Thursday, June 13

So I've got a new blog in the works.  It's basically the same as on here, but in a new location.  I'm not keeping it private in the "you need a password/permission" sense,  but I am keeping the address private unless people want it.  Basically, I feel like everything on here has become much more accessible than I had originally planned back when I started.  If you google my kiddos, you find this blog and several people over time have done that.  For the most part I don't mind, but it makes things a little awkward when people say "Oh, I read your blog..." and I find myself wondering how they found it and knowing that they now know more about our history than I might have planned.  (Emily, I don't mean you :)

And there's the fact that it's just easier to start over than to go back and edit everything.  :)

So, I know I'll lose people in the process (sadly) but if you want to keep on reading my (almost nonexistent) posts (4 kids under 4 is BUSY) send me an email (

Saturday, June 8


  • Does anyone who reads this use Gerber Good Start formula?  I have over $20 of coupons that I can't get rid of and I hate to throw them away.  Or how about Similac?  $20 for that too!
  • Hunter turned 3 months this week.  He's so big already-- at least compared to where his siblings were.  At his two month check up he was about 11lbs.  At their 2 year check up the girls were 22lbs.  I'm sure Hunter is closer to 13lbs by now.  He's actually in 3-6 month clothing.  Colby was in (and even started) 3-6 month clothing long after he was 6 months.  I know, I know, I should stop comparing, but it's so different.
  • I'd love to be able to write WE SOLD THE HOUSE.  But I can't.  *sigh* Another open house tomorrow, though with the torrential rain we're getting I'm doubting there will be many visits.
  • My brother-in-law is visiting from Missouri.  He's in the Air Force and currently stationed in Missouri.  He just finished a domestic-deployment (I didn't know they even did those) in Delaware and last year he was deployed to Afghanistan.  It's nice to have him visiting-- he's one of a handful of Johnny's family who like us.  (Another story for another day)
  • I'm in the process of trying to donate some of my 1,000+ ounces of frozen milk.  I had so much that we couldn't put a single thing more in the deep freezer (which was only frozen milk) so I shipped about 1/2 to my parents deep freezer and ours is already filling up again.  It's a tough call because I know I'll need some when I go back to work, but I'll also still be pumping and nursing then, so who knows how much I'll need?  But at the same time it will be nice to help some of those itty-bitty preemies out there.
  • Parents of twins out there-- have you ever had a problem (like a serious problem) with your twins hurting each other?  Our girls are so rough with one another and I don't know where it comes from.  Zoe currently has a cluster of cuts on her arm and another on her chest from Syd scratching her.  (I've since cut nails)  They're always hitting each other over the head with something, pushing, biting, pulling hair (!!!).  I'm hoping it's just a really long phase, but I so hoped to see the two of them so best-friendy for life.  
  • We're 100% cloth diapering here and I love it!  So far they work so well.  When the girls were itty bitty I was doing 2x the laundry for twins because they would literally explode out of their diapers every single day.  It was ridiculous.  I would usually acquire 4 day time outfits and 4 pjs in one day.  So far with H Man?  The BumGenius diapers have had zero leaks or explosions or anything.  The gDiapers aren't as good-- I had them from the girls and never really liked them at all and they're so ridiculously expensive.  For H I have 6 BumGeinus All in Ones (Freetime I think?) and 7 3.0s (pocket diapers).  Then I have the 6 gDiapers and 1 random Grovia I had bought a long time ago, so 20 diapers in all.  With 6 of us now I'm already washing SO much laundry that really the load of diapers every day or two doesn't seem like much extra at all.  Though, when we move I'll probably miss having all of those perfect diaper boxes to pack in..
  • As far as WHY I'm using cloth diapers?  I wish I could say that it's all about the environment and protecting the Earth and all the good stuff to go green.  But, really the cuteness factor was #1 to start with.  (Ridiculous, I know, I know...)  And part of it was to prove that I could.  I know, stupid stupid too.  But I kind of like a challenge all the time and this is my "challenge" right now.  (I know, I'm crazy.)  But seriously, I wish I had used them with Colby.  I couldn't do the pre-folds with the snappis thing because I like "easy" (yes, I know I just said I like a challenge.  A little bit of a challenge I guess) and I don't think I would want to deal with that.  I guess I like that they're regular diapers, but "cute".  Geeze, I'm pathetic...
Relaxing in his swim shirt and his orange diaper.   :)
Seriously, I have a problem...

Wednesday, May 29


Life is still so busy... time is rare.

  • We're still in the process of keeping the house "show-ready".  I am so over it.  I will never move again after this time.
  • I've been applying to new jobs "down South" (Southeastern MA).  Deadlines aren't for awhile so I won't know anything for awhile, but I just want to have a job already so we can have some direction in our lives.
  • The girls turned 2 on Saturday!  They're so big I can't stand it.  They had a blast opening gifts.
  • Colby, Syd, and Zoe got sick starting Saturday night.  Slight fevers always keep us on edge with Colby's history of febrile seizures and the {slightly} elevated tendency for siblings.  Luckily, we were seizure free and they're all fine now.
  • Now I can't even figure out why we're so busy when I have nothing of substance to update on.

Saturday, May 11


  • The Boston MoD walk was today.  We've decided to pretend that 2013 didn't happen.  We'll do better next year.  :)  In the past 3 years (2010-2012) we raised almost $30,000 as a team- so about $10,000 a year.  This year?  $2,000.  We've had a lot on our plates... new baby and house stuff.  So we dropped the ball, big time.  Every year we make shirts-- not so much this year.  We usually do a "big" event.  Not this year.  This year the only people at the Boston walk with us were my family.  At the Lowell walk it was my family + one of our friends + two of Johnny's cousins + one college friend.  Not our 40+ turn out of years past.  Again, we'll get better.  Oh, and we didn't even really walk today because of parking drama + hungry kids + rain.  Next year will be different.

  • But I should mention, we may have only raised $2,000 but we are SO grateful for that money.  And we KNOW that it will go to a good place to give babies a healthy start.  $2,000 is better than nothing.

  • SYDNEY.  I know I've mentioned it before, but that girl is TROUBLE.  She can be so sweet but she can be mean too.  And I mean mean because she knows what she's doing.  I can ask her "Is it nice to bite?"  and she'll answer no.  And then I can ask her about pinching and hitting and scratching and so on.  I can also throw in "Is it nice to hug?" and she'll answer yes.  So I know she gets it, but then a minute later the teeth or the nails come out.  Colby has a huge bruise on his back and Zoe has a few on her body.  

