Sunday, August 31, 2008

who dunnit?

Sometimes deciphering the guilty one...

... is as easy as spotting the one holding the magic marker with the clean face.

the power of support

A few years ago, soon after our triplets were born, I joined an online parenting support forum.

In that forum, I met a woman named Deana. I've written about Deana before. She and her husband, Jack, adopted a little boy and less than two years later, adopted another little boy, born to the same birth mother.

Because Deana lives in San Diego County, we would often toss around the idea of meeting for a play date. But, we'd get busy and time would pass and our get together never came to fruition. Until, last fall when we finally met up at the San Diego Zoo.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous going to meet someone that I had only corresponded with 'online'. For all I knew, Deana was really Dean, a 60-year old man with bad intentions and access to a beautiful adoption story and photos. So, I went to the Zoo with a contingency plan. Charlie was working nearby and said he'd come over if there were any problems and I had an alternate route mapped out to drive home, with lots of twisting and turning roads - where I'd quickly lose anyone that was trying to tail me.

But a phone call to Charlie with the inconspicuous code phrase "Honey, we need more diapers I'm in the reptile house" and extreme minivan driving skills weren't necessary. Because Deana was fully legitimate and we had a great time spending a day together, while our children ran around and played.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone asking if I'd heard about Deana ... asking that I check out the online support forum where we had met (and that I very rarely frequent any more because there just aren't enough hours in the day) ... informing me that Deana needed my support.

"Huh?" I wondered. "What could have possibly happened to Deana since I'd last had any type of correspondence with her ... a few days earlier?"

Nothing could have surprised me more when I logged on to the parenting support forum last night and read that my friend had just been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. A very rare form of cancer that affects 100 people a year in the United States. A very rare form of cancer that is extremely aggressive and has a 70% success rate. A very rare form of cancer that really should stay away from a mother who has two small children and a husband that need her.

Most of the night I was up thinking about how scared my friend and her family must be. To have small children - a husband - plans for the future - and to be hit in the middle of all the goodness that is life with something as horrific as Burkitt's lymphoma has to be extremely frightening.

Today, I felt compelled to do something for this woman that I've known through the computer, and met face-to-face, only once. So, this afternoon we loaded up the car with all the children and we drove north, stopping at a few stores along the way so I could put together a gift bag. And then, while Charlie sat in the car with the children - before we went for a hike along the beautiful sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines - I ran in to the hospital and delivered it to Deana. (All the while, wishing that I had picked out the foot massage kit instead of the lavender body wash and lotion because if I was going to be in the hospital for 2 to 4 weeks, I'd love a foot rub or two. But then again, I always second guess any gift that I select, so why should this be any different?)

Deana didn't know who I was at first considering it had been almost a year since we last saw each other. I visited for less than five minutes because I didn't want to impose on the quiet time Deana was having with her family and I didn't want to leave my husband in the car with four children half of whom were screaming as I walked away because they desperately wanted to go see my "fwiend".

But I wish I could have stayed longer. If for no other reason to explain that journaling is so important to me, and I hope that the journal I added to the gift bag might help her to channel some thoughts. And the nail file and nail brush I added were something that I had picked out because I remember she had left me a comment several months ago that she wanted to stop biting her nails and maybe if they were filed, that might help. Or maybe not. Because I file my nails and still manage to bite them. But maybe she'll be different. And the Jolly Ranchers are because I've heard that hard candy can really help during chemo. And the peanut M&M's are because ... does that really need an explanation coming from me?

What I noticed in the short time I was there, is that Deana - who was receiving her first round of chemo - was surrounded by her family. Her husband, her mother, her father. Those who love her most in the world were by her side. And later, I was thinking about the people who were at her home, caring for her children - and will continue to do so, while Deana heals. And then there are the scores of people from the online parenting forum that are sending her balloons and cards and helping to set up meals, and holding her in their hearts ... constantly.

There are so many people that are coming forth to support this beautiful woman. Deana is facing one of the greatest challenges in her lifetime, yet it makes me weep just thinking of how blessed and lucky she is by the abundance of love in her life.


Deana's job in all of this is to get well. It is my job to pray that she does. And then, we will go to the Zoo again.

This time, without a well rehearsed exit-strategy in place.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

favorite thing friday

I had planned to write about something else, today.

I had planned to tell you about this most awesome thing that has come in to my life and now that I have it, I can't imagine how I lived with out it, and why haven't I had one of these things years ago? But, I'm waiting for some thing to happen before I write about that particular thing, so hopefully that will happen soon and until it does, I'm going to instead share the love that we have for bubbles. In my humble opinion, bubbles are as much a part of childhood - as riding on carnival boats.


I love bubbles.

But unfortunately, having the ability to successfully extract a bubble wand from a wide-mouth bubble jar when you are 2 (or 3) or 37-years old, can be rather messy and horribly frustrating.

So whenever I found these bubble tumblers from Target and I bought one for each of the kids, we now happily and neatly blow bubbles all the time. The beauty of these bubble tumblers is that if they are tipped, the bubble solution doesn't spill out as it would from a traditional bubble cup.


Which means, little kids can actually have fun blowing bubbles - or licking the wand (as the case may be) - and parents don't have bouts of lunacy because they watch a gallon of bubble solution wasted for less than two minutes of play, while their children are crying that they! want! more!

Call me simple, but these ingenious tumblers have transformed my life. Or at a minimum, afforded us the opportunity to wholeheartedly enjoy at least 15 minutes of bubble play, several times a week.

A mother of three-year-old triplets having a quarter of an hour of happy play while at home, several times a week?

That's a very good thing.

Friday, August 29, 2008

oh mercy. mercy me.

I'm not sure why it is that now that I have all these extra hands to help around the house, I feel so tired. I'm exhausted. Completely beat. It seems that I'm totally sleep deprived and now that my mother is here, my body is just giving out on me.

At night, I'm wasted by 10:00 - which is usually the time I hit my stride.

I tried to jot down some thoughts last night and I fell asleep sitting in front of my computer. I woke up when my head snapped back seconds before hitting the keyboard. My post started out coherent enough and then, it seems that I started typing some dream that I was having because my storyline goes from how utterly precious three-year-old children can be, to cooking spinach fettuccine in a tent.

Charlie's been out of town for the past three days on a business trip and if not for my mother being here to help, I'm sure we would have eaten delivery pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There would have been no baths and no teeth brushing, either.

And no laundry. We'd just wear our bathing suits all day, everyday.

This morning, the baby who I had pulled in to bed with me at 6:00 and tried to nurse so that he would just lay still, climbed over me and took off crawling around the house. For a good 10 minutes, I charged two of my three-year-olds with the task of safe guarding their infant brother, so that I could close my eyes for just another minute. I finally climbed out of bed when I heard them yelling "Mommy! Henwee in the TOILET!"

I took a 2.5 hour nap today and fell asleep sitting on the couch watching footage of the DNC, tonight. So, blah, blah. I'm tired and I wonder if I have mono. Here are some other interesting tid bits from the week.

I almost dropped dead of a heart attack this afternoon when I was inside preparing dinner and saw William throw his baby panda on top of the roof of our house. And then watched my mother's 84-year old fiancé climb on top of a rickety chair to try and get the panda down with a broom and when I was rushing out to get Jim off the chair before he fell and broke a hip - spotted the baby, toddling almost 6-feet off the ground, on top of the fort.


