Thursday, September 18, 2014

a good day to be alive {Maisy at four months}

Hard to know where to begin, so I'll begin here I guess.  I'm sitting at my desk in my sweats with a half cup of lukewarm coffee (we're out of half+half and although I used to take my coffee black, now I just don't like it much without cream).  Headphones are on because the boys are running around like maniacs playing frisbee puppies or something behind me and turning on music to drown out the din only makes them up their volume.  It's still pretty darn cold outside this morning but I should probably send them out anyway because they're jumping from couch to the coffee table to the floor and throwing ninja turtle themed paper plates at each other and me and good thing we don't have any trinkets.  And I think someone is crying but I can just barely hear it and I'm not turning around.  {But I kid, because I did turn around, and leave my desk and pull out the finger puppets and blocks and now, although I can almost hear Owen singing a song that goes something like Mom is a bingy boo on repeat, they are being a little calmer and no one is dying while I write.

Yesterday was Maisy's four month well visit at the doctor.  (One of those times when I didn't even have the appointment scheduled until a few days ago when I thought whoops I better get on that.)  My mom stayed with the boys at the library so that we could have a distraction-free checkup, and a sweet little date it turned out to be.  In the waiting room Maisy nursed and drifted off to sleep; five minutes later she had to be undressed but did not mind one bit, just opened her eyes and smiled and didn't fuss once through all the weighing and measuring.  (14 pounds, 2 ounces!  24 3/4 inches.)  While we waited for the doctor I read Maisy part of a book until she tired of it; then I just sat her on my lap facing toward me and we chit chatted and I admired how fat she is.  A little chubster this one is turning into!

Three pokes for immunizations and poor girl cried a little but not too much, and after that it was like nothing bad ever happened.  Later on at home she was laying on a blanket on the floor in the sun room, just kicking her legs and smiling at me without a care in the world.  And in one moment looking at my baby girl I can go through this whole crazy roller coaster of emotions (like the old wooden cyclone when I rode it with my bestie in sixth grade and we almost died kind of roller coaster of emotions) that goes something along the lines of ohmygoodness you are SO sweet and precious and perfect i just can't even believe it... and then a sledgehammer slams me in the chest with a choke that contains no words at first, only a scream at the top of my lungs inside my head, and then turns into oh, you are so perfect EXCEPT for your hand!  so beautiful I can't stand it, a face so full of potential I know you can do ANYTHING, but oh no, will your poor little paw hold you back? you will have to explain so many times.  you are going to hate me because this must have been my fault.  a baby with a pinched off nub for a hand!  are you kidding me, God?  that is just not right, it is so sad that it's cruel.  another choking scream and then, partly out loud and part only in my mind...  I will ALWAYS be here for you, Maisy girl.  I will be your BEST friend whether you need me to be or not and even if everything IS terrible I won't just be a shoulder for you to cry on I will be there sobbing with you and when everything is awesome I will be awed and always let you know that you are amazing, just who you are, my love.  I will always talk to you and be real with you and let you know that I know: it SUCKS so. bad.  but also it's no big deal.  And then, somewhere in the midst of this whole internal dialogue I realize that my daughter is still just staring at me and smiling and kicking away and chewing and drooling on her little paw, content to be who and where she is.  And although I can't quite read her thoughts, I almost feel like I can and she is saying so clearly: "It's a good day to be alive, mom!"  And the Cyclone screeches to a halt and I realize:  You are so right, my Maisy girl, this IS a good day to be alive.  You are who you are, hand or no hand.  And I can see already that you are one awesome person.  Yes, it might still feel like the worst at times, but you will handle it; we will handle it; God can handle it.  I could name all of the things you "might not be" because you're missing five digits but honestly I think the number of fingers on your hands has little to do with where life will lead you.  I have all ten of mine and still I'm no concert pianist, no tennis champion, nothing special really.  But I'm your mom, and I love you with all my heart.  And you are you, and you need not do anything more to make me love you more, because already: my cup runneth over, my dear.  It's so good to be alive with you.

Shall we have some more photos of little four month old Maisy now?  Yes, we shall.

