting with family, friends, neighbors, whomever.  Enjoy the day celebrating our independence.  I could go in to a rant about politics, but I'll save that for another day.  Instead...

...instead, I will reiminisce upon a particular 4th of July 6 years ago when we decided not to go out to see the fireworks, a favorite part of mine.  Our three tiny babies were in the NICU and we didn't feel it was right to go without them.  Instead, Aaron and I arched our heads out of the upstairs window of their-soon-to-be nursery and watched them that way.  We couldn't see most of it, but it was the right way to spend that event. 

Earlier that day, we had a great visit with them, and one particular NICU nurse had bought, with her own money, an Old Navy shirt for every single baby in the NICU.  I had purposely gone to the hospital with one of the best NICUs in the state, so it had more babies than most...but three of those babies were ours!  We walked in that day to see our teeny, beautiful babies decked out in the smallest t-shirt Old Navy had to offer.  It was the most adorable thing ever!  They looked so tiny in those shirts, but wow, how incredibly awesome of a gesture.  Not only that, but there were homemade little signs on every isolette with a 4th of July sentiment.  I asked to have our first family picture taken, and the babies were stable enough for that.  Another nurse gave me a blanket to put up behind them for reference.  Last year I took a picture of the kids with the same blanket.  Holy cow, what a difference.

I wish I could tell all of those nurses who helped how special that day was for us.  I wish I could thank them yet again for taking such great care of my babies when I had to leave the hospital without them.  I sent a note to the NICU that first Christmas, letting them all know how much I appreciated their care, and that our kids were doing fabulously.  However, every 4th of July I get extra sentimental about this because I can't adequately describe how emotional it was to enter the NICU and see all of those teeny, tiny babies hooked to monitors, tubes and what have you...with parents worrying, rocking and taking pictures of their precious little treasures they couldn't yet take home...and yet someone thought enough of that predicament to selfishlessly 'decorate' all of those babies and celebrate a holiday we had to spend without our little ones at home.

I had my fireworks right then and there with them; I didn't need to go somewhere else to see any.

Every 4th of July from then on, I make it a point to buy an Old Navy 4th of July shirt for all of my family members, which has now increased by one more.  They might not quite comprehend why this is so important to me just yet, but I think some day they will.  Often, it's the smallest act of kindness that leaves the biggest impact on your life.

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July!!!!  Hug those loved ones extra hard and enjoy being together!  And enjoy the fireworks, too!

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June 24, 2007

Happy 6th Birthday, My Sweethearts

It's hard to believe, but today my three oldest kids turned 6.  I remember the day they were born as if it were yesterday.  They immediately stole my heart, and the hardest thing I had to do was leave the hospital without them.  Thankfully, they were pretty healthy and didn't have to stay in the hospital for long.  I was lucky.  And now here they are little kids at age 6.

We went for a bike ride today.  A 5 mile bike ride, I should add.  I had Haley in the trailer behind me, and she loved it.  We have these awesome trails through the Forest Preserves and next to lakes, and it's all right in our backyard.  It was an incredible experience watching them gain their confidence on their new bikes while riding through such naturally beautiful scenery.  My mind drifted back to 6 years ago when they were all just 16 1/2 inches long....not even as long as the diameter of their new bike tires!

I've learned an incredible amount about myself in the past 6 years.  I have a lot more patience than I realized.  I have the capacity to feel more love than I ever thought possible.  Being a mom has made me feel more complete than I could ever put into words.  Riding around on a bike with my family today was simply heaven.  Something so simple, but yet so perfect.  I wouldn't change a thing about my life right now.

And my sweet 6 year olds.  Wow, how impressed I am at the little people they are blossoming into.  I am so proud to be their mommy and have the opportunity to raise them.

Happy Birthday, sweethearts.  6 years ago today I am the one who received the greatest gift of my life!!!  Thank you for making the past 6 years so wonderful for me.

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June 05, 2007

What's the hardest part?

What's the hardest part about having triplets? 

I've pondered this question many a time since learning I was expecting triplets in December of 2000.  The pregnancy was certainly very hard.  Mostly I claim that being pregnant with triplets is/was the hardest part.  It was hard both physically and mentally, so I suppose that is the right answer.  Your body is stretched beyond its usual capabilities, you are torn from being so miserable to knowing it's best for the babies so all you can do is be severely uncomfortable, and wait.  Yep, that had to be the hardest part.

