Dust and Ashes

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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http://www.bringingthesunshine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Ash-Wednesday1.jpg

Once again, the Liturgical Year has turned and we are once again at the start of the season of Lent, at Ash Wednesday. It's a day of reflection. A day to prepare for the solemn days ahead.
 Yearly, people use this as a time to purge an unhealthy habit. "What are you giving up for Lent?" and "I have that up for Lent." are comments you are sure to hear. In addition, there is the movement to "take something on". Instead of sacrificing your daily chocolate, you can instead sacrifice your time to daily spiritual pursuits.

Then, there's always a combined approach.

Lent for our kids is relatively simple. I don't make desserts so that is their biggest change from a food perspective. They are too young to fast so we don't even attempt that. Instead, over the years, we've prayed a modified rosary, adding to it each year as we move towards the day that we can say a full one.

Peter and I are a bit different in our approach to the season. Many years ago, when we were vegetarian, we made our Fridays vegan since simple "no meat" wasn't a big deal. As we have gotten older, we've tried to take each year and really give Lent meaning, personally.

This year, we are trying something that sounds a little radical but, I think, had the possibility to really expand our faith. We both love to eat and cooking - like, really cooking from scratch, start to finish - makes me happy. Many faiths use different liturgical times to move away from the staples and culinary delicacies of their relative area. For example, a part of fasting for Greeks includes giving up olive oil. It is easily accessible and a common part of Greek cooking. We wanted to embrace this type of fasting, but asked ourselves "what is an American staple food?"

It is so easy to get just about anything at the grocer or local farmer.  Even trying to eat locally and seasonally, while making things difficult, is still relatively easy. So we came up with a new Lenten culinary sacrifice: eating the staples of the poor.

While we aren't millionaires, we are wealthy in so many ways. We are diverse eaters and, pretty much, if we want something for a meal, I get the materials and make it. For many people around the world, having clean water is a dream. For many, having their fill of a basic staple like rice at every meal would be a fantasy. For some in our community, just having three nutritious meals a day is a pipe dream. We want our Lenten journey to make a difference not just for us but in a greater way.

For the forty days of Lent, we will be following a vegan diet that consists of staple foods from around the world. Dinners like rice and beans (Latin America), polenta with cannelloni beans (Italy), rice and lentils (India), you get the idea... will be made with enough to have lunch the following day.  Breakfasts will be fruit or toast. Drinks like black tea or coffee and water are okay. In addition to this, no eating out. No desserts. No snacking. We wont be hungry, which is more than many people have, but we won't be

On Sundays, which are quasi days off, we will pick something from our freezer. It may be vegetarian or not; it will depend on what I grab.

The money we save in groceries is being donated to the local food bank and Operation Rice Bowl.

People think we are nuts. Heck, we may be. But I feel like I'm struggling. I need something to reboot. We practice a strict fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, so I'm hoping fasting and praying will be a bit of a reset. Spending the season really focusing on others and all the things I have in my life.... I am hopeful Lent will be a wake up.

I need it to be. Desperately so.

Lent 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Well, Lent is upon us. Wasn't it Lent just yesterday? The last year especially has been a blink-and-miss-it kind of year.

Peter and I celebrate Lent a bit differently. Back when we were strict vegetarians, we wanted to embrace a sacrifice of food but since we already has given up meat, we needed something different. So, we would go vegan on Fridays. For years, we have embraced a spiritual pursuit rather than giving something up. And then... Kids. How to do honor and sacrifice to the season with the wee ones.

From a diet standpoint, the only big change for the kids is no dessert. Otherwise, they are too young to participate in actual fasting. I plan to just make them regular pancakes on Saturdays too (instead of chocolate chip) but that, again, is about as far as we will take food with them. Spiritually, we have, each year, added more and more to the rosary and done, albeit still abbreviated, a family rosary daily. We will continue that tradition.

