Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bumps and Bruises

I tell you... I think these kiddos inherited their mom's sense of grace (or lack thereof).

The other day, Bobby fell at the playground and skinned his knee to hell and back.  Then Maya fell in the pantry (which is like a small closet and I have NO idea how she managed this) and scraped her leg- this after falling off a toy box and scraping the holy goodness out of her back. 


So, we get back from vacation, and Bobby immediately gets hit with soft stool that turns into diarrhea.  (I know- aren't you glad you read my blog?).  No other symptoms of anything, and I write it up to me adding flax into our food.  (Thanks to a friend of mine, I know that flax can wreak havoc and cause apparently some explosive issues).  I thought it might possibly be a GI bug (because Peter wasn't feeling so awesome Monday night/Tuesday either) but Bobby had no fever and his behavior was normal.  He was happy and playing- just with explosive underpants that required me to scrub down the new carpet (fun!), new floors (fun- but not nearly as much as the carpet), and him.  It wasn't pretty.  Tuesday?  A HUGE explosion at school... on the playground... that resulted in an explosion of language as well, since he actually told me about the event. It was NASTY.  (Read: they do NOT pay the teachers and aides enough.)  One of the class aides actually told me that she'd burn the bag of his clothes if not for the fact that it contained his favorite pants and shoes... I mean- GROSS.  Super Gross.  By Wednesday, as much as it pained us, we were putting him in pull ups for part of the day because he was just unable to make it to the bathroom and it was as traumatic for him as it was a mess for us.  His behavior is still normal, no fever or symptoms of illness, just the bad poop.

Come yesterday, we were still doing this, although he was getting to the bathroom about 50% of the time.  I called the pediatrician, and was told it could take up to 4 WEEKS for it to pass and that, as long as he isn't running a fever, is eating and drinking normally, and is acting fine, then not to worry.  They recommended yogurt (which he will rarely if ever eat now, ever since he got a hold of my bowl of plain...) or a probiotic (I got one yesterday... now to see if he will take it!) and said it should work itself out.  Fun times.

In good news on that front, though, he is making it to the bathroom!  He went at school today and at home after lunch- both explosions of the nasty kind- but both times, no accident.  I was sad for him because he has finally really gotten the whole going-to-the-bathroom thing and understanding how his body feels when he needs to go, etc (and it only took a year... which may seem a long time for some folks, but from parents with kids anywhere on the Spectrum or with significant language concerns, we've gotten off easy!).  This was a setback emotionally for him, and I'm so proud of him for being able to make it now, even when he's struggling.  I'm sure we'll have more accidents before this works itself out, but still.

But back to bumps and bruises.... So, the kids go to school this morning and I go to Bible study.  Right before it starts, my phone rings and "Mater Dei" shows up on my caller ID.  Immediately, my mind races to Bobby and if he's had a potty issue so bad that the school has to call.  I answer and the woman identifies herself as one of the school nurses.  Great?  Is he sick?

No, it's Maya.  (To which I'm really thinking OH NO!)  Apparently, in gym, she fell- and smacked her head on the floor. Of course she did... Because she is as coordinated as I am! (I nearly tripped and fell in Bible study today- no joke....)  They brought her to the nurse because she had a knot immediately form (and it still looks like a giant red thumbprint!) but her eyes were reactive, she was talking and acting normally, and wasn't crying, so they said they'd keep an eye on her, and just wanted to let us know so that we could keep an eye on her in case she acted funny later on today.  Well, then her teacher tells me she also was playing and faceplanted again (this time in class!) for a second red bump.  JEEZ!!!  Two ice packs in one day... But, as Miss M said, not a single tear... she's super girl alright!  (This is Maya's new thing... telling me she's super girl....) 

We've avoided the ER (other than the choking scare at 3mo) and I'm feeling pretty happy to have to broken bones/broken teeth/stitches/etc, but come on!


Today is the day.  Today is when it all ended in Bobby and Maya's pregnancy. At 27w5d, contractions wouldnt stop and we delivered two, beautiful babies who had a long and winding road ahead of them that, thankfully, led back to us.  As of 7:20 tonight, little Michael, the youngest of our children, will be gestationally the oldest and this pregnancy journey will take an entirely new turn for me because I'll never have been 'this' pregnant anymore.

If someone had told me I'd be mowing grass and hedge trimming (27w2d) or putting in a flower border, trimming more hedges, and mulching (27w3d), or even that I'd still be able to pull Bobby and Maya in the wagon or go for walks and runs (27w4d), I think I'd have laughed.  I wanted to laugh, honestly, when Dr. Haney told me that this pregnancy would be normal... That I'd finish all of my P17 shots (9 more to go!)... That I'd hit the 3rd trimester with flying colors (2 more days!)... That I'd make it to our scheduled c/s (71 more days!)...  I mean, really- me?  Not after the pregnancy rollercoaster I'd been on for what felt like forever.

And yet, how can I doubt him?  I'm here- at this last day of pregnancy as I know it- and I still have this amazing little guy kicking away and sending me to the bathroom every 5 minutes!  This miracle that I never imagined in the first place becoming the miracle I could never even fathom in my wildest dreams.  Lucky, blessed, whatever you call it, each moment feels surreal at times and, as I walk by this youngest child's bedroom and ponder the idea that I might- I will- come home from the hospital with him in tow...  Blows my mind.  Absolutely.

So... New Pregnancy Journey?  Here we go...

Monday, April 29, 2013


As we end Autism Awareness Month, I thought I'd give a little shoutout to how well Bobby is progressing.

This last week in school hasnt been awesome, and he's been adjusting back to life post vacation.  But, that being said, it's still a far cry from where he was in September.  On Tuesday in gym class, he actually was able to listen and process the directions from the gym teacher and follow the instructions without assistance.  This is huge for him; typically, his aide has to give him the directions a time or two and walk him through the activity; sometimes he is able to particiapte, other times not.  But this time?  It was a go!  His aide took 2 videos for me and texted them to me; I cried.  It was so amazing to see him doing these 'typical' things, especially knowing how long it has taken to get to this point.

When we were on vacation, he experiented with a variety of new things.  His diet is pretty set; he likes what he likes and doesnt like new things.  But, we decided that, when we visited restaraunts, we wouldnt back alternatives.  He'd have to deal with what was on the menu.  And he did really well.  Our first meal out, all he ate were french fries and fruit and drank his lemonade.  But as vacation progressed, so did his eating.  When we were having lasagna with my inlaws, it took a while to get him to eat, but he eventually did, and we praised him for it.  That opened up more doors when we were out.  We've also been struggling to get him to eat with his fork, versus his hands.  It's slow going, but the other night at dinner?  Without prompting, he used his fork.  I realize, for the average 3 year old (and for Maya, even) this isn't breaking news. But for Bobby?  It's huge.  It shows such progress for him.

Last night, we had dinner with one of our priests.  Halfway through dinner, Maya declares she's done, so we let her wash her hands and go play with her trains.  Bobby sat through the entire dinner, ate his food, and when he was finished, waited for dessert (cake) and then ate that.  He was at the table, calmly, the entire time. 

Today, we went to the farm store for eggs, milk, and maple syrup.  The kids were told they could each get a sucker.  When we got to the counter, the suckers needed to be weighed so I could pay for them.  It took prompting, but Bobby handed over his sucker and because he wanted it back, said "Share?  Share?" to the cashier.  He did start to cry because she 'took it away' (to weigh it) but when she brought it back, he smiled and thanked her.  I apologized for the crying, and the woman was like, "Oh, that's normal." and it struck me that, hey, maybe it is! 

Yesterday, we went to Mass and then the monthly Knights of Columbus breakfast; we got home late morning and were walking around the yard, looking at flowers.  One of our neighbors (not one with young kids- their kids are actually our age) was out.  We see her and her husband in their yard and say hi, but the kids have never spent any real time with them other than social niceties.  Bobby runs across the yard to G, gives her a hug, and says "Good morning".  Peter told me he's also been saying "Good morning" or "Hello" when he passes people on the street as they walk to the playground.  Peter took them before lunch yesterday and they passed a neighbor that we dont know a few blocks up in his yard.  Bobby walked up to him and said "Good morning" and then, as they were leaving after some chitchat, Bobby told him "See you later."  Again, for a typical 3 year old, this is probably nothing huge. But at 3, Bobby still was having a hard time making eye contact, wouldnt talk even when talked to on a regular basis, and never said hello or goodbye; it was tough with prompting.  Now, at 3 and a half, with lots of intervention, he is doing those things.  He's had therapy since he was 27 months old; he's now 44 months old.  Those 17 months have been huge.  Especially when you think that the majority of those therapy hours have been only in the last 7 months (since he turned 3). 

He's always been  snuggle muffin, but lately he's been telling me, out of the blue, that he loves me.  If he gets pissed off about something, he loves to tell you that you are 'stinky'. (And, when you tell him "Mommy's not stinky", he'll break into the most beautiful smile and then remind you that no, you arent stinky... It's adorable.)  He understands the potty and has made a huge deal of going (and going again if he feels like he's not done). 