Then I think, wow, the going back to work after 8 weeks was pretty darned hard, too.  The sleep deprivation, then the traveling husband and doing it all by myself when he was gone.  Being on call, working in the middle of the night while having three newborns.  Hmm, it wasn't easy.  But it's almost a blur now.  Ok, it must be the pregnancy that was the hardest.

And I remember the pumping.  I couldn't get any of them to latch on, so I was pumping around the clock every 4 hours for the entire first year.  Even at work.  I initiated a better 'lactation room' for the few of us doing it.  I got mastitis and more blockages than I could count.  I was wearing a 36I bra (I'm sure there are some of you very, ahem, thankful I shared that information).  When the babies began sleeping through the night, I still got up religiously to pump.  I had an emergency gallbladder surgery and that just about killed my supply, but I pumped every 2 hours until I got it back.  Wow, those were some tough times.  It was a long first year because of this more than anything else.  However, they never had to have formula and as a bonus, I saved all that money.  It felt like a huge accomplishment when it was over, and I was proud of myself for sticking with it when I thought I couldn't.  Sure, it must be the pregnancy that was the most difficult.

That first year, once the weather got warmer and RSV season was over, we started going out more with the babies.  It was like we were a circus act.  We would get stopped left and right and asked the most personal of questions.  Some people were rude and felt that we were irresponsible for having triplets.  Others would voice aloud their personal concerns that they would have killed themselves if it happened to them.  That got very stressful at times...after all, it was hard enough to get out with three babies, let alone have to manage other people's reactions and comments.  But with time, our responses just popped out without thought.  With more time, the kids weren't all the same size, and people didn't automatically connect 'triplets' with them.  Surely pregnancy was harsher than all of that.

As the kids got older, we had potty training to do, times 3.  Ah yes, fun times.  Then right when they got the hang of it, we moved into our new house.  Great timing.  We had to potty train them again!  This second time was even harder because they had already gotten it once, so how do you handle a major relapse?  But I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a major hardship.  Not near as difficult as the pregnancy.

Ok, so what else is hard about having triplets?  Sharing your time between 3 eager minds?  Feeding all of them?  Laundry?  Answering questions continually?  Breaking up their sibling squabbles?  Adding surprise baby number 4 into the mix?  I don't know.  It's all challenging sometimes, but overall it's not all that bad.  I think for me, it's something more. 

I am a sap.  I know, I know...if you know me personally, this must come as a huge shock, ha ha.  And motherhood has intensified my emotions ten fold.  I have never known such joy as that my kids bring to me.  I have never known as much love as I've felt since becoming a mom.  I have never felt as connected to the universe before.  And now I feel so much more purpose in life.  Trans fats, global warming, hormones and chemicals in our food, terrorism...oh my!

What I can't quite put into words is what I now believe is the hardest: it's the emotional aspect.  Tuesday was the trio's last day of kindergarten.  What did I do after they climbed aboard the school bus?  I came in the house and cried, what else?  Not some hour long sob or anything, but still, I was overcome enough with emotion to have some tears fall.  And it wasn't because now they will home all day long, every day of summer either.  To me, it was a pretty significant milestone.  I was so proud of all they accomplished this school year.  I was astonished at the level of maturity they have gained.  I was in awe at the little people they have become, instead of just little kids.  Their first year of formal education is behind them.  For a naturally emotional person, this is a triple whammy.  If you are a parent, you understand that time goes by so quickly.  When you have three the same age, this seems to be even more true.  Where have these almost-6 years gone already?  I'm trying to savor each and every moment, but they are still going by so fast.  And sometimes the major milestones come at you three times as hard!  That's what hits me the most.

Well, the good news is what is truly difficult in my opinion isn't really a bad thing.  This is a natural part of parenthood and it just goes along with the territory.  I have four kids to love, and while I am sure I will find certain milestones harder emotionally than others, I am so incredibly grateful for every one.  The pregnancy was hard for sure, but you really can never know the full extent of what being a 'mom' will mean until it's a reality.  I'm sure parts of it are different for everyone.

So for this week at least, I'm sticking to it.  The hardest part so far is that triple whammy of emotions.  The littlest number four will be no different, I'm sure.  With her, she's growing up too fast trying to catch up to her siblings.  I guess I just have to make sure to enjoy every moment I have while it's here.  Time isn't going to stop for me, that's for sure.

If you are a parent, what's the hardest part for you?