  • I am burnt out.  Between everything {life} I'm just tired.  Hunter sleeps well from about 10-1 or 2, but then he's up pretty much every hour ish, which I can handle because he's easy, but add in everything else of life (you know, dishes and laundry and cleaning up and putting kids to bed and baths and on and on) and it just never ends.  I don't expect anything to change here, but just saying.

  • But the girls are finally off the bottle.  They have been for almost a month.  For a month or so my routine was "put the girls to bed, come down, feed Hunter, get him settled, then wash a sink of bottles, do laundry, etc." and it got to the point one night I looked at the sink of bottles and I was just done.  So I washed them, packed away the drying rack and all the bottles and just called it quits.  The next day the bottles were "broken" and we had a rough day but it was over before I knew it.  And they're fine... though it does make me a little sad sometimes because Zoe loved her bottle so much and now she's so big.

  • The day after the bottles broke Zoe decided to break free of her crib for good.  She's been climbing out for awhile, but she was just done.  I put her in, she was out.  End of story, so she spent a day on a mattress on the floor and after a particularly rough night with her on the floor but then jumping in Syd's crib we got 2 toddler beds (amazingly cheaper than buying the conversion rails).  We had an awful couple of naps and nights, but now they are amazing.  It takes a little to get them down for bed, but once they're out, they're OUT.  No more waking up crying and all that crazy jazz we had.  Naps are a snap too.  So my girls are officially BIG.  And two in two weeks.

  • Hunter is growing like a week and on all the WHO charts for growth.  It's amazing.  He's officially 1/2 Syd's size and just under 1/2 Zoe's size (they're about a pound apart).   He's just chunky and chubby in all the right baby places.  It's just so odd when I compare him to the other kiddos.  Colby was 9lbs at 3.5 months after TONS of extra calories to plump him up.  (Though a 2lb 3oz vs 4lb 14oz birthweight makes the comparison pretty unfair)  The girls are just slow to gain weight even though they eat like horses.  It's so odd to have a baby that fits into the clothing that matches his age.  We just bought him 3-6 month clothes for the summer and his 0-3 are right on target for him right now.  What did I buy the girls?  12-18 month clothing and even that is loose!

Wednesday, May 1

Continuation of bullets...

Since last time...

  • Our house was officially listed this past weekend.  We've had two showings so far- Monday and yesterday.  They are a huge pain in the neck.  We joke that our house is in "Transformer" mode.  We have the house with kids and toys & then to show we "transform" to the "show" house where we put all the toys in the basement and make everything look "just so".  And holy goodness, it's exhausting.  And then we have to manage to get out of the house with the four and find something to do.  The first day we were actually just leaving as the agent showed up and he told us to stay.  So we hunkered in the backyard as random people went through our house.  Awkward.  Last night we got out on time, but H had to eat so we ended up parked in front of the mail house as he chowed down before heading to the park with the rest of the kids.
  • Hunter's appt at Children's yesterday showed that yes he does have a hypospadias.  So we'll be heading back to Children's in about 5 months for him to have surgery.  I knew it was coming I think, but it still was a little hard to hear the words.  It's not a big deal, but anesthesia and an hour+ of surgery on my baby isn't something I look forward to.
  • In other news, my itty preemie was 10lbs yesterday.  That's up about 5lbs 2oz in the past 2 months.  What can I say?  He likes to eat.  He'll eat pretty much every 1 hour & 45 minutes from about 2am to 10:30pm.  From 10:30pm to 2am I get a nicer little break.  :)  But it's so much less exhausting to nurse him than it is to deal with the bottles and pumping I did with Colby & with the girls so I will take it.  
  • And he's waking up so I will go.  I never post pictures on here anymore because I don't have time to upload and edit all the photos and to get them all set.  Instead follow us on instagram-- ccszh.  I post there more frequently.

Sunday, April 28

A few bullets

Life continues to speed up as I need it to slow down.  We've been busy with no end in sight.  A few long bullets...

  • Last weekend we had the March for Babies in Lowell.  We were the ambassador family so we cut the ribbon to start the walk.  It was beautiful during the week leading up to the walk, but of course the day of it was windy and super cold.  I managed to last half the walk with the kids before looping back to the car to warm everyone up and to feed Hunter.  It was a nice walk, but the atmosphere was no where near as amazing as the Boston walk, so I'm looking forward to that in two weeks.

  • The same afternoon we rented a UHaul and with the help of my family we loaded up about half of our things and shipped them down to my grandfather's house.  Like I mentioned before, we're putting our townhouse on the market and step one was to make it more presentable for the stager & photos.  We unloaded a ton of things, but so much as packed away with the assumption we'd be moving in just a few months.  Any longer and we'll have to go dig a bunch of things back out.  My grandfather is letting us store for free which is a huge help.  Now we just wait and see...
  • We have an appointment at Children's for Hunter on Tuesday.  He has a suspected hypospadias. He was actually supposed to have the appointment last Friday but that happened to be the day they locked down Boston because of the bombings, so here we are.  In the hospital the NICU and Urology teams went back and forth over yes he has it and no he doesn't, so it will be nice to finally have a decision.  A 'yes' verdict means at about 6 months Hunter will be going in for surgery.  I've kind of just decided not to worry either way.  It's not life threatening so either way we'll get through it.  
  • I headed to the park this weekend with the kids & my parents.  I hung out in the car with the girls while they slept so I could feed Hunter while my parents and Colby headed to the park.  The park we go to is a 2-5 year old park so it's perfect for the kiddos.  Very often we're the only ones there but this time there happened to be twin boys just slightly older than Colby.  To say Colby had a blast playing with them would be the understatement of the decade.  My heart hurt a little.  Another one of those reminders of possibility.
  • Colby's starting to "grasp" Connor.  He knows Connor existed and that when they were born he and Connor were both very sick.  He knows that Connor didn't get better, but he obviously still doesn't get what it means when we say that Connor died.  He's been asking me lately when Connor will get better and come home.  I think he vaguely thinks that Connor's still at the hospital and that he'll be home when he gets better.
  • I don't know if I ever mentioned that Colby calls Connor is angel.  I don't think we (Johnny & I) ever really referred to him as Colby's angel, so it's interesting to hear.  Awhile back Colby also told Johnny that he doesn't get scared in the dark because sometimes when he's afraid his angel Connor will come down and make him feel better before flying back to the sky.  
  • Sydney is always saying words that sound just like Connor-- she says corner and counter and they sound like she's always saying Connor.
  • The girls are 2 in less than one month.  TWO!