Henry has mastered the ladder.


Oh mercy.

Mercy me.


Now you see me.

Now you don't.

Speaking of ladders.

We are the proud owners of a new bunk bed. When it was delivered on Tuesday, the kids were all in bed taking their nap. When they woke up and saw the newest piece of furniture, they promptly changed in to their pajamas and climbed back in to bed where they remained for the next two hours, until dinner.


I took down the ladder and have expressly forbid them from going up top. So far, so good. Now all we need to do is disassemble the bunk bed and move it in to the girls room because it is too big for the boys room it is currently in. (I knew that it would be too big for the boys room, but no one ever listens to me. I'm sure I'll repeat that only one or two more times in my lifetime.)

But before we move it in to the adjacent room, we need to paint the girls room from pink to something other than pink, and change out the hardware for the curtains. And then we need to paint the boys room because that is where the girls bed will be going. And why oh why, didn't we just paint every bedroom gender-interchangeable green?

Charlie went to pick up my new camera - (a replacement for the one that William destroyed when he dropped it in to the hot tub in Louisiana) - and instead, returned with a Wii.

My husband totally forgot to get my camera - even though the sole purpose for going to the store was to get said good. Apparently, the store had just received a shipment of 10 and when Charlie saw the pristine boxes stacked, all he could think to do was buy the coveted game and run to the car before he was ambushed by people who missed their fleeting opportunity.

I must say, the huge marketing and sparse distribution of this game has been spectacular. I really applaud the people at Nintendo who figured out the best way to keep the population rabid about their product, for years, is through scarce supply for overwhelming demand. Sure, they could stock all the stores in America with enough of these things so that every family has two. But, then, no one would want them anymore.

This much is true. Charlie has wanted a Wii for a while. And even though he forgot to get my camera, I love this guy so completely and I am so glad that he is home. I love playing footsie with him at night before we go to sleep and I especially love that he will get up with Henry in the early morning hours and insure that my baby doesn't fall in to the commode, while I sleep on.

For that act alone, I'm convinced he can have whatever he wants.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

wednesday weigh in

Even though I've been working out, I am having an extremely difficult time keeping up with my mother, despite the 38-year age difference and a bum knee that she needs to have replaced.

Mom gets up in the morning, gets dressed, unloads the dishwasher, starts a load of laundry, brings the trashcans around the side of the house, starts to cook breakfast, get the kids dressed, packs a lunch for the pool and makes a pot of coffee.

I have ... brushed my teeth.

Mom whips up banana bread, reads the newspaper, decides to try out a new recipe for dinner, prepares a grocery list, re-pots our basil plant, sorts through children's clothes, folds and puts away a load of laundry, and dusts all the wood furniture in the house.

I have ... taken a conference call and eaten half a bagel.

A bagel that mom toasted for me and topped with cream cheese.

It seems I'm standing still and mom is buzzing all around me. She'll have 10 projects going at once and there I am - looking at the vacuum and trying to remember how it works. I am so distracted by her hyper-efficiency that today, I didn't even realize that I was still wearing my pajama bottoms until 3 PM. My groove is all in a funk.

Mom takes a nap every afternoon and is in bed asleep every night by 9:00, but not me.

Oh no.

My magic hours are those between 9 PM and 1 AM when I clean the house, eat
banana muffins and update my blog. Although, what I should be doing are all the chores that I normally complete first thing in the morning. I don't know how mom would react if there was nothing for her to do. I'm afraid she might try to sweep out our chimney. Or worse yet, rotate the tires on the minivan.

But there's one more thing my mom can do, that I could never do.

Today, while she was resting on the couch, I read her all of the awesome "Challenge Yourself" entries ... and she was able to pick out a winner for the iPod shuffle. This was no easy task because there were so many inspiring entries that if mom wasn't here reminding me of the four college educations I need to fund - I would have shelled out a small fortune on iPods for Kathy and Ichan and Mama DB and Courtney All Things BD and Christine and Boston Sherill and Wendster and Mariah and Mindy and Jenn and Lori and Erica and Mystik and yes, you too.

But alas, there is only one. And the winner is: SANDRA!

Here's her story:

"When you first issued your fitness challenge, my 39th birthday was looming, and I was feeling fat and old and tired. Keeping up with my full time job and my two kids was wearing me out. I was exhausted by 5pm every day. So, I finally started the couch to 5K program that I had been thinking about doing for months.


The couch to 5K program has you start very slowly: warm up by walking 5 minutes, run for 1 minute and then walk for 2 for a total of 20 minutes. At first, doing this made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack! I was so incredibly out of shape! But now, a short 2 months later, I have joined a local USAfit group, and I am training to run a half marathon in January. I run 4 times a week, and I cannot believe I am saying this, but LAST SATURDAY I RAN 6 MILES!!!! I have never exercised before, and 2 months ago if you googled "couch potato" my picture would have come up! But I feel so much more energetic, and I am thrilled at my ability to do this. I never thought I could. Granted, I am only running at a 14 minute a mile pace, but I am sure I will be able to speed up with time.

So to those of you who are wavering, I promise you, if I can do this at almost 40, 30 lbs overweight, and never having exercised, so can you!"

Way to go, Sandra!! Please send me an e-mail with your contact information and I will get your new iPod shuffle off to you.

And for everyone else, keep up the great work. Even though your own success will be reward enough, there will be more fun prizes to follow.

Up for us next ... Charlie is competing in another sprint distance triathlon in early October and I am competing in an all-women's sprint distance triathlon to benefit ovarian cancer in mid-October. Currently, I'm strategizing how to increase my endurance. Something tells me that if I can keep up with my mother during the day, I should be all set.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

quick, quick I need advice

We are scheduled to have a new bed dropped off for William, today.

It is a twin over full bunk bed.

I'm rethinking my decision on this purchase - - and all the associated linens I bought for a twin and full bed, yesterday. Today, I'm thinking that perhaps I should just buy William a twin. But soon, I'll need the extra space for Henry and I like the idea of a bunk, but maybe not now.

I just want the one purchase that I make now, to last for years and years - and not have to replace it down the road. My concerns with this bed is that:

1) It will be hard to make - especially the bottom if it is pushed in to a corner;

2) Fall factor. I know someone whose child broke their neck falling off a top bunk (my plan is to keep the ladder off until the kids are old enough to go up top >> ~6yo);

3) Space factor. I could split the bed in to a twin and full, but we really don't have a lot of room in this house. Especially since Henry is still in his crib.

The advantages:

1) It's very cool.

2) Space factor - we could fit all three kids in this spot.

3) There is more space in the full, if they boys ever want to sleep together.

This bed will last us for the next 15 years - or more - so I want to make the right choice.

The buzzing with all this indecision is making me dizzy. I have until 11:00 AM to make the call.

What would you do?

Monday, August 25, 2008

4<4<2

If we were to reverse the order in which people crossed the finish line of the triathlon today, awarding medals to those who came in at the end ... I would have placed fifth in the over all race. That means, there were five people slower than me.


Count 'em: One, two, three, four, five.

Cinco.

Actually, there were another 20 or so people that dropped out and didn't finish the race, so I think that should count for something, too.