And now... Our food. In a country where everything is fairly easy to get, it's hard to give up staples, so we've opted to embrace them. Many people live on the simple staples of rice and beans or some version of it. This Lent, that is what we will do as well. Simple breakfasts of toast and possibly a spread of some sort, lunches of leftovers, and dinners of the staple foods our brothers and sisters from around the globe eat. The money we save will go to Operation Rice Bowl or our local food bank... Haven't decided yet. This Lenten season, gone are the lunches out, designer coffees, and fancy dinners in favor of something more simple that, hopefully, will give us a deeper appreciation for all we have and a renewed Spirit and faith.

Sundays, I plan to make a non vegan meal and we still plan to celebrate St Patrick's Day with our annual dinner. But mm Monday through Saturday... Lent is on.

What are you doing this holy season?

Critique of Everlasting Memories "Bound with Love" Necklace

Monday, March 3, 2014

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As I mentioned in Nicholas and Sophia’s birthday post, we decided to begin a new tradition for the kids: since we don’t give Nick, Sophie, or Alex physical birthday presents, Bobby, Maya, and Michael will get a small gift from their older sibling. On Nicholas’s birthday, Bobby got a pretend Mass kit (oh, the cuteness!), Maya got twin baby dolls, and Michael got a football rattle. On Sophia’s birthday, they each got books.

Unexpectedly, I received a present, too.


A few days after Nicholas’s birthday, I received an email from an Everlasting Memories representative, asking if I would be interested in reviewing a piece of their memorial jewelry. With all the craziness going on at Casa Haytko, it took me a bit to actually touch base with her. Within a few days, a black velvet box was on my kitchen table. In fair disclosure, this review is based on an item I received free of charge (approximately a combined $134.95 value); no actual monetary compensation was provided.


The piece I am reviewing is the silver Bound with Love cremation pendant. This particular item is available in silver or plated in yellow gold, rose gold, or black. There are three diamondesque stones that rest in the heart created by the two figures. It is approximately ½” wide by ¾” high. Hallie, the representative I worked with, upgraded the standard chain to a 20” silver chain, which allows the pendant to sit high enough that it is easily visible but low enough that if, for whatever reason, you want to tuck it in a standard cut blouse, you can.

 As soon as the necklace arrived, I was touched by just how beautiful it is and, for our situation, how apropos. (There are a variety of pendants available, some (like this one) that are geared towards parents that have lost one or more children, as opposed to something more fitting for a parent or spouse (which are also available). Some even allow for the engraving of photographs. See the website for more details and options. The necklace looked gorgeous on and I was impressed by the quality; I’m not really a jewelry person and a fair amount of what I own (excluding earrings, which I lose every time I wear them it seems!) has been made by our local jeweler. I can honestly say that I didn’t expect that level of quality from something that is produced in quantity, but the pendant is on par with my single made pieces. And, in this house, it will have to be!


 Remember the chain upgrade? I’d do it if I were you! In fairness, I don’t know what the standard chain is like, but the first thing Michael did when I held him after putting the necklace on was grab at it. At first, I was concerned he would be able to destroy it. But, no matter how many times I pried his little kung fu grip from it, he would return to it. It’s been over a week and I wear it all the time; he has yet to be able to damage the necklace. (And, I confess, it is too cute to watch him kiss the pendant, which he does the first time he grabs it now.) 


This pendant is crafted to be used for cremains, however I told the representative from the start that I would not be using it for such. Mainly, it is a religious reason but it is also a personal one; with running and racing, if I were to lose a piece of the kids somehow, I’d be mortified and devastated. I also wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving them in a jewelry box. With that in mind, this piece is still a beautiful necklace. Unless you know the screw is there, it blends into the side of the pendant and isn’t noticeable. In addition, you can use it for ashes of any sort. For those who don’t wish to wear cremains, you could easily burn a photograph or something similar that represents your loved one, and add those ashes. And adding ashes is very simple: the necklace comes with a kit and step-by-step instructions for how to open, add, and seal. The ashes won’t fall out, nor do you have to worry about someone removing them; once the necklace is sealed, it can’t be opened. 