Wednesday, April 17

On tragedy & the future

Being from Massachusetts and living very close to Boston makes the bombings hit very close to home.  I grew up about an hour south of Boston and we visited for the museums, Red Sox games, and school field trips.  I attended college at Boston University in the heart of the city. Now I live about 40 minutes north of Boston.  During my pregnancies I traveled to Boston biweekly for checks at my MFM.  I "lived" in the city for a few months while on bed rest with the boys and then with the girls.  We walk in the Boston March for Babies event each year along the Charles River.

Point being, though we're not living in Boston, we're in Boston a lot.  I think that's why Monday's events were particularly hard to swallow.  For once, one of the horrific events that we hear about on the news wasn't "somewhere else".  While in college I watched the marathon from the streets of Boston.  A few years ago we headed to the city to cheer on a friend who was running the race.   I've never been to another city's marathon, so it might be the same everywhere, but I was always amazed how the marathon in Boston brought the whole city & state together.  Marathon Monday is a holiday in Massachusetts-- the holiday is really Patriot's Day and it always falls on school vacation week.

So after being horrified of hearing of the events-- and hoping against hope that it was just a horrible accident.  Maybe a gas line burst? -- after that all I could think was how it was all just too much.  Less than 4 months ago we were reeling in the aftermath of the Newton school shooting.  5 months before that it was the Colorado movie theater shooting.  And those are just the "big" ones.  And then all you want to do is grab your kids and run away.  Where?  I'm not sure, but I know I just wanted to be somewhere safe.

But then I was outside playing with the kiddos and just seeing them play, so happy, so innocent- just seeing that reminded me of all the good in the world.  Really, the world is a pretty good place.  People can be amazing.  Yes, there are some horrific people who do unthinkable things.  But most are good.

And tragedies like yesterday remind me just how important my job of raising these 4 miracles is.  I can't fix what happened.  I can't stop someone else from taking another life.  But instead I can raise my kids to be decent, caring, generous people.  I can raise them to think of others.  To do the right thing.  To be a ray of hope in a dark time.  And that's a pretty amazing power.

And because of that, I'm okay with the future.  I teach amazing children who are going to grow up to be amazing adults.  I am raising four smart, caring children who will grow up to be anything they choose in this world.

And all I can think of is Ghandi's quote "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

And good ole Dr. Seuss "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will get better.  It's not."

It's easy to stop and blame and shake your head at the future.  But at some point we need to stop and take responsibility to make it better.   And I know my kids will do just that.

Wednesday, April 3

Odds and Ends

There was a post that was going to go with the last entry... but I never finished and apparently just updated the title? But now it's been a week or so so most of what I wrote it outdated.  Maybe I can finish this entry... ?

Let's see...

4 Weeks
Hunter is 4 weeks old today.  I'm still in denial because time is just going so quickly yet with 3 other kiddos it doesn't feel like I get much time to just enjoy Hunter.  He came home at 14 days so really he's only been home for 2 weeks.  But he is so easy, it's actually worrying me that he's so easy.  During the day he eats every 1.5-2.5 hours for usually between 15 to 40 minutes at a time.   At night I usually get a few larger windows... typically midnight to about 3:30 and then again from 5 to about 8.  I know those are only 3ish hour windows, but it makes me nervous that he sleeps so well already!  My mom jokes that I deserve to have an easy baby, but after 3 kiddos who were always awake, it's a bit disconcerting.  (Remember, Colby still doesn't usually sleep through the night and instead usually wakes 1 to 2 times for water every night.  The girls finally slept through the night at 15 months, but still pretty frequently wake 1 or 2 times a night.  I'm pretty sure they're afraid of the dark!)

We head to the doctors on Thursday and I'm so anxious to know how much he weighs.  He's exclusively breastfeeding so I obviously don't have any guarantee that he's getting enough.  Some feeds he's done in like 5-10 minutes and I worry that he doesn't get enough.  I have no real reason to worry because he has enough wet diapers, he seems content, and I still pump an extra 30ish ounces a day.  But I always have to have something to worry about apparently.   I'm also anxious to get to use the Moby and our new BumGenius diapers-- they both require 8lbs.

He rarely cries and if he does he is consoled so easily.  He loves to cuddle and snuggle.  He'll sleep right through a feeding during the day if he's sleeping on you because he just gets so comfortable.  He's just a sweet, sweet baby.  I have to remind myself that he's still "early" so things can (and probably) will change in the next week or so.  This coming Saturday is his official due date, so we'll see.

Colby, Syd, & Zoe
These three keep me on my toes every day!  They love, love, love their baby brother.  Or as Colby calls him "HIS Baby".  We have some great days and some days where I want to pull out my hair, but they're all good.  :)

Colby is doing well.  He has a hard time sharing everything with his little sisters, but he's doing his best.  He's so smart and compassionate and sweet that sometimes it's easy to forget that he's only 3.  We constantly tread this fine line of expecting him to act like a 3 year old & expecting him to act as grown up as he seems.  He hasn't done preschool yet & he probably won't.  It's more of a logistics thing than anything.  As a former K teacher I know the risks of kiddos coming into K without preschool experience-- they're usually the immature and more difficult ones just because it's all totally new.  I'm not worried about him on an academic level, but I will be watching for the maturity.  He'll be old enough for K in 2014, but he shouldn't have been born until October in 09 so he shouldn't have been ready for K until 2015, so we're willing to hold him back that extra year if it seems like he needs it.  I'm way ahead of myself, of course, but things to think about.

Sydney is drama and trouble and sweetness all rolled into one.  She can throw some epic tantrums over anything.  Give her the wrong cup or give Zoe the one she wants and cue tantrum.  Yesterday it was that Zoe was wearing the dress that Syd wanted although Syd chose her own dress.  Major tantrum.  And then she knows how to push buttons.  She is so vocal and can talk so well and she knows what she's doing.   In the car yesterday she was pinching my arm and I asked her what she was doing.  She got a big smile, pinched harder and said "I pinchin'!"  She knows just the right time to dump a plate of pasta on the floor (just when I've already scrubbed up after everyone else), when to kick Colby's cars (when he has finally finished meticulously laying them out in a straight line), or when to empty a drawer of diapers (right after it has just been filled).  At the same time she is a sweetheart though and gives amazing hugs and kisses.  When she feels like it.

