Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where We've Lived: Washington, D.C.

With another move on our horizon (it's not set in stone but it's a possibility) I thought I would write about all the places my husband and I have lived together. We have lived in some fabulous places, learning to love each city for very different reason, appreciating their uniqueness. So, without further ado, here's the first one: Washington, D.C.

This city will always be special because it's where we met. We met at a single's group at our church, both being new the same night. We were married there 18 months later. It's also special because my mom grew up there, in Arlington, Virginia. We spent most Christmases there and some summers. So D.C. is kind of like a second home to me. I even bought my wedding dress from the same shop my mom got hers from 30 years prior.

One of my favorite memories of Christmas is driving downtown to see the big Christmas tree. My grandfather would drive me, my mom, aunt, and cousin down there to see all the lights. One year, my cousin fell asleep on the way down there. When we got close we woke her up so she could see all the pretty lights on the enormous tree. Someone said, "Look at all the pretty lights, Beth!" to which she replied, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and promptly went back to sleep.

One of my favorite dates with my husband (then my boyfriend) was to take the Metro downtown and explore the museums and monuments. They are so neat and filled with history, beautiful architecture, and power. I also loved driving around downtown to see the cherry blossoms in the spring; it's almost like a light pink snow has fallen on the trees.

We also found lots (and I do mean LOTS) of wonderful restaurants in and around D.C. One of the best, by far, is The Lost Dog Cafe. It's a small cafe with gourmet sandwiches and pizzas. You can't go wrong with anything on their menu. Plus, they have a great selection of beer from all around the world. Any time we are up there, we make a point to eat there. There's also Cowboy Cafe, in Arlington, with great sandwiches and awesome burgers. I believe that Tuesday night is still Half-Price Burger night.

After we got married we lived in Alexandria, VA. Another favorite thing to do was wander around Old Town. There are some beautiful old homes and churches in the area, not to mention shopping. The restaurants around there are great, too, and we found a bunch. Our favorite brunch spot, Bullfeathers, closed a couple of years ago. How things change when you move away! Oh, and make sure you ask my husband about i Ricchi. That was an experience!

When we moved, right after September 11 (that's another post for another day), I cried as we left our little apartment. It wasn't anything glamorous but it was our first home as husband and wife. What blessings we received while we lived there.

Next stop: Charleston, South Carolina

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sleeping Beauty

God's Money

There was quite the discussion in our car yesterday on the way to church. Both girls had some money, K a dollar bill and L a penny or two, and were talking about it. L said, "This is God's money. We need to give it to Him." K said, "No it's not! It's mine! I collect it!"

Apparently, S had a conversation with L saying that the money was God's and He blesses us with it to use but we need to give it back to Him. He did not, however, have the same conversation with K so she was a bit lost. She said, "Well, I want to keep it because I collect it." What a thing to collect!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Birthday Girls

July is birthday month in this house. Well, at least for the girls, who were born exactly 2 years and 1 week apart. We really, honestly did not plan that. We thought we were going to have all summer birthdays since H was due in June but he came a little early so that didn't so much work out. But I digress.

So, here are a few pictures of the birthday girls from their respective birthdays. I should tell you that in our house, you don't get a birthday party until you're 5. That doesn't mean that we don't celebrate birthdays every year; we just don't have a big party every year. This year was K's first birthday party and she was so excited. L had a big day, too, with a water slide that I borrowed from a friend (thanks, Ellen!). The girls played with their Daddy all morning and were wiped out by 1:00pm, both taking long naps. Mama is thankful she doesn't have to do another big party for two more years!

Precious Words

As I was feeding H this morning, L came into my room.

"Can I sit with you, Mama?" she asked.
"Of course, sweetie," I replied.
"Is H awake?"
"Sort of, he's eating right now but his eyes are closed."
"Can I kiss his little head?"

What can you say to that but yes!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Something I've been told many times over is how much K looks like me when I was little. She also happens to share my personality which is why we butt heads so often. In other ways, though, we understand each other on a level that really can't be explained. We react to situations in very similar manners.

So I thought I would share a picture of me and K at about the same age. Pay no mind to the harvest gold and avocado green in my costume.

Sweet Sisters

I'll be the first to admit that this summer hasn't been an easy one for this family. The frustration of not having a schedule has taken it's toll on the girls. They seem to be at each other's throats one minute and then playing sweetly the next. I don't know if this is truly normal sibling behavior because I'm an only child and have no experience in the sibling area. I'm sure that some sibling tension is normal, especially when you have a new baby in the house.