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May 14, 2007

Motherhood

Being that yesterday was Mother's Day, now would be a good time to have this entry.  I am a mom to four incredible children.  That makes me happier than I could ever adequately describe.  Sometimes people hear 'four children, comprised of triplets plus one,' and it strikes terror in their hearts.  But they just don't understand.  It's a dream come true for me.

It's hard for people to understand what infertility does to a person unless you've experienced it firsthand.  You can imagine how hard it may be to want a baby and have problems achieving this goal, but you cannot understand how it tears up your very soul.  Most people take procreation for granted.  After all, you hear all the time how druggies have babies, how babies are abandoned, how many people are completely unworthy of being a parent.  Surely people who have their acts together, have a good marriage and a stable environment for a child would have no issues, right?  It just wouldn't be fair.

It's not.  It's worse than unfair.  In fact, it makes you question the very nature of the universe.  It makes you resent your own body.  It makes you a basket case.  It hurts worse than you could even describe.  And it is something that will stay with you your whole life.

But I won.  At the point they told me I was expecting triplets, there was nothing left for me to feel other than joy.  I didn't even care about any hardships of caring for three babies at once; I was just elated to finally be on my way to having my own family.  Besides, I always wanted a big family anyway, so this would get me there quick!  ;-)

Sure, there were hard times, days I thought I would collapse, moments I would wonder what I was doing.  But that Mother's day 5 years ago when I had three healthy and happy babies, I couldn't have felt luckier.  How incredibly blessed was I?  Then Mother's day last year had me with yet another miracle.  One I had always hoped for, but thought could never happen, yet there she was.  The one who completed it all and was the catalyst for more change in my life.  Because of her, I was able to go down to part time work from home and be there for so much more of my children's lives.  Sure, with that came sacrifices, but in the end, it's all worth it.

So now here was my 6th Mother's day as a mommy.  Know what?  It just keeps getting better.  No doubt parenting is the hardest job in the world, but it's also the best by far.  I truly enjoy my children.  I cherish the time spent with them.  I love the little people they are becoming.  I am in awe daily that I was trusted to raise these little individuals.  I love being their mommy more than anything else in the world.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's day.  And I sincerely hope you are enjoying motherhood as much as I am.

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April 24, 2007

Random Tales from the Household

A household of 2 adults, 4 kids, 2 cats and 1 turtle can provide plenty of material for a blog.  Here are some random items from the past week or so....

  • Singing nursery rhymes: "The itchy, bitchy spider, climbed up the waterspout." - Jordyn
  • Playing football: "I opened up Caden's shell and got his nuts." - Connor
  • Time to go through an entire 6 pack of Puffs: 3 weeks
  • Gallons of milk it takes for one week: 6
  • "Normal" grocery store shopped: Sam's Club (long gone are the days wondering how on earth you could go through those quantities so fast)
  • Loaves of bread consumed per week: 2
  • One sleeve of 8 waffles = a normal day's breakfast
  • Boy, this would have been really fun to tell you how many jars of food and how many diapers changed when the trio were mere babes.
  • Tee ball practice works well since we have our own little mini-team to field different positions.
  • Number of nails for which mom is responsible: 116.  EDITED - no, it's 136.  I actually forgot my own 20 nails.  I wish I could say it's because I continually get manicures and pedicures, but that would be a lie.  Thanks, Mildred, for pointing it out.  The breakdown is kids = 80, me = 20, two cats = 36.  Ugh.
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March 29, 2007

Noise Interference

I get a lot of raised eyebrows or looks of shock when people find out I stay home with my 4 kids and also work part time (from home) 20 hours a week.  People imagine themselves doing such a thing, and they usually decide that it's better me than them.  My husband travels for work quite frequently and for me, it's easier doing this than it was to deal with all the headaches that arose as a result of external daycare and going in to the office full time.  But that doesn't mean that I don't miss it at times.  Anymore, there are days that the most I leave the house is to get the kids to/from the school bus.  Other days I go to a grocery store to buy the mountainload of food it takes to nourish this family.  My problem isn't feeling isolated or bored.  My biggest problem is the noise interference.