We affectionally call Zoe our sour patch kid.  You know the commercials where "first they're sour, then they're sweet"?  That's Zoe.  Usually she's sweet, but sometimes she can bite or hit but as soon as you say "ouch!" you're rewarded with a cuddle and the softest, sweetest kiss.  She's the peacemaker of the two and I often feel bad because I feel like Zoe gets taken advantage of.  Syd throws a tantrum because Zoe had the cup that she wanted?  Zoe usually will hand it over and take the other cup without prompting.  Colby steals her toy?  No problem, she'll find another.  She is just so easy going.  I know she's little, but I don't want her to be walked all over.  She's not quite as verbal as Syd yet, but she will have conversations for hours- they're just in Zoe-speak instead of English.

And some other stuff
We're fixing to move soon (thankfully!!).  We moved in about 3.5 years ago at the time of the tax credits for first time buyers which meant we were obligated to stay here for 3 years.  About 3.49 years ago we realized this place was too small and my work commute is awful.  It's typically 1-1.5 hours in the morning and 45 min to 1 hour in the afternoon.  I work 20 miles away.  And it's all highway driving, so it should be a bit shorter.  It's just frustrating.  We've met with our agent and things are moving in the right direction.  We have to meet with the stager next which means tons of stuff is going in to storage and we're going to play the dance of putting toys and toy boxes away every time there will be an open house.

Once we sell we have no idea where we'll end up!  I'm also in the process of applying for jobs further away from the city and in a more southern part of MA.  But I can't really complete that process until my license is renewed, but the department of education is so slow I've already been waiting 7 months for that.  If I get a job where I want then we'll be moving down that way (and I'm SO excited about that-- we'll be closer to my family!!).  If not I'll stay where I am and we'll rent for a year and try again next year.  Basically?  Limbo.  I'm not worried though... things will work out.  We have contingency plans, but I am so hoping to be in a new house starting a new job come September.  Or maybe we'll win the lottery and I can stay home... but that's debatable!

This has taken me 4 nights to write, so I'll end here.  :)

Tuesday, March 19

Home Sweet Home

Hunter's home.  :)  He came home on Sunday evening & he's settled right in.

I'm scared to talk about how good he is because... well, he's so good.  I know he's still in the sleepy newborn phase, but he has seriously mayyyybe cried for a total of 2 minutes in the past few days.  Total.  He's on a NICU schedule... but not really because he was always Ad Lib in the NICU, but he's eating pretty much every 3 to 4 hours on the dot.  (For an hour or more, but still, so easy.)

He's pretty much exclusively nursing.  He has to get a small bottle 1x a day with his iron & vitamin.  And I'm also nervous because I've always known how much my kiddos were eating so it's so hard not to really know.   (I'm so tempted to rent a baby scale!)  So, though he eats for what seems like forever and then he seems content and sleepy, I have snuck in a few smaller bottles just to be sure that he was getting some milk... a 20ml bottle last night and then his vitamin bottle today was 50ml (as opposed to the "needed" 10ml).  It's just so hard to not know that (or if) he's eating what he needs!

As far as nursing/pumping, I'm not sure exactly how to do that either!  With the girls I was so focused on getting my supply up to support the 2 of them that I focused much more on pumping than nursing.  Now I know I'm making more than enough, BUT with him eating sometimes 4 (or even 5) hours I'm afraid that my supply will drastically dwindle because I was pumping every 1.5 to 2 hours when he was in the NICU.  SO what I'm doing... I feed him then when he is satisfied I pump for 15 to 20 minutes.  Then I usually pump again another hour or so later.  Then he wakes up another hour or two later & the cycle starts again.  But part of me knows I don't need to pump... but the neurotic part of me that loves the numbers makes me pump... (and I already have about 70oz of frozen milk in the deep freezer...).

So... what were your solutions?  And how do you get over the need to know that you babe is getting all they need?  (He was up 2.5oz yesterday at his check up over his discharge weight, so I do know he's eating.)

Friday, March 15


Sunday at the earliest...

Thursday, March 14

10 Days :)

The Hunter Man...

Hunter's still hanging out in the NICU, but he's doing well.

I'm home with the 3 kiddos during the day so we only get in to the NICU after Johnny gets home- usually around 5 after the drive.  I've missed his feedings the past 3 days which is really upsetting.  I'm trying not to get too discouraged and to remember that he'll be home soon, but it's still frustrating.  I did manage to stay really late yesterday because I went in alone so I hit his later feeding before heading home which was nice.

He's on his 3rd day of the 5-day count.  He's set to break out on Saturday barring no dsats, bradies, or other craziness.  He'll take his car seat test on Friday night, so hopefully he can hold his own.

He was up over 5 pounds on Wednesday.  He's just perfect.

The Others Post-Baby

The first days back home with the kiddos were hard.  Colby especially was having a really hard time.  He is thrilled to have a baby brother & loves Hunter (so far), but he had such a hard time with me being gone for most of last week.  Monday when Hunter was born Johnny and I were out the door the second my mom got here at 9am and it was clear to Colby that something wasn't "right".  Then for the next 4 days he was watched & put to bed by my parents or Johnny-- when it has always, always, always been me.  He was just a little bit of a mess-- yelling at the girls, hitting, saying no... just not "Colby" things.  Once this week started and it's been me and him and the girls ("normal") he has been so, so, so much better.  I'm thinking he'll do fine once Hunter comes home, but we'll see.

Sydney and Zoe... they're just themselves.  Sydney is a total diva/drama queen/trouble maker.  There is no other way to put it.  She is trouble.  She has her sweet moments-- which are actually more plentiful than her trouble moments, but when he's in a mood, watch out!  We are NOT going to survive the teenage years with this girl.

Zoe is sweet as pie.  She can throw a tantrum, but in much a different way than Syd.  Syd will flip out if you give her the wrong cup and cry and scream for a LONG time.  Instead Zoe gets over her tantrums really quickly-- and they're almost always related to being made to stop climbing.  (This girls has places to go)  She's turned into such a cuddler latey & I love it.  Her favorite thing is to sit and stroke my hair.

All I can say with those two... having Hunter home can go either way.  I'm expecting Zoe to be kind of oblivious to it because she's always just doing her own thing or playing with Colby.  Sydney... I'm expecting a bit of a mess just because she's drama.