The winner of the race did it in 51 minutes. My total time to swim 1/2K, bike 15K, and run 5K was 1:55. Charlie's total time was 1:48, but he could have shaved 30 minutes off his time, easily, if he hadn't stuck with me on the ride and run. Our swimming time was about the same at approximately 17 minutes, but he waited for me on the bike and then, ran backwards for almost 2-miles so he could talk to me while I staggered along.

This action on his behalf both touched and infuriated me.

"Oh, so sweet that my husband is running backwards to talk to me!"

"OH! WHAT THE HELL. He's running BACKWARDS to talk to me!"

The swimming portion of the race was a lot of fun, until I was a few hundred yards off shore and the theme song of Jaws popped in to my head. And then a huge strand of kelp got wrapped around my foot and I took a wave in the face and thought for sure I was going to die.

Swimming in the ocean is so unbelievably, totally different than swimming in a pool. Not only can you see in a pool - but you don't have currents that pull you off course if you're not paying attention. Or, completely paranoid about a sea creature having your leg for breakfast.


My transition time from swimming to running was pitiful. I don't know what the exact time was (we won't find out until they are posted on Wednesday), but I sat down on my towel and leisurely ate a tube of Power Gel before carefully lacing my shoes and hopping on my mountain bike with knobby tires and pedaling off with wobbly legs and a salt crusted body.

I think I only saw two other people on mountain bikes. It seemed that everyone in this race could have graced the cover of a fitness magazine with their rock-hard bodies and sleek equipment. Throughout the event I kept thinking "You know what we need here are more chubby people on one speeds. How can the chubby, out-of-shape people of the world feel inspired to do triathlons if EVERYONE looks this good?!"

We completed the ride, and my second transition was about as slow as the first. I savored my Power Gel, had a little drinky-drink of water, folded my stuff and put it away, fixed my pony tail, put on a hat, took another sip of water and then took off jogging.

Charlie and I ran and walked together for the next three miles, and were so excited to see that our good friend and neighbor, Dawn, had ridden her bicycle 20-miles to come see us. Having someone there to cheer you on - or encourage you with cookies that they wave in front of you before riding off on their bicycle (as the case may be) was such a good boost.

"Who wants a cookie? Come get it!!"


Overall, we both know that we could have done the race a lot faster. Sure, it would have helped if we actually TRAINED more than we did and if we didn't do things like sit down on the side of the course to re-lace our running shoes, or slow down to look at new houses they were constructing in front of the beach. But the important thing is that we did it, we had a lot of fun, we finished and we are ready to do it again. Mostly, we are really proud that with four children under the age of four, we completed our first triathlon, in under two hours.

When we returned home this morning, Charlie signed up for another triathlon in early October that he'll be completing by himself - and I'm planning to compete in another triathlon in mid-October by myself. We've decided to split up during the next race because one of us will need to be with the children.

And really.

How am I ever going to improve my time if I'm constantly distracted by my husband running backwards?

****

(Challenge Yourself iPod giveaway update: after getting up with the children this morning at 6:30, Mom was in bed sound asleep by 8:30 tonight. I'll post the results within the next day or so, once she has the chance to help me select a winner.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

tri this on for size

Tomorrow is our big race day.

This afternoon, we picked up our pre-race packet containing our bib number, timer chip and colored swimming caps. Then, we went to a triathlon store and spent a small fortune on tri shorts, which are similar to bike shorts but you can swim in them and because they have a thinner seat pad, when you come out of the water, it's not like you are wearing a soggy diaper.

We also bought bib belts - a novel gadget that holds your bib number on a belt that you wear in the back when you are riding, and then move around to the front when you are running - so you don't have to fiddle with safety pins.

We bought a few packs of Power Gel.

And new socks.

And new goggles.

And I bought two new tri tops because I couldn't decide if I liked blue or black better.

And I also bought a new pair of shoes - that everyone told me I most definitely shouldn't wear running tomorrow, but eh, what does it matter. I'll probably walk most of the way, anyhow.

Although, now that I look so good in all my new gear, I'm sure I'll be pumped.

Tonight, we packed our bikes in the car and our duffle bags are ready to go with all of the gear we purchased today, as well as our bike helmets and gloves, running hats, sunglasses, towels and water bottles. I'm thinking that I should also bring my passport because this race is being held at the most southwestern beach in the entire United States. All it would take is a moderate current, and I'll be washed right in to Mexico.


If I don't post tomorrow night, chances are:

1) I've been consumed by a shark, or

2) I'm on my third margarita in Tijuana.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

favorite thing friday

By the time my Mom and Jim arrived to our house early this morning, and everyone settled in to bed, it was 3 AM. Henry was awake at 5:30 AM and the triplets were up by 6:15 asking, "Noni here? Noni here yet? Where Noni?"

Once Noni was woken from her slumber, the rest of the morning the kids chanted "Noni, watch this! Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni, Noni. Noni. Are you watching? WATCH THIS!"

I'm fairly certain, the only thing that allowed me to function today, on less than three hours of sleep, is the large volume of water that I consumed throughout the day. Although right now, I'm not entirely certain if I am actually writing this post, or if this is all a dream?

It has been estimated that approximately 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated.

For the past several years, I've carried a water bottle with me every where I go and try to fill it up at least 2-3 times a day. But after an unfortunate incident involving an open-mouthed water bottle and a laptop computer, I stopped carrying my water bottle.

Until.

A few months ago, while shopping at my Mecca, I spotted a water bottle that looked promising.


The CamelBak Better Bottle comes in an assortment of vibrant colors ... has a "bite valve" option ... and a mouth diameter large enough for variable sized ice cubes.

And, it is BPA free.


I liked the look of this water bottle so much, I bought two of them. And then I went back to the store a week later and bought two more. And then, I was really disappointed that I had bought a different variety of water bottles for our children, because if I'd only known that these water bottles come in a smaller size for kids, I would have bought at least four more.

I love this water bottle.

This
is the type that I have.

This
is the type that Charlie has. (He isn't as fond of the straw. I love the straw.)

This
is the type that I wish I bought for our kids, and it is quite likely Santa will bring some at Christmas. (Although, he might pick them up here because they are $1.00 less, per bottle.)

Now that I have a water bottle that won't spill if knocked over, I once again carry it with me everywhere I go. Including to bed - which is where I'm heading before I fall asleep and land face first on the keyboard.

Friday, August 22, 2008

anticipation

It is 1:59 AM Friday morning.

This is not a Favorite Thing Friday post. That will be up later today once I figure out what object in my possession I love the most, this week.

Currently, Charlie is on the way to pick my mother and Jim up at the airport. They were due to arrive at 10:45 PM, but the plane they were suppose to board in Chicago had mechanical difficulties - so they were delayed by three hours until repairs could be made. That right there, that would be enough for me to say "Yeah. Thanks, I think I'll drive the rest of the way."

Air travel. Definitely not my forte.

When I called my mother yesterday to tell her that we'd be picking her up at the airport tonight, she indicated that her friend, Virginia, had offered. But when I mentioned that Virginia, who just recently had a hip replacement, probably shouldn't be out driving that late at night, Mom said "Oh no, we'll be arriving early, so we'll have lunch and then come over."

