Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Closing the past

When my parents moved to our first house we joined a parish that we stayed with until I was in college, but even though my family weren't always members, it is a place that we've always had a connection with, and not just with the building. As with any church, what makes it special is the community of people and you can't find a better community than at Our Mother of Sorrows parish.

OMS was both a church and a grade school, where I went for grades 1-8, and the school closed a few years back. On Sunday, the church closed its doors for good. They had a closing mass to say goodbye to a place that for many of us held a lifetime of good memories. There were about ten priests present, along with all the local news people, and hundreds of people, both current and past parishioners.

Kevin and the kids joined me on this day, even though the place holds nothing significant for them, other than the fact that we hang out today with many of the people I met because of the parish.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to the building. Most Catholic communities need the money and so it'll probably be sold off to the highest bidder. Everywhere I turn there are hidden memories and it's sad to know that it's possible that this will all be gone soon.

After the mass they had a reception where there were boards set up depicting a timeline with pictures of parishioners and students, and the evolution of the building itself. They even gave out little posters that had "now and then" pictures. A very nice keepsake.

Charlie and J.T.

I realize that things cannot stay the same, so even though I'm holding on to all the great memories of my past, I'm looking forward to making new memories with my family at the wonderful community we now belong to!

Feeling Left Out

I was in the other room with Meredith when I heard my name being called by these three goobers. Apparently they've been feeling left out of pictures as of late and requested that I take this shot. Ah, it's so nice when they are all getting along and want to get their picture taken!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby Girl @ One Month

"How He Saw Me"

He'd expected more, of course, from my arrival. A muted brilliance, a glow, maybe even a halo of some kind. That mystical feeling of completion. But none of that came. I was just a baby, like any other--except, of course, that I belonged to him, and that made me special. I cried a lot and slept a lot and that was about it; my repertoire was very limited, though there were those moments of peaceful clarity and joy when I stared up at my father from his lap, my eyes beaming, as though he were a god--which, in a way, he was. Or godlike anyway, having created this life, having planted the magic seed. At those times he could see how smart I was, how bright, he could visualize my potential in the world. So much was possible.

--from Big Fish


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Friday, June 26, 2009

So many cute outfits!

One of the great things I've learned about having a little girl is that you have lots and lots of options for what to wear. We've been so fortunate to have many friends and family members who want to help us in this area, too!

The one bad thing I've come across: sometimes she has a bit of "explosion down below" and we have to change her outfit before I can take a picture! Here are a couple of outfits that she's worn the past two days. She a bit shy about her photo shoots, so I apologize for lack of poses and her not wanting to look at the camera.





Summer Storms

I've been up since 2am. We had a storm last night like none I've ever seen before. Things weren't too bad--actually, pretty neat--until the power went out at two o'clock in the morning. The lightning was unreal. It was non-stop, big bolt, little bolts, strikes that seemed like they were hitting the house two doors down. But when the power goes out, so do the night lights and the fan that works great for its noise that lulls little boys to sleep.

All four kids were up through the night, screaming, which is understandable. The house got really hot, on top of the lack of light and cooling methods. The boys all came down to the living room, bringing with them their pillows and blankies. Once they were calmed down, it wasn't too bad, just sporadic calling out, which I'm not even sure if they fully knew what they were doing.

I love summer thunderstorms. I grew up in a house that had a big screened-in porch and I loved to sit there and watch them blow threw. But if we don't get another one like that until the kids are older, I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vocab Lesson

It's great when the boys ask what certain words mean. So often I feel like when they're watching a movie, they're getting a vocabulary lesson. Today we were watching Lion King and in the scene after Mufasa saves Simba, Nala, and Zazu from the hyenas in the Elephant Cemetery, Mufasa talks to Simba about how Simba deliberately disobeyed him.

Louie asked me what that meant, and I explained it to him to the best of my abilities. And then Louie says, "So like when you tell me and Ben to not do things lots and lots of times and we do it, is that it?"

Yes.

At least they're aware of it, I guess. They're deliberate.

Wienie Hut General

There's an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Spongebob wants to join his friend, Sandy, at the toughest hangout in their city. You have to prove to the guy at the door how tough you are. Needless to say, SB is not much of a tough guy and is rejected a number of times, taking his sorrows to the local ice cream parlor, Wienie Hut, where all the so-called "wienies" hang out.

