Friday, September 27, 2013

Four years eve

This week has been rough and full of triggers.

Yesterday I took the boys to a park by our house with a pond that has fish that practically dive out of the water for bread crumbs, we ended up driving by my OB's office and it was like I was there again, sitting in the room with the numbers that didn't add up, my OB talking about possibly having to deliver at 24 weeks if she didn't have a big growth spurt, then being relieved that they scheduled my next ultrasound for 4 weeks later, when I would be 26 weeks, so surely we would make it to 24.

I remember sitting in the hallway crying to my mom after the appointment, so stressed out about the prospect of a micropreemie and the NICU and how that was all going to work out with my new job from hell, and so worried about why she wasn't growing and what it had to do with the horrible pain I kept having.

It still never really crossed my mind that she would die. Not until a week later, when we were in the hospital being told we had to deliver that day and she would be stillborn if we didn't. Even though Joe held out hope, and told them to do everything they could to save her, even when we decided to have an emergency classic/vertical c-section instead of being induced in the hopes of saving her...I will never ever forget sitting in the ultrasound room where the doctor talked to us, watching her move on the screens, and knowing she was going to die.  It never occurred to me before then that babies die all the time, still, back in 2009 and now in 2013. There are still issues in pregnancy that cause babies to die,in some cases their mothers to die, that has no treatment or cure.

Today we went to a different park and a white butterfly found it's way over to Luke as he was running around the playground. It found him and followed him for a moment and then was gone. I know Olivia isn't reincarnated as a butterfly (well, I guess I don't know, but I don't think so). But I do like to think she sends us butterflies to let us feel closer to her.

It is hard to believe it has been four years tomorrow. Even four years later, tonight it feels like yesterday.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Matthew 9 month pictures

Two smiling kids? Not gonna happen.

Matthew was not.impressed.

Love so much about this picture, especially the boys' expressions, it is so them.

He just stared at us like this most of the morning.Not crying, but not smiling.

This made him smile for .5 seconds

Again, not impressed.

He has the pouty lip perfected.

This made him smile for a second too.
We did these in early August. I am ridiculously impressed and happy with how they turned out considering how hard Matthew made us work for them and really wasn't sure she got much to work with. (She would have stayed for more but they were both melting down big time and so we gave up.) She said she has more but thee are my favorites of what I have seen so far. Love them! Even my non-smiley kid ones.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beware of the ostrich.

I don't know if I mentioned this on here, but I ended up pulling Luke out of the preschool program. It was way too much work on my part for how much we were paying for it and not to mention Luke was not getting anything out of it other then crying the whole time. We probably waited a little too long to pull him out because now he is super super clingy to me like he has never been. (On the bright side, anytime now we are leaving somewhere fun I just have to say, "Luke, it's time to go, come on." He is RIGHT.THERE. ready to go.He cries when I leave him with Joe, even to go take a nap...not.good.)  There is a preschool program at the high school near us (where I went to school), which is SUPER cheap, 3 days a week, and it's run by the child development teacher and some high school kids that she selects. We went and checked it out the other day, it looks good. It is really close to our house and is a mix of kids 2-5 (most of them are 3-4). We are going to try to start Luke in January so I have to get him potty trained between now and then (which I had already planned to do but then when the preschool drama started we took a break from messing with it.) Anyway, no preschool anymore. (Luke still cries about it too. The other day we went to one of those places that let kids paint items. When I asked Luke if he wanted to go somewhere to paint he started crying and saying 'no paint! no school mom!"...awesome.)

In the absence of preschool, we have been keeping really busy finding stuff to do out and about. Matthew had a double ear infection last Monday so we were busy with that. Then we've been doing lots of parks and indoor playgrounds, the painting place, the train store, the mall toy store party place, etc. It is win-win-win. I cannot stand to stay home with the kids all day, I get stir crazy, they trash the house faster then I can clean it or keep up with them. (And yes, they, because Matthew is crawling and is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Our house is mostly baby proofed but then Luke accidentally knocks a box of kleenex on the floor and I'll be in the kitchen doing dishes and 2 minutes later I glance in on them and Matthew has emptied the entire box...stuff like that.) Anyway, most days we (I) try to sleep in while Luke watches tv or netflix while Matthew sleeps in with me because he is the reason I need to sleep in. We eat breakfast and then head out for something fun whether it's the library train tables, playground, whatever. Then back for lunch or drive thru somewhere, naptime, then Joe gets home. We have fallen into this schedule pretty nicely and it makes for happier all of us although it isn't very conducive to getting groceries or meals at home accomplished.

This weekend on Friday night we went to the train store's family fun night. Luke played at the train tables for hours. Joe bought more track pieces that we "needed". Matthew watched all the kids playing in awe. It was a good night.

