GOODBYE CHARLIE WILSON

We said goodbye to our dog, Charlie, this weekend. It was unexpected and sad. All was normal on Sunday until 1:30 when he suddenly fell over and started seizing. At first, I thought he died because he got so stiff and stopped breathing. However, he started to move and breathe again, but the seizures continued every few minutes and I knew something was very wrong. I called the animal hospital and they said to bring him in. I called my dad to go with me because I didn’t know that I was in any shape to drive, while Jeremy tried to keep the kids out of the living room so they didn’t see Charlie in such bad shape. Jeremy was eventually able to pick him up to take him to my car. Charlie never liked being picked up, but this time, he didn’t fight it. Once he was in the car, we had the kids come outside and say goodbye, just in case.

For some time, we’ve known that if something happened to Charlie we were not going to go to extraordinary lengths to save him. He was an old dog and we didn’t want to prolong any suffering. When we took him in, they stabilized him and I explained our desire not to put him through a lot if it was only going to prolong the inevitable. The vet understood where we were coming from and explained that they could put him on anti-seizure medications while we went through diagnostic testing that could take days or weeks. She also said that for an old dog seizures were generally a sign of something much worse, such as a brain tumor, and don’t get better. After a phone call with Jeremy we decided that we would let him go. I sat with him and rubbed on his ears and said goodbye while the vet administered the shot. He went peacefully and calm.

When I got home, the kids were still napping and Jeremy and I tried to process the situation. How were we going to explain it to Grant and Maria? While Jeremy was putting them down for naps, Maria declared “Mommy coming back,” to which Jeremy replied yes. She then very seriously said “Chawie coming back, too.” Jeremy tried to tell her no, he wasn’t coming home, but knew she didn’t understand. When they woke up I went in to get them and they both asked about Charlie. I explained that Charlie had gone to be with Jesus in heaven and wouldn’t be coming home. I went on to tell them that Charlie was old and sick and sometime we can’t fix it and when that happens, you go to be with Jesus in heaven. In heaven, Charlie wasn’t sick anymore. They both seemed okay with that for the time being.

Later on Grant asked again about Charlie and I explained it again. Jeremy had them help carry his bed to the basement because we didn’t want Charlie’s stuff to just disappear. Perhaps having them help would help them understand.

On Monday, Grant asked again about Charlie. Maria told him “Chawie no get sick no more.” Then she said “Chawie went to church.” Jeremy told them that Charlie wasn’t sick anymore and he went one step better…he went to heaven. They are both dealing with it in their own way. Maria seems sad, but says she’s okay. Jeremy sat with her in Charlie’s spot today and told her it was okay to be sad and hugged on her. Grant is being a silly man, acting goofy and trying to make us laugh.

The hard thing with having kids is trying to process on your own, while meeting their needs and questions. Jeremy and I both can’t get over how quiet the house is and how much we were just used to all the sounds Charlie made…his sleep whooping, the groaning he’d do when he got a good scratch behind the ear, the way he’d wallow against the couch trying to get an itch and the way he’d dance around when it got remotely close to 5:00 dinner. Charlie was great with the kids and never once tried to nip or bark at them when they were climbing in his bed with him or on him. Charlie was a stubborn pain in the butt and never stopped eating his own poop, but he was our pain in the butt and we will miss him.

photo1

Advertisements

Is it any wonder?

Photobucket







Given Sienna’s background, is it any wonder:

1) The girl loves the cold. I mean, prefers the cold over any other temperature. She would happily frolic all day long in the snow.

2) Popsicles are her singular favorite dessert.

3) She’s extremely independent. In fact, that’s the adjective we receive most often from strangers in describing her.

4) But, at the same time, you can tell that she was just meant to have other siblings. She loves being a little sister and, although Brae probably poses the greatest threat to her safety, she adores him.

5) She’s a very patient little girl. She understands what it means to wait her turn, and to allow others go before her. She must know that the wait is generally worth it.

We sure know that.

The Twins: How they changed my perspective

Photobucket






My friend is pregnant with twin girls. Through IVF.

These are her first children.

A couple weeks ago, she asked me to go with her to do some baby registry shopping. I was honored and humbled. And, a little apprehensive.

As someone who longs for another child (miracle pregnancy or otherwise), I thought the idea of roaming around Babies R Us with a scanner gun and a noticeably pregnant woman may be too much to bear for my sensitive psyche.

But, I cleared my throat, and said I’d be happy to join her.

