Friday, December 31, 2010

When It Rains It Pours...

in a good way.

Craziness is happening here for a few reasons...

1.  I have been on the computer, undisturbed, for so many hours that my eyes are crossing.

2.  I'm guest posting over at Multiples and More.

2.  I just received a great award from a very talented Donna over at Write Now Write Later

which I am passing on to Sarah of NaptimeMomTog for being the amazing friend, photographer and blogger that she is.


3.  In my blog hopping daze I visited one of my favorites For the Love of Blogs and found that I AM THE FAB FRIEND which means I may have a few million new visitors today and am feeling major pressure to produce a post to impress everyone.  Seeing that I'm about 5 hours from when my children will awake and my eyes are continuing to cross I think I need to cut my blogging self off and try to post something ingenious tomorrow.

Hi to anyone new stopping by and, of course, in true "me" fashion I just changed my domain name and the layout of my blog and created a facebook page all in way too short of a span of time so if you are having trouble accessing anything on my site just go to www.fourplusanangel.com and it should refresh the page and fix all.

Okay, going to bed now, feeling warm, fuzzy and my head getting bigger by the second from all of this recognition.

WAIT, one more...

4.  I am #30 over at Topmommyblogs.com.  This is crazy, I'm only five spots away from making it to the top 25 and being on the main page of Top Mommy Blogs.  If you like what you read here please click the banner below and vote for me or the button in the upper left hand corner every time you visit.
Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

So when it rains it pours, and then there are rainbows.

There will always be rainbows.

I'm Still Standing- Featured Blogger

I was so happy when I received an email from an amazing friend, allowing me to feature her here and share her story.  I should not have been surprised though.  She knew that her story may help others, inspire them to keep going and give them a reason to get out of bed each day, and for that, she wanted to share.  To say that she is strong and has handled herself with grace through all that she has endured is an understatement.

Cathi was pregnant with triplets not long after I was and, as she began to experience serious complications, I hovered over my computer waiting for each and every update, hoping for good news.  Sadly Raiden, the first of her triplets, was stillborn at 22 weeks gestation.  Cathi and her surviving babies held on for four more weeks and at 26 weeks gestation, her daughter Gwyn and son Ryker were born.  I was devastated to follow Cathi's journey as she then lost Ryker when he was 10 days old and Gwyn when she was 18 days old.  Still reeling over the loss of my own daughter, I remember hearing of the passing of each of her children and thinking that losing three babies was unfathomable.  The more I grasped for the words to support Cathi, the more I became inspired by the strength with which she carried herself through one devastating loss after another.

Cathi and her husband had several frozen embryos left after their IVF cycle with the triplets so she gathered her courage and decided to try once again.  After a successful frozen embryo transfer and another very high risk pregnancy, Cathi now has a beautiful one year-old little girl, Megyn.  Honestly, I don't know where Cathi finds the strength and courage to face life with the brave face that she does but I know that all of us who have been touched by her story are better for what we have learned from her bravery.

I admire Cathi more than words can express and know that there are days that I am still standing because of the inspiration I get from women like her.

So meet Cathi, survivor of the infertility struggle, mom to four babies, three of whom she carries in her heart, and STILL STANDING.

Cathi's post about her family:  Years Fly By
(if you have a minute you have to look around her blog, the professional photographs she has of Megyn are breathtaking)

My favorite post from Cathi... so sad but her strength shines through:  2 Years

Read here about how you can get featured too.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Favorites of 2010, I Think

So the year is a few days from coming to a close and I'm full of I can't believe it went by so fast's, the kids are getting so old's and I wish time would slow down's so it is a perfect time for me to sift through my year of blogging and laugh and cry with myself and reflect on the crazy journey life has taken us on once again this year.

I found a great idea over at Scary Mommy that gave me an excuse to pour myself a glass of wine, listen to the song that sings "Hadley" to me playing in my blog background and scroll through my collection of posts, trying not to be to critical while finding my favorites of the year.