Along with turning 5, K has completely given up naps, making nap time difficult for L. She always wants K to come in there and sleep which really means play as K doesn't even try to sleep but plays and keeps L awake. This is a problem because L still really needs a nap in the afternoon.

Today at nap time, K told L that if she got on her bed she would read her a story. Now, K can't really read but she knows some of her books backwards and forwards. So she sat on L's bed, "read" Madeleine and sang with her, just like a little Mama. All I can say is, "Awww."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Favorite Book

While perusing the bloggy world, I found a blog encouraging us bloggers to write about our favorite book from childhood. I have several so I thought I'd write about them.

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day - Honestly, I read this more when I was an adult rather than a child but I do remember it from childhood. I love that nothing goes right and he just wants to move to Australia. There are plenty of times when I feel that way! I don't have this one in my home but I'm sure it will become a staple.
  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas - I love this book to this day. I remember reading it over and over again although my mom doesn't really remember reading it to me. I think I liked it because of the family and their Christmas traditions. I bought a copy off of eBay two years ago and have just started reading it to my own kids.
  • The Runaway Bunny - One of the sweetest books ever written. Hug your kids when you read this one!

I also remember wanting to read Scat, Scat, Go Away, Little Cat many times but my mother didn't like the way the cat was treated so I didn't get to read it that much.

So, what are your favorite books from childhood?

Crazy Doesn't Begin To Describe It

This morning, K had a doctor's appointment. While this would normally be something that I didn't bat an eye at just one year ago, this morning was very different. You see, trying to leave the house to be any place on time is, to say the least, daunting. Blessedly, the appointment wasn't until 9:45 so I had some time to try to get ready. Please remember, though, that I have to get three children dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair done (this isn't so bad for H), and shoes on. That doesn't include getting myself ready. H was fed, the girls dressed, and I actually had a shower before it was time to leave. Granted, the girls were watching Sesame Street while sitting on my bed and H was in his bouncy seat in the bathroom with me but I managed a shower. Did I mention that Daddy is out of town? Not that that would have changed much but I thought it was worth mentioning.

By the time I got out of the shower, dressed, and brushed my hair, it was time to leave. So we left, my hair still very wet, no makeup and me feeling quite disheveled. Did I mention that my gas tank was on E? When we got to the doctor's office, we ran into a friend of K's from school. This is the mom who always looks perfect: hair always done nicely, clothes perfect and children looking just the same. So while mine were running crazily through the office, hers were sitting there quietly, doing exactly what they should be doing. This made me feel even more ragged.

We were called back pretty quickly which was a very good thing. We were put in a room and the girls immediately assumed their seats: K on the exam table and L on the spinning stool. H started fussing the moment I put his carrier down and wouldn't stop until I picked him up. We looked at every magazine in the room (all 4 of them) including the mechanical engineering one.

When the doctor walked in, K was instructed to roll on her tummy so he could examine the back of her legs (where the rash is). This was cause for great concern on her part so I put H down and helped her roll over as she was afraid that she would fall even though there were no less than three adults standing around the exam table. H started crying, L kept trying to put his pacifier in his mouth but he didn't want it. The doctor was giving me home instructions and my cell phone rang. As we were packing up to leave, the doctor said, "You've got your hands really full." Thanks.

But here's the good in all of this. This morning, I got some really good smiles out of H. K was holding him and I was talking to him, making him smile. It was beautiful. He's just started doing this and this morning had the most smiles I've seen out of him. I did get pictures but with my phone camera and I have no clue how to share those on the computer. Sure, we were harried getting out the door because I spent so much time trying to get one good picture of him smiling but it was totally worth it. I believe God gave me that simple joy this morning to remind me to slow down and rest in Him. Everything will get done, we'll make it out the door and life will continue. So please take time to love on your babies. They won't be babies for long.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Due to H's early arrival through emergency c-section and then my subsequent return to the hospital for gallbladder surgery, my children have seen their fair share of TV and movies this summer. One of their favorites is "Charlotte's Web." They love Charlotte and Wilbur and all the talking animals. The consequence of this, however, is that they believe that every spider they see is Charlotte. And they must let me know this by yelling, "Mama! There's Charlotte! She's outside! She's in our sandbox! She's in our bathroom! Look, Mama!" Or "Look, Mama! Charlotte's web is in our playhouse!" This happens, without fail, every time they see a spider of any shape or form. One time, they even found one of her babies (a very small spider).

