Yesterday we pulled on the "no pants" and "no boots" and headed out to play in the "no". By we I mean Daddy and the kids. I came in and out to see how cute they were and put gloves back on 80 million times but am not a big fan of the whole cold, snow, wind thing so let Daddy have all the fun while Sawyer and I stayed warm. Big sister Ashlyn is spending time pretending she is an only child again at Nana and Papa's but could probably still hear the sounds of protest coming from our house when the kids had to come in from the "no." Why is it that when you have toddlers it is inevitable the most fun activities are going to end very ugly? Snow is now the latest word that we have to spell unless we are planning to gear up and head back out again right that moment.
Christmas this year was amazing. Watching all of the kids experience Christmas in their own way was so much fun. Although I am still not good at looking in so many directions at once when the wrapping paper starts flying.
Parker had a great time opening "man stuff." I'm not sure who enjoyed his gifts more, Parker or Daddy.
McKenna, my girly girl, loved getting dolls and kitchen toys and shoes... she loved, loved, loved getting shoes. I can't wait for all of the shopping ahead of us!
Ashlyn is old enough to have figured it all out and be a great helper but still young enou
gh to not mind waking up at the crack of dawn to open gifts.
Sawyer, well he is just here and loving life... drooling and cooing his way through his first Christmas.
And of course there is always Hadley, who traveled in my heart through each and every Christmas memory.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Christmas morning and our family Christmas party:
Christmas jammies! This is the calmest picture we could get of all the little ones (for some reason I couldn't talk Ashlyn into wearing a pair).
Love the look on her face!
Parker and his favorite new toy, he didn't touch another gift once he opened this.
Ashlyn with her favorite present, a tool box full of art supplies.
Sawyer ready for the Christmas party
Parker, in nonstop movement at the Christmas party
Two years ago today marked the last day we had to visit one of our children in the NICU. On his 77th day in intensive care my little Parker came home. Parker started life at 1 lb. 14 oz. and left the hospital barely over 4 lbs. To say he beat the odds is an understatement. Today he is an amazing little boy with endless energy and the sweetest, sweetest heart.
We love you so much Parker and will always remember what a fighter you were!
Daddy bringing Parker home, finally no more wires!
Two years ago today was day #72 in the NICU for Parker and McKenna. It was also the day that McKenna was finally able to come home. I keep looking at her today and thinking about how truly amazing it is that she was once a 2lb. 10oz. fragile preemie on a ventilator, struggling to survive.
We had lots going on over the weekend and I'm way behind on posts so here it goes...
...we had a great visit with Uncle Rob, Aunt Sandy and our biggest blog fan, Cousin Caitlin.
Aunt Sandy, Parker showing off his signing to Uncle Rob and Caitlin with Sawyer
McKenna was there too but she is Ms. Shy so played in the hall with Parker, pretending we didn't have company.
...Ashlyn and I got to bring McKenna along to her first Christmas Candy-making with the girls at Aunt Marianne's house.
McKenna and her assistant
All of the candy-makers and our table of sugar
...and lastly, the tree is up. We debated on putting it up this year because the kids are crazy
into everything but we gave it a shot. We are going to try it without a baby gate since our kids have so much self control so the pictures below may be the only ones that show our tree with lights and ornaments.
I have been looking for the explanation of the term "rainbow baby" since Sawyer's birth. I was tossing ideas around in my head for his six month old post and stopped by a loss mom's blog and there it was...
In some circles, babies born to families after the loss of a child are referred to as "Rainbow Babies." The idea is that the baby is like a rainbow after a storm. "Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.Today my little rainbow baby is 6 months old. He has filled our lives with all kinds of beautiful colors, amazing light and lots and lots of hope.Love you little man!
It is 7 am and I am blogging now and blogging fast because this is the only time I have. No one is napping at the same time anymore and every minute of the kids' waking hours is spent taking our house apart. I honestly can not believe how much trouble my kids can get into. Nothing is safe. Is it because there is more than one 2 year-old mind working at all times? We have child-proofed everything and are now contemplating living in an empty house until this phase passes.
They pry off the door knob protectors.
Pull the plug covers out of the wall.
They can open the freezer and the fridge.
They can reach the lights, the countertops and playing in the bathroom is more fun than any water activity I could ever create.
Yesterday they discovered the switch that turns on the fireplace, very exciting.
AND we still haven't even put up the tree yet, I can only imagine what fun that will bring to our days.
BUT I did get to watch them witness the first snowfall yesterday and we all cheered Sawyer on while he tried to roll over and in between diaper changes and food flinging I get all the kisses, "wuv you" mommies and hugs I can handle.
Some day I will have all kinds of time to use the thousands of hours of comp time I have banked but for now there is no other job that provides such great benefits.
Sawyer is up, the mommy marathon begins...
I dressed the boys in matching outfits over the weekend and since I could barely stand how cute they were I decided to try for a few pictures. So we put the boys in the picture chair but Parker started smiling goofy...McKenna decided she wanted in but wasn't wearing pants...I talked her in to wearing pants but by then Sawyer was finished.I took one or two smiling pics and then things got ugly...But somehow, between goofy smiles, wardrobe changes, a fussy baby and toddler Wrestlemania we caught...