After some advice from the ice cream scooper guy, our hero has a plan to make it in to join Sandy. Not five seconds later, he slips on a piece of ice and is sent to the hospital to be checked out by a doctor. After being revived at the hospital, Spongebob tells the doctor that he has a "boo-boo" on his elbow. The doctor responds by saying, "Boo-boo, eh? I'm afraid you're going to have to go on over to Wienie Hut General." (As you can imagine, this is the place to take your extremely superficial problems.)

I've just renamed our house "Wienie Hut General" because of the hundreds of "emergencies" we have each day. You can tell I'm a very sympathetic mom.

The Scoreboard

I've told you how we decorated the boys room to look like the Reds' old Crosley Field, complete with the iconic scoreboard. Neither the boys nor Kevin has seen that scoreboard in person, just in pictures and on film. The original scoreboard lives in Blue Ash now, and that's where we went Wednesday night to watch the boys' friend Joey play on his summer team.

The boys had a field day watching the big guys play, but probably enjoyed more the fact that they could practice fielding the ball off the wall after the game was over!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm Three Weeks Old!

Technically, she is one day shy of three weeks in this picture, but just thought I'd include this for her cute dress. On the front it says "Daddy's Girl" and she wore it for Father's Day. All day today she's been sleeping, so I wanted to include a picture of her with her eyes open. And it would be nice to have one without her pacifier...

...but here she is, all sorts of upset because she's missing her paci. Gotta make the little gal happy.

Charlie and Benny wanted to sing "Happy Birthday" to Meredith for her three-week birthday, so here they are:

video

Thankful for Fathers

"My father didn't tell me how to live;
he lived, and let me watch him do it."
--Clarence B. Kelland

I have mentioned more than once how blessed I am to have Kevin for my husband, and I hope it is clear through my posting how equally blessed our kids are to have him for a father. All the spoken and unspoken moments he spends with them have more of an impact on our children than he realizes. He loves them so whole-heartedly it exudes out of him whenever they are together. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of Kevin's laughter when he is with our kids. He sees how funny they are, and how "parenting" should not get in the way of seeing the joy that is your offspring.

It amazes me that Kevin can come home from work, after a long, stressful day that the majority of us would just want to crash into bed and not wake up for a week, and yet he goes out and plays a 15 inning baseball game with the boys in the backyard. He has a miracle touch that can calm a crying baby when her mommy has ran out of options. He can whip up a gourmet breakfast that can satisfy even the grumpiest of morning eaters--and he lets them help him cook. I could go on and on about how fantastic of a father Kevin is, but I think you get the picture :)

We spent the day at my parents' house, with my siblings and I splitting up the duties of making the meal. I made this dessert that I found on the wonderful site, Bakerella. I knew the boys would be really into it, but it turned out fairly well overall even if they didn't look exactly like the example.

Here's a closeup of the dessert tray. Not only does Bakerealla have the burger and fries idea, she also has pdf files to print out the fry holder, tray and liner! It really made it fun to make.

Such a special Father's Day with two brand new granddaughters! Great-Grandpa and his two best girls. They are so happy to be doing a photo shoot!

Here with Grandpa, they're a little bit calmer. Maybe they don't want to be the center of attention.

And with the two proud poppas...still not all that happy.

So here is their daddies' impersonation of cry baby faces!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunshine and the Pool

Nice, eh? The boys are obsessed with their goggles, although Benny "The Fish" is the only one who actually uses them. Charlie just puts his on his head to see what it would feel like to have his eye balls pushed out of the sockets.

We haven't been to the pool much yet this summer because of all the rain and because we've been a bit busy with our newest member. Friday was a gorgeous day and we took full advantage of it!

Even if they don't all go under water, they all certainly love swimming at Grandma and Grandpa's pool!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things I said I would never do...before the need arose

I had things I had to do today. In the rain. No, I didn't need to do them in the rain, but it happens to be one of the rainiest Junes on record and I cannot plan my life around the weather any longer. So me and cuatro ninos (not sure if that's correct at all and, by the way, when is someone going to give me a suggestion for a new blog name that includes my chica?).