What would I do for entertainment without them?

Friday, July 20, 2007

H's story: Part 3

Here's where the story gets really good. We called the doctor at approximately 8:30pm to tell him what was going on. At 9:28pm, H was delivered. That's a mere 58 minutes from the first signs of blood to the baby being out and tended to.

My doctor was already at the hospital and waiting for us when the ambulance pulled up. If I hadn't called him first, we probably would have had to wait for him, losing precious time. The doctor on call that night was not the doctor I usually saw in the office. He was, however, someone I knew. His oldest child goes to the same school my oldest child goes to and they are the same age. I had gotten to know his wife while dropping off and picking up our respective children.

As I was being prepped for surgery, another OB, whom we know through school, happened to be there and scrubbed in. Because they had started IVs on me in the ambulance, that was one less thing that had to be done in the OR. All the people who needed to be there, nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, NICU personnel, were there right when they needed to be. We were told after the dust settled that if we had waited just 10 more minutes, we would have lost me, H, or both of us. That's how dire the situation was.

The one thing that I haven't been able to explain is the sense of peace I felt throughout the entire ordeal. This can only be explained as the "peace that passes all understanding." This peace came over me as I was sitting in the bathroom waiting on the paramedics. I started singing "How Great Thou Art" while I was there by myself. It's not a hymn I normally think of but that's what came to mind. The entire evening was marked by the graciousness of God, His strength to carry all of us through a most unbelievable evening. We had people praying for us throughout the night and I felt every single one of those prayers.

H spent 8 days in the NICU. The hardest thing I've ever had to do was leave the hospital without my baby. He was so tiny and needed his mother. But I had two little girls at home who also needed their mother. We spent the next few days going back and forth to the hospital, trying to keep a normal schedule for the girls. They spent a lot of time at friend's houses though it was only for a short time.

H came home on May 10, 2007 to two very proud sisters and one very happy Mama. Daddy was thrilled, too. There are certainly some things I missed out on by having him so dramatically but to see him today, knowing that God's hand was on him the whole time, I'm just thankful that he's here and healthy.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:13-14, ESV

H's story: Part 2

I don't remember actually being put in the ambulance but I do remember them telling me to stay with them and not go to sleep. I was in and out throughout the entire 10 minute ride to the hospital. I do remember them saying they couldn't get a blood pressure on me. I could still feel H moving when I was awake but that wasn't often. They started two IV's on me while in the ambulance.

When we got to the hospital, I recall, very vividly, S grabbing my hand as they wheeled me into the ER. I didn't have the energy to open my eyes but I knew it was him. Since we had called my doctor before calling 911, he was there waiting for us in the ER, a huge time saver. He checked H's heart rate and it was in the 80s. Normal range for a baby is 120-160. I was immediately taken to the OR for an emergency c-section. I do remember asking my doctor if they were going to take the baby. He, of course, said yes. I also told them not to cut me open because I wasn't yet feeling the anesthesia. I didn't want to feel that at all.

About an hour later I woke up in the recovery room. I saw a couple of nurses buzzing around me and then they let S come back once I was rousing. He told me that H was here, weighing a whopping 5lbs, 12oz, and 18.5" long. He was in the NICU hooked up to IVs and breathing machines. He was breathing room air but having trouble doing so due to his very early arrival. They gave him all sorts of medicine to help his immature lungs and protect his young immune system.

Due to the massive amount of blood loss, I spent the night in the ICU and was unable to see my new son. The kind NICU nurses took 3 instant camera shots of H and gave them to my husband so that I could see him. It wasn't until the next morning that we understood what had transpired the night before.

I had a placental abruption which is where the placenta begins to prematurely pull away from the uterine wall. I lost close to half of my blood volume in my bathroom and on the carpet in my bedroom. Thanks to three very sweet friends, I didn't have to clean any of it up. When the doctor opened me up, there was blood in the amniotic sac, making it very difficult to get oxygen to H, hence the drop in heart rate. We were told that H would be monitored very carefully and that the first 24-48 hours were the most critical. We were also told that he would be in the NICU for at least 3 weeks.

More to come...

H's story

Most of you know the story of how H made his way into this world but I wanted to save it for posterity so here it is. I'll do my best to keep it short but there's just so much to share! I'll have to do this in several posts to keep it from being too long.