At times, he's 9-12 months behind Maya in things, but I wouldnt have him any other way.  There are days where I am at the end of my rope and where I literally cannot take anymore.  But, he's still perfect.  Those issues are mine.  I dont know who Bobby would be if he were someone else, and I dont care.  I feel so blessed and honored because he is my son and he's the most wonderful little guy I could have asked for, challenges and all.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Man... today... Good grief!  Normally, our Fridays are interesting because Bobby has OT, then we go and pick up my dad for a visit; he stays with us all day and, after dinner and bath, Peter (and the kids) take him home. Today, we have an afternoon playdate and those friends for dinner.  So, we decided we'd still do the visit with my dad, but I'd need to take him home by 3pm so I could be back by 4pm for the playdate.  Which means, putting Bobby and Maya to nap earlier than normal so they could be up after a good block (or so that, when I wake them up, they've had a good nap).  Well... that bumps lunch up.  Lunch was okay but nap?  No one wanted to go to sleep.  What normally takes me 5-10 minutes took 35 minutes.  About 20 minutes in, my patience was wearing thin and, by half an hour, I was aching all over from standing up in their bedroom and trying every trick possible to get them to sleep.  By the time they were settled and I left, every muscle in my body ached. 

And my dad?  Asleep on the couch.  And snoring like a freight train.  Have I ever mentioned how much I really HATE snoring?  It's worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.

But, here we are.  27w1d...  Nurse called this morning with my 1 hour results: 144.  To pass, I needed 130 or less.  Now, let's put this is perspective.  Some OBs use 140 as the cutoff; others, use the (old) cutoff of 150.  Mine uses the guidelines put in place a few years ago, of 130.  So, I failed.  I've read up on the test and, apparently, drinking water can skew the results, but whatever.  The more I read, the more ticked off I am.  Because I have the GD history, I want to know whether or not I've developed it.  But I want to know that with a test that has better result (which apparently doesnt exist).  You can say "90% of patients fail the 1 hr; 15% fail the 3 hr; but only 4% of people really have GD" and expect that to raise levels of patient confidence.  My first trimester/early trimester A1C3 test was fine, as was the 27w one.  This alone shows that, in recent history, my pancreas is functioning fine and I'm not having issues.  When I had a blood test post lunch, it came back well within range.  So, honestly, I'm not really concerned.  But I want to know.

However, I declined the 3 hour glucose challenge.  I'm not going to fast for 12 hours; the 4 hour fast was awful.  I had a terrible headache, I started to feel naseaus, and after ingesting 50g of glucose, I felt lightheaded and wired; when I was driving to the appointment, it felt like my hands were drumming the steering wheel even though they werent moving.  Yeah... I'd really like to not do that- times three.  Not to mention, I'd have to spend 4 hours at the lab; with Bobby and Maya, that is impossible.  My MIL is out of commission because of her knee surgery; at this point, she still isn't okay with the kids for that long.  Right now, Peter is missing several hours of work each time I have an OB appointment because he has to come home and stay with the kids.  That leads to a nightmare of an afternoon because then he's late getting home from work, and the kids are upset.  There's no way in hell I'm taking the kids to the lab and there's no one that I think they (especially Bobby) would be okay with for a four hour stint.  I thought about doing it while the kids are in school, but I cant; I have to be at school 45min before drop off so that I can be first in line, per the school's request; otherwise, Bobby has a meltdown that they can't handle.  So, no... Cant do it.  Wont do it.

The nurse told me that she thought, since I had drank water and the results werent terrible, that Dr. B. would probably be okay with me repeating the 1hr.  I also volunteered to do finger sticks post meals to determine whether or not I'd need insulin.  My diet is actually quiet good; way better than it was with Bobby and Maya's pregnancy.  I dont mind looking into modifications, should that be needed.  But with my level of activity combined with eating fairly well, I dont think that GD is really a factor in this pregnancy.  That being said, I'm not opposed to making changes if they are needed.  But I'm not taking the 3hr.  There are other options.

I'm up constantly during the night and Fridays suck because the P17 shot is getting more painful as my sciatica gets worse.  But feeling those kicks and punches...  So worth it.  Today's shot was pretty awful; the shot itself was fine, but the sciatica... Oh how it keys up the pain.  Once the shot is in, if the sciatica starts, it just gets worse and worse.  I was on the verge of tears this morning; it felt like a giant muscle spasm in my butt and leg, and oh... how it hurt.  Thankfully, although the aftershock is still there, the spasm part is done.  But ugh... sucks!

Michael loves to move and shake :)  As each day passes and we get closer and closer to his delivery (75 days!!!!), I am just getting more and more excited to see the little guy on the outside.  And so are Bobby and Maya!  Watching their excitement and joy is such a neat experience.

I'm so ready to take a nap!  That's not to be for today, but a girl can dream!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


It is amazing to think that, in 5 days time (gestationally), Bobby and Maya were born.  Just not ready...  The nursery is ready, Bobby and Maya are definitely ready, but little baby Michael is still baking.  And hopefully will be for another 11 weeks or so!

I saw Dr. B. yesterday and the appointment was okay.  Michael was sleeping and it was neat watching him just sort of lay there... Normally he's up and at it, kicking me, kicking at the u/s pressure, you name it.  But yesterday, he had his little hands near his face and, while his heartbeat was going steady and his little brain was clearly working, he was at rest (which changed an hour later, when I ate some MUCH craved for Mexican food...)  Dr. B. mentioned that, sans a cerclage, he'd be a tad worried, since if my membranes ruptured, the cord could prolapse (based on the transverse, back up way Michael was sleeping).  But, since I have the TAC in place, he said a rupture would just be cause to get to the hospital ASAP but not to fear a cord prolapse. 

My TAC looked good and I had a lot of healthy (and closed!) cervix beneath it. Yay!  All good!  At this point with Bobby and Maya, I had no cervix left and was periodically dilating.  So this is amazing!

But the appointment was just okay and not great for 2 reasons.  Dr. B. stressed that he's not worried at this point and that we shouldn't be either; but, for full disclosure, he wanted to mention two things he saw that he wants to keep an eye on and that made him recommend another Level 2 u/s with MFM at 32 weeks.  First, there was only 5mm or so between my uterus and bladder.  To put it in perspective (since I dont have measurements handy for the proper amount), imagine looking at the image of bladder next to uterus and seeing about a fingernail's width between, when you want to see a knuckle or so.  There was no expansion (meaning, there was no buldge to the uterus) which would signal impending rupture, but the fact that they were so close together means that my uterus is thinning.  It could be a result of B&M's c/s, it could just be the way my body is made.  We didn't see this with B&M's pregnancy (and clearly, my uterus was wwwwaaaayyyy bigger back then), so it is something he wants to just keep an eye on.  If my uterus grows a yamulka, then I'm in the hospital; he's never had a patient rupture at home and has said the only ruptures he's seen first hand were during the pushing phase, but since I can't get to the pushing phase and contractions could cause the rupture because the TAC wouldn't let me dilate to relieve the pressure, he said that was something he wouldn't want to risk.  Signs of rupture at home would include such an intense pain that I wouldnt be able to see straight and he told me to call him ASAP and be en route to the hospital.  But, again, stressing, that is NOT what he forsees happening; he just likes to be prepared, and one of the things I love about him is that I've never felt caught out of the blue with information.  He has always been up front about things that could/might happen and what he's seeing, and I'm glad he's proactive. 

The other thing, and again, not a big deal at this point, was that he said I may have too much amniotic fluid.  He didn't do an AFI and said that, with only one ultrasound showing it combined with the fact that Michael was sleeping and he didnt want to wake him up just to try and get a better image, this isn't a big deal.  Just something to look at when I come in for my 30 week appointment and a second reason to have MFM give it a look with the high resolution u/s.  One u/s does not high AFI make.  He said that so much of it is how the baby is moving and, since Michael was low and you could barely see fluid beneath him because of where he was laying, it's possible we were seeing more above him because of that alone.  The next u/s would give us a better direction of if this is even a problem.  Same with the uterus/bladder distance.

So, he's not worried.  Honestly, I'm not worried either.  I gave this pregnancy, for better or worse, over to the Divine a long time ago.  Whatever is going to happen, I can't stop.  I can only do my best and be my healthiest.  I know that, should Michael need to be born today, he has excellent odds in a great NICU.  I don't want that, but there's no reason to obsess over something I can't change anyway.

Dr. B. told me to keep running (ahem... jogging), keep eating and gaining weight (are you insane???!!!!), and to keep up with the kiddos, meditation, and yoga because, clearly, they are all coming together to make for a really great pregnancy. :)  So, that's that.  Following doc's orders, Sarah and I laced up last night and I taught yoga on Tuesday, so this week already looks textbook! :)  (And I definitely gained weight from vacation!)

I had my 1 hour glucose challenge yesterday as well; results should be back this afternoon.  As an added bonus, Dr. B. tossed in an A1C3 test to see a more long-distances view of my sugars.  On a not-so-great sidenote, when I called to ask how long I needed to fast, the desk told me 4 hours and that I could drink water throughout.  I double checked this and they said, yep, water was fine.  So, I go in with my nurse to do the bloodwork and we go over the whole "did you fast" thing and I say yes, but that I had water and she was like "NO!!!!!".  Apparently, you are NOT supposed to drink water during the 'fast'.  Fun times.  She said that 90% of patients fail (which leads me to ask WTF we are making everyone do this??? Me, I understand; I had GD in a previous pregnancy, but why the mainstream, when only 4% of people actually develop GD???) and that, most likely, I'll have to come back for the 3 hour.  Great. Awesome.  Because I can think of nothing better to do that to have a 3 hour glucose challenge on the back of a 12 hour fast.  A-W-E-S-O-M-E.  So, anyone else drink water during the time they were supposed to be fasting (and even after they did the challenge but before the blood draw)?  Pass? Fail?   I'll find out my results later today! 