When I told Mom that her plane didn't arrive until 10:45 PM, she didn't believe me until she pulled up her itinerary and then she moaned "OH DAMN. How did that happen?!" The flight that Mom thought left Greenville, South Carolina at 6:00 AM, didn't leave until 6:00 PM.

Eh, minor detail.

So instead of getting out of bed at 4 AM to catch her flight, Mom and Jim slept in until 10 AM and then spent the afternoon swimming. Hopefully, they get to sleep on the plane, since they will need all the energy they can muster to watch the kids when Charlie and I take off for our 10-day Cancun vacation tomorrow.

Or not.

Ever since we had Molly put to sleep on Sunday, we have spent the past five days completely ripping our house and garage apart. We have cleaned and organized our living space like it ain't never been cleaned and organized before. I cannot tell you how awesome it feels to know that even the space beneath the washer and dryer is clean.

And behind the refrigerator.

And underneath all of the shelves in the garage.

Sparkly clean.

In the process of this huge organization spree, I am purging with reckless abandon. Thus far, we have generated thirteen 20-gallon trash bags full of various supplies for Goodwill and there will be more. What prompted this mass exitus of material from our house is that I seem to be going through a major life transition where I feel like all this "stuff" that we have accumulated over the years is just weighing me down.

If there was one thing that I discovered during our 21-day cross-country adventure, it's that you really don't need that much "stuff" to survive. And I think that part of the reason we had such a wonderful time on our adventure, is because we didn't have that much "stuff" to lug around, wash, pack and be responsible for.

It is extremely liberating to have less.

While Mom and Jim are in town, I am pumped to get so many things done. So many things that have languished because I haven't been motivated - or had the opportunity - to get them completed. So many things that I will now be able to do because I have another set of eyes and hands to help during the day.

Tonight, I pulled together a laundry list of stuff to do (when we're not spending quality time together - of course!!) that includes organizing my files, bringing our van in for the recall that was issued 12-months ago (nothing too significant, but needs to be fixed, nonetheless), print out a copy of our credit report and verify that any accounts are accurate with our records, learn Photo Shop, repair our fence, finish organizing our garage, pull together an emergency supply box, wash the screens and windows and plant some flowers. At some point, I also hope to solve the world's energy crisis.

Or at least, see how fat I can get this yellow orb spider.


I discovered this fine specimen today, while I was sitting on our front porch doing some work on my laptop. Once I got over being squeamish, I swatted a few flies and threw them in it's web to watch what it would do. Then I got even more squeamish than I had been, originally.


I just have to remember exactly where this baby is.


The last thing I'd ever want to have happen is to walk back wards in to it.


Because I have been known to do things like that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

wednesday weigh in

Now, before I dive in to how I've done with my fitness challenge this past week, it is extremely important to note that I am not doing this to lose weight. Although, losing weight will be a nice side effect of getting in to shape, I am not busting my chops once a week every few days for the sole purpose of dropping a dress size.

Provided I ever wore dresses.

No. I'm doing this fitness challenge because it is really important for me to slow the aging process. I believe that if I am in better physical health, I will live longer and I will feel healthier both physically and emotionally, during the time I am here walking the earth. I also believe that if I find an activity that I enjoy doing - I will continue to do it and a toned physique will follow. And because I cannot keep anything a secret, I feel compelled to admit that I just took a quick break to go get another slice of Joe-Joe cheesecake.

Who was it that told me about the awesome Joe-Joe cheesecake for $1.99 at Trader Joe's?

Yeah, you. You are in BIG trouble.

It's very good cheesecake and although not the best I've ever had, for $1.99 I'm amazed that it doesn't taste like dirt. Unfortunately, Charlie threw the box out, so I don't know if a serving size is half or the the whole cheesecake.

I had planned to workout again, tonight but instead, we met up with one of our old neighbors, Ron. When we bought our home in 1997, Ron had just bought the house across the street. We met one day in front of the mailbox and within a matter of weeks, we were BFF.

Ron has a degree in electrical engineering, a law degree, and an MBA with an emphasis in computer technology. He made a fortune in California real estate because when he bought his first house, a big five-bedroom, he lived in one room and rented the other four rooms out. His tenants paid his mortgage and after a few years, once he had built some equity, he rented out that house >> used his equity to buy another big five-bedroom house and then moved his tenants to his next place. And so it went to approximately six or seven houses around San Diego County.

For a while Ron worked as an Internet Technology guru ... and then he worked as an attorney ... and then he picked up various teaching jobs at Junior Colleges all over San Diego. And on the side, in between renting out houses and holding down a career, he had an assortment of bubble gum machines that he stocked and managed.

In 2003 Ron married a wonderful woman, Raj, from India, that he had met at one of the JC's where he taught. In 2006, he sold all of his properties, pocketed a very tidy profit and bought a small plot of land with a 30-year old prefabricated house in another rapidly growing area of southern California. They set about planting a vegetable garden and purchasing livestock. These days, they are raising three beautiful little boys and living almost entirely off the land. Ron works as a part-time teacher for spending money. They have absolutely no debt.

At 39-years old, Ron is an inspiration. Not only because of the hard work and planning it took to get where he is now, but because if you give him a gallon of milk, he can sit down and polish off an entire tray of O'Henry bars all by himself.

I have stories on top of stories that I could tell about our friendship with Ron. But I'll have to save them for some other time because I have three loads of laundry to fold and put away.

Ron and Raj were due to be at our house at 4:00 this afternoon. At 3:59, Raj called to tell me that they hadn't even left their house and it would take them at least two and a half hours to get to our house with the traffic. I communicated the change in plans with Charlie and we adjusted our itinerary for the evening. Instead of having dinner at the house, we were moving our party to our local community pool and having a BBQ.

The only running that I managed to accomplish today was running home to grab more beer and Charlie's acoustic guitar so he and Ron could have a jamfest poolside. Their strumming and our voices ... belting out everything from CCR to Led Zeppelin to Yes to John Denver ... filled the neighborhood. The evening was spent eating hot dogs, savoring homemade salsa from Ron's garden, chasing after children, and laughing more than we've laughed in a long time.


Total calories burned?

A lot.

But probably not more than half a Trader Joe's cheesecake.

*****

The race is in four days and Charlie is really concerned over what he is going to wear.

I'm planning to wear my bathing suit and throw on a pair of bike shorts for the ride and run. Charlie was planning to wear his bicycle shorts for the whole thing, until he considered that the bike seat pad would swell up like a diaper when he was in the ocean.

When I suggested that he wear a Speedo bathing suit for the swim and then just slip his shorts on over that for the ride and run, he looked at me and said incredulously, "You're kidding? You think I'm going to wear a banana hammock in the triathlon in front of a few thousand people? What, are you insane?!"

Tomorrow, my husband has informed me we're going shopping.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

inside the three-year-old mind

As I tucked the children in to bed last night and said an evening prayer, I added a few words for Molly about how much we loved her and how happy we were that she had come to live with us. Just before I turned out the light, Elizabeth asked, "Mama, where's Molly?"

Six little eyes were on me, while I tried to find the words to help them understand.

I took a deep breath before replying, "Molly went to live with God. She isn't here anymore, but if you close your eyes, you can always see her. Let's try it. Close your eyes and look, there's Molly! I see her! Hey girl!! She just had a bath and she is nice and clean! Molly, we are so happy to see you! Can you guys see her and hear her collar making that jangle sound?"