 From a runner’s point of view, the pendant is heavy enough that you know it’s there but not so much that it is uncomfortable. I’ve worn it for 5K/3 mile distances with no issues at all. The weight seems just enough to keep bounce to a minimum without the potential to distract or bruise. Will I say the same after a half or full marathon distance? I’ll let you know. And that chain… I’ve said it before. If you’ve got the potential to have the chain ripped off by an over-grabby child or you think you’ll wear this during exercise, etc., then I highly suggest the upgraded chain. 

 From a customer service standpoint, I found my interaction to be very prompt and extremely courteous. I can imagine that, especially depending on your stage of grief when you contact Everlasting Memories, their sales reps and customer service staff have been trained with how to help you select the piece of jewelry that best fits your lifestyle and honors your loved one in the most appropriate way. While I don’t think I would have sought out jewelry like this because of my own preconceived notions, I encourage you to check out their site. They have necklace pendants, rings, and even bracelets. Items can be personalized with engraving and overnight shipping is available. Right now, a simple “like” on Facebook will also garner you 5% off your order. 

 The arrival of the necklace was very emotional for me, but I think that it tells you the type of company EM is and the type of people they employ when I share this story. Peter had just fastened the necklace when he noticed something on the back that, at first, I had just overlooked as a possible notation of the maker or a symbol of the silver. (Hey! My eyes are aging right along with the rest of me!) I took it off to get a better look and there, on the back, were the letters “NSA”. Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander. Hallie, the rep who initially contacted me and with whom I’ve been working, confirmed that they had engraved it in memory of the children. It was completely unexpected and has made this something I will treasure forever.

8mo

Sunday, March 2, 2014

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Guess who's eight months old today? Time flies...

Six

Friday, February 28, 2014

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I cant believe it has been six years since Nicholas and Sophia were born.  Six years that have been the longest in my life, the shortest in my life, and the breadth of my life- all at once.  Six years I wish I’d never lived and six years that I would trade nothing for.

It was never my intent to wait until the end of the month to blog their birthday posts.  I just couldn’t write anything.  There were no words that fit, nothing that I could say that hadn’t been said before, nothing that I could say that could put into words how still, six years later, my life feels the mark of their passings as though their deaths were yesterday.  Some moments, it hits me that I was that woman, that woman who, although I had struggled with infertility (which is, in its own right, an awful pain), really had yet to taste what true ache could be…  I had no concept of a loss which is unmeasurable, unending.  No concrete abstraction of what longing really was.

I do now.  Oh, how I do.

Since Bobby and Maya’s birth, Nicholas and Sophia’s birthdays have always had a touch of “this is what might have been” because, like their oldest siblings, Bobby and Maya are a boy/girl twinset.  But this year put an entirely new spin on things.  Michael is the age they would have been in February, had their pregnancy not been touched by an incompetent cervix and premature delivery.  Conceived near their time in the year, carried during their time of pregnancy, Michael’s pregnancy (last year) was everything that their was not: healthy, long, viable… surviving.  His life, now, is a taste- if only singularly- of what life with summer babies would have been like in a northeastern winter.  In some ways, just as his birth was healing, having a seven month old for their birthdays has been healing.  In other ways, it has been a knife, tearing open the scars that had sealed over, spilling out the memories, the hopes, and the dreams in a trail of despair.

This February has been hard.  It has been something that I didn’t imagine because I thought, because we are at a place of acceptance and peace in Nicholas and Sophia’s lives (and Alexander’s as well) would not be as emotionally draining and gut-wrenchingly painful. But I was wrong.  I’ve slept through this month in a state of weariness, and yet the month has dragged on, pulling me with it, one snow day at a time.  I’ve sobbed into Peter’s shoulder (when it was free from a child) tears that I thought I’d shed years ago.  I’ve held onto Bobby, Maya, and Michael, breathing them in, because without them, I don’t know that I could find the will to wake up and go on living.  This month both gives me life and takes it away.  And now, once again, it is over.  Will next year be an easier year?  I don’t know, but I’m hoping for that…