So, no pic of Baby Haytko because he refused to cooperate and decided it was naptime, but so far, still so good, I'd say!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


This is a day that I feel so overwhelmed with emotion- good and sad.  We are one week out from the gestation that Bobby and Maya were born.  And, around 10w ago gestationally, it was when I went into the hospital with Alexander, after taking a prenatal yoga class.

10w later from that and, tonight, I just taught a yoga class.  Not even a prenatal one, but a regular, hatha class to a group of teenage girls and their moms.  As I went through the positions, there wasn't fear that something would happen or that I'd come home tonight and labor would start.  There was a pang of sadness at remembering how my yoga journey with Alex ended, and how it never even really began with Bobby and Maya (save the meditation aspect that was a daily routine).  But this time... How different this time has been and continues to be.

I'm so overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and strangers alike.  I bought some baby clothes (up through 9mo) off craigslist, by a local EMT who was getting rid of her son's clothes (he's a summer birthday as well, so the sizes would be good matches with Michael).  Yesterday, a friend of ours offered to drop off some clothes her sons had outgrown- and she brought 4 HUGE garbage bags (like the ones for outside work).  In addition to that, at Bobby and Maya's Easter Party at school, one of the moms struck up a conversation with me, including 'when are you due' and then offered to pass on some of her youngest child's items.  I hadnt thought much of it, until she knocked on my car window in the pick-up line today- with 3 bags in hand.  One bag was full of clothes, the other two of infant appropriate toys.  She's a relative stranger; I know her to say hi at Mass and know that her son is in the twins' class, but we've never emailed or hung out.  I was amazed by the generosity and kindness.  Now, Michael is dressed until he's 2!  (NO JOKE!)  All the 0-2T clothes I had gotten rid of because I didnt think there'd be another little guy (or gal) to dress in them... and now, others have shared with us.  Our garage has bags of things that are 3mo+ and I'm just amazed each time that I look at them.

One of the moms tonight asked when I was due, and when I said "about 11 weeks", it dawned on me just how close we really are.  We really are almost there.  Over the hump of viability, but close to the point of safety, too... Of the third trimester (8 days to go!!!)... Of "full term"/  It still blows my mind every second that I think of it, or each time a kick moves my belly, or when I realize that we have a really good chance this time of leaving the hospital with our baby in tow.

Amazing.  Truly, absolutely, amazing.

(Fingers Crossed for a good appt. with Dr. B. tomorrow!  It's almost my 1-hr glucose challenge!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Apple Muffins

Originally posted here

I made these delicious apple muffins up this morning. They aren't overly sweet and (I think) have a nice, earthy quality to them.

1. Preheat oven to 350. To prepare, dice 2 small-medium apples (I used pink ladies). Also, mix 1tbsp ground flax with 3tbsp water, and put aside.

2. Mix together: 1.5c AP flour, .5c AP whole wheat flour, 1tsp baking powder, .5tsp baking soda, .5tsp salt.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine and mix on low until well combined: 1/4c plain Greek yogurt, 1/4c unsweetened applesauce, 2tbsp oil, 1 egg, flax mixture (from step #1), 1tbsp vanilla, 2/3c sugar.

4. Mix in the diced apples (from step #1).

5. Add the flour mixture to wet ingredients and blend on "stir" setting. The dough will be very sticky. Divide into 12 muffin tins.

6. Mix together: 3tbsp brown sugar, 2tbsp hazelnut meal, 1tsp cinnamon, 1tbsp butter. Mix with your fingers until crumbly (a cornmeal texture) and sprinkle evenly over each muffin.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Can you believe it?  Only 80 days to go!  Less than 3 months... less than 12 weeks...  This is getting insane.  In 9 days, I'll be at my last day of known pregnancy; 10 days, and I'll be the most pregnant I've ever been.  EVER.  That seems so surreal to me.

We were actually on vacation this last week (another post about that once I we are unpacked and I've gotten pictures uploaded), but talk about things that are just feeling crazy to me.  I went on vacation... hours away from my doctor... 2 hours away from a NICU that would be able to handle Michael if he were born now and a good half hour from a regular hospital... And without fear.  I ran (only once... there was just so much other stuff to do), and we did so much stuff with the peanuts.  From going to the childrens museum to horseback riding (Maya- not me!), and hitting the water park twice (me! in water! swimming! and I'm pregnant- I never would have thought that would have been a possibility for me!), we were busy and had a blast.  Bobby and Maya had even more fun than we did.  They especially loved the water park and the big slides, but they also loved the open play at a kid gym; being able to help them in these activities felt huge to me.  (No pun intended.)  Other than sticking to decaf, having no wine even when in wine country, and having my P17 shot on Friday, it was a pretty normal vacation.  I'm glad we were able to get in some great Bobby and Maya time before Michael arrives; I think this will be helpful to them.

Still running but uber slow.  On my vacation run, I ended up doing a little less than 2 miles in 30 minutes (which included a bathroom break a mile in).  So, slow.  But again, I'm feeling pretty amazed by the fact that I'm running at all.  Yoga is nice too (in fact, I'm teaching a class on Tuesday night), but I'm really not able to bend as much as I used to.  I'm still flexible but my belly popped a second time and I'm just unable to actually get there!

Aches and pains arent as bad as they were with Bobby and Maya (probably because I'm active and moble) but I do have some pretty nasty sciatica in my left butt cheek (sometimes the right, but the left is the worst and it's daily).  I get leg cramps at night sometimes, but just standing and walking for a few seconds takes care of that.  I also can no longer sleep on my back; even rolling over to my back is uncomfortable.  I've taken to being on my left side; when I start to get numb (I'm usually a stomach sleeper so my sides arent ideal), I move to my right, but I rarely get comfortable enough to go back to sleep.  I still get headaches and sometimes migraines within the day or few days post my P17 shot.  But, overall, nearly to the 3rd trimester (11 days!!!!!!!!!!) and feeling really good!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

From This Moment

From this moment life has begun... From this moment you are the one... Right beside you is where I belong from this moment on.

From this moment I have been blessed; I live only for your happiness and for your love I'd give my last breath- from this moment on.

I give my hand to you with all my heart.  I can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start. You and I will never be apart.My dreams came true because of you.

From this moment, as long as I live,I will love you- I promise you this. There is nothing I wouldn't give from this moment on.

You're the reason I believe in love and you're the answer to my prayers from up above. All we need is just the two of us. My dreams came true because of you

From this moment, as long as I live,I will love you- I promise you this. There is nothing I wouldn't give from this moment on.

I will love you as long as I live from this moment on.

(Twain/Lange, (c)1997, From This Moment On)


It's strange to think that fifteen years ago, Peter and I first laid eyes on each other and that, in that moment, life changed forever.

In spite of the years and the ups and downs, there's still no one else I'd rather wake up to and go to sleep with each night. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


I have kept a journal for all the children.  I normally wouldnt share my entires, but today it just feels right, rather than blogging about what pregnancy symptoms there are, to just share what I wrote in Michael's journal today.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I'm sitting outside on the deck as the wind blows, heralding a storm that is moving through the mountains.  It's beautiful here.  The mountains disappear into clouds and fog, the birds are siging, and the breeze- though filled with the humidity that signals impending rain- is fresh and clear.

We took the kids to see the animals today.  Maya rode a pony (a contrast to last year when Bobby rode but Maya refused) and both enjoyed the petting zoo.  Afterward, we drove 12 miles away to an indoor market.  The kids had fun playing with the Thomas and Friends display and enjoyed fresh pretzels.  We had lunch there and got some homemade chocolate (which you seem to like!  You have become VERY active each time I've had a bite of dark chocolate pecan toffee!).  We're trying to figure out a fun evening activity for them, since the rain knocked out our mini-golf plans.  We're thinking a local kids gym for some fun before dinner.

And yet, with all of this happiness- watching Bobby and Maya have a blast, vacationing with our wonderful family, the extra time with your dad whom I love more than words can say, your moving around happily and safely inside- even with all of these joys, my heart is heavy.

On Monday, while we were enjoying our first full day of vacation, three bombs went off at the Boston Marathon- a marathon I'd planned to run but opted out of after we learned of you- killing three, one of whom was an eight year old boy, and injuring nearly 200.  Later, a factory explosion in Texas killed and wounded others, the exact count of which isnt yet known.  Back to Boston, the City went on lockdown after the two bombing suspects killed a police officer and then engaged in a car chase, where they threw bombs at the following.  Ultiamtely, it ended in a shoot out, where a cop and a 26 year old suspect were killed; the 19 year old suspect hasnt been caught yet.  All of these families... destroyed and anguished- all while I am on vacation.  My heart hurts.  My soul aches.

School shootings a few months ago rocked the country, especially those of us with young kids in school.  War looms.  And now the tragedies of this week.  I love you and cant wait to bring you into this world and yet I question the world you will enter.  It breaks me to think your greatest safety lies inside the womb when your ultimate destiny leads you here, to a place I can neither contain nor control.

Control, I know, is just an illusion and yet- it is that illusion that fuels my taking our kids to the park, to school, out into the world.  The illusion that secures my knowledge that your dad will come home every day.  The illusion that helps me sleep at night.

And yet, it is just smoke and mirrors.  I know that, but I lament it all the same.