Thank you for reading and for being the great commenters, followers, family and friends that you are.  This blog has truly become my outlet and an amazing source of support.  I look forward to seeing where it takes me in 2011.

My favorites of 2010 (I think... it is hard to pick from your own work and I'm terrible at making decisions.  This list may change if I continue to overanalyze myself.  Oh and I did better as the year went on so maybe just skip the first couple months, k?)

January:  Memoir of a Teenager

February:  Sparkly Shoes

March:  The Youngest

April:  Belonging

May:  One Last Visit

June:  For Sale

July:  Stick

August:  Once Upon a Time

September:  Denial

October:  Today- A Letter to My Daughter

November:  The Up Side of Autism

December:  Dear Daddy- Tales from a Public Restroom

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Other Cold Medicine Warning

If you ever cannot sleep at night and are thinking about saying "give me one of those" when your husband is dosing himself some Ny.quil.  Don't do it.

Just don't.

Two parents in a cold medicine induced haze when the kids wake up many hours before it should actually be morning may lead to a steak sauce/salad dressing/anything else in the fridge-that-you-forgot-to-lock-closed-before-bedtime fiesta at your kitchen table.

This photo does not capture the potpourri of oranges, cheese and salami shredded and stuffed into baggies on the floor... I was told that was my breakfast.

Want a coke?  I'm sure it was not shaken.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Day After Christmas

I hope your holiday was full of...

hugs with someone who loves you to pieces

treats with a friend who let you sneak just one more

silly faces with a girl who laughs at your giggle

playtime with family who love you to your toes

music with people who sing your song

pictures with cousins who smile your smile

moments with a baby who fills your lap

and the tiny whisper of an angel to warm your heart.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Friday, December 24, 2010

And the winner is...

I was overwhelmed by all of the entries to my giveaway and stories of loss yesterday...  so many families living without their babies this holilday season.

I read each comment and thought of your angels this morning as I wrote each name on a slip of paper and put it in our Santa bag.

And the winner is...

Congratulations Mary, please email me at fourplusanangel(at)gmail(dot)com to let me know where you would like to spend your gift!

Merry Christmas,

I'm Still Standing- Featured Blogger

Christmas Eve is the perfect day to feature my next I'm Still Standing blogger because if there is one word to describe this amazing lady it would be "giving."  I was thrilled when she put her name in the hat to be featured because, since my first comment on her blog, she has become such a great friend.  I know first hand how supportive she is to people in her day to day life and to the people she meets out here in the blogosphere.  You would never know that she is a very busy momma herself, raising three children, one of whom has autism.

Oh and my favorite thing about this lady?  She gives me one more reason to want to visit Ireland which just so happens to be her place in the world.

If you don't already know her or haven't figured it out yet, today's featured blogger is Jen from The King and Eye.

Here is a post that Jen felt will help you get to know her best:

10 Things HRH Wants You to Know- a great post written by her little guy... very wise for his 2.5 years

Here is my favorite post because it is the most ingenious idea:

Blog Gems- Air Your Archives- Once a month Jen hosts Blog Gems.  She gives bloggers a chance to dig out an old post with a common theme and link to it on her blog.  I joined in for the first time last month and met all kinds of great new people and couldn't wait to do it again this month.  There is still time to join for December and link your first blog post ever... strange to go back and see where I was when my blogging addiction began.

Jen is parenting her children and bringing comfort and support to many other families while dealing with autism and Still Standing.

Hope you enjoy visiting Jen today, send her lots of warm, holiday wishes, she deserves them ten-fold.

To learn how you can get featured click the "Get Featured" tab along the top of my blog.

Merry Christmas,

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Giveaway Day!!

I have been waiting for this day to get here all month.

It is finally my day to host a giveaway for loss moms only.

I loved following all of the giveaways last year and was so excited when Tina gave me a day to host this year.  Although my excitement quickly turned into fear once I remembered that I can't make a single creative thing to give away to any of you.

So, I did some thinking and came up with something that I hope you will like...

