Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The finale

Saturday afternoon we had the kids birthday party at Jamtime in Maynard. I can't recommend it enough. We shared the party with friends, so there were three birthdays being celebrated by 26 kids. We had the whole place to ourselves and just had a huge blast. Plenty of space for the kids to run, plenty of pizza and cupcakes.... just fun fun fun.

I was a bit more vocal on what the kids wanted/needed for their birthday, as in years past I didn't say anything. If people asked me what they wanted I would actually send them our amazon wish list - and both kids were blown away by the presents they got, and somehow we didn't even get any duplicates. I had felt a little obnoxious being specific on what to get, but seems like the mom's actually appreciated it (I know I love getting an amazon wish list for a birthday party).

But this influx of toys brought me to the tipping point and I got rid of four HUGE boxes of stuff. I gave away our train table, all the track and all the trains. I gave away things the kids didn't play with. Things they grew out of. And I kept the things they play with often and put them in one of these storage things. And this morning, when they went downstairs to play while I got dressed, I cringed a little. Would they freak out that the train table was gone? Nope. They were delighted to be able to see all the toys they wanted to play with right there. They didn't care at all that the train table was gone.


Monday, December 17, 2012

The News

I wasn't going to blog about this. But my Jen (I call her my Jen because she and I were due date buddies with Cam and Elizabeth, but now basically need to be next door neighbors.) wrote about it, so now I will say my piece.

I have trouble watching the news. Something awful happens, and they not only tell you about it, but they show you footage again and again and again and again. And interview the poor victims. And focus on the bad. There are rarely happy news stories. So I keep up to date by listening to NPR and reading my news, and I do it in a way that I can turn it off or stop reading when it becomes too much.

I've personally had enough bad things happen in my own life, that starting off my day listening to tragedy after tragedy seems like the wrong thing to do. I learned a long time ago that you worry about the things that you actually can do something about. I'm careful when I drive the car with the kids. I make sure they wear helmets when they ride bikes. I explain why we are careful around dogs and fires and high places. But I don't worry about the freak ways my child can get hurt or die. Because if I did, I would never leave the house. Or sleep. Or let my children's feet hit the floor.

There are 67,140 elementary schools in the USA. This horrible thing happened in one of them. Just like 2,000 babies die every year of SIDS (that was the official diagnosis for Nora.) But last year, 3,999,386 children were born. That is less that 1/4%  chance that your baby with die of SIDS. But how many people have worked themselves up into a frenzy when their babies start rolling over and sleeping on their stomachs - so much so that they will wake up a sleeping baby and roll it back onto it's back? The news skews things so out of context. Makes things seems so much more common and threatening than they truly are.

And watching news on a day like Friday, listening to the horror - that just has me visualizing the horror. Bringing me right back to the worst day of my life with my husband calling 911 while I performed CPR on my 5 day old. So yes, I avoid the news. And I don't sit and talk about why it happened and how awful those families must feel because guess what. I do know how it feels. I do know how awful it feels to lose a child. It's the worst feeling in the world.

But Cece! What about gun control? And mental health!? To this I say, my politics follow my heart. Guns were designed to kill people. They are very good at achieving that goal. I don't think anyone should have a gun. Anyone. I feel that we need to treat people with kindness and love and support people who need help. If they are hungry, we should feed them. If they are sick, we should try to help them. We need to care. About people, about families, about care givers, and about animals. Love needs to prevail always.

Like Jen says, the world does go on. This morning, for the first time, Maggie was brave enough to get out of her bed and come and wake me up. I got to spend my morning cuddling in bed with my kids. We watched a little Curious George and then, like we do every day - we race to see who can get dressed the fastest.

I try to worry about the things I can change. I can make my children happy. I can feed them their favorite dinner and move the god damn elf every night so Cam and Maggie can have the joy and magic of finding it every day. I take them to a school where they feel loved and safe. I take them to a church where everyone is welcome and we start every service saying 'Love is the spirit of the church, and service is it's law. This is our great convent: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love and to help one another." I hope by living a life of joy and love, that my children will grow up to live a life where that is the focus, instead of a life of fear.

That is how I deal with this stuff. I continue to live.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Risking joy

I'm ridiculously behind on blog reading. And commenting. Things have been insane here, but today I had some time to catch up seems like a lot of things are going on in blogland. I was most sad to hear of Dresden's loss. So unexpected.