As we do on their birthdays, we went to Mass, had breakfast, had their birthday dinners and made a cake.  Each of the kids get a gift from their older sibling on the birthday (it’s hard to explain why we can’t “give” gifts to them in heaven, but the kids like being able to open something small ‘for’ Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander).  The Masses this year were very interesting.  Nicholas’s was tough for me…  While the moral of the readings- don’t fear death, it is not the end but a beginning- were nice, the first reading, from the Old Testament, was the story of King David’s infant son being killed because David killed the first husband of the baby’s mother/David’s wife.  Yeah… Not exactly what I was hoping to hear.  Sophia’s Mass, however, was spot on.  Every song spoke of God’s Wisdom (known as “Sophia” in Greek), the readings were all about the Wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit, and the deacon who delivered the homily did an amazing job.  It was where we needed to be that morning.  It was a way to hear Sophia speaking to us.   Bobby and Maya helped make their birthday cakes, and Maya helped me make their dinners as well.  It’s nice to see them take an interest in being a part of it.

***

My dear sweet Nicholas,
Happy 6th Birthday!  I look at your baby brother, and in his face, I see so many of your characteristics: he has your eyes.  I can’t help but wonder what other parts of you live on in him.  I know that you watch over Bobby, Maya, and Michael, and I can’t express how much it means to your dad and I that you are always looking out for them, as a big brother, and as one of the smallest (but nevertheless important!) saints in heaven.
This year especially, I’m marked by your absence on earth.  I injured my knee playing with Bobby and wasn’t able to go on your birthday run, which was tough because I really look forward to sharing that alone time with you guys on your birthdays, but I’ve tried, throughout your birthday month, to really meditate on you: who you were while you were with us here and all the ways you show us who you are since you aren’t growing up with us.
Although you have your own song, this year we took Bobby and Maya to see “Frozen” and I was struck by one of the main songs, “Let it go”.  I’ll never let you go, my son, not of my love for you or of the special place you hold in my heart and soul.  But each year, a bit more of the pain of losing you fades; in order for it to do so, however, it has to come back to the core, front and center, and burn me all over again with the cold flame of death.  I think the part of the song that really confronted me this year was the line:  “one thought crystallizes like an icy blast:  I'm never going back, the past is in the past.”  The me that became your mother when you were conceived in 2007 is gone.  I can’t go back to her.  Sometimes, it’s strange to me that she ever existed at all.  The only me I can remember is the me that is here now.  Fractured and yet, somehow, still together.
Happy Birthday, sweet baby boy.  Six years have gone by but, in my heart, you’ll always be right here with me.
Love,
Mommy

*****

Dear Sophia,
Happy 6th Birthday!  Time has flown by- how are you six years old already?  Just yesterday, it feels like I was in labor with you.
When we were in church for your birthday, the deacon kept talking about the voice of God speaking to us, about God’s Wisdom among us, and all I could think of was you: the Wisdom of the World.  This world simply couldn’t contain you; you were part of us, part of the here and now, and yet always superseded us, I suppose.  I’m just grateful, even if losing you was the ultimate price, that we were able to have you for the time that we did, and for the forever that we’ll always have.
I’m sorry, as I was to your twin, that I couldn’t go running for your birthday.  Last year, as pregnant as I was and as cold as it was, your Aunt Sarah and I volunteered at what she calls the “Sophie Race”.  But, this year, it wasn’t on your birthday.  Not running seemed so… off.  Once my knee is back to normal, I plan to do a half marathon for you and Nicholas combined: 6 miles for each of you, and that other 1.1 for me I suppose .
Music… It speaks to me in so many ways.  This year, your dad and I found a song by accident.  It’s October Project (the second incarnation of the band) and the song is called Reason to Forgive.  It’s only ever been released as a demo. Kind of makes me think of you in that way too…  But it talks of an unfillable emptiness and how I know that feeling. No matter how many years go by, I know I still will.
I miss you, baby girl. So much. I wish I could just have another moment with you in my arms.
Happy Birthday, Soph.  Mommy loves you so much.
Love,
Mommy

***

Reason to Forgive (October Project)

In the dying light of an empty room with the window open, I have dreamed of you.
When the evening enters like a dark perfume, I am shallow-breathing as if emptiness could fill me up.

