Thursday, May 19, 2011

Books - ones I've read a zillion times and still enjoyed!


Ok, as a mom to 5 children, I have been reading books to little ones for almost 16 years straight.  16 YEARS of reading the same books over and over and (insert a zillion overs here) over and over again.  I love reading to my kiddos, love how they curl up with you and their chubby little hands work to turn the pages.  And you know when you are reading a family favorite because the only thing holding that sucker together is the tape!  Corners have been rounded off by a teething baby.  Binding is shot which makes it kinda hard to find where the book even begins because it'll just look closed any ol way it is shut.  You know, the ones where you don't even need the actual book anymore - you can just rattle that story off your tongue like it's your address.  That is how you know you've got a good book in your hands.  It just has a little extra... character.  I think I could now easily make a "Starter Pack" of books for a family expecting their first babe.  Kinda like - hey, books are expensive make sure your buying ones your gonna wanna read ALOT.  I've even made a little list of some of our family favorites:


When buying books for you new wee one definately consider these:

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
I saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince
The Icky Sticky Frog by Dawn Bentley
The Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Fifteen Animals by Sandra Boynton
Elvis the Rooster almost goes to Heaven by Denys Cazet (maybe for 1st graders)
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
HUG by Jez Alborough
The Wide Mouth Frog by Keith Faulkner
My Very First Encyclopedia with Winnie the Pooh and Friends: Animals (great, amazing  photos)
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Love you Forever by Robert Munsch
Never too Little too Love by Jeanne Willis

Pretty much you can't go wrong with anything Sandra Boynton and of course Dr. Seuss. 





Get yourself some good books, a snuggly blanket, a tiny tot and READ.  Cause guess what?, time will quickly grow those tiny little people that want the same story over (and over) again into people that drive cars, carry cell phones and date.  Trust me, reading the books is easier.



I'm always up for adding to our mini library branch of Delaware County, the one of course residing in our playroom, so what are your family favorites?

Friday, April 1, 2011

What it means to be loved...

This video below is amazing... the song perfect!  You know how sometimes a song speaks right to your heart?  This song grabbed my attention from note one.  This reminds me exactly of when Braden and Grant were born.  Braden had several severe heart defects - AVSD complete, PDA and the most severe being right hypoplastic heart syndrome.  Each defect alone would have required heart surgery.  The AVSD is common to children with Down syndrome.  The right hypoplastic heart syndrome is not and is a fairly rare heart defect that alone can cause devastating complications... combined with the other defects was bad... really bad.  The right hypoplastic heart syndrome was the one that qualified him for a heart transplant.  But, sadly, he could never receive an organ transplant because of his Down syndrome.  That was heartbreaking and stunning news to us as parents.  To look at this little baby love and know that their was a surgery, a transplant, that could save his life but he was being denied was a horrifying nightmare.  The recommendation from the doctors was hospice.  The doctors said he didn't have a year.  We decided to swim against the stream.  To do all we could to try and save his precious life.  We insisted on surgery despite the odds being stacked against him.  So much so that we decided between Tom and I not to let our family and friends know just how bad those odds were.  We wanted them to be prayerful, to be hopeful.  We needed their hope.  We clung to hope.  And we brought our little boy home from the NICU to grow bigger to have a better chance at surviving his surgery which he would have at 3 months of age.  And while he was home we made that tiny newborn a Life List.  We actually wrote down things we wanted him to do with us before his surgery.  Because we didn't know if we would have an after-surgery. 

We took him to the horse farm behind our home.  We walked through the barn on a beautiful, warm, fall evening, showing him our favorite horses.  As a family.  Just as we had talked of while I was pregnant with the twins.

We talked to the owners of the restaurant that was a family favorite and they stayed open late one night for us so there wouldn't be a crowd of germs and we had a family meal, all together, at that favorite restaurant.

We talked to a photo studio about having family photos taken.  They were so accomodating - opening early just for us so we could avoid the crowd of germs and even freshly washed and sanitized the studio to make it as germ free of an outing as they could.  And I treasure those pictures.

We had a Christmas celebration that was indulgent and nothing short of a coma-of-comfort-goodness.  It was perfect.

