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.  :)