In the quiet heat holding back the rain, I am outside waiting and I say your name to the storm inside me that will still remain when the sky is empty, and the world goes on without you.

The moment leaves almost as it came. The feeling stays.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to forgive you now, and leave you inside me.

In the holding on and the letting go, is the way you lose, and the way you grow.
When the feeling enters like a wounded ghost… Let the night be gentle when I say how much I miss you.

The moment leaves almost as it came. The feeling stays.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to forgive you now, and leave you inside me.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to go with you now, and leave you inside me

28 Weeks

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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In Michael's pregnancy, 28 weeks was huge. It was a milestone in pregnancy that I'd never reached. It was the third trimester. It was magical.

Michael is 28 weeks old today. Six and a half calendar months ago, seven moons ago, this beautiful, perfect baby boy was born into the world and life has been made infinitely more beautiful because of that day in early July. At nearly 18 pounds and over two feet tall, he is my biggest kid at six months old and he is just such a snugglebug.

I am happy to say we are still nursing. Michael is a great breastfeeder. I was very worried that my milk would just stop, or that the marathon training or work would cause a decrease, but so far, no issues. I don't pump much so on work mornings (or if I'm not home and he wants to nurse) Peter will make a small, 2oz formula bottle to tide him over (sometimes it requires more than that in a morning). With his three squares, he eats 4-6 oz each (12-18oz/daily) of puree (a variety of fruiy, veg, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, oats) and totals about 3oz of juice (10ml of juice mixed with 80ml of water). He is constantly trying to steal my coffee (no go yet!) And wants whatever is on my plate (he had some apple pie filling the other day!). He sits at the table with us for meals, and enjoys his spot next to Maya. He also like to pick up his little yogurt melts and puffs. At this point, he maybe gets one in his mouth for every five he attempts. He holds and drinks from his sippy or nurselette.

Michael sits (we don't use a bumbo) and will play in his exersaucer. He loves his playmat. No crawling yet but he will roll EVERYWHERE!!!!

He says maaaaaa and daaaaaaa. He signs mom, dad, milk, and just started more. He imitates the itsy bitsy spider and some Spanish songs (que linde, pon, and tortita). His favorite toy remains his lovey, Turtle. He also loves his travel turtle, which he got on Halloween. So much does he love turtles that I just ordered him the turtle wubbanub (he HATES pacifiers, so I don't know about this...)

He is such a chill little guy. His only unhappiness comes in his car seat or when he is hungry. He loves snuggling and it's a good thing we cosleep and nurse all-night.

I can't believe we only have 24 weeks until his first birthday. Michael is growing up so fast.

(Check out my Facebook page for pictures... I have yet to figure out uploading pics via the tablet.)

Silence

Monday, January 13, 2014

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The silence of my house in early morning: child breathing, infant purring, husband's whisper of air, HVAC whirring in the cold, still darkness outside.

A lone shower. Fog on a mirror. The tip tap of a light switch- on, then off.

Sometimes the warm, toasty smell of coffee: rich, dark, local. Other times, not. (Most often times, not.) Remembering to grind and set it in the chaos of post-dinner childhood bliss is hit or miss these days.

Dressing in blackness. Clothes out and angled correctly the night before. Eyes closed. Clock check. Water bottle.

The fffrrriiiiiggggg ugggg, fffrrriiiiiggggg ugggg of a breast pump. The glug glug glug of a baby, woken by hunger or longing or both.

Keys. Bag. Door closed and opened and closed again. Car turns over, shattering the stillness of night.

Change Can Be Beautiful

Saturday, January 11, 2014

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Sometimes, there are no words to express how I feel, emotionally, about how Michael has changed me. He has changed each of us.

Since he was born (& especially now that he is mobile and pays attention versus only sleeping and eating), the twins changed. Maya has always wanted to do, do, do, and now she has an object for her affections. She told me yesterday that she loves to babysit her baby brother (what she has termed what she does when I ask her to keep an eye on him so I can go to the bathroom, help Bobby, or make a meal). And she is great at big sisterhood. She is patient and kind. She snuggles him and makes him laugh with funny faces and inside jokes that only the two of them share.