It took a moment before William exclaimed, "YES! I see her! Hi Molly! Hi Molly!"

And then Carolyn chimed in, "Molly! Molly! Do you wanta haf a cookie?"

I added, "It's important that you know, just because Molly isn't living with us at our house anymore, she will always be in our hearts. So whenever you miss her and want to see her, just close your eyes and remember. Molly is a very lucky dog to have lived here with all of you, and now, she is a very lucky dog to be living with God."

Elizabeth opened her tightly closed eyes and said, "Mama, God need to wemember to give Molly water and take her for walks."

I smiled and replied, "I'm sure God will remember, love."

Carolyn then sat up straight in bed and declared, "I don't want to gwow up. I want to stay wittle." I bent down to kiss her forehead and replied "Everybody grows up. But that's a good thing because then, you can help me cook!"

This made everyone happy and in unison, they shouted "I love to cook!!"

There was a moment of silence where we were lost in our thoughts about Molly and the future of growing up, before William said, "I am a super hero and I have an elephant named Carly. If you close your eyes, you can see her. Hi Carly! Hi! It's me, William! Do you want to help me make some muffins?"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Molly our Dog 12/15/94 - 8/17/08

We put our beloved dog, Molly, to sleep yesterday.

It was a very difficult decision, but a decision that we had been contemplating for quite a while. We have made at least four separate appointments over the course of the past six months, and have canceled them all, at the very last minute.

When Charlie brought Molly in to the vet yesterday morning, and the vet subscribed another new medication, my husband almost brought Molly home again. But as he was preparing to leave with the prescription in hand, he considered what her life would be like - and what our lives would be like - and he went back inside to have her euthanized.

It absolutely broke his heart, but Charlie stayed with her, holding her head in his hands, until the very end. Ultimately, Charlie and I agreed that the quality of life is more important than the quantity. But what made the choice so excruciating for us, was that although Molly had a long list of health issues, she greeted us almost every day, with a small spring in her step. Sometimes, she would struggle to stand up, but once she was up, she would wag her tail and if dogs could smile, I'm convinced, she was smiling at us.

Today, we are kicking ourselves over whether or not we made the right decision. I can hardly breathe, it hurts so bad. Her name was Molybdenite. But I called her Molly McButter.

She was a sweet and gentle dog.


She was wonderful with the children, and she was our loyal companion.


But we just couldn't do it anymore. We couldn't spend a full day several times a year, pulling our garage apart to clean it from top to bottom, only to have it be dogified within a week. And we couldn't do the medications and clean ups that were required to keep her comfortable.

We didn't want her in the house because adding another being in to the mix - a being that sheds and doesn't have full function of their bladder (and doesn't wear a diaper) - is not something we wanted to deal with, particularly since we have three little children and a baby that crawls on his hands and knees and is forever putting his hands in his mouth.

At almost 14-years old, Molly's health would have continued to deteriorate and we didn't want it to get to a point where she couldn't stand up - or eat - or wag her tail. Yet, we feel guilty that we couldn't carve out the time in our lives to give Molly a better life. We feel guilty that once our children were born, we stopped taking her to the beach and camping. And we feel really guilty that we wanted our garage and side yard back. We need that space, now more than ever.

This ends a chapter in life for us. For the past 15 years, even before we were married, we have owned a dog. Our dogs were our babies, before we had babies.

But sadly, once our babies arrived, our dogs became dogs. We feel like if our circumstances were different, maybe we could have kept her longer. Maybe if we lived in a different home where we had a large yard where she could run free. It is our hope, our deepest prayer, that our little Molly is now running free with Monty.

I really miss my girl.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

favorite thing weigh-in friday

Why, yes, today has been a better day.

Thanks for asking.

I'm sure my cheeriness had everything to do with the fact that Charlie was home playing with the children in the backyard and nothing to do with the fact that I found my car keys in a box of cereal.

Since I didn't post a favorite thing Friday last week, skipped over a weigh-in Wednesday this week, and have been silent on the bust-a-move playlist that I promised three weeks ago, I'm taking things to a whole new level, today.

First. I'm going to confess that I haven't done ANYTHING in the past week to prepare for the triathlon that we are scheduled to participate in next Sunday. Nothing except pack my bathing suit and think about going for a swim in the hotel pool. And nothing except look at my running shoes once and think wow, I should really get out and go for a jog. Thank goodness this triathlon is "only" a sprint distance. I suspect it will take me at least three hours and I'll be one of the last people to finish.

But, so what?!

If I cross the finish line without being strapped to a stretcher, I will consider my participation to be an overwhelming success. Although, if I am unable to walk for a week, I might not consider my success to be quite so overwhelming...

Second. A few weeks ago, Charlie and I sat down with a bottle of wine and went through our iTunes library and created a workout playlist that we thought was most awesome. Well, I thought the whole thing was awesome, but Charlie rolled his eyes when I insisted on having "It's Raining Men" on my playlist.

He wasn't nuts over Copacabana, either. But I have a long history with that song, that dates back to a puppet named Lola that I made when I was five years old. She had yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to ... there.

We had planned to go back and whittle the list down because once we finished our preliminary selection, we had 70-plus songs that constituted 350 mb of space and we never thought that we could fit those on a CD.

But then!

We were looking at our CD's and were tickled to see that they hold 700 mb worth of data and we could have actually had TWICE as many songs as what we had selected. Including, if Charlie had not successfully talked me out of it, the entire Grease soundtrack. It was cause for great celebration and I declared that I was going to make a CD for everyone that left me a comment and I was going to send them out with the hope that people would sweat, sweat, sweat on the road to fitness.

But then!

I was thinking about copyright infringement and how music cannot be copied and distributed en masse. And since I'm working on having a clean conscience, this would really muddy things up.

So instead!