 On Saturday, we got Direct Tv installed (thank you god for not having our installer be our next door neighbor. Our neighbor is perfectly nice, it's just that our basement is a mess and our house is not really "have company over" clean...especially company in our bedrooms and basement and stuff. I know the installers have seen much worse but still I didn't want it to be our next door neighbor to see us every day and think about what a mess our basement is, etc.) Anyway, while Joe was home with the tv stuff, my mom and I took the boys to Lowe's kids' building workshop where they were building fire trucks. It is free and I registered Luke for it a few weeks ago. The recommended age was 5, so I was really really hesitant and hoping they wouldn't give us trouble bringing a 2 year old, (I had planned that we would have to do most of the building, but I figured Luke would like to watch and "help" and then have the fire truck to play with.) For some reason I was imagining that we'd be having to saw and paint and stuff, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that they handed us a "kit" with wood pieces we basically just nailed all together. They didn't even blink twice about Luke's age and there were at least a few other kids his age there too. He got a little bored with the watching but LOVED hammering and handing us nails and stickers and stuff. Thank goodness I brought my mom because I screwed up and used the wrong size nail early on which would have screwed up the entire project (I didn't realize they had 2 different sizes in the kit, they all looked the same when I glanced at it). Anyway, Luke has been playing with his fire truck that he made all weekend. We will definitely do this again and I highly recommend it.

This morning we got up and went out to "Wild Joel's Safari". It's basically country farm meets petting zoo meets small zoo. They have a couple buffalo, tons of goats, llamas, ostriches, emu, birds, snakes, zebras, etc. etc. It is not very far from us and we'd never been there and thought we'd give it a try. They sell feed cups and you get to walk around feeding the animals (that are fenced). Luke loved it and had a lot of fun. Matthew was pretty intrigued by the animals as well. Joe and I did most of the feeding and helping Luke feed them. We refilled our small cup a couple of times, and as we are getting towards the end there is an ostrich kind of off to the side in the back. I took note of the sign that said, "If you feed the ostrich, put your feed cup in so it does not have to reach. DO NOT feed from your hand!", but didn't really think that much about it. And as we neared the ostrich, I was a little distracted watching the zebras, and didn't really pay much attention when Joe said, "That ostrich sounds mean." So of course I put my feed cup towards the ostrich which leans over the fence, bites my hand and grabs the half full cup from me and pulls it into his yard. Okay, well that's my version...maybe what really happened was I screamed when I felt the ostrich's beak on my finger and let go of the cup and it took it from my hand. I definitely screamed, and my finger definitely got "bit" (it didn't actually hurt or break my skin or anything, just freaked me out), and our cup definitely ended up inside the fence with the ostrich. Good thing we were almost done. That thing was eyeing Luke in a way I did not like so I pushed him along to the other stuff. Joe shook his head and said, "I just said it looked really mean!" I didn't really plan to feed it, though, it just kind of happened. Anyway, I'm pretty anti-ostrich now. But it was a really fun morning and Luke had a blast.

All in all, it has been a really busy weekend. Our backyard may be in desperate need of mowing and our basement is still a mess, but we had fun. Somewhere over the past couple of weeks I broke my camera so I have no pictures from it, but it sounds like a 'grown up' camera is in my future.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I have found that I start getting hypersensitive to grief triggers a couple months before Olivia's birthday.

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a picture of her little girl and boy going to preschool together. They don't even look like us- towhead pale blonds, both of them- but there was a picture of them from behind them, walking on the sidewalk hand in hand, and the little girl had a too big for her pre-k backpack and the little boy had the same backpack as Luke's dog one, and ugh it just hit me that they should be going to preschool together like that. Luke loves holding hands with his "friends", he would surely love holding his big sister's hand even more.

We haven't really talked much about Olivia to Luke yet. I mean, he's 2. We have the children's book Someone Came Before You but I don't really like reading it that much and Luke doesn't really have the attention span yet I don't think. (I mean, it has been awhile since I tried but since it doesn't feature flaps, trains or vehicles, or animals, I am not thinking it is going to go over that well.) I have finally gotten around to framing a few pictures of the boys and so I have put a couple pictures of Olivia up too. I did casually say to Luke "this is your sister, Olivia." And he looked at it and then proceeded to go play with his trains or something like that, no comment or reaction, not that I expected one, but, I don't know. I hate this.

Anyway, today it started out raining and then ended up a hundred million degrees outside. I have discovered a Burger King near our house recently that has an awesome indoor playplace, not as insane as McDonalds and I think the food tastes better. Luke really needs to get out of the house to burn some steam every day, in some form, so we went there and I bugged Joe into coming along to keep me company. Anyway, we get there and there is a little girl about a year and a half older than Luke arriving with her grandmother. She was nervous about climbing up some of the tubes and ropesand Luke has already been to this place 3 or 4 times now so he eagerly climbs in and tells her "come on."