Sleep tight in my womb, little one.  Enjoy the tastes of toffee, the voices of your brother and sister as they read to you, the snuggles of your dad as he hugs you tightly through my belly.  Keep safe thse next dozen weeks, knowing just how loved you are.


I grew up with nightmares that could rival your best horror films.  Now, part of that, I'm sure is because with my dad's love of scary movies, we saw them all... I think I was around 3 (or so he tells me) when I sat on his lap and watched the Exorcist; the first movie I actually "remember" sitting in his lap for, though, was Halloween II, which I was an toddler for (the first he remembers me being with him was Superman II, in the theater, and based on that, I was a tiny newborn, although he also says I saw Star Wars (V) with him, which would have still made me an infant!. So, clearly, I grew up with a head full of issues.)

I think dear old Dad was a bit sad when I told him that we restricted what the kids watch, as it relates to TV and film.  (My FIL, too, while not a horror movie buff, doesnt understand either why the kids cant watch Patton, his favorite film.)  We arent huge on TV anyway, although as they've gotten older, they have seen more stuff, but especially when it comes to movies, there arent 3 year olds watching scary movies or violent movies in our house. 

That being said, I love a good horror film.  Peter and I watched (although in 2 sittings, just based on the time we had), An American Werewolf in London (which is one of his faves and another my dad took an infant to see at the movies!) just the other day.  And if I could force him to sit through my favorites (the original Halloween and Halloween II which must be watched one after the other!), I would, but he's not as into "scary" as I am and, those still make me jump, even though I've seen them thousands of times.   We dont watch stuff like this nearly as often as we did prekids (in fact, I think the last time I saw the Halloween saga was when I was on bedrest with Bobby and Maya in the hospital... I tried watching it when it came on TV around Halloween and, while it played in the background, I was busy doing other stuff and just caught pieces.)  Our TV time is spent with PBS Kids or Signing Time or something from the Dreamworks family of movies when we have family movie night.

But clearly... it's not film that causes imagination or nightmares.  I used to think that my overactive imagination owed itself partly to the fact that I grew up in cinema houses or with a very good knowledge of how to work the VCR.  There were other factors, too, of course, but I figured that, with all of those characters running around in my brain as I tried to fall asleep, it was probable they'd end up in a dream or something, so when I had a nightmare as a kid (or sometimes even now...), I blame the movies (and my Mom blamed my Dad... :) ).

Bobby and Maya are active dreamers, Miss M especially.  She talks in her sleep and will often have engaged nightmares that, while they dont wake her, wake the rest of us.  One that I remember quite clearly was about a spider.  I'm not sure when she decided she didnt like spiders (and especially not webs); we arent the squash-it! type and other than relocating them outside if they are inside, I dont recall her ever seening any fear-driven response to spiders, but regardless, she doesnt like them.  She will inspect any playground equipment for webs and before playing, wants Peter to take care of it.  One night, she was screaming and he went in to calmn her; I could her him talking to her quietly, but couldnt make out what he was saying.  By the time he came back to bed a few minutes later, we were both still tired, she was quiet, and we went back to sleep.

The next morning, Maya filled me in.  There was a giant spider in her bed that came from the web that was on her window (there was a TINY web outside the screen, of her window, which was closed.) It was crawling on her bed and on her, but Daddy took care of it.  For days after, when I'd go to put her down for nap or we'd get ready for bed, we'd have to shake out her sheets/blanket to show her that Daddy had indeed vanquished the spider.  She'd retell the story, finish with "Daddy fixed it.", and onto bed she'd go. 

She still talks in her sleep; some stuff is about the day ("Bobby dont take that!") but some is clear dream based imagination.  It's never happy stuff; it's always filled with whine or light cry or something.  But she rarely (in fact, I cant think of a time that it actually woke her... we usually wake her if the nightmare seems really bad) wakes.

Bobby, on the other head, seems to be like me where he has to really wind down to go to sleep (at night with anyone, but at nap with anyone but me), but then is out... unless he is gripped by a nightmare.  That kid actually has had night terrors, and they are heartbreaking.  One evening, we awoke to the most blood curdling screams.  Both of us bolted for their room, but Peter got to Bobby first.  His bright brown eyes were open and he was standing in bed, screaming.  But he didnt see us; he looked at us, but he was still so out of it that, whenever someone touched him, he just screamed harder.  We finally had to turn the lights on, keep saying his name, and finally we were able to wake him up.  He blinked, his eyes looked way different (like was actually seeing us), and he started to say our names while crying. He was exausted and terrified.  He wanted Peter that night, and I think Peter actually ended up holding him to have him fall asleep.  Because he was pretty much nonverbal then, I still have no idea what he drempt.

Last night was similar.  Around 1:30am, we woke to a chilling scream and then the scream of "DADDDYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Like a flash, Peter was in their room, and Bobby was screaming and sobbing.  He brought him into our room to try and avoid waking Maya, so we could try and calm him.  Still whining and upset, Bobby settled between us and then rolled into my arms when I turned over to him.  I kept soothing him that he was okay, that Mommy and Daddy were here and he was safe.  I asked him (not really expecting much of an answer) if he had a bad dream, and he actually said "Chased. Legs." and kept trying to put his legs over my stomach so I could hold them.  I'm assuming that, in his dream, something/someone was chasing him or he was being chased and his legs were hurt.  I held him with one arm and stroked his legs with the other. He eventually wanted me to lay on my back so he could lay on my chest, like when he was an infant.  Being pregnant, I can barely lay on my right side (which I was at the time I was snuggling him), and my back is now out of the picture.  So, to be helpful, Peter took him.

Poor little Bobby.  He started to cry a bit, then stopped, pushed himself off the bed, walked around to my side. I'd had to turn on my left by this point, and he just stood on the floor, laying his head down by my breast.  It broke my heart.  I scooted over and pulled him into bed with me and just held him.  We were chest to chest and he threw his legs over my hip, so I could hold them.  His breathing eventually settled and he fell asleep in minutes.  I can only assume that he subconsciously remembers kangarooing when he was an infant and maybe there is something about being heart to heart or feeling my breathing on his head/face that reminds him of a safe time.

But the kid is tall...  Eventually, he moved to the point that I was holding him, but it was all on my left arm to keep his lanky body from falling off the bed.  Peter had fallen asleep so I nudged him and he took Bobby back to his own bed, an hour and a half after the waking began.  Everyone is still asleep, even now, although I'm sure my little guy will be up and snuggling with me in a few minutes... He's typically my first-to-wake snuggle muffin! :)

Peter and I had joked while watching An American Werewolf...  It was Robert's favorite movie and they watched it in childhood.  Anyone who has seen it knows that there are a number of really non-kid appropriate parts (outside of the horror aspect of it), and I love to rib him about what he must have been thinking.  In fact, during one part, he's like, "Oh, I never even noticed that until now!" (The movie is from 1981... he's seen it A LOT... It's funny that it can still give him something he's never seen.)  But last night, after putting Bobby back into bed, he admitted that he was grateful our kids have never seen it (and by extension, other scary movies) because he'd have blamed himself had Bobby walked in on the movie playing and then had a nightmare. 

I get that now.  When I was 8 years old, my parents, little brother, and I went to the anticipated release of Halloween 4.  It had been 7 years since the second movie had come out and my dad especially, but me too!!!, had nearly bubbled over with excitement.  That night, in the darkness of my room, I could not go to sleep.  I kept seeing that white mask everywhere (thanks to light from outside playing on the things in my room) and would cry out for my mom.  Mom (not a scary movie fan at all and who just got dragged along to these things) wasnt too happy, but Dad told me later that he felt very guilty.  He had developed a love of movie make-up and horror film because of an intense childhood fear of clowns (I also dont care for clowns... curious...).  In an effort to try and scare himself out of the fear, he learned all he could about make-up and the movies and, eventually, his fear turned into a love of the craft. He had thought that, by exposing us to the stuff early, we would never have the fear.  Our Halloweens were filled with having our faces cast in plaster, masks and teeth made to fit us perfectly, and make-up sessions that lasted hours.  He would spend the summer months preparing our Halloween outfits; they are memories that I still treasure. 

My having a nightmare about the movies made him sad because that was what he was trying to avoid.  I  can say that most of my nightmares dont include movie images, and that I fully understand what my dad was trying to accomplish, even as we go about it from the opposite side.  I guess I see the world as a scary enough place; Michael Meyers and wolfmen... these are the things I can process and understand.  Bombings, child abuse... these are things I cant and they are way scarier than anything John Carpenter or Rick Baker can put on film. 

I cant save my kids from the world and it seems, it is their worlds (in spite of monitoring and limiting their exposure to movies and even the real "news") that fill their minds and cause sweet (or really sour) dreams.  It pains me to know that they experience real fear; it is a comfort to know that, at this age, Mommy and Daddy can still fix it.  Just like my own father explaining to me that the characters in the film were just people in make up or mask, or my mother showing me that what I was seeing was just light reflecting on class and that, by moving one or the other, the image faded, we can hold them and slay their spiders or whisper their demons away.  I know that wont always be true.  One day, they will know about the Newtown, CT and the Bostons, and there will be nothing I can say that will ease their hearts.  They will face avoidable tragedy and my hugs will only be a warm reminder that I'm still here for them- and will always be- instead of the solace that takes away all of the anguish and hurt.  Right now, we still have the super powers that make the bad go away, and return safety where there was once fear.  But, I know that will go away.  It will change.