After we lost our daughter Hadley, I really did not do much for myself.  It took me a long time to care much about myself again and I have not felt very worthy of gifts or anything that focuses too much on me since.  So I would like to give one loss mom a little present just for her.

I ran my idea for a giveaway by a few friends of mine who are also loss moms and they all wanted to help.  SO, together we would like to give the winner $200 to spend on herself and only herself.  We would love to send you to a spa but if spas are not your kind of thing you can go on your own little shopping spree and buy whatever would make you happy.  My only requirement is that all $200 must be spent on YOU and only YOU.  Once I pick the winner you can let me know where you would like the gift card to and I will purchase it for you and send it your way.  I know if I send someone a check you will just selflessly spend it on lots of little things that end up not being for you so I insist that you let me buy your present for you!

To enter, first of all you must be a loss mom.  Please leave a comment and tell me anything you would like to share about your angel(s) and also leave your blog address if you have one.  (I would love to visit.)  For an additional entry you can tweet this or share it on facebook to spread the word, just leave another comment to let me know you did so.

Most importantly, as I mentioned, this gift is not just from me.  It comes with lots of love from Ari's mom, Caitlin's mom, Alex's mom, Benjamin's mom, Raiden, Ryker and Gwyneth's mom, Konstantin's mom and Hadley's grandma.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So I Lied

I managed to leave the house to run errands the other day with only one child in tow.

Having brought the quietest, least apt to cause trouble and least likely to become bored to tears with my shopping, I was very productive which resulted in a few minutes too long at the register with a chatty cashier.

Here is how it all went downhill...

"Oh he is so sweet, how old?"

Thanks, he's eighteen months.

"Awww, is he your first?"

No, actually he is my fifth.

"Your fifth, wow, how old are your other children?" (I'm screwed at this point)

Fifteen and three 

(Looking at me like I have two heads) "So do you have two sets of twins?"

No I have a teenager and triplets (technically not lying yet)

"Wow, triplets???  That is amazing what do you have boys? Girls?  Who are they with while you shop?"

A boy and two girls, they're with my husband. (sort of not lying)

"What a brave guy managing all those little ones, I'm sure he is having fun."

Yep.  (the truth)

"Oh I bet your girls are adorable together, do they gang up on their brother, making him play dolls and dress up?"

Yep.  (aaaaaand off we go, I'm lying)

"How sweet.  (turns to the other cashier) She has three year-old triplets, can you believe it?  Her husband is home with all of them.  My husband would never survive!"

Yep, he's great.

(shoppers in each line are now talking about my amazing triplets as I envision crawling out of my skin)

"Oh you are just so lucky, what a great family.  You will have so much fun this year with all those little ones.  I can't imagine!  Merry Christmas"

(Zero eye contact, plastered fake smile) Merry Christmas

And I picked up my purchases, my baby and my big fat lie and left.

I'm sure somewhere in there I should have stopped the train wreck and explained that I only have two triplets.
That one of them did not make it to age three.  Or to two.  Or even to one.

I thought it might feel good to live the lie for a few minutes or at least be easier than telling our whole story.

I guess it only feels good if it's the truth and it is only easier if your story includes five children who are alive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Home is a name,
a word,
it is a strong one;
stronger than magician ever spoke,
or spirit ever answered to,
in the strongest conjuration.  
                               ---Charles Dickens

After 77 days of waiting for home, Daddy brought you through the door three years ago today.

Happy Coming Home Day, my little man.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Your Lunchbox

I have noticed a time or two lately that a certain teenager has been looking at my blog.  I would say reading but she has already explained to me that there are too many words in my posts so she just looks for funny pictures and makes sure she is not in them.

Knowing that one of my children may be reading a sentence I am writing here and there got me thinking about what I would write if I knew she was reading.

So here it goes Ms. Ashlyn...

Do you remember the day you decided that you should not use a Cars lunchbox anymore?

You were devastated and so was I.

