Saturday, June 13, 2015

Henry’s Day

It was a normal Tuesday. Well, as normal as a Tuesday can be when you're four days past your due date. But still, normal, with no signs this little guy was planning to enter the world any time soon. 

We had a doctor’s appointment that morning where we found out we were dilated to a “four, almost five.” The doc told us she didn’t think we’d make it to our scheduled induction on Friday. 

So, we went on about our day. We worked, we took the girls to the splash park and ran a few errands. I was starting to feel some cramps, but thought they were most likely a result of the appointment that morning. 

As you likely know, the girls were born about four weeks early after a scheduled induction. In other words, I hadn’t experienced the whole “going into labor” thing before. I had very little idea of what to expect beyond what the doctor told me it would feel like. 

So, we get home that afternoon and things really start happening. I’m still not sure it’s the real deal, but I know I need to lay down. In a series of uncharacteristic moves, I bail on the girls’ piano lessons, a work meeting and family dinner at my parents’ house. 

I called my Mom to tell her I wouldn’t be coming and that Scott was going to bring the girls without me. About 10 minutes later, Scott’s calling her back and asking her to come get them because I’m now refusing to let him leave. And also telling him “this is so never happening again.” I have so much sympathy for those Moms who labor for much longer than I did. 

This was about 6:30ish. By 7:15, I’m telling Scott that it’s go-time and I don’t care if I’m not meeting the less than five minutes apart for an hour thing. I just can’t take another minute. 

We get to the hospital, check in and the on-call doctor checks me out. “Oh my! You’re dilated to an 8. I think this is going to happen fast.” 

I was surprised and happy and scared and teary and probably a gazillion other emotions. This was finally happening. 

And by 9:24, our little guy had, as the girls would say, popped out. He was 9 lbs, 5 oz, 22.5 inches of perfection. 

Welcome to the world, Handsome Henry. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ready. Set.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

We’re currently at 38 weeks and patiently waiting for Baby No. 3 to make his appearance. The girls were born at 35 weeks, so these are unchartered waters. Even though they were born early, I remember feeling like my body was at its end. This time around, even though I’m uncomfortable, I’m hanging in there. 

At least physically. 

My emotions seem a bit all over the place. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be so excited at the thought of our new baby that I can’t fall back asleep. What will he be like? What will he look like? Will he have red hair like the girls? Or dark like his dad’s? Will he be a picky eater like Grace & Claire? Will he like to read? Will he be ornery? 

And then other times, I feel terrified. I haven’t done this baby thing in so long. Will the exhaustion be too much? Will I still be the Mom I want to be to the girls? Will labor be excruciating? 

And those are just the emotions I've given thought to. I’m also sensitive and grumpy mixed with spurts of overwhelming joy. It’s a roller coaster I wouldn’t mind getting off of. 

But again, I’m hanging in there. 

A few pictures of the family pre-baby arrival. We’ll have to do this again in 6 months to compare how much hair Scott and I have left. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Eight Years

The girls have been getting progressively more interested in love and being “in love” and what makes people fall in love. 

A few weeks ago, Grace asked me why I fell in love with Scott. That’s a risky thing to ask because there are days that I’d say “I have no idea!” (Just kidding. Mostly). But on this day, I didn’t hesitate. “He made me laugh.” 

And still does, in fact. 

Don’t get me wrong, he drives me crazy, too.

But he’s never stopped making me laugh. 

When we've grown old and you have lost your hair and mine is gray — I will love you more that day than today. Because each day I spend with you, I discover more reasons to fall in love. The depths of your patience, kindness and love still surprise me.

Happy anniversary, love.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Last Day of Preschool

In January of 2013, I braved what so many parents do every single day. I dropped my kids off with a stranger. And left them. It was very, very hard. Especially when I peeked in to see how they were doing on Day 2. Claire was sitting on her teacher’s lap crying. It was all I could do to keep my feet firmly planted and not go hug my hurting little girl. When I finally drove out of the parking lot, I felt like I was leaving pieces of my heart there. 

But each day it got better. For them and for me. And eventually I didn’t need to peek in and see how they were doing. 

Fast forward to 2015. They run each day to the door, happily jabbering about whose going to tell Miss Christi something. And when I pick them up, they excitedly jump up and down, quickly talking over each other about the fun things they did that day. Preschool was very, very good for them. And for me (surely this will make Kindergarten easier, right?). And for my work-from-home job. 

We have all grown so much in the last 2.5 years. But one of the best moments from these past few years was on the last day. 

Like many kids, Claire’s school behavior was different than her home behavior. She was more reserved. Less likely to voice her opinion or her feelings. More likely to hang back instead of lead, which was the norm at home. And when she gets nervous, she tends to use different voices (most of the time a baby voice), which to the unknowing, can sound strange? I worried that she wasn’t being “seen.” That all of her heart, her love, her deep caring for others, her silly, smart, funny sides were being overshadowed by this exterior that she was projecting. 

It was one of the reasons we decided to put the girls in the same room during their last year of preschool (previously, they were separated). Grace’s teacher was the type who would look beyond the book cover and really “see” her kiddos. From day one, Grace felt special. You could see it in her eyes as they twinkled when she talked about her teacher — Miss Christi was very revered in our household. During parent-teacher conferences, it was obvious she loved Grace, too. My heart beamed for our spirited, spunky little girl. 