Sunday, March 10

One week

1 week post baby...

Tomorrow I'm venturing alone with the kiddos.  Johnny's back to work to save up time, so 1 week post surgery I'm on.  I'm ready.  Ha.  I think.

So, one week out...

I'm feeling very much like I did after the birth of the boys-- but interestingly I don't remember feeling this way after the girls.  I'm feeling a bit sad that the pregnancy is over.  I'm feeling sad that I'm not feeling kicks anymore.  I wasn't ready for this pregnancy to be over.   I wasn't ready to say I'm done.  So I'm struggling with that.

It's killing me that he's in the NICU.  Again... I didn't feel like this with the girls.  I'm not sure if it was because I was so sick with the blood clot & infection or if it was just because I so expected them to end up in the NICU, but I was more "okay" with them being the NICU.  But having Hunter in the NICU is so trying.  He's doing well, but still drifting & spelling and still stuck there and there's just nothing to do.  And it's so hard to come up with time to visit because of the other three.  Blah... stress.  Nothing new.

But yes, my baby is 1 week old.  ONE WEEK OLD.  I cannot believe that he's already been out of me so long.  He's absolutely adorable and precious and sweet and calm and perfect.

Post-baby plans... oh I don't know.  And I think that's why I'm feeling so sad.  I have to face the reality that this might be the last baby.  I've mentioned the fact that prematurity weighs heavily on that thought.  But there's more.  This c-section (3rd, remember?) revealed some pretty significant scarring.  My bladder was adhered to my uterus because of scarring & the doctor had to make a new incision in the muscle of the uterus because of that.  I've been told that for the next baby -- assuming we have one -- I cannot labor at all.  My chances of uterine rupture is insanely high right now.  It should go down with time, so 4, 5, 6 years out?  Maybe then.  But right now we have to be very careful.  I just don't know!  

But then again I should spend my time enjoying Hunter because he is so amazing and I'm so excited for my life with him.  :)

Saturday, March 9


I mentioned last post that I was just feeling defeated.

Today was a hard day.  As was yesterday.

My biggest thing right now is that I just feel like I'm against a wall and there is no way I can see around it.  When we started infertility treatments I got upset with failures, but I never felt "out" because we always had something to try next.  IUI with clomid.  THen IUI with injections.  Then IVF.

Same thing when we started having kids.  The boys were 27 weekers, but there were way to get further.  So the next time we were blessed with twins we added the cerclage.  And it gained 7 weeks & 2+ pounds per babe.  It seemed like the trick really worked, we would have preferred fullterm, but instead I got twins in the NICU for less than 2 weeks and also who stayed inside 7 weeks longer than their brothers.  Then this time with Hunter's pregnancy the difference was one baby.  The cerclage + one baby should have gained us so much, right?  But it only got us a week.  I was so sure that we'd be NICU/prematurity free.  The last thing I wanted was another premature baby because my body can't cooperate.

So now I'm at that wall and defeated.  Say we want baby #6.  What can we do differently?  Last I checked you can't have fewer than 1 kid at a time.  And we already added the cerclage so that would be a part of the next equation anyways.  The way I see it (in my defeated view right now) is that there isn't anything we can do differently.  That to have more kids is to subject them to the NICU and prematurity and ourselves to heartache.  And that's a hard pill to swallow.  Can I do that to another baby?  Can I do that to myself?  Right now it seems and feels almost too selfish to even contemplate.

And then there are other little stupid things making me crack.  Like Colby being so excited to see his brother, but the NICU's flu policy right now is keeping him out.  Or that the pump my insurance covered this time isn't a hospital grade pump like I had with the boys and girls & instead it's loud and gets nothing out.  Or that I can't even pick up my girls or Colby because of my incision.

Friday, March 8

Welcome back, Hunter

The little man and I were ready to BREAK OUT today.
I've been here 4 days, he's been here 4 days.
He's been in my room since Wednesday.
He's been doing great.
I miss my kiddos at home in a BIG way.

We were just ready.

But then little man, aka Hunter, decides that he doesn't want to anymore.

Instead, he goes to take his carseat test in his lovely purple carseat (remnant of the girls, but I wasn't buying a new 4 lb carseat!)

And I get a call a little while later telling me that he failed.  Seriously??  I didn't know kids actually FAILED those things.  Although he's seemed fine, he dsat-ed in the seat (his O2 dropped) once.  Then thinking it was a fluke they decided to try again, but this time he dsat-ed again- this time an "I'll turn blue" dsat.

All that won him was a big ole failure and a one way trip back upstairs to the NICU.  Where he must stay for at least 5 days because we have a 5-day rule around here about dsats and bradies.

Then last night he decided it would be fun to let his heart rate drift too.

Sigh.  Big ole Sigh.

I was devastated when they called because I just wanted it to work so badly and for once it did, but now I'm in a much more normal place.  It stinks, but it is what it is and if I have to choose between having him home & exclusively breastfeeding, but having him dsat and struggle OR have him here and give up my control, of course I'm going to do that.

But this whole birth has been a trying experience.  I thought with one baby & the cerclage I would get so much more time with him inside.  I was so hopeful we'd get to April 2nd, but I knew we probably wouldn't.  But I though that I would definitely get more than just an extra week from when the girls were born.  It's almost more frustrating that with the girls or the boys.  I'm kind of feeling defeated like there is no way my body can do this.

I wanted to have another child-- and I still do-- but now I'm not so sure I want to go through this all again or put another baby through it all.  It's comforting, but also not right that everyone in the NICU knows us by name, that we don't have to tell them anything when we walk in, that they can ask "How are the other 3 at home?" and say "Oh I think he looks just like Sydney when she was born"

But there you go... baby still in the NICU & me questioning the status of our future.

Just another Friday.  :)

Thursday, March 7

Hunter Jacob

Meet Hunter Jacob.  Mr. No Name no longer.  :)

Hunter finally got a name yesterday evening.  We'd been tossing around Hunter for the longest time so I'm not surprised we came back to it.  If Sydney were a boy she would have been Hunter.  We went back and forth this time with Owen and Landon and Hudson and just about every boys name there is in this world.  We narrowed it down to Owen and Hunter and let Colby choose the final outcome.  Then middle names were impossible too!  We went with Jacob because Colby really wanted Jake like Jack and the Neverland Pirates and I not a a fan of "nickname" names (or what I perceive to be nicknames!) so we went with the "longer version" and got Jacob.