Case in point on the chubsters, below.  This here's a little shirt and hat that were mine when I was a baby but I kinda missed the boat about putting it on Maisy because when I finally did her chunky belly and cheeks pretty much exploded out of it.
 One of my masterpieces in baby dressing:
 Chillin in the photo basket...
 I think this was on my birthday, maybe?
And this one might have been at my birthday party; Maisy was all snuggled up to be outside for the evening.
On a day when I don't have many photos and she falls asleep in my arms, I almost always ask Ben to take a picture.
 On the go...
 Another night out on the deck at dusk...
 Thumb-sucking time on a blanket outside.
This evening I was coming in from the garden and saw the light was just gorgeous so I ran inside and gave Maisy some quick boob (she'd just woken up) and a quick change and ran back out with her and the basket and made it just in time to get a few quick shots before the light was gone.
 Bob photobombed my Maisy shot but that's okay because brother-sister pics are pretty darn cute.
 Afterwards, just hanging out.  She actually likes sitting in the basket.
Another night, on one of our pre-dinner walks, I set up this self-timer shot while the boys tackled each other in the tall grass.
 A photo of Bob's, just for kicks and because I think it's cool:
You'll notice a theme of laying on quilts outside; that's pretty much where it's at for infants, if you ask me, especially in this late summer (early fall) weather.
 Maisy watches the sky and the trees and the brothers playing around her.
 Where she naps: still on our bed.

And... a little impromptu four month photo shoot because the light was pretty and we weren't doing anything and Maisy was super cute (as always) and wearing a sweater knitted for me by my mom when I was a baby, and if that's not a recipe for a photo shoot I don't know what is.
 Oh, this happy little girl, I love her so.
She's going to teach me a lot, this one.  I'm listening, Maisy Lou.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

plum island 2014

Has it truly been four years since we've been to Plum Island?!  That is just not right.  {Last time -- or last time I blogged about anyway? -- is HERE.}

We returned over the long weekend -- two more kids in tow -- and the Parker River Refuge did not disappoint; it never does.  We had planned to make an early trip up, but ended up holding off until lunchtime when we thought some people may be leaving, and what do you know?  We lucked out and ended up parking four cars at the point!

The kiddos, having napped on the way up, were happy as clams for the afternoon -- running and digging and splashing and exploring and snacking (Owen ate most of Susan's cheese and crackers).  We built a little wind/sun fort for Maisy Lou and she was totally content sucking her thumb and checking out the scene.  The kids loved another fort a little way down the beach; Bob called it the "bad boy's hideout" -- I think because the boy was being a bit possessive?  "I asked him when he was going to leave and he said twenty five minutes!"

The light is just dreamy at sunset so I love to stay until the end of the day, which we did.  {Thanks, Sue, for the mini family photo shoot -- you are so awesome for being all about it!}

Perfect Plum island day.

A few of my favorite photos...

And a few more, because a day like this puts me in a slideshow-making mood.

So good to see you again, Plum Island.  It will not be another four years before we return!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

sleeping on vacation

Kinda lame to start a series of vacation posts with one about sleep, but rest patterns can totally make or break a family vacation, wouldn't you agree?  As soon as your first child gets some sort of regular nap and bedtime routine, life revolves around rest time.  "Let's leave after lunch so the kids will nap in the car."  "If we wait until after 7:00 to head home, the kids will fall asleep on the drive and we can just transfer them to their beds."  That sort of thing.  Good sleep for all is a must.  And it can be tricky getting the toddler/preschool set to rest someplace new.

The Zobas graciously hosted us for two nights of our mini vacation to the North Shore.  Staying with friends is the best because the parents can hang out while the littles are asleep.  The boys used the Zobas' sleeping bags as tiny floor beds and loved it.  Bob: "This bed is sooooo soft and comfy!"  I guess you don't need much padding when you're four and weigh thirty pounds.

Christina read the pups a book while I nursed Maisy to sleep; then I lay on the floor with them and told a purple crayon story and they conked right out.  Wooden loves to snuggle Pupper when he gets the chance and spent most of the night in the crack between their beds.  So-- Owen's first time traveling without the pack n play was a success.  (Guess it's almost time to switch him to a bed at home!)

Sweetly sleeping children definitely deserve a post all their own, so here we go...

Owen asleep on his floor bed after a successful transfer from the car.
 Brothers snuggled up in the night...
 A mid-day rest on the way to the beach...
The third and final night of our mini vaca we spent at a hotel.  Our little princess living a life of king sized bed luxury...
Little guys asleep in our room at the Doubletree, which we chose for its nice pool and separate kiddie sleeping area in the family suites.  Bob and O were pretty excited about this cute little scenario.  (Thanks for the hotel tip, Lindsey!)
 And finally... everyone asleep on the way to Tiny Gram's birthday party.
Good sleep makes for a good trip.  Thanks again for hosting us, Zobas!
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