In the beginning, I worried because our time would be split and,  because of Bobby's needs, I feared he would be upset with Michael, that he would have the typical jealousy of an older sibling, but magnified. We have our moments but rarely have they included Michael (in 6 months, I can think of one). While he is not as over the top as Maya can be, his change is even more inspiring for me to see. He teaches the baby, as though Bobby is the teacher to a class of Michael. He will take his handwriting app and sit in front of the baby, Michael can see, then he will draw whatever is on the screen while explaining-in sentences!!!-what to do. "Learn to draw A. Up, down, across. Uppercase A. Learn to draw a. Circle, line. Lowercase a." Sometimes, I will see Bobby over my shoulder and, when I turn, he is looking at Michael, making faces and watching his baby brother crack up. It is a side of him we hadn't seen. Before he leaves, he may forget to kiss Mommy goodbye, but Michael always gets a squeeze.

Together, the twins have changed, too. They have made room for one more in their activities. They have scootched over to make room for a third spot during Peter's storytime. They have modified their routines of lunch and nap so that I can accommodate all three of them. They realize that they will have to self entertain while I change diapers, bathe Michael (which they both help with), and breastfeed.

Lest you think it is all sunshine and rainbows, we have our issues too. Days like Thursday, where the autism in our house was AUTISM!!!!!! and if I could have say under a rock and sobbed all day, I would have. The kids- all of them-hate my job. I had assumed that, because my job would be only weekdays and with only really missing somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 minutes of their waking day, it wouldn't be that bad. Wrong. Maya tells me all the time that she doesn't want me to go, asks if I have to go to work, asks when I will stop so that I can fix her hair and make breakfast before school. I've gotten several reports of her crying at school because she is upset I'm at work. And rare is the day that I'm not told, once I see her again, "I thought about you while you were at work and I missed you."

Because he is less verbal, I assume Bobby was handling it better. Our only issue initially, was that he would ask for pancakes for breakfast. "Mommy's pancakes."  So, to mitigate this upsetness, i would make tons of pancakes and freeze them so Peter can just pop 'Mommy's pancakes" in the oven to warm and voila! Over the snow days and Christmas break, I came home to a full house after work and he would just hug me. He meet me at the door with "Mommy!!!!" and would just be attached. No biggie. Then, I made the mistake of leaving for the store alone and when I got back, Peter told me that Bobby had stood by the door to the garage and sobbed, "Mommy home on Saturdays." Apparently, he was upset in the mornings during the week, so Peter had explained that, while I was gone during the week, I would be home on the weekend. When I got back, Bobby ran to me, hugged me then slapped my leg, saying "Mommy work all done," angrily. We had a similar instance, where I cantored an early Sunday Mass. When I got home, I learned that he had, once again, cried when he woke up and I was gone.

Lest Michael be left from the brood, the baby who used to eat, sleep, and waffle to eat and snuggle from 2:30-3:30 before going back to bed, now eats every hour and a half, doesn't want to sleep off of me, and, when I am lucky enough to get him out by 3:30 so I can shower and pump and leave, he wakes around 4:20 so the last thing I hear is his crying. And this sleep/eat pattern? Back to normal on the weekends.

This entire thing make it extremely hard for me to fit in running (because the gym offers childcare and it is empty usually when I get off, Peter had been bringing Michael inside when we do our car exchange and I put him in for 10-30 minutes while I bit the treadmill. Otherwise, I would never get a run in... The guilt would be high (as it was when I trained for the NYC Marathon this last November). It also make writing and editing tough. I'm attempting to use one of the twins' tablets to blog while nursing. I figure that might get me blogging again! But it is impossible, for me at least, to actually write on this and, other than a final edit, I hatred using it to try and go through a galley. I used to take my laptop to a coffee shop and just spend time writing while Peter had daddy time. Having a "boobybaby" and preschoolers who already don't see enough of you makes that as guilty worthy pipe dream. I know I have to figure something out. I just don't know what. Add to this mix that I signed up for a class (that starts on the 21st and runs through mid-May) that disects the Margret Atwood book "Oryx and Crake", and I can only imagine how my days are going to look. I also have upcoming races (Feb, March, may, June, and August which is a triathlon... Haven't thought beyond that yet) to train for. The good thing about that, however, is that I plan to take Bobby with me. He absolutely LOVED his first 5k (he ran the 2013 Lemon Run in mid-November and still wears his medal around the house) and he is really good at running. February is a 5 miller and usually freezing, so he will do the 1 mile race in March for our local pub, and then I figure we will do some 5k training.