We had four stops to make that zig-zagged us all over town and happened to occur through the lunch hour. I brought provisions, but I had some crank-tastic kids on my hand so I had to come up with a way to make this errands trip work with out losing my mind in the process. So I turned on a movie in the van. I always looked into vans that had their tvs on, going through the city and thought, "Man, are those kids spoiled! They can't get away from the tv for a twenty minute car ride?!" And so when we got a vehicle that came with a vcr player, I made the decision that it was only going to be used for long car rides (i.e. the two hours to Grandma and Grandpa's house).

And we've been pretty good about sticking with that vow. But today was a different story altogether, and it has taught me a very good lesson. One that has been beat into my head with each day that I am a mother: You can never understand what is going on in another person's family, so why judge?

We made it home safely, with all of our tasks accomplished. I'm starting to realize that we may not spend too much time in our backyard. For whatever reason it helps us all when we are able to break up our routine and go on an outing. We'll see how it goes...

_________________________________________________

Some random occurances:
  • We got a Veggietales movie from the library. The boys watched it while I was feeding Meredith. The movie was over and then the boys proceeded to beat up each other. There's something terribly wrong with that.
  • Currently, the three boys are having a soccer game in the kitchen using a ping pong ball. It may not sound all that funny, but it is. Oh. And it's suddenly turned into a game of broomball, thanks to Charlie.
  • During our excercises today the boys decided that the best way to get results is to wear a not-a-shirt like the instructors do on the dvd. They all are standing in front of the television attempting to do the moves with their shirttails tucked up under their chins. (They are talking about the women wearing just sports bras or whatever they're considered, if you didn't catch on.)
  • Murphy's Law is always in play when it come to three brothers: Our very nice neighbors brought over an outfit for Meredith and three trucks for the boys. Two of the trucks were the same, one different. Guess which one the boys fought over for the rest of the night.
  • I am italics happy today. My apologies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

3 Personal Trainers

I got this great dvd that allows me to get a pretty good workout without joining a gym. Fortunately for me, I have three guys who have signed up for the job of being my personal trainer!

I don't have enough "equipment" for all of us, so they use canned goods, and that seems to work well. I really wish I could have video taped them working out for you all to see. So incredibly hilarious. At one point Charlie couldn't figure out how move his feet and his arms that had the canned goods in it at the same time. He put the cans down and went into double-time to catch up.

Comments heard during the workouts:
  • Louie: I didn't have a baby in my belly, so I don't need to do all of it.
  • Benny: Why does this hurt my legs?!
  • Charlie: Woo-hoo!
Ben spent the majority of the time on the couch watching and critiquing the rest of us. But they all joined in at some point and it was a nice "group" activity. I'm hoping that their enthusiasm keeps up to keep me motivated!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm Two Weeks Old!


Tea Time

A couple years ago I created "tea time" for me and the boys. It usually fell during the time between when they woke up from a nap and when Kevin got home from work. This is THE LONGEST period of the day.

The boys (at the time, consisting of Lou and Ben) and I would sit at the dining room table and I would served them tea in real tea cups (Ok, that was just for me. They got hot chocolate in real coffee cups), along with a special snack. Sometimes the snack really was special, but more often than not it was a neatly arranged snack on a pretty plate.

During tea time the boys have to make sure they use their manners and we used this time to talk about stuff. What do they want to do this weekend? What's going on at school? What kind of books should we get at the library? Whatever came to mind we talked about. They have to pace themselves with their snack and drink while talking, not gulping it down as they normally do. We don't have anything else on, not even music. We just sit and talk and focus on each other.

For me it's been a huge help in adding a calming element to the day, especially at that point where I'm going to snap. For them, it seems like they really look forward to that time of day. In fact, we have gotten away from it and they seem to miss it.

So this is where the above picture comes into play. On Sunday--the first day for all of us to be back together--I was at my wit's end. They were bouncing off the walls, fighting, wrestling, wreaking havoc. It's all understandable because they basically just got back from a two-week slumber party. They needed some time to adjust. But I wasn't ready for it. And neither was Kevin. We were happy with our calm, quiet house and then these maniacs came in and destroyed the peace. Ok, it wasn't all that intense, we were very happy to have our little guys back, but there was no slow immersion into the boy world. We dove head first into the chaos.

That's when tea time popped back into my head. I got out special plates (read: breakable) and special cups (again, breakable). I think Kevin was going to have a heart attack when he saw me give Charlie, who was not sitting in his booster seat, a ceramic cup, but he did great with it. I think that is part of it too, the trusting of the boys during this time to be careful with the plates and cups. They're more aware, if that makes any sense.