I'm going to list here, all the songs and artists that were on my bust-a-move playlist. It's rather lengthy, and eclectic, so consider yourself forewarned.
  1. Dancing Queen / ABBA
  2. Forever Young / Alphaville
  3. Love Shack / The B-52's
  4. Takin' Care of Business / Bachman Turner Overdrive
  5. Copacabana / Barry Manilow
  6. Stayin' Alive / Bee Gees
  7. Uptown Girl / Billy Joel
  8. Hard to Handle / Black Crowes
  9. No Rain / Blind Melon
  10. Call Me / Blondie
  11. Don't Fear the Reaper / Blue Oyster Cult
  12. Run Around / Blues Traveler
  13. Hook / Blues Traveler
  14. Travelin' Man / Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
  15. More Than A Feeling / Boston
  16. Just What I Needed / The Cars
  17. I Want You To Want Me / Cheap Trick
  18. Viva La Vida / Coldplay
  19. Deee Lite Theme / Deee Lite
  20. Groove Is In The Heart / Deee Lite
  21. Last Dance / Donna Summer
  22. Mr. Blue Sky / Electric Light Orchestra
  23. Ranking Full Stop / The English Beat
  24. Don't Stop / Fleetwood Mac
  25. Juke Box Hero / Foreigner
  26. Grease / Frankie Valli
  27. Illegal Alien / Genesis
  28. My Sweet Lord / George Harrison
  29. Sweet Escape / Gwen Steffani
  30. Crazy on You / Heart
  31. Only Wanna Be With You / Hootie and the Blowfish
  32. Closer to Fine / Indigo Girls
  33. Here Comes the Hotstepper / Ini Kamoze
  34. Flashdance / Irene Cara
  35. Been Caught Stealing / Jane's Addiction
  36. I Got A Name / Jim Croce
  37. Volcano / Jimmy Buffett
  38. Don't Stop Believin' / Journey
  39. I'm Gonna Catch You / Laurie Berkner
  40. Fool in the Rain / Led Zeppelin
  41. Bat out of Hell / Meatloaf
  42. Backwater / Meat Puppets
  43. Everywhere / Michelle Branch
  44. Sweet Caroline / Neil Diamond
  45. Growing Old / Origin
  46. Set Sails Free / Origin
  47. Me & Julio / Paul Simon
  48. Kodachrome / Paul Simon
  49. Shaking the Tree / Peter Gabriel
  50. I'm Gonna Be / The Proclaimers
  51. We Will Rock You / Queen
  52. We Are the Champions / Queen
  53. It's The End of The World / R.E.M.
  54. Time for Me to Fly / REO Speedwagon
  55. 3 Strange Days / School of Fish
  56. Soak up the Sun / Sheryl Crow
  57. Two Princes / Spin Doctors
  58. Tempted / Squeeze
  59. What I Got / Sublime
  60. Fly / Sugar Ray
  61. One / U2
  62. In God's Country / U2
  63. Bittersweet Symphony / The Verve
  64. Macho Man / The Village People
  65. Blister in The Sun / Violent Femmes
  66. It's Raining Men / The Weather Girls
  67. Pinball Wizard / The Who
  68. What's Up / 4-Non Blondes
  69. These Are Days / 10,000 Maniacs
  70. Calypso / John Denver (cool down)
  71. Watching the Wheels / John Lennon & Yoko Ono (cool down)
Third. Because of this conscience of mine and the inability to send out a CD to everyone who left me a comment, instead, I'm going to offer up a new contest. The winner will receive a new Product Red iPod shuffle, which happens to be the object of my affection, this Favorite Thing Friday.

On all Product Red purchases, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa, so I feel doubly good about giving one of these away.

Charlie bought me an iPod shuffle for our anniversary last week and in the whole five minutes that I've been able to pry it away from him and wear it, I absolutely LOVE this little thing. It's very light weight and clips to your clothing. You can wear it during workouts, or - when you are tip toeing around the house during nap time. It holds 1 GB of music, or approximately 240 songs.

Here are the rules.

You have until next Saturday at midnight to leave me a comment on THIS post telling me how you are doing towards the physical health goal that you have established for yourself. I will select a winner on Sunday (8/24) after I finish my very first triathlon. My mom will be here by then, so I'll ask for her to select the winner which I'll then post on Sunday night.

Provided of course, I survive the race.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

my kingdom for a 2-hour nap

Thus far, today has been one of those days I really wish I could teleport myself out of here.

Or at least, teleport in a good attitude because mine is missing.

Along with my car keys.

Charlie left early this morning before anyone was awake, so I've been on my own with the kids since the very beginning. Since we didn't arrive home from my business trip until late last night, all of the suitcases were still piled up at the foot of our bed, which I tripped over this morning, when I was awoken from a sound sleep by Carolyn who was trying to open the front door and on the way to stop her, spotted Elizabeth who was overflowing our bathroom sink.

A short while later, when I went to make breakfast, I discovered that we were out of juice.

Out of eggs.

Out of milk, except Charlie's bluish skim.

Every time I turned around - to make breakfast, change out of my pajamas, or unpack a suitcase - there was a fight accompanied by screaming and crying. All the while, Henry was repeatedly climbing on top of things, falling down and smacking his head. Shame on me for trying to do anything other than stand directly over our children, supervising.

I mean that seriously.

I know that it would be better if I just left the house and went some place else, but it's tough to leave without car keys that are probably in one of the suitcases that I have yet to unpack. And I just don't have it in me to go for a walk with temperatures in the 90's and small children that as soon as we are out of sight from the house, will hang off my leg begging that I carry them.

Needing a quick change of scenery, I moved everyone outside and as I'm trying to clean mold off of a highchair that was left outside, William immediately douses Henry with the hose. The baby erupts in to cries and in a fit of rage, that makes no good sense because why wouldn't I expect that the kids who are playing with WATER wouldn't get wet, I dump a bucket of water on William, who erupts in to cries. Carolyn soils two pairs of underwear. Elizabeth is taking handfuls of mud from the planter and putting it all over our table and chairs and then wiping her hands on her shirt and running in the house to put on new clothes. The laundry is piling up before my very eyes, in addition to the laundry that I still have to do from three days away.

After less than a half hour outside, everyone wants back in.

Because I don't move fast enough, the mud and water from outside is tracked inside. The baby is crying and needs to be changed out of his wet clothes. I hear the gardener in the back and notice that he is picking up all of the errant toys that are scattered across the lawn before he mows. Oh darn. That's not part of his job. Nor is it part of his job to pick up the Molly bombs that were dropped during our trip away. I get the baby changed and start to make lunch, only to see that the baby is now crawling around and eating things off the floor. I have NO idea what it is he is eating or how long it's been there.

I go to the outside refrigerator to get some cheese for the sandwiches I'm making and I spot bottles of ice cold Sierra Nevada beer.

Would I?

Could I?


Drink a beer at 11:30 in the morning? I'm certain that it would make me feel better. At least for five minutes until the buzz wore off and I couldn't fight closing my eyes.

Lunch. Story time. Another pair of soiled underwear. More fighting. More outfit changes. Why must everyone drive me so crazy, I ask them. Why must they set out to destroy everything in our house? Get out! Get out!

Or better, yet. Go take a nap.

On days like today, I love my life and equally hate it. I can't really imagine wanting to be any place other than here with my children, and yet, this is the absolute last place I want to be.


As I was writing this post, I took a quick break to see what Chris was up to. Her post today actually made me cry, which is something that very rarely (as in, never) happens to me, when I'm reading blogs. I am very well aware that "these days" with my little children won't last forever. I know that the chaos won't always be like this. I know that one day, probably sooner than I would like, I will be facing challenges with our children that will make me look back on these days and scoff.

But I suspect, I'll look back and be mournful that I spent so much time while my children were young, just wishing that they'd all go to sleep. And I'm sure I'll never be able to remember why it was that I wanted to pound an entire six-pack before noon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the one who tells too much

My mother says that I can't keep a secret. She has always maintained that if something happens to me, I have to go and tell the whole world about it. And what's funny is that she's been saying that even before I started a blog.

At this very moment, I am sitting in a hotel bathroom writing this post. Glory be the wonder of a laptop computer and wireless internet access!

Because I am adamant that I do not want to wean Henry, nor pump, the whole family accompanied me on my most recent business trip. Today, while I sat in meetings, my children spent the morning swimming in the hotel pool - and then spent the afternoon racing the new Big Wheels that they inherited from my friend Debbie (who with her husband and three-year-old triplet boys have moved to England for a year), up and down the hallway ... on all 20 floors ... of the four-star hotel where we are staying.