Even with how positive the twins have been and you how they have embraced their newfound roles as big siblings, we are desperately looking for ways to do things solo or as a twin set. With four years between them, they do have interests that Michael doesn't and we want to still have that time with them. We try to take them out one on one and last week, Michael had his first long trip to his paternal grandparents while we took the twins to see Frozen. (I tried to insert pics but can't figure it out!) Afterwards, we had lunch together. It was great.

Well, the twins are now up and it's time for me to make breakfast...

It's a New Year

Friday, January 10, 2014

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I can't believe it's been over a month since I blogged. No, I can believe it... I just don't want to. This place was always a haven for me and it makes me sad that I have not been able to blog like I used to.

I honestly just need a few more hours in my life. I'm up early to go to work, off at 9 (usually), I try to work out for half an hour, then it is basically a nurse-in all morning. I get the kids, we play a bit, do lunch, then Michael gets a short nap while I put the twins to nap then he is up for nurse-in number 2. The kids get up, we play, Peter gets home, I make dinner, we eat, I clean up, then Michael and I go to bed. Rinse and repeat. Add to that trying to write for the books I have contacted, edit the ones that are in editing now, and (gulp) signing up for a class... Plus trying to handle Maya and her needs, Bobby and his needs and therapies, and Michael's ever changing needs... Plus trying to be a half decent wife, figuring out how to make time for coaching and teaching yoga, and sneaking in a race or two, and you get the picture. I rarely have time on my computer (I'm on bobby's tablet now while nursing) and don't love writing on the tablet or my phone.  A few more hours and I'd be great.

Michael is growing like a weed. He was 6 calendar months on the 2nd. He had his well baby yesterday and weighs 17 pounds 6 ounces and is 27.5" long. (He is as big as Bobby was at 9 months old anbd he's bigger than Maya was at a year old!) He rolls over, can skit up unassisted for a few minutes, and can pull himself up. He eats like crazy. He still loves nursing but eats three meals of puree, soft foods, or baby food daily. He went for Indian food on Wednesday and was in heaven. He is happy and laid back.

The twins are in their second semester of PreK. They love school and hated the snow days we had. They loved playing with us but missed school. Maya has a great imagination. She has a beautiful singing voice and loves to write songs and stories. She is a beauty. And boy does she have an attitude! There are moments where it feels like we have a 14 year old instead of a 4 year old!

Bobby is making tons of progress but it is a slow journey. We have had some great sentences and he is able to follow directions a bit more. But these great strides make the rough days ten times harder. Yesterday was one of those days. He is an outstanding reader and reads significantly above grade. His handwriting is very good. And he is sweet... So very sweet. The other day, he helped me give Michael a bath.

I hope to get back to this space soon... I really miss it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

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Happy St. Nicholas's Day

Last night, the kids made the production of getting a shoe out and, when I got up this morning, a big kid had slipped his in for jolly old St. Nick, too! We've celebrated this tradition since Bobby and Maya's first Dec 6th, and it kicks off our Advent and Christmas season. The kids get candy (&, in Michael s case, a Baby MumMum); on Solstice, we will make food ornaments for animals and hang them outside and the kids will get a gift of winter (usually hats, gloves, etc, but this year, I'm thinking sweaters). On Christmas Eve, they get a gift at my in-laws and on Christmas , a gift at home (this year, they will be giving something to each other as well). We will end the whirlwind of a month with Three Kings Day, and our annual party. (The Kings usually give the kids books....just be a librarian among them!)

From our home to yours, a happy feast of St Nicholas and may our sweet saint and oldest son watch over you and, especially, your little ones.