On May 2, 2007, I spent the day as I usually did. I took K to school, L to gymnastics, and spent the afternoon attempting a nap. I was 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant. S, my sweet husband, kept L while K and I went to Wednesday night church. I came home and the whirlwind of putting the girls to bed began. The phone rang while S was praying with the girls so I answered it. I was on the phone for about 10 minutes. S came into the living saying it was time for me to sing with the girls (those of you who know us know that S was not blessed with a singing voice). I stood up to do just that and felt a pop and a little liquid between my legs (sorry to gross you out). I figured I had wet myself, a common occurrence in late pregnancy. Well, it wasn't what I thought it was. It was blood. I ran to the bathroom and called my doctor. At this point I was sitting on the toilet and blood was gushing, not trickling, and I started to panic. I screamed for S and told him to call 911 since both of my hands were occupied trying to stop the bleeding. When my doctor called back he told S to get me to the hospital ASAP. I used S's cell phone to call my friend, an OB nurse, and she told me that I needed to calm down but they would probably take the baby that night and that she would begin praying.

All I could think was that it was too early and that H would be born with severe problems. We heard the sirens from the fire truck and S ran out to meet them. The paramedics arrived within 10 minutes of us calling. They asked all sorts of questions but the one that scared me the most was, "When did you last feel the baby move?" Then I started feeling light-headed and told the EMTs that I needed to lie down. That's when I started going in and out of consciousness. They kept telling me to stay awake but I was having trouble due to the massive amount of blood I was losing. We had called a friend to come stay with the girls so S could go to the hospital with me. The EMTs told him to follow behind them and get my ID and insurance card to expedite the admission process. The last thing I remember at home is my friend telling me that everything was going to be all right.

First Post

Okay, so I'm making a foray into the blog world. I've actually done this before but didn't keep it up. However, things have changed and I feel the need to jump into the bloggy world, as a friend of mine calls it. I am a SAHM of three kids and my days are filled with endless questions and chores. My kids are 5, 3, and 2 months at the moment, making the days fly by.

I wanted to start this blog because I like to write and I have a lot on my mind but there aren't too many people to listen to me during my day. There are times I just need to get things off my chest. Plus, I would like to have a record of what my children did when they were young. They do funny things, maddening things, crazy things, sweet things and I just don't want to forget them. So you'll have to put up with my ramblings about my children most of the time.

Take my day yesterday. It wasn't a horrible one but it wasn't the best. It started promptly at 7am when H woke up to eat. He ate like a horse, gulping every last bit of breast milk I was willing to offer. I sat him up to burp and he proceeded to expel every ounce he had just taken. It came out with so much force it even came out his nose. This is not the first time he has done this so I've become accustomed to his spewings. However, this one got everywhere: all over his clean outfit, all over my pajamas, on the pillowcase, etc. I think you get the idea. It was everywhere. Since it's summer, we usually don't have anywhere we have to be at a certain time. This day, however, we were taking K to day two of ballet camp. It's only 2 hours in the morning but I'm forced to get 3 kids and their mommy ready to walk out the door to be there by 9am. This spewing episode meant I had to have a shower before I could leave the house. I have gone plenty of places with spit up on my clothing but this was a large amount and I didn't feel like smelling of sour milk all morning. So off to the shower I went, only after making sure the girls were settled in front of the TV (no lectures about the electronic babysitter, please. The shower was a must) and H was in his bouncy seat in the bathroom with me. He was still a bit upset about the whole situation but we were in a time crunch.

Having had a shower, I had time to actually put on some makeup before leaving the house. H got a clean outfit and clean diaper, K got on her ballet clothes, and L got herself dressed in her typical mis-matched outfit. Hair got brushed and we actually got out the door with time to spare.

But the rest of my day, which included numerous feedings, a mound of laundry and a grocery run, seemed odd. There was just something not right. My husband is thinking of taking a job that would move us away from our current location. While I have always been supportive of his career and moved gladly with him (4 cities in 2 years), we've been here for over 4 years now and I've developed friendships that I'm not willing to leave. I do know that if God has us move, I'll move wherever He leads, even if it's the middle of nowhere. One thing I learned from moving so much when we were first married is that if you think it's going to be bad, it will be. But if you make the best of it, you'll find there's some good in every city. I have some wonderful memories from every place we've lived, even if it wasn't my first choice of places to live. God has blessed us immensely in the time we've been here and I know He'll do the same wherever we live.

So I guess that's what's weighing on my heart at the moment. Even if we don't move right now, I really feel that God is preparing me to leave this area and move on. I've got to trust in Him, that He will lead us where we need to be.