Let me explain.  A 5 year old likes to talk.  A lot.  Combine it with 3 5 year olds always wanting your attention to show you something, to ask you something, or to tattle on a sibling.  And then a 1.5 year old thinking she's 5, and getting frustrated when there is something she can't do that her siblings can.  That's a lot of noise.  I don't know about you guys, but I would prefer NOT to talk 16 hours of every single day.  I think some days, all of the noise interference starts changing my normal brain wave activity and I get sensory overload.  I crave silence.  A padded white room perhaps?  Ok, no, not that extreme...I'd be happy with 10 minutes of quiet.

Don't get me wrong; I'm very thankful I have so much time with my kids and very thankful that we talk so much now.  I know one day they'll start becoming more independent, I'll be asking them to talk to me.  And many of their questions are a result of their curiosity and intense learning, so I know that's a good thing.  It's just...well...there are some days when it's overwhelming.  "Can I have a snack?"  "Can I have more milk?"  "How do you spell SpongeBob?"  "Can I have another piece of paper?"  "Why is cold water so cold?"  "How do airplanes fly?"  "Jordyn hit me!"  It's literally constant chatter.  Even worse on those days they wake up with their volume stuck on LOUD.

Ok, I think my brain waves are realigned enough to continue with the day.  Just wait until the day I tell you how much food we consume!

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Noise Interference

I get a lot of raised eyebrows or looks of shock when people find out I stay home with my 4 kids and also work part time (from home) 20 hours a week.  People imagine themselves doing such a thing, and they usually decide that it's better me than them.  My husband travels for work quite frequently and for me, it's easier doing this than it was to deal with all the headaches that arose as a result of external daycare and going in to the office full time.  But that doesn't mean that I don't miss it at times.  Anymore, there are days that the most I leave the house is to get the kids to/from the school bus.  Other days I go to a grocery store to buy the mountainload of food it takes to nourish this family.  My problem isn't feeling isolated or bored.  My biggest problem is the noise interference.

Let me explain.  A 5 year old likes to talk.  A lot.  Combine it with 3 5 year olds always wanting your attention to show you something, to ask you something, or to tattle on a sibling.  And then a 1.5 year old thinking she's 5, and getting frustrated when there is something she can't do that her siblings can.  That's a lot of noise.  I don't know about you guys, but I would prefer NOT to talk 16 hours of every single day.  I think some days, all of the noise interference starts changing my normal brain wave activity and I get sensory overload.  I crave silence.  A padded white room perhaps?  Ok, no, not that extreme...I'd be happy with 10 minutes of quiet.

Don't get me wrong; I'm very thankful I have so much time with my kids and very thankful that we talk so much now.  I know one day they'll start becoming more independent, I'll be asking them to talk to me.  And many of their questions are a result of their curiosity and intense learning, so I know that's a good thing.  It's just...well...there are some days when it's overwhelming.  "Can I have a snack?"  "Can I have more milk?"  "How do you spell SpongeBob?"  "Can I have another piece of paper?"  "Why is cold water so cold?"  "How do airplanes fly?"  "Jordyn hit me!"  It's literally constant chatter.  Even worse on those days they wake up with their volume stuck on LOUD.

Ok, I think my brain waves are realigned enough to continue with the day.  Just wait until the day I tell you how much food we consume!

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March 08, 2007

A Year and a Half

My baby turned a year and a half the first of the month.  My baby is really not even a baby anymore, but I don't care about that technicality.  She is my youngest so that makes it right to call her that.  It's really amazing how fast time goes by.  The days, the weeks, the months...all 18 of them in her life.  My other "babies" are quickly approaching 6.  How did that happen? 

When the trio was born, I had to sadly return to work a way-too-short 8 weeks afterwards.  They were still so tiny, so fragile.  I had to find a way to balance working full-time and being a mom full-time.  It was a tough time for me.  I always believed that I wanted to work to support my family in that capacity.  It all stems from my upbringing.  I knew I had to be responsible because that was how life worked.  I never anticipated marrying a man so perfect for me and having such a good relationship with him.  I never anticipated how all-consuming the love for your children would be.  I never thought that spending so much time doing nothing more than hanging out with my husband and children would bring me more happiness than I've ever known.  And I never, ever thought that my dream 'career' in life would be motherhood.