At the moment, Charlie is off exercising in the hotel fitness room and I am hiding from my children who don't want to sleep. And I figured that while I'm sitting here, this is as good of a time as any to conclude the soul-searching that I had embarked upon last week.

For the record: I am not so naïve as to think that pictures and stories that I post on the internet are completely safe from any one that stumbles upon them, whatever their intentions may be. I know that if I want to keep something private, the last thing I should do is post it on the internet. But a large part of the joy that I derive from blogging about my life, is knowing that my stories are accessible to any one that stumbles upon this website. And I have held faith from the very first blog posting I created, that the vast majority of the people that will come to this website are good and decent.

(Even if they sit on a toilet in a hotel bathroom, hiding from their children, to access the internet.)

For the person that Googles about pediatric dentistry - or transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup - or how to best organize Legos - or how to fly with triplets - or how to get a breastfeeding baby to sleep through the night - and they have found words of advice or encouragement ... that makes all of the effort it took to write these posts worthwhile.

Which, in case you were wondering, I calculate the amount of effort spent on this blog since it's inception in March of 2006, to be around 2,500 hours. Give or take 500. That is approximately the same number of hours that I have worked for my employer since 2005. I didn't realize until recently that this blog takes up about as much time as my actual career, but this is a true labor of love.

It is also the reason I never get to bed before 2 AM.

When I receive positive e-mails from people telling me how much my words have meant to them, that is what keeps me going. So when I received over 200 comments in less than two days time on my YouTube video, I felt sick. With each twisted comment that rolled in about my beautiful babies, it felt like a whole world of perverts had our number and all I wanted to do was throw our computer in bleach. And then, in the midst of that, I received an e-mail that someone had stolen my birth story and photos of my children.

Suddenly, the internet was very ugly.

With body odor and bad breath.

And something green stuck in it's teeth.

For the past few days, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I'm afraid of with this blog. Am I afraid that someone might recognize my children and try to hurt them? Am I afraid of being stalked? Am I afraid that someone might steal my writing and try to make it their own, for gain? Am I afraid of criticism?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the only reason I would make this blog private is because I was afraid of something bad happening to my family. Come to think of it, I am afraid of a lot of things happening. But that doesn't stop me from doing them.

For instance, I am deathly afraid of flying, but I know that if I want to get from point A to point B in a timely manner, I need to put my fears aside. And I am deathly afraid of strange dogs and being involved in a car accident, but that doesn't stop me from taking my children to a park where dogs have been known to run free, or driving 7,000-miles cross-country.

Nelson Mandela has said, "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

I have always maintained that this blog is a place where I can share details of the struggles and joys of parenting ... and life. And I have never been afraid to write stories that reveal some of my deepest thoughts. It is very important for me that I continue to do that, even if it means that I have to exercise extreme caution in the pictures that I post, or add safety features that will better protect the images that I upload.

Ultimately, my mother was right. If something happens to me, I have to tell the whole world about it. And I have yet to share how I organize our children's clothes and shoes, both of which I believe are critically important to the success of humanity.

I'm sure Nelson would agree.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

keeping them safe

A few weeks ago, Charlie rode his bicycle to a local hardware store to pick up a few supplies to repair the drain on our bathtub. I hesitated when he told me that he was riding his bike on this particular errand, because I knew that he would have to cross over a relatively busy intersection and the roads in our area are especially congested since the traffic in our neighborhood has increased 100-fold in the past 10 years.

When he told me his plans that involved a four-mile round-trip bike ride, my entire life with this man flashed before my eyes. I could imagine him getting mowed over like a blade of grass by some punk kid that just got their learner's permit, and there was my beloved husband and father of four children, laying on the side of the road, bleeding, fading from this life and in to the next.

I didn't tell Charlie any of this.

I didn't tell him that I was afraid he was going to be hit and killed by a car when he was attempting to make a left. Because if I had, my husband might think that I was a bit UPTIGHT and PARANOID.

Instead, when I looked out the kitchen window and saw that he was pedaling his bike down the street without a helmet, I threw down the baby I had been nursing, grabbed the helmet that was sitting on the kitchen table, and chased my husband down yelling "HONEY! HONEY! You forgot THIS!!!" and then I added, "Whatever you do, don't go to the light. I need you here, on earth." He laughed before giving me a kiss and saying "I'll be FINE!"

I stood there watching him ride off, until he disappeared from view.

Of course he'll be fine.


That's what our loved ones always say before they join the ranks of angels.

Twenty minutes later, when my mother called, I told her that I was worried about Charlie. I told her that he was out riding his bike on the BUSY roads in our neighborhood and I was worried something was going to happen to him. She said that it was normal to have fear. But when I added that I was waiting for the police to come knock on my door and say that he was hit and I'd need to figure out how to raise four children all by myself, she told me I was a loon.

When Charlie walked in the door a few minutes later and overheard me talking to my mother about his funeral arrangements, he was flabbergasted. "But, I just went for a bike ride and you are burying me already?!"

"No," I replied. "I'm not burying you, I'm planning to have you cremated. But yes, I'm talking about your arrangements and until you run errands in a TANK this is the price you have to pay for being married to me."

Fear. I've got it. I've got lots of it.

I tell myself that it's normal to have a healthy dose of fear because fear is an instinct that can help to keep us safe. It is because of the fear that I have that something will happen to me or my family, I try to be as prepared as possible. But I know that in order to keep my children safe, there is more that I need to do than arm myself with a first aid kit, pepper spray and a reflective security blanket.

The world can be a very scary place.

Two months ago, after having seen a review on Protecting the Gift, I purchased the book and within 24-hours of it arriving on my doorstep, had read it from cover-to-cover.

It was an eye-opener for me to read that 1 in 6 children have some form of sexual involvement before the age of 12 and it was extremely frightening to read that nearly one million school kids, grades 6 to 12, carried a gun to school last year.

One million.

Parents must be more diligent in knowing what is happening in their children's lives. Who are their friends? Who are their teachers? Who are the people that they interface with? What are they doing?

The primary message that I picked up from this book is that in order to protect the gift that is our children, we must be educated on how to protect the gift of intuition and fear. Currently, I'm trying to teach our children how they shouldn't walk up and talk to everyone that they meet. I've told them that like the diver in Finding Nemo, if they don't listen and come to me when I call them, they can be picked up and taken away.

I've told them that they must protect themselves and look out for each other, and if anyone ever treats them poorly or touches them inappropriately - they need to let me or their father know. I'm trying to explain to them in terms that they can understand how not all people in the world are good. This is proving to be a lot more difficult than I expected because children are naturally curious and very trusting and the last thing I want to do is traumatize them with the message I'm attempting to convey.

But my job is to protect my children and I'd prefer that they be a little afraid than have no fear.

I've written before that I really enjoy sharing stories of my family with people that know us and even with those who don't, through this blog. According to my statistics meter, I receive a few thousands visits, every day. On the one hand, I am really flattered to know that so many people visit this website and enjoy reading about our lives. But when I noticed that the most frequent pictures that are viewed from various search engines were pictures of my babies' bare bottoms or photos of them sitting on the potty, I immediately went to those various pages and deleted the images.

When I started receiving e-mails earlier this week from my YouTube account indicating that I had messages on the potty training video I uploaded in January, I was blown away to see that a video I uploaded eight months ago had received over 20,000 visits in two days. After a little research, I found that my slide show had been picked up by two "Classic Rock" radio stations and was featured on the front page of their websites.

