Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This is what happens when it snows for three days straight. (Mind you, we had NO snow on the ground prior to this storm.) And it was a pleasant five degrees out this morning. I don't know if I'm ready for winter, but the kids are! (And, yes, that is Shawn careening down our yard on the sled!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gearing Up for Everything

I am supposed to be paying bills online, but got sidetracked! I cannot believe there is only five weeks left until my due date. I keep complaining about how this pregnancy is lasting forever, but I know it's just because I am ready to get my energy back, not to mention say good-bye to heartburn, sciatica, pregnancy migraines, anemia, and feeling like I have to vomit every time I bend over. Being pregnant the fourth time around has been so much harder, I think due to the fact that in my last pregnancy, Clare was not mobile at all and Jamie was at an age where he was very independent and not getting into everything. Jamie is still independent and trustworthy, but now I have two monkeys who are into everything in our house. I am very happy to be pregnant again (because I cannot wait to meet our end result!), but I will honestly be so glad when it's over! Right now, I am weeding through my iTunes library as I work on the computer (always multi-tasking!) to put together a playlist for labor. I am aiming to go all natural again, and music was a big focal point for me.

It's been a crazy two weeks around here. Early, early last Friday morning (more than a week ago), NH and a good portion of New England was hit with a huge ice storm. We, and a quarter of a million other people in our state, lost power. Thankfully, we were one of the lucky ones and only lost power for 19 hours. We know many people who lost power for 6-9 days. So we only had to endure one day of living in a chilly house. However, our pumping station for our sewage system lost power as well. That was not restored for 8 days, so we were once again without drainage for over a week. Which means almost no running water. Which in turn means trips to the laundromat, showering at the YMCA, mellow yellow toilet bowls (what fun!), and lots of take-out. Since people across the state lost power, the schools have been closed since that Friday. So the kids are going to have more than a three-week Christmas break! Lucky them - kind of driving mom crazy. The power crisis is past, though, and we're staying cozy and warm through a three-day non-stop snowstorm now. Gotta love winter in New England!

Time for some good ole photos of the beautiful kiddos...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Yes, it will make you cry, but it is also so beautiful to read how much a family cherished their young daughter, and I am in awe of the strength and courage this mother possesses. After countless hospital stays, surgeries, and codes, Natasha passed away on December 17. This is the letter her mother wrote to family and friends:

"Dear Family and Friends;
This is an email we hoped we'd never have to send.

Natasha Marie passed away peacefully last night. As usual in her gentle but firm way she made the decision to go home. Her condition became too unstable to transport her to the operating room let alone perform a surgery that would have put her in a lot of pain with no chances for reversing the damages to her kidney and liver.

We were able to hold her in our arms for a long time and tell her how much we loved her, and how grateful we were for her love and the many ways she constantly demonstrated it to us in her laugh, and in her smile, her clapping her hands in joy when we entered her room, and patting her chest each time [her dad] entered the room to indicate she was his princess.

Now her job is to sit in Our Lord's lap and beg him to bring all her family into heaven - us and all of you who have been praying so faithfully for her. I'm sure she is joining all the preparations that must go on in heaven to celebrate Christ's birth. The name Natasha means Child of Christmas. She chose to go home the day the Church starts using the special antiphons eight days before Christmas, probably to help with the preparations.

She will a saint in heaven, skipping and dancing around free of all the encumbrances that limited her physically. While we had been constantly praying for a miracle for Natasha we always asked for one only if it was God's will. God gave Natasha an unusually tough yet most gentle, accepting, and loving temperament that enabled her to bounce back repeatedly with a ready smile after enduring a procedure that would have made most adults cringe. He also gave us many smaller miracles to ensure we had time to get to enjoy her beautiful presence and personality before He took her into His all loving presence. For this we remain eternally grateful. We also remain always in the debt of all of you who loved her and faithfully prayed for her. We could not have done this without you. Now, remember that all of you have a saint in heaven praying you get there so she can thank you in person."

I say a prayer tonight for this family and for all those who are suffering, either physically or emotionally, as Christmas draws closer.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's been a while since I've written what I think of as my "Williams syndrome" posts, but tonight Shawn and I had one of those WS moments.

One of my friend's daughters had her four-year old birthday party tonight at a bounce facility - the kind of place with huge slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses, anything that can be filled with air! Our children were very excited. Jamie and Clare talked about the upcoming party all day, and even Simon wandered around the house saying, "Happy Birthday" (or his version of it!). Once we arrived, Jamie dove right in, and we barely saw him the rest of the evening. Simon needed more supervision, but even he was having fun exploring the bounce houses and discovered he loved walking on the cushions of air and collapsing everywhere. Clare, however, was a different story. She cautiously went into one of the houses (with our help), but almost immediately was overwhelmed by the kids, the bouncing, and the fact that she could not keep her balance (very hard for her to do on unstable ground with her low muscle tone). She wanted out. There was no crying or tantrums, but she ended up just walking around the room watching everyone else. At the other children playing and running and bouncing, red faces and flying limbs from having the time of their lives. Shawn commented to me in passing how hard this was to watch Clare in these situations. I wanted to sit in the middle of the floor and cry, but since I really didn't want to do that in the midst of relative strangers, I kept reminding him (and myself) that Clare was having fun in her own way.

The evening did go better. Eventually Clare became more confident and would enter a bounce house if the kids weren't too crazy or there were only a couple of other children in there. She did fall on her back and laugh and try to stand up, grinning from ear to ear. We brought her favorite cream cheese "sandwich" and milk (while the other kids had pizza and juice boxes), and she loved sitting on the picnic table benches with the other kids (she is starting to insist more frequently on sitting in a regular chair instead of her booster seat). She tried her cake (and left quite a nice portion for Mommy to finish!) and had fun watching the birthday girl open her presents. Every time a new wrapped present appeared, Clare would ask me, "What is it?" and eagerly wait to see what was unopened. I don't know if Clare realizes yet how she is different from other children. But I do, and it hurts.

The most interesting moment of the entire evening was when a little boy from the birthday girl's class arrived. My friend's daughter is one of the "typical" children in a side-by-side classroom with children with special needs. I am pretty sure this boy had Down syndrome. Clare instantly gravitated to him. She kept telling him, "come on," gesturing to the bounce house that she finally found herself comfortable in. The boy and his mom went into the bounce house with Clare, and she had a great time playing with them. This other mom was terrific, including Clare in their play. I wish I could have gone in there with them, but the big baby belly made that almost impossible (I can barely walk on solid ground these days!). And Shawn had his hands full following whirlwind Simon around. I was so glad to see Clare having fun, but at the same time, it still gives me such an ache to see that no one else wanted or attempted to play with Clare, except this other little boy that Clare approached. It made me wonder if that other mom felt the same way I did. But, like me, she had a huge smile on her face and was concentrating on making sure her little boy had a grand time.

I try to be brave and stay positive. Shawn brought it up again in the car on the way home, and I just kept saying that the main thing was that Clare had fun. Maybe she didn't have fun in the same way as the other kids did, but she did have fun. I know life is going to be like that over and over for Clare. She will not always be able to experience things the same way as other children. But I hope that the way she does experience her life is every bit as rewarding and wonderful. I hope she doesn't have the moments that I have sitting alone and crying because of the way she is different. We all love Clare so much, but it is not always easy to be her mommy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Clare's new favorite phrase is: "Leave me alone!" When I remind her that that is not nice and we talk nice to each other in our house, she responds, "Leave me alone, PLEASE!"

I wish I could scream the same thing sometimes!!! Oh, to be young again!