The last year and a half in my life have been more different than any other 18 month timeframe.  That's saying a lot if you know me well enough.  There have been some pretty rough spells through the years.  The changes brought about by a birth that happened some 18 months ago have been life altering.  Daycare for 4 children would have exceeded my salary, so something drastic was going to have to happen, like it or not.  I am so incredibly fortunate to work for a company that was able to accommodate me.  I switched my job role a bit and went down to part time working from home.  That meant I had full responsiblity of all four younglings in my house, but also didn't have to worry about the juggle of daycare, commuting, all that other stuff.  To some, this sounds more frightening than my previous arrangement.  For me, it's been heaven.  Challenging to balance everything of course, but my life is more in balance right now than ever before.  Doesn't mean there aren't things that are hard, but it's in perspective because I know it could be worse.  I have missed NOT ONE of my baby's firsts.  Not a single, solitary one.  And my relationship with my other "babies" is better as well.  More time to spend with them...especially important now that formal education has begun.

I'm really thankful for the last year and a half of my life.  I hope most of all, my children have been, too!

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January 11, 2007

Time for Change

There are a ton of things I'd love to see changed, but for this particular post, it will be strictly limited to those things that only I can change.  Since the emotional high of the holiday season is now past, it's time to make some changes for me.  I have two incurable but non life-threatening diseases, and they are really giving me a hard time right now - actually they have been increasingly so since I stopped pumping for Haley.  In the past, I have been able to keep the symptoms tolerable with a combination of a lower-carb diet (nothing extreme, just cutting out most, if not all, white sugars and flours) and regular exercise.  The latter used to be easy because I had a gym on-site at work, and could exercise during my lunch hour.  I knew I would miss that part about going in to the office!  But something has to give now.  My problems are not lessening, and in fact probably increasing in intensity (no need to thank me for sparing you the details) with each month.  Not only physically, but now it's screwing with my head.  I'm getting moody, short tempered, down in the dumps, and probably worst of all for me, fatigued.  When you have as much to do in a day as I do, fatigue is a HUGE issue.  So, time for a change.

As scared as I am for our finances, I am going to somehow find a way to join a health club.  This one to be exact, in case anyone else is a member.  It's by far the priciest I've seen, and that's the only bad part.  However, the good parts are plentiful.  The place is incredible.  So clean, so big, and so so family oriented.  That last one is the biggie for me.  Aaron is gone too much and too sporatically for me to rely on him to watch the kids and allow me to exercise.  This place has an incredible child care center which is included in the membership.  They even have computers!  They have an enormous pool complete with waterslides (both indoor AND outdoor), a huge rock climbing wall (and by huge, believe me, I mean gigantic), as well as supplemental activies for the kids on-site (including ballet!).  I've researched all of my options, and given Aaron's schedule, this is really the only thing that will work for me.  And the neat thing is the kids will get a benefit from this as well.

So that's it.  I have to feel better, and this is the only way I know how.  And I'm sure when my jeans get a little looser, I'll be even more happy.  But the real thing is I just need to feel human again.  I know I sounded so happy-go-lucky all holiday season, but this has been brewing in the background and it's just time to do something about it.

Aside from that, things are ok.  The kids were so excited to resume school this past Monday.  I have to enjoy that while it lasts, because I'm sure the day will arrive when I hear groans instead of laughter.  I signed them up for tee-ball again this year, so that will begin in April.  Connor has officially become a football nut and he pretends to play all the time.  I sure hope the Bears win!

I hope your 2007 has been off to a good start!

 

 

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December 01, 2006

Snow Day!

Today was our first snow day since being an official part of the school system.  It wasn't because it snowed so badly; no, we are used to such things (although it's been several years since a *real* snow has happened).  It was more the constant rat-a-tat-tat all night long on the windows.  Yes, sleet, alllll niiggghhhhtttt looooonnnnggg.  I love my house, really I do.  But darn, the windows in this place in such weather is relentless.  Regardless, it was sleeting up until about, um, 2 am (yes, I was awake all the while) and then it started to wet-snow.  Then it was lightning and thunder.  A thunder-snow, I guess it's called?  Like we are in a sci-fi show or something.  I never remember thunder-snows when I was growing up...did something change when I was changing a diaper, or what?

Anyway, after our 'thunder-snow-storm' or whatever we'll call it, the snow began to fall.  Perfect wet snow just waiting for a great snowball fight.  Or waiting for the poor individuals who must shovel it off the driveway.  School was canceled, which I agree as the roads were very slick, and people were trying to scurry off to work, making interesting patterns in our 'yet to be plowed-or salted-side street.'