Perhaps that is what made Dad so sad when I was a kid.  He realized that, just maybe, his SuperDad status was starting to change...  If a nightmare could replace the understanding of just how faked all the movies were, then what else would change?  What else would he not be able to save us from? 

My mom tells a funny story of when I was learning to walk.  Apparently, we had a cornered coffee table (I dont remember this at all) and it was the grip-and-furniture-surf tool of choice for me.  As I began to slowly gain balance and walk on my own, there was this constant fear that I would stumble into the table and take out an eye or, at best, get a nice, scar-worthy gash on my forehead.  So my parents did what any rational parents of a new walker would do: they buffered the table- with themselves.  They would follow me around, arms outstretched, ready to catch any stumble or fall.  My mom was a petite, 5'2 woman who was maybe a size 8 back; my dad has always been a big guy: 6'1, 230 pounds or so when I was a kid isnt a  stretch.  To imagine especially this hunk of guy, crouched down, trying to protect a tiny toddler brings a smile.  They could have just moved the table or even covered the edges with padding; I mean, learning to walk doesnt take forever.  But instead, they put themselves between me and the pain.

I guess as parents, that is what we always try to do, in both the concrete and the abstract.  At some point, reality sets in and we realize that we are just a buffer and that things can get through anyway.  But I want to hang out to SuperMom status for as long as possible.  (And, on that note, I think I'll snuggle the little guy whom I hear getting out of his bed...)

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Last night was like any other night.  The kids had their bath, got into their jams, read their books, and then we did prayers, songs, and lights out.  I went to bed while Peter did the last tucking in, and then, a minute or so later, he joined me.  In the silence of the night, I hear shuffling in the hallway and then this little voice in the dark, "Stinky... In Potty?"

Peter is up in an instant and picked Bobby, who is in our bedroom at this point, up, saying "Good job.  Let's go potty."  Into the bathroom they went and, success!  Bobby went to the bathroom, Peter gave him lots of praise, I told him "Great job!" when he was finished, and Peter took him back to bed.  And then we both were whispering "YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" when Peter came back.  After the 2 nights of poop and then the nights of back to normal, I'll take this as a huge score!


26 weeks is here!  With Bobby and Maya, this was such a huge goal.  Dr. B. came by my room one day when I was on bedrest with them, explaining just how much better from 24w the statistics for 26 weekers would be... How the hospital had a 90% success rate saving 26w old babies and that, of those, only 10% would have issues of concern.  It was such a goal to get there with them; Dr. B and his staff even sent flowers.  I debated sending him the flowers, but since I'll see him next week, I figured I'd bring him something to celebrate what will then be, our 27w appt.

Feeling good.  I did have to buy some bigger bras.  I suppoes I shouldnt feel too bad since I was going to have to replace them before, but it was quite a shock to have to go up a bra and cup size larger (from 38D to 40DD).  That was a bit of a hit since I really was so excited to drop bra sizes as I lost weight.
Belly Love @ 26w

And on the topic of weight, I'll admit that it is getting harder for me to see the scale rise.  Dr. B. isnt concerned at all and said that he thinks my weight gain has been excellent, but still... To see everything getting larger and larger... When you made the promise to yourself that you wouldnt get 'that' big again. It's a "fat" thing; I know that.  In my head, I'm still struggling with being overweight, even at a healthy weight.  Pregnancy, clearly, changes a mother's weight and that change is good for the baby in many cases.  I know that Michael is benefiting by my habits, but at the same time, I have to remind myself that I'm not 'getting fat'; I'm gestating a baby.  This is all part of the journey and eating balanced meals (with the ocassional splurge here and there) is good for him and me.  And, as Dr. B. says, he has full confidence that I'll lose whatever I've gained once the baby is born.  (From his mouth to the gods of weight loss's ears!)  But, for the most part, this stuff is held at bay; every now and again, it hits me and I have a sense of lack of control or upsetness.  Remembering the miracle of this entire journey helps.  (Along with Peter's helpful words!)

26w belly

But, things are going really well.  Pregnancy is going well.  Kids are super excited.  We're excited. :)  I do get tired a bit more easily and, if I push myself harder during the day, it's not uncommon for me to have some Braxton Hicks in the evening.  Usually though, I'm just ready to crash by 7:30.  I made dinner, clean up, and want the couch.  I'm glad Peter enjoys being such a hands on dad, because I am wiped completely out come evening.  Running helps keep my energy up, I think; getting in a morning run tends to bode well for a good day. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Yesterday, while the kids napped (and Peter napped too), I laced up and went out for a run.  It was just shy of 2 miles and took me three times as long to finish as it should have (or, I should say, as it would have... or as it did last August, when I last ran this course.)  It was hilly and, even with the spring temps, in the full sun, was enough to work up a sweat; I was glad I knew where there was a potty (at a park) because, midway through (even though I went before I left!), I had to pee again (thanks Michael!  and again when I got back!).  I was slow.  I will count my shuffle step as a jog because it felt like running but, when the guy on the riding lawn mower is pretty much 'chicking' you at every pass, you know that you are on the reeeeaaaalllly slow side.  I didnt pass any other runners, but there were people working out and enjoying the gorgeous day, especially at the park (where we'd taken the kiddos earlier).  As I rounded the bend and saw our car- a glorious sight!!- I slowed to a walk and, in that moment, already couldnt wait to be running again.

Because running is one of those things.  To non-runners, it's hard to explain.  Peter will run with me on ocassion.  He doesnt like it (okay, he pretty much hates it... if there was something else on the list to do, he'd do it in spades before having to run), but he knows how much I love it, so he takes one for the team and will run with me every now and again.  (In fact, he may run with me today!  And he'll love it more because with his gumby long legs, he'll be able to walk and keep up with me!).  He even will take Bobby, who inherited my love of it, out for runs.  But he doesn't get it.  And honestly, he most likely never will.  He's not a runner.  And that's okay; it's not for everyone.

Ask someone why they run and you'll get a slew of answers; none of them are wrong.  Unlike many other sports and activities, it's such an interesting field of athletes.  We are thin and fat, talk and short, fast and slow.  And we look at every other runner (no matter what) with awe and happiness, no matter if they are the fattest, slowest, last place finisher of a race we took care of an hour before, or if they are the Adonis that ran by Sarah and I at our first triathlon, leading the elite athletes.  It doesnt matter; because you are there... You are working it... You are in the zone.  A friendly wave by a runner you pass, a fellow jogger saying "I know it's hard, but you can take this hill", an elite on the corner while you still have miles to go and they have their medal in hand saying  "You're doing great."  This- this is our sport.  This is part of what makes us who we are.

There isnt a lot of money in it.  Most "professional" runners have to hold down jobs in addition to logging major miles a week, fitting in naps and good nutrition, and hoping to score prize money by winning races.  And yet... The millions arent there, but the love of the sport is.  And the love of their fellow athletes and all those who come out to support races is.

There was huge talk after Hurricane Sandy about the NYC Marathon.  Should it have been canceled?  Should it not have been?  NYCM is a HUGE opportunity for runners around the world; being in it and not being able to run it was a slap.  But many ran anyway.  Not to give a middle finger to the world around them that was in ruins but to give of themselves.  They ran their 26 miles wherever they could, giving of their bodies, of their souls as they contemplated the destruction, and their hearts as they offered up prayers and their own sufferings (because, no matter how much we love it, there is an amount of suffering involved in foot to pavement) for those impacted.  We run for charities, we run for loved ones who have died or been injured, we run for strangers.  Broad Street, in Philadelphia, offers the chance to have the Army assign you a fallen soilder that you focus your intention on for your 10 mile run.  Charities like Alex's Lemonade Stand, for whom I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, give your fundraising efforts to organizations that fight childhood cancer.  The list goes on and on and on.  I cant think of an organized race I've run where helping wasnt the focus.  Even when you arent running "for" someone in that sense, miles are a way that runners are able to focus on the world around them and many believe that, in our giving of body and mind and soul, we are able to focus and give to the world at large in a cosmic way.  In a 'we-are-one' sort of way.

Sarah likes to say that running is something we do on our own.  There's no bike to help bear your weight or take off some of the impact; it's just you.  Your body.  Your muscles.  Your mind.  I like to say that it's all in your head; running is 90% mental and 10% physical.  You can do it; the real question is do you want to.  But it's not just about us.  It's about those who support us.  Runners couldnt do it without the people around them, some of whom are complete strangers.  For those of us with kids at home (who cant run with us yet) we need the support of those we love to care for them as we take a mile (or ten) down.  The best races are the ones where there is support and you feel special as you run the miles when you think you just cant do it anymore.

As I've talked about, I love seeing young kids run and get involved in the sport.  To that end, I volunteer with our parish CYO in the Cross Country program.  Last fall, I worked with K-3rd grade (mostly girls since most of the boys were older, and one PreK little guy!) as they worked so hard to run a bit over a mile.  They were inspirational to me and, as I ran the MCM, those kids and their faces were some of the many that flashed through my mind in that 5+ hour experience.  But there's one eight year old for whom an XC coach will never cheer or run with; Martin Richard will never run a race... never cross a finish line.  Because a coward (or cowards, we dont know yet) decided to build and detonate three bombs at the Boston Marathon a few days ago.  His father, who was a runner (conflicting reports say he was either running or was volunteering at the race), has not only lost his son, but his wife suffered a brain injury from the blast and his daughter- who ran the kid's race the day before and medaled- lost a leg. There are nearly 200 casulties (as of now) reported, with over a dozen in critical condition; several people are still in medically induced comas to try and help their injuries.  Three, including Martin, are dead already. 