We lived for him with no regrets and we showed him what it meant to be loved...


Tom saying goodbye to Braden just before his surgery.


Moments before his surgery.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A typo...

Ok, see this kid... she's mine.  I tend not to talk too much about her on my blog because she is 15 AND 1/2 and I try to respect her privacy and all that - blah, blah, blah.  But I love her, she is indeed perfect, and was the first of my gifts to engulf my heart! Our firstborn, only child for 4 years, that somehow still thinks she is an only child.  So, if you see her, believe me when I say that it is quite useless to inform her that she is actually one of five! 



ANYWAYS, she is being all grown-up-like and traveling SOLO (bestill my heart) to visit her grandparents in Floida for spring break.  This is a first for me.  She's a smart cookie and fiesty to boot so I am confident that she will be fine.  Just one of those steps toward clipping the apron strings...


A little background info:


We spent forever choosing her name when I was pregnant with her.  We played the "name game" for hours, made all the lists, bought all these name books, made more lists and finally chose

ALLISON NICOLE
(lovely isn't it?!)

Being our first you can be assured her paperwork was filled out impeccably, checked and checked again.  However, some lady down at the Birth Certificate place hit an extra key and her Birth Certificate actually arrived in the mail as

Allison Nichole. 

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!  See that "h" in her middle name?  It is not suppose to be there!   Seems pretty harmless though, doesn't it?

Let me tell you, I was completely freaking out, at the time, because back then I really did sweat the small stuff. :)  Called that office and they assured me it was a clerical error done by a woman covering for their usual lady (she had called in sick), her name was still what we chose and had filled out on the paperwork, and reissued a new birth certificate.  Only thing was that her first Birth Certificate with the spelling error triggered her Social Security Card to be issued and... guess what... it arrived with the wrong spelling of the middle name.  UGH!  So, being young and not really on top of things, I just threw that incorrect social security card into our filing cabinet and haven't needed it since.  Oh, we've needed the number off of it for all  kinds of things, but never actually the card itself.  So while on the list-to-do, it has never boiled to the top.


  Let me tell you - 15 AND 1/2 years later it has boiled to the top!


Guess what I found out today... in order to get on a plane, as a young adult (not an unaccompanied minor) you need a government issued photo identification card.  I called the BMV to see how she could get an Ohio Identification card.  They mentioned that she could get her driver temp liscense and that would work as her identification card.  Perfect! Since she just asked me to take her this week for the test anyways.  But guess what paperwork is required to get that?


a Birth Certificate AND a Social Security Card
(matching of course!)


I let them know ours were not a "matching set".  They said to go to the SS office and get a new card before coming to take the driver's temp test.  Which she needs to do to get that identification card.  Which she needs to board the plane.



So I called our SS office, explained to them why they didn't match, and could we get a new card issued.  Of course, they said, just bring in her birth certificate and a government issued identification card... WHAT?!

Believe me if I had that card I wouldn't be needing this stinkin replacement Social Security Card!

They decided that if I brought her health insurance card that had both her name and my name on it with her birth certificate and my drivers liscense that they could issue her a replacement card...


in 2 weeks!

So, because a lady 15 and 1/2 years ago called in sick - a woman covering for her made a typo - which caused an incorrect birth certificate - which triggered an incorrect social security card to be issued - which is needed for a driver's temp liscense- which is needed as a government issued identification card- which is needed for my solo flying teenager to get on a plane - which caused MANY MANY phone calls today and a long overdue trip to the social security office.  Whew.

Now let's hope she passes her test!  Because that is now the lynchpin in getting her on that plane.  So, if you see her,  PLEASE... PUH-LEASE, wish her luck on her drivers temp test!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Some days are really hard...




Today is one of those days where I'm about to throw a party - like a great big pity party and ya'll are invited! 

Today is March 3rd.  That day is forever etched on my heart as one of the most devastating days of my life.  Three years ago today, our little Scarlett Victoria was born.  I have replayed that day over in my mind a zillion times today.  To say I have been distracted is certainly an understatement.