The phone rang around noon.  It was a friend from Arizona, wanting to know how much I was enjoying the weather.  A side note here: the friend who called is the husband of one of my longest-known friends from my childhood.  We met here, and she unfortunately moved to warmer climates with her family after about 7 years (I lose track) or so of grade-to-high school friendship.  We remained great friends to the present day regardless of the distance after she moved.  We were in each others' weddings, despite living two time zones apart.  So we still keep in touch, and I have a rather unique friendship with her hubby.  Anyway, he doesn't like snow at all, and the rest of us know snow has its place in life.  ;-)

Without further chit-chat, here are some pictures from today that speak more than my words:

On my web site, there are a couple of pics of the kids getting ready to tackle the snow.

Aside from that, I don't have any 'cute kid playing in the snow' pictures...all I have is this little snow montage (however, bear with me, I'm trying to learn how to do pictures here vs my web site - learning curve warning) so they might not align right just yet.  Please email me your comments so I know how to fix it, ok?  Thanks!

The front of the house, from as far away as shoveling allowed (ha ha).

Front of house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are closeups of things you see in the picture...

Bushes with lights 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowman Post 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, I'm a self-admitted dork, but the geese were going crazy today.  They weren't altogether nuts, as 48 hours ago, it was 62 degrees here!  However, in their frenzied honking, I think they were saying: "What the heck? What the heck? Fly AWAY! FLY AWWWWAAAAYYYYY !!!!!"

 

 

Geese...oh no...fly away!!!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, and finally, gotta give credit where credit is due.  I took all the daytime pictures, and didn't shovel.  Aaron agreed to take a nighttime snow picture for me, and it turned out great.  Truthfully, it wouldn't have looked as great if it weren't for him.  So here's the grand finale:

Lights at Night 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't mind all the footprints and all of that...of course there had to be some playing in the snow beforehand!!!

Happy December 1st!!!!!!!!!!1 1

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November 27, 2006

Black Friday's Black Eye

Poor Jordyn.  For Black Friday, a sacred day in this family, she got a black eye.  While all of us women were out shopping, her brother threw a tantrum, tossed a bat and it landed in Jordyn's eye of all places!  She's got quite a shiner, the poor thing (a reminder: this link takes you to my password protected web site...if you need the login and password, please email me at angela@cocajo.com).

However, other than that stroke of bad luck, the weekend was simply fabulous!  Thanksgiving was awesome with all of our company, dinner tasted great (if I do say so myself, tee hee) and we all had a great time.  We promptly started our shopping Thanksgiving evening at Meijer, since they were open and had some v e r y impressive sales going on.  Then Friday morning, *THE* FRIDAY I look forward to all year long, I was ready to leave the house at 5 am.  Yes, I was already up, showered, dressed, woke up some others, ate a bit, and ready to go at 5 am.  My sister-in-law unfortunately had a bit of a problem getting her almost-2-year-old daughter back to sleep, so we were detained a bit.  Regardless, at almost 6 am exactly, we hit our first store - and somehow landed almost the best parking spot in the very crowded parking lot.  Walking in, I saw a friend of mine who is expecting her third child.  It was great fun.  It got better from there, as we hit, in order, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Bath & Body Works and Target.

Oh, the bags, the treasures, the great deals!  Even my silly cold (which caused laryngitis - what bad timing for THAT!) couldn't dampen my mood.  And despite the news reports that are shown, once again everyone we encountered were all in great moods.  What a great time.  I love looking in the carts while in line and seeing what other people are buying.  Why?  I'm not weird or anything.  I just picture all the Christmas fun of wrapping the presents and the happy faces of the recipients when they open their gifts.  I swear, if I ever strike it rich somehow, my friends and family will love it.  There is nothing that brings me greater joy than buying presents for others.  That's something I'm trying to instill in my kids...three at 5 and one at 14 months....yeah, that is interesting, but worth it.

And the Christmas decorations.  Wow.  By far my very bestest favorite time of year.  Got that?  I love the lights.  I miss living so close to Sauganash (an affluent northern neighborhood) and being able to drive around admiring all the displays.  However, I am happy that our neighborhood is so in to the holidays and they are decorating nicely once again.  The weather has been so warm and Aaron was even out there putting up stuff that hasn't seen their way out of the box originally.  The kids think it's magical and I agree.  I have to say that so far, every year gets better for me.  I have lost loved ones that I miss more and more with each year, but aside from that, I get to relive childhood through my kids' eyes (even the black & blue ones).  I hope that I am making happy memories for them and they will come to remember these days.  I know I will.  After all, isn't that what life is all about?

 

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