The average runner finishes a marathon is 4:30-5:30 (compared to elites, who cross the finish line just after 2 hours).  The bombs went off as average runners were crossing the line; not that trying to bomb elitists would have been better.  And, as Peter pointed out, runners support each other.  The runners who finished first would now have been spectators.  But the bombs, while injuring runners, did the most damage to supporters and spectators... Those those who give of their time and energy and love, to support those who are physically running the course.

When the bombs were going off, Peter and I had taken the kids to a craft fair and wine tasting.  We were eating cotton candy and buying pottery and just enjoying our family.  When I got back to the car and checked my phone, I had texts and emails and messages: Let us know you arent in Boston.  Let us know you are okay.  Where are you?  Are you okay????  As I began to respond, I wondered what had happened that would make people question where I was and if I was okay.  I spoke to my mom last night and she told me that, shortly after the blast, my grandmother called her in a panic. " Michele's not running the Boston Marathon is she?  Do you know where she is?  She hasnt answered the phone."  At some point, I used my phone to google and realized the tragedy that had befallen one of the most loved marathons in our country.

And I was heartbroken.  And felt so incredibly helpless.  Hours away (and, let's face it, not exactly able to help out in my present capacity), I was worried about the people I love: 2 of Sarah's sisters live outside of Boston and one is a runner... our cousins in Plymouth, one of whom is a fireman in a neighboring town- would he be called into the city to help?? were there more bombs??... of the bloggers I know from the Boston area... of the city I've visited and loved, and all those runners and spectators.  It made me sick to my stomach.  Later, when I heard about little Martin, I thought of Bobby and Maya's little cousin, who is 7 and lives near Boston... He was her age.  Could I imagine life without her, especially because of some awful act like this?  No... and I cant even fathom it now.  It hurts too much.

But one family is doing way more than fathoming it.  They are living that nightmare.

Runners all over the world laced up yesterday in the aftermath.  We cant do anything tangible, but we can come together as one- as one community, as one sport, as one human body- and we can send our intentions to Boston and all those impacted.  We can do it today and tomorrow and...  It can be 1/4 mile or 14 miles- it doesnt matter.  It can be you, standing on the corner, just sending up a thought and prayer.  Physically, we can give of our bodies so that our minds can connect into that place, where the Divine that is within us connects with the Divine that is within every other person, and we can find a place of peace.  And of hope.   And of love.

Always love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


A short post.

All is well.  I've been responding to countless texts, emails, and FB emails.  I was not and am not in Boston; my family is safe.  I had planned on running Boston (under a charity slot) until I found out I was pregnant last fall.  (I had talked to Peter about it after MCM, but then, a few weeks later, life changed.)  But we are all okay.

Everything with pregnancy is going well.  My belly has popped again and I swear I feel as big as a house.  I'll post 26w pictures come Thursday.

2w from today, gestationally, Bobby and Maya were born.  While it is comforting to know that Michael has an excellent chance at that age, the idea that they were gone from my body, two short weeks from now just blows my mind.  And makes me sad to think about.  :(  On this day in their pregnancy, we were dealing with the stress of Bobby's SVT and bradycardia episodes in utero.  Not so fun times...  With this baby, my biggest issue is that he wants to kick my belly button into an outie!

Michael is quite the soccer star.  Loves to kick and loves to hear the voices of his daddy, big brother, and big sister.  Maya was reading to my tummy this morning, and he kept kicking in the direction she was.  Bobby, last night, was snuggling me for a movie, and whenever he would touch my stomach and say "baby" or "brother" or "Michael", you'd feel a little nudge.  They both love this.  As for Peter, I think he'd stay pressed against my belly full time if he could!  He sings and talks, and in return, Michael gives him a pounding.  It's cute. :)

Well, I think I might go for a run later... We shall see...  I need to blow off some energy.

Preparation Equals Lack Of Need

Apparently in our house, this is true.  Being prepared for something means it just wont happen.

Thank you for all the comments to my last post.  I really appreciated reading through your emails and your advice for ways to deal with our recent issue.  I will say that the 2 big pointers- taping the diaper and putting a potty seat in the bedroom- which seemed common thoughts, wouldnt work for Mr B.  He is potty trained/training, so he needs to be able to get his pull up off in the middle of the night; that's actually the biggest pain with the PJs-on-backwards.  It's such a pain to get him undressed when he asks to go to the bathroom.  I was looking forward to the summer because we were going back to the 2 pieces!  Neither of ours ever would use the little potties.  They wanted the toilets.  Even now, if we are somewhere where there is a kid-potty-insert, while Maya will use it (while telling us how she doesnt like it, etc), Bobby wont.  He will let you hold him on the big seat if he has to sit (he usually stands to pee and, because he's so tall now, doesnt need help with most standard toilets).  At school, they have real toilets that are just lower to the ground and with small seats, so they are both fine at school and, at home, our 3 toilets all have the integrated seats.  Our kids also have a touch of OCD, LOL.  We taught them that their bedrooms are for sleeping and it took months to convince them that they could actually play in there too.  (Bonus: we've never had real issues with them trying to get out of their beds or not wanting to sleep in their beds, which seems to be relatively common with transitioning kids to beds.)  So, they know the toilet goes in the bathroom; even if they used mini potty chairs, I dont know that they- him especially- would allow one in their bedroom.  But I think the idea is a great one.

So, last night, we made sure to take him to the toilet several times around the bath/bed time frame and, thankfully, he did his business at one of them!  YAY!  Then, to be safe, I grabbed a pull up and put it in our bedroom so, if we had to change him, we would have everything we needed to get him back to bed quickly.  (For ease, I have double sheets on the bed, with a plastic cover inbetween sheets/mattress so, when an emergency occurs, I just strip off layer one, and there is a new bed, ready to go.  Then I can clean sheets, do laundry, etc, while the kid in question is getting put back to bed.)

Well, of course, last night was fine!  He got up this morning, fully dressed, no accident. 

He doesnt like to be dirty- at all.  So, I dont think he was stripping to play with poop or anything like that.  He cant stand it.  He freaks out and wants to be CLEAN NOW.  So, my thought is that he realized he needed to go (or had just gone) and was trying to take everything off (perhaps in an act of independence? to do it himself?  Maya did this; she would pee herself when she was new in panties and would strip, put things in the hamper, and change, without saying anything until she was questioned about her new pants.)  But, when he realized he had poop on him (and everywhere else) he'd freak and start to cry, hence parental involvement.  While I cant swear to this, with him, it seems to make sense.

But, once again, THANK YOU for all of the suggestions and emails.  We'll definitely try to add some fiber into his morning and, hopefully, we'll be back to post-nap pooping soon! :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Potty Training No One Talks About

Maybe no one talks about it because we are just special and the first to encounter this. Maybe no one talks about it because it is downright disgusting.  I dont know.

Maya and Bobby started potty training a year ago and, for the most part, Maya got it down pretty much right away.  She will use peeing in her pants almost as a way to fight back when she is pissed off (no pun intended) but she is pretty much the I-have-to-go-so-I-go kiddo.  If she's really involved she might forget and have an accident but then she'll actually cry about it because it upsets her so much.

Bobby was a bit harder.  A huge part of that was the communication barrier and, because he still is very much an early 2 year old in his language skills, it can be hard for him to get the word out that he needs to go.  (It doesnt help that he uses the word "Stinky" for both peeing and pooping, as well as when he's ticked off at you, as in "Stinky Mommy", "Stinky Daddy", or even "Stinky insert-inanimate-object-here.")  But, with the help of his teachers and therapists who do their best to understand him and help him out at school as well as doing our best at home to make sure that we ask, listen, and watch, it's a journey that is winding down to pull ups only at night.  (And never have you seen a kid so excited as when he got to wear underwear to school for the first time! He was thrilled!).  He likes his underwear and wants his underwear, so that is a huge incentive for him to always go potty (he also loves his favorite pants and shorts and an accident means we pick out his clothes and we purposely dont choose favorites, so that's another ticket for him.)

Which brings us to this thing no one talks about.

We're down to pull ups at night, as I said before.  Bobby likes to be naked, so during the winter, we actually had the feet of 1 piece PJs sewed on backwards and put him in the PJs in reverse (zipper in back) so he couldnt strip.  Otherwise, the bed would be wet in the morning and there would be pull up and jammies all over the place.  Problem solved.  But now, as we are getting to the more verbal part of his life and he wants to tell us he needs to go to the bathroom ("Stinky Potty"), as well as the weather warming up, we opted to go into summer PJ mode, which means no more zippers and 1 piece fleece jammies.

The first few nights were fine.  Two nights ago, we hear him talking (this was just after they went to bed) and when Peter gets in there, literally, the shit hit the fan (well, the bed).  Bobby was naked, there was poop EVERYWHERE on his sheets, blankets, lovey bear, PJs...  Everywhere except the pull up.  He must have stripped naked and, my thought, wanted to go the bathroom, but instead, the bed...  Yuck.  Peter reshowered Bobby, who was a mess, and I stripped the bedding and cleaned everything before putting it in the wash (not exactly how you want to wind down and go to bed).

Last night?  Pretty much a repeat.