Dinner time is crazy time in our house. Since Sawyer's arrival I have slowly learned how to balance our days in order to keep everyone as happy as I can keep a teenager, two toddlers and a newborn but it all falls apart at 5 pm. The kids are hungry, the baby wants to be held and I need to clone myself in order to get dinner on the table.
Enter big sister Ashlyn.
While trying to make dinner the other night with two kids wrapped around my legs and the baby strapped to my chest Ashlyn saved the day with a tub of play-doy and cookie cutters. The kids followed her to the table and sat perfectly while she played with them. I hired her as my Dinnertime Activity Director on the spot and made dinner in peace and quiet.
Not only was it nice to have the kids busy playing with someone other than me, it was a proud Mommy-moment too because this kind of thing is not easy for Ashlyn. Coming up with a spontaneous activity and pushing through with a lot of social interaction is hard work for her but as Ashlyn always does, she amazed me again with how much she has grown and what she can overcome when she puts her mind to it.
The pictures are not the greatest but the best I could do while wearing Sawyer and flipping turkey burgers.
I read an amazing blog the other day and the author said that she "blogs like no one is reading." I'm not good at this but am going to start trying. Here is my first attempt at spilling it...
Tonight at dinner I looked at my husband and said, very eloquently,
He looked at me like I was a loon (I've seen this look many times) because it had been a good day and it had. But good days can be the worst because on a good day, you take your kids to the park and watch them climb up the stairs for the slide and see the perfect space where their sister should be climbing too.
On a good day you find the cutest dress in a 2T and see that it comes in another color and hate that you don't have a reason to buy both.
And on a good day you say your daughters name once, hear how beautiful it sounds and wish you needed to say it a million times more each day... so many times that it doesn't give you a lump in your throat and you forget how much you love it.
The truth is I don't even know what a good daty is any more. I'm still waiting for it all not to hurt so much.
There is no where that I go that the ache of loss does not follow.
So that is my honesty for today, my post that no one is reading. I'm sure tomorrow I will get swept up in the craziness of our day and be able to blog about the silly things my kids have done and how I love them all to pieces but right now it is quiet enough for me to spend time with their sister and grieve a little.
November 17 is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the crisis of premature birth. Over 20 million babies are born too soon each year. I had four of them.
Prematurity can be devastating to a family. Many children end up with life long health conditions and some children born prematurely do not get to live life at all. Over the past two years I have met many amazing families struggling with complicated pregnancies, special needs children and infant loss. I am reminded everyday how lucky I am that my surviving children are thriving but also live with the devastation of having lost a little girl born too soon.
So today, take a minute to visit the March of Dimes if you can. Learn more about premature birth and what you may be able to do to help and give your kids an extra kiss and hug if you are lucky enough to have them here with you each day.
Well we are on our way... I have not been pushing potty training much yet because the kids have not really seemed ready. This morning McKenna got out of the shower, sat on her potty and went #2. This was a huge event, the excitement that two two-year-olds get out of not only checking out what is in the potty, but getting to dump and flush it into the big potty, was almost more than they could take.
They squealed, jumped, clapped, took turns sitting on the potty waiting for something else to happen.
I took pictures. We sang our potty song.
It was quite a morning.
They were still saying "bye, bye poopie" when I put them down for their nap, three hours after the amazing event took place.
It was the easiest morning I have had in ages, I didn't have to come up with a single activity to keep them out of trouble. Who knew potty training could be so exciting??
Someone please note this post and direct me back here when I try to train Parker, I have a feeling "easy" and "exciting" will not be the words I will use to describe the experience.
McKenna sitting for her "potty picture" not too long after the big event :)
This weekend we finally got the boat put away for the winter. I think we were one of the last houses on the lake to still have our boat in the water. I got the kids all bundled so they could watch Daddy get the boat ready. They were so excited just to be outside and kept yelling "boat ride, boat ride!" over the deck.
Parker got to ride with Daddy on the boat by default, he was the only one little enough to be able to fit his life jacket on OVER his winter coat... my tiny little man!Some day we will not be so behind on our household chores that the kids have to wear their winter coats to watch the boat be put away. I guess when that happens though we will know our kids are growing up and are hands aren't so full anymore.
Today I decided to have the kids help me give Sawyer a bath. Why I was envisioning a nice calm bath with the kids taking turns washing up their little brother while he cooed back at them I don't know.
I gave them each a wash cloth, covered the floor with towels and put Sawyer in his little tub. Someone lost their washcloth so we started bathtime off with a wrestling match for the remaining cloth. After the novelty of attaining the sole washcloth wore off McKenna decided to give Sawyer his towel to dry off with right away, by putting it in the water. As my vision of this perfect bathtime quickly faded and Sawyer's screams got louder I washed him quickly, trying to keep the water that was now flying everywhere out of his eyes, dried him with the closest dry anything I could find and looked up to see this...
We took the little ones for a fall photo shoot this weekend. We basically just chased them, kept the baby happy and took a zillion pictures, hoping we would get lucky with a few good ones. For some reason two year olds are not into sitting still and posing! Here are some of my favorites...