Yesterday afternoon Hunter broke free of the NICU!  He was doing great with everything, so down he came!  Around 2pm he came into my room & didn't leave until about 1am.  I was constantly pumping and feeding, but I am getting ZERO from pumping right now.  I got a little in the beginning, but it's been hours and hours (like almost 48) since I really got anything.  It's so discouraging.  So I was hoping he was getting something, but at 1 they had to take him to get vitals checked and they found that his blood sugar was a tad low.  So they kept him there and gave him the tinnny bit I had pumped before.  And then they ended up having to supplement with formula.  I was a little disappointed about that, but really, in the end I wanted him fed not starving because I need to dictate everything.

Yesterday afternoon three cuties came to visit this baby brother too.

I didn't get pictures of just Colby & Hunter because I was trying to protect my incision and Hunter, but oh my goodness, Colby is So in love I can't stand it.  And not in the "this is interesting" way that he was with the girls.  This boy was just BURSTING at the seams and SO proud of "his baby".  

Zoe was pretty "meh" about the whole thing.  She came into my room & went and played near the window, happy as a clam.  And that was it.  :)  She peeked around at Hunter a few times and came and sat with me, but all in all, she was pretty uninterested.

Sydney kept pointing at Hunter and saying "the baby".  She liked to sit in my lap and pat his head (and then his eyes and nose and mouth).  She seems to like him more in the "that's interesting" way that Colby regarded the girls.

My in-laws came to visit today.  Can you spell awkward?  Johnny's plan was to have a "sit down" with them about babyshower/purposely hurting me thing (because it has become so much more than the shower) but that was this weekend & we obviously didn't get there so he tried to be the bigger person and invited them to meet Hunter.  I tried to be the bigger person and to be civil and to let them hold Hunter.  But ... I don't know what I expected.  An apology?  Something?  It was so awkward.  His mom said maybe 4 words to me and though the shower was brought up (my older brother was visiting too and he asked something) there wasn't even a glimmer of saying anything.  And then they left and she stood across the room and said "Bye" and that was it.  It was just so weird.  So weird.  Johnny's dad seemed to be a little clueless about the whole thing because he talked more, but at the same time, he made it clear to Johnny earlier that he 100% sided with Johnny's mom, so it was still a little odd.

Anyways.  It's quarter past 5 & I'm finishing up pumping.  Once again I got pretty much nothing, but even a drop at this point is an improvement.  

Crossing my fingers...
1. Hunter stays down instead of having to go back to the NICU
2. I start to pump more
3. I start to really be able to take on feeding this boy
4. My incision starts to hurt SO MUCH less ... because OUCH right now.

Tuesday, March 5


Little no name!

Yes, yes it's a picture of a picture stolen from Johnny's facebook because this is the first free minute I've had since everything started yesterday.

But Little No Name is a boy & was born yesterday evening at 5pm via repeat c-section at 35 weeks 2 days.  The cerclage bought us 1 extra week from the girls, but he is just amazing, amazing, amazing.

He was 4lbs 14oz, 17.75 inches & perfect.

Did I say amazing?

I've been pretty convinced we were going to go all the way with this one.  My cervix was closed and hard & perfect every scan.  Nothing had changed.  I wasn't contracting much.  But then Saturday I did start to feel a little "off".  I thought I had dropped... but I don't really have a clue.  Just a "feeling".  I was having a lot of pressure and you know... I was pregnant.  :)  We had decided not to take out the stitch until D-day unless something major happened, so I had that reassurance too.

But I woke up on Monday morning with a bit of pain & went to the bathroom and there was blood.  Like lots of it.  After hyperventilating a bit (I was so hoping for a 36 weeker at least... so there would be the possibility of no NICU time) I got set into motion.  I called the hospital because it was just a tad too early to call my doc, called Johnny, called my mom and we finally hit the road a bit later.

At the hospital I was checked and was contracting every 2-3 minutes though the contractions were short.  They did an exam & found that the blood was all coming from my tearing stitch- no surprise there, so a quick snip and the stitch was gone.

The contractions increased but they hooked me to an IV in hopes of stopping them to get me a little further.  After 2 hours the contractions hadn't stopped but my cervix hadn't changed either so more waiting.  Then around 3 I had changed to 2 cm dilated, so I was in full labor & the OR was prepped and the rest is history!

Last night he was on the CPAP in the NICU with an IV.  Today he was off the CPAP and had NO oxygen requirements.  His IV ended this afternoon.  He's only breastfeeding... did I say amazing?

If things stay the way they are (fingers crossed) with no spells, bradies, dsats & he continues to take all feeds by mouth then he will be down in the regular nursery TOMORROW.  Did you read that???  I'll have a baby in the regular NURSERY.  Or I COULD.  But the possibility is so amazing that it's almost enough in and of itself.   (Almost)

So that's that.  :)

Maybe a shower.

Friday, March 1

Not unexpected

Surprise, surprise.  I didn't need to reserve judgement on my mother-in-law.

Her reasons for bailing on the shower?
1. She got the invite late and her feelings were hurt.  And I guess she got her bridal shower invite late (back in 2006) & also her other baby shower invite late (back in 2009).  And so her feelings have been perpetually hurt by this.  Because apparently we all have control over the mail?

2. My mom didn't check the date with her.  I guess in my Mother-in-law's family everyone checks every date before hand before scheduling a party.  So the fact that my mom didn't call ahead of time was a blow to her.  And if my mom did call ahead of time then she would have known that 2 of my MIL's sisters couldn't go to the party.  ?  So was my mom supposed to schedule and reschedule because of this?

3. "Tradition" states that you only have one shower.  And my MIL doesn't believe in multiple showers for the same person.  Which I get, but then why even bring up grievances 1 & 2 if your response would have just been "I don't believe in this"?

Anywho... I'm hurt.  Really hurt and honestly ready to say that this is IT.  I don't think I've said too much on this subject, but suffice to say that since I started dating Johnny she has come across as the most controlling and selfish person I have ever known.  It's bothered me and made lots of situations uncomfortable but it's Johnny's mom so I dealt (kind of).  I distanced myself and let Johnny visit a lot without me but I was always always civil when we were together.

But now I'm more hurt and really angry because she didn't just hurt me.  Instead she hurt my mom by saying that my mom was doing this stuff on purpose (mail?  seriously??), she stuck it to her unborn grandchild (whom you know she'll want to meet the second I'm out of the OR... yeah right... not now.  I don't want her there.  Period.), stuck it to my whole family, and made herself look like a complete ass in front of everyone.