Uhhhh.... This isn't okay.  It's gross, people.  And it's not a good way to end the night.  There is a potty run pre-bed, so maybe we need to try and keep him on the toilet a little longer since it seems he's moved from afternoon/early evening pooping to bedtime pooping, but that being said- anyone else go through this with a kid?  Helpful hints?  (Other than paying the overpriced cost for lightweight, 1 piece PJs and sewing the feet on backwards, which really doesnt help when you are potty training at night.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Steps Forward

(originally posted here)

I often bemoan the bureaucracy that impedes the help and therapy needed for a child who is struggling and, at times, I think we can lose sight of all the steps forwards that are children are making because we are stumbling on the rocky road in front of us. So, in light of that and in such happiness for all the steps forward, no matter how small, here's an update on Bobby and how he's doing.

* During preschool class, when the teacher talks about emotions, Bobby has been mimicing the sounds. This is great interaction but also shows that he is paying attention which, during things like story time, can be a huge struggle. He also is transitioning from activities without the same issues he was having in doing so.

* In preschool today, a little boy joined Bobby at the puzzle table and they interacted about the letters and numbers. While there is no doubt that Bobby knows the information, the interaction and back-and-forth with a peer are HUGE for him. He also has been engaging in larger groups, which is also a big deal because he used to have issues being around larger groups of children in the classroom setting.

* Yesterday, the kids and I went to the grocery store and he asked me for- like, really asked- a watermelon. (He loves them, and Maya does too, but Bobby would eat the entire thing). They had some of the mini ones, so I got one since we needed fruit anyway. Fast forward to home: once I've unpacked, he comes up and asks me if I will cut it. Still a three word sentence, but definitely a question, with eye contact. I explain that I'm getting the cutting board, knife, etc, and Bobby brings me the watermelon, putting it on the board. He offered to help me cut it, but when I said it was a grown up activity, he took his hands away and waited until I gave him a slice. When he wanted more, he asked. When I put it away, he shocked me even more but wanting to help clean the cutting board! So, at the sink (since he's tall enough), he helped wash the board and put it in the drying rack. I was shocked! This morning? He wanted to bring the laundry basket of clean clothes into my bedroom (which is where I sort them). He's getting so much better with volunteering for tasks, helping when he's asked (like cleaning up toys), telling us when he wants something (getting dressed, food, etc), and listening when it's time to come in from outside or leave the playground. While he's nowhere near to the average 4 year old in verbal skills, his language is definitely progressing and his eye contact is now way more present than it was before.

* He's been asking for what he wants and, when we understand, we are rewarded with the biggest smile you've ever seen.

* Today, we played a game after I picked the kids up from school. I had said to Peter that, should they have a good day/go potty/etc, that maybe I'd surprise them and take them to the local orchard store for a cookie. They love that store (and the employees love them), so I thought it would be a nice treat. "I have a surprise," I told them as we left. "Can you guess where we are going?" Maya, of course, said 'home' but I reminded her that we we're going to do something special. Bobby then says, "ice cream!". Which is huge because he was paying attention and able to respond to a 3 way conversation. As Maya tells me about the birthday of a classmate and that they sang happy birthday at school, Bobby continues to mull over where we are going when I stay on Main Street, and by-pass where we would turn for Rita's (he calls ice cream and Rita's both "ice cream" when he's saying them). Then, he says, "Cookies!!!!" which is what he says whenever we go by Tabora. I parked and when I turned was greated with the biggest smile. "Yes," I confirmed. "Cookies!" He starts to kick his feet and clap his hands and Maya joins in.

* His understanding has never been in doubt; however, his behavior to requests he doesnt like can be rough. As his language skills improve, he's been able to express himself more and more, and his behaviors are lessoning.

Bobby is growing up and, with each day of age comes more milestones met and more maturity (even for a preschooler), but I know that a lot of his strides come from the people in his life who are working so hard to make it happen. He has 2 speech therapists- a private one once a week and one from the IU who visits him at school twice a week- and they both work on different skills. He has an OT who comes to the house once a week and she is constantly teaching him new strategies for how to help himself. While we may never know week to week what he is gathering from her, his behavioral changes speak for themselves. His 1-on-1 aide is with him for 8 hours at school and his BSC visits weekly at school; both of these women are tireless advocates for him and dont let him get away with a thing! That structure has been a huge boom to his success. His preschool teacher, Miss M, and both the classroom aides (but especially his fave, Mrs. M) are MAJOR helps to him. Like his aide and BSC, he gets away with nothing and the structure is a grace for him. But they truly love him for the little boy he is and they make his weaknesses into strengths for the classroom. When they see him falling back on something, they change it up. And rather than be upset that her classroom has a child who has some special needs, Miss M has risen to the challenge and embraced this year. One of her recent dailies reads: "You're right, he's not the average 4 year old child, but I'm so glad for that because he has made my days so much more interesting in a very good way!" Comments like these are common from her; she has taken this year- which is her first with a child with needs like Bobby has- and has made it from something that terrified me into something that has been such a huge blessing to our family.

* Something that I wouldnt have dreamed of doing months ago went off without a hitch when Bobby and I went out for mini-golf. He'd never done this before and he really struggles with new activities, especially when there is so much stimulation from the environment around him. We got one, kid sized club and 2 balls (red of course!). We played an 18 hole course! It wasnt by the rules of course, but we had so much fun and he had a blast. It took him a while to get it, but eventually he could hold the club and hit the ball himself, and he was great at getting the balls out of the hole. The only issue we had was a love of the water, but he listened when his name was called and never got too close to the water areas. It was a huge success.

Every day is a step: sometimes we take a big one forward, other times a big one backwards. But each day is still a day to learn- for Bobby, for Maya, and for us. I'm so grateful for the many steps forward that are getting us through, day by day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I'm a ritual-oriented person.  I like my religion teeming with incense and chant.  I like my run with the sounds of nature.  I like my Guinness cold (and, let's be honest, that sentence should read in the plural...).  I dont like to eat a M&M of one color if I cant eat it in evens (i.e. one red one on each side of my mouth).  I will actually sort things out like that.  I like evens more than odds, and things in fives are good (as long as I'm not eating them).  I'm weird like that, I know.  It's a life long thing; I've come to accept it.  Rituals play a huge role in my life, and, I can see in so many ways, in Bobby and Maya's lives too.

Our afternoon ritual is a big one, as is our bedtime ritual.  They need to go off without a hitch for things to run smoothly, although we have our bumps in the road.  Today's nap was no exception.  We have our lunch, clean up, and then it's "night-night" time.  Maya turns on the light and the noisemaker- rain setting. I pull the curtain over the door to block hallway light.  The 2 windows, each with blackout shades, must be done just so, to make the room as dim as possible.  I kiss Maya and she gets into bed, where her bedtime pals (we're up to her lovey plus 3) must be in the order she deems correct, then her sheet and main blanket (or comforter in winter) are pulled up (her prayer blanket remains down... that's for later).  Bobby, while being held, turns off the light by the cord, leaving the ceiling fan on, and I sing "Oh Bobby Boy/Maya Girl", usually twice (one for each).  When I lay Bobby down in his bed, he grabs for his lovey, and then wants his sheet, blanket/comforter, and prayer blanket put up to his shoulder, then he rolls over on his side, facing the side of the room where Maya sleeps.  At this point, I walk to Maya's bed, while finishing the song, and when I'm done, I kiss her forehead (Bobby gets his final kiss before getting into bed) and tell her "I love you; have a good night-night".  At this point, she closes her eyes, snuggles down, and wants me to pull her prayer blanket up just enough that it covers her eyes but keeps her face clear.  Then I walk away, pulling the door curtain closed all the way.

The entire ritual takes less than 10 minutes, sometimes 15 if something wacky is going on.  But it is a 10 minute requirement for the next 2 hours to go smoothly.  They want it.  They need it on some level.  And honestly, so do I.  As naps weaned down from every few hours to 2 a day and now down to 1 a day, it's this moment that brings me back to their pregnancy, when I would hold my belly and sing to them, begging them to stay put just a bit longer... to our NICU days when I would rock them slowly, singing pub songs and telling them how much I loved them... to their newborn and infant days, when my hours were filled with just holding them and loving on them.  As they age and grow, and this aspect of our lives fades into primary school and field trips with them, I'm reminded that I wont always have this 10 minutes of calm and just love.  Already, Maya is more than happy to be 13 and run away to do "big girl" things (even when those big girl things are wonderful things).  Bobby still gives me some extra cuddles and snuggles, but I know that the time will come when I'm not the woman he gives those hugs and kisses to.  This is a ritual that has no option but to fade away, but while I have it, I'm hanging onto it for dear life, just like the air that I breathe.

At night, it becomes more of Peter's show.  After dinner, the kids play and/or watch part of a movie or show for a bit while I clean up, then Peter starts the bedtime start.  He does their teeth brushing and bath and then it's PJ time (after lotion of course!).  They each get to read a story (the current faves are the Good Night World series), then they have a drink of water, kiss Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander's box, and say their prayers (after choosing an icon).  Then I sing the night-night song of evening (I have no idea where this came from actually... I sing and sign it.  "Good night, Maya.  Good night, Bobby.  Good night, Mommy and Daddy (and Michael!).  We'll see you tomorrow... for breakfast!  And XXX!  {could be "school", "church", the name of someone we are visiting, etc}).  Then I say "Good night.  I love you." and leave.  Peter sings them a Spanish lullaby he grew up with, then he leaves.  Sometimes they will talk to each other for a bit, other times, they just go to bed.  Again, it's a ritual that we all need, and one that will fade.  They'll go to bed of course, but there will come a time when we wont give them baths... when they wont want us for storytime and snuggles... when they just close their doors and go to sleep.