We had a tea time of m&ms and hot (lukewarm) chocolate and we talked. We talked about what it's going to be like to have a baby sister in our house. We talked about the things we wanted to do this summer. We talked about having more tea times. It was very nice. It gave us the calm that we needed to get through the next few hours before bedtime. And it helped me to see that we're going to have our crazy moments, but we'll survive, and it'll be good.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy 75th, Aunt Mary!


Last night Meredith, Mom and I went down to help Aunt Mary celebrate her milestone birthday. We had carry out Thai food and then a banana cream pie I made. It was nice to hang out and watch the Reds game, just the girls, before those crazy boys arrive.

They're scheduled to be down here later this afternoon. I have to admit, I loved having time to spend one-on-one with my baby girl, but I miss the boys quite a bit! Wish us luck this week as we figure out how to all live together. I imagine we'll be getting to know our yard really, really well!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Check Up

The doctor wanted to see how Meredith is progressing and so Kevin and I took her in for an appointment this morning. I could have figured this out on my own, but it is nice to have the doctor say it: She is doing great! The doctor was hoping she'd gain about 2 ounces and Meredith has gained 8!

She eats so well during the day and has been doing fairly well with sleeping at night. I am wondering if this is a part of her personality, or if it will change when her crazy brothers get back in town. Right now, all the focus is on her. She eats when she wants to. She sleeps, uninterrupted. The returning of her brothers might cause things to change a bit!

Wish us luck :)

Three Boys and a Little Lady



I'm One Week Old!

This week has flown by for us and our little girl!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Cousins Meet

Meredith and Grace = Best Friends

One month and this little lady is so grown up!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jinxed

We had an appointment for Meredith and her weight was down to 6 pounds, 8 ounces, from her birth weight of 7-7. All of our kids lost close to a pound after they left the hospital, but the doctor was concerned because I told her that it has been pretty hard to get her to wake up to eat. While in the office we tried pulling on her limbs, blowing on her, even putting a wet rag on her face and she still would only wake for a few moments before going back to sleep.

I knew eventually that she'd be fine, waking whenever her body told her she was hungry, but was a bit nervous then. That night I set my alarm for two times, three hours a part, allowing her time to wake herself up and if not then I could. No need for that!

She was up at least every two hours that night, many times even more. I knew at the time I should have been thankful for the sleep she had been allowing us all to get, but I didn't enjoy it because I was nervous about her eating. Now we are acting more like a household with a newborn--up all hours of the night and sleeping through the day!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Story of Meredith

At my last appointment before Meredith was born I was telling the doctor how I was amazed at how much more pain I have been in, compared to the last three pregnancies. The pain was different, in that it wasn't just an uncomfortable-belly-type uncomfortableness, but it seemed more "structural," if that makes sense. After the exam he told me that my ligaments were stretched pretty badly and the baby was sitting on my pelvic bones with not much support, which was causing the pain I felt the majority of the day and causing me to get little sleep.

He suggested being induced on the following Tuesday, and somewhat jokingly I said, "What about Monday" because my Grandpa's 90th was that day and I had been hoping that the baby would come on that day, anyway! He checked the calendar and said that would be fine because it would be a week earlier than the due date and that fell into the hospital's policy. He said I could have a couple of days to think it over and then let him know.

I struggled with it, talking it over with Kevin, weighing the pros and cons, and we came to the decision that it was something we should do. So, two days before, I called and made the appointment to be induced, which turned out to be a very good decision.

My Aunt Cassie had already had plans to be with us that weekend, as it has become her tradition to come down and spend time with us before the baby's born (read: clean every inch of our house and take care of the boys so I can relax. Yes, I realize I am spoiled!) So when Kevin and I left on Monday to go to the hospital the boys were being taken care of. By the time I got into the labor and delivery room it was 9am and they started me on the petocin. I was 3 centimeters at this point, same as I was at my last appointment. The nurse checked on me periodically, asking what level of pain I was at and for the first few hours it was about a 2 or 3. I waited for my doctor to show up to break my water, which was to happen at noon. He couldn't make it then, so they had a resident come in to do it for him. This happened at 1:30pm, when they also checked me to see how dilated I was and I was still about 3-4 centimeters.