Then, yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone that indicated a "woman" from a parenting board that they frequent had stolen pictures of my babies and my triplet birth story from this blog, and after some very slight modifications, posted it as her own. Interestingly, it didn't bother me as much that this person had hijacked my picture and story as much as it troubled me that she might try to prey on people's sympathies for money or who knows what. One hundred years from now, it isn't going to matter if someone took my story and photos, unless they tried to cash them in on a book deal.

The fact is, both of these incidents have brought a lot of attention to my blog - a lot of attention that hasn't been particularly nice or good and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. One option that Charlie and I are seriously considering is to make the blog private. My fear is that there are a lot of people out "there" with ulterior motives and I don't want them seeping in to my children's lives via the internet. Suffice to say, there is some serious soul-searching going on right now about what this blog is, why it's here, and what it's future should be.

If only I could stick a helmet on it and arm it with pepper spray, I'd feel a whole lot better.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

14 (and a wednesday weigh in)

Today marks our 14-year wedding anniversary.

I spent most of the morning dancing with my children, while wearing my wedding dress.


After having been shoved in a bag in our attic for the past 14-years, I pulled it out this morning, shook it a few times, and tried it on. I then cued up our wedding music and waltzed out to the kitchen where Charlie and the children were eating breakfast. All of them, save Henry, nearly choked on their waffles when they saw me with my veil and 8-foot long train humming Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

Seeing me in my wedding dress, very well might have been the highlight of our children's young lives. They went absolutely, totally NUTS. As did Charlie when he saw that my dress still fits. Well, almost. If you don't count the zipper. But how necessary is that thing, anyway?

Without a doubt, the best decision I have ever made in my entire life, was the decision to marry my husband. He is the most gentle and compassionate man I know. He is full of life, has an unwavering sense of optimism, and makes me laugh every day. I could not ask for a better partner in life, or father for my children.


I truly love the man with all of my heart and although I said I didn't want anything for our anniversary, the iPod shuffle (Product) Red he bought me TOTALLY ROCKS. He just went out running and was wearing it when he left. Yeah, I'm beginning to wonder if this is yet another of those LOOK WHAT I GOT YOU!! gifts that is ultimately a gift for him?

While I walked around the house, interested to see that my bridal train does a better job cleaning our floor than our broom, Charlie wasted no time downloading all of the songs on to the shuffle, that I had pulled together for the bust-a-move workout CD I created last week.


Which, I'm a little concerned that if I send a copy (or most likely, copies) of my compilation CD off to people, it might constitute copyright infringement.

Am I being too uptight? Or a law abiding citizen?

Please, someone read this and tell me what you think.

This week while swimming in our community pool, I discovered that the vast majority of the population do not understand pool etiquette. When I swam laps on Thursday, Friday and again on Tuesday, people would wander in to my lane. They'd just stand in front of me as I was swimming along - or - they would jump in to my lap, just before I'd complete a flip turn.

Granted, it's summer. But we live in an area where school is in session year-round and I go earlier in the day when there are very few people. Even though the pool is wide open and there is no real "deep" end, people seem to converge on my little 25-meter lap.

Why is that?


And why can I not simply ask that they just stay out of my little lane?

Why must I stop swimming, stand up, pull off my goggles, put my hands on my hips and say "Hmpf!" and expect that they will immediately understand my frustration? They don't. They just keep splashing and ask if they can play with my kick board.


As for the triathlon, I don't think that swimming will be a problem. Nor am I worried about cycling. I am worried, however, about running. The running part is truly going to kick my ass.

I am not a runner.

I can't even pretend to be.

I figure I'm going to be so tired after having swam and cycled, I'll be lucky if I don't do a face plant on the run. But at least Charlie will be there to tell me that I've got my helmet on, should I forget. Unless of course, he is too busy listening to his my new iPod.

How are you doing with your goals?

month twelve (and thirteen) in review

Henry, this past month, you turned one.

I had planned to do a spectacular photo montage set to music with various pictures from your first year - but since we were on a cross-country road trip 3,000-miles from home, that plan never came to fruition.

I had also planned to bake you the a five-tiered cake that is customary in your father's family in honor of the first birthday ... but that didn't happen, either (Note the date stamp. That was for your siblings birthday in 2005).


I know, I know. Whaddup?!


In lieu of those things, I have merged a lot of photos from your 12th month in with a lot of photos from your 13th month while humming Celine Dion's Miracle.


And I made you a flag cake that your brother was gracious enough to share with you, on the Fourth of July. For some reason, he thought the cake, which was decorated in strawberries that he had helped to pick out, belonged to him. But he did let you have a piece which was very, very nice. Considering it was YOUR birthday cake.


Oh, baby Henry. You are my miracle.


You are growing by leaps and bounds and it is bittersweet to see how much you have changed in less than 400 days.


Although you are not (completely) walking yet, you do get around rather quickly by what I consider to be running with your hands on the ground.

You like to climb on top of anything ...

... and crawl under anything that doesn't move.


You are taking a few hesitant steps...


And will spend minutes putting objects in to and taking them out of, a cup.

You are fascinated by looking at your siblings upside down (while standing on the train table)...


And you are enamored with gravity and how strawberries and Cheerios when thrown, land on the floor. This is an incredibly curious thing that you feel compelled to repeat with anything you can get your hands on.


You love ice cream...

And I love watching you eat it.


You love going for rides on various toys...


And you equally love pushing your siblings around the house. As for me, I love it that all of you push each other around because it hurts my back to bend down for the several hours a day that the lot of you little people enjoy participating in this particular activity.


As much as you adore your siblings, they adore you.


They are such big helpers, too.


Even when you sit in the middle of their toys, with your palms upturned and bust them for eating all your teething biscuits, they are quite smitten with their baby brudder.


Because of our recent travels and long summer days, we have had our share of struggles with your sleep schedule. But within the past week, I've been very strict. There was a lot of crying the first few days, but by the third day, you were taking a 45-minute morning nap beginning at 8:30 AM and a 45-minute to 2-hour afternoon nap beginning at 1:00 PM. You also go to bed with no resistance at night and sleep for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. Your father will bring you to bed so I can nurse you, and then you'll usually doze off for at least another hour. It's a good thing you are finally sleeping, because I was starting to lose my mind a little.

And oh! Look how peaceful you are when you are sleeping!!


I am still nursing you and have no intention to stop until you are ready. Or, until you turn two. Whichever comes first. Although, if you continue with the Cirque du Soleil routine wherein you attempt 360 degree spins from my nipple, I might reconsider. Sorry, no picture for that. But imagine you, upside down, with your feet over the top of my head.


I held off on having your hair cut until you turned one, because I just couldn't get myself to cross over to what I consider to be the beginning of toddlerhood.


But toddlerhood, come it will. I can see that you are growing in to a perfect little boy, Henry. You delight in pushing toy trucks, trains, or equipment with wheels around the house.


And catching piggy back rides on your Daddy's shoulders.


Sure, every so often you are the embodiment of a frustrated one-year-old, and there was that time I wanted to catapult you in to the Duck Pond in the Boston Public Garden...


But mostly? You are pure magic...


And I want you to stay my baby so I can hold you in my arms, forever.