Rituals arent to say that we dont change things up a bit.  Today, we played a game after I picked the kids up from school.  I had said to Peter that, should they have a good day/go potty/etc, that maybe I'd surprise them and take them to the local orchard store for a cookie.  They love that store (and the employees love them), so I thought it would be a nice treat.  "I have a surprise," I told them as we left.  "Can you guess where we are going?"  Maya, of course, said 'home' but I reminded her that we we're going to do something special.  Bobby then says, "ice cream!".  Which is huge because he was paying attention and able to respond to a 3 way conversation.  As Maya tells me about the birthday of a classmate and that they sang happy birthday at school, Bobby continues to mull over where we are going when I stay on Main Street, and by-pass where we would turn for Rita's (he calls ice cream and Rita's both "ice cream" when he's saying them).  Then, he says, "Cookies!!!!" which is what he says whenever we go by Tabora.  I parked and when I turned was greated with the biggest smile.  "Yes," I confirmed.  "Cookies!"  He starts to kick his feet and clap his hands and Maya joins in.  What happy little guys.  So, not following our routine doesnt always upset the status quo, but I mean... we are talking about homemade cookies here!


Here we are, another week passed, another countdown in the running (T-12w6d til delivery!).  And now, 90 days... 90 days left in this pregnancy of over 200. 90 days left until we have a full term baby in our arms.

I don't know if I blogged about this before, but it was on my mind today as I did my morning run (THANK YOU SPRING) in a freshly rained neighborhood.  Last night, we were slammed with a thunderstorm just after dark.  It poured and I fell asleep to the sound of the rain.  By the time I woke up for my 6am-er, the skies were blue and dawn was breaking, and no rain was in sight.  I laced up and out I went for my (SLOW) bout around town.  As I was running, it dawned on me that I havent made a photo album for Michael yet.

With all the other children, I started an album at the beginning of pregnancy and put in different photos from holidays, ultrasounds, etc., around the same time (or shortly after) I began journaling.  They are quite the treasure to us, and the kids love to look at all of them.  As I ran, I thought I really need to get on the ball and do his book! and I began to think about the photographs that would go in it and what I might say.

The books each start with a quote or scriptural reference, so clearly, that would be page one, but then there's usually some 'before you were here' little bit.  What we were doing just before we conceived, etc, etc, and a photo, then onto (very) early pregnancy.  The Marathon! I thought... Of course!  I'll put in a picture of me finishing up the MCM and I'll write a tid bit about running it, blah blah blah.  And, as I'm thinking of this, a very special memory from race morning popped into my head.

I attended a nondenominational service, held in a tent just before the starting area and conducted by a Naval chaplain.  He did a phenomenal job and was able to tie in the readings he'd selected to our coming out to run the MCM that day.  It was a nice way to start the morning and I was really glad that I had the opportunity to go.  As he was ending the service, he gave us a piece of advice and it is one that, to this moment, gives me goosebumps to recount.  "Because you made the time to give this part of your race experience to God, know that God will be with you during today's marathon."  He went on to say that whether we finished or were dragged off the course with injury, to know that our dedication to running was second to our dedication to God and that we'd shown that by coming early and meeting in that tent as rain and hurricane threatened to envelope us.  "Right now, just close your eyes, and tell God what it is that you really want today.  God is listening."

And here is the kicker.  Without any sort of preconceived notion- I mean, I was about to embark on the longest run of my entire life and, really, my thoughts were of getting through those 26+ miles- this is the thought that came into my head: God, I would love to have a healthy, full term pregnancy and baby.  As soon as the thought came, I opened my eyes, shocked, and looked around at my fellow runners, heads still bowed in personal prayer and wondering if those words had come from my mouth because they sure as hell sounded loud to me.  I took a deep breath, closed my eyes again, and asked for a good race that would result in me being able to run across the finish line.  Amen, prayer said, let's roll.

The unbidden thought left me shortly after as I tried to stay warm and dry and, eventually, meandered up to the starting point and my shoot.  But I thought about the crazy thought, especially on my train ride home when I was reliving every moment of the day in my head and hoping we'd beat Hurricane Sandy into Philadelphia.  When I saw Peter at the station and flung myself into his waiting arms, the race was the last thing on my mind until we talked about it in the car, and I relayed the events, including my strange prayer, to him.  We kind of joked about it, saying that we'd said we'd give it our all until NYE 2013, so hey!  Maybe that was where it was coming from.

That was October 28th. 3 days later, I conceived Michael. 

Not to sound crazy, but it does still seem crazy to me.  I'm not saying that going to the prayer service or saying the prayer or running the race or anything else is the definitive thing that led us to this miracle pregnancy.  I believe each of us has a path and that we come into this world for a reason; Michael has his reason, just as we being his parents has a reason and one that we may never know.  But still... It does send shivers up my spine and I recount the story and as I think about writing it as the introduction to his photo album.

Back to present day: 25 weeks!  Here we are!  Less than 2 weeks til my next appointment with Dr. B. and my sugar test.  And only a few days until Peter is off for a week!  He's working tomorrow and then we have full fledged family time from Saturday until Sunday, the 21st!  WOO HOO!  I see minigolf (Maya saw the pics of Bobby playing and REALLY wants to play now), long walks, playground visits, and trips to the museum and library in our future! :)

I feel great.  Still some BHCs at night after a long day (but nothing consistent), still tired (my MIL commented that I actually seemed more tired than usual yesterday), and still out running.  So, it's awesome and good and I feel truly lucky to be able to experience all of this in such a normal fashion this time around! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Painful Memories Well Done

**This is going to have spoilers from some recent Dallas episodes.  If you aren't caught up to the series and you plan to watch it (and dont want the spoilers), skip this post.**

I've admited my guilty pleasure of watching the remake of Dallas.  I grew up watching the original and, for old times sake, decided to watch the new one. It's not child appropriate, so I DVR it and watch it (usually the next day from when it aired) while the kids are napping.  Peter could care less so he doesnt want to watch it with me, and it gives me a relaxing time on the couch.  On my DVR as of yesterday were 4 episodes; I hadn't watched it in 3+ weeks (it airs on Monday nights here).

The last episode I saw in real time was Ewings Unite, which ends with tragedy.  It would take too long to fill in all the details, but one character is pregnant with twins.  There is an explosion on a methane rig.  The episode ends.  Finally, I decided to watch the next episode, Guilt and Innocence, yesterday.  LOSS TRIGGER ALERT.  Clearly, this is a TV drama and what is more dramatic than a pregnant woman trapped under collapsed I-Beams.  She is rushed to the hospital only to be told, along with her estranged husband, that she has a uterine aneurism (as a result of trauma) and that her placenta is starting to pull away from the uterine wall.  The only safe option, they are told, is to repair the aneurism and abort the babies.  At this point, I'm a sobbing mess because, regardless of what happens in the series, I know this pregnancy is going to end badly.  I should have stopped watching, but I didnt.  The parents refuse the abortion and the mother makes her husband promise that, should the choice between she and the babies be made, he must try to save the babies. 

The episode continues and, of course, she has to be rushed into emergency surgery.  In spite of all of the arguments against him, the husband/father makes the decision to try and save all three of them.  The doctor comes out, finally, and tells them that she was successful... but that success could be very temporary.  Both the explosion and the surgery have done dramatic trauma to the babies and they need 4 more weeks in the womb before they can attempt to save them.  As the episode winds to a close, the unthinkable happens.  The heartbeats of both babies begin to slow and then, as the home audience watches the TOCO with the television parents, they move to zero before becoming nonexistent. 

Cue mass sobbing in my living room.

As much as I wanted to not watch, I turned on the next episode, Let Me In, which begins with the two parents, each grieving in their own way.

And here's why I am dedicating an entire post to Dallas.  I was on the floor amazed by how well done this was.  I was amazed by the fact that they portrayed the deaths of 20 week babies and the agony that the parents were going through which, though dramatized were not nearly as over-dramatized as you'd expect (especially on a show like Dallas).  I was in awe by how well done Let Me In went into the different aspects of grief, from the emptiness and anguish to the anger.  From those not knowing what to say or do (but wanting to help) to those who just seemed to disappear from the entire thing.  It was extraordinary, I think, for a TV show to actually "get" it.  Which, in a lot of ways, makes you realize that someone writing that show "got" it.

The father begins to dismantle the nursery at his house; the mother continues putting hers together so that she can just sit in the room and remember.  This example alone shows the different ways that people can grieve and, in this case, because they are parents living apart, it gives you an idea of what could happen if they were living together with two entirely different ways to process their loss.  Ultimately, this is a TV show, so we find out that it's actually the maternal grandfather who is responsible for the explosion, so heaven only knows what cans of worms will be opened as the series continues, but still, for what this was, I thought they did a great job of bringing the loss of pregnancy and of children to the mainstream, if only for a few moments in primetime.

There's also this feeling that, subconsciously, I knew something "bad" was going to happen with a pregnant character along the same gestation as I was, so even without realizing it, I opted to not watch.  I mean, I've watched the other shows I DVR... But for whatever reason, I just didnt click on that series (normally I watch them in the order they've been recorded).  Did my subconscious just realize that, being 20ish weeks along and watching a 20w pregnant woman lose twins would be too much?  Would trigger too much?  I don't know, but I'm grateful I waited to watch them.