I'm not sure if anything could have progressed more quickly after that. By two o'clock I was asking for the epidural. The pain had gotten increasingly worse and I knew that it took a few minutes for the anesthesiologist to insert the epidural needle, so we had to get the show on the road! To the woman in labor, the time it took to insert the needle was excruciatingly long, and when the doctor was finished I asked through clenched teeth how long it would take to start working. She said I wouldn't feel pain in about 15-20 minutes. I didn't have that long. The baby came in about 10 minutes.

I told the nurse and anesthesiologist that I was feeling a whole lot of pressure and that I was pretty sure it was more that just contractions. I love how the nurses want to tell me that the epidural isn't going to relieve the pressure, that I'm going to feel some of it, that's it's nothing. I was trying to politely tell them that I'm pretty sure the baby was coming, but I wasn't sure if it came out as polite as I was hoping. After I insisted that the baby was ready the nurse checked, calmly agreed with my diagnosis and before I could blink there were twelve other people in the room getting ready for the delivery, yet none of them wanted me to go just then. They kept saying that the doctor was going to be there any minute and I was pretty much telling them that the doctor was going to miss the big ending and someone needed to decide who was going to be the one to catch the baby.

No one wanted to step up. They called in the resident who had broken my water, and for whatever reason she looked like the hospital version of someone dealing with nuclear materials. She had a gown and rubber gloves that went above her elbows with a hair net type thing on her head and not only did she have a mask over her face, but she had some sort of iron-worker's shield covering her eyes. Oh, I should tell you that they cut off my epidural supply immediately, so I am not describing this from a delirious, foggy memory. The resident kept saying, "If you need me, I'm here." Whaaa?! Of course I need you! The baby was halfway out at this point, the doctor is walking in, putting on a gown and gloves. He had one glove on when the nurse told him that the baby is coming and he said, "Do you mind if I get my other glove on?"

He told me that if I pushed once the baby would be out and although I didn't believe him, there she was after a push, my brand new baby girl! As terrible as the pain was before she was delivered, I felt that good after she was placed in my arms. I'm not trying to sound cheesy, but physically, mentally and emotionally I felt better than I had ever remembered. And in shock. I'm not sure if I told you, but Kevin and I aren't capable of making girls. We only have boys. So when the nurse asked us if we wanted to get the camera out it was only then that we realized that we were sitting there for five minutes with our jaws in our laps. Kevin went scurrying for the camera and was able to get some shots of Miss Meredith on the scale and getting cleaned up.

While this was going on my doctor finished up his job, showing me the umbilical cord. It turns out there was a knot in the cord. He told me that it was fine then, but if had been pulled any tighter her circulation would have been cut off. My father-in-law brought up a good point that it wasn't like she had five feet to walk away and pull it tight, but if she got her arm caught in it or found another way to pull on it, there was the possibility. Regardless, I was feeling very good in the decision we made to induce the labor. Everything happens for a reason!

We were moved to our room about 5pm and we called our parents to let them know that they have a new baby granddaughter. For whatever reason the room they put us in, although on the second floor, felt like we were in the basement. We got zero reception on our cell phones, unless you sat on the window sill, which Kevin did. When I made the call to my mom, every time I went to say, "It's a girl" it cut out exactly at "girl." I called back on room phone and the disbelief began. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of people who know us assumed we were adding another boy to our litter. What a nice surprise Meredith has been!

We had a nice group of visitors on her first day. Grandma and Grandpa R came by with the boys, Aunt Cassie and Katie, bringing us a delicious La Rosa's pizza! They soon had to leave for Louie's baseball game. Afterward, Grandpa and Grandma H showed up and were able to enjoy some quality time with their first granddaughter. After the game, Joanie, Josh and Nate stopped in to see our angel.

Being in the hospital is not as relaxing as they'd like you to believe. There are doctors, nurses, nutritionists, lactation consultants, and a number of other people coming in about every 10 minutes. When my doctor and the pediatrician came in to check the two of us out, I asked that we be let go when the baby was 24 hours. They said that we were both doing fine and that we could. With the boys staying at my parents house, going to our silent, peaceful, uninterrupted home sounded like heaven.

There was a brief shower and then the sun came out to welcome us out of our dungeon-like room and we had an uneventful trip back to our house. So far, our little angel has been so sweet and quiet, the much needed addition to our crazy household!

If you made it this far, that's pretty impressive and I'd like to reward you with this little video of the newborn while we were at the hospital.

video