And, somewhere between the aromatherapy pillows and the zip-up nightgowns, I had a revelation.

I’ve been here before. I’ve done this stage. It was really fun and amazing while it lasted, but I’ve moved on.

As I was driving home after the excursion, I explored this revelation a little more.

Yes, I really want to be pregnant again. Yes, I really want another child – in whichever way God allows. And it may not be an infant. I may never again be pregnant. I may never again have an infant in my house to care for. And while that is really sad to me, I also rejoice and am thankful for the times that I had a baby in my belly, and an infant in my house.

And I’m really excited for things to come: kindergarten, soccer games, homework, boyfriends/girlfriends, Disneyland.

So while I can’t say that I’ve settled into the House of Complete Contentment, at least as of today, I’ve walked over the threshold.

And, it’s a beautiful house.

HANGING UP MY MAT

This last weekend I taught my last yoga class. After over four years at the same gym and eight total years instructing, I decided to hang up my mat. After adjusting my schedule to teach only every other weekend some time ago, I was still having a love/hate relationship with my yoga weekends. Inevitably there would be some fun kid event scheduled that we couldn’t attend because it was my weekend to teach. Also, I really hated leaving the house after being gone all week at my full time job. I anticipated that this would be my last year because they kids would be starting sports when they turn three in April and told the gym owners that my intentions would be to stop at some point this year. I just wasn’t sure when.

I was all geared up to turn in my notice and finish in December, but chickened out when I arrived and my “regulars” were excited to see me. Resignation fail! During my break from work in December, I went to pull my hair back in a ponytail when Grant looked at me with his big brown eyes and said “No Mommy yoyo.” “Oh, buddy, I’m not going to teach yoga today”, was my reply. I knew then that I really needed to do it.

Just like everything, yoga instruction was a season for me and the season has now ended. After a long week at work, Grant and Maria want to spend time with me and turning around and running back out the door on Saturday morning is hard for them (and me), even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

Everyone was very understanding and I believe that one day, in another season of life, I’ll instruct again. For now, my focus is on spending time with the two little people we worked very hard to even have in our lives and ensure that I don’t miss out on these short and special years.

I WILL NEVER FORGET

I recently saw a post on a Parenting Multiples page on facebook that asked when does the anxiety from having babies in the NICU go away. She went on the say that at every doctor’s appointment she has to recount their early birth and associated health risks/issues and that she nearly has panic attacks. While, I don’t have that level of anxiety, I can relate to her situation.

When talking about our NICU experience, I often hear “but they are healthy now” and yes, that is true, but it doesn’t take away the way we felt during that time and residual feelings that I still have even almost three years after the fact. While, they are healthy and we still have doctor’s visits related to their early arrival and questions that make me relive the situation.

Case in point: their eye doctor visit last month. This was a follow up appointment from the one they had at five weeks. Preemies are at a higher risk for retinopathy and being nearsighted. Retinopathy was ruled out at 5 weeks when they dilated and held open their eyes with a medieval torture device causing both children to reach new octaves. Nearsightedness was ruled out at this last appointment as Maria, after answering all of Grant’s questions for him, demonstrated that not only can she see fantastically, but that her vision is much better than mine! Our doctor was pleased and said their vision is that of normal full term babies and we didn’t need to be seen again until kindergarten.

We have another visit this summer that I hope will close the door on preemie related doctor’s appointments. It’s the dreaded cardiology follow up to see if their PFOs have closed. At the last visit Maria screamed so much that they never could do the echocardiogram on her. Based on her volume and pink color it was determined that if she does still have the PFO that it’s not causing any issues. Grant obliged to his exam and still had a tiny opening. Both will have to go back this summer. Even after this cardiology appointment I will still worry about the impact of their early birth on their ability to learn once in school because preemies have a higher instance of learning disabilities.

So, yes, they are healthy, but just because they are healthy doesn’t mean that everything is over. Those 27 days they were in the hospital were the hardest of my life. I think I was in a numb fog most of the time and when I wasn’t numb I cried. Each milestone helps and the distance from that time helps. But I will never forget.

Brae (and Sienna!) – isms

Photobucket







Brae:

1) On a random Saturday afternoon, I was driving the kids home from a playdate, when this dialogue ensued:

Brae: “Mommy, I want to go on a bear hunt.”

Me: “Ok.”

Brae: (increasing in intensity) “Tomorrow.”

Me: “Ok.”