They played together fabulously and then the little girl asked him his name and I prompted him to answer and ask her her name. Olivia. Joe was waiting for our food at that moment but it was like getting punched in the stomach. I know Olivia is a super common/popular name and we are going to run into girls named Olivia. It wasn't so much that as it was the age difference, the way they just started playing together, the fact that she had long brown hair and brown eyes and easily could have passed for our daughter. And then Luke started saying her name and I had to leave the playroom to go get a brownie sundae with tears in my eyes.

There was a time when I said that the thing that gets easier being around little girls with time is that they are all so different then when they are babies. Like most babies start rolling, crawling, etc. at x months and missing out on those milestones when we should have had a baby ourselves was brutal. But now that we are going on four years...there are so many variances on four year old's it's hard to know what I am missing on exactly. (Although I hear that the start of kindergarten is tough for lots of loss families.) But today, with Luke and Olivia playing together and Luke yelling for her to "come on Wivia!" was way too much like those waves of grief four years ago. And we are still missing out on everything. And it still really really just sucks.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We had a blast in Chicago. We left around noon and the kids did mostly great for the 5ish hour drive with the exception of the last hour when I ended up having to sit in the 3rd row behind Matthew and feed him baby puffs to keep him happy. He had had enough of everything by then.

We stayed in a hotel in the 'burbs which was perfect. Walking distance to the mall. Free hot breakfast (that was good with eggs and french toast and more!) It had an indoor pool that we never had time to visit, and best of all, it was only about 5 miles away from IKEA.

Day 1 in Chicago we took a train to the city and then hopped on a bus to the Shedd aquarium. (Helpful hint- if you ever go to the Shedd, bring a stroller, even if you don't have a baby, you get to go in through the accessible/stroller entrance which has a much much shorter line then the regular entrance. I saw someone with a teddy bear in their stroller...seriously.) Anyway, besides Matthew having a blow out from his diaper while we were waiting for the train to take us to Chicago, which forced me to run about 1.5 miles to the car and then back (literally minutes before the train arrived), for some dumb reason I decided to CARRY Matthew with me for that fun walk/run. I changed his diaper in the van quickly but looked at the clock and knew I didn't have time to change his clothes so that was just fun all around. Anyway, minus that little incident, we had a great, exhausting day.
Petting the stingrays

We ended up skipping the dolphin show because the kids were just too antsy and we were just there last year. After a bus then train ride we were back to our hotel with two sleeping kids. When they woke up we walked across the street to a bar and grill type restaurant and then I managed to talk Joe into a trip to IKEA. It was supposed to be "just to look" because we were all IKEA newbies, but I ended up buying a bunch of stuff for the kids. (Dishes, a roads rug, train sets, some wooden toys, etc.)

The next day we woke up, ate breakfast, and hit the road for our Day Out with Thomas. The thing was actually about 1.5 hours from Chicago (in super rural Illinois) so we strategically picked out hotel in the middle so we had a 45 min drive there. Some people who had done it before strongly suggested that we get tickets for as early as possible because it gets crowded, that was VERY HELPFUL.

Random sidenote: Chicago people do not mess around with their strollers. When Joe asked if I was nervous parking it (because at the zoo and stuff it does make me nervous.) I laughed and said our stroller is probably the cheapest one there, and it was.

It was a really fun day. They had everything. Train tables, tattoos, a Thomas movie tent, playground, free train and trolley rides, an electric train table, etc. It was really more like a Thomas-train themed fair. Luke was in heaven and I think Joe was too. It was a hot day (figures!), but we had so much fun it was totally worth the drive.

Staking a claim on trains
Serious stuff.

FWIW, the train tables and trains were pretty lame for a Thomas event. A piece of board and less then 5 trains per table. Good thing we did this first before it was crowded. But sheesh, our library has more stuff.

The line for just one car for our trip. They had 5 cars full of passengers and went out on trips every half hour from 10 till 4 pm. So yeah, it was crowded.
Matthew surveying Thomas

Luke and me looking

Only Matt looking. (You can sorta see his tattoo on his forearm.)

Only me looking

Every other kid was wearing this Target Thomas shirt. It would not have been a good day to lose your kid.

One of the old trains from the train museum that hosted the event

Luke driving the free trolley ride

Old men love talking about trains. Luke and Joe got stuck there waiting for him.

Watching the electric train table

And then the official ($22!) picture that I took a picture of...
Luke wasn't happy we made him stand there and Matthew was unimpressed.

This has nothing to do with Chicago except this guy is 10 months old now and I can't believe it!