 


But trying to stop my mind from visiting that hospital room, from remembering her tiny fingernails, from remembering her teeny outfit has been futile. 





So, there is a cake - but not a Happy Birthday cake.  And there will be balloons - but not for a party.  And there are baby girl dresses -  not hanging in a closet for party time but rather folded in a memory box.  And there is wonder - not the "I wonder what she will become" but
rather the "I wonder who she could have been". 



I wonder all the time. 

And so today my broken and healing heart has struggled with the bruises this day always brings.  But I promised myself when she was born that I would celebrate her.  And we do.  Each and every year. 

Balloons for a balloon launch with the kids where we all write a message to the missing sister.  We release them and watch until they are out of sight.  Come in and have some cake. 

And not just any cake.  The best cake ever.  I make the yearly trek to my favorite bakery over 45 minutes away and buy her the most beautiful cake they have.  I don't have a lot that I can do for this precious little soul that owns a piece of my heart.  But I can buy her a cake.  
So each year I make the trip and reflect and remember. 

So Greyson and I set out this afternoon for her cake.  We go in this quaint little bakery, share a scrumptious cookie, and take FOREVER to pick out her cake.  Finally decide on the tiny little white round cake with delicate orange and red fondant butterflies that look as if they are about to take flight.  A yellow cake with white chocolate mousse filling.  And decorated with tiny orange and red polka dots.  And had them write her name - Scarlett.  I love seeing that written out.  The bakers never know that the little girl whose name they are writing won't be having any of her cake.  I always wonder what little girl they imagine as they take the time to carefully spell out her name in a billowy cursive.



Very pleased with this years' selection we head home.  Placed an order for some matching red, orange and white balloons.  But the bakery was so far away - almost a 2hr round trip- and I spent too long picking it out that we had to go straight to the school to pick up the 3 big boys.  So, poor little Greyson's nap got way postponed as we waited for the boys in the car circle.  We picked them up and finally head home. 

The boys all run in the house and I set the white cake box on the table to run Greyson up for his way late nap.  And here is where my distracted self makes a grave error.  I KNOW how much Braden loves sweets - cakes, donuts, cookies.  He has seen way too many white boxes grace our counters with goodies in them!  I come down from laying Greyson down for his nap to a cake box not where I left it.  The sides of the box are torn since the tape wouldn't allow for just a peek. 

My heart just sank. 
I opened that box knowing what I would find inside and just hoping that somehow the cake would still be as I bought it.  Thinking the WHOLE time "I know better than this"  - "I should have known he'd be tempted to take a look if not a taste" - "Damn it - I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!"  

But the tape they put on did its job. 
And Braden did his. 

The cake that was oh-so-much-more-than-just-a cake was completely ruined.  It had been flipped over several times from the looks of it - I'm sure as Braden was looking for any way in. 
And I just burst into tears. 
Really. 
Over a cake.


But those tears were for the little girl who should have been.   
And they were for me... because I miss being the mama to that little girl.




And they were for the little boy who could not understand how important that cake was.
And they were for me...
because I couldn't be mad at that little boy.

Today is a hard day. 
There have been moments where being the mom of a child that was stillborn have collided with moments of being a mom of a child with a disability. 

And those moments have been more than I could handle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Story EVER!

Here is the best story I have ever heard. 
In my life. 
Ever and Forever.




At the Table
"Mother, Father, and the children are sitting at the table.  The dog is under one chair.  They will eat fish this time.  Vegetables and bread are on the table with the fish.  The girl is drinking her milk.  Father is getting vegetables with a spoon.  The flowers on the table are pretty to look at but are not to eat."


What?  You don't agree with me?

Let me tell you that this story moved me to tears. 
The kind of tears that you just can't control. 
Tears of the they-just-spill-over-and-run-down-your-cheeks kind. 






Not only that but hearing this story also made my heart hurt.





It felt like it was swelling with something that was going to make it burst.



Like PRIDE, and RELIEF and JOY and maybe even some more PRIDE!

Braden sat down yesterday and read me that story. 
All by himself. 
Without any help at all. 
A story I had never seen before. 
Had never read to him.


My son can READ!





Just writing that makes me want to cry... again.