Doesn't she realize that she looks like a complete child?  If you don't want to come, fine.  But if you have to, lie why.  Don't turn it into "I got the invite later than everyone else & you didn't talk to me first & you shouldn't be even having a shower."  And then don't not talk to us for days until you decide to call and say "Hey, do you want to get together this weekend?"  Because, yes, the answer to that one was a big fat no.

Well, enough on that one for now...


Baby sounded great on Wednesday.  Dr. K is leaning toward leaving the stitch in until D-day!  I'm so happy about that one.  I wasn't looking forward to the removal process & also I know that almost as soon as the stitch is taken out I'm likely to go into labor.  Sooo it will be nice not to really worry about it.  Of course I still have to be on the look out for contractions or blood.  Frequent contractions will lead to the removal anyways.... though the stitch tore a bit last time and I had zero signs, so this might not all keep it from tearing anyways.

I go on Thursday of next week for a growth check & EFW check.  It'll be the last ultrasound to recheck because of the two vessel cord.  (Still perplexing, but still also... oh well!)  Then I'm weekly after that.  I'm 35 weeks tomorrow.  35 WEEKS!

The countdown is officially on and I am so ready.

Sunday, February 24

Baby Shower!

Today was my baby shower for baby #5.  It was supposed to snow pretty heavily, but things turned around and the ground was too warm or something and though it snowed pretty much for 24 hours nothing materialized on the ground.  I'm so glad because I hate driving in the snow.

Anyhow, the shower itself was nice and lowkey.   There were about 25 people there- mostly high school & college friends plus a few of my mom's friends, relatives, and the family I used to babysit for. An eclectic mix, but it worked.

We didn't really "need" anything so I mostly registered for updates of things we had.  New washcloths, a new bather seat, pump supplies, etc.  It was more about seeing people that I never see because we're so busy.  Like I said, it was nice.  And another reminder of who matters and who we can count on.

Where am I going with this?  All of my in-laws were invited.  Of those that were invited?  ZERO came.  ZERO.  Seriously?  Well, Johnny's family on his dad's side had an excuse-- one in in New Hampshire and they did really get snow that blocked her from leaving the house.  And his other cousin and his aunt were both in Virginia.  Together they chipped in and bought the new stroller we wanted.  And the New Hampshire cousin wrote my mom an apologetic email explaining the circumstances.

But the rest of Johnny's family on his mom's side?  His mom didn't come.  I already know that they (his parents) don't really like me.  (I'm too quiet, I don't appreciate their invasive & sometimes personal questioning) They never have, but this kind of drives up the tension for me a bit more.  None of his aunts or cousins came either.  And I feel like none of them can really blame the weather because it wasn't that bad and there was nothing taken off the registry that we didn't get, so it doesn't seem like anyone had purchased a gift and then didn't make it.  Though, yes, I know they don't have to buy off the registry.  Anywho.  It was just a bit of a kick.   I guess the point is that while I didn't need them there to have a good time (it was still fabulous), it kind of felt like it said a lot by them not being there.

I am going to really reserve judgement until Johnny can talk to his mom and see what happened or why she didn't come.  I suspect the reasons are that she got the invite late (it went out in the 2nd mailing due to stamps, but the rest of her family got the invites before her and she was upset) and that my mom didn't include her in the process (it was my mom's thing... if this is the reason then she needs to get over it, right?) so it was her way of showing how she felt.  But we'll see.

And I have zero pictures so I'm really hoping my mom and sister-in-laws took some good ones!

And since I keep promising pictures here are a few randoms...

How cute is he?  And the alligator hat cracks me up!

I think this is where Syd decided she was ready to take on the world.
All while wearing socks as gloves.  :)

Zo-bers showing off her cheeeeeeese face.

And my three loves all together.

Monday, February 18

What do I need?

A general plea to everyone.

This is the first time I'm really expecting to head to the hospital and have a baby and bring it home with me.  Soooo... what do I need?  I started to make a list tonight, but I'm still kind of at a loss.  I think it's more the stuff I need for the baby.  (Though I'm a little clueless for me... I'll be in the hospital for 4 days post section)  Do I bring clothes for every day?  (In the NICU clothes don't get put on until IVs are out and then they supply plain onesies)  Do I need diapers?

I find this all a little funny seeing as I've had 4 kids!

Wednesday, February 13

Less than 7 weeks until Baby Time!

I've been meaning to update for awhile, but I can't appear to be doing anything even remotely interesting with the kiddos around and by the time they're in bed I've lost all ambition to update.  :)

This past weekend we got a lot of snow- somewhere around 3 feet in less than 24 hours with drifts over 5 feet.  We were spoiled last year with basically no snow so it wasn't much fun.  The kids are having a ball now that it's melting a little.  When it was up so high it was just too frustrating for them to even try walking.  We were fortunate and didn't lose power or have any damage.  My parents were stuck without power for a few days & their house was in the 30's.  Luckily they have a woodstove so they huddled around that for a few days.  Of course they were offered warmed locations, but they were trying to prevent any pipes freezing.  The best part about the snow is the naps that it causes!

Baby Girl Henry is 32 weeks 4 days today.  I had my 32 week check today and everything was looking perfect.  I signed all my consent forms so now we just hang around like a normal pregnant person.  Mostly.  :)  I had a high risk appt last week which revealed a 4lb 6oz baby at only 31 weeks 2 days.  (!!!)  This is crazy because the girls were only 4lbs 10oz at 34 weeks 2 days.  Though I do know not to set too much store by the estimates.  They always seem to be off a bit.  But point because, a high (estimated) weight combined with a slightly-excessive amount of fluid had the high risk practice scratching their heads and asking about my sugar test.

Then the ultrasound also revealed a 2 vessel cord-- which is incredibly puzzling to all because I've been having at least bi-weekly ultrasounds since 14 weeks and never was a 2 vessel cord noted.  Or not noted really because they can't find evidence in my notes of ever noting a 3 vessel cord (what you're supposed to have).  So that really has them scratching their heads, but that this point it's kind of a non-issue because while they'd really follow it if it was noted at 20 weeks to follow for bladder/kidney/size issues, I've never presented any of those issues so whether or not it was always a 2 vessel cord everything has been fine anyways.   Dr. K wants to set me up for one last ultrasound in a few weeks just to be sure, but really there's not much that worrying will do.