You were starting middle school and you noticed that no one else, especially the girls, were carrying one.  My heart broke a little, because I knew you loved that lunch box and up until then you did what you did and didn't care about everyone else and their brown paper lunch bags.

Ever since then I have been trying to help you find a place where you can carry whatever lunchbox you want and I'm not having much luck.

It is tough for you to be a teenager, I know it is, but not in the dating, gossiping, stereotypical sort of way.

I know that the flash of a camera drives you nuts.  I know that a squeaky grocery cart makes you want to beeline for the door and that your dream outfit is one with no seams and no tags and no stupid buttons and zippers to wrestle with.

The lunchbox days
And the truth is I wish I could just follow you around with an embarrassing mom bag of sunglasses and earplugs and sensory toys but you don't want those things anymore.  You want to brave it on your own and I am so proud of you for that.

I don't think I, or anyone else in your life, will ever truly get what that amazing brain of yours has to do to manage a high school hallway or a family get together or a trip to the mall in December.

You are a tough cookie but I wish you didn't have to be.

I know there are days when you want autism to leave you alone and it doesn't and I wish there was something I could do about that.  

I just want you to be happy.

That is all I have ever wanted for you.  

That and a place where you can carry your Cars lunchbox until you are 80 and no one will bat an eye.

Love you even though I know you stopped reading this ages ago,

Your mom

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Small Things Saturday

This one is easy, the Small Thing I appreciate this Saturday is that it is after midnight, I have a quiet house, a glass of wine and two whole weeks of being less out numbered than usual.  I don't love Mark's work hours but I LOVE his vacation time.  

How scary is it that I'm even looking forward to cleaning this weekend just because they can climb on my husband's head instead of mine while I vacuum the floors and clean the sinks???

Oh and there is cleaning to be done.  

Did you see this?
or this
or this?

With two of us home there will not be one bit of drawing on themselves, peeing on the floor or massaging the table with yogurt.  

I'm sure of it.

These innocent faces would never repeat such behaviors when Daddy AND Mommy are home.

What is your Small Thing to appreciate this Saturday??  Join the blog hop or leave a comment...

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm Still Standing- First Feature!

I was SO worried it would flop, but the moment I hit publish on my call out for bloggers who would like to offer support to other bloggers in their shoes, my inbox started filling up.  I'm not sure how I will wait until next Friday rolls around to feature the next blogger in my brain but hopefully the week will go by quickly!

So here comes the first I'm Still Standing blogger...

Jen is an amazing lady who, after winning the infertility battle, found herself as the mommy of a beautiful little girl with Down's Syndrome.  She writes with honesty, of her journey through disbelief, acceptance and ultimately, the embracing of all things wonderful in her little girl.  The moment I clicked on her blog I knew I could not wait another week to share her story.

Here are a few posts that sum up the struggles, triumphs and life of Jen at Loving Peanut... facing infertility and life as a special needs Mommy and still standing.

Jen's picks:

  T21 Blessings- piles of honesty
  Pumpkins and Ghosts and Singing, Oh My!- a play group tale and tribute to Down's Syndrome Awareness month.
  Hope for the Future- a run in with the "r" word

My pick (or my "I know this one is brutally honest but can I PLEASE share it" post):

  Welcome to Holland... Gerber Style- if you have read Welcome to Holland then just go right down to Jenny's tale of her short trip from Italy to Holland.  For me, this sums up Jen in all her kick-butt Mommy glory.

Hope you enjoyed visiting with the first of many amazing bloggers to come.  If you would like to be featured read here for all the details.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The After

After being born weighing 2 lbs. 10 oz,

after two cerebral hemorrhages,

after weeks on a ventilator,

after transfusions and procedures and tests and the endless beep, beep, beep of monitors,

after 71 long days in the NICU...

my little Baby A came home, three years ago today.

Amid all the chaos of life as it stands, there is not a day that goes by that I do not shudder at the thought of Before,
blink in amazement that we made it to After
and count myself lucky that we have a "Coming Home Day" to celebrate at all.

P.S. Could there be a better shirt??

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