Brae: (now a little agitated by my apparent lack of resistance): “By m.y.s.e.l.f.”

Me: “Ok.”

(Long pause)

Brae: (now apparently resigned). “But,” he started, “I may need you to drive me.”

***

2) I picked Brae up from school the other day. While I was tending to Sienna, one of Brae’s friends classmates (let’s just call him Bully), came up from behind and shoved Brae into the front door. When I came to see the commotion, Bully’s mom was trying to discipline him and get him to apologize to Brae. Bully refused. So, sensing the increasing awkardness of the situation, I directed the kids out to the car. On the way home, this dialogue ensued:

Me: “Brae, I’m very proud of you that you didn’t push or hit Bully back. That was the right thing to do. That’s what Jesus would have done.”

(Long pause)

Brae: “Yeah. Bully doesn’t listen to God.”

***

3) Say what you will about kids and Santa Claus, but I had a lot of fun this year with Brae and Ole’ St. Nick. When I was growing up, there were no presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas morning, my sister and I would run out to see all the presents under the tree. It was magic.

Carrying on that same tradition in our home, I had to find a place to hide all the presents before Christmas morning. I finally decided to hide them in a guest room, and lock the door. When Brae asked why he couldn’t go in the guest room, I stammered, and told him that was Santa’s workshop. That’s where Mommy and Santa Claus pow-wowed. He seemed to accept that.

One night, as I was wrapping gifts in the guest room (which is me simply throwing gifts in old “Happy birthday” and “It’s a girl!” gift bags), I heard Brae tip toe up to the closed door. He was supposed to be in bed. I could hear him breathing on the other side of the door. I decided to have a little fun.

Me (to the empty room): “Now, Santa, I’m not sure if Brae has been a good boy today. I’m not sure if he should get that present.”

Me (now in my best elderly, stout, male voice): “Ho, ho, ho!”

Me (again to the empty room): “Mrs. Claus, you really need to teach Mr. Claus better manners.”

And on went my faux dialogue with these two characters.

When I was sufficiently pleased with myself, I turned off the light, and opened the door. Brae was standing in the hallway, bug-eyed.

“Mommy?!” he managed, “Who were you talking to in there?”

***

Sienna:

1) Little Miss is fascinated with the toilet. She wants to watch everyone in the house going potty. And she wants to be the first to flush the toilet. In fact, she often flushes the toilet when there is nothing in it.

The other day, I watched as she meandered into the bathroom by herself. I started to get a little excited. Maybe she was going to try to go potty herself.

As I poked my head around the corner into the bathroom, I saw her stand over the toilet, lift up the first lid, then lift up the second lid. She then proceeded to pull down her pants and pull up her shirt. She stood over the toilet. And waited. She was trying to pee like Daddy and Brae. When nothing happened, she sighed. She pulled up her pants. She let her shirt drop, and she closed both lids. Then, she flushed the toilet. And she left.

2) This is really a Brae and Sienna story, but because I suspect that Little Miss’s curiousity started the whole ordeal, she should take credit.

I was out with my family one afternoon. Tygh was “watching” the kids. I came home to find the guest room’s toilet clogged. Not a huge surprise. In the last 2 years, we’ve made friends with Mr. Rooter. I expected Brae had just put too much toilet paper in the toilet when trying to clean himself up.

For the next week, Tygh and I alternated trying to unclog the toilet. No luck.

Tygh finally admitted that when he had been watching the kids, Sienna had come out into the living room soaking wet. And with a long wooden spoon. That’s when Tygh had gone into the bathroom to find Brae standing over the toilet, also holding a long wooden spoon. But nothing seemed to be in the toilet.

After a week of no success unclogging the toilet, I caved and called Mr. Rooter. Again.

Long story short. I bet you’ve never had a plumber pull 11 bath toys out of your toilet before.

Adoption Tax Credit Renewed – Permanently

Photobucket






Coming through from a variety of sources, the federal adoption tax credit has been permanently renewed as a result of HR 8 (the “Fiscal Cliff” bill). Check out for yourself:

1) http://www.gop.gov/bill/113/1/hr8senateamendments

2) http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/

3) http://www.domesticpartnershipflorida.com/adoption-tax-credit-permanent-2013/

4) http://holtinternational.org/blog/2013/01/great-news-adoption-tax-credit-made-permanent/

5) http://childrensmonitor.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/adoption-tax-credit-included-in-budget-deal/