And with less than 7 weeks until this one enters the world (!!!!) I'm left with the reality that I haven't done a SINGLE THING to prepare.  Last night I was laying in bed and it occurred to me that I don't even have a place to store clothes right now!  :)  We'll be using the old carseats that we had for the boys.  Colby used his for 10 months and really the 2nd one never even got used (they were too big for the girls when they came home as 4lb peanuts).  We're going to use a Rock n Play or Pack n Play for sleep in the beginning.  After that either the girls will be in beds (Zoe can get out of her crib... but doesn't seem to know that she can do it... if that makes sense) & we'll use one of those cribs or we can always get Colby's down from the attic.

Other than that... we don't really have clothes because of size-timing.  The girls weren't in newborn clothes until the summer (July-ish) and Colby wasn't in newborn clothing until October/November.  We're doing cloth diapers this time and I have those picked out and know what I want.  What else do we need besides love?  :)  Oh!  A name!  We have a girls name picked out... however, if we end up with a boy we're going to be calling it "Baby Girl Henry" forever just like Colby wants.  (Actually, I think he has moved on to "Jake" because of Jake and the Neverland Pirates)

My mom's throwing a shower for me in a few weeks.  I'm super excited.  We had a shower for Colby, but even though it was so appreciated it was just rough.  At the time of the shower I was still 3 weeks from my due late, but Colby was already 2 months old and Connor was gone and it was just brutal.  With the girls we didn't do anything.  I was hoping for a shower (secretly) because we need so much, but that pregnancy turned into "keep them in as long as possible" like with the boys so celebrating wasn't in the cards.  And this time I'm pretty sure that things will just be right.  (Dr. K was back to his cheery- 'We're going to make it to section date!'-self that I love.)

So that's {baby} life in a nutshell kind of.  I have belly pictures and ultrasound pictures and other pictures I'd love to post, but even adding pictures is a monumental feat lately!

Friday, January 11

All's Good

28 weeks tomorrow and I'm still on my feet!  :)

Today we had the high risk check that we have every 2 weeks.  Things are still looking a-okay.

Week 1 of being a stay-at-home-Mama has gone well.  I get to literally stay off my feet more because I'm sitting playing, but it's still go-go-go that school was.  But it's a happier, more fulfilling go-go-go.  (I don't think it's any secret that I long to be a stay-at-home-Mama)  We've laid low all week.  The kids are all still nursing coughs and runny noses, and simply loading kids into the van is a workout that leaves me huffing and puffing.  But it's been fun.  Train, cars, dolls... a fight or two.  :)  It just feels right.  Someday, maybe.

But in new baby news, I am less than three months from D-day.  It's so close and I'm so excited.  We aren't ready to say "no more babies" after this baby, but a part of me knows that it might be.  Just because with us (hopefully) moving soon, who knows what insurance we might have.  Who knows if IVF will be covered.  Who knows if we'd even want to go that road?  I definitely do want a Baby #6 in a few years (we'll leave the gap a little bigger this time!) but the realistic part of me knows that it has been so nice this time to just "get pregnant" without needles and ultrasounds and blood draws.  It's been wonderful to just be.  And a part of me isn't sure that I could go back to a clinic.  But then again, that's the part of me growing this perfect baby... we'll see how I feel about it all in a few years.   :)

SO I'm just so excited to hold a perfect tiny (BIG) baby.  I'm so excited to take a baby home WITH ME.  I'm so excited to have the baby in my room.  To hold it when I want to.  To see a baby without leads and feeding tubes and monitors and nurses hovering.  And every day I'm more and more sure that it will happen.

Sunday, January 6

27w 1d

Today's 27 weeks 1 day.  It's normal to compare every pregnancy right?

Because that's all I've been doing all day long.

I know this pregnancy with Baby #5 (and only #5) is nothing like the pregnancy with Baby #1 and #2 (aka Connor and Colby) but I can't help always compare the two (well, the three because I compare it to the pregnancy with Baby #3 and #4 (aka Sydney and Zoe).

Point is, I still have so very far to go in this pregnancy that I can't even THINK of having this baby right now.  The thought is so unimaginable... yet, was a reality not so long ago.  Right now I'm carrying around a tiny little 2 pound baby that is happily rolling around and kicking and still has 13 weeks to bake.  Yet, three-and-a-half years ago I was delivering two tiny 2 pound babies who were fighting for their lives.

I think I've said before how amazing Colby is in terms of a 27 weeker.  He is anything but the typical 27 week baby.  In his 3.5 years he never tested into Early Intervention.  Despite 3 months of oxygen- almost 3 weeks on a vent- he has shown zero eye issues.  His hearing is perfect and he actually tested at a Kindergarten level (though I'm not really sure what that means).  He has always been way ahead of the curve in speech and understanding.  His fine and gross motor skills have never been a concern.  Basically we just got very, very lucky with his health in general.  But as we know with Connor, Colby's health and general well-being is not the norm and things could have gone so much worse with him.

It's crazy to think that I could have a mini-Colby hanging out inside of me right now.  This tiny little baby so full of so much potential and that at any minute, any day something could happen.  But I really don't think it will... at least for awhile.   :)

Friday, January 4

Lady of Leisure

And just like that, I'm a lady of leisure.

Well, not quite with three active kiddos.   But I am officially out of work per the good doctors orders.

I'll be 27 weeks tomorrow & while things haven't happened, and we're hoping that they won't, we decided to take the "just be safe" measure.  At school I'm on my feet from 7:30am to 3pm.  There is no sitting or relaxing with a demanding class of 22 6- and 7-year olds.  And I didn't argue.  Hopefully this means I get 3 months with Colbs, Syd, and Zoe before Baby #5 makes its grand appearance.

I think I mentioned that my section is scheduled for April 2nd at 39 weeks 2 days.  I've been seeing high risk every 2 weeks on the dot and my regular OB every 2 weeks as well.  Some days we're all so optimistic and Dr. K is telling me that he sees no reason that we won't make it to section-date.  And other days the reality of my past is there and we're hoping for 36 weeks.  My real goal is a healthy baby that comes home when I'm discharged.  No NICU time.   I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I am going to be in myself and my body if this baby comes early.  Full term- or nearly so- is some kind of affirmation I need.

We shall see!

And a few pictures of the kiddos SnowTubing a few days after Christmas...