But I also missed this post by a Half Baked Life. She talks about how sometimes those of us who have been through loss need to push ourselves to allow our children to risk. The whole world seems so dangerous - but I try my damnedest to just allow my kids to 'be kids'. To play outside, try to ride bikes, climb on high play structures.... and its hard. Damn hard. It's really hard for Aaron - if possible, he would have both kids wrapped in bubble wrap all day.

That isn't a childhood. Childhood is about the excitement of finally making it to the top of the play structure, and the scabs that came with the falls. It's about riding your bike too fast down the driveway and wiping out (hopefully!) on the grass. It's about playing 'hot lava' in the living room, jumping from couch to couch. And it's about parents cringing and closing their eyes and letting it go.

And if you click on the link to read her post, she even includes a recipe for Lime-cornbread cookies, which I had for the first time on Cam's birthday, and they were delicious!

Today is Cam's 4 year check up. I thought it was at 10:50, so I took Cam over for it. Well, it was really for 1:50. So I'm working from home while Cam watches Spiderman (circa 1981, gotta love netflix) and we wait for the REAL appointment. Sigh. Good thing my head is attached, right?!!?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moving onto Christmas

Even though this weekend is the BIG birthday party for the kids, we are officially past the birthday's and I felt like we needed to get Christmas into the house. We've been doing the elf for a while (our elf only moves from place to place. He doesn't do anything crazy) but I didn't want Christmas to go up until the birthdays are over.

For the past two years, we've been cutting down our own tree in some nearby conservation land for $20. But this year, I find out that there is a cheap place in town from my girlfriend. Trick is, the place is run by an old man who is obviously just selling trees to keep his year round farm status for tax purposes. So the trees certainly aren't showcase by any means.

But it was fun, and Cam was very proud to have picked out our tree. It's a small tree (maybe 5 ft?) and one side has a big hole - but one side is against the wall, anyway, right? Both kids helped Dad cut it down with the saw:
 And we had it up and decorated that afternoon.
I'm all about the small tree now. Barely takes up any space, but still looks awesome and our house has that great Christmas tree smell. We have the lights on a timer, so when I'm working from home I get a smile when the tree turns on by itself. Love it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday night Leftovers

  • Have an interesting opportunity at work. I'll probably take it. But it's a risk.
  • My Christmas Cards got lost during delivery. Just got them reprinted. So not I'm not ahead of the game like I thought it was.
  • I did my once-a-month cooking all by myself this month. It was lonely and long. But it's done.
  • I have a cookie swap tonight, and I made some pretty delicious cookies. I'm excited to go. We will also craft. And drink wine.
  • And this weekend we are planning to get our Christmas tree - hurrah!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Big week!

Since I last blogged, we celebrated Maggie's birthday, I traveled to Nantucket alone with the kids, Maggie had her 3 year check up, dealt with the anniversary of Nora's death and then we celebrated Cam's birthday.

And I'm done.

 If I had the luxury of timing my children's births - they would have been spring or summer birthday's, about 3 month's apart. I always need to plan a birthday party at a 'venue' because there is no option of an outdoor party. And now that the birthdays are past, I need to deal with birthday present thank you notes, Christmas trees, Christmas parties, Christmas cards, and Christmas presents. No break. And giving a bike or outdoor toy as a birthday or Christmas present is kind of lame, because in New England they really don't get to play with it for months. Plus, by the end of December they begin to expect presents with every single visitor and that becomes obnoxious.

But. We had a wonderful time on both days. Maggie got to go horseback riding and Cam went on the T into the city to the Boston Children's Museum (with a stop at Daddy's office where the whole office sang him happy birthday). Both kids had mini-birthday parties with friends on the actual birthday. It is VERY important to me to make a big deal of there birthday so that they understand that the day they were born is a big deal because THEY are a big deal.

Maggie's 3 year check up went AWESOME. Maggie used to cry from the minute we walked into the office until we left. She wouldn't talk to the doctor, or even leave my lap. This year? She marched right into the office, told the doc all about her birthday, her love of horses, sang her the ABC's....it was great. I've been a little worried about a cough she's been having, and the chance that she possibly has an ear infection - but she has no issues. She is growing perfectly, looks great and is right on target for everything. And we went on the 4th, so I got to give my doc a hug and let her know we were doing OK with the anniversary of Nora's death. She is such an awesome doc that she had remembered the date and sent me an email checking up on me this past weekend.

Aaron had a boy's weekend this past weekend, so I became inspired and took the kids to see my MIL. It was the Christmas Stroll on Nantucket and the kids had a BLAST. And I was so amazed at how well the two of them did.

But, I'm happy for a bit of downtime. It's actually relaxing to be at work right now.