But I was worried about Claire. Worried that during this formative time, she didn’t feel that kind of love. So, we decided to put Claire in Grace’s room, and we were very pleased with how things turned out. Claire was starting to feel special, too. But there was always part of me that wondered about the first 1.5 years —  was the true Claire ever really “seen?” 

On their last day, one of her teachers from her original class gave her a note. And as I read it, the tears began to flow. This teacher got Claire. She saw beyond the exterior and really understood this special little girl. And my heart beamed for our quiet, soulful little girl. 


I don’t have enough words to tell you what a kind-hearted, loving, beautiful-soul of a young lady you are!! I feel very honored to be have been able to watch you grow. You will be doing so many great things next year, I hope you come back and tell us all about it. Enjoy your summer and have fun with the new baby! I will miss your hugs and your whole family!” 

A few pictures from this year’s preschool adventures:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The "K" Word

If you would have mentioned the “K” word at this time a year ago, I would have shushed you and told you that word is banned in our household. 

Since the day they were born, I’ve been avoiding the “K” word. Back then, it seemed so far in the future. In fact, it was so far in the future I could actually say it without cringing. It wasn’t until they turned four that it became difficult to utter. The milestone that shall not be named. The Big K. The day of no turning back. Kindergarten. 

Not that I was being dramatic or anything. 

Some time in the last nine months or so, I accepted that Kindergarten was inevitable. Being a Mom of babies is exhilarating. Being a Mom of toddlers is frustratingly delightful. Being a Mom of preschoolers is enlightening and hilarious. And it turns out that being a Mom of almost-Kindergarteners isn’t that bad. It’s actually a little exciting. 

They are on the brink of a brave new world. They’ll experience joy and disappointment. Success and failure. Kindness and rudeness. Pride and frustration. And that’s just the first week. 

Although it’s hard not to dread the day that they stop calling our house their home, I’m trying my best to just savor this moment. Right now. Because when you think about it, this journey is far from over. And I’m lucky enough to get to enjoy it with them. 

A few pictures from Kindergarten Round-Up: 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Dance Inside Her

Dance the dance inside of you. 

About a year ago, Claire said that to her Grandma. 

Much larger life takeaways can be gleaned from those words, but today I’m remembering them in their most literal sense. 

The girls signed up for dance again this spring. On the first day, before we got there, Claire was nervous. She strongly voiced her opposition the entire car ride there. But we convinced her that she’d have a great time. And she did. 

She wanted to go back each week until about mid-way through the semester. That night, the teacher asked them to find a partner. Naturally, she and Grace found each other. They did some joint leaps and then the teacher asked them to find a different partner. She reached for Grace’s hand as Grace hopped up to find a different partner. And then I saw the look on her face and it struck deep into my heart. A look of panic. My little girl who will approach anyone on the street and ask them their life story, had a moment of crippling timidity. She looked side-to-side and I watched as the fear of not having a partner spread through her. She couldn’t move, but she didn’t want to be partner-less, either. 

After that night, she told me each week she didn’t like dance and didn’t want to go. But we kept going. And she kept learning her positions and her dance. 

It was the week of the recital and she was telling me daily she wouldn’t be dancing in it. We talked round and round, but she held tight to her belief that she wasn't going. 

Shortly before the dress rehearsal, her anxiety peaked. Scott sat down with her and talked about being nervous and how it happens to everyone. He told stories of his own anxiety. And by the time we left for the rehearsal, her demeanor had visibly changed. 

She did great at the rehearsal and was no longer nervous for the recital that night. The recital was a hit — with nearly every member of their family in the audience watching as they showed off what they learned this semester. The best part, though, were the days following the recital. She wore her dance shoes constantly and kept doing the moves. “Mom, watch this! Look what I can do!” The pride she had in herself — especially after weeks of demanding to quit dance altogether — was amazing to watch. 

But what about Grace, you wonder? 

She showed no signs of nerves — she boldly walked in that first day, maintained focus during each class and was bubbling with excitement the day of the recital. On and off the dance floor, she is able to be herself with an ease that my 16-year-old self envies. 

This was a good lesson for Claire, but an even better lesson for me. I spent much of the spring wondering if dance just wasn’t her thing, but the more I reflect, the more I realize her anxiety was preventing her from truly enjoying it. Once she conquered that mountain, she was set free. She was finally dancing the dance inside her. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rewinding: Fall 2014

So, I recently took a trip down memory lane and read about a dozen or so of my old blogs. And although I understand why I’m not writing as much as I used to, I know I will regret it later in life. 

These are some of the best years with the girls. Their awareness of the world is jumping by leaps and bounds and it’s truly amazing to watch them understand how and why things work. They are at this magical age of understanding most of what goes on, while still being so loving and innocent. 

Yet, here I am, failing to record most of it. It’s April and I still haven’t posted any birthday pictures. OF THEIR 5TH BIRTHDAY!!!! 

So, I’m pledging to myself (and I guess you) to try to write more often. I have so many stories I want to share with you and just don’t take the time to write them down. 

To get us started, we’re going to rewind the past several months and show a tiny peek at